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Open MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s Sept 2014

Open MTB coaching day returned in September after a break for a busy summer in July and August while the race season was hot and heavy.

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Here are the Q & A’s for September and below also the Q & A’s for June which I never did get around to posting. Check in here to see your answer if you joined in our day.

Sept 4th 2014 open coaching day Q & A compilation


Gillian P: The weeks leading up to the start of your 12 week 24hr solo plan, what is best to do on the bike?

Coach Lynda: Gillian, how many weeks do you have? 24 hour PR plan or Finisher plan?

Gillian P: PR plan. I have until end of October before I start week 1. I finish my cross country mountain bike season next weekend.

Coach Lynda: Gillian, take at least 2 weeks break from training after your cross country mountain bike season. Do very little riding and lots of recovering. Then take the next 1-2 weeks to ease back into training. Keep most of your riding at aerobic base pace heart rate zone 1-3. Start the training plan rested.


Chris P: What is the ideal resting period leading up to a 20 minute FTP test?

Coach Lynda: Chris, A 20 min FTP test is best done near the end of a rest week. Ideally about 6 recovery days will be enough to reach the test in good form, unless there are factors slowing your recovery time such as over-training, under-eating, under-sleeping etc.

Chris P: To build on that, what does an ideal rest week look like? mine starts Monday

Coach Lynda: Chris, week #3 of the SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan is a good example of a rest week for you.


Scott H: I am a 40-year-old CAT II XC racer with about 7 years experience. Just finished my first 100 miler this past weekend at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 (SM 100). I loved it and want to improve my time next year. While improving at SM 100 will be my main goals for 2015, I plan on racing 24 Hours of Old Pueblo on a four man team, compete in some XC events and 12 hour duos in the spring and transitioning to some endurance time events during the summer. I am wrapping up the 2014 with a pretty busy CX racing schedule running from September to November. Could you recommend a training plan stack for my 2015 season? I live in the mid-Atlantic region so the winter here can force you indoors for a few weeks/months. Thanks for your time!

Coach Lynda: Scott, take a good rest period after your cx season to dump all your 2014 fatigue before starting your 2015 training plan stack. I like the progression of your season from short fast races or team endurance races into solo endurance. That works well. Then follow this training plan stack to fit your season.
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB 100 Mile Personal Record Training Plan


Irene O: Cast coming off wrist this Fri, maybe going into splint, and no more races this season. Your collarbone plan seems like a build plan leading up to racing? Is it the right plan?

Coach Lynda: Irene, if you will be riding the trainer and not outside for the next 6 weeks the collar-bone comeback plan will fit nicely for you.


John K: Thoughts on resting heart rate or hypo static rusko heart rate test in AM as a means of monitoring recovery?

Coach Lynda: Both methods work nicely. The one that works the best for you is the one that you are consistent with and do every day. Resting heart rate is a quick easy metric you can record in 30 seconds, whereas the Rusko heart rate test takes 5 minutes. The reality is that 5 minutes is something athletes do not adhere to consistently long-term first thing in the morning. You might be the exception!

John K: Haha I fit the rule there. I like the quick and consistent here:)


Derek C: Hi. Unfortunately I didn’t finish Leadville 100 this year as I missed the cut off at Twin Lakes inbound (60 miles). Leadville will be my focus next year. When’s the right time to start training for this. And what should I be doing during winter (besides losing weight). I can ride all year round. FYI I completed Cape Epic this year training to your stage race plan. Thanks very much!

Coach Lynda: Derek, spend a solid 8 week training block this winter working on your limiters – the factors that are holding you back. Do you know what they are?


Mark D: Hi! Thoughts on the best strategy to avoid stomach emptying problems, or methods to resolve them once they’ve occurred. This has been a recurring problem in the heat in particular typically about 3-4 hours into a ride or race when holding sub/threshold heart rate- on the gas, but not out of my head effort. I dropped the protein, shifted to primary liquid nutrition source. So far the only solution once it happens is to drop the effort to zone 2 and drink water for over 1-2 hours and by then the race is up the trail. Thanks very much.

