Our ability to be fast in racing is limited by an almost magical upper ceiling. Right below this ceiling, we are able to push ourselves for a long time at a comfortable heart rate due to the body being able to bring fuel to the muscles and recycle toxins. But push above the ceiling and things quickly go Pete Tong.
The limiting factor is our lactate threshold but do not fear, all is not lost: it is possible to train the body to raise this threshold. Training for threshold will allow you to sustain more power for longer periods of time.
The standard threshold training specifies holding a steady TT effort for 20 to 30 minutes at the max power that we can sustain for that period, but let’s be honest: it’s hard and therefore an easy workout to skip when building a balanced weekly training plan (riders typically take up to 48 hours to recover from a session).
Team WBR’s Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz felt that suffering in company with mutual sharing of the pain could be a huge motivator and therefore set out to develop WBR’s TT Threshold Challenge.
The first issue to overcome was that our threshold levels can be very different, so unless everyone was handicapped the group ride would quickly break apart. Riders are therefore required to change to a TT bike with all height and weight being leveled for power and aerodynamics.
There is a competitive element provided by the ride being a 40km TT but the playing field is leveled by setting everyone’s height to 175cm and weight being determined by the product of FTP divided by 4 i.e. for a rider with an FTP of 260 their ‘in challenge’ weight would be set to 260 / 4 = 65 kgs.
The Challenge typically lasts about 60 minutes. Most of us won’t be able to hold threshold power for 60 minutes so depending on pre-existing levels of fitness, riders can challenge themselves to ride a little longer each week or potentially do two blocks of 20 mins with 10 mins of high tempo in between.
WBR’s TT Threshold Challenge is happening right now on Tuesday and Friday mornings with alternate flat vs hilly courses. Usually all riders end up within 2 minutes of each other and finish the event right about the 4.0 w/kg average although given changes in sleep, stress or training load, a small variance is normal. Stamina is also a key factor in these sessions.
Lastly: messaging inside the event is not only possible but highly encouraged: share that pain!