Monday, September 19, 2011

Planning for 2012 Fondo

This years Fondo was substantially slower than last year. 

By my estimates, looking at GPS logs and power files... The front peloton was 2-4 minutes slower than last year because of the headwind from Squamish to Whistler, and people NOT in the front peloton where slower by 5-8 minutes or more (proportionally longer the farther back you where...)

Compared to last year, the front peloton and all of the small groups of riders getting shelled off the peloton where kept together by the headwind. Last year there where break away riders who finished ahead of the main (small) peloton. And behind the peloton where lots of small groups that where stretched out.

This year the front peloton was much larger and stayed together (except for us shelled riders...) And the shelled riders couldn't do much except try and work in small groups. If you got off the front then typically your group quickly caught back on as you worked into the wind.

Looking at the two years... the first conclusion is that if you want to finish in under 4:00 hours, then you need to start with the main front peloton and stay with it for as long as possible. My estimate for this year is that if you stayed with them until Britannia and then continued on at your best pace you had a reasonable chance of getting in under 4:00.. 

The second conclusion is that staying with the front peloton requires maintaining a race pace in the main peloton. This year the average speed to Squamish was just over 36kph and we got there in about 1:50... 

The third conclusion is that the pace of the peloton is roughly Cat 3/4, but the distance overall means that most Cat 4 riders get shelled off leaving mostly Cat 3 riders at the finish.

The difference between riding in the peloton at that speed and in smaller groups following at lower speed is primarily the difference between racing and time trialing. Racing means low power output mostly while in the draft, but then moderately high anaerobic bursts to get up the hills. Time trialing mode means high aerobic output with low variation and little to no anaerobic work.

At a guess, in the peloton to Squamish, 160-200 typical, 400-450 up the short hills, 350-400 up the long hills. Overall average power about 210 watts. Outside the peloton, about 200-240 typical, 300-330 watts up the hills, overall 220 watts average.

So yes, probably lower "average" watts in the peloton... for higher speed. But the cost is lots of anaerobic matches being burnt.

My better numbers for this year came from precisely three things:
  • they neutralized us to the to of Taylor Way, I might have been able to stay with the peloton non-neutralized, but it would have been hard
  • lots of long hard rides with anaerobic training (the fun and friendly hills of Belcarra Park)
  • the Tuesday Crits, 12 reps of 50 second 450 watt intervals in 25 minutes... great way to build endurance, repeated weekly from May to September
Overall my 5 second power went from 820 watts last year to 920 this year.. attributable to the WTNC's..

I've signed up for next years Fondo already. The goal for next year is another 10 minutes off, under 3:40. To do that I need to hang with the peloton until about Daisy Lake or better (I lasted until Alice Lake this year.)

The difference in training for next year will be to switch to Cat 3 races (I've raced Cat 4 for years...) primary differences are slightly faster up the hills and more times up the hills. Typically Cat 3 should be 1-2kph faster and where Cat 4 races last about 1:30-2:00 Cat 3 races are 2:00-2:30. For a typical Spring series race that means 8-9 laps when the Cat 4 (C group) is doing 5-6.

Which probably means I'll get popped off the back, but overall it should get my 5 second and 1 minute power numbers up, and give me more endurance for them. 


Anonymous said...

Stuart, I just stumbled across your site and really appreciate the info you are mining/sharing. Keep it up and I'm looking forward to the wind working with me at next years WGF.-JB