Lauren de Crescenzo Unbound Training Details

The Unbound 200 is FasCat Athlete, Lauren de Crescenzo's A Race.  She's a two time winner and the course plays into her strengths. As her coach, we developed a plan to target her best possible performance and leave no stone unturned come race day.  In this training tip, I will share the details of our training and preparation for her Unbound Gravel race.

After Lauren's Californian racing block, we had six weeks to get ready for 200 miles of gravel in between Sea Otter Classic and Unbound. We gave Lauren some recovery time after the first big block of training and racing which included a win at MidSouth, a win at Levi’s Gran Fondo and the start of the Lifetime Gran Prix at Sea Otter Classic. The recovery block consisted of five easy/unstructured days of training. A little over 8 hours in five days and then the unusual Sunday recovery day since the Unbound Block started off strong on a Monday. 

The Unbound Block, at a high level, included a lot of long, low endurance rides, gravel simulations and some high intensity/VO2 (early and late in rides). We’ll get into some of these workout examples below. The block (which concluded three weeks out from race day) totaled 55 hrs in two weeks (28.5 hrs and 26.5 hrs), 2,889 OTS and an increase in training load from 145 to 165. This overload is 3 weeks out enough out from the race itself to absorb the training stimulus and peak on race day

Training Strategy:

With a women’s start this year for all the Lifetime Gran Prix events we wanted to make sure to have a fair dose of high intensity included in the training in order to make attacks and splits happen. This will also help with the more undulating course for this year as there is a bit more climbing than previous years. Riders wanting to excel will also need to maintain good endurance and sustained power (tempo/sweet spot) in order to keep the power up late in the day and maintain/expand gaps. Here are three of the example workouts we used in the Unbound Block:

1. 5 hrs, low endurance/zone 2. Target power 170-180w

2. 5 hrs, 4 x 30 min tempo intervals with 90 sec HARD start. 30 min endurance in between. This workout is ideally done on the gravel/dirt

3. 6 hrs endurance with 40x20s (early & late), Tabatas. 2x8 of 40 sec full gas, 20 sec recovery in the first hour of the ride and repeat another 2x8 in the last hour of the ride (ride on 5/9)

Equipment Choices:

For Unbound we have a few general goals which are to ride safely and smoothly, make any early splits and be aggressive. Forcing splits and putting riders under pressure early to establish gaps, helps to capitalize on Lauren’s strength in the second half of the race when big time gaps can be made. Once a split is made, we want to prioritize being aero and keeping the speed up. This is something we worked on with her bike fit over the winter. Considerations were taken into account like crank length (shorter), narrower bars/longer stem and lowering stack. For equipment choices we really focused on tires choice here (along with a few options for different conditions) but durable/resilient casing options are king since the North course at Unbound is exceptionally rugged and rocky.

US Road Nationals:

We made a somewhat last minute decision to jump into US Pro Road Nationals two weeks out from Unbound. We wanted to get some racing in that weekend and our options were US Pro or Gravel Locos. We weighed the pros and cons of both and settled on US Pro to minimize some travel stress and change things up a little bit with the road race which Lauren was excited about. 

Lauren smashed for 3 hours 36 mins, good for 267w xPower (0.89 IF).  She spend 52 mins spent over 105% threshold, and climbed the opening laps between 5.5-6 w/kg for 3-7 mins.

Ultimately Lauren landed in the group for 3rd place on the last lap and finished in 5th in the sprint. The data from US Pro Road Nats showed that Lauren has a high capacity to do a lot of early intensity and still maintain sweet spot/threshold power for long durations late in the race (ex 290w for 6min45sec on the last climb, last lap). This race was a big dose of high intensity that should prepare her well for the hard starts in gravel and blend well with her great aerobic foundation/endurance for a dangerous threat to the formula needed for an Unbound win.


We are right where we’d like to be. Everything has gone to plan, we are confident with the training to this point and everything has been really well executed by Lauren.

We saw an increase in training load by 20 (145 to 165) in 3 weeks while maintaining a good amount of high intensity all while Lauren maintained great recovery markers and responses to training. We maximized time on the gravel bike and prioritized longer intervals and gravel simulations to get speed and time on the dirt. We’ve discussed the course, equipment choices, fueling and are ready to race! Now it’s time to execute the taper and get to Emporia for some recon! 

LDC Quote:

"Since California, the name of the game has been BIG volume with some sprinkles of VO2. Road Nats was a great training stimulus, especially for the first 1-2 hours of Unbound when racing will be a little spicy. For the entire block, I did a bunch of rides with early VO2 to really simulate race day. My biggest week in the Unbound block was around 30 hours. My husband Jim and I went to Townsend, TN, and for the entire week, all we did was ride and eat LOTS of carbs.  Legs are feeling good for my A+ race of the season - thanks Coach Elliott !!"


You may hire Coach Elliott to smash your gravel goals here

You'll talk with Elliott every 2-3 weeks (depending on coaching level) and receive a new custom training plan every 4 weeks.  In-between calls,  Coach Elliott will monitor your training by analyzing your data and will give you weekly or daily feedback depending on your coaching level. 

A subscription to the FasCat app is included with all 1x1 coaching programs.