What's Cool In Road Cycling

ERGVideo Rides Canadian National’s TT Course

January 2016: A championship time trial ErgVideo, ridden by a champ, at a special low price!

In this newsletter we announce another brand-new ErgVideo. This time it’s a time trial video that we’re offering at a special price.  For a limited time, the regular HD (720p) version is being offered at US$35, a 14 dollar savings! It’s also offered in 1080HD at the regular price for those who prefer the higher quality images for their big-screen ErgVideo experience.

another gorgeous cycling shot from ErgVideo

I’ll present our usual video preview and description, along with links to go get it. The story of this ErgVideo, how it came to be, and what it’s really good for, is an interesting story, so I’ll spend the rest of the newsletter telling you all about that. I hope you’ll read and enjoy.

click for youtube preview

Gatineau Park Time Trial
The Gatineau Park is the popular meeting point for cyclists in the Ottawa region, preferred for its low traffic and challenging course. In 2016 & 2017, it will host the Canadian Elite Time Trial Championships, presenting an unusually tough and hilly challenge for a time trial. While climbing ability will be table-stakes, maintaining speed on descents while recovering from over-threshold efforts will prove decisive. We not only include the full elite course, we also include sessions showing the different turnaround points that different categories such as Junior Men and Elite Women will use. For all cases, we pre-configure “training pace” and full race-pace sessions keyed to your FTP, as always. We’ve even added some unstructured hill-intervals sessions to the library of provided sessions to add more even more training variety. (1:14hrs)

This ErgVideo is available in spectacular 1080p
as well as
720p (here) for those still using older computers.

Finally, a new TT/tri-style ErgVideo
It’s been a long time since we’ve produced a time trial or triathlon-style ErgVideo.
TT & tri events often lack uniqueness or distinguishing features between them. Flat and fast is the norm, presumably to attract participants by presenting an opportunity to set their personal bests. Our triathlon ErgVideos have intentionally showcased the more interesting event courses like Lake Placid, Mt. Tremblant, and Muskoka. These offer distinctly different challenges than flat time trials, and they merit training that’s somewhat different from regular triathlon preparation. A flat solo time trial (or tri) is just another flat time trial. From a training point of view, they are mostly all the same.

The Canadian TT Championship course for 2016 & 2017

pictureDoug Corner

Enter the Gatineau Park Time Trial. Our
stalwart Ottawa race organizers Bike Race Ottawa
and the West of Quebec Wheelers have been granted the Canadian Elite and Para Championships for 2016 and 2017. For the road race, locals naturally expected the Gatineau Park’s 21km loop would be used. With 400m ascending per lap, I’ve checked that this loop rivals many world-championship circuits used in the last 20 years. It seems the obvious choice, and we have plenty of fast-and-flat courses south of Ottawa where TT records could surely be set.

Instead, organizer Doug Corner decided to ruffle the feathers of time-trial traditionalists by reviving the Gatineau Park TT course used by the Ottawa Bicycle Club into the early 90’s. In contrast to their flat 15km course in weekly use, the Gatineau Park course is 38km long with 573m of total ascent (23.6 miles, 1886ft)!
“This is a huge curve ball!” the TT/tri specialists said.
“This is scandalous!” the big power-riders screamed.
“This….this is INSPIRED!” I rejoiced. It’s a course that will stymie “power-meter plug-n-play my threshold” TT specialists who seem to be popping up more and more.

Ron Amos

Doug approached me to produce an ErgVideo edition that will help competitors prepare for what will surely be an epic event. Everyone expects it will yield some upsets in the current Canadian TT pecking-order. At ErgVideo, we were very excited, and called on our friend Ron Amos to set the example.

Canadian champion Ron Amos. There is only one.
If you’ve ridden our Threshold Test HD, the Triathlon Mt Tremblant HD, or the Triathlon Lake Placid Tri HD ErgVideos (among several others), then you’ve already been awed by this gentleman’s smoothness and grit on a TT bike. He’s an enthusiastic user of ErgVideo, and in the years since those editions were filmed, Ron has achieved phenomenal success. He holds 6 Canadian National titles, including 2 in the time trial and one on the track. He swept the Master’s 50+ category with wins in the road race, time trial and criterium at the 2015 Canadian Championships. He then went on to a bronze medal in the 50-54 category at the 2015 UCI Master’s World Cycling Tour time trial championships held in Denmark.

Long story short, Ron knows how to time trial, and he knows how to win. We called on him to show everyone how it’s done on a “lumpy” (!) course like the Gatineau park. “Tomorrow looks sunny, and the park won’t be too busy in the morning” he said, “Let’s go”. What resulted is really special.

This ErgVideo is an awesome ride.
We had sunshine. We still had leaves on the trees. We had light traffic. And we had Ron on fire. Our solo TT-style ErgVideos are shot mostly from a following vehicle, because we believe seeing the rider’s effort is key to understanding his application of power. It makes it easier for you to watch and follow the rider, rather than fixate on the power profile graphic or data. We can also change framing to maximize your view of the road ahead and ensure you perceive the hills ahead: your view is not static and the roadway doesn’t always look flat. Ron laid down a time of just under 59 minutes, which happens to be perfect for judging what your target Normalized Power ought to be for a full race effort…100% FTP. We’ll circle back to this after some analysis of how this race should be ridden, and what qualities the winner will need.

