Port to Port 2016 – Stage 1 report
Wow that hurt, after what seems like an eternity I finally got back to racing my MTB. Multiple back surgeries and a fusion sure put the kibosh on things for a while, but, with a few weeks of training under the belt what better way to get back into things than at the incredible Port To Port MTB race in and around the Hunter Valley.
In this first stage analysis we will just have a short look (I am tired lol) at a few charts and graphs from Today’s Plan which is the analysis software we use at FTP Training to really delve into the race and understand the limiting factors to performance as well as track peak performances and training load.
Coming into Port I had completed a few weeks of training with very limited time. I had basically followed the up to 9 hour FTP Training plan I had written for riders racing Port to Port. I came into race days with a CTL of 51 and a TSB of -3. For most this would not be fresh enough, but, as an old hand who has many years of riding in the legs, I just made sure I was in a positive trending TSB and getting fresher, without loosing too much condition and CTL.
Below is my Load and Performance Chart:
Right then into the race, I was actually very nervous as I really didn’t know where my form was having not raced for so long and with my current power number way off previous best, it was a case of you have to be in it to win it. The gun went and it was on as usual as soon as we finished the controlled neutral section.
The stage was a lot like a XC stage and full gas, my IF (intensity factor was 0.9) for the 80 or so minutes showing the intensity of the race.
The next chart is the Ride Graph where I have highlighted all the major climbing efforts. The 3 Sisters are not highlighted as they were hike a bike sections. Most climbs were hit at between 350 – 400 watts with recovery downhills afterwards or sections of fast double track and sand.
The next chart shows the time in each power zone and shows just how much time is spent in and around VO2 and Anaerobic and a ride punches over the shorter sharp climbs. This means to get ready for MTB races you have to address this in training or risk not being specifically prepared for the intensity needed.
This next chart is a cracker which is the 3D power/time graph. It enables the coach or rider to dissect the race or training session in 1 – 20 minute blocks and really see the power distribution.
In the end it was a great baptism of fire jumping back into racing and a heap of fun, ducking and diving out on the trails with your mates is what is so very special about MTB racing. I might not be anywhere near top condition, but, I managed to snag 3rd on the Masters and jumped up on the podium to receive a very nice bottle of wine.
Bring on Stage 2 tomorrow with some mighty bergs to climb.
Mark Fenner (Fenz)
I’ve been involved with cycling since I was 10 years old. My passion for cycling has led me to race both road and mountain bikes in England and Europe, which led me into learning more around the science behind the sport. I love helping others achieve their absolute best – I’ve lectured Sports and Exercise Science, Anatomy and Physiology in England, been an outdoor educator and motivator at The Scots College and have received several qualifications from degrees to certificates.