40k TT, my first, need ideas on pacing.



RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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Well, here's the route profile in summary, with A = Start and F = Turnaround:

A-B 6.56mi -.41% avg grade
B-C 1.00mi +.31% avg grade
C-D 1.89mi -.74% avg grade
D-E 1.46mi +.31% avg grade
E-F 1.59mi -.24% avg grade
F-E 1.59mi +.24% avg grade
E-D 1.46mi -.31% avg grade
D-C 1.89mi +.74% avg grade
C-B 1.00mi -.31% avg grade
B-A 6.56mi +.41% avg grade
 

stormer94

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May 19, 2004
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RapDaddyo said:
Seems high to me. I never quite get the bike speed the calculator says I should get, so I usually plug in about 0.5% upgrade to compensate and it works out pretty close. I think the formula is for people who don't cast a shadow. You realize the weight is rider + bike, right? 80KG for you and your bike? You're a pretty light guy.

170 pounds, call the bike 17, add 3 pounds for gear. 190 = 86.18kg That did change things. 22.92mph, 200 watts, 86.5kg rider and bike, .5% grade.

27.51mph @200w down a .5%, 22.38 uphill @ 231w

Should be able to coast down 2% at 24mph...

I still get about
32.88mph @ 149w
34.44mph @ 200w down a 2%
35.68mph @ 247w
 

stormer94

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RapDaddyo said:
Well, here's the route profile in summary, with A = Start and F = Turnaround:

A-B 6.56mi -.41% avg grade
B-C 1.00mi +.31% avg grade
C-D 1.89mi -.74% avg grade
D-E 1.46mi +.31% avg grade
E-F 1.59mi -.24% avg grade
F-E 1.59mi +.24% avg grade
E-D 1.46mi -.31% avg grade
D-C 1.89mi +.74% avg grade
C-B 1.00mi -.31% avg grade
B-A 6.56mi +.41% avg grade

Dude, you're hardcore, I'll give you that. So where to put in the most effort, and where to save a bit, that's the tough one.

I'm gonna bail here in about 10 minutes. I 've got a tough day at work tomorrow. :eek:
 

RapDaddyo

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Now, about pacing. Some general principles, founded on the physiology and the physics that govern (1) how our bodies respond to output intensities; and (2) bike speed given the forces that have to be overcome.

First, a key point about pacing strategy under uncertainty. The uncertainty I'm talking about is our ability to precisely manage output (watts). Anytime we are managing something under uncertainty, it means that there are two types of errors and probabilities associated with each error. As applied to pacing, the two error types are (1) too much power ==> we can't sustain it for the duration; and (2) too little power ==> we could have gone faster. There is a penalty associated with each error type. If the penalty was equal for each error type, it would be simple: try to nail it right on the nose, precisely the right power (watts) that you believe you can sustain for the duration. But, there's a fly in the ointment -- the penalties are not equal for each error type. The penalty for over-pacing (too much power) by +X watts for Y minutes is that you will have to ride at -X watts for more than Y minutes to recover (the exact amount is exponential -- the higher the excess power the longer the excess recovery duration). Under such circumstances, you want to bias your pacing in favor of under-pacing, especially early in the ride.

The next point about pacing strategy is that you can gain more than you lose if you apply more power (in excess of your sustainable power) on uphill or upwind segments even though you will have to apply less power (below your sustainable power) on the downhill or downwind segments. You gain more than you lose, due to the physics of the forces you have to overcome to get the bike to move.

So, in a nutshell, you want to ride at what you think is a little less than your sustainable power in at least the first half (if not 3/4ths) of the ride. This is especially true in the case of this course, with the 1st half mostly downhill and the 2nd half mostly uphill. The reason is that applying additional power when the bike is already going fast won't get you much more speed. So, in a downhill segment it's really not smart to risk overcooking it. In the second half, you still want to avoid riding above your sustainable power because if you have to back off and recover you're going to lose lots of bike speed.

The exceptions to this general rule on the outbound leg are that I would apply more power on the two short climbs (B-C and D-E) and back off a bit to recover after you clear the crest and get your bike speed up. How much additional power to add is hard to say. If it were me, I'd probably increase my power by at least 50w on the climbs because I have a fairly high degree of confidence in my ability to manage my power precisely. If you're not comfortable with 50w, then try 25w or 20w. But, these are opportunities to take advantage of VP pacing.

Likewise, on the return leg, I would add more power on the first two climbs (F-E and D-C) and recover on the following downhills. The final segment (B-A) offers no such VP pacing options and if you can't apply full sustainable power in this critical 6.56 miles you will pay a high price because it'll cost you a lot in bike speed. Fortunately, you get a 1 mile downgrade (C-B) to rest up before you start the long finishing climb. You want to back off during this last downhill segment and take a drink of water to get ready for the last part (~20 minutes).
 

stormer94

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May 19, 2004
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RapDaddyo said:
Now, about pacing. Some general principles, founded on the physiology and the physics that govern (1) how our bodies respond to output intensities; and (2) bike speed given the forces that have to be overcome.

