Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Old La Honda, take 2

After last week's disappointment on Old La Honda, I did a sprint workout the following day (Thursday), then rode in at tempo on Friday with Jason. But there was no riding through it. I was cooked. I needed some days off.

Saturday & Sunday were total "rest" (actually doing home stuff which absolutely needed doing). Monday and Tuesday I was still feeling fatigued, so I took the train to work, riding only to-from the train. Finally, today, I felt energetic again, ready for another try at Old La Honda.

Like last week, Greg and Kieran set a ferocious pace from the start, with Mark in tow. I let them go. But unlike last week, I wasn't in a chase pack, but rather solo. But also unlike last week, Mark didn't try to hang with the leaders too long. He dropped off and paced himself very nicely the rest of the way.

And the whole rest of the way I chased him. I focused on trying to maintain a steadier pace this time: keep a cap on it at the beginning when I felt good, then as it felt progressively less good, try to keep the power from dropping too much. I was successful at this, even if I was unsuccessful at catching Mark, who dangled in front of me the whole way.

Running average power tells the story. Despite feeling I was holding back at the start, I was actually doing about the same power I'd done the week before. But from there, while I did fade, I faded much less.


Here's the power itself, smoothed by 20 seconds. Up to 2 km I was holding it fairly well in the 285 range. From there I dropped back into the high-260's. I ended up with an average of 274.0 watts for the 18:56 it took me to reach the top. This was 1 watt shy of my 275 watt goal I'd set.


An interesting thing is my power was 3% higher but speed was only 1% higher, and I don't think I'm any heavier. This suggested wind was a factor, and indeed, looking at the wind map, it was a direct headwind. Old La Honda is substantially shielded from headwinds, but it's not completely immune. It doesn't take much for a 2% speed hit.

Here's the time advantage to the same altitude:


This shows a finishing 16 second gap instead of the actual 12 second gap because of differences in measured total altitude change (4 seconds of today's ride got truncated in this experiment). Consistent with my power data, my advantage this week was more towards the end. Note the advantage plateaus toward the finish, but that's partially an artifact of the altitudes not being synchronized (my rate of climbing increases towards the finish).

Anyway, not so bad, although the time reduction wasn't what I wanted. I'd love to be over 280 watts, but that doesn't come out of nowhere, and I've simply not been doing the miles necessary nor the intensity long enough to get there yet. But hopefully I'll improve some more by next week. Then comes the race.


Brad said...

Do you think you climb faster by riding over your threshold at the start and then fading? I had my OLH PR last year on an A-ride. I was using a power meter on the ride, and I generally try to maintain pretty even power the entire way up. Shortly after the start, a group pf 10 riders blasted by me. I looked down at my power meter and saw that i was averaging around 370 watts (164 pound body weight at the time). I knew that 370 watts was slightly above what i could sustain for OLH and knew that teying to follow that group would put me way deeper in the red than i would want to go. The group of 10 quickly put a big gap into me. I set pretty conaiatent power out the entire way up the climb, and, one by one, i caught and dropped 9 of the 10 riders, and finished with my PR of 17'30". I know everyone is different, but i was wondering how you decided on a strategy pf riding over threshold at start, and then fading?

djconnel said...

Greg Drake told me to do a good OLH time, you need to start in the big ring. Curious reading Bradley Wiggins book immediately followed by Chris Froome. Bradley does a pursuit-like start to his time trials: sprint. Froome does the opposite: the first 10% at 90%. My best time up OLH was going out hard, my 2nd best time was going nice and steady. So I don't have an answer: it's hard to empty the tank on a climb that short if you try to pace it too evenly, but it's also easy to go out too hard and crack. I think the optimum is a slightly above-sustainable start then to settle in, ie a slight fade. But I really don't know.

Brad said...

If i remember correctly, greg drake posted one of the fastest times ever on olh. While he may be able to start olh in the big ring and do well, i assume most of the rest of us would not benefit from that strategy. It is my belief that both bradley and froome are dopers, so i wouldnt take their advice either. But i know people who have posted PRs on OLH with the evenly paced strategy and the blowing strategy. My PRs have all been using fairly even pacing. Since i try to avoid blowing, i generally dont have too much data to correlate blowing rides with OLH times.