Coach Lynda: You are doing many of the right things like dropping the protein. Drop any fat, solid food and semi-solids like gels. Stick to a simple liquid nutrition that has calories and electrolytes. Avoid heavily flavored or colored drinks or anything with fancy ingredients. Tailwind, Carborocket, Skratch and Osmo are all products I recommend trying. Keep your core body temp as cool as possible by starting with your body pre-cooled and all clothing wet, hair wet, ice in pantyhose around your neck, fluids very cold and packed with ice. Freezing hydration pack bladders and insulated bottles will keep your fluids cold for several hours. Wear light-colored, light weight, vented clothing. Your solution is on track also. I recommend switching to plain water for 30 mins then adding back in electrolytes for 30 mins and then bringing calories slowly back into the mix. The final piece of the puzzle here is your pace. The slower you go the easier it is to keep your stomach working. Slowing down at the beginning of a race will result in a faster finish than blowing up your stomach in the first hour would.

Mark D: Lynda- thanks for such a thoughtful response. Riding in the heat has always been my weakness but I haven’t always taken special care to combat it- always hoping for the best. I used Carborocket but didn’t do many of the other things like dropping gels and taking plain water . Thanks again for your kind help.


Heather McN: I currently train with a power hub on my cyclo-cross bike, which I use for riding dirt and paved roads. I would like to use power on my mountain bike. I don’t want the weight of a power hub since I also race with this bike. I ride a small frame Fate with 165 crank arms and BB 30 bottom bracket. Are there any options for me? It seems most crank mount power meters for mountain bikes are for 170 or larger. Is training with power on my CX bike enough? Thanks, Lynda!

Coach Lynda: Heather, what length are the cranks on your cx bike?

Heather McN: 170s

Coach Lynda: Heather, I highly recommend the same length cranks on all of your bikes. I recommend moving up to 170’s on your Fate

Heather McN: Hmm, ok! Thank you.

Coach Lynda: Heather, right now the best crank based option for a MTB is the Stages power meter.


Nathan C: Endurance racer using the 100 km PR Plan. For tempo training rides it’s suggested to use a flat/rolling hill course. Living in the front range of CO that can be a bit of chore without jumping on a road bike. Is there any way to do this training on a climb in a low gear (preferably on trail)?

Coach Lynda: The duration of the tempo interval, the intensity and the ability to stay on the gas non-stop without a break, are the three components you need to nail this session. Most trails require lots of brief coasting and off the gas time which undermines the point of the tempo effort. A long steady dirt road climb can work nicely.


Lindsey H: My peak race is finished (Leadville) as well as the majority of my xc season (one last 50mi in Oct). Feeling the burnout blues, but want to keep this fitness/base going…now what? THANK YOU!

Coach Lynda: Take a break from the training plan structure. Most people are burned out from the structure rather from riding. Go ride with all those peeps you haven’t had a chance to while on a training plan. Go ride your favorite trails and places. Ride a different bike; try a single-speed or a fat bike or some lift served riding. If you are burned out on riding do a different activity, ride a dirt (moto) bike or go hike, surf, dance – whatever other activity is fun. Now is also a great time to rehab any injuries, stretch out tight areas and shore up any weakness with stretching, PT, yoga, core training etc. It is normal, necessary and good to lose a little fitness at this time while you unload your season-long fatigue.

Lindsey H: Awesome! Thanks, Lynda. I look forward to trying your winter endurance plan. When would be a good time to start that 12 week program?

Coach Lynda: Lindsey, what are your goals and race dates for 2015? When to start depends on what you are aiming at.

Lindsey H: Just starting to brainstorm next year, but definitely want to be faster/fitter overall. XC races start in the spring, but probably peak for Endurance Races (Leadville) in August? Would love to do other endurance races (pcp2p is my fav) as well and/or a stage race!

