Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Pipp TdG Power Data

I downloaded the WKO+ file for Frank Pipp's TdG ride on 4-22-08. There are several interesting things about the data. The first is that his race was divided into five distinct segments that are all very different. Frank Pipp is 5'9" 155, the same as me. If you're heavier, you'll need to consider that when looking at the power data. Frank has a FTP of 364 watts (5.2 watts/kg).

First, he spent the first 11 minutes just tooling around at 163 watts NP. They were probably doing the parade through town on the way out. 163 watts NP is a recovery day strolll wattage.

For the next 1 hour, 22 minutes, Frank was on "Break Duty" for Health Net. I guess he sat at the front and either tried to go with all breaks or chase down the ones he missed. His normalized power for this segment was 309 watts. For comparison, I'm a typical cat 4 and can hold 309 watts NP for about 40 minutes max. So this is more than I can do, but I ride with several cat 1s, 2s, and 3s who could do it as long as the peak power output was not a limiter - I don't think it would be.

Then Frank gets the long-awaited (I'm guessing here) message in his earpiece that he's off break duty and can chill for a while. And he really does chill. For the next 1 hour and 39 minutes, his normalized power is only 189 watts. Now, I'm fully aware of the power savings benefit of sitting in the pack, but this is really quite easy. I think my wife, Betty Jean, could do it. His wattage doesn't get over 300 watts very many times, even on a rolling course. They averaged 23 mph during that stretch, which seems high considering the wattage. Maybe he's just super efficient?

Then for the next hour the race begins to approach the finish, and Frank's NP is 248 and average speed is 25.2 mph (40 kph for y'all across the pond); that's a decent effort, but easier than solid tempo for a pro.

Then Mr. Pipp earns his money. For the final 24 minutes, his NP is 378 watts and his average speed is 29.5 mph (47.5 kph). That's why he rides for Health Net and my wife and I do not. That stretch included winning the KOM.

I think what interested me the most about looking at the power file was the difference in the various segments of the race and the clean transition from one to the next. Different duties, stuctured efforts. Quite unlike the stochasic, unorganized nature of my races.

TdG Wheel-Suck Power

From VeloNews:

What kind of power did it take for Health Net-Maxxis rider Frank Pipp to win the KOM jersey in stage 2 of the Tour of Georgia? According to his coach, Frank Overton, it took 874 watts or 12.5 watts/kg for 30 seconds. "Pipp jumped 100 meters before a 90-degree left hand turn (12 secs @ 948w) then gave it full gas for 873 watts for the next 15 seconds, accelerating all the way to the line, " Overton said.

Frank Pipp - 2008 Tour de Georgia

"For the first 60k & 80 minutes of the race, Frank was on break duty and tagged several moves for 309 normalized watts, which is tempo wattage for him.

As soon Justin England went clear, the speed of the peloton settled and Frank sat in the for an easy zone 2 ride of 220 watts for the next 21/2 hours.

Interesting. I'm surprised that it would only take 220 watts (NP, I assume - based on the above NP references) to sit in the TdG peloton for a 2.5-hour period, even if it was a slow section. That's easier than a typical 225-230 w NP, 5-hr Peach Peloton ride, and much easier than our 1.5-hr 275-watt Tuesday Worlds rides.

I'll download some of the WKO+ power files and take a closer look. If I find anything interesting, I'll post it here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Midyear Review

My 2008 training season started on November 1, so it's half time. With lots of power numbers flying around it can get tough sometimes to see the peleton for the cyclists. I think the clearest way to see long-term progress is by comparing mean maximal power (MMP) charts for two different periods. Below is a MMP chart comparing my MMP for the first 6 months of the 2007 season (dotted line) with my MMP for the first 6 months of this season (solid yellow line).

I've made progress across the board, but my improvement has been greatest for the short (less than 20 seconds) efforts. In that range, I've seen improvements of 130 to 190 watts. For most longer time intervals, my improvement has been in the 20 to 60 watt range.

Below the MMP chart, I have a mean maximal normalized power chart comparing the same periods. For time intervals less than about 50 minutes, I've improved my MMNP by 30 or 40 watts, which is significant. The fact that the increase in MMNP is bigger than the increase in MMP for the same time intervals means that I can recover more quickly than I could one year ago and put in another hard effort. But even out to the 4 and 5 hour ride duratoins, my increase is in the 25 to 30 watt range.

Chattanooga Race Report - two more podiums

We had a great weekend of racing in Chattanooga. Here's a summary:

Time Trial
Doug, Drew, Jake, and I represented Security Bank at the 5.6-mile rolling course located about 15 miles east of Chattanooga. It was sunny and cool. As I was warming up on the trainer, my tubular flatted on my disc wheel. Not good. But I borrowed a HED Jet 60 from Doug, so no major problem. The first 2 minutes of the TT were a steady 2 percent climb. I was the first Competitive rider to go off, so I caught a few ladies, but didn't feel all that fast. I finished 8th at 13:31. Jake had a good TT, placing 6th with a 13:18. Drew powered his non-aero road bike to a 14th place finish with 13:47.

I quickly returned my bike to the start where we adjusted the saddle up a little to fit Douglas and he started with his warmup. He'd been riding his Tarmac with short aero bars and we figured he'd do much better with an aero setup. Doug rode a 12:27 to finish 8th in Elite.

Four good starts to the weekend.

L-shaped fast course with open corners - very windy through the tall buildings with shifting directions and lots of hard gusts. Drew had a flat as he started to warm up. He fixed it and had a second flat, which he repaired just prior to the start. So he only had a 5-minute warmup. As we started and he went through turn 1, he felt a squishy rear tire and realized he had a 3rd flat. He was out of spare tubes and had to abandon the race.

I felt much better in this crit. I tried to stay in the front half of the group, which wasn't too difficult. Jake got in a little 3-man break early but was caught pretty quickly. For the next 20 minutes he stayed midpack. Then with 2 laps to go, Jake tore off the front at the finish line. He was making good progress and the chase was having trouble getting organized. Turn four is a left into what we called the wind tunnel. Lots of gusty wind. Jake took an aggressive turn and the wind hit him at the wrong time. He slid across the asphalt on his shoulder and landed sitting on the sidewalk, where I saw him as we rode by. The gusts hit us as we went by - so I knew immediately that the wind had played a role in his crash. I finished 22nd. Jake had more road rash to add to the prior weekend's barrier kiss, but no structural damage to body or bike.

Doug had a good mid-pack finish in his first Cat3 crit. Lots of riders were shelled from the race, and Doug finished comfortably in a pack that averaged over 30 mph.

We ordered some pitchers of beer and watched an exciting Pro-Am race with lots of tactical work by the Toshiba team. Chad had a very strong race in a very tough field.

Road Race
The cove route was twisty with lots of small rollers - a great and very scenic 22-mile course (we did two laps). It had one climb in the middle about like the Pate interstate climb, but maybe twice as long. It was about 45 degrees and breezy, we were cool at that start, but the sun warmed us up pretty quickly. The first half of the first lap had lots of braking, which sucked. Jake attacked at least once before the first climb but was brought back. We had a mid-pack crash that took down or stopped the back half of the field. I barely avoided it by veering into the left lane.

We hit the first climb and a group of maybe 20 riders clumped together at the front as we approached the top. I was a few meters off that group but feeling pretty good. I know Jake was in the front group and Drew was either in the front group or somewhere near me. I easily chased up the the group just over the top. On another long but less steep climb the guy in front of Drew and I went down and Drew had to stop, but he chased back on with no problem. Lucky for me, Drew handled the situation well and did not try to swerve around the crash (he would have taken us both down); he just stopped in front of it and waited for the traffic to clear. I think Jake attacked again at least once on the first lap, but I'm not sure. Every time he'd go, the riders around me would say "Damn, your buddy is doing it again!." He was truly playing Badger.

Jake attacked again early in the 2nd lap and was reeled in. He attacked again just before the climb with a Cannondale rider. A assos jersey rider bridged up to them just at the climb. Just as the group caught him, the assos rider's front Zipp 404 wheel came off and was rolling around in a little circle on the road. His front end dove into the road just in front of Drew, who swerved off the road to avoid him and almost was lost for good down a 30-foot cliff but recovered without stopping. Jake was obviously toasted from the attack efforts. I passed him on the climb like he was standing still. He was standing in his 39-25 and doing about 5 mph. I thought his day was over and I was sure he'd be very disappointed not to have finished in the front group after all the effort he'd put into the race. I thought to myself "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Drew put in a surge effort to join two or three others as the group was getting back together after the climb. I thought for a minute that he'd make it, but it was brought back. Five minutes later I heard another loud crash behind me on a descent as folks were trying to chase back on. A few minutes after that, I felt a little tap on my hip. It was Jake. He'd had a hard chase back to the group. He immediately moved back to the front and attacked again with 7 miles to go in the race.

At this point there were 20 riders in the front group, including me, Drew, and 3 or 4 Krystal riders. After winning some KOMs, the Krystal riders now had calculated that they had all three GC podium positions locked up. They knew Jake had lost time in the crit due to his crash. It was clear that they were racing to keep those spots. I don't know if Jake was using that to his advantage, but it worked. He killed himself to hold a 20-second gap for just about the entire last 7 miles. It would have opened up more, but twice there were bridge attempts by other riders that were pulled back by the Krystal team. I figured they were using Jake's gap to prevent other attacks, but as we neared the finish, they weren't closing down the gap to go for the win. I still don't know what their strategy was or if they had one. But if they were trying to win the race, they either didn't execute, had a bad plan, or just couldn't catch the Badger. Jake crossed the finish line with a 15-second gap to take the win! Drew took 7th and I took 12th.

Doug started his first Cat3 road race just after we finished. I don't have many details, but he attacked his field halfway through the first lap. Two other riders bridged up to him. They dropped one of the guys in the second lap, but Doug and the other rider held off the entire field for about 50 miles. Doug took 2nd place! He had a 3-minute gap over the field.

Eddie attacked a few times in his race, but could not get away. He finished 10th in the field sprint.

Doug took 2nd, I took 6th, and Jake took 9th in GC. Drew won't get a GC result due to his terrible luck with flats. Another strong weekend for Security Bank.