Thursday, May 29, 2014

Course inspection and race Wemeldinge

Yesterdayevening I went for a little ride to inspect the BWF championship course for next Sunday. It's a course of a little over 5km with only 4 corners. It's a typical course for strong guys. Not really my type of course, but OK, we'll try to make the best of it. On the other hand, as you will see below my riding anaerobic and neuromuscular levels is not well developped (I never do such intervals) so maybe this course will suit me. Ride statistics: 1.30h AP 263, NP 273, TSS 108. I got soaking wet by the rain. Great!
Today I had a race in Wemeldinge (Amateur category). 60km on small stones in the center of Wemeldinge. A lot of cornering. Typical crit race I would say. I missed the decisive break (of 10) and I ended up 20th. Race statistics: 1.27h, AP 255, NP 292, TSS 121. So why did I write above that if I want to ride better in crits that I need to improve my anaerobic and neuromuscular capability? Below an example of 3 races I did this year:
Race 1: 1.12h, VI1.051, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, anaerobic 11 min, neuro 6 min
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP243, IF 0.854, anaerobic 4 min, neuro 12 min
Today's race: 1.27h,VI 1.145, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, anaerobic 9 min, neuro 15 min

As you can see the variability in this race was highest of all 3. I also spend 24 minutes in the anaerobic and neuromuscular zone. Race 2 was also quite variable but it was almost 30 min shorter and the NP was way lower. That race was very easy in terms of wattage and I did not suffer much.
In race 1 I felt a lot better although the AP were highest. Why? Because simply it was not so variable as compared to today's race. In this race I had the worst feeling so far but it can easily be explained by the amount of variability / the high amount of minutes spend in the anaerobic and neuromusular zones. I basically never train this so I can't expect to be good at this. And that is one of the factors that make a good crit rider: being good to ride anaerobically and neuromuscular (quickly riding away, rushes, etc.) (and of course you need a descent FTP otherwise you get dropped). Maybe train this more after my vacation after the Trois Ballons ride when putting more focus on some races.
I know that I can figure some out more by using W'balance in Golden Cheetah and I can see how many matches I burned during a race. I am however still looking for some proper documentation about this: how to set this information, look at the W balance graph and interpret the graph. In WKO+ 4 this will be called FRC (Functional Reserve Capacity). Hope to find some more info on this and specifically also for Golden Cheetah software.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Pinarello Dogma F8 2015

Pinarello just released the new Dogma 2015: It's called the Dogma F8 and as a Pina lover I just had to show this. Below is a picture. It's more aero (aeroseatstay and Aero fork) than the 65.1 Think 2 and 120grams lighter. Also the carbontype is different which is claimed to make it stiffer. Very nice bike, but I am already in love with my Think 2 65.1. Sorry Pinarello Dogma F8 2015.......

Trois Ballons 2014: Mister X, Mister Y, Mister Z and Mister R

To get a grasp of the wattage I need for the climbs in Trois Ballons to finish somewhere between 7.15 and 7.45 hours I tried to find some data to build upon. More specifically I wanted to have some reference of others on how fast they climbed and the watt/kg they needed for that. I agree there is more than just the climbs on a 213km cycloride (being in a group that rides in between the climbs), but quite some time is also spend on the way up the hills.
There are several ways you could calculate climbing times and the watts you need. One way is to use some only calculators such as you can find on for example BikeCalculator or Problem with these calculations is (apart from the fact that weather conditions (wind, etc.) can play a considerable role in climbing time) is that they do not take into account how the climb ascents and how your power is distributed over the climb. Another way would then be to ask a commercial party like would could take into account the climb profile and your estimated (or even ‘optimal’) watt distribution.

A more direct way is to ask people from which you know they have a powermeter (and have similar psychological characteristics like weight and FTP) and ended somewhere between those hours to send you their information. I did part of that, that is, I know from someone (Mister X), what is weight is, what his FTP is and at what wattage he climbed the climbs. Based on that I could extrapolate based on the watt/kg he produced to my own wattage (given my own weight).
Now, the main ‘problem’ with Mister X is that he ended in the top 20 and I will not ;) So, in terms of calculating from his watt/kg to my wattage is OK, but would not tell me anything about my time (simply because I am not going to climb at his watt/kg). Otherwise I could calculate how many watts I need to ride the same times (Note, all other factors like coefficient of drag, bike weight , weather conditions (wind), etc. being equal). Is he a reference? Only for illustration purposes to show you what you need to end up in the top 20 (more specifically between 10-20) of a cyclo.

