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Port to Port 2016 – Stage 2 report

Stage 2 of the Port to Port looked like a cracking stage on paper with 2 big climbs and a 10km descent with some wicked single track. After a short neutral section, the race started straight up the first 8km climb and the pace went on from the elite riders straight away. Holding onto the front group was critical to having a good stage as after the climb and descent there was a long open section of double track and road which would be tough in the strong cross/headwinds. Being within a good working group would be far better than being left solo and battling.

First up we look at the Ride graph where I have created segments for all the major moments of the race today.

I split the first climb into 3 segments and it is very clear to see the first 8+ minutes were hard with an average power of close to 350 watts. This is way over my current threshold power, but, with some small recovery periods on the climb it was important to fight to stay with the front group and the fellow GC masters riders who had made the initial split. It was bar chewing tough to stay with this group and part way up the next segment of the climb I started to get tailed off & suffered for the effort early on. Not knowing the climb is an issue in this case as having an understanding of how much recovery you might be able to get in the short flat and downhill sections can be enough to know you can go deep and still recover enough to hang tough when it heads up again. The final segment I was off the back and fighting with my good mate Adam TC and the Real Sean Lewis who had fought back up to us. Into the single track and I was on my own again and chasing. Stu Adams came through the single track and fast! We descended together having a laugh about being too old for all this, but, actually traveling quite well. We then hit a small creek crossing and BOOM I smashed both rims and jumped the chain off. Thinking I had punctured I looked down to see the chain had jumped off and wedged itself between the Quarq and the BB. It didn’t look good. After failing to get it out I had to split the quick link and reef the chain out, all was not good as it was then stretched and I had bent the rear mech hanger in the process. After nearly 5 mins I managed to get going again after being passed by heaps of riders some offering help and some laughing, getting my back up a little. This fuelled the fire and I started the lonely chase back. Initially all was going well and I passed a couple of groups on the windy road section and I could see the group I needed to get back to just up the road, but, try as I might even with the help of Jamie who I caught on the road we couldn’t get back to them.

The next chart is the power/cadence scatter which shows the massive spread or how power is distributed in MTB racing. This means that while training on the MTB we need to address the low cadence acceleration efforts to make sure we are adapted to the demands of this form of racing.

The next chart looks at the actual power tab data.

You can see in this chart that the IF was similar to the first stage at 0.88 or 88% of current threshold power. The adjusted power 274 watts with quite a high variability of 1.22. This means that to train for MTB you need to mix up the efforts as very rarely is MTB racing completed in a steady state effort. The overall load for the day was 160 T-Score which is high when I came into the Port to Port with a CTL of only 50. This means that the fatigue will be building as my TSB is now -41, meaning I am really starting to hurt.

The final chart is the laps from the Ride graph, this gives all the data from each segment of the race showing the climbs, mechanical and chase to get back on.

There is always another stage tomorrow, and we are all fully in support of the great ride Tristan is doing.

Catch you on the trail,
Fenz

Mark Fenner (Fenz)

Head Coach

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.

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