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The Hill Climb Season in the UK has started

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Tim is joining. We call it project hill climb

We all know that there are no big climbs in the UK. And we all know that our head of science Dr Tim Podlogar loves big climbs. As a matter of fact, the lack of big mountains was one of the biggest reasons why he came back to Slovenia at the end of 2019. Yet – he somehow decided that he wants to go back to do more research. Now he came up with a cunning plan – to enter some of the Hill Climb races in the UK. Well – we in Slovenia would definitely argue that those efforts cannot be considered climbs. Anyway – we will get him ready. And this is the story of how we are going to make this happen.

As we have no climbing photos from Tim from the UK, this one from Mortirolo should do the trick.

First things first. How do Hill Climbs look like?

They are basically individual time trials to the top of a local hill. This usually takes the best riders 1-10 minutes. So the climbs are very short, steep and cause high levels of fatigue. It is like doing a Critical Power test. Nobody likes that, does it?

What is Tim’s plan?

Tim wants to have fun. He wants to push his body to the limit. So – something he does regularly. A crazy scientist. 

“My goal is to see how good I can be in these short and sharp efforts in which it is not only about critical power but also the capacity of the work above the critical power. To explain this a bit more unscientifically – it is about the anaerobic capacity. It is about sustaining the highest possible W/kg in a very short period of time.”

His coach Simon Cirnski adds:

“As Tim already already stated the most important component for this kind of racing is being able to produce high power over a short duration. This means that likely the most important parameter is Tim’s anaerobic capacity (also known as W’). From Tim’s previous tests we already know that he has pretty high W’ (compared to his CP)  which in general means that he can produce a high power in 3-8 minute long efforts. Just an example. His 4 min all-out power is around 480-500 W and his 20 min all-out power drops to around 370 W and 60 min power to around 340 W. Knowing this we will try to put even more emphasis on development of maximal power in these shorter efforts. Especially as this is something we haven’t done that in his training for at least 2 years. Most of the time we focused on building the  capacity, so doing loads of shorter intervals with short recovery at not that high of a power. Now we will shift more towards really hard, maximal efforts with longer recovery duration so that we try to develop as higher power as possible for each interval. Also with that we will still try to stick to a polarised approach to training as Tim really loves it.

This is briefly about the training as we will be doing the whole article about Tim’s training plan in the upcoming weeks.

Tim’s first Hill Climb was a success. He took part in a local Hill Climb race and finished joint second, merely 7 seconds behind the course record holder Cameron Biddle that finished 9th on the National Hill Climb Championships last year. Given that it was a first race, this was indeed a big success for Tim.

Because it is not only about the power but also about the body mass, Tim will try to be losing some body mass. Here, our new dietician Blaž Grmek will come in handy as he knows Tim best. So, now the tables have shifted and Tim needs to listen to Blaž.

Tim will be riding for Vredestein Basso Cycling Team

Blaž explains:  

“When it comes to climbing it is all about power to weight ratio. As a consequence one of the important tasks is to try and reduce Tim’s body mass while at the same time still maintain his ability to train normally and improve the power component of the equation as well. Although Tim knows a fair bit about nutrition, it is very common that despite vast knowledge one needs help from someone else. I will guide to choose the most appropriate meals according to the demands of the upcoming training sessions. For instance – if he is going to have intervals on the menu, this also means he will need to prioritise carbohydrate intake before such a session. Apart from this, Tim will be taking beta alanine to increase carnosine content within the muscle fibres which should help him produce more power in training and in races.”

And just like about training, we will be discussing Tim’s nutrition in one of the upcoming blog posts.

Last but not least, it is equipment. Well, here Tim is limited by the budget and it is still being considered on what kinds of modifications can be made to his Rose X-Lite 4 Di2 to reduce a few grams. The best Hill Climbers in the world have their bikes weighing around 5 kg, as those events do not fall under UCI rules. 

Follow us here and on social networks to keep track of Tim’s progress. And if you are in a need of a training/nutrition advice, feel free to drop us a line.

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