Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Wall

There is one 'wall' know to the US peloton and it is located in Manayunk, a suburb of Philadelphia, and used in the Philadelphia International race. Once home of the US Professional Cycling Road Championships for over 20 years.

At a distance of 700 meters, elevation gain of 64 meters, and average of 9.2% it isn't the biggest, longest or steepest of hills. Going over the hill hard isn't to bad and you can make the effort in 2 minutes. As you can see in the race a lot of riders can make it over. Why don't they make it over later on in the race? Is it that the race is harder or fast over the climb? Surprising for the most part it isn't. It basically boils down to endurance as the last few times over the hill are at km markers 162, 184, 206, and 228. Not many races in the US are longer then 160. Anyone can feel like a rock star in the first 100km. Even the first few laps when it's fast over the top, you think to yourself I can do this all day. Different feeling sets in after 160kms.

Racing with a powermeter at this race for the previous 3 times I've down the race I am able to see this. Just take a look at this year for instance.

First two times over the wall:

1st Lap 2:16 minutes
420 watts

2nd Lap: 1:55 minutes
517 watts

Last two times:

9th Lap: 2:05min
423 watts

10th Lap: 2:14
396 watts

Well the rest of the race can get tough at times it is also important while in a long race to conserve. Well that is if your role is the finish. Those who put out the least amount of power early on, most likely can put out the most at the finish to help themselves or a teammate get in a winning situation. This year it was my goal to conserve towards the finish. How well did I conserve?

I spent 3hrs 25mins in my recovery zone (<200 watt) 54% of the race. That includes 1hr 17mins of not even pedaling.

In 2007 my role was to be more aggressive and I spent 35% of the race in and over my threshold zone and only 2hrs in recovery zone. Made for a long race and I didn't make it over the wall with the front group the last time over and I finished in the second group.

So here's the overall picture of the 2010 Philadelphia International.

Duration: 6:15:51 (6:16:35)
Work: 4305 kJ
TSS: 300.8 (intensity factor 0.695)
Norm Power: 250
VI: 1.31
Pw:HR: 4.88%
Pa:HR: 6.39%
Distance: 257.944 km
Elevation Gain: 1948 m
Elevation Loss: 1962 m
Grade: -0.0 % (-13 m)

Min Max Avg
Power: 0 853 191 watts
Heart Rate: 73 185 142 bpm
Cadence: 15 118 86 rpm
Speed: 0 178.1 41.2 kph
Pace 0:20 0:00 1:27 min/km
Altitude: 5 97 26 m
Crank Torque: 0 98.4 20.8 N-m

It's not always the overall scene that paints the picture of hard a race is. By the overall picture I've had much harder training rides. It's the little efforts in it that can make or break you. How much did you conserve? Can you make the same hard efforts that you did early on, later in the race? This is why teammates are so important.

Breeze On