Flatlander Training for Leadville 2021

I have been listening to the podcast and I’m thinking about perhaps trying the Fascat plans. I am currently a TrainerRoad subscriber and have been using their plans for a few years. I am signed up for Leadville 2021 and I’ve never done anything quiet like this. Hopefully it happens but even if not I still plan to travel safely to CO and do some big solo rides around the same time. I’m also thinking about the Silver Rush as a preparation/learning race.
I’m curious what plans would be best for Leadville and how to best train for a 2 hour Columbine climb in Texas where I can’t find a climb more than 2-3 minutes long and even long open stretches of road require a drive out of the city.
While I like the TrainerRoad platform I am finding it necessary to significantly modify the plans to meet my individual needs and train specifically for Leadville. As a >50 yo Masters athlete I find I can train a max of 4 days a week consistently - rest days are important. However I need (I assume) long SS intervals and longer SS workouts to build the sustained power so I’m thinking 90 minute interval sessions during the week and long outdoor rides on the weekend. I can train 8-10 hours easily and could bump that t o10-12 for the few critical weeks before the race.
What plans and timing make sense? 18 week SS followed by the Leadville plan?
How best to train for long climbs in TX either outdoors or on smart trainer.

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The good news is that physiologically threshold power is climbing power. So you can do your threshold workouts in TX and that’s specific to climbing Columbine in CO.

The bad news its not the same climbing - mostly due to power to weight influences to your cadence and consequently your ‘power-band’

Therefore if you have the time and ability to make a trip to CO for a camp or DIY training camp to ride the course it will help a ton. Or a trip anywhere you can train uphill.

But remember - threshold watts in TX is still physiologically the same as threshold watts on a climb somewhere else in the world.

Standard preparation applies: build as big of a base as you can, with sweet spot training, the PMC chart and work backwards from August 14th. Do our Leadville plan for the 6-7 weeks before then. Drive your CTL up before then. Simulation Rides as well practicing your nutrition! And equipment, and mental fortitude!

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If you can why not spend time on the west side of Austin? I’d say west El Paso too if closer…

Big ass state so hard to know where you are, those two stand out from my time in Texas.

Saw a boatload of hills between San Antonio and El Paso but only stayed in a couple of small towns along the way. No idea what’s there otherwise.

Short of traveling for actual climbing, one option for the trainer is to use low flywheel speed, and possibly low cadence work. It depends on your trainer, gearing options (on the trainer and outside), and potential plan on actual riding of the real climbs.

If you can guestimate the cadence you will use on those long climbs, you can get some trainer work that more closely matches it. This can be done in ERG mode, but also Resistance, Standard or Level modes, depending on your specific trainer and controlling app.

I did a bunch of this getting ready for long gravel and road climbs on steep pitches, and it helped a bunch vs typical trainer work. I can share details if you are interested, and give more info about your setup options.

Is it safe to assume this advice would apply for a Wisconsin flatlander doing STBGRVL? I’ve always heard that riding into a stiff headwind for the same duration as a climb in a target event is good prep. Your thoughts?

The longest, sustained climbs in the state are probably West TX (Ft Davis, Big Bend) and Hill Country South of I-10 (Leakey area)

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Thanks for the feedback. I’m in the Dallas area so West TX is half way to CO. I do go to CO to ride a couple of times a year to visit family and plan to do so this year. I hope to get some road riding in early and then mountain bike once things are clear at elevation. The biggest climb I have done to date is Boulder to Ward which is only 9k, on road bike, and not nearly as much grade % as Leadville. I’ve also done Flagstaff a few times but I have to pace very carefully on that one.
I can ride into the wind here in TX. Not hard to find a day with 15mph S wind to push into. I also like long gravel rides in the Summer heat. I find the slightly heavier bike and increased rolling resistance make it easier to maintain tempo or SS power over long stretches of road.
I do know of the Mt Scott climb in OK which is 3 hours away. 2.6 miles at 7% but only up to 2400 feet.

TBH - 98% of your training can be done by good old fashioned zone based training. Wherever you live. Many athletes goto Leadville from all over the world from flat/flat-ish terrain geographies.

For simulation rides - mimic a ride for this elevation profile:

Riding the course before the race is infinitely more helpful than trying to find a climb that steep/that long - just go do the real thing.

Your endurance (and the training you put in) is more important that your power output. Columbine is so steep and there’s so many other riders on the climb you will be pushing your bike up it.

Even the athletes that get their buckle barely make tempo/sweet spot power up the climb. Remember it is going to be a 45+ minute GRIND.

Concentrate on the fundamentals - long endurance rides per our sweet spot 18 weeks plan and then do your Leadville simulation rides in the plan for the 6-7 weeks before the event.