FasCat's Training Tips for August

In this episode, the Big Cat talks about 4 training topics for the month of August including fueling for long events, Steamboat Gravel tire choice, 4 cyclocross skills you should be working on, and how to taper properly. He also announces a few changes to our tried n' true off season plan and our 18 weeks of sweet spot training plan that you don't want to miss!


Podcast Transcript:

Welcome to the FasCat podcast. I'm your host Frank Overton, some call me the big cat and today we are going to be talking about 4 end of the summer training topics - there’s a lot going on and I want to make sure we cover something for everything!

  1. gels > blocks > bars - every 30 minutes - Leadville and Steamboat are coming up as well as many other long long events that require frequent fueling!
  2. Steamboat tire choice, course conditions, pacing and the aforementioned
  3. Four cyclocross skills for you to be working on in August
  4. Tapering
  • I have completely redesigned our five star reviewed sweet spot base training plan.  Super high level I have taken in everyone’s feedback, questions over the years and incorporated that plus new workouts and put 4 more years of coaching experience to build a better plan for you to ride faster.
  • I also condensed the 18 weeks down into 16 weeks with four week mesocycles: 3 weeks on 1 week off - 4 months to build a big aerobic engine with plenty of sweet spot training including the wintertime intensity I podcasted about this past January.  Stay tuned for the full release notes!
  • Similarly the new v2 16 week sweet spot plan will go into our new v2 off season weight lifting and sweet spot base plan.  The former 32 week plan becomes a 30 week one stop shop for your complete off season training including lifting weights, yoga, strength mobility workouts, field tests, base, nutrition - yes, nutrition because we’ve included some bonus winning in the kitchen recipes of the week! To help you fuel your workouts and lose a few lbs for your best power to weight ratio in years. This plan will comes with tried n' true 10 week at the gym weight lifting plan OR as many remember you may choose to have the at home plan without the leg press and with kettlebells and the VIPR tube.
  • Both include squats and the popular Nino’s 30 minute circuit training routine.   Also stay tuned for the full release notes
  • We are headed to Steamboat Springs, CO tomorrow! For the Steamboat Gravel.  Come see us in the expo - FasCat will have a booth there with cheetah tattoos, course and race beta + the chance to win a years worth of coaching with yours truly.  Come by the booth for a guaranteed not to bonk homemade cheetah bar, enter to win and ask us anything about the race, coaching and/or our training plans. 
Before we do the Review of the Week, I’d like to make a correction to one of the answers we had last week on the FasCat Bonus Ask a FasCat episode - in regards to real time TSS on your lap.  After last week’s Ask a FasCat, Stages Senior Vice President, friend and Masters Nationals 50+ TT & Road Road Champion, Pat Warner reached out to let me know that the Stages Dash can display lap TSS!  In fact the Stages Dash has a whole host of workout capabilities that other bike computers do not have. Suffice it to say there’ll be a future podcast with Pat as a guest, thanks Pat!

Review of the week:

This one comes to us from Sharon of the cyclocross summer sweet spot plan


Thank you Sharon and good luck with your cyclocross season!!

And so without further-ado lets talk about 4 training topics that I think are relevant to your training RIGHT NOW, tomorrow, this week - giddy up!

# 1 Gels blocks bars. Every 30 minutes

You know, I had an athlete call me up the other day who exclaimed gels blocks bars changed his life. I am not kidding - that’s what he said - his life.  He went onto explain how so much of the nutrition advice he’d read about or heard only confused him more : 30 -  60 grams of carbohydrate per hour or 60-90 grams and even 60 - 120 grams - it got too much for him to keep track of.   

But the every 30 minutes really simplifies things because the frequency  - every 30 minutes really takes care of the gradual drip drip of carbohydrate into your Ferrari. You being the Ferrari with the analogy that even Ferrari’s go slow when they run out of gas. 

Well thanks for calling and reminding me about this podcast from April 2019. In my own coaching experience its hard to mess up your nutrition when you abide by the every 30 minutes. At the beginning of the race its counterintuitive but mid-way thru each 30 minute increment to eat becomes one more milestone as you ride these 4-5-6-7 even 8 hour events! 

Before you nerd out on 30- 60 grams of carbs per hour or 60-120g, simply start with eating every 30 minutes, gels, blocks and/or drink mix and it will make a big difference. 

Side note Since we are talking about Steamboat as well today I did that race 100% on gels because honestly we were racing fast-fast-fast the whole time and my respiratory rate didn’t exactly favor chewing a bar or blocks. This was also was I call one handed nutrition with a simple one hand on the bars and one hand reaches for the gel.  Blocks can also be one handed, especially when pre-opened before the race. 

Our registered dietitian, coach and community manager, Lacey has a very well done video of during ride nutrition on our website and youTube channel.

#2 SBT Gravel

Moving on - let’s talk about Steamboat tire choice: let me get right to the point: Panaracer’s GravelKing 35mm. 

