Posts tagged ‘power’
We are nearing the end of Week 3 of the second annual Birmingham Strava Shootout. Basically, we pick a different climb each week and then see who can get the fastest time up the climb. Mark Fisher has been crushing it (and crushing a lot of my KOMs along the way) so when he laid down another smoking fast time yesterday crushing by 20 seconds my KOM on the long version of the Smyer climb, I knew that I was going to give it everything I had to get back the KOM today.
I did a new version of the endless Vestavia climb at a really easy pace to get nearly an hour of warm-up in before my KOM attempt. I came into the KOM from the top so I dropped all my stuff off (water bottles, tools, pump, food, iphone, etc…) behind the rock shown in the picture above. Then I drilled it down the descent to keep my legs loose and ready to go at the turnaround at the bottom. I forgot to look ahead of time to see what wattage I should be able to maintain for 6 minutes, but I guessed it should be around 425 watts. I made the final decision on that wattage as I was descending and kept telling myself not to go too hard at the beginning.
As narrated in the video, I started out by looking at the wrong wattage number (3s wattage which happened to be 370watts at the moment when I looked instead of the Lap wattage which was actually 470 watts at that point). After I figured out that I had looked at the wrong wattage number, I settled into a good rhythm backing off my initial pace so that the power average drifted back down towards 425 watts. The last time I looked at my wattage was near the Brookwood Metro back entrance road where the wattage average had dropped to just below 450 watts. I looked at my average speed a few seconds later as I turned onto Smyer and I had a solid 18.8mph average through that point. This gave me a ton of motivation because I was expecting to be closer to 18 flat and was afraid that I would even be under 18 based on the fact that I was trying to be more conservative through the opening part of the climb.
Up ahead I could see two other riders side by side as they entered the switchback portion of the climb. I was on them really quickly and had to pass them on the wrong side of the road because there was no time to yell and wait for them to get out of the way. Fortunately, I had a clear view through the switchback and was able to pass them very quickly and get back onto my side of the road. There was a good tailwind through the 280 overlook section so I entered the flat section before the next set of switchbacks with a ton of speed. I got a bit overconfident at this point as I tried to hammer through the next switchbacks in too big a gear leading to quite a bit of bogging down. I upshifted into an easier gear at the Hurricane Ivan landslide/washout area to try to get back on top of a gear and proceeded to nail the deepest pothole in the washout.
I happened to look down and see my time as I rounded the last turn before the straightaway leading to Shades Crest, and I saw a time of 4:00 or maybe it was 4:05. This caused a lot of mental anxiety/consternation because up until that point I felt really good about my prospects of getting the KOM, but when I saw that I was already up to 4 minutes, I wasn’t sure if that was going to leave me enough time to get to the top. I don’t normally ever look at the time through that section so I had no clue how much time was left in the climb. Those thoughts/doubts were quickly dismissed as I saw a group of riders strung out climbing up from the steep portion of Shades Crest Rd crossing the intersection that I was barreling towards at 20mph. Normally, you have to time the merger to slide into the road either in front of or behind cars that are coming up the hill. The still image screenshot in the video at the top of this post is a picture of that intersection (Shades Crest is the road coming up the hill from the left).
If I wasn’t digging so deep, then I probably would have laughed at the irony of having to time that intersection based on riders coming up the hill instead of cars. I found a hole to dive into and then passed the rider who I had slid in behind. He cheered me on as I came flying by, and that helped motivate me to push it really hard through the sharp steep turn onto Smyer Circle and then the flatter drawn-out ending of the climb. When I hit the lap timer button, I saw 5’55” and I was about ready to fall off my bike.
It’s funny, too, because I was really trying to discipline myself to maintain a 425 watt average throughout the climb instead of starting out too hard and then watching the power drift down. I ended up hitting my 425 watt target wattage exactly even though I cannot recall ever looking at my wattage again after passing the Brookwood Metro entrance. Speaking of wattage, when I loaded this ride into Golden Cheetah, I first noticed that my effort was indeed a new maximum that extended all the way to the edge of the critical power curve. But then I noticed that my CP curve had been dropped from 305 watts down to 293 watts. I’m guessing that this has something to do with a better fit to the curve. The good news is that this shift in the curve means that I theoretically have a lot of “wattage-room” to take back the shorter KOMs on Old Montgomery and Big Momma that Mark got the last couple weeks. But it seems strange that my new curve predicts a new, lower 1 hour wattage of exactly 300watts instead of the previous prediction of 315watts based on the new 293 CP wattage vs the old 305 CP wattage. Can any power/golden cheetah/critical power experts out there weigh in on how this ride would cause my curve to shift? I’ve included three screenshots below that show my CP curve before updating with the Old Montgomery KOM effort, after updating with the Smyer effort, and then one that shows the CP curve with today’s Smyer effort in black before Golden Cheetah had updated the CP curve. Thanks!
