Stage 4 Port to Port and the final analysis
Well what a great 4 days of racing the Port to Port was this year. The race has everything for the MTB rider of all ability levels, some tech sections to keep you on your toes and heaps of great single track to enjoy. It’s tough, it’s rewarding and above all else it’s great fun hooning through the trails battling with your mates.
The final stage was just classic and had some of the best trails and awesome views along the sea cliffs at Glenrock to finish in Merewether. With my GC over due to the stage 2 mechanical and then the wrong turn in stage 3 it was all about just having fun and hammering the body and legs.
In this last piece we will have a familiar look at the Today’s Plan Ride graph with all the main climbing intervals highlighted as well as look at the summary data for the 4 days and see just what it takes to race a short 4 day MTB stage race.
As you can see the Ride graph again shows the stochastic nature of MTB racing, the power is on and off over multiple climbs with a large amount of time spent above threshold tapping into the VO2 and Anaerobic energy systems.
I have created laps for all the main climbing efforts as well as a large chunk of time spent driving the group I was in along the flatter bike paths between the single track goodness. I have also taken out the transition section to keep the data more reflective of the actual effort when racing. The stage was again completed with an adjusted power of 280 watts with an intensity of 0.88 or 88% of my current threshold power. The variability of power production was 1.2 meaning quite a large spread of over and under threshold. There was a 1921kJ count for the day which for a short effort is a hefty chunk of calories burnt.
Next up we are looking at the Dashboard view of Today’s Plan and I set the time to custom to highlight just the stats from the 4 days of racing. The Metrics table has the numbers for the race, averages and totals. The Peak W/kg graph shows the best watts/kg over the critical power ranges for the race.
The Performance Index chart really shows my current individual strengths as a cyclist and it shows an inverted V shape. This tells me that in the 4 days of racing I was weak in the shorter term power output (3 – 30 seconds), but, was stronger in the sustained aerobic power and short endurance (5 – 15 mins) This would be reflective of the types of efforts needed in the race. When compared to previous bests and data in the system this chart can be fantastic to show how you compare to previous bests as well as where your training might need to be focused to address a weakness. For me if this was my usual power profile it is clear to see I would need to work on my shorter duration power and VO2.
The final 2 charts show how much time was spent in the power and heart rate zones during the 4 days of racing. These charts are great for understanding the limitations of HR for exercise prescription above threshold and for monitoring effort in a stage race where HR suppression can occur and thus limit the athlete seeing their usual HR response.
In the power charts it is clear to see a large amount of time above threshold at VO2 and anaerobic intensity, but, in the HR chart it looks like I spent a large amount of time at threshold and hardly any above.
Well I hope these short articles have given a little insight into the Port to Port race from a masters rider with very limited training time. The efforts required the power needed to get out there and have a crack. I followed one of my very own up to 9 hour P2P Training plans for this race and I was happy with the results.
I hope to catch you out on a trail or on a hill very soon.
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.