Thursday, August 13, 2009

Was it too much Shadd?

Shadd Smith everyone. Shadd Smith.

Shadd and I have been working together for nearly all of 2009. The goals: Utilize his limited training time in a way that will let him compete to win at the Elite level in what amounts to about one top level event per month. Easy right? Well....

Shadd is a very interesting athlete to work with. He does his part (keeps in touch with me, sends me his files and comments, advises me in advance of travel, blah, blah, blah) and I do my part (Analyze his files and make adjustments to keep him on track). Of course there's always a "twist"with every athlete. You'll see as I explain the graph below shortly but for now let's just put it like this... Shadd may not have absolute Superman power output, but the number of times he can repeat the powers is nearly superhuman. I'm not just talking on any given day either. I'm also referring to his ability to come out on the second, third, and fourth day in a row, for multiple weeks at a time and continue to hit the powers and durations. It is incredible! The first couple of training cycles we did were extended for 13 and 9 days respectively just to make sure he got the proper training stimulus!

About 7 weeks ago, after the Tour of Winghaven, Shadd and I had a talk where he expressed that he just didn't have the top end where he wanted it.

I said, "Shadd, you're doing 1440W peak power in the sprints. I'm not sure it's possible to do more without hitting some plyometrics, weights, or something out of the ordinary."

He put it bluntly, "I'm just not fast enough where I want it."

Okay, I'll figure it out. So I spoke with some co-workers at Source Endurance. They tossed out some ideas, I tossed out some ideas, we threw some of them out, accepted a couple others and BAM! Training schedule.

The new goal wasn't to make Shadd absolute powers higher, but to extend the time he could spend at 1000+ W. The 1k W mark is definitely notable. Hardly any Catagory 4-5 riders can reach those numbers and only a few Catagory 3s are capable of hitting that mark. Even at the P,1,2 level, 1k W is hard to duplicate more than a handful of times. So Shadd trained by..... well now, that would be giving away trade secrets if I told wouldn't it? Let me tell you, it's NOT by just doing a dozen sprints for 30 seconds but we did have to improve his neuromuscular strength.

Anyway, coming out of the last training cycle, I looked at Shadd's numbers in his recent efforts (TNW KC, ToKC, and some motivated training sessions) and sure enough, the powers got one hell of a bump. 7.7% improvement to be exact (at the 1k W mark, I allowed for +/- 20W because of the 2% error in the SRM). That is an incredible number! Shadd's power curve now doesn't dip below 1k W until 26 long seconds of sprinting; an improvement on the 23s he was posting prior to July 16 this year.

What are the implications? Assuming 35 mph, it means Shadd can sprint at 1k W for 1334ft or 400m! That means he can jump from a loooong way out and still win primes, or races. An experienced and solid racer whom I admire and respect fell victim to this long range sprint on Tuesday night by jumping Shadd before the final corner only to be passed later down road.

I've posted Shadd's Mean Maximal Power curve so you can see the change for yourself. The dotted line represents the curve prior to July 16 while the solid line is after that.

Thanks for reading and look for Mercy Cycling and Tradewind/ Trek Stores riders in the results at the US Criterium Championships in Downer's Grove this weekend!