Smyer KOM lap summary data (click to enlarge). I thought it was interesting that my xPow (normative power) was lower than my average power. I’m pretty sure I was pedaling the entire time so I’m not sure why there is a difference between normalized power and average power?
Finally, I’ve posted screenshots from the ride and also taken some screenshots from the video showcasing the beautiful fall colors. These are in the gallery below. Enjoy!
My attempt at the Alabama State Time Trial last week shortly after having some pretty bad food poisoning went really poorly. I had been looking forward to comparing my time with what I had done two years ago, so today I put my clip-on bars back onto the bike and swapped out to my Reynolds Wheels so that I could try again. I picked a relatively flat route to get all the way out there to Columbiana since it was going to be a long ride in the heat. But showers this morning, cloudy skies, and rain still in the air brought the temp way down to 70s and 80s for most of the ride.
When I finally made it out to the high school, I put my foot down on the start line, hit the lap button and took off. I initially set a target wattage of 300 watts, but I felt good and kept the average (including the initial surge from the start line) closer to 325 watts for the first few miles. Watts were gradually dropping from my average as I tried to keep my current wattage close to 300 on the flatter sections and 400+ on the steep rollers. On the downhills, though, I didn’t want to spin like crazy so I just let the power drop to the low 200s.
At the turnaround, I still had a 310 watt average and 24.5mph speed average so that gave me confidence to push it hard on the way back to keep a 300+ watt average for my effort. I ended up setting a half hour’s worth of power records along the way. My time ended up being just over 58 minutes, which I believe would have put me into 3rd or 4th place in the Pro/1/2 category. Definitely redeems the miserable 1 hour, 17 minute effort last week.
This course is really a great time trial course for criterium racers b/c you can take advantage of the steep hills to use your upper body strength and give your legs a bit of a break. And since you are only going 10-15mph on the steeper hills, the aerodynamic penalty of rocking the bike back and forth doesn’t matter so much. Of course, if you have a disc wheel, large front chainring and full aero setup, you might be able to carry enough momentum on the steep downhills to top out some of the rollers.
Heartrate summary for today’s tt effort
And finally, some Garmin screenshots from the ride including the lap summary screen with different stats shown … (and my TT position setup, which is the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in a time trial so I wanted to take some pics to remember how to set it up like this again in a couple weeks for the Georgia Cycling Gran Prix time trial)
Today’s BBL was quite a ride … Strava marked it in the “Extreme” category, and I set two new power records. Ironically, they both came in the first attack zone where I went too early and got caught in the last 50m before the line. The power map is quite colorful in the attack zones where you can see some of the tactics playing out. Here are the graphs!
Here is the link to the ride data on strava – http://app.strava.com/rides/3338627
What a beautiful fall day today with temps never even making it out of the 60s! I had set aside today to take back a KOM that is one of my favorites here in Birmingham – the Vandiver KOM climb. So after Analise’s soccer game this morning, I headed out on what would turn into one of the funnest training rides of the year. I started out pretty easy to the point of actually getting passed by somebody on the Dolly Ridge climb. You have to understand riding in Birmingham to know that it is entirely possible to do an 85 mile ride on a Saturday and not see a single other person riding, so to encounter another cyclist less than two miles from my house, and to be passed by that person was a bit of a shock. It took quite a bit of discipline to continue on up the climb at an easy tempo and let whoever it was ride away up the climb.
I headed up Dolly Ridge, did the tornado loop in reverse, down through the Colonnade, out Sicard Hollow to Rex Lake over Bailey eventually to Elliot and up the first of the ridges where the photo at the top of this post was taken a few years ago. I climbed up the steep side of Vandiver at a nice steady tempo, headed down the descent, turned around at the bottom and headed back up to try and break my teammate Paul Tower’s KOM time. I couldn’t remember his time exactly, but I knew if I was close to 6 minutes that I would beat it. I started out in my big chainring thinking that I would switch to my little chainring towards the middle of the bottom steep part of the climb. Instead, I found that I was nearly over the steep part before losing all of my momentum from my initial surge at the bottom. I decided to power through the last remaining steep part at the bottom in my big ring to avoid having to shift down and then back up again. This worked well because my speed never dropped below 15mph so I entered the less steep part of the climb carrying some momentum and was able to accelerate back up to nearly 20mph by the middle flatter part of the climb. I started to fade again towards the switchback at the top, but I used this switchback to push myself to the top thinking of the Tour de France commercial about the temporal nature of pain.
