Aero Helmets, Sweet Spot Training & Road Dogs | Ask GCN Anything

Aero Helmets, Sweet Spot Training & Road Dogs | Ask GCN Anything


– It’s Ask GCN Anything, a
fairly self-explanatory title, but if you’ve never watched one before, this is your chance to ask us your cycling related questions, and we’ll do our best to give
some kind of expert answer. Two ways to ask those questions: firstly on social media,
using the hashtag #torqueback, or you can leave them
in the comments section just down below. And if you’d like to be in with the chance to win three months free
subscription to Zwift, use the hashtag #askgcntraining. – That’s right, and this week we’re gonna answer
questions on Arrow helmets, Sweet Spot, and how to
deal with rogue dogs. – Yes, so let’s get the important one out of the way straight away. Rogue dogs. This is a question that
came from Schnooks33, “Me and my dad were riding
together down a shared path. Up ahead we saw two dogs
on a leash with a woman, and not really knowing what to do, we decided to give them lots of room, and pass politely without announcing. Without any warning or time to react, one of the dogs slipped out of the collar and ran right in front
of us barking like mad, and both my dad and I
ran over this small dog. My dad was especially beaten
up, along with his bike, but the dog was my real concern. It looked like it was in bad shape, and I felt quite guilty
after this encounter. So here’s my question, what is proper etiquette when passing other path
users on a shared path, and what should you do when dogs are thrown into the equation? – Well firstly, I hope your dad’s alright, and I hope the dog’s alright. Sounds horrible. But as someone who rides regularly on shared paths as well, I think the best thing to
assume on a shared path is that you have equal rights with the other people on the path, irrespective of what they’re doing, and you should slow down significantly when passing other people. Especially when there’s animals involved, because they can act in
an unpredictable way. – Squirrels particularly I find. There’s no way of predicting
where they’re going to go. But as you mentioned, you
should definitely slow down. Particularly as as a
cyclist on a shared path, you are the one that’s going
to be going the fastest, and therefore could do the most damage, so just slow right down. – Feel where you need to think about how you feel as a cyclist when you have a close pass from a car, and it’s quiet unnerving
and makes you uncomfortable, and if you’re a pedestrian or a runner on a shared path and a
bike comes past at speed quite close, it’s the same kind of thing. It feels unnerving. So I would just say treat people as you wish to be treated yourself. – Exactly, yeah. And there’s no harm in giving
a bit of a shout or warning that you are about to overtake, just so they are aware that
you’re coming up from behind. I’ve actually got my own dog related story from 24 years ago when
I first started cycling. I was a mountain biker, but in order to get to
the mountain bike path, I had to go from my place in Bransgul, the village where I grew up, past another village called Thorny Hill on the outskirts of New Forest. And up there, there was this one dog, that every time I rode past would come running out yapping, and try to chomp at my feet. It was a reasonably big dog as well. One day I was going in
the other direction, which meant I was on the
other side of the road from the houses where this dog lived, still came running out, crossed traffic, and there was a car coming the other way, and it got run over. I never had to deal with
that rogue dog again, but I did also feel quite bad, but at the same time there was nothing I could do about that. Anyway, we’ll move quickly
on from the rogue dog stories to something else. – That’s awful. – I know. I didn’t tell him this
before we started recording, so that’s the first he’s heard of it. Next up, we have got a question on
Sweet Spot from Daniel S. “Why is sweet spot beneficial to FTP? In my mind if you want
to produce more power for longer periods of time then you should attempt
to ride x% over FTP for as long as you can
until that becomes your new function of threshold power. Rinse and repeat…
Why doesn’t that work?” – Well Daniel, you’re
not far wrong per se, but let’s start with the
fact that almost all training is developed for and devised
for professional athletes before it then kind of
trickles down to us mortals. – Yeah, I think you need
to think of this as sort of the fact that the levels of
training that you’re riding at are more of a continuum. There’s no sort of set start stop on these sorts of things actually. And to demonstrate this,
or to illustrate this, I think we should use this graph from one of my former
coaches Hunter Allen, he of training peaks fame, in that there are still
benefits to your FTP if you ride above it, but when you take into
