Latest News in Cycling
Normally we don’t compare data between men and women because it can be like comparing apples to oranges, but we decided to make an exception this time when two world-class cyclists and time trialers shared their data with us after racing the same course on the same day.
Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) shared his Powertap data and American Alison Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS) has shared her SRM data from the 19.75-mile course through San Jose, Calif. It was stage 6 in the men’s Amgen Tour of California.
An initial comparison of their data is below.
Powers’ TT summary
Result: 56:45, 2nd place, 56 seconds behind the winner
309 Average Watts
93.4 Training Stress Score (TSS)
313 Normalized Power (NP)
185 bpm Average Heart Rate
89 rpm Average Cadence
21 mph Average Speed
Flecha’s TT summary
Result: 51:15, 14th place, 2:23 behind the winner
413 Average Watts
158 bpm Average Heart Rate
81 rpm Average Cadence
23.2 mph Average Speed
Other than the obvious differences in that Flecha was putting out more watts and completed the course 5:30 faster, there are definitely some interesting comparisons to make.
One could argue that Powers actually did a slightly better job at pacing after comparing the two VI (Variability Index) values. VI examines the ratio of Normalized Power (NP) versus average power for a ride, and the resulting value shows how steady or constant the power output for an effort was. A VI of 1.0 (NP equals average power) indicates a perfectly steady effort, and most skilled time trialers will have a VI figure lower than 1.05. For more context, a VI for a road race full of surges, attacks and varying terrain may be in the range of 1.2 (though this can vary widely depending on circumstances).
Powers completed the TT course with a VI of 1.01 while Flecha logged a 1.03 VI. Both demonstrated excellent pacing, but Powers really nailed it with close to a “perfect” 1.0.
Flecha opted to ride his time trial bike the entire race, while Powers changed to a road bike for the final climb up Metcalf. After the race, Powers felt that the bike change worked to her advantage because the climb was so steep (900 feet in elevation change over 1.9 miles), and the road bike allowed her to ride in a more comfortable position.
For the section prior to the final climb, Powers spun just a little more than Flecha with a higher average cadence of 89 rpm vs. Flecha’s 81 rpm. However, on the final climb, both ground it out at a similar cadence: 63 rpm for Powers vs. 65 rpm for Flecha.
Powers’ Metcalf climb
321 Average Watts
191 bpm Average Heart Rate
63 rpm Average Cadence
8.7 mph Average Speed
Flecha’s Metcalf climb
439 Average Watts
163 bpm Average Heart rate
65 rpm Average Cadence
10.3 mph Average Speed
Although Flecha had the higher average speed overall (23.2 mph vs. 21 mph), Powers had the higher maximum speed. She hit 44.6 mph on the technical, challenging descent while Flecha topped out at 42.3 mph. Powers comes from a downhill ski racing background and she definitely put those skills to work!
Overall, both riders had great time trials while demonstrating excellent pacing, technique, and strength.
Editor’s note: Thanks to TrainingPeaks.com, we are looking at two riders’ power data from stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California. Today, Shawn Heidgen, a USA Cycling certified coach, former professional cyclist, and Education Specialist at TrainingPeaks, recaps the data from the eight-day race. For more, follow Shawn on Twitter.
- by Molly Hurford In anticipation of Issue 21 of Cyclocross Magazine with our huge women’s feature, we’re taking a look at some of the kit and gear options out there for women these days. The fashion spectrum has improved drastically over the years, and finally companies are making clothing for women, not just taking men’s [...]
MORI, Italy (VN) — Robert Gesink (Blanco) is racing to set his Giro d’Italia right after a rocky few days. The tall, blond Dutchman began with hopes of a podium, maybe even a win, just over two weeks ago in Naples. Now his goal is placing in the top 10.
“I had a really a bad day on the Jafferau climb [in stage 14] and after losing four minutes, I’d just settle on a top 10,” Gesink told VeloNews Wednesday. “To achieve that in all three grand tours would be something.”
Gesink boasts a Tour de France fifth place and two Vuelta a España sixth places in his palmarès. Ahead of today’s mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa above Lake Garda, he sits 10th at 7:24 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
He spoke of a podium finish while sitting with 2012 champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at the race start in Naples. Hesjedal and Wiggins have since abandoned and Gesink has suffered his own problems.
On the stage to Jafferau, Gesink lost time to his competitors and slipped behind by 4:16. Before that, he was within reach of third place with Rigoberto Urán (Sky).
Having already raced the Tour and Vuelta several times, Gesink finds the Giro difficult.
“The race has had spectacular stages every day. The only day that seemed normal was when Cavendish won [stage 6 in Margherita di Savoia],” Gesink said. “The rest of the days, the organizer always seems to find a climb to put in the final.”
Gesink took in the day’s sun, but looked up to see what was rolling in. He said if the weather forces the upcoming mountain stages to be canceled, he will have a hard time winning a stage. A top 10, though, remains on his radar.
Kelderman ‘learning a lot’
Blanco swings more of its might toward 22-year-old Wilco Kelderman. Last year, the young Dutchman debuted strongly in the professional ranks. He won the white jersey in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Amgen Tour of California, placing eighth and seventh overall.
“Wilco is good,” Gesink said as Kelderman adjusted his helmet. “He doesn’t have to, but he listens to me. He tries to learn from my mistakes and has a lot of power. He’ll go far.”
Added Kelderman: “I’m learning a lot from him in my first grand tour. He’s already had a lot of top 10s in these races.”
Kelderman spoke quietly and in short phrases. On the bike, however, he is aggressive.
Blanco gave him free reign on stage 15 to Galibier and the following stage, after the rest day. He failed to win both, but he gained experience that will serve him well when he leads a grand tour team.
