The perfect taper?

I’ve tried a number of different approaches to tapering for a big event. Take days off completely. Lower the volume but keep some intensity. Don’t do anything different at all.

What I really like to do is to throw a race in between some easy days. Just enough to keep race-sharp, but not so hard that the legs feel destroyed. That can be difficult to do, because once in the race you often can’t help yourself from racing full-throttle.

I think I found the perfect way:

Decide to do 48 mile road race that is 2.5 hrs away
Get up at 5am (good practice for early race start)
Wait for teammate who is late because his coffee pot overflowed on the kitchen floor
Drive 76mph for 2 hrs
Ride quietly in the field for first 10 miles, dodging potholes
Follow attacks on 2nd climb; attack over the top (race effort #1)
Flat on the downhill after hitting rock:
– feel lucky for not crashing
– feel lucky for having decided not to bring good tubulars
– feel lucky for having stuck a tube, levers, & “pump” (quotes necessary) in pocket
Fix flat, ride to parking lot to use a real pump
See Masters field go by
Make threshold+ effort to close 30 second gap and catch on (race effort #2)
Chat with Masters while riding up first climb
After first climb, “motorpace” (more necessary quotes) dropped rider back to field (race effort #3)
On final climb, follow attacks of lead group (race effort #4)
After descent, alert lead riders that marshal has left corner and they are about to get hit by oncoming cars (adrenaline spike #1)
Sort-of sprint at the end, behind the lead masters (race effort #5)
Drive back home at a reasonable speed
Think, hmm, legs are a little tired but not destroyed. Mission accomplished.

But did it really require an 11 hour trip?



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9 responses to “The perfect taper?

  1. Jim

    Starting to wonder why we do it?
    I know I do. Too much car time to ride my bike.

  2. Brian

    sometimes, yeah. when it’s a nice summer day, even though it’s great to race, spending half the day in the car can be unpleasant.

    it’s almost better if it’s raining. at least then you’re not wasting the sunshine.

  3. So what’s the big event and reason for a taper? Do tell.

  4. Brian

    As soon as I finish my coffee this morning, on my way to Louisville for Masters Nationals (aka the “skinny guy convention”)

  5. Brian

    Thanks for the links. Great info. Will have to take a look more closely but a quick reading of the abstracts seem to support a reduction in volume but keeping intensity — which seems to be what most people are doing (and from what I hear is what most coaches are recommending).

  6. C

    Well, actually, the most advanced coaches — and riders — use TSB in the PMC chart of WKO+. 🙂

  7. Brian

    > Well, actually, the most advanced coaches — and riders —
    > use TSB in the PMC chart of WKO+

    Point well taken. I started using WKO+ when I got my PM late last fall … but must admit that I haven’t fully utilized the PMC chart. I more look at it after the fact than to use it proactively. However pre-nationals I did get some advice (from someone in the know … whose initials are AA) on raising TSB … which I promptly forgot to put to use. D’OH!

    I ended up coming into nats with a TSB of +11 and a CTL of 101. (looking at it now … TSB was at +14 before doing the race mentioned in the post.)

  8. C

    Good to hear Andy Applegate uses WKO+. 🙂

    You were plenty rested and fresh for nats., I’d say — and of course, there are other factors involved in performance.

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