Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Heino Fall Race - Great form!

Bike: BMC Teamelite XX1,  Rocket Ron/Racing Ralph Snakeskin 2.25 F/B 1.4 bar

How's my form after all the hard Monark cycling?

After all the hard indoor Monark work this Autumn I was very curious about how I would perform in a longer race. I adapted this weeks training slightly to perform well in the upcoming Sunday race by only doing two shorter interval sessions and my regular longer 9x9 (Wednesday). All three interval sessions I was able to perform at new record watts. I did a longer low intensity ride the day before the race (2+ hours) but from experience I know that these don't really affect my race-day form.

Heino Fall Race

The Race is a longish and quick mountain bike race with few technical difficulties and quite a lot of gravel road. The single track is quick and flowing. Two laps and 45 km in total. Few climbs but the ones that do exist are quite steep. There are no age categories in this race and as many of the best Danish riders turn up the opposition is tough. Danish pro Benjamin Justesen usually races and he was here this year too.

I've ridden this race many times over the years:

2016: 12th
2015: Aborted due to snow chaos
2014: 13th
2013: 24th

This makes the race a good benchmark

So how did the race go?

Going up the initial hill I was slow and just managed to hang on the the tail end of the lead group of some 20-30 riders. However as soon as we reached level gravel road I went into turbo mode, overtook everyone, and led the whole pack up the second hill. Three guys outsprinted me to the top and went away from the rest of us. I formed a second group with four other guys: Palle Jensen, Jacob Nielsen, Victor Philipsen, Anders Edvard Johanssen. Up ahead were were three guys, among them Benjamin Justesen (pro) leading the race.

It's been a long time since I was able to hang onto Palle in a race so I was really happy to be able to tag along. Towards the end of the first lap, in a slippery downhill, Palle got a bit of a gap and and Victor joined them. The rest of us chased after them and almost caught them a couple of times but when we lapped to go out for the second lap they were about half a minute ahead of us.

Pace was still high as the three of us (me, Jacob and Anders) went out for the second lap. Jacob and Anders pulled hard when they were out front and I had few opportunities to help. I noticed that Anders didn't have the best grip in his rear tire because it kept slipping in the muddy uphills. At one of these uphills, halfway through the second lap, Anders slipped again and had to get off his bike and as I was on his wheel I had to get off as well. Jacob took the opportunity to sprint ahead but I thought we would easily catch him.

Anders did chase hard with me on his wheel. I thought it was only fair as it was his 'fault' that Jacob had got the lap. However after a while it seemed that Anders was getting more tired so I went ahead. I noticed that we weren't going to catch Jacob so I started thinking about how I was going to get rid of Anders. On the first lap I noticed that there was a slippery muddy climb just 3 km from the finish and I planned to make my move there. As we got to this slippery part I went all-in and pushed hard. After the climb there was a slippery and bumpy downhill and I kept going hard there without looking back. When I got down to the next gravel road I looked behind but I could see no sign of Anders. I kept pushing hard the last few kilometers to the finish.

Seventh place... very nice. My best result ever at Heino.

Power data

The power data from this race was really low and I think it may be because of a calibration of the power meter that I did the day before the race. I have to re-callibrate it to make sure it's correct. Left-right power however is valid:

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Make your own energy gels in 5 minutes

The recipe is really simple, it has two ingredients, and takes 5 minutes:

  • 1 part fructose
  • 2 parts maltodextrin
  • Some water (the amount is up to you depending on how thick you want the gel)

In this example I used:

  • 200 grams fructose
  • 400 grams maltodextrin
  • 400 ml water

The process

  1. Heat the water to just below boiling
  2. Stir in all the sugar
  3. Mix
  4. Pour into bottles
  5. If you want: add flavoring
  6. Also optional: add other stuff like caffeine

While riding I carry it in the small plastic bottle that you can see in the photo

Maltodextrin and Fructose

2 parts Maltodextrin, 1 part Fructose, some water

Stir all the sugar into the warm water

Add flavoring... if you like

Store the energy gel in bottles

Pour the gel into one of these bottles for taking along a ride

Monday, 6 November 2017

Mountain Bike Racing with a Power Meter

The power figures presented here are probably exaggerated. I think I may have forgotten to calibrate the Quarq. The rest of the comparisons are still valid however

The Quarq

Recently I bought a Quarq power meter for my MTB. I've done two races now where I've used it. During the races I have glanced down at it from time to time but it's kind of hard reading the information while your bouncing around on singletrack. Sure, if there's  a longer section of gravel road or a climb then you can look down at the power data and get some useful information. However, what is interesting and entertaining (and useful?), is all the data that you have after a race.

Endurance / distributing the power

Yesterday I raced the first race in the Danish Winter cup vitnercuppen.dk. It was a 70 minutes + the lap race and I managed 4 laps in that time (and came in fourth place in the race).

I was happy with the race as I went out hard and was able to keep the power up the whole race... Or that's how it FELT during the race. But normally it would be hard to also PROVE that. Now I have the numbers. First the lap times:
  1. 00:19:26
  2. 00:19:39
  3. 00:20:20
  4. 00:20:27
Quite even, a little slower towards the end, but then the track did get gradually more and more muddy.

Let's look at heart rate and power data for the four laps (in the same order as above):

Power was remarkably even throughout the race, the variation between the slowest and fastest lap was 9W, which is 3%.

The data supports the feeling that I had: That I was able to maintain intensity throughout the race.

Left / Right

As the Quarq measures both side I get left/right power. Here's data from the two races that I've done:

I use my right leg more than my left. Which perhaps is normal?

The Stages power meters that I have on my road bike and the stationary Monark bike only measure the left side. That means that I'm actually a bit stronger than the numbers that I get from those two. So that's good...

Comparing races

I now have power data from two different races that I've done using the Quarq. The Griben race which was a race purely on gravel roads. I punctured halfway into the race so the power data is up until then. The second one is the first race of Vintercuppen.dk which I would consider a proppr MTB race. Both are very similar in length (1h14m, 1h20m):

Here are the numbers (first Griben, then Vintercuppen #1):

Average power:            300W          298W
Weighted average power:   314W          314W
Max power:                778W          925W

First half of Griben MTB/CX

Vintercuppen.dk #1