The Classics ~ Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix is another incredibly epic race just a week after Flanders and this pro in the world tour cracked out a HUGE amount of work with 6175kiloJoules in this 6-hour 12-minute race, and averaged 323 watts normalized, which makes this his second hardest race for the year behind Flanders.   One distinct difference is that in P-R, he was on the GAS for the entire race and examining Figure 2, shows that he spent very little time resting and relaxing in the peloton. 

Paris-Roubaix has no equal in its demands and while most of us will never get a chance to race in P-R, we can learn a bit from his file. What strikes me as most interesting is that despite being on the gas from the start, he still was able to put out over 370 watts after 4 hours of racing, which means that his muscular endurance is highly trained.  Muscular endurance is something that all of us can use and means you can contract and relax your muscles at a relatively high force for a long period of time without fatiguing.  Normally if muscular endurance is an issue, then you’ll get cramps in the race or event you are doing especially if the majority of the race has been harder than expected.    How do you improve your muscular endurance?  Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this, and you just have to commit to longer and harder rides than you have done in the past.  Length will challenge your muscular endurance, but without intensity, it will not be specific enough to help you come race day, so make sure that in your longer rides this winter and spring, you add in plenty of sweet-spot, threshold and even big gear intervals into the mix so you can prepare for those hard events in 2022.

Hunter Allen is a is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach and former professional cyclist. He is the coauthor of “Triathlon Training With Power”, “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” and “Cutting-Edge Cycling,” co-developer of TrainingPeaks’ WKO software, and CEO and founder of Peaks Coaching Group. He and his coaches create custom training plans for all levels of athletes.