My buddy and Outside / Velonews editor, Ben Delaney, pinged me 2 days ago, ‘think a 38mm slick would be okay for SBTG?” Hell no!
While the gravel is gucci there are some high speed descent with arching corners, no brake required. Let me tell you, having side knobs at 50kph’s riding in a pack 1 foot off the wheel in front of you will help with ye ol pucker factor. 
And for god sake no aero bars! Lotta pack riding - don’t be that guy or gal. Go Eddy Mercx down in the drops if you need to get low. Hahahaaaaaa. Don’t get me started…. ha!

Last year I raced the same in a 32 but remember, I am a cyclocrosser so used to skinny off road tires . A 38 would work well but for the fast racer this is Colorado gucci gravel that rolls fast fast.  You could race a road bike on 90% of this course!

Temperature: bring warm up pants and a zipper hoodie for the start line - the sun will just be coming up and it could be below 40 degrees. Remember - whatever you wear to start you’ll have to take off later when its 90+ and super HOT. A jersey no arm warmer no base layer is needed.  Suck up the cold the first 5 minutes promise you won’t be hot 5 miles into the race. 

Speaking of HOT - there is virtually no shade and its dusty.  Saddle up for the long haul FasCat. Tortoise and the hare. Hydration pack is pretty much mandatory if you want to finish. Last year I drained mine + 2 bottle by the 3rd or 4th aid station.  Then re-filled that plus a can of coke and drained that reservoir before the finish. 

#3 Cx Skills

Switching gears (haha get it?) let’s talk about cyclocross and the skills you want to be practicing at least once a week from now thru the cyclocross season. They are:

  1. Your Race Start practice in a parking, when you are at a stop sign or traffic light and your local cx course.
  2. Cornering - 10,000 turns to mastery get started with 25-50 turns per skills session.  My favorite cx skills drill to give cx athletes right now is the figure 8 cornering drill. Two cones do figure 8’s around. Ride fast and make the turns arching, tight, off camber, around trees, uphill, downhill, on mud and even in volleyball pits. Those are the instagram pics you see of all the Belgian riders right now - figure 8 ruts in the sand practicing riding in the run back n forth back n forth. 10,000 corners to mastery - get start one ride at a time!
  3. Dismounting and Remount - walk before your run. One of the best drills I learned during the 5 years we put on the Jeremy Powers Cyclocross Camp was in a grass field walk our bike with 2 hands on the bar and without a hitch or breaking stride turn your hips sideways and throw your right leg over the saddle using your inner thigh as the 1st contact point and sliding your leg down as you remount.  Practice this walking > then trotting > and then at speed.  This is also a 10, 000 times to mastery skill.
  4. Obstacles - run ups and sand , find a volleyball pit to ride thru or a mud bog or anything technical.  If it rains and the ground is slippery - that ‘s the BEST time to go practice. And its hella fun too. For run up’s stairs will do or a steep pitch in park that forces you to should your bike an run up with it.  You can combine cornering practice and run ups and dismounting/remounting all in a small patch of a park or just the right place to practice.   We are very fortunate to have the 5280 stairs at the Valmont Bike Park for just this kind of practice. 

All of these skills and drills can be found in our 6 weeks till CX training plan: 

#4 Tapering

As this season winds down and final A events of the year approach - there’s an expression I like to use, ‘all the hay is in the barn’ - you literally do not have time to get any faster and trying to do so will only make you slower.  So a well thought out taper is the way to go 10-20 days before the last A race of your season. 
Read out training tip for the science and training plan design but remember a taper is defined by a reduction in training volume and maintaining or increase training intensity

Dr. Inijo Mujika, PhD renowned sports physiologist, who specializes in taper research says:

  • Minimize fatigue AND IMPROVE fitness via increased power output
  • Maintain training intensity
  • Reduce training volume by 60-90%
  • Maintain training frequency at > 80%
  • Individualize taper duration between 4 - 28 days
  • Use progressive, nonlinear tapering designs
  • Expect performance improvements of ~3% (range of 0.5% - 6%)

In laymen’s terms all the hay is in the barn, rest and do some key workouts - let your CTL decrease in order for your TSB to increase (TSB = CTL - ATL) - that is the goal +TSB’s to rip the cranks off. 

And that my fellow FasCats is our episode for today - a shorty to help you FtFP, stay motivated and survive the SBTG!. Thank you for listening, it is an honor that you do and we’ll see you back here same time, same bat time for the next podcast.  

Leave us a review on iTunes if you like the pod and feel free to suggest further podcast topics while you’re there. Until then  remember to ‘work hard, ride fast, have fun and as always FtFP” Peace out everybody! 

Copyright © 2021 FasCat Coaching - all rights reserved.

About Frank Overton

Frank founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 and has been a full time cycling coach since 2004. His educational background includes a Masters degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University, pre-med from Hampden-Sydney College. Frank raced at a professional level on the road and mountain bike and currently competes as a "masters" level gravel and cyclocrosser. Professionally Frank comes from medical school spinal cord research and molecular biotechnology. However, to this day it is a dream come true for Frank to be able to help cyclists as a coach.

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