consideration the stress, mental and physical of doing that, they are less than the line below it. – [Co-Host] Yeah, hence
the phrase Sweet Spot, it’s regarded as the tipping point between the return for effort and time. You kind of get the
biggest bang for your buck doing Sweet Spot, because you can do more of it, and you can do it on back to back days more easily so than if you
were doing efforts above FTP, which it’s very hard to do
that, back to back days, and recover adequately to do it again. – I saw these sort of
huge gains personally when I started doing a lot of Sweet Spot. – Yeah, me too. – Anyways, time to throw to
a video from many moons ago. Coming up is Si Rickson,
along with Alexis Ryan, are showing you tips on
how to improve your FTP. – Sweet Spot tools are where I make some of my biggest improvements in the years just after I got a pammy tip. It refers to a level just a
little bit below threshold. So it’s hard, but it’s not so hard that you can’t do a number
of sessions per week and still allow your body to recover, adapt, and then go again. – You can vary these sessions by doing intervals of different lengths generally over 15 minutes, and you can also vary the types of terrain that you use to do them. These Sweet Spot efforts
are often described as the best bang for your buck, and they offer the best
physiological response for the time you put in the saddle. – It’s time to announce the winner of three months free subscription to Zwift that winner on this
occasions is: Adam Newell. “#askgcntraining I would
like to know how to prove my Acceleration when I am sprinting”. – I wanna know as well. – Well we both do. Unfortunately for you Adam, our resident expert sprinter Crasoby isn’t in the office today, so you are left with two,
we can’t even say mediocre. Two slightly below average sprinters, to ask the question as best we can. But we have been doing some research in the scientific communities, so hopefully this will give you some tips. – Yeah, well it’s often thought that to improve one’s sprinting ability, you need to do a lot of sort
of high-power anerobic work, but that’s not necessarily the case. – No, and that’s why it’s really important to know what your muscle fibre makeup is, because for example, if
you are predominately slow twitch muscle fibres, you’re not actually going
to respond that well to high intensity interval training, i.e., the high torque
efforts that you might do. – Yeah, and a core mistake is that if you have a large proportion
of slow twitch muscle fibres, doing these sort of high
torque anerobic work, can actually be detrimental
to your performance. – Yeah, which sounds a
bit backwards doesn’t it, but bear with us. Unfortunately you don’t need
to go for a muscle biopsy to find out whether you’re a slow twitch or a fast twitch kind of person. All you need to do is look
at your critical power curve, and you will be able
to find that on Zwift. So if what you can see
is that it’s really high from 1 second to about 20 seconds, it drops off like a cliff
and then levels out, then a lot of it is you are a sprinter, and that means you’ve got a lot of fast twitch muscle fibres. If on the other hand from this top it just goes slowly down like this and flattens out gradually, then you’re putting more
of an endurance monitor with more slow twitch muscle fibres. – Yeah, and once you’ve determined what you think your
muscle fibre makeup is, then you can tailor your training to that. So if you think that you’ve got high, fast twitch muscle fibres, then you should be doing, yeah, those sort of high
torque anerobic sessions, and things like standing
starts for example and low cadence drills
and things like that. – So as an example, you could
have it on a training session, where you include five
standing start sprints. Now you want to choose a gear which is pretty tough to get going, ’cause that will then require you to not only produce a high amount
of power to get it going, but also a high amount of torque. Then, the aim is to sprint
as hard as you possibly can, until you’ve reached your maximum cadence at which point you can stop. Between each one of those, it’s important to get
a really long recovery, I.e. around about 10 minutes. – Yeah, or alternatively you could perform some low cadence intervals on a climb. So you do a minute at 110,
or over 110% of your FTP, at about 60 RPM, and then follow that with
a minute of recovery, an easier while higher cadence. Repeat this five times, and then try and work your
way up to doing 10 of those. – On the other hand, if
like Ollie and myself, you have more slow twitch muscle fibres, and you’re looking to improve your sprint, listen to this advice Ollie. Currently, according to latest research, you want to do a higher volume of slightly longer duration
high effort sprints. So anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. And with these you want a two to one ratio when it comes to your recovery. So twice the length of recovery
