TrainerRoad’s 2014 “8 Days in California”: Stage 3 recap
Yesterday I completed the third stage of TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” challenge. This stage was the Queen stage*, and it was vile.
*In multi-stage cycling races, the “Queen Stage” contains the highest point of the race, often has a mountaintop finish, usually has a big impact on the overall GC (General Classification) standings and is almost always the most demanding/difficult stage in the race.
Stage 3 description: The long and varied stage three kicks things off with a solid amount of climbing, giving you a mixture of sweet spot and FTP work. Afterwards, a jaunt through some flat terrain provides some great opportunities to collect some sprint points with some brief anaerobic efforts. But make sure you ride smart, because an absolutely massive effort on the mountaintop finish will push you above FTP for eight, hard minutes.
My post-stage comments: This was the “Queen” stage, and it was (pardon the music pun) killer. I’ve completed 136 workouts on TrainerRoad, and this workout with its two endless, soul-crushing climbs is the closest I’ve ever come to cracking. Towards the end of the final climb I was out of the saddle, drool and snot were streaming down my face, my side was in stitches, my legs were screaming in agony and my heart rate was closing in on 190 BPM–and that was before the big 1-minute all-out push to the summit. I was starting to come apart at that point, but I absolutely buried myself and managed to get the job done. I’d have to say this is in the top 3 most difficult TR workouts I’ve done–my heart rate was in my VO2 Max zone (171+ BPM) for 00:31:07, and in my Threshold zone (155-171 BPM) for 00:26:07. New 2-minute, 5-minute, 10-minute, 30-minute, 60-minute and 90-minute power personal records were set.
I spent 20.4% of the stage (00:19:21) in the Threshold power zone, 14.0% (00:13:20) in the extremely painful VO2 MAX power zone and an agonizing 4.2% (00:04:01) of the time was spent in the Anaerobic Capacity/Neuromuscular netherworld.
As you read in my post-stage notes, my heart rate from this stage also paints an ugly picture: I spent 27.5% (00:26:07) of the 95-minute stage in the Threshold zone (155-171 BPM), and 32.8% (00:31:07) of the stage was spent riding in the VO2 MAX zone (171+ BPM).
It was definitely an nasty scene in my home gym yesterday. I’m happy to have set several new power output personal records.
Here is my 2014 8DC Stage 3 workout graph (click to enlarge):
Stage 3 crushed the hopes of nearly 100 more 8DC participants: of 1,735 cyclists who started the 8DC, 1,085 have been eliminated. With five stages remaining, there are 658 riders left in the challenge.
Today’s 70 minute stage is largely a sprint stage, which will certainly include lots of surging well above FTP. Looking at the stage profile, I can see that there is about a 20-minute section with non-stop over/unders that is going to be very difficult. Adding to the challenge, my legs are hurting from the the three previous stages, and also I’m feeling somewhat under the weather this morning. It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a mild headcold and sore wheels to stop me. Let’s do this!