Call for Ask a FasCat #19 Questions: Win a Pair of Normatec Boots!

Hey FasCats!

The time to record our Question and Answer #19 Podcast is coming up!!
For these podcasts, we gather all your questions here in this forum thread and try to answer them one by one during the podcast.

Use this thread to Ask your Question! The deadline for submission is Wednesday July 28th at noon (mst).
You may also email your question to

Some recent topics that we have covered that would be great to ask question on include:
Criterium Race Strategies and Tactics
During Ride Nutrition
Climbing Workouts
Cycling Warmups
SBT Gravel Course, Training & Equipment Choice
Performing Intervals with your Powermeter

The most thoughtful question wins a FasCat T-shirt, plus a pair of HyperIce Normatec 2.0 Boots ($900 value)!

So put your thinking cap on (or helmet :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) and shoot us your best questions.
We are looking forward to answering them!


I recently got access to an infrared sauna. How could I use this to benefit my training? Right now it’s super hot and humid outside, so I am extremely cautious about adding any additional heat stress.

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Coalitions FasCats!

This is our biggest giveaway ever in terms of monetary value so really give your question some good thought . We have talked about the Normatecs several times before in our Recover Podcast & Tip and the Holiday buyer’s guide


This question is a little unorthodox but here goes:

This spring/summer I’ve done a fair amount of physical labor around the house. Specifically we had 15 tons of landscape rock I shoveled as well as some other projects where I had to move dirt. I’m positive this work took a lot out of me on some days. Should work of this physical nature be factored into my TSS. I’m seriously not trying to inflate my TSS! Similarly how much TSS should be added for the recovery day Foundations workout? TIA,

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Like many ‘Fascatters’, I have a young family and demanding job so my training time is limited to around 8 hours a week.

This year I’ve followed the basic 18 week sweetspot plan which raised my FTP from 280W to 300W (CTL around 65). By the end of the basic plan I felt like I was plateauing and needed more volume to push the gains. With that in mind, I’ve stepped up to the intermediate Road Intervals plan and feel like I’m getting stronger week by week.

So my question is whether there is a known performance (or FTP) ceiling for limited training loads / CTL / weekly volume. I.e. at what point will training no longer yield additional power gains without increasing training load and what are good options to keep building power once close to that ceiling?

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My question centers around the mental and physical aspects of handling mid-season race schedule adjustments. I’ve been working with coach Allie (who is awesome) for a few months now to dial in my switch from base to race-specific training after going through the 32 week winter training plan. Originally, I had targeted 4 of the NUE marathon distance mountain bike races this year to hopefully qualify for year-end points. My first of these races went really well, and I’m excited about my fitness level going into the rest of the season. Unfortunately, one of the four I was targeting was cancelled this year, and a series of unfortunate circumstances caused me to miss another of them this past weekend. Giving up on the goal of NUE year-end points, but wanting to use all of this excellent training and fitness: how do you go about re-setting and peaking for new races if you pivot (must be said like Ross from Friends) to new race goals mid-season? An earlier podcast or two talked about training as though races were going to happen as/when planned, but staying flexible in case they didn’t. Now that we’re here: what are a few actionable items to staying flexible? I’ll of course be discussing a few alternate endurance MTB races to re-fill my schedule with Allie very soon.

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I’m hoping to get a slot for the SBT GRVL black course in 2022! I’ve done a few gravel events, and I think I have a good idea how I want to approach training and equipment.

Fall Foundations
10 weeks of weight lifting
18 weeks of Sweet Spot
A lower priority gravel event/self-made challenge
Recovery week
Gravel Plan

My tried and true All-City on 38 mm gravel king sk+
2L CamelBak + 16oz bottles

The course is a mystery. Could you share some insight into the Gucci-ness of the gravel? The perceived flatness of the course? The temperatures in that part of Colorado?

And maybe my equipment could use some fresh ideas. Maybe I could use a more supple/slicker tire (like WTB Byways). Maybe try out some of those aerobar extensions or different bars to get comfy and relax the hands?

