Win an OURA ring ($399) - submit your Ask a FasCat #21 Questions

Oh man, that’s some big watts!

Howdy Big Cat, I’ve got a question for the crew! With the onset of the summer’s heat comes additional heat stress to our training, often resulting in higher cardiac drift. How do you balance your targeted training adaptations between your power output and heartrate? For example, in a hot and humid environment I could do one or two 30 second sprints to start and for the remaining hour, my typically aerobic power output results in a high tempo, sweet spot, or even threshold heartrate since my body is having a hard time cooling down. Is that workout’s adaptation going to lean more towards the tempo and threshold range my HR stays in, or the aerobic power output? Also, how is substrate utilized with a high heart rate and relatively lower power? Will substrate use be dictated by cardiac stress or the lower power energy demands?


Hi Frank.

My name is Orlando. I am 45 yrs old amateur competitive cyclist. I have been “training “ in my own since 12yrs ago. I don’t have a specific training program I just go out and go hard hoping that I can be better. I won’t lie to you. I’ve improved in my group rides and events.
I enrolled on 30 weeks off season and weight training and I’ve discovered the dark side of the moon. I am in a adaptation phase and I can feel myself faster. Thank you for your amazing program.
I have a question: can I train year around to do once a week short Zwift race and group rides on weekend?
I don’t have a specific event tru the year I just want to be fit and faster on the bike. Currently I have advance program and 20 weeks to event.

1 Like

Howdy all at Fascat,

It’s great to have the opportunity to fire over our questions publicly (it always makes for an interesting podcast) - Thank You

In short my question is: How do you determine the best discipline for yourself out of all the cycling sports to suit your natural physiological genetics and strengths?

Part B to the question: How trainable are your natural physiological genetics? And, to what extent?

I’ve been thinking lately, there seems to be so many forms of competitive cycle racing varying from 10sec in length to 24 hours+, how do you know what’s the right discipline for you? Most disciplines require a specific bike so it’s not as easy as buying an all round bike and being able to have a ‘try’ at road, track, Mtb, cx, gravel, grasstrack, time trial, hill climb, etc… on the same bike. It’s hard to know what you’ll enjoy most and be best at before purchasing your tools of choice. I wonder is there any form of physiological testing where you can get a really thorough examination of your strengths/abilities such as slow/fast twitch muscle composition, v02 capabilities, potential attainable power-weight, anaerobic capabilities, maximal power output? I know the obvious answer would be, to go with what you enjoy most and interests you the most. However, if like me, you’re always hungry to be the best you can be, and always want to put in 100% and get maximum reward out of your sport, surely there has to be tactical decisions when setting goals, and targets before the race season so you get maximum enjoyment and satisfaction in seeing how far you can progress, and knowing you’ve given your all in being the most successful athlete you are capable of.

We hear of sayings like ‘Train your weakness’s until they become your strengths’. To what extent can you adapt your ability to significantly improve an area of racing that currently holds you back? From a personal point of view, I’d call myself a ‘strong’ diesel racer, (my sole focus for the past two seasons has been on mtb xco) if there’s a long slog of a climb, or a hard section through a field, mud etc. I’ll churn out the power and hold my own comfortably, I feel stronger than my results reflect, but, I’m definitely lacking when it comes to explosive ALL-OUT efforts. I always go backwards with the initial surge off the start line, even if I’m gridded front row I’ll nearly always lose 10+ places in the first few hundred yards, and I struggle to have enough ‘kick’ to make overtakes where I’m generally stronger than the rider in front but need more acceleration to make a clean pass on narrow/tricky sections. Technically speaking, I can continuously put out around 800w bursts in the start straight and out of corners etc throughout the race and it doesn’t fade much during a 1 hour 20min race. However, my maximal power output wouldn’t be much higher than what I’m hitting regularly (roughly 900w), to be competitive, top 5 in the race, I’d imagine I need to be regularly topping 1000w+ (that would certainly make big changes to my current tactics during the races), although in my 10 years of using a power meter I rarely see a kilowatt.

Since the end of last season, I’ve done the Fascat 30 weeks off season (with weights), then I moved on to XC Intervals, and XC Mtb In Season plan, (All Advanced). As the season has come and gone early here this year, I’m evaluating the season and I feel I’ve possibly gone backwards slightly from the year before, although I feel generally stronger, fitter and my bike skills are always improving, I feel like I’m 'going into battle under equipped’ without that kick that limits my in race performance. Moving forwards to 2023 long term planning, Should I persevere and develop that sharp top end? How do I develop that TOP END Power? Or should I choose to race to my strengths and look into Mountain bike Marathons? Longer endurance events? Where I can lean on my Threshold power?