I did not stop with my ‘search’ to get some proxy’s to make a decent estimate only by looking at Mister X (and adjusting my times upwards of course). I also looked at Strava to see if I could find some more people who rode Trois Ballons with a powermeter (you can see that by looking at the ‘lightning strike’ next to the power) and finished between 7.15h and 7.45h. From one guy I know his FTP (350) ( Mister Y) but not his weight and for one other (Mister Z) I only know his wattages from the Strava segments (but by looking at his picture I can get a good grasp of what he weighs (I hope ;).

Mister Y gives me another opportunity to –at least calculate if 7.45h is possible- the watt/kg which is needed for that. Based on Mister Y (who actually did the race in around 7.45h) I can – without knowing his weight- deduct from his intensity of the climbs (climb wattage / FTP wattage) my needed wattage and hence my watt/kg. Now another small problem occurs however. Mister X had a major breakdown in the middle of the race because he did not hydrate himself well enough (he lost his bottles).

I took all the Strava segments of the Trois Ballons and deleted the most obvious ones, because sometimes you have several intermediate segments on the climbs and I am also not interested in the descents. More than probably I did not delete all, but as you will see I will also illustrate some of the ‘fall’ in wattage during a cyclo. Note: these guys are NOT the average cyclo rider in a sense that these guys actually ride as fast (the race) as they can instead of finishing with a goal like finishing, gold, silver or bronze.

Below is the graph which shows you at what intensity the climbs were done. As said this does contain overlapping Strava segment climbs, but when you plot them all overtime (that is chronologically after one another) you get a good grasp of the ‘intensity curve’ (basically I divided the average watts by FTP).

 What strikes the eye is that the trend of the intensity goes downward, most noticeable for Mister Y. Mister X (top 20 rider) remained most stable I would say while Mister Z did seem to finish strongly, i.e. relatively started to perform better at the end compared to the others. In the middle of the ride you see a difference between X and Z with X showing much higher intensity. Mister Y then had his breakdown due to dehydration. You also see that both 3 riders put it high intensities in the beginning of the ride. From the times they rode I can see that they were trying to keep up with the first riders (with the first big effort being Col des Chevreres). It’s basically the strategy for most competitive riders: stay in front as long as you can and then see where it ends. There will probably be more people who drop and you can make a nice group and still have a descent ride. Till halfway you see that Mister X stays at at least 90% intensity.
Below you see the watt/kg for some specific Strava Segments:


Mister X is (as expected) almost continuously above the other in terms of watt/kg. See what it takes to end op 10-20? Somewhat between 4.5 and 5 watt/kg. And (something you do not see here) is a lot of practice because if you look at riders in the first 20 most of them have an extensive experience in riding these rides. You rarely see first contenders who end up high (or it is an elite/pro rider of course). My current FTP is slightly above 4.7 watt/kg which is nice, but not enough (let alone no experience, nor priority number) to compete properly.

As far as my own time estimates are concerned. I used the intensities that Mister Y rode and then calculated back to my watt/kg. I also added some time on some climbs since I doubt I will be able to ride at those intensities. In the first 100km probably yes, after that I think not. I hope to be able to keep the intensity to ride up the Grand Ballon (around 110km) properly. After that I will see what happens ;) You can see below my estimates

As for my ride time in total I still hope to be able to finish between 7.15 and 7.45 with time being closer to 7.45 than 7.15. One thing that bothers me however is that I am not starting in the front group (I have number somewhere in the 700s) and so I will not have a nice reference in front of me. Also in the parts between the climbs I do fear not to be in a nice group that rides. So, if there is anyone out there reading this with a nice ambition without a priority number, please contact me so we can maybe ride together!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Special delivery from Italy: Some new stuff

Got the new 3t aerotundo ltd in today. Newest of the newest handlebar from 3t. This 3t aerotundo ltd has the "traditional" drop and a longer reach. And I love riding in that position. And it's aero.

Looks great as far as I 'm concerned!!! Later this week a new update on some ride time calculations / estimates for Trois Ballons. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Do not only look at the stem

In terms of training it was not a very great week. I couldn't push the watts I wanted on the rides I wanted. Also a 2x20 minute ride on the Kurt let to nothing because I overcooked again. On Sunday did a nice endurance ride of approx. 135km. From now on to Trois Ballons it's FTP and Tempo month.

Also another test ride with the Dogma convinced me there had to be more than just a short stem. After an other measurement it turned out that the reach of the handlebar is about 2,5 cm shorter!! So, it's not just the stem. Always make sure you also check that when buying a new bike!!!

In potential it is a very nice bike to ride and when everything is OK I will do some aerotesting using the Virtual Elevation Method. See, how that goes. 

By the way: If you want more information on stems ask Chris: