Newton Heights - A Race Course In Numbers
Riding with a power meter can help put things in perspective.
So does riding Newton Heights! (One of the local weekly road race courses. Short, hilly course.)
There's really no hiding, and where the number of laps = Z, it's Z x [big anaerobic efforts].
I rode a few laps with the pack tonight, and then off the back, to get some baseline numbers.
A typical lap with the pack sees about 1min of climbing, and my wattage (at ~165lbs, plus a slightly heavier winter bike with fenders) was ~500w for that kind of effort.
It looks a bit like this: 650w for the first 22 seconds to get to the top of the steep bit, and then ~440w for the other 28 second. (There's about 10 seconds of easier climbing [like 300-400w] that you roll into at speed at the start.)
As the watts go down, so does the time to complete the climb..350w takes more like 1:30 to do. About 26 seconds still above 500w on the steep bit, and the other minute closer to 280w.
Watts will vary for weight, but that's a good baseline.
Watt It Means (har har)
Completing this course in the upper levels of the A pack requires being able to hold 500w efforts for 1min 15 times.
In universal terms that's about 6.9w/kg for 1min efforts.
Oh Yes - Recovery
Oh, and recovery. Typical lap times are just over 2mins, so you have 1min to recover...half is a coast down the hill, unlikely to see much race action there, but on the other side there could be attacks leading to the hill, so even if you can sustain the above, you *still* need to have something in the tank to respond to other efforts. Or if someone goes even harder up the hill. Etc. Etc.
What This Means If You're The Shish
Stay the frell* home!!!
My peak 1min power is 540w. As in: i ride as hard as i can for 1min, and it's gonna be around 540w. And then i puke a few times, and get towed home with my ass in a sling. (Okay, slight exaggeration, but definitely need significant recovery after that type of effort.)
I just don't have the engine to compete with my peers at this event, straight-up, and there's nothing i can do about it (ie, hide in the draft). I can manage the slower 1:30 pace, but that's pretty much red line, and not a lot of fun, as i'm getting caught every 4 laps or so, and too fatigued to stand any chance of sitting back in...
It's an exercise in futility, if VCL points are the goal, and more than 10 riders complete the race. ;)
* bonus points to anyone who actually knows the reference
Today a good riding friend, Gillian Carleton, was smucked by a car (sounds like a similar situation to me a couple months ago, but apparently at a higher speed) and she'll need a few weeks to recover. This is really sad and frustrating news as she was really picking up speed, and had her sights set on storming a few big events (and she would have dominated!!) as well as organizing the OBB women's team; hopefully this doesn't hold her back, and i hope to see her back on her feet pronto.
Heal up quick, Gillian!! =)
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