Port to Port 2016 – Stage 3 report
Racing bikes, especially MTB’s is so up and down, excuse the pun. The beauty of racing on the dirt is that even if you have a mechanical or you are having a bad day, you can still finish with a smile on the dial after shredding sweet singletrack.
Today luckily for me was a good day and the legs were feeling quite good which is still surprising me considering I am digging a pretty big TSB hole.
The neutral start lead into a fast paced jostling for position into the sweet singletrack of the Awaba MTB park. I settled into a steady pace through the singletrack and was joined by Matt Dec and we shredded trail and loved every minute of it. We knew we were around a minute or so behind the group containing the two main masters rivals as we started the main climb of the day.
In this first graph we will look at the climb highlighted as a segment using the Ride Graph.
When we hit the climb Matt actually hit the first section quite hard and knowing this was way above my current threshold I backed it off and settled into holding what I knew I could sustain. You can see this in the first few minutes above threshold. As we went up the climb I gradually pegged him back and was able to make above threshold effort over the top to just get onto his wheel. We could see the guys in a big group up the road and settled into trying to catch them, I knew this group contained the two top masters and thinking of winning the stage I held a little back. Not being a GC contender now, I could focus on getting a stage win and with Matt 2nd on GC he had to do the lion’s share to make it back and not lose time.
It is interesting to see the main Rode Graph in this next screenshot and look at the very stochastic nature of riding single track. You can see the very spiky nature of the power trace before we hit the climb. This type of riding takes training to be able to handle and can be incorporated into your training as on/off type efforts of varying length 20 on 40 off – 30 on 30 off in a continual effort for 5-10 minutes.
After the climb we settled into the chase and the long ridgeline which was really just rolling terrain. This settled the power distribution down and was a great time to focus on eating and drinking. This lead into a great descent, rutted and loose it had everything to keep you on your toes and get the sort of buzz you get riding just at your limit and on the edge of control FROTHING.
Unfortunately for us and many other riders a large group of motorcyclists had been using the trails between groups and course markers/signs had been hidden with dust and moved around the singletrack descent. Both Matt and I came upon a T intersection with no markers and headed up and down the trail looking for signs of where we should go, to no avail. Then the next group came hurtling down the trail and they too were lost. We figured something had been moved or was now hidden and knowing we were on a descent headed down a main firetrail. This lead us out onto the road and some marshals, but, they were looking up another road and we knew we had gone wrong somewhere. We still swapped off into the finish and lined up for the short singletrack into the line where I sprinted for what I thought would be 3rd in masters.
After many riders made the same mistake group times were taken from the water feed just before the start of the descent and all the times were corrected. I had managed a 3rd again, but, we were never actually given the chance to see if we could have caught the group in front and battle out for the stage win.
A good day on the bike though and I am stoked with racing again, after so many physical setback and surgeries the excitement of racing is back and as intoxicating as ever. Laying it all on the line and going gard is such and great feeling.
The next graph looks at the power distribution for the day and shows the bigger range of efforts including the singletrack spikes of up to 800 watts.
The overall stats for the day are in the power tab data and you can see it all below for reference. Variability Index (VI) remains around the 1.22 mark, with IF a little lower today with the longer stage. Adjusted power was 260 watts for the near 2 hour 50 minute effort.
With just one stage to go we are all going to try and help Tristan who remains in the yellow jersey with a 1m 50s lead. He has raced superbly and it is testament to the work he has been putting in with FTP Training super coach Kate Perry.
Boom let’s have it,
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.