Race simulation

Race_simulationAim of Session

A loop with 2 hard climbs, ride the climbs hard, accelerating over the summit

Session description

WARM UP: make sure you append 15 minutes to the start of the ride to get ready, zone 2, included in session duration

MAIN SET: Ride between hills in zone 3; zone 4 for the climbs increasing to zone 5 towards the summit and 'over the top'

COOL DOWN: 5-10 minutes of easy spinning 


Riding at levels close to race pace will help improve the sustainable power. The climbing will bring you into upper zone 4 / lower zone 5 (depending on the length of the climb) and will take you over the second LT. This will require you to produce energy using the anaerobic systems. The descents are used to clear the lactate developed. A progression of the session might be to challenge the same systems but in a different riding style e.g. in / out of the saddle will change muscle fibre recruitment patterns.

Application for the Rider

This session is as specific as it gets! Whilst one might be tempted to race rather than do this session, one main difference is that you can ride ‘over pace’ to improve your race level yet trim back time to reduce the total stress – this makes the effort repeatable and the rider will be able to recover for the next day’s training: racing is not training, but we can use sessions like this one to simulate the changes in rhythm, pace, terrain without undue stress. This kind of session is also ideal for improving bike handling, so pick a circuit that stretches your ability.

Practicalities and tips!

  • Pick a circuit that is fairly close to home – this gives you the option to do multiple loops but know you can get home if fatigue sets in
  • This is a session you can do with a training partner – having someone to ‘compete’ against can pull you up the climbs especially when tired. You can even take it in turns to attack. But, be careful – discuss how the session will work rather than go in trying to ‘beat one another’ e.g. ‘cap’ your power output on the climbs; give each other a headstart up a climb so one of you has to chase the other down
  • It is easy to forget fuelling on these kind of rides – so give yourself the target to drink what you take out!
  • Know what your targets are in the ride before you head out – know the length of the climb and what power you would like to sustain. How many circuits will you do?
  • Press your interval / lap button each time you start the climbs – this will allow comparisons across laps when you get home

Evaluation of the session

  • Did you achieve your session targets set before leaving home?
  • On each loop, were you able to keep the same climb time?
  • If you climbed in / out of the saddle, how did this affect climb time and / or power?
  • How did the climbing affect your cadence?
  • How well were you able to lift power at the top of the climb and over the summit? Can you spot when you let the power drop off? Were you back up to a good speed before you eased off? How did you manage cadence over the summit?
More in this category: « Bonderenko Race winning intervals »