Coach Lynda: Lindsey I really like a season that progresses from shorter faster races early season to longer endurance races later season. That always works well. For an example, to peak for P2P, start with a Base plan, then follow a Build,Peak and Race plan and then an endurance plan such as this:

Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan,
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan, Masters 40+ MTB 100 Mile Personal Record Training Plan.

Each of these plans are 12 weeks long. Count back 36 weeks from P2P to figure out when to start.


Jon R: I always go into a new calendar year with great expectations for building a solid base for the coming season with plenty of z1, z2, and even z3 work, core work, spin ups etc… but the last couple of winters has left me with much less time than anticipated. At what point is it more effective to just do high intensity workouts in the winter when I get my opportunities to work out? Lower intensity and variety seems intuitive for off-season fitness when the winter training volume is adequate, but about when it’s not?

Coach Lynda: You are on the right track. When you are limited by time rather than recovery there is both the opportunity and necessity to pick up the intensity of your training. You also will need fewer and shorter recovery periods, if any, when extremely time crunched. Where that point lies depends on many factors such as how much energy you have left over for training after you have accounted for your work, family, life etc obligations. Shortening your warm-up and cool down times are places to cut down on training time that do not have much effect on your performance level.


Mark T S: Hey Lynda…I had a great season due to your 40+ 100miler PR plan…taking 3rd in my 100 miler A race…thanks! So for next year I’m thinking of tackling the Tour Divide. You don’t have a plan specific for that so I’m wondering if you can recommend a training stack from as far out from the race, 2nd week of June, as necessary. My kit is pretty well dialed in and I’ll be testing it again in the AML 400 in October and then the CFITT in November.
My major concerns are knees and tendons…my weakness. I’ve followed the race and blogs for years so I understand the mental and physical challenges. I’m not discounting those but I believe that if my knees and tendons can hold out, I’ll finish it. I’m looking to complete it in around 21 days…130 miles/day.

Coach Lynda: Congrats on your 3rd place! Awesome. For AML400 and CFITT I recommend following my 2-5 day bikepacking plan. Then take a real recovery period until you are sure you are rested, healthy and ready to train again. This can take up to 6 weeks after these types of events. The key to your Tour Divide is to come into your training build up rested and healthy. After this recovery period contact me again and we can see how many weeks you have to train and what the best plan stack at that point for Tour Divide is. Most often the best plan for the last 12-16 weeks leading into TD is a custom training plan that addresses exactly what you need to be successful. It is such a unique race and huge challenge that a custom plan is well worth the investment.


Matthew K: Just finished the Shenandoah Mtn 100 this past weekend with a PR. My next race is approx. 8 weeks away on Nov.1. It is a 65 mile mtn bike race. What weeks should I repeat between now and then to maintain fitness and prep for next race? I have the 100 mile PR plan available to me. Is there another plan that would be more beneficial? Thanks!

Coach Lynda: Matthew, 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12.


June 2014 open coaching day Q & A compilation

Christina PT: Hello Lynda : For endurance races, ie 50 milers, what is the rule of thumb for fueling? i thought i read twice body wt for kcals per hr of riding. Thanks CPT.

Coach Lynda: 60-90 grams (240-360 calories) carbs, 18-24 oz. fluid, 400-700 mg sodium, 100-300 mg potassium every hour. Use foods and drinks you have trained and know work for you with to get these amounts.

Christina PT: Thank you


Bobby H: Hi Lynda, question around the end of the 100 mile masters plan. Going to be at altitude for 2 weeks leading up to the breck 100. Would stretching any ride times the weekend before to ride any of the trails I have not been on before be wise? I was not looking for many extra hours. But maybe 3 hours would allow more exploring vs the 2 on the schedule.

