Gravel Energy Expenditure/ Modulation


I’ve heard you mention often that a gravel race is a battle of attrition & whoever has the biggest SS Hemi does the best. I love that idea: simple and painful. :slight_smile:

welp, now I’m a Cx’er moving to gravel. I got the gravel plan & the in-szn too… my question is about racing. Can you talk about energy expenditure during a gravel race?

(i.e. is steady effort (ss up AND down hills) superior to stochastic efforts to maintain momentum through ups/downs… Avoid surges to hold ss longer… hold back early in a race to finish strong vs working hard to make a break early and hope to hold on. Or do whatever it takes to stay with the group and all my #ftfp will pay off Etc). I think i just answered my own question. LOL

Thank you again for all your guidance! Love these plans!

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Look at your kiloJoules from your power data for energy expenditure of ANY race including gravel and CX.

For the rest of your question:
Which race, how long in hours, what is your FTP in w/kg to give you pacing guidelines?

@FRANK Thanks so much for the quick reply… I see your answer is about energy expenditure (from the perspective of how much energy I’ve expended during a race ), actually I was asking about effort. You talk often about how to pace/your effort for specific intervals, and effort across an entire set of intervals (e.g. VO2 intervals, anaerobic intervals, etc.), just looking for your thoughts on distribution effort across (or for the duration of) a 3-hour gravel race. Rolling hills.

Sure, to answer your questions for the sake of discussion, I s’pose:

  1. I’ll do 5-6 races in a season. Jan-May here in Texas. Possibly do gravel nationals next year as my A event.
  2. 3 hours (usually 100K)

Give the short nature - these races are like a road race and in a road race the peloton is your life blood.

Lose contact and your off the back. Therefore you do everything you can to stay with the peloton. If surges are necessary to stay with the peloton, surge. If the peloton goes hard, you go hard.

If the peloton goes easy, you go easy too (and draft)!

There is no pacing . Pacing in gravel is more for a really long races that’s 5-6 hours ++ . For a 3 hour races treat it like a road race and draft in the peloton as long as possible with and without surges!


Yes, sir! Makes sense to me. Thank you!

@FRANK So are you saying the ROAD race plan would be a better choice to get me ready and meet the demands of a season of 3-ish hour races that just happen to be on gravel?

Quite possibly so @traxxtar - it sounds like these events have the power demands of a road race but are conducted on gravel.