The rest of the ride flew by, and I ended up setting KOMs on Bailey Rd, Grants Mill into nasty headwind, and Big Spring, so by the end of the ride I was completely drained. But the main highlight for the latter part of the ride was setting a new all-time max VAM of 2031 m/hr on the short, steep 0.5mi Big Spring Cat 4 climb. I double-checked the elevation and it is recorded correctly (no atmospheric drift) 300ft in just 0.5mi for an average gradient of 11.6%. I averaged 10.9mph, 417 watts for the super steep section with my weight at this point of the ride probably down to around 140 pounds and 12.9mph by the top of Smyer Circle. I can’t even count how many times I have ended a hard training ride at the top of Smyer Circle knowing that I can just cruise on home from there! I was out of food and hungry, though, so I kept on pushing to get home and ran into John Karrasch heading the other way to the crest of Vestavia Dr on his mountain bike as I was heading down.
Another highlight on the latter part of the ride was a first ascent of Oakdale via a crazy climbing route I mapped out last night that has nearly 1000 ft of climbing, one 27% section, a couple other 20% sections, and a couple very fast roller coaster sections.
And the final highlight of the ride was making it back home to find my son and daughter playing with chalk on the front sidewalk with a friend and to have them so happily welcome me home!
Here are some of the data highlights from the ride:
Interactive data from this ride is available on Strava: http://app.strava.com/rides/1821635
Excellent course in downtown Dahlonega. Excellent way to end the season winning three primes, although I repeated my Pepper Crit mistake from 2008 of confusing the last lap of the race with the suicide prime. I thought we still had one lap to go and was going to forego the suicide prime in favor of an attack on the hill to try to win the field sprint. Unfortunately, it was actually the last lap! Oh well, that mistake lit a fire under me for the 2009 season so I am hoping this bodes well for a really good 2012 season!
While the course in downtown Dahlonega was an excellent technical course, it made for some goofy Strava lap times as the laps overlapped each other. I tried my best to pick out the lap splits, but I think there may be a couple missing laps. I goofed up the final sprint thinking that the bell lap was for the suicide prime when it was actually the final lap. I was all ready to attack on the hill for the last lap but realized that the race was over … what a sinking feeling. Also, my heartrate monitor has been acting up and it took a few laps before it started picking up the correct heartrate.
NAME DIST SPEED POWER HR TIME NOTE Lap 1 0.5 mi 23.3 mph 364 watts 115 bpm 0:01:23 Bad HR Lap 2 0.5 mi 26.2 mph 269 watts 115 bpm 0:01:14 Bad HR Lap 3 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 301 watts 114 bpm 0:01:16 Bad HR Lap 4 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 268 watts 112 bpm 0:01:12 Bad HR Lap 5 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 259 watts 125 bpm 0:01:19 Bad HR Lap 6 0.5 mi 27.7 mph 310 watts 182 bpm 0:01:10 Bad HR Lap 7 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 169 watts 166 bpm 0:01:19 HR OK Lap 8 0.5 mi 24.2 mph 265 watts 164 bpm 0:01:20 Lap 9 0.5 mi 27.3 mph 414 watts 172 bpm 0:01:11 Lap 10 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 250 watts 180 bpm 0:01:16 Lap 11 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 269 watts 170 bpm 0:01:19 Lap 12 0.5 mi 28.1 mph 349 watts 180 bpm 0:01:09 Lap 13 0.5 mi 27.7 mph 444 watts 183 bpm 0:01:10 $100 Prime Lap 14 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 305 watts 189 bpm 0:01:12 Chasing Lap 15 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 317 watts 186 bpm 0:01:15 Chasing Lap 16 0.5 mi 23.9 mph 268 watts 178 bpm 0:01:21 Chasing Lap 17 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 220 watts 174 bpm 0:01:17 Caught Lap 18 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 240 watts 168 bpm 0:01:19 Lap 19 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 230 watts 167 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 20 0.5 mi 21.5 mph 153 watts 161 bpm 0:01:30 Lap 21 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 294 watts 165 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 22 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 251 watts 184 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 23 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 329 watts 180 bpm 0:01:16 Lap 24 0.6 mi 24.5 mph 236 watts 173 bpm 0:01:19 Lap 25 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 203 watts 169 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 26 0.5 mi 26.2 mph 266 watts 165 bpm 0:01:14 Lap 27 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 291 watts 176 bpm 