15 September 2015
Matt Clark of Avanti Racing is a very versatile rider, as his peak watts/kg graph (below) shows. He can be found winning on hill top finishes, doing very solid individual time trials (ITT) and also smacking off the front in a criterium. In this analysis we will be using Today’s Plan analytical tools to illustrate the different demands placed upon a top NRS rider.
We will use the 3D analysis tools to drill into and compare Matt’s ITT and criterium.
The ITT was a short 15 minute race, so we have set 5 minute “buckets”. This allows us to compare his power output over each third of the race. Below, we can clearly see that Matt spent the majority of his time in the tightly grouped 330 – 360 watt range. This tight clustering is common with time trials, as a good rider will maintain a high consistent power. The few outlying data points reflect the start effort and turn around. We have trimmed this analysis to just show data in the 80-800 watt range.
By toggling on/off each time series, it’s possible to see if the rider’s power decays or improves over the course of the ride. In this case, you can see that Matt’s power does decrease over the 2nd and 3rd sectors, but there is still a strong finish in the 3rd sector.
In contrast, the following graph is from the criterium. Again we have split the race into thirds. As you can see it is vastly different to the ITT. In this case you can see that there is a wide spread of power distribution, and that the majority of time has been spent in the lower wattage ranges.
Interestingly, the middle 3rd of the race had more time in higher power ranges and may reflect the aggressive portion of the race. Whereas last 3rd had more time in the threshold ranges, indicating the attacks settled but were replaced by a higher pace.
A more conventional way of comparing the demands of different disciples is to use a power/cadence scatter graph. For the ITT we can again see the tight cluster of power and cadence. This reflects the consistent cadence and power output, and there is relatively few outlying data indicating either power surges or low cadence. We can see at which cadence Matt produces most of his power on the TT rig.
The training advice here is if you want to be a good ITT specialist you will need to train for extended periods of high power output with a low variance in cadence.
In contrast, the criterium power/cadence scatter graph shows a very different picture. Big power numbers, high cadence and a broad spread of power distribution. A top rider has to be able to produce power in so many ways and this needs to be considered during training.
If all you do is steady state constant effort rides then you will simply not be ready for the demands of a criterium race. Look at how the power distribution is spread between very low recovery intensity and low cadence, right through to the very high power and the high percentage of time with cadence above 100 RPM.
If we look at the distribution of power between the two races in the Today’s Plan pie chart we can also see the amount of time in the specific zones.
The differences in power production are very clear to see using the pie charts and these can again help guide training to prepare for these type of events. The tight cluster of power in the ITT is seen as threshold and VO2 power output. With very little time in the anaerobic zone. The criterium however is completely different with a huge time spent anaerobic, but, also lots of time in recovery.
In summary, the ITT is all about sustaining your highest maintainable power output. The criterium on the other hand, is all about sprinting out of corners, attacking, making moves and then recovering on the wheel.