What’s needed to win a TT like this?
All categories will use out-and-back courses. The Elite and U23 Men’s course is longest at 38km, and while the elevation change from start to finish is only 245m (804ft), it gets there by way of several ups and downs, so riders will see 410m ascending in total before the turnaround. None of the climbs are steep, the longest uninterrupted climb is 1.7km long rising 100m (Black’s Lake), the second hardest is 1.25km that rises 65m (Pink’s Lake). The remaining climbs are shorter, but they’re annoyingly frequent. Other shorter-distance categories take the same basic course, but turn around sooner along the main route.

Gatineau course profile

Flat TT specialists will be confounded by the climbs that are too steep to “just” limit
themselves to their threshold power and still make good time. The descents are severe enough that maintaining threshold power isn’t possible: you’ll spin-out your top-gear really quickly: Ron hit 80km/h (50mph) on two of them…coasting! So this time trial isn’t about holding threshold power steadily all the way. It’s about how much over-threshold can you dare to go to make good time on the up hills, and whether you can go fast enough, and recover enough, on the descents before the next over-threshold climb? You have to do that often and have some power left to get to the end. How much “over” is too much “over”? How little is too little?

We think clearly the way to win is: A) have a high threshold power-to-weight ratio, to maximize your speed on the more extended climbs, B) train your ability to recover quickly from an over-threshold effort while maintaining under-threshold power, C) be able to do (B) repeatedly
based on expected recovery time, and finally D) be fearless in going really fast downhill on your TT bike. We frankly can’t help you with D on your indoor trainer, but this ErgVideo can help you put A, B, and C in the bag! And let’s be clear. There’s little point in having B and C if your A is lousy, so work that first.

Well, stepping back from that a little bit, we quickly realize that these qualities are desireable for many forms of cycle racing, especially road and criterium racing. If you enter Granfondos to compete, you will also want these qualities because they’re often hilly, and tactically they’re becoming more and more like full-on road races all the time. So you don’t need to be entering the Canadian TT championships to make extensive use of this video in your training. No matter your event, training with this one could make you a much, much more formidable opponent.

This ErgVideo has what you need to win.
This ErgVideo ride could be called “unstructured over-under threshold intervals”. The intervals’ intensity and duration are dictated by the course and the need to dose your power throughout the entire hour-long ride. They don’t follow a regular “effort/rest” time schedule like structured intervals. Ron is trying to dose his effort for a fastest time result, meaning he needs access to power throughout, without fading before the finish line. Several over-threshold efforts are 20-30 seconds long with brief recoveries under-threshold on slight downhills. The major climbs are 3-4.5 minutes long, and some recoveries are longer and deeper since some downhills cause the top gear to spin-out quickly. The power profile looks like this (we’ve removed the warm-up and cool down to focus strictly on the race section of the ErgVideo):

Elite Men’s and U23 power profile at race-pace.

As always, we provide several different sessions for your training pleasure. We provide variations that show the course used by the Elite and U23 men, as well as the shorter turnaround points for the Elite women and Junior events, and a shorter course still for the Junior women. For each of these “distances” (durations) we provide a hard-training pace session, a full race pace variation, and a “sweet-spot tempo” version of the ride. With your correct FTP entered, you’ll find the hard-training pace variation just that, hard, but do-able with lots of over-under work. The race pace level is guaranteed to be 100 TSS/hour intensity, so the full 59 minute course will be completely exhausting. It’s really hard. Be ready to give a full race-effort if you select it. The SST variation is something to try when you feel like a “more under than over, over-under threshold session”(TM). It’s almost pleasant in comparison.

Elite Men’s and U23 race-pace metrics.

But there’s a whole lot more to this ErgVideo than riding a few different course “distances” out and back at different training intensities. We’ve also built an example session of where you climb the major hills at Pink’s Lake and Black’s Lake a few times. BAM! Hill repeats, just as easy as that! Try your own designs or add some reps with the ride editor.

Repeats of the longer hills, training pace showing warm-up and cool down.

We also took special notice of how well Ron rode from the final opportunity to recover (down
the Pink’s Lake climb) to the finish. It’s a terrific power-ramp up a false flat, with a few short bursts and recoveries over the last remaining rollers. To build a truly unique workout, we pulled-out the longest climbs and kept only the shorter “rollers” to provide a nice “short-over/short under over-under threshold session”, and finished it off with three repeats of Ron’s
gold-standard final-finish power-ramps. Try it, it’s a blast!

Just the minor hills, rollers, and finishing power-ramp repeats, showing warm-up and cool down.

So we hope you’ll see that this ErgVideo is not just a simple time trial video. It’s rich with hard efforts, climbs and over-under threshold sequences that will really compliment your training.

With many thanks to the organizer Doug Corner and athlete Ron Amos, we say, unabashedly, that we hope to influence the outcome of the 2016 and 2017 Canadian time trial championships by helping our customers reach the podium. Good luck!

Stay on top of all breaking news by following us on facebook. We’ve posted many still-shots from our best ErgVideo editions as well as our adventures and travels.

Thank you for your continued interest and enthusiasm for ErgVideo.

Paul Smeulders and David Stevenson.



ErgVideo and Train for Real are trademarks
of ErgVideo Inc. Canadaeo Inc. Canada


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