Monday, 10 April 2017

Averaging the average; hell is for heroes.

I did some retrospective examining of last weeks long ride and put together some data which I found very interesting but also slightly puzzling though I feel that the answers on time gained and time lost are held within a. the use of power over a long ride and b. hitting the unexpected Blackdown hill climbs. Last years ride of the same venture and this years ride break down as such -

Ride A 2016

10 miles 51.52

20 miles 1.31

30 miles 2.11

40 miles 2.54

50 miles 3.37

60 miles 4.15

Ride B 2017

10 miles 42.14

20 miles 1.22

30 miles 2.01

40 miles 2.52

50 miles 3.39 (two minutes down - hills taking effect).

60 miles 4.21

The interesting data is that I was a mere 2 minutes up at 40 miles, but the caveat being that I left Bristol way later in the day last year and effectively rode full gas from the get go even though the fitness and form was not quite there due to the late depart. I was also riding a little bit panic stricken as I knew I was going to lose the light hence going to Taunton to get on a train, rather than completing the ride. I was doing a there and back on the same day but the motorway going up was hellish. The 50 miles difference is a surprise though this is why data comparison ends at 60 miles. There was a cat 4 climb leaving Low Ham which again would have made the difference between climbing and riding tempo westward on the flat. 6 minutes down at 60 miles though I had a couple of map reference stops and a food break. I always find a section on an endurance ride where I sort of zone out and just ride probably losing time, but enjoying the bike. Oddly on ride b. sixty miles is where the hills started ramping up on ride a and this will of no doubt had an effect on an endurance ride.

But, all things being equal I do feel that the use of zone 1 and 2 with power paid off on last weeks ride as I was very very fresh and strong riding into Exeter at 85 miles + rather than spent, had I misused my effort and gone tempo or moderate for longer which I likely did last year. It is the old turtle and the hair scenario on the bike with oneself but there is no doubt that the road across to Taunton from Ilminster was hugely easier last year as largely flat going across country, skimming the Blackdowns. Another thing to factor in that I am back on a race bike and whilst I do not buy into accumulated seated fatigue when on the bike, it may come to pass that as per the press hyperbole, you do indeed get quicker and stay fresher on an endurance bike further into the ride. Perhaps however, I just went a tad too slowly for the first 40 miles keeping my powder dry for the long haul. Food for thought though worth remembering that the difference between the metric 100 (60ish miles) and 100 miles on a bike is massive so riding smart, alone takes precedent.

I do enjoy using data and analysis and as ever proof in the pudding is timing for betterment and when I do this ride again I would be looking at improved dividends without over doing it. I would be looking for a faster time and likely use the same route, but go straight out of Chard to Honiton via the A30 decent rather than the multiple climbs I faced leaving Chard the 'backway'. It felt like I went up Haytor 5 times. If you look at the image below, 5 cat 4 climbs within 65 miles to 80 miles chart shows the 5 peaks that topped out at 900 - 1000 feet approx 5 times before heading down into Honiton. I have no idea how pro's do it. In the words of Stone Cold Steve Austin...."Hellacious"

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