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Power Perspective – Solvang Double Century

Bikeage believes in the value of good data: Performance Intelligence. Here’s a comparison of 3 Double Centuries recorded with SRM True Training Precision. What’s the value of a good PowerMeter? The value is many years of data, comparable like apples to apples. 4 different SRM PowerMeters were used in the making of this story. Each one’s calibration was confirmed with the same masses, at home. Data is recorded with the SRM PowerControl. The value is no dropped data or missing files. No auto-stops or forgetting to press start buttons. No dead or low batteries after 12+ hours.
3 Doubles

The Highwood Triangle is a loop over the highest paved pass in Canada (2206m/7238 ft). It just happens to be a double century in length. Check out my SRM ride file for the elevation profile (black line).
HT Map
2010, I rode the Highwood Triangle double (200 miles/320 km) with 1 other rider (anti-clockwise).
2011, I did the same course solo (less the detour to Kananaskis Village). Ride report here.
2012, I attempted the course from the opposite direction (clockwise), but brutal winds cut the ride short at 212 km.
2013 – year of the flood – Hwy 40/Highwood Pass closed.
2014 – Solvang Double Century on March 22, at the end of Bikeage Base Camp
At my size, a double century requires over 6000kJ of work. That’s a couple day’s worth of normal metabolism crammed into 10-12 hours of riding.
In the screenshot below, you can compare the 4 rides by power(green)/speed(left hump)/HR(middle/blue hump)/cadence (right hump). Power is on the bottom axis, everything else on the top axis. In the top left we have the Solvang Double Century. Notice the distribution of power is pretty wide, and a little hump on the left side. That hump is all the time soft-pedalling in the draft of the two tandems I managed to hang with.
Below it is the abandoned attempt of 2012. Power has one peak, speed has two peaks. Steady output, but it was uphill into a headwind for 106km, and then straight back. To the right of the Solvang Double we see the solo 2011 ride. These two rides the peaks are pretty sharp. When you’re by yourself, you will self select your intensity to match the distance. Once the stored sugars are used up, you are riding on the fat and food you’re consuming, and the rate you can do that is constrained. My first attempt is in the bottom right chart. Like the Solvang Double, the power distribution is wider. If you look at the 300W mark on the bottom axis, you’ll see the area under the green line – compare in all 4 charts. The area under that green line is how much time I spent above 300W. In Solvang, I spent a lot of time above 300W. In the two solo rides, not so much, and in my first ride (bottom right), there was a chunk. I paid for it in the HR department in 2010. The HR peak is at 160 bpm – most of my time was spent right around that HR. This year, didn’t push my HR that high as much or as long. The micro-rests while drafting really helped keep the HR down.
So, which ride was the hardest? Notice that the peak of the power line (green) is pretty much centered around the 200W mark, in each ride. I think my limit is to put out 200W for rides of this length. Since I’ve only averaged 163-170W overall, I might guess that I could get a little faster by coasting less. There’s only one way to find out!
4 rides