Monday, May 3, 2010

Zero to the numbers

I recently signed up for, which is a very cool website that tracks your bike rides and allows you to compare them...both with your other rides and with other riders.  It has a cool feature where it takes your GPS data and automatically computes your times and power outputs for various segments, like climbs.

So, I just uploaded more than a year of files from my Garmin, and I can see very easily how I have improved, and how I stack up against other local riders who are on the system.  Of course, right now while there are not yet a lot of other riders on Strava, I look great.  I am the King of the Mountain for the Marshall Wall!  Suck on that, beyotches!

What is very cool, and super easy to do relative to other websites like TrainingPeaks, is to map your progress.  Take the Hwy 1 climb from the Pelican, for example.....
It is clear that all the miles I have been riding seem to be helping with fitness.  This would be more scientific if I pushed all out on this climb every time, but it usually comes at the end of a long ride.  I tend not to slack on it, though.

We can see that my wattage has steadily improved and my times have plummeted.  Interestingly, the top 2 entries show the power of weight.  They may also show that I am not getting aerobically any better, but more on that later.  In August 2009, I was probably 4kg heavier than I am now.  There is an old saw in the pro peloton that 1kg is 30 seconds over a 30 min climb.  The 2 entries show the same average heart rate and power, but 40 seconds faster over the climb.  That is exactly what you would expect based on 10 seconds per 10 mins of climbing.  Looking at this makes it really tempting to become a weight weenie.

So, I am not getting any fitter?  Well, looking at another climb shows that all is going well on that front.  There is no way to go easy up Panoramic from Stinson, and I tend to always do it at threshold.
On this climb, we see a nice progression.  Not sure why I avoided it for almost a year...actually, I know hurts.  The latest time is a bit weird in that the power is the same, my weight should be the same, and yet I was almost a minute faster.  One explanation is that the most recent effort was on my Time, which is stiffer, lighter, and most importantly, has a slightly more conservative power meter.  The power for Apr 15 is (under)estimated by Strava...I was riding the Corvid prototype that day.  

By the way, the little dots on the elevation profile are the relative positions of me and the KOM leader.  You can track how you did against your previous efforts or others' efforts to see what strategy gets you up to the top fastest--start slow and accelerate?  go ugly early?  steady?  spin or mash?  stand up often or stay seated?  

For me, Ulrich-style is the way to go.  Steady, seated, patient.  Ulrich was the Terminator of the peloton. He felt no pain, no remorse, no fear.  He would keep hunting you forever.  Of course, he was doped up to the eyeballs, but minor details.

So where do I stack up on Panoramic?
A distant second at the moment.  I don't know who Jordan Kobert is, but I am guessing that he has no torso....just 2 huge frickin' legs with hands at the top to steer.

There is still some weirdness to the data.  Take the climb from Fairfax to Pine Mountain, for example, which I used to use as a 20 min test.
Seems like the 2nd and 3rd fastest times had a lot higher power, and should have been fastest on a climb where wind is not really a factor.  Here again, it might be the power meter.  The fast time was on the Time with the SRM, and the other 2 times were on the IF with the Quarq.  But either way, I was hammering for all 3 ascents and am a bit surprised by the times.  I need to hit this one again hard in the near future on the Time and take it sub 15 mins.  The KOM right now is 14:10.

Okay....all geeked out and my head hurts.

1 comment:


    A slightly more scientific approach to the question of what extra weight costs you on a long climb.


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