Athlete Type: XC Mountain Bike Racing

Hi, I primarily race cross country mountain biking in terrain with short steep hills (Ontario) and duration in the 80-90 minutes range (XCO classification). Checking back on my activities from this past summer, each race I did was classified as “Road Sprinter” by Xert. However, I would not have thought of training for an xc race as a Road Sprinter. The races feel from an RPE perspective as a sprint to start, then a consistent effort at redline with a few attacks above, then on occasion a sprint to finish. From a heart rate perspective, the graph reflects this with HR quickly to threshold or slightly above and staying there with a few higher spikes when attacking/climbing. When I look at a power graph of a race, it’s all spikes, almost no consistent efforts, either quite low power or very high power. This is reflective of the constant changes in terrain as well as the make up of most courses i.e. high power double track sprints lasting up to a minute or so between sections of more technical singletrack and downhill. The most consistent efforts are on longer climbs, but g iven where I live these climbs are still under 5 minutes and still full of power spikes due to the terrain. I assume this is why Xert is classifying the races as Road Sprinter. This leads to the crux of the question, what athlete type should I use for training? Road Sprinter or something with a little more duration in effort such as suggested in one of your other posts, such as Puncheur or Breakaway specialist? Thanks!

Hi Michael. Thanks for the great question. If the races are classified as Road Sprinter then they definitely put the onus on shorter duration efforts during the race. To be more precise, look at both Focus Duration and Specificity Rating too to get another layer of training specificity. Ultimately, if the work you perform in a race adds up in the ratios that are, in effect, close to 2 minute power, then that’s what your training should ultimately be focused on. This is a foundational aspect of Xert and many coaches that are using Xert, are following this principle.

Thanks for the quick reply Armando!