as the interval itself. – Yeah, and finally, if
you’re really concerned about improving your sprinting power and your sprinting performance, then you should also think about avoiding other types of riding and training, which is gonna be detrimental to that. So long endurance rides can be fun, but they can also take the
edge off your sprinting, and your ability to train your sprint when you’re doing those sessions. – You always get your best power when you’re really fresh, don’t you? – Yeah. – Hence why big track sprinters, or one of the reason
why big track sprinters have a much higher power
than road sprinters, ’cause road sprinters need
to do that endurance training to get to the finish of a
road race in the first place. Finally, before we finish with this one, the other thing that you need
to consider in this equation is science really, isn’t it, and physics. Because mass is something
that’s really going to affect how fast any object is able to accelerate. So if you’ve got any timber
to shed, consider doing that, because if you keep the same power, you’ll accelerate faster. That said, OP’s a lot heavier
than both Ollie and I, and he’s gonna beat us in the sprint every day of the week, isn’t he? So unless we get down to
about 31/32 kilos each, that’s not gonna change. – The next question is
from Quinn Hughes who asks, “What is a good way to
get back into cycling after a couple of months off?” – Hmm, well I had this myself recently. I dove straight into
the deep end basically doing lots of intense work on the turbo training each week, but I think ideally, you want
to just start fairly steadily. Do not dive straight back
in at full intensity. Two to four steady rides per week, that are also reasonably short, where I sort of just gauge
how you’re feeling really before you then start to ramp
things back up a little bit. – Yeah, and after two weeks with three to four steady rides, I think then would be a good time to start introducing
some intensity to that, and also the length of your rides as well. – It sort of depends, doesn’t it, why you’ve had that time
off in the first place. If it’s simply because you
fell out of love with the bike, then you want to try and deduce aspects, which is why you fell
in love with bike riding in the first place. If you’ve been injured
and forced off the bike, then you want to take
things really careful, and just make sure you don’t
get yourself injured again. We did though, do a video
on this very subject a few years ago, myself and Science Man, how to get back on your bike after an extended period off. When you get back on, you forget what you’re able to do before, and just take things slowly. – Yeah, so if the last ride you did before you hung up your wheels, was 100 miles at 25 miles an hour, you might wanna lower your expectations, and then build up gradually. And then also that way, you get that wonderful
sense of progression as you start to improve again. – An ultimate question
comes in from Tom Jameson, “I’m doing the Fred
Whitton in May this year. I’m struggling to find the time to do the five hour plus training rides which I would like to
do in my preparation. So do you have any advice that will help me to prepare
for a long hilly ride when the longest time I
have for a training ride is about 3 hours?”. – One of my favourite events. – I know. Ollie put this question in, he loves it. – I won’t be doing it this
year unfortunately though, because we’re going to the
Giro the first week of that. – We are. Such a hard life, and we can’t do the
Fred Whitton challenge, ’cause we got scheduled
early for the Giro d’Italia. – My end gorilla’s going to be there, so keep an eye out for him. But yeah
– A sprinter He’s better than me. – But is he a sprinter? – Well he’s better than me. – But anyway, get on with the question. – Yeah, well I think the biggest challenge for the Fred Whitton is the severity and number of the climbs that are in it, so I would suggest trying
to do VO2 max intervals, typically 5 to 12 minutes long, so that you’re over your threshold power, so that you have the engine
to get over those climbs. You can either do those as
an interval session on turbo, or you could build them into one of your sort of three hour rides that you mentioned there. – Yeah, I don’t think there’s any reason to despair these days if you aren’t able to put
in five hour plus ride, four or five to six hour sportive, because it’s been proven
time and time again recently, that you can get a lot of endurance from doing some pretty short rides. The important thing as ever
with this kind of thing, is that you are consistent. So if you only have time
to do one hour at a time, make sure you’re doing that
four to five times per week, and that will pay off
in dividends on the day. The next question comes in from MrWoo, “Torqueback I’m about to buy a new helmet and I don’t know whether to