Thanks for your input!

How does one physically and mentally prepare to complete an ultra gravel race when they know their fitness etc. will result in them taking 2x long to complete an event as the top ten 10 finishers?

Basically, how does the back-of-the-pack get it done?

*I think the mental (not necessarily the physical) preparation is different than what gets covered for Cat 1-4 athletes for the following reasons:

You most likely ride solo more often
You might be competing against the mental stress of missing a cutoff
You will be covering rough ground in dark

Answering this question creates an opportunity to expand your audience to include many on sidelines for various reasons. When answering, you should include actual riders to share their perspectives like you do for the Top 10.


A PROUD back-of-the-pack rider


I would like to hear thoughts on doing intervals at purposely higher or lower cadences than self selected cadence. I ask because with todays wider range cassettes, cadence changes from one gear to the next (while maintaining the same power) will often be >10 rpm . Also, Ive noticed during my my un-scientific study of one that when I add in a rolling singlespeed ride once a week, I become a stronger rider on hard varying grade longer climbs where cadence and sitting and standing vary during its length… Is there a good way to simulate a singlespeed workout (mashing and spinning high and low power) with on road intervals? I know coaches usually don’t like SS workouts, and I’m totally on board with structured training of energy systems, but I really think there’s benefit there. Thanks for your thoughts…Jon


edit…found out the answer so deleted question.

With restarting racing, I am feeling at a bit of a crossroads. The road races here have full fields, like 80 persons or even more. I’ve been FTFP’ing and feel at my best ever fitness level. But as a 50 year old masters with responsibilities, I’m now daunted by the possibility of serious physical injury in these big, fast moving fields. I should mention I crashed badly in my first race of the season and was ‘lucky’ it wasn’t worse. Took over a month to heal. My question is do you have any tips on dealing with the mental fear of crashing so that the fitness can shine thru, and racing can be enjoyable again. I’m a good bike handler and fine in group rides. Guess I’m also curious if anyone else out there is dealing with this. Thanks!

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Short and simple (maybe):

I live at altitude as I’m sure many do, 5280 ft. My A race next year takes place at sea level. I know I won’t be watching my power during the race (I also know that I’ll be competing against myself, not trying to or able to hang with the fast groups for sure) - but I’m wondering if the coaching staff has data on how FTP is affected when you get the short term “sea level watts”. Are we talking 2W or 20W?

PS: no way this will win but I am a new training plan user and am really enjoying it (well, “enjoying” haha) and also love your podcast!

Floyd? Is that you? :rofl:

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I crashed hard riding gravel last summer, shattered my clavicle and tore the labrum in my shoulder socket. Long story short, I’m planning surgery to remove the plate and dirty dozen of screws used to put this Humpty Dumpty’s clavicle back together and fix or replace the shoulder socket to regain lost shoulder strength, range of motion, and reduce the lingering pain.

Given I have the opportunity to choose the date of a major surgery such as this, my question is when is the right time to build the 2-3 weeks needed to recover from the surgery into my training schedule when I probably can’t even be on the trainer and then another 4-8 weeks when I can be on the trainer but can’t ride outside, do any weight training, etc.?

I’m thinking one option is to do my end-of-season 2 weeks of rest starting around now, then my 3 Week Fall Foundation, then my 10 Week Weight Lifting and then get the surgery in early November. Two to three weeks after that, I can get on the trainer and start doing 18 wks of SS which I’d do most of on the trainer since it will be winter by then. That would keep me on my normal road season schedule

The other option would be to get the surgery now, use the 2-3 weeks of recovery from the surgery as the end of season rest time, then start the 3 Week Fall Foundation on the trainer and then do the 10 week weight training starting with 3 weeks of Adaptation.

I’m not totally sure if I’d be able to “shoulder” the weight for squats so soon after surgery so might need a 6-8 week Fall Foundation before starting the weight training. That might delay my training schedule a month or so or lose a month of base building altogether. I can do squats before the surgery using a squat bar with handles in the front.

