View Full Version : So close....yet so far

10-04-2014, 03:30 PM
There is a sprint segment on strava that I have been trying to improve my ranking on. I became frustrated last month when I found out the end of the segment was about 400 feet further than I have currently been sprinting to. I was sprinting to where I thought the end was with hard efforts, yet my time was not improving. After a detailed look at the map, I learned I had to figure out how to maximize my power another 400ft. Doesn't sound extremely far, but with an uphill sprint to the finish and being exhausted at the point I thought I was finishing, mustering up more power is hard to find.

I have been playing with different ways to maintain power all the way through the sprint and the corner. Start off in the drops out of the saddle and I was bonking 3/4 up the hill. Stay in the saddle for too long and by the time I stand out of the saddle to sprint, my legs are burned out.

Today I approached the corner in the drops while still in the saddle pushing out around 36mph (A slight downhill into the right hand where the segment begins a 2% grade uphill). My goal here was to maintain a high speed in the saddle till just past half way and then sprint out of the saddle to the finish. I can visually see that I'm about to come up to the half way mark so I shift down and stand out of the saddle giving it all I got. I looked down and saw I was still maintaining 34mph but I could feel my legs filling up with lactic acid. At this point I can see the finish point of the segment, but it seems a mile away. I put my head down and focus on my breathing. I was still about 25 feet away when my legs essentially gave out and my body collapsed on my bike. I was now at the top of this hill which crests and turns into a 2 mile decent. I tried to keep my legs spinning to work out the lactic but it was difficult. My legs felt like they needed a needle stabbed into them before they exploded! On a good note, I know that I still have the remaining 25 ft I can work on. If I would have been able to maintain my speed to the finish, I could easily take off a couple seconds. Power output in between start and finish can be improved as well.

I was extremely happy to see my ranking, but quickly came to realize that 2nd sometimes hurts more than 10th since you were just shy of being on top!

I will take KOM on this sprint, just need some more time to perfect my attack!


10-04-2014, 04:21 PM
4 seconds will not be made up by being faster at the end of that segment. What does Strava say are average watts for the KOM vs. the 4 people tied for 2nd? The key is getting much higher watts for at least most of the segment, IMO. That's either technique or genetics (both?). More watts in more of the pedaling circle may be what it takes for technique. But getting second all by yourself - that's very achievable.

2nd out of 1700+ is pretty awesome by the way. Most KOMs around here are no more than 200 ish.

10-04-2014, 04:37 PM
Here is the screen shot. I don't have a power meter though so I'm sure it isn't completely accurate.
http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u30/blknslvrgsxr/forums/Untitled-2.png (http://s164.photobucket.com/user/blknslvrgsxr/media/forums/Untitled-2.png.html)

10-04-2014, 04:37 PM
But does #1 wear carefully selected neon shoes....only Rapha Kit...and custom painted Oakley frames to match...... As well as have friends that can take pics of the aforementioned coolness....Not likely.

You,my man, are #1 at being Epic....as well as being an aspiring challenger to that ever so elusive Strava throne. :cool:

Rock on.

10-04-2014, 04:49 PM
You have to put the things in perspective IMO...

you are trying to sprint uphill and between you and me probably you can do +60 km/h in a flat sprint and this is going uphill at 52 km/h or so... not easy to do, dunno where is the shame on that. Besides is not the same sprint alone than in a group or even with somebody at your side.

You are a strong rider...I would not drive myself crazy if somebody is faster in those 300 feet (or whatever it is), thats how races are.. u win some, you lose others... strava is the same crap and who knows maybe the other guy is just teo bos you know.

You are close tho, some motorcycle work would be my choice to do what you want to do.

10-04-2014, 05:03 PM
But does #1 wear carefully selected neon shoes....only Rapha Kit...and custom painted Oakley frames to match...... As well as have friends that can take pics of the aforementioned coolness....Not likely.

You,my man, are #1 at being Epic....as well as being an aspiring challenger to that ever so elusive Strava throne. :cool:

Rock on.

haha!!! Thanks man

10-04-2014, 06:15 PM
Same effort with the right tailwind and you're there!

mike p
10-04-2014, 07:19 PM
I'm a similar rider to you. I've been through this same situation many times. On short HARD segments it's all about a couple things, entry speed, timing, and in a high speed segment being aero. Come into segment with as much speed as possible duh. Try comming in with a bigger or smaller gear. One will allow you to have a little more in the tank when you jump. Timing.....experiment when to hop out of the saddle. Try staying in the saddle longer before hitting the afterburner if that doesn't work try jumping sooner. Aero....stay aero as much even when you jump stay deep in the drops.

Good luck

Scott Shire
10-04-2014, 08:51 PM
All you need is a leadout

10-04-2014, 08:57 PM
Hmm, those power estimates look questionable (as they often do). 4 seconds faster at 40 watts lower does not seem credible. Around here 4 seconds faster on that short a segment would often be 150 watts more.

Somewhere lurking in Strava is the ability to run your mouse along the segment and see bit by bit where your effort compares to the KOM. I'd find that (which is more hidden than it used to be) and focus on two things: speed of entry (is he 2 seconds ahead of you in the first 10 seconds) and speed of finish (does he get 3 seconds on you in the last 10). Either of those can be problematical to match and it's difficult to train for both at once. But my experience is that if you are busting a gut in the last 10 seconds you won't get 4 seconds faster by busting a gut harder; instead you'll get the extra speed by having better technique (more efficient power delivery) in the middle so your final seconds don't involve pooping out.

Also, KOMs are not something that most of those riders can get on any given day. The difference between a "good day" and a normal day on those short sharp efforts is really significant, so don't even try for KOM unless you are feeling unusually great. Instead, work on elements of technique and segment the distance in your mind so when you do hit it you are executing a plan rather than fighting fear of coming up short.

Finally, check out that Rogier dude's other KOMs to see what he does well. If he's a beast on short segments he may just have won the genetic lottery, but if that KOM was unusual for him there's a reason to think you'll get him with some training. Of course, the bummer with Strava is when some interloper from out of state rolls through and picks up the KOM and kudos from all his buds. Maybe Strava should create another subsegment of victory - KOM among people who ride locally 90% of the time. Everybody can be a winner if the categories are tightly enough defined.

10-04-2014, 09:21 PM
Great advice. Thank you. I compared a couple other segments and I beat him every where else. One climbing segment I have him beat by almost a full 2 min. I'll look into those suggestions!

10-04-2014, 09:26 PM
Get a license and sign up for a race or two. The moment will drive you to a win. ;)

10-04-2014, 09:42 PM
I tried racing a couple crits. Didn't like it. I'm competitive and all, but there were 3 crashes in 2 races I did. I have WAY too much invested into my bike to have someone else crash into me and take me down with them. I wouldn't be able to replace what I have. Not worth it. Race fee's, time to race, time to travel, too many egos (including my own) in tight spaces...Not my thing.