0:01:17 Lap 28 0.5 mi 27.3 mph 404 watts 181 bpm 0:01:11 $50 Prime Lap 29 0.5 mi 22.0 mph 177 watts 179 bpm 0:01:28 Lap 30 0.5 mi 24.8 mph 266 watts 169 bpm 0:01:18 Lap 31 0.5 mi 28.5 mph 261 watts 170 bpm 0:01:08 Lap 32 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 246 watts 171 bpm 0:01:12 Lap 33 0.5 mi 26.2 mph 216 watts 167 bpm 0:01:14 Lap 34 0.5 mi 27.7 mph 285 watts 171 bpm 0:01:10 Lap 35 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 225 watts 171 bpm 0:01:17 Lap 36 0.5 mi 28.5 mph 386 watts 180 bpm 0:01:08 $50 Prime Lap 37 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 217 watts 181 bpm 0:01:17 Lap 38 0.5 mi 22.5 mph 235 watts 175 bpm 0:01:26 Lap 39 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 243 watts 166 bpm 0:01:16 Lap 40 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 245 watts 168 bpm 0:01:12 Lap 41 0.5 mi 28.5 mph 282 watts 167 bpm 0:01:08 Lap 42 0.5 mi 31.7 mph 525 watts 182 bpm 0:01:01 Missed $150 More laps???
What a fun experience to ride the Six Gap Century 15 years after I first rode it in 1996. Fifteen years ago, there were about 200 riders assembled at the North Georgia College campus gymnasium to head out of town to tackle six mountains. On the very first climb, we rode from a sunny valley up into the fog and I still remember thinking maybe this is what it feels like to climb L’Alpe du Huez. Fifteen years later, yesterday, thousands of riders assembled at the North Lumpkin Co High School parking lot to tackle the same climbs. I’ll write up more about how the ride went yesterday and post a race report from the crit Saturday night later, but I wanted to go ahead and post all the data from the ride. As a quick summary, I ended up crossing the line together with Jimmy Schurman (Chemstar) in a few minutes over 5 hours after Mike Stone (Hincapie Devo) flatted on the Unicoi Gap descent taking him out of our three-man group established halfway up the first climb (Neels Gap). Click on each image below for a zoomed in view, all graphs are smoothed at 30 seconds from Golden Cheetah:
INTERVAL/POWER DATA SUMMARY IN THE IMAGE BELOW:
What a great day for Tria Cycling! My teammate Pat Allison took the win from a 2-man break hopefully moving up into the top 10 on the GC based on the time differential and time bonuses on offer for the stage. Another teammate, Sammy Flores, took the field sprint for 3rd place in the race. I was just two spots behind him for 5th place in the crit wrapping up a 5th place overall in the GC. I also won a prime for a Park Tool Bike Stand with about 8 laps to go.
The race started out interestingly as the rider to my left slipped off his pedal trying to clip in and plowed into my foot with his foot and then into my rear wheel with his front wheel. This is why it is so important to make sure your rear skewer is pointed correctly up the seat stay so that another riders wheel and/or spoke doesn’t get caught in the skewer and pull you down. Fortunately, I don’t believe there was any damage to my wheel, but I went from the third row near the front to near the back of the pack by the first turn. The course was really wide, however, and I had moved back up to the front by near the end of the second lap.
By the start of the fourth lap, I was in a good position to attack to try to bridge across to a small break that had gone up the road on the second or third lap. I attacked hard through the start/finish going into the first turn. I nearly lost it over the bricks but recovered to find myself with three chase group companions – Tim Reagan (Herring Gas), Michael McBrien (Subaru), John Hart (Friends of the Great Smokies). We were joined half a lap later by another rider who had bridged across. We worked well together and stayed away for almost 4 laps averaging 27.5mph along the way. Kristine got this video of a couple of the laps of that early break:
Behind us, there was a hard chase by the GC contenders who didn’t want to see me get up the road to get time back that I had lost in the time trial the day before. Once we were caught, my teammate Pat Allison launched a strong attack that was perfectly timed, but there was still too many people fresh and the field brought it back each time. The next few laps saw a few attacks being brought back. Then Pat launched a nice solo move through the start/finish. Another rider from Velobrew was either already up the road or saw the move and bridged across to Pat. It was a bit confusing because some riders were already being lapped and weren’t being pulled from the course. So it was hard to tell who was up the road from the field and who was being lapped. In any case, Pat eventually merged with the Velobrew rider and the two of them worked to establish a 47 second lead. With lap times of just over 1’30”, they were halfway around the course to lapping the field before our pace picked up in the field.