First, a key point about pacing strategy under uncertainty. The uncertainty I'm talking about is our ability to precisely manage output (watts). Anytime we are managing something under uncertainty, it means that there are two types of errors and probabilities associated with each error. As applied to pacing, the two error types are (1) too much power ==> we can't sustain it for the duration; and (2) too little power ==> we could have gone faster. There is a penalty associated with each error type. If the penalty was equal for each error type, it would be simple: try to nail it right on the nose, precisely the right power (watts) that you believe you can sustain for the duration. But, there's a fly in the ointment -- the penalties are not equal for each error type. The penalty for over-pacing (too much power) by +X watts for Y minutes is that you will have to ride at -X watts for more than Y minutes to recover (the exact amount is exponential -- the higher the excess power the longer the excess recovery duration). Under such circumstances, you want to bias your pacing in favor of under-pacing, especially early in the ride.

The next point about pacing strategy is that you can gain more than you lose if you apply more power (in excess of your sustainable power) on uphill or upwind segments even though you will have to apply less power (below your sustainable power) on the downhill or downwind segments. You gain more than you lose, due to the physics of the forces you have to overcome to get the bike to move.

So, in a nutshell, you want to ride at what you think is a little less than your sustainable power in at least the first half (if not 3/4ths) of the ride. This is especially true in the case of this course, with the 1st half mostly downhill and the 2nd half mostly uphill. The reason is that applying additional power when the bike is already going fast won't get you much more speed. So, in a downhill segment it's really not smart to risk overcooking it. In the second half, you still want to avoid riding above your sustainable power because if you have to back off and recover you're going to lose lots of bike speed.

The exceptions to this general rule on the outbound leg are that I would apply more power on the two short climbs (B-C and D-E) and back off a bit to recover after you clear the crest and get your bike speed up. How much additional power to add is hard to say. If it were me, I'd probably increase my power by at least 50w on the climbs because I have a fairly high degree of confidence in my ability to manage my power precisely. If you're not comfortable with 50w, then try 25w or 20w. But, these are opportunities to take advantage of VP pacing.

Likewise, on the return leg, I would add more power on the first two climbs (F-E and D-C) and recover on the following downhills. The final segment (B-A) offers no such VP pacing options and if you can't apply full sustainable power in this critical 6.56 miles you will pay a high price because it'll cost you a lot in bike speed. Fortunately, you get a 1 mile downgrade (C-B) to rest up before you start the long finishing climb. You want to back off during this last downhill segment and take a drink of water to get ready for the last part (~20 minutes).


Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!!! Short of knowing the wattages, this is about what I was planning on doing, although I was planning on going a little harder on the downhills. And by little, I mean, little. Maybe instead I'll practice hiding behind the bars a bit more and peep out between my fingers. :)

From the fooling around I was doing yesterday on the bike, it seems like it takes me about 2-3 minutes to get everything stabilized and to get speed to maximize and level out. Once everything levels out, the speed slowly creeps up too. I think a lot of it is getting warmed up and getting in a good rhythm, and watching your form. When I really pay attention to my spinning, there is practically free power. I'm going to SERIOUSLY watch my form.

I appreciate all the help, and will for sure let you know how it works out. Gotta go start packing.

It's my first TT, and first actual race where you are in a category. I'm entering mens 4/5. Here are the top 3 in this category from last year.
1) 1:01:41.3
2) 1:01:57.7
3) 1:06:26.1

Hence my thoughts about running a good solid 63 minutes. I don't know that I have the goods to run it any faster. We shall see. Like I said, It's my first TT, I'd be happy with about a 1:06, happier with a 1:03, but not seriously dissapointed with either result. There will be some learning... and suffering. But fun for sure. :D
 

frenchyge

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Wow! That software can certainly make a mountain out of a mole-hill (with the scaling). It makes that flat TT look like the descent off an Alpine Col.
 

RapDaddyo

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stormer94 said:
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!!! Short of knowing the wattages, this is about what I was planning on doing, although I was planning on going a little harder on the downhills. And by little, I mean, little. Maybe instead I'll practice hiding behind the bars a bit more and peep out between my fingers. :)
I realize you are getting ready to leave, but I wanted to pass on a couple of additional thoughts. If you were to ride at your maximum constant power for an hour, it wouldn't "feel" as though you are going at your maximum until the end. It would get harder and harder as the hour goes by and at the end you have to go all out to sustain the intensity to the end. If you feel that you are going at your maximum intensity in the first 45-50 minutes of the event, you are going too hard. The downhill segments of the outbound leg are not where you want to go a little too hard, because the added power won't have much effect on bike speed. This is where you want to be sure you are not exceeding your sustainable power.

