Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Revel in the Nerdiness

OK nerds, are you ready?

Last time we were talking about Quadrant Analysis and how SS MTB’s force you into all quadrants much more than say geared road bikes.  And that being the case, it provides a more well-rounded workout.   Between then and now, I’ve had a chance to get my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt up and running which has enabled a few things….first, it connects to my HR strap and my PWR meter so I can collect that data simultaneously.  Secondly, it allows me to display my power real time which then enables me to adjust my effort…all cool stuff.  (and a freaking awesome unit...garmin should be worried).
So last Friday (day before the AES Tusayan Tussle Race), I made a fast run up to Crystal Pt. which contrary to popular belief, is not a meth house…It’s our little jewel of singletrack here in Munds Park which climbs about 800ft.  Perfect for a Z5+ run and to loosen up the legs.  The entire climb is a bit over 14 minutes and is split into 2 sections, a flatter section with a few ups, then a steady grade with switchbacks to the top.  Since we looked at the QA stuff before, let’s look at the cadence distribution for a little insight…

Interesting!  The whole ride is two distinct distributions(cyan colored) and the lighter grey colored one is the steeper switchback section which is almost entirely standing pedaling (w/ a 34-19).   This I believe actually shows that in between area well which for my case is around 75 rpm (too steep to sit and mash, too easy to stand).
Now let’s look at the Tusayan Tussle file…almost 5 hours of data!  Wow, this one took a few beers to digest.  Here’s the quadrant plot…as you might expect, tons of scatter.  That race was actually fairly flat and my gearing was 34-19.  You can see from the plot that I spent over ½ the time sitting and generating power in Z2. (lower right hand quadrant and below the curved line which is 250W)(Contrast that to a Flagstaff climbing ride where over 50% of the time is spent in the upper left quadrant).

The cadence distribution on that one looks similar except the middle area is a bit more filled in.

However, if I look at the first 45 minutes or so which was flattish with a slight uphill grade you can see the familiar “bimodal” look to the distribution which again shows seated and standing cadences.  

This section btw, I was clawing my way back up from 6th place and had my eyes glued to the 5 second pwr avg trying not to let it get too high and burn all my matches. (it was very useful for that since when you see someone in front of you, you wanna close that gap fast!).
The other interesting thing to notice from that race is how my average power trended over the entire 5 hours… Below is a plot where I plotted the 1000 second average (almost a 17 minute average).  You can see that I was chasing in that first part of the race then backed off until near the end where I then could smell the beer at the finish.  This is interesting…I’d love to think with training I can keep the power consistent or maybe with at least a bit more “control” I could do so.  More thinking about this to be done…

Finally, to help address the bi-modality of the cadence data, I did some seated intervals up Waterline Rd where I targeted about 225W for durations of 5 minutes.  I’m thinking that with some work in this area, I can improve my seated power when I’m in that “in-between” area.  Here’s what the overall quadrant plot looks like with one of those 5 minute intervals selected…note how the seated pedaling interval(Green Points) has such a tight cluster(and fairly near the 250 W curve)

Now you might ask..."WTF do you do with all this you angry mofo?"... several things....
The Tusayan Tussle race was a flattish course and I was not trained very well to do it...I didn't have the endurance I should have (hence the fall-off in the power data) plus almost all my training rides are 50% or more standing and very little in the lower right quadrant.  I believe mixing in some seated intervals as I did today will help...and BTW, my legs are shredded from them....obviously a weakness I can address.
Now that I have HR data along with PWR data, it will enable me to play around with something called aerobic decoupling...which is basically a measure of aerobic fitness.  I think my lack of some longer training rides has impacted my ability to keep generating steady power late in these 4-6 hour races.
I know some of you are like, "You're wasting your time you dumb f*ck!  Just go ride your bike!"....Yeah...whatever...I've ran out of f*cks for you.

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