Hill climbs and breakthroughs

I’ve watched the Xert videos and read a fair bit of online support and it makes a lot of sense to me. Until this happened on the weekend…

I climbed a 14km / 7.5% average hill on Fulgaz. Pushed pretty hard the whole way including a sort-of sprint the last 200 metres. But… because my power seldom exceeded TP (it was usually just a little bit under), my MPA hardly moved (and, therefore, I wasn’t even CLOSE to a breakthrough).

This seemed strange to me: to work so hard for around an hour and then see results as if I’d been spinning on the flats for an hour. Someone please help me re-interpret this so I don’t feel so disappointed with myself. :slight_smile:

It’s basically because you didn’t bring your MPA down low enough. Staying under TP is not going to give you a breakthrough, that’s because it’s mainly using your endurance energy system. This doesn’t mean it isn’t an hard effort, for example I’ve ridden 50m time trials , stayed below MPA pretty much all the ride but have been exhausted at the finish.

A long steady effort up a climb is similar, unless you are above TP for a significant period of time, enough to bring MPA right down your ‘sort of sprint’ for the last 200m isn’t going to give you a breakthrough. Conversely, instead of a long steady effort, if you was doing repeated attacks up a climb, you would be more likely to get a breakthrough as you would be constantly bringing MPA down and eventually exceeding it, next time you ride a similar hill on Fulgaz or IRL, try a couple of hard efforts at the start, then aim to keep your power above TP until you feel exhaustion (MPA should be fairly diminished by this point) then do an all out sprint for as long as you can hold it. This will give you a breakthrough.

Modelling endurance energy is extremely complex as many factors such as food intake, heat and hydration play a massive and individual part, hence why the model only really works for efforts above TP.


As @ChopStick mentions the key is exceeding TP to draw down MPA and there are different ways to do that. The types of breakthroughs possible are discussed in this article –
Breaking Through the Xert Way! – Xert (baronbiosys.com)
Scan through posts in this thread to get an idea of the possibilities –
Let’s See Some Recent BT’s - General - Xert Community Forum (xertonline.com)

@gogopaddy You can look at it from a different perspective. Namely, this ride has confirmed your fitness signature, because you were able to ride at your TP (or close to it) for a long time. And you did a good job in pacing this effort. Those are not bad conclusions :wink:

Riding at TP never feels easy, otherwise hourly record would be much easier to break :slight_smile:

:point_up_2: This.

Also keep in mind that a breakthrough is not the only reason for failure. The hardness tests are a good example of this.