GrandFondo Pacing and Training

Hi All,

I live in Switzerland and it’s all about GrandFondos over the big alpine passes (> 1-2 hours and more) for the amateurs. Yesterday, I did the Tour de Stations Grand Fondo, a 130km race with almost 5000 hm over 5 cols.

I knew I would be about 7-8 hours on the course, so my plan was to stay in upper Z2, see how it goes and then if I have some more left, go harder towards the end. Well, that’s not what happened.

I simply can’t stay at 180-200 watts or < 154 bpm on those climbs. Just don’t have the gears at my power level. So what happens, the first couple of hours things are okay, I try to control, don’t manage, ride middle Z3 and from some point I just suffer and suffer until in the final 2 km I just give everything I have over the line. It’s painful and I don’t feel at all in control.

Now I wonder, does it make sense to train polarized Z2 and threshold, or would it be better to actually train to maintain lower Z3 longer ((200-220W, 160-170 bpm) for 1-2h? Which would effectively mean switching to sweet spot training?

I know the obvious answer is just getting stronger, but so far I improve just very, very little year over year at 38 years. Maybe I am also getting all this wrong, curious what you think.

Thanks for feedback,

Screenshot 2023-08-06 211836