buy an aero helmet or not. Do you have any recommendations
about Aero helmets that you can give me. I’d be happy about any
advice about a specific model that you would recommend. Thanks guys!”. – Yeah, it’s a good question, and I think ultimately it
comes down to ventilation. Aero helmets do offer a measurable benefit in terms of drag reduction. This has been shown time and time again, and consequently, I wear
one most of the time. – Even in the office. – Yeah, especially when racing
or walking to the shops. But the weight penalty of
an Aero helmet is minimal, and it’s definitely
offset by the drag saving, but they can be a little bit warmer, so you know, it depends where you ride. In the UK, it’s pretty
chilly most of times so there’s something around it. But you know, I find that
if it’s over 30 degrees I can get a little bit
hot in a non-vented, well, a helmet with less vents, so I’d probably go for a climbing helmet. But I’m like if I was
only gonna own one helmet, I’d probably go for an Aero one. – Yeah, an Aero road one. – Yeah. – Yeah, I wonder if you’re talking about Aero Time Trial helmets,
or road helmets here, because the thing with
the Time Trial helmets, is that they’re individual to a particular person’s
shape aren’t they? They’re a little bit like
the fastest front wheel and the fastest foot when put together, don’t necessarily make
the fastest combination. You can take the fastest
helmet in the wind tunnel, put it on somebody’s head,
it will work very well, put it on somebody else’s, and there will be a different helmet that’s even faster than that. So unfortunately, that, you’re either going to have to go to a wind tunnel to find out, or do some on the road testing, which is something we should
get around to explaining how to do at some point
– Yeah, that’d be cool. The Chung method. Anyway, not time for that this week, because that is the end. Oh it’s not! We’ve got one more question, got one more question, sorry. Comes in from Stephan Tovell, “Why is it so rare to see
riders switch helmets?”, a helmet question, “switch helmets after crashing in a race? If they’re good to carry on racing (ie no major injuries) surely
it’s in their best interest, to get a new helmet from the team car in case the original has been
damaged in the collision.” Which is a very good point. – But you know what, I mean, it sounds blindingly obvious now he’s mentioned it in a comment, but hadn’t actually
thought of that before. – No, I hadn’t either. – Yeah, but I think one
of the reasons is that well when riders crash,
it’s very rare fortunately that they actually do bang their heads. We do see it sometimes, but often they damage
other parts of their body. But the spare helmets generally aren’t kept in
the team cars are they? – I don’t remember. They’ve got spare everything else, shoes, and all the kit you could imagine in the bag in the back of the car, but there aren’t generally any, or at least many helmets in there, but that’s a very good point. We might suggest it to the teams when we go out to the Giro d’Italia, involving the Fred Whitton
challenge in the process. I don’t know the answer to that, so we probably shouldn’t
have included this question and actually shown it this week. – Yeah, well I think
the one thing we can say is that if you do break
your helmet in a crash as a professional or
non-professional or whatever, then you probably shouldn’t
be carrying on with the race or event you’re doing. – No, and that is something
that cycling is doing reasonably well now, the whole concussion
thing, because in the past they might of just
gotten back on their bike as soon as they could, even if they were completely out of it. Thomas Schrödinger I remember
from the Tour of California a couple of years ago, but the teams and the doctors
now are really on this, and the embassador for example recently at Tourino Jasico has gone home, and they’ve been really
looking after him well after suffering from a concussion. And actually, we wish him
all the best in his recovery and the return to racing soon. But good to see that development in the world of cycling, I have to say. I think that’s the end. That was indeed the last question. I have some even more sneaky ones at the bottom of the script here. So we shall shortly say goodbye, but before we do, a reminder
of how to get in touch with next week’s questions. Two ways to do it: on social media with
the hashtag #torqueback, or in the comments section down below, and don’t forget if you
want to put yourself in with the chance of winning
that subscription to Zwift, the hashtag then is #askgcntraining. – Yeah, if you’ve enjoyed this video, then please give it a thumbs up, subscribe to the GCN channel
if you haven’t already, and well, for another
video, why not check out, since we’re talking
about helmets and safety, the Bell Test Lab. – Oh yeah, good idea. So I went over there a year ago two ago, you’ll find that just down here.