on November 19, 2018

Question: I’m training for the Dirty Dozen race in Pittsburgh, so I’m focusing on 1-minute and 5-minute power. What is the best way to increase my numbers? Right now I’m doing 1-minute intervals at a wattage in between my 1-minute and 5-minute maximum output, with 3-minutes of recovery, twice a week.

The Dirty Dozen consists of riding the steepest hills in Pittsburgh. It’s a baker’s dozen because the course covers 13 hills. The hills in this event are short and very steep. Riding between the hills is performed at a neutral pace. Like the event, the training required is also unique. Because riding between the hills at a neutral pace, you are going to be beginning each hill in a fully recovered state.

Since the climbs are steep, your cadence will be low. This means very high torque.  Depending on the hills that are near you, there are a few things that could be included to improve performance.

Complete 8-10 30-second, maximum efforts starting at low speed, with full recovery between efforts. Make sure to perform these efforts over geared. You should never really feel on top of the gear.

To focus on the longer efforts, complete 6-8 2-minute efforts with full recovery. Start these efforts over-geared, out of the saddle, and from a low speed. Hit your maximum effort within the first 10-seconds, then sit down, and continue in a big gear and drive the pedals as hard as you can. Again, you should never really feel on top of the gear.

The key is to hit your record peak power for corresponding low cadence. If you don’t have access to short steep climbs, there are plenty available on Zwift. Choose a hilly loop on Zwift and hit each hill in a big gear with maximal effort.

Good luck, in this great event!