stormer94 said:
From the fooling around I was doing yesterday on the bike, it seems like it takes me about 2-3 minutes to get everything stabilized and to get speed to maximize and level out. Once everything levels out, the speed slowly creeps up too. I think a lot of it is getting warmed up and getting in a good rhythm, and watching your form. When I really pay attention to my spinning, there is practically free power. I'm going to SERIOUSLY watch my form.
Actually, if I were riding the course I would get my bike speed up quickly off the line because a hard effort for <15 secs won't cost you much (nearly free). Once you get up to what you think is the right speed, you can back off a bit for ~15secs and you won't lose much bike speed. Then you can carry on with your pacing plan.

stormer94 said:
Hence my thoughts about running a good solid 63 minutes. I don't know that I have the goods to run it any faster. We shall see. Like I said, It's my first TT, I'd be happy with about a 1:06, happier with a 1:03, but not seriously dissapointed with either result. There will be some learning... and suffering. But fun for sure. :D
Good luck. It's just a shame that you won't be able to post a PM file so we could all be Monday morning QBs about your pacing strategy. Next time, right? Oh, I forgot -- you're going to send your PT SL to frenchyge to throw it in the river.
 

frenchyge

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RapDaddyo said:
Oh, I forgot -- you're going to send your PT SL to frenchyge to throw it in the river.
You got that right! I've got a spot in the garag-errr.... I mean river, all picked out. :D
 

stormer94

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May 19, 2004
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I'm back. :)

Race results and story here: (link to a new thread on this forum)
Click here

Thanks everybody for all the help. I have some HR information and a course profile off of my polar. Suprising the similarities between the polar and the course Rappdaddyo whipped up. That said, It was FLAT... One of those deceiving rides where you are on what I call a "false flat". You think it's flat, but it's not, but it's so close to flat, that it's hard to tell.

You know how we were looking at the data, and saying, okay, it's 9.5 miles out down hill, then gets into some 2%, yadda...yadda...yadda... I had no idea where the changes happened. I could see slight rollers But to look at the course profile and imagine the course, and to see the actual course... 2 different things. I think my highest legitimate speed was 27. A fair amount of tickling 25 on the first half, and 3 spots where I tickled it on the way back up, including the finish line. The difference between out and back was only about a minute. I don't think we got much wind.
 

RapDaddyo

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Welcome back. Good race. Sorry to hear about all the problems. That must have been distracting.
stormer94 said:
Suprising the similarities between the polar and the course Rappdaddyo whipped up. That said, It was FLAT... One of those deceiving rides where you are on what I call a "false flat". You think it's flat, but it's not, but it's so close to flat, that it's hard to tell. You know how we were looking at the data, and saying, okay, it's 9.5 miles out down hill, then gets into some 2%, yadda...yadda...yadda... I had no idea where the changes happened. I could see slight rollers But to look at the course profile and imagine the course, and to see the actual course... 2 different things.
It is impressive the similarities in the course topo between your Polar and the DeLorme software. Good to know for future first-time courses. I notice that your Polar appears to overstate the grade on the return (probably due to baro pressure change during the hour). And, I'm not surprised to see your comment about "feel" vs. "real." I have looked at the topo of several of my daily training routes and it has been a real eye-opener to see the actual grade changes. I'm beginning to really doubt my ability to "see" grades. On the other hand, my computer data is instantaneous and infallible -- if my power stays constant and my speed changes, the grade has changed (or the wind has changed).

stormer94 said:
I think my highest legitimate speed was 27. A fair amount of tickling 25 on the first half, and 3 spots where I tickled it on the way back up, including the finish line. The difference between out and back was only about a minute. I don't think we got much wind.
I'm curious -- what was your pacing strategy? Specifically, how did you pace yourself in the first few minutes? HRM? RPE? Speed? And, it does appear that you held yourself back a little on the outbound leg. Was that your strategy? Interesting that you didn't feel the 1 mi upgrade/downgrade segment at mile 6.5 outbound. Your speed clearly picked up on the downgrade. I was concerned about the return leg, clearly the toughest segment given the upgrade. It's impressive that you maintained your speed. It looks as though you really dug in at mile 19.5. Good job. I haven't run the numbers, but at first glance it appears that your average power on the return leg was ~25w higher than the outbound leg. If that was your intention, I think it was a good pacing strategy. All in all, it looks as though you got the maximum out of your available power, even without your usual complement of data. So, who needs a PM? I think frenchyge's got a spot all picked out for yours. Good ride.
 

stormer94

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Thanks man. :)

Yea, it was distracting to be sure, but I also kind of had this "I want to do this, thing" feeling in a pretty bad way. I think it kind of over wrote the distractions. Plus when you are running at max output, you mostly don't care about a lot of other things... :eek: ;)

Pacing:

I actually got into town just about dark, so we drove the course outbound with the headlights on, and I was surprised at how flat it was. That was a smart move on my part, as I wasn't expecting big hills, like I was when I saw the topo output of the course (I knew what to expect the next day). Just like you and some others had mentioned, I decided to get up to speed quick, it would be almost free, because my HR was low. And as we talked about, I wanted to use the hills to some advantage, and then conserve a bit of energy for the return leg. So the plan was go slightly and progressively harder, and finish hard. Didn't want to blow up.

