I have mixed feelings about how this race went. After being under the weather all week I felt pretty good this morning and prepared for the race per usual. A couple bowls of cereal three hours prior, an iced quad latte on the way to the race, a bottle of cold gatorade during warmup, and a chocolate GU at the start line.
I got in a half hour warmup and still felt pretty good. The first six miles were downhill with a tailwind and I planned to go out relatively easy, so I knew I would continue to warm up. I started pretty well and held a steady ~30 mph to the turn around and had my 30 second man behind me on my wheel.
I pushed pretty hard up the hill, but tried hard not to overcook it. I rode probably about 320 watts (very near threshold) during the uphill sections, and my HR topped out at 166, a beat or two above my threshold HR. At the halfway point I felt pretty good.
On the next downhill/downwind leg I took it relatively easy. As the speed pushed 35 mph, I think my not very aero setup hampered my progress somewhat and I was passed at this point by my 30 second man, and the last man on course (incidentally last year’s winner with one of the 10 fastest times) who started about two minutes behind.
As it should, the last uphill/upwind leg hurt. Badly. I felt the urge to burp, but up came a mouthful of gatorade and GU. The TT position is not friendly to stomach contents, I guess. I’m not sure of my average watts for the final leg, possibly around 290, but I held 320+ up the final hill for a minute or two and my HR was steady at 175-177. The highest I have seen this season was 179 for my VO2 Max test.
I had hoped for 53 minutes (26.7 mph), which would have put me in 7th place last year. I came in at 53:46 (26.3 mph) averaging ~290w for 14th place. I certainly rode as hard as I was capable of, which I am proud of.
However, I am not proud of the result and have been humbled by a group of more experienced, practiced, and better equipped riders.
I will update this post later tonight with power analysis and official results when available.
Power Analysis: Below is my pacing plan vs actual:
As you can see, I stuck to the plan until I couldn’t keep the pace for the last segment.
Some of my data supports an expected average in this range. My peak 6o minute power is almost identical to the TT (288 vs 287w). However, my hour record was set during a semi-steady state effort. In fact it was set with 20 minutes of rolling hills (237w) followed by a 40 minute climb (311w) which would suggest I would be capable of a higher average.
Some other data suggests a much higher expected average. My tested at 330w last month and my Normalized Power for the hour long crit I won with a solo break a couple weeks ago was 331w. Due to the small hill and corners on the course however, I was not pedaling 20% of the time off the front leaving my average power, again, 286w for the hour.
There are a few explanations for my lesser than maximum expected performance. Maybe I had a bad day after being sick all week. Or I could not produce as much power in my almost never practiced TT position. Perhaps although I have averaged 311w uphill for 40 minutes, I could not average 300w for 54 minutes. Lastly, the power demands of the TT are much more steady state than my Threshold Estimate Test or Normalized Power from a Criterium. Below you can see the differences in power by zone for an hour criterium and the 54 minute TT: (Note: Same average power for each)
Sorry for the long post but I think it gives some insight into the difficulties faced by a self coached athlete analyzing power data and predicting performance.