Friday, May 1, 2009

Three and a half percent!

Okay, I'm a nerd. I admit it. I like to look at and analyze power files. Especially when it comes to people I work with and how to make them faster and stronger. I'm using Shadd Smith as an example here for many reasons. But mostly because he already consented to it.

Shadd and I began this process in the early days of 2009. As always, at first he was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. The typical, "you want me to do what in the off season occurred." But I just gave him my High Intensity Training (HIT) article and he seemed to be satisfied with it. Then comes the first "forced rest" of 2009. It's always hard to get elite riders to rest. The concept is unfamiliar: Rest to get faster? It's also very counter-intuitive, despite the glut of scientific studies that seem to support it. In the end it was agreed that resting should happen, which turned out great as Shadd was in the middle of developing some sort of sinus something which would leave him feeling flat for a few days.

Then, after the rest Shadd comes out and does something AMAZING! First, he rated the April 21 Tuesday nighter, April 26 Old Capital Criterium, and April 30 Tuesday nighter all basically the same as far as perceived exertion goes. However one small detail with large consequences. His performance increased an ENORMOUS 3.5% in that 7 days. It doesn't sound like much, but an elite athlete able to improve 3.5% is a BIG DEAL. In a 60 minute effort (CX race, long TT) 3.5% is 2:06 off your time. You can win races with that! And that's exactly what happened.

For starters, the speed was less than last week. Right at 1mph average slower. However, speed is dependent on the race. Powers were up, break happened, and the getaway group was gone with the field powerless to leash them in. Myself, I've been riding the bench all week as the training finally caught up with me, leaving me with no legs and barely able to hold onto the wheel the entire ride to KC. I'll be on "leave" until my powers come back up- and thus watching. Should be around Saturday or Sunday when I get back to work. It's interesting watching the peloton flow from outside the group. You can defintely see the compression waves as every attack ripples through the riders. You can also tell exactly when and where the splits will be and how much damage each move makes on the riders.

When the move happened on Tuesday, I knew it was over. The front few guys surged as everyone else behind them seemingly rode through quicksand and lost all momentum. Game over. Except for David Hedjuk who decided to execute a brilliant one man superman bridge and got on. Break was at 6 riders and that was it. In the end, they nearly lapped the field and by the end it was Shadd and Phil Gronniger were dueling for 1st place, with Shadd managing that one more effort that probably wasn't available the week before to finish ahead of Phil who totally digs his Source Endurance Tech T that he won last week.

So on to the numbers, rest assured this is not even half the "real story" of the file, just what I want y'all to know:
Kj/ hr equivalent for the 41 minute race: 1125 kj/ hr.

Normalized Power for the first 8 minutes, until the break formed: 395W
kj/ hr equiv. of the first 8 min: 1245 kj/ hr.

Average power of the final 1 and 3/4 lap, when the break began attacking itself: 472W.
Elapsed time it took for the final 1 and 3/4 lap: 00:02:01.
Number of attacks in the last 2min: 6.
Average power of attacks: 737W for 8 seconds.
Time over 600W in the final 2min: 42s.

Elapsed time of the final lap: 00:01.29
Average Speed of the final lap: 28.5mph.

Interesting note: Shadd came out again and threw down some killer work on Thursday turning in some 24 minutes worth of 1200+ kj/hr intensity. Funny thing is, I'm fairly positive this isn't his ceiling......