Heart rate thoughts:
What effect does elevation have on HR? My personal opinion of what it did to me, or it was my nerves, is that my HR was slightly higher with less output of power and perceived effort. MEANING, even though I thought I MIGHT be at my AT, I was not, and could have grabbed 2-3 more BPM.
 

RapDaddyo

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stormer94 said:
Just like you and some others had mentioned, I decided to get up to speed quick, it would be almost free, because my HR was low. And as we talked about, I wanted to use the hills to some advantage, and then conserve a bit of energy for the return leg. So the plan was go slightly and progressively harder, and finish hard. Didn't want to blow up.

Heart rate thoughts:
What effect does elevation have on HR? My personal opinion of what it did to me, or it was my nerves, is that my HR was slightly higher with less output of power and perceived effort. MEANING, even though I thought I MIGHT be at my AT, I was not, and could have grabbed 2-3 more BPM.
After looking at your Polar file and thinking about it, I conclude that a PM would not have made much difference in your time in this TT. You do appear to be able to pace yourself pretty well with your HRM, better than I think I can (in part because I now don't trust my HR as a proxy for power). That conclusion is based in large part on the nature of the course -- relatively flat with light wind. I would probably withdraw that conclusion if the course were more challenging from a pacing strategy perspective -- lots of grade changes and some wind. That being said, the greatest value of a PM is being able to get more benefit out of your training, to bring more power to the race in the first place. Pacing strategy won't move you up from 8th place to top 3, but more power will.
 

stormer94

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RapDaddyo said:
After looking at your Polar file and thinking about it, I conclude that a PM would not have made much difference in your time in this TT. You do appear to be able to pace yourself pretty well with your HRM, better than I think I can (in part because I now don't trust my HR as a proxy for power). That conclusion is based in large part on the nature of the course -- relatively flat with light wind. I would probably withdraw that conclusion if the course were more challenging from a pacing strategy perspective -- lots of grade changes and some wind. That being said, the greatest value of a PM is being able to get more benefit out of your training, to bring more power to the race in the first place. Pacing strategy won't move you up from 8th place to top 3, but more power will.

I think (they haven't posted the results on the site yet) that I was about 10 or so minutes behind the fastest rider of the event, and to put me in 3rd in cat5, I'd have had to find about 4-5 minutes, low 1:01.00 times. I think I paced it pretty well, especially as I didn't have mileage or splits, just went off of PE and HR. I feel I would have been more relaxed and done better if I had the distances to look at. Where am I? I passed the 10k sign about 12 minutes ago...?! Would have helped in the grand scheme.

I also feel that I could have shaved quite a bit more time if I had known what my my physical location on the course was so I could plan, and what my HR was doing based on elevation. I know it seems like I had to keep telling myself to slow down. I didn't want to blow up, and I was right on the edge (I think, or was I ?!?!). Not sure, my HR felt different there.

Speculation:
I could have dropped to a 1:02.00 with a pace of 2:30 but could I have honestly held it? That's about 9 seconds a mile. or a I'd have had to cover an additional 112 feet per minute. I could do that, could I have held it? Not sure.
 

RapDaddyo

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stormer94 said:
I could have dropped to a 1:02.00 with a pace of 2:30 but could I have honestly held it? That's about 9 seconds a mile. or a I'd have had to cover an additional 112 feet per minute. I could do that, could I have held it? Not sure.
That's what training is all about. We can all put out LA's power, we just can't put out LA's power for an hour. Ergo, training.
 

stormer94

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RapDaddyo said:
That's what training is all about. We can all put out LA's power, we just can't put out LA's power for an hour. Ergo, training.

The fastest rider's average speed was about 27mph... (insert that noise they make when you see someone on TV get hit in the gut real hard)

Rather than spend to much additional time on my training, I'm going to spend time on my position... surely that alone is the reason I'm over 4mph off the best pace... :eek: :p

I'm just playin'. I'm very happy with what I did. My only goal for next year is to simply go faster than I did this year. Maybe down to the 60 minute flat mark. That would be pretty slick. Need to gain 2mph of speed over the winter. :)

2:27 pace from a 2:39 pace... seems do-able. Actually, now that I do more of the math, I want a 2:26.5 pace. That would get a person a 59.48 instead of a 1:00.015 Much cooler to be under the hour.