Sorry it’s a bit of a long winded question, it’s hard to narrow my queries and curiosities down much shorter……
Many Thanks

Hey guys,

I’m lucky enough to get to dabble in road, mountain, and gravel. I already have power meters on my road and gravel bikes, but haven’t figured out what to do about a power meter on the mountain bike. After listening to the “Are you Coachable?!” episode, I find it hard to decide if dropping the cash on another power meter is worth it. I currently run Assioma Duo’s on my road bike and a Stages left sided crank arm on my gravel bike. Will adding a crank-based power meter to the mix be worth it or just degrade my power meter data integrity with more variability? This leads to my next question, How will mixing hrTSS for off road rides and power-based TSS from road rides effect CTL and what discrepancies can it cause?



Have you ever seen athletes lose their love for and enjoyment of the sport of cycling in pursuit of racing accolades or over training? If so, are there similar causes and thus warning signs athletes can look for?


Hi Frank,

About 4 years ago I was using a popular indoor training app and wasn’t able to get back to previous fitness levels. Figured it might be stress, because my sleep and nutrition were dialed in. Then I heard about HRV4Training, and using it to record morning HRV to evaluate readiness to train. After 6 months I came to the conclusion my HRV was low, and didn’t change much. I guess that should have been a red flag, but I figured that was just me and kept trying to do 4 days of intervals per week. And in the background my Apple Watch series 4 kept collecting data.

Heading into 2020 my fitness was still plateaued, and I figured it was time to change my training. Tried your 16 weeks of sweet spot and BINGO I broke thru the plateau. So I doubled down on the FasCat approach and hired a coach.

Now here is the key thing - in the last year of working with Coach Isaiah my resting HR has dropped 12bpm, and HRV appears to be in a more normal range and actually moves up and down in response to training. Even better - more watts!

Figure it might be a good time to up my HRV game and give your new Optimize app some better data. My Apple Watch is great for notifications during the day, but from what I’ve read for best HRV results you need to wake up and use the Breathe feature in the Mindfullness app. And I don’t usually wear it all night. I’m looking for a wearable that I’ll actually wear night and day, and that quietly collects good data without setting a reminder to fire up and use an app. Hoping you can suggest a few wearables, and provide some insights on stuff like pros/cons, daily versus trending analysis, and how HRV data can better inform my now fairly well tuned feelings/RPE that Coach Isaiah helped me develop.



Thank you everyone for ALL the questions! At this time the deadline has passed (June 17th) and we are working on the answers.

We will be recording this week for a Friday morning podcast release. Keep your finger crossed and we’ll announce the winner at the end of the pod.

Because we had so many questions ( > 50) , if you don’t hear your question it just means we are saving it for the next Ask a FasCat episode #22 in July. We will be giving away a $500 gift certificate to The Pro’s Closet for that podcast so stay tuned !!

In the meantime, share the podcast with all your riding friends, thank you again for your q’s!

Hi everyone! The episode is LIVE: Ask a FasCat #21. (Spotify)

Thank you again for all the thoughtful questions, we’ll do this again in July. In the meantime go ahead and listen to our answers of your questions especially all the way till the end to see if you won!

Topics included the following:
Sleep Hygiene
Life Stress
Critical Power
Winning in the Kitchen
Zone 2 by Heart Rate
CoVid comeback protocol
In-Season Training
Sweet Spot Part 4
Oura & Whoop
Cyclocross Training
threshold Climbing
Mid-Season Breaks
Weight Loss

1 Like

The Ask a FasCat #21 episode is LIVE wherever you get your podcasts and also on our website here:

Big congrats to Tom Hogan for his most thoughtful question (how to adjust the training plan based on HRV & Sleep Wearable Data) - Congrats

Well done to the winner.

For me, the best answer, yes answer and not question, was the one about having fun.

1 Like

I do believe that was from Patrick submitted in our private Facebook Group so I will post here:

  1. Patrick Merle (Training Plan Athlete)

We talk about metrics, power numbers, and a lot of data from multiple devices and approaches, which at times may feel overwhelming and a bit robotic and thus may have a negative impact on overall enjoyment. Based on the assumption that a happy cyclist is a faster cyclist, can you potentially describe some key training sessions that would be beneficial and perceived as both fun and valuable? EX: you have a tempo session to do, ask your kid/partner to ride with you with an e-bike and you do a chase race etc…

Simplicity is Sophistication Patrick - and we use the data to make training simple not more complicated. A long ride is so so SO good for your training and you don’t even need to worry about intervals while doing so - We regularly use the long ride as a key session.

Spirited group rides fall under the same classification - good clean fun. By riding fast and having fun, you get in great organic VO2 and anaerobic and threshold intensity. Even sprinting which is actually better trained against others than alone bc you have the extra motivation to go harder!

As for an e-Bike - they make for great motorpacing. And I’m sure your spouse would love to turn the screws to you and watch you suffer!