Essentially, it becomes a question of do I interrupt my training schedule for 2-3 weeks immediately after the 10 Week Weight Lifting yet stay on schedule of delay or potentially lose a month or so of base building? Thanks

Frank - you’ve got me covered on all the metrics for physical training and weight loss. I’d like mental metrics from my power data. I use “perceived exertion” but that’s subjective and I lie to myself :slight_smile: I use my power numbers, but that is influenced by how much training is still in my legs on a given day, etc. What WKO metrics are there to show me how far I’ve “drained the tank” / “how deep I’ve gone” for each interval (which could also be an interval on a Strava segment during my group rides!) beyond my actual power numbers? Does dFRC work? Anything else? I’m working on "How Bad Do You Want It? (Matt Fitzgerald’s book) to motivate a 66yo with too many things pulling my motivation away from racing (yep, that’s me…). Thanks!

How do you coaches look so good and ride so fast? (cough cough, obvious ploy for the Normatecs, haha)

Seriously though… Some mornings are hard to know what the sensations are telling me. Am I groggy because it’s 5 a.m. and will crush the workout or am I actually exhausted and will be non-productive? Do you find any objective metrics like HRV useful to determine when an athlete should just HTFU and FTFP or instead adjust the plan take it easier that day?

Thanks for all your awesome content!

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Hey team,

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the value of a proper warmup before a hard race / workout. What about cooling down afterwards? As stage races are approaching for me, how should I be “cooling down” after each stage? I see the pros hop on the trainer after every TdF stage – what exactly are they accomplishing and would it be helpful for me to do the same?

Thanks :slight_smile:

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I have two questions but if that is not allowed then please go with the first one :slight_smile:

Like many of the people in the Fascat community I find myself a little timepoor. Most of my training is early in the morning before the family get up and I’d like to know what the best approach to eating and getting out the door is. I think the general advice is that you eat carb heavy meal and wait 2 hours for digestion then train or race which I might be able to do when I am racing on the weekend but during the week I do not have that luxury during the week and I am sure that I am not alone. Given the small window I have during the time from when I wake up to jumping on the bike and getting on the bike, how would you best fuel for the workouts from Tue - Thurs in the sweetspot plans, both on the bike and prior to getting on the bike?

Second question - what advice would you give athletes that have a very flat CTL line over a long period of time but do not have the time to push more hours in their training? The simplistic and best answer would be “get a someone who can structure your training for you” aka. coach but for the Fascats that do not have the means to subscribe to a coaching service what would your generic advice be? ie. Should a riders CTL line largely follow the picture that you have on the Fascat website in the various phases or can it remain flat until you want to peak for an event where you might employ the Fascat race interval plans?

Thanks team!

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Hi Fascats,

I have a question mostly about pre ride/during/general nutrition. I have a hard time eating on the bike, I just find myself eating too late… What are some good recommendations for carbohydrate drinks so I’m getting enough fuel early and often? I also find getting enough carbs a struggle in general as far as day to day nutrition, do I need to “retrain” my gut to be able to tolerate more. Don’t want to gain weight but want to train hard! I know you have said don’t restrict during the season and to lose weight in the off season… but what about when you’re in base and lifting?! It’s just hard to wrap my head around eating correctly for the work required. Hope my question(s) aren’t too confusing.

So my question relates to marathon mtb training. In my particular case the race will last a little over 4 hours. I obviously need good endurance but in this race it’s a whole bunch of short punchy 3-5 minute climbs. My question is, how do I throw in an anaerobic block of training to really drive up my top end while keeping my CTL on the rise? Should I do intervals during the week with a couple long rides on the weekend or do a 3 week block of anaerobic work focus only and then ramp back up my CTL after that block before the race? I’m almost done with the 32 week plan with 100% FTFP and don’t want to mess things up right at the end before my race.

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