“There’s not a goal to reach a certain placing this year, it’s more to help Robert,” Kelderman said. “As the year goes on, I want to have more top 10s in races like the Tour de Romandie. Just to keep improving every year.”
An eye on the sky
Gesink looked over Kelderman’s shoulder to the horizon and the Alps. Over the next few days, the race heads upwards for its final test. Not only will Gesink try to secure his top-10 finish — Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) trails him by just 10 seconds — but he will also aim for a stage win.
“A stage win is within reach,” Gesink said. “I just have to hope snow does not force the stages to be canceled.”
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (VN) — The mechanic was visibly cynical about this machine and its ornaments, and perhaps rightfully so. It’s aging without the grace of classic steel, and it hasn’t been put to the Cat. 4 pastures and collegiate B races with the other carbon hand-me downs of its generation. He ticked off the laundry list of maladies: toasted chain, torched front rings, sagging cables.
He didn’t mention the worn yellow bar tape. He didn’t have to.
Services were arranged. Because this isn’t any 15-year old bike. This is the Hornet, an American-made machine of carbon and titanium that’s passed through my family to riders of varied states of ability and purpose.
It took the name of the Hornet for obvious reasons. A yellow front triangle, and some lamentable yellow tape my mechanic and friend found in the Telluride Free Box — a bin for outcast objects, one last chance before the dumpster.
It began its life as something I coveted immensely. A Douglas, painted in my father’s team colors for a club that’s gone the way of the dumpster itself, the Garden of the Gods Breakfast Club, out of Colorado Springs, it even had my father’s name painted on the top tube: “Chris Beaudin,” in silver upon a blue streak.
He raced it for a few years, and then relegated it to the trainer bike, where he talked to the top tube and to himself, as we all do when we ride both indoors and out.
It was eventually passed to me to ride in Telluride’s shoulder seasons, which are more like plateaus, and I rode it from time to time, more a flirtation with fitness for the trails than anything else. I think our third ride together was some 130 miles from Telluride to Moab in a charity ride in which I flatted on the first descent out of town, was dropped by the large group and rode 80 or so miles alone, just me and the Douglas, until I found a friend in Paradox Valley who’d promised to stay with me about 10 hours prior. We came to know each other that day, the bike and I.
But mostly, it sat unloved underneath my stairs, collecting dust on its ever-still cranks and once-coveted silver Mavic wheels. If a bike could cry, it would have. There’s no telling what it thought of me, though I’m certain it protested my inability to descend. The fact that people were able to ride 60 miles per hour on only suggestions of tires shocked me.
But last spring, when I took this job, I began to ride it, trying to stuff my eyes and legs with the language of the road. I’d been a mountain biker only, and lacked the literacy of the road. I was a fan and spectator of racing, but never anything more.
Slowly, I began to speak it. First in the lower back agony of a road rookie, then in timid descents, and slow progressions stalled by overestimations of my ability.
The Douglas never protested to these injustices, having gone from my father’s skilled hands to my bumbling newness, its only trepidations voiced in a creaky bottom bracket, or cables that had seemed to turn from metal braids to elastic bands.
I took care of it. My friend Max added yellow tape to its mélange of color last spring, and the Hornet was born. I showed up in Boulder with it — a kid on his first day at school in old clothes — but I threw it into the mountains here nonetheless. Its days were numbered in Boulder and we both knew it. I had a bike built for me by Independent Fabrication, a dream I’d had for sometime.
The Hornet returned to its yellow and blue still life, leaning against a wall in semi-permanence, its tires leaking their secrets over months, its stem still turned slightly upward, an imagined turning up of its nose at me and the Indy Fab, white as a cue ball. What the Hornet had in misguided color, the Indy had in understated elegance and a flawless new Dura-Ace group.
The Hornet had come to the end of its second chance, and its days on the road paused. And for once, the bottom bracket was actually silent.
But there was a need for it. My stepfather lives in Steamboat Springs and had never really ridden a road bike through the country he’s from, and one where snow often keeps the trails draped underneath winter’s modesty longer than it should. I asked my father if my pop — I’ve always called him pop — could adopt the Hornet, to see if he liked the road.
Eventually, the Hornet made its way north from Boulder to Steamboat. I breathed air back into its tires in the sunny backyard a few weeks ago; the dogs hung their heads in the way dogs of cyclists do, while the machine came back to life.
We made it out onto Steamboat’s ribbons of asphalt through the patchwork farms and yawning valleys of northwestern Colorado. The land here holds you inside of it, and doesn’t attempt to repel you as other parts of Colorado’s mountains do.
In our first road ride together, pop tucked right behind me, and I pulled him the 20 miles to Clark and back. Two days later, we took to a road that drops behind town and moves up and down with the gentle pace of a slow conversation.
I was happy to share the roads and a bike with someone who’d shared so much of life with me, and I was happy that in some way my father was there, too. We’re a family that even in fracture has grown stronger over time. The bike passed between us is only a bike, it’s true, but it’s one stitch that connects us further, as family and as riders.
A week ago, my pop sent me a picture of the bike draped over a mailbox out by the old red schoolhouse, 10 or so empty miles from town. “Buzzin like a Hornet thanks” was all he said. A few days later, another photo, this time farther from home, complete with time for the out and back.
He’s well on his way now, the yellow Douglas teaching him the prose of the road, one ride at a time. It has fresh, black tape and a new chain now, and is ready for another five years of time in the spring and fall. I suppose it is now to me as all things eventually become to all of us: better than it ever really was, gleaming in the alpenglow of memory.
But that’s no matter, how I recall it.
Because, finally, the Hornet rides again.
- Need a 34.9 front derailleur clamp for my CAAD 9 cross bike, got one?