Coach Lynda: Bobby, a good switch for you would be to drop the Tue and Thur interval sessions in plan week # 11 in favor of pre-riding sections of the course. Take a day off on Tues then ride 3 hours on the course on Thurs. You can do a similar switch on Sat/Sun in week # 11. Ride 3.5 hours on Saturday and take Sunday off. Week #12, race week, stick to the plan for a successful race.


Cimarron C: Hi Lynda. No so much of a racing question as a bike packing question. I am looking for a little advice on gear for our 7 day hut trip, especially packs and where the best place is to carry the weight.

Coach Lynda: Cim, first of all go with bags that directly attach to your bike. Avoid racks and avoid panniers. Panniers will be too wide for the Colorado Trail which you have in your route. Distribute the weight evenly front to rear on your bike. Too much weight in the back, makes the front end wobbly and light. A basic set up which will work great for your trip is a large seatbag, a medium-sized handlebar bag and your backpack. You can make a nice waterproof seat bag from a dry bag. I use a dry bag for my handlebar bag also.


Mark T S: I have two races at the end of the season which are now close together. An 18 hour race on Sept 20-21 and then the AML 400 which is a 400 mile bikepacking race October 3. Any way for me to recover in 12 days for the 400? I’d like to do both if at all feasibly possible.

Coach Lynda: Mark, are you racing the 18 hour on a team or solo?

Mark: Solo.

Coach Lynda: Mark, they are too close together to have a peak performance and dig real deep on either. At the 18 hour, if you pace conservatively, fuel well and look after your contact points you can finish in good condition minimizing recovery demands. You then will be able to recover enough to have a fun and conservatively paced AML. If you dig deep and cause any dehydration or body damage at the 18 hour it will be real tough to turn it around for a good AML experience.

Mark T: Decision time then. I could do this as 2, 3, or 4 person team also. Thanks Lynda.


Aric H: Hi Lynda. Is there a correlation between time running and time on the bike. Does 1 hr running equal 2 hr biking?

Coach Lynda: Aric, there is no correlation. There are far too many factors involved depending on how fast and where and how adapted you are to either biking or running.

Aric H: Ok I was just trying to see if I could substitute some running at times but biking all the time is fine.


Lisa R: Hi Lynda – this is a long one so thanks in advance for taking the time to respond. I’m using your Masters XC Base and Build/Peak/Race plan and it has been working really well for me. My “A” race is XC Nationals, on July 19th. At that point I’m done with the plan, so what would you recommend next in terms of rest and what plan to pick up next? I have this silly little 350 mile race/ride called Trans North Georgia on August 23rd. Lots of variables and things that could go wrong on that one, so I prefer to just be well prepared, rather than making that ride a major focus. Cyclocross starts the last weekend in September, so that will be my next focus after Nationals and TNGA. Any plan you’d recommend for CX, or do you have plans to create a CX plan? Cross runs through December here, but I want to go to CX Nationals in January, as they are in North Carolina in 2015.

Coach Lynda: Lisa, After XC Nationals, on July 19th I recommend you follow weeks# 9-12 of the Masters 40+ Mountain Bike Cross Country Base training plan. This will be a great run in to TNGA and also put a good base training block in the bank for CX season – I like it. After TNGA take a week off your bike and all other types of workouts – a whole week off – yes! Then do an easy non-structured week focusing on recovery still. Then do weeks 1-6 of the Masters 40+ Mountain Bike Cross Country Base training plan to rebuild your base leading into CX season. Finally the best CX season plan is the TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan. It is low volume and high intensity and perfect for CX.


Jill L: Hi Lynda, I completed the Cat 1 XC Base Training Plan and 7-Day Stage Race – Personal Record Plan back to back, which led into the Transylvania Epic last week. Now I am planning to not do any high priority racing till Iceman November 8. To prepare for Iceman I was going to complete your Cat 1 XC Build Peak Race Plan. My question is what kind of riding should I do to lead into the start of the 12 week Build Peak Race plan and can I (somewhat) maintain my fitness between now and then with maybe 3-4 couple days per week of riding (which I will do anyway cause I enjoy it) if I do maybe a high intensity ride and an endurance ride per week?

