Find out how to analyse your cycling post-race data so you can train and perform better in the future.
The first thing we all do after an event/race is look at our race finishing time. This can lead you to feel one of three ways:
- over the moon with happiness
- crushingly disappointed
- kind of OK
However, taking your finish time at face value is not always an accurate method of analysis. Unless it is the same race that you have done before with the same conditions, you will never be comparing apples with apples. There are dozens of variables that can significantly affect your time.
The Best Way to Analyze Cycling Results
You will have performed your fitness test 8 weeks before your event and used this information to plan your pacing strategy. You can now use it to evaluate your results.
This small example of post-race analysis is taken from a cyclist's 90km bike:
Leading into the race, this athlete's FTP was 275 Watts (taken from fitness test result). Following the Pacing Guide his average output for the bike leg should have been around 80 to 83% (considering the race duration, the riders fitness and competitiveness).
Look at the IF (Intensity factor) and you will see that for the 1st half of the ride the athlete rode at 93% of FTP and then faded to 67% in the 2nd half with a lower average HR.
It's also worth noting that the first half of the race was slightly hillier, which makes it easier to get carried away with riding too hard. Especially if you don't have the right gearing.
Analysis is by no means a perfect process because of the sheer number of variables involved. But using recent performance test data is always better than looking at race splits in isolation.
Using recent performance test scores, rather than assumptions will help you stay grounded in reality, giving you a far better idea of how you raced and how to improve in the future.
- There are lots of uncontrollable variables that can significantly affect your race results.
- Simple fitness tests can provide useful benchmark performance data.
- The level of your competitors will vary from one race to another. You cannot always compare directly against them.
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