The five Sec Sprint

The sprint is one of my better metrics, but I always feel there is a lot to still come out, that I just cannot find.
I build cadence quickly and spin out, so select a harder gear. , going down the cassette until I find a gear I do not spin out at.
The trouble is by the time I get this gear turning, I am fading before the sprint starts.
How do you folks find the happy medium?

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I’m only a newbie but also like the sprints. I usually build up the power in the 10 sec warning so I’m ready to go when the gun goes off.

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Do you have a smart trainer? If you know which gear you would like to use, have it in ERG mode before the sprint whilst being in your optimum gear for which level you would be using. With 1-2secs before the sprint starts keep spinning at 95rpm or so and then switch to level mode. It takes a second or so for the resistance to kick in, by the time it does, the sprint test will just be starting and you’re already at a better cadence to “get going”.

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Don’t forget that the purpose of the test is to determine your “neuromuscular power” - what you can put out as a quick, few seconds, burst - not necessarily your maximum sprint. If you spend too much energy ramping in to it then you might skew the result and you’ll also start to burn through your anaerobic reserves which can have a knock on effect on the 5 minute test. I treat it like the 5 second efforts in Violator (where you absolutely don’t want to be doing more than 5 seconds!) - easy, HARD, easy.

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Being a newbie, my apologies if my advice was slightly off kilter. I have “Violater today so will heed your advice James T, thanks.

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Thanks Ross sounds a bit complicated when you are focussed on something else, adrenaline kicking in, I will give this a try to make sure I can do it fast enough. .James T ,thank you for your reply, I appreciate your words. Part of the FF is learning how to do it, Pacing , gear selection, focus and recovery all play a part in the learning curve for a good FF.
For the 5 sec, either I spin out or tie up before the effort, so there is something to learn here. I can get cadence up to 90-95 then drop 3 cogs on the cassette and sprint, but my cadence drops fastThe micro timing of the gear change is critical., Finding the balance between force and velocity is the mystery key .Spoons52, no worries, no one will bite your head off here, thanks for your contribution

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I have a Wattbike Pro so have to go with macro timing - stick the resistance on max a few seconds out, drop the cadence so power doesn’t spike, then hit it kinda like a standing (slow rolling) start. Maybe because I’ve always done it that way I can go from 50rpm to 120rpm+ (100W to max W) in about a second. Not a particularly useful skill in the real world, admittedly, but useful for Violator. Mmm, Violator :smile: :hamster:

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By the way I think it’s worth pointing out that I’m on a dumb direct drive trainer so have to get through the gears. So here I am trying to recover lol. I missed 2 10 sec sprints and 1 15 sec in the last set, but I have had “The Shovel, Goat, now Violater” on consecutive days at full intensity. Am I right in thinking that’s quite a lot of suffering for a newbie? Or should I go back to the couch with a Doghnut?
Cheers
Simon.

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The first part of the test is designed to measure your “Neuromuscular Power”, or NM. This is your maximal 5-second sustained power, your sprint. The key to getting the highest numbers possible is to find the perfect balance between resistance and cadence, force and velocity. Power is affected by both. Spin too fast and you won’t generate sufficient force. Grind it out and you won’t get sufficient velocity. If you’re an experienced rider aim for a cadence in the 100-110 rpm range. If you’re new to cycling or don’t have that many miles in your legs, aim for 90-100 rpms.

The model of trainer you’re using can also affect how you go into these sprint efforts. If you have a trainer where the resistance ramps up as you increase your cadence, start at around 90-95 rpm so that you hit 110 rpm right at the end of the effort. If your trainer has a less-dramatic change in resistance, you may need to start in a harder gear and a lower cadence so that you hit 110 rpm by the end of the effort without spinning out. If you’re not sure, then try a few sprints on your trainer before before undertaking the fitness test so you know just how to handle it.

Here is what we recommend in the How to get the most out of Full Frontal write up.
Try and stick in Level mode and imagine you are out riding and then hit a sprint, there is no build up you just go and leave it all on the road, thats how the 5seconds should feel :smiling_imp:

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Thank you for your words. I have done FF 6 times now.Every time I have spun out on one of the sprints and struggled to get the gear going when 1 cog harder, if I start this gear around 80 , I get up to around 95 cadence and the mid 800watts, if I push this gear earlier to get the cadence higher, then I start tying up before the sprint. On the road, I would spin like a toy train, then go to big chainring and I was usually in a good sprinting gear, if I was going longer, I would start in big ring, and quickly drop down 3 cogs to wind up the sprint. On the trainer, I am sure practicing with different level modes, or perhaps getting gears with single tooth jumps would be better ( tried but shops tend not to stock them)

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Ahhh!!! The art of sprinting…Its quite funny how the different rider types have such different roles. Climbers although lite in weight and awesome sustained power seem to know how to use the cassette to their advantage in that terrain, smaller gears to keep spinning, and it is exactly the same for sprinters but all in big gears; were as with a climb a mistake is made you typically have time to recover even though the cost is going to be brutal however in a sprint you miss that micro timing of hitting it and its gone there is no catching it. This is exactly where FF does a great job at capturing that sprint mechanism in a sense of things. However I am in complete agreement about the lead in to it dependent on the equipment you have. The last time I did it, I believe I slowed down to about 60 rpm and when the gun went off so did I. I think I reached just over or under maybe 100 rpm with one gear change because there is not much time for that in a 5 sec sprint you just got to go and spin spin spin with all your might. I know easier said than done!
I have a Wahoo Kickr Core and I find that if I let the fly wheel come to a complete rest by the time I get it spinning again the sprint is almost over so I allow the wheel to slow but not stop and I find this provides a good start point. I am left wondering though that it I kept my cadence at 90 or 95 like suggested and aim to 120 like I do on the open road if this would have a positive impression on the power.

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BykeRyder, I have noticed with my “snap” much more effort is needed until the flywheel is up to speed. To me, climbers are magicians that have been sprinkled with fairy dust, while I find it hard to understand why people loose my wheel when I wind the speed up for a fast flat finish

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I think I have nailed it, Selecting FF gives a default level 3 on my trainer, which builds resistance too fast making it hard to select the correct gear. I believe this is responsible for me fading before the 5 second effort, when trying to start in a decent gear

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