Coach Lynda: How did TSE go for you? What does “3-4 couple days” mean?

Jill L: I felt stronger last year at the Breck Epic vs this year at the TSE but all things considered, I probably did race to my potential here. I have some thoughts/questions surrounding that but maybe best for a separate question or discussion…
“3-4 couple days” was a typo… I just meant I would like to keep some fitness til I start into another structured training session late summer and I usually ride 3-4 days a week to give you a gauge of my activity level/time available when not training.

Coach Lynda: Jill, from now until you start the Cat 1 XC Build Peak Race Plan focus on base training, rehabbing any injuries, building strength if that is a limiter for you and working on any weaknesses. You can do this in an unstructured fashion or follow the Cat 1 cross country mountain bike Base training plan and cherry pick 3-4 rides per week that fit your needs.


Allan A: Hi Lynda. I was wondering what your thoughts are on using a time crunched style of training for ORAMM. I don’t have as much time for riding as I’d like and can usually get in 2 short interval type rides and 2 long rides per week. I can’t always make the longer rides back to back though as my days off vary from week to week and are rarely in a row. I’m a restaurant manager and I’m on my feet a lot. I also try to get in 2 kettlebell workouts a week and core work. Is there anyway this can work? I’m just trying to finish in a respectable time. No real hope of a podium shot.

Coach Lynda: Allan, 2 interval rides and 2 long rides per week are plenty to train in a time-crunched fashion for ORAMM. Make each ride count. Nail your intensity goals on your interval days and hit trails that have hike-a-bike and rocks and are hard like ORAMM is on your long rides. It is ok to spread out your long rides if you can’t make the back-2-back days work. Adding on top 2 kettle bell workouts a week and core work is great too. You got this! Missing out all the weekday recovery type rides is probably a good choice as you are on your feet a lot at work. For athletes with physically active jobs I often recommend passive rest over active recovery. You are right on track here.

Allan A: Thank you very much. I’m lucky enough to live in Asheville so hitting the ORAMM trails is not a problem.


Trish A: I will also vote for creating a CX plan! I’d love to have something to follow for this fall following nearly 8+ months of injuries.

Coach Lynda: Trish, ouch, 8 months of injuries sounds frustrating.


Rex H: Hi Lynda, First of all I mistakenly submitted this question in the comments section on your website. I am getting back into shape after several years off of the bike due to kids and work. I’m 37 and my professional and family time demands leave little room for training. I live in Park City and have signed up for the Park City Point to Point race on August 30th. I’ve never done a mountain bike race like this before, but have competed in numerous 175 mile road races at altitude like the Tour de Park City. As I mentioned, I am getting back into shape. I am 6’2″ and have dropped from 230 lbs to 211 lbs in the last couple of months. My old fighting weight was around 195 lbs, and I think I can get there without too much trouble by the end of August. To complicate matters, I haven’t finished my bike for the race and only have my trusty single speed 29er at the moment. In fact, that is all I have had by way of mountain bike for several years now. My thinking was that with such limited time, I might as well go all out and get the most rigorous workout I can get in as little time as I can muster. I can sneak in about 1 hour a day on weekdays and can take as much time as I need on Saturdays. But multiple hour weekday rides are likely not going to happen more than once a week if at all. I realize that a 78 mile race with around 14,000 feet of climbing is a tall order to prepare for on such limited training, but I know from previous endurance races that pacing and fueling will see me through to the end. I’m not a quitter, so I will finish. I guess I’d just like to enjoy myself and be as fast as I can reasonably be, though my goal is simply to finish. Any tips on how I can approach my training? Is a single speed even a solid training option when I intend to finish building my race bike in the next month? Did I just describe a scenario that is ideal for one of your training programs?

