Thursday, July 2, 2009

filling in the curve

I've been doing a lot of intervals lately... 10 second, 15 second, 30 second, 5 minute. As a result, the left side of my maximal power curve has filled in nicely compared to last year.

Maximal power curve through 04 June, curve for June alone, and curve for surviving data from 2008

You can really see from the curve that the curve using June data is notably improved from earlier in the year: approaching the 2008 numbers. The exception is sprints, but the sprint session in question was late May, virtually June, so is part of the same trend of improvement.

An aside: one thing I've seen with my meter is that if the hill requires a lot of shifting, if the grade varies a lot, average power is going to be lower. It's just harder to sustain a constant effort if the road itself isn't sufficiently constant. The obvious extreme of this is an intermediate descent on a hill. Even a small one is a kiss of death for posting up a good point on the maximal power curve. I've really not done nearly as many of the 5 minute efforts this year as last. Part of the difference may be the total lack of sessions at Huddart Park or Kings Mountain Road. These provide a continuous effort which is good for getting everything I have to offer. So I'm not worried about my 5 minute number.

Something I'll never see on my Powertap (Uhl Albert)

In the 45 second to 4.5 minute range last year also has an advantage. But last year had more intervals of mixed duration encountered on hard group rides: I simply haven't done maximal efforts this year in that time range. If I can go hard at 5 minutes and hard at 30 seconds, nothing magical happens physiological at efforts in between. I'm very confident I could bring this year's curve up in this time range if I tried.

The significant difference from last year is still at longer times: in particular that magic time range near 18 minutes associated with Old La Honda. I just haven't been able to put together a solid climb of that hill yet this year. I've tried, for sure, but it never seems I'm fresh when I do Old La Honda. that's not much different from last year, however. So it's still a fair comparison. Even on my "fatigued" days last year I was putting up better numbers than my best so far in 2009.

In the range of around 30 minutes up to 5 hours the big difference this year is a lack of race data. For example, I did Climb to Kaiser last year with my PowerTap. It's a lot of weight to carry over 13 thousand feet of climbing, but very useful for assessing pacing over the 154 mile event. This year I skipped Kaiser, however. So I don't worry much about what's going on out there.

It's the OLH data I need to improve. One of these week's I'm going to make a run at the hill. Come in fresh, use optimal gears, and see if I can make a further dent in that curve.

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