Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ruamahanga 50 time trial -2009 - Power and pacing geekfest

There are some things that are kind of peculiar to Wellington Cycling, and one of them is the Ruamahanga 50, a very old-school 80km time trial organised by Dave Holey from the Wellington Veterans Cycling Club. It's one loop of a circuit that is mostly flat, and goes around Lake Wairarapa.

Apart from the distance, the main challenge in this event is the savage gusting side-winds that are present most years down the western side of the lake. Some years the field has been decimated down to about 5 finishers, as those who value their life more than the challenge have reluctantly pulled the pin. Lets face it, if you are up for 80kms of pain, you are not going to take quitting lightly.

This year everyone made it through, but the as the winds increased over the space of an hour, the last riders to leave were at a distinct disadvantage.This year there were at least 6 of us riding with power meters so we have tabulated a bit of data for geeking out on.

Despite the appalling conditions this year, local pro, Scott Lyttle smashed the old record of 1:56 held by Brent Backhouse with a 1:55. Unfortunately Scott didnt use a power meter... or even a speedo, so the only things he could supply to geek off were his rediculously low heart rate figures. I dont think I could have driven a car around with a HR as low as his.

Anyway, the following guys fronted with the following hardware, and we got splits for each 10km segment of the course.

Ben, Garmin 705 with Power tap.
Jeff, Jason and Matt with Power taps .
Peter with an SRM, and Craig with a Polar.

We tabulated the data so you we could see where our weaknesses were. If you know what you are looking for you can see where the different riders fortunes changed for better or worse.

Jason was probably the most consistant all round but rode on the limit the whole way and faded slightly before the end. Ben put in a scarily fast leg down the lake edge where most of us were hanging on for dear life. This moved him into the "virtual lead" of our group, but "discomfort" in the saddle area became a real problem on the home stretch. Matt also suffered with this. For myself I suspect I may have started a tad too easy, as I seemed to have a bit in the bank for the final run in. Peters power numbers dont look that big for a big guy, which implies that he has good aerodynamics on the bike for him to be going so well. Craigs heart rate was up and down a little so possibley a bit more focus is needed.

If you wanted to compare our power output with each other you would need to assume all the power meters were correctly calibrated, and even then you have to divide your watts by kgs.
Here is the actual course as a Google-flyby.

Craig splits
10km NP/AP splits
dist. watts np/ap hr time.

00-10 236/223W 176B 20.25
10-20 207/204W 171B 21.05
20-30 203/199W 170B 16.15
30-40 195/193W 166B 17.05
40-50 217/254W 170B 16.20
50-60 182/178W 165B 17.30
60-70 212/196W 170B 16.35
70-80 203/197W 173B 16.55

Peak 20min (223 watts):
Peak 30min (216 watts):
Peak 60min (209 watts):


Peters splits
10km NP/AP splits
dist. watts np/ap hr time.

00-10 274/271W 134B 18.32
10-20 258/257W 135B 19.00
20-30 257/252W 135B 14.48
30-40 262/261W 134B 15.20
40-50 259/254W 135B 15.26
50-60 254/253W 135B 15.14
60-70 264/258W 136B 15.21
70-80 265/264W 142B 15.30

Peak 20min (272 watts):
Peak 30min (267 watts):
Peak 60min (261 watts):


Matts splits
10km NP/AP splits
dist. watts np/ap hr time.

00-10 274/273W B 19.17
10-20 260/259W B 19.57
20-30 256/253W B 15.38
30-40 247/246W B 16.13
40-50 261/258W B 15.12
50-60 249/247W B 16.16
60-70 245/237W B 15.34
70-80 234/231W B 15.45

Peak 20min (272 watts):
Peak 30min (269 watts):
Peak 60min (261 watts):


Jasons splits
10km NP/AP splits
dist. watts np/ap hr time.

00-10 284/274W 164B 17.16
10-20 274/273W 172B 17.49
20-30 264/263W 175B 14.24
30-40 268/266W 175B 14.49
40-50 263/261W 174B 14.35
50-60 266/265W 176B 14.21
60-70 253/249W 176B 14.31
70-80 252/251W 176B 14.19

Peak 20min (274 watts):
Peak 30min (274 watts):
Peak 60min (270 watts):


Jeffs splits
10km NP/AP splits
dist. watts np/ap hr time.

00-10 290/285W 164B 17.13
10-20 271/269W 167B 17.39
20-30 267/260W 168B 14.34
30-40 249/244W 167B 14.52
40-50 253/242W 166B 14.44
50-60 251/248W 169B 14.36
60-70 269/254W 171B 14.20
70-80 275/274W 177B 14.10

Peak 20min (283 watts):
Peak 30min (280 watts):
Peak 60min (268 watts):


Bens splits
10k NP Splits:

00-10 328W 171B 17.28
10-20 315W 171B 17.45
20-30 300W 171B 13.45
30-40 292W 169B 14.50
40-50 284W 165B 14.33
50-60 290W 167B 14.40
60-70 279W 168B 14.36
70-80 266W 169B 14.28

Peak 20min (323 watts):
Peak 30min (320 watts):
Peak 60min (306 watts):

More geekage.. (from Ben)
on elapsed time by end of each 10k stage who was ahead?

Splits Ben Matt Jeff Peter Jason
00-10 17.47 19.28 17.22 18.53 17.27 Jeff
10-20 35.22 39.23 34.87 37.53 35.08 Jeff
20-30 48.97 54.87 49.43 52.33 49.48 Ben
30-40 63.80 71.08 64.30 67.67 64.30 Ben
40-50 78.35 86.28 79.03 83.10 78.88 Ben
50-60 93.02 102.55 93.63 98.33 93.23 Ben
60-70 107.62 118.12 107.97 113.68 107.75 Ben
70-80 122.88 133.87 122.35 129.18 122.80 Jeff

This is the final 10km stretch which is pretty telling in the overall picture.

If its FIXED, dont BRAKE it....

We had the final local evening Time Trial this week - 3 days after we had all munted ourselves on the Ruamanga 50 (80km) TT. I had decided not to do the evening TT, but would go and support my buddies Dave and Neil who had come to support me in Australia in 07 at the Master Track Worlds. I was encouraging Dave to do the TT on my dedicated TT bike as his bike is a standard road bike.

As I was prepping Daves bike I looked into the shed and spied my pursuit bike hanging up. Hmmmm. Conditions were pretty good. Another calm Wednesday night. We had had over a month of them, mostly light southerlies. Admittedly our summer was arse, but the mid-week TTing was great.

I could go down and give it a crack. I had no idea what gearing was on it, or why I even had a front brake on it? Maybe I did some road rides on it last year.

Anyway, we all went down and had a great time. Neil beat Dave, Dave got a PB, so it was win-win. I seemed to be a bit short on gears with my 50-15 (90 gear inches) and was doing 111rpm at my top speed of 47kmh. In the end I averaged about 41.5 kmh and it was a real blast. I had no problems on the rollers and could have done with heaps more gearing.

In the UK TTing community a lot of them swear by riding fixed gear. I am not sure why. My old steel pursuit bike is way heavier than my TT bike, which isn't particularly light anyway.

Anyway, to finish off the story. On Friday night I get an email from 72 year old Garry Humpherson who sent me the results from a local 40km TT he did in his new hometown.
He rode his world champs Alan track bike, Fixed gear (96 inches), 808 on the front with a rear disc, and he cranked out a 58.27 !!!!!!!

He just gets faster.....

FYI. See the results for this season's evening TTs as organised by the Wellington Veterans Cycling Club here. They start in December and go on until late February. 6.30 on a wednesday night on the Liverton Road Circuit.