Coach Lynda: Rex, a 1 hour ride per day on week days and 1 long ride on the weekend is a reasonable time-crunched combo to train for Park City Point to Point. Adding in 2-3 core training sessions per week will be of significant benefit also. Starting next week you have 12 weeks to train for P2P. I recommend you get focused as P2P is a challenging event. Having access to train on the race course is a huge advantage. Training on your 29er SS until you get your race bike in order is perfect, especially if you train with it on the P2P race course. For a training program you can follow my 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record training plan and time-crunch it for yourself as follows: reduce all weekday rides to 1 hour by reducing the warm-up and cool down time. Choose the longest ride to do at the weekend and drop the other ride. If the two weekend rides are of equal duration, choose the most race specific ride. I should probably post a time-crunched 100 miler training plan as you are not the first to ask me for one – good idea! Have a great time at P2P, it is one of my favorite races.

Rex H: Thanks so much, I’ll give it a go!


Erick L: I’m heading to 24 Hour Nationals next weekend, I’m faster than I’ve ever been, have all my systems dialed, and have had a remarkable season thus far. I just have one question, how do I beat LW Coaching athlete Jonathan Davis? Does he have any weaknesses, besides ice cream of course? I’m looking for some real dirt! Can you help? PS: Since he’s a teammate, maybe we should keep this between you and me.

Coach Lynda: Eric, haha, Jonathan is a force to be reckoned with. I recommend riding along on the massive 92Fifty’ Cyclery mojo train he drives, then at 23 hours in, set out the ice-cream and pancakes and sneak past while he is distracted 😉 Have a great race. I’ll be cheering for all of you guys out there. Nationals are always exciting.


Jill L: In reading through some of your other open coaching day Q&As I have seen you suggest heading outside for a ride instead of doing it indoors on the trainer. I personally feel like my workout is better quality on the trainer vs doing it in less than optimal weather and I feel like active recovery rides are better on the trainer than even rides in good weather. I have seen other coaches make very positive comments on trainers for their efficiency (constant load, hitting zones, etc.). I assume the goal for heading outside is keeping it fresh and fun and avoiding burnout, which makes sense, but some of us actually don’t mind the trainer (Netflix helps) and especially appreciate the convenience. Can you comment?

Coach Lynda: Libby, there is no right or wrong in this situation. Using the best tools and terrain you have access to is the optimal choice. For example, if you live in very hilly terrain then doing a recovery ride outdoors may be impossible. If you like riding the trainer then definitely do it. For the average mountain bike athlete, riding the trainer costs a lot of training mojo and can lead to mental burnout. If you enjoy the trainer then this is not a cost you need to weigh. Make sure you do get your time in on your mtb in the dirt to build your off-road skills.


Heidi V: Hi Lynda, I’ve just come back from 11 days at altitude, how long will those benefits last, if at all? If I got back up to altitude it short order, will I adapt faster?

Coach Lynda: Heidi, reaction to altitude is highly individual and the best way to track how long these adaptations will last is based on past history. You will have a head start on adaptation if you return in short order.

Heidi Volpe: There are several different types of “hot yoga” classes available in So Cal. Do you recommend sticking with traditional bikram? OR are some hot flow classes just fine if you hydrate properly afterwards? (and during ) and sit out when you need to.

Coach Lynda: Both Bikram and hot flow classes are great. Be super focused on re-hydration after so it does not affect your following training rides.


Laina ZH: Hello! I am following your Masters XC plan but my racing focus is changing from the 3 hr races I planned to some 6 hr races. & Fool’s Gold 50. I like the format of this plan. Could I stick with it & increase the riding time on the weekends ? Or just switch to the plan I have of yours from a few yrs ago for the longer distance?

Coach Lynda: Laina, I recommend you switch to the Masters 40+ 50 Mile Mountain Bike Personal Record Training Plan for the best results and use of your training time.

Open MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s Sept 2014 was last modified: September 8th, 2014 by Lynda

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