Power data from the Craft Transalp 2010A lady cross rider and a spare-time rider with ambition ride the biggest mountain bike stage race in the world: Jana Süss (22) from the Stevens 1a cross team and Ronald Andraczek (34) from the Dresden cycling club took part as a mixed team in the Transalp. We analyse the power data of the pair, measured with SRM cranks.
The course details of the Craft Bike Transalp were respectable!
Ronald's data shows that an easy profile doesn't equate to an easy ride. Only on the fourth stage was the power output higher! Typically for a stage race - everyone was fresh at the start, which was accordingly hectic. YOu can see this by the wild zig zag in the main power curve. On the climbs the power output is more constant - and lower.
The second stage brought an early performance peak, with its 3184 meters of climbing. The average power of 244 watts over 1:13 hrs was the highest climbing power, that Ronald achieved during the whole event. Compared to his 64 kg weight, this comes to a respectable 3.8 watts per kilogram, close to his threshold value.
Compare the data from Jana. Clear to see how the topography affets the values. Being lighte than Ronald, she has somewhat lower power values.
The analysis view of the SRM software shows the frequency of data distribution. Due to the long climbs, there is a speed frequency peak just over 10 kmh. The power graph is pretty pointed too, with the most frequent value being 225 watts and most frequent cadence of 72 RPM.
The 2PEAK analysis of the ride shows that Ronald was in Z4 (threshold zone) a lot of the time. 24 minutes in Z5 (Max Power)are a hard effort during a stage race, which will leave their mark in the following stages.
SIgns of tiredness here. Average power and cadence are down on the first two stages. There is already a huge climb from Ischgl up to the Idjoch.
The fourth stage has a more even profile. That is a help for Ronald, who achieves his highest average power output of 187 watts. You have to remember though, that on a mountain bike, the power data don't tell the whole story. If you get of and push or carry, the watt meter shows zero, although of course you expend energy just the same. And in the descents you use energy which is not recorded. SO the total energy investment as around 25% higher than recorded.
Stage five is nominally the "royal stage" with a distance of 113km and nearly 3,700 meters of climbing. This is reflected in the energy balance: 3,900 kilojoules mechanical energy are the maximum value of the event and are equivalent to about 3,900 kcal of intake. The real figure is closer to 5,000 kcal, similar to riding one of the harder stages of the Tour de France. It s absolutely vital to eat masses of food after the stage! The almost endless climb to Mortirolo needs once more power-endurance: 1.44 hrs at 224 watts. Although the pulse is generally lower since the start of the event (tiredness and economization) the pulse rate on the final climb is somewhat higher than usual for this power, which can be due to tiredness or lack of carbohydrate - could too be anger over a rear wheel defect and the following chase, which increases the pulse rate.
On this stage the performance stabilizes. The pedalling action is more fluid.
Tghis stage also includes a never ending climb. The average performance falls again. The efforts of the last days have left their mark - on all the participants. Jana and Roland take it sportingly, they improve in the mixed category to the tenth place.
The closing act. Most of the climbing is done. But there is an hour of hard climbing on the Passo Bregn da l'Ors waiting, before Lake Garda slowly comes into view. Then a difficult descent. Finally jana and Ronald can claim tenth place.
Bike Transalp is a very hard race. The power values are only a part of the true story. In terrain they are lower than on the road, because steering power on the descents and foot passages are not recorded. The energy investment is high - the stages are long. For a spare time rider with limited training budget the event is a permanent overload. You can't recover properly from the hard stages. This can be seen by the falling power values. Jana and Roland lost six and a half hours on the leaders in the mixed category, although thes had trained well, which just shows how hard the event is at the front.
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