John Hart (FGS) attacked several times to try to get away and chase, but each move was brought back by GC contenders intent on conserving their lead. The field pace was slow because of the short attacks and catches. But then there were a few attacks from GC contenders that saw our pace ramp way up as I and others chased them down. Shortly after these attacks, the promoters rang the bell for the park bike stand as a field prime. Nobody attacked throughout the course so coming down the straightaway before the last turn, I attacked hard (1088watts) up the inside. I thought for sure somebody in the field would have grabbed my wheel to go for the prime so as I sprinted full speed to the finish line I was crossing the gap to my teammate up the road. By the time I made it to the finish line, I already had nearly a 10 second gap with the field just making the turn around the final corner.
At this point, I debated for a second that maybe I should try to finish the bridge to my teammate. I quickly realized, though, that the field would chase hard until I was caught possibly leading it all to come back together before the end. I didn’t want to spoil a nearly certain win given our strongest sprinter in a two-man break so I sat up to let the field catch me as quickly as possible. This worked perfectly because our pace dropped in the field and the break’s gap grew again. Only a couple laps later, the officials announced 5 laps to go, and our pace jumped up again. Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) got away with one other rider ahead of the field. It wasn’t until coming out of the final corner going into the final sprint that we caught them. I made sure to stay as close to the front as possible, which turned out to be really good because there were two crashes on the final lap. Kristine got this awesome video of the finish of the race with Pat taking a clear win, my teammate Sammy winning the field sprint, and me taking 5th.
Here is the lap data from Strava -
NAME DIST SPEED POWER TIME COMMENT Lap 1 0.7 mi 24.4 mph 224 watts 0:01:45 Lap 2 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 199 watts 0:01:42 Lap 3 0.7 mi 25.8 mph 244 watts 0:01:39 Lap 4 0.7 mi 28.4 mph 371 watts 0:01:30 EARLY BREAK Lap 5 0.7 mi 27.8 mph 305 watts 0:01:32 Lap 6 0.7 mi 26.9 mph 277 watts 0:01:35 Lap 7 0.7 mi 26.1 mph 259 watts 0:01:38 Lap 8 0.7 mi 24.8 mph 195 watts 0:01:43 Lap 9 0.7 mi 28.4 mph 302 watts 0:01:30 Lap 10 0.7 mi 27.2 mph 341 watts 0:01:34 Lap 11 0.7 mi 27.2 mph 283 watts 0:01:34 Lap 12 0.7 mi 23.5 mph 171 watts 0:01:49 Lap 13 0.7 mi 24.1 mph 178 watts 0:01:46 Lap 14 0.7 mi 25.8 mph 261 watts 0:01:39 Lap 15 0.7 mi 24.8 mph 212 watts 0:01:43 Lap 16 0.7 mi 22.4 mph 157 watts 0:01:54 Lap 17 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 217 watts 0:01:42 Lap 18 0.7 mi 24.6 mph 216 watts 0:01:44 Lap 19 0.7 mi 23.0 mph 135 watts 0:01:51 Lap 20 0.7 mi 25.6 mph 243 watts 0:01:40 Lap 21 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 211 watts 0:01:42 Lap 22 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 230 watts 0:01:42 Lap 23 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 277 watts 0:01:36 Lap 24 0.7 mi 29.4 mph 387 watts 0:01:27 BIKESTAND PRIME Lap 25 0.7 mi 26.1 mph 356 watts 0:01:38 Lap 26 0.7 mi 21.9 mph 200 watts 0:01:57 Lap 27 0.7 mi 25.3 mph 208 watts 0:01:41 Lap 28 0.7 mi 23.2 mph 160 watts 0:01:50 Lap 29 0.7 mi 23.9 mph 183 watts 0:01:47 Lap 30 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 249 watts 0:01:36 Lap 31 0.7 mi 27.5 mph 285 watts 0:01:33 Lap 32 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 247 watts 0:01:36 Lap 33 0.7 mi 29.7 mph 385 watts 0:01:26