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09/02/2011

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Ryan Rodman

Although, it appears from the comments that your goal for this athlete is to attain the highest average power for the duration of the TT (averaging about 245 watts for each section), isn't it possible to save more time on the course by varying power depending on the grade?

I remember reading about Alan Lim last year, when he coached Taylor Phinney at the USA National TT Championship, he told Phinney to go a little harder on the uphills, and let off a little on the downhills. The reasoning being that 1 watt at 20mph is worth more time than the same watt at 30mph because wind resistance is logarithmic.

Just to see how much an effect this strategy might have, using the website http://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html to estimate times by power, I used rider weight at 160lbs, bike weight 18 lbs, clinchers and aerobar on a 5% grade up and 5% grade down for each half of the course at 6.2 mile distances;

an average of 245 watts for both halves of the course produces a time of 42.43 minutes, but varying effort to 250 watts in the first half and 240 in the second half gives an estimated time of 41.88, a difference of about half a minute. If the difference is increased to 255 watts and 235 watts, the difference is more than a full minute.

I've never used a power meter, but I realize that 5 watts is probably too small to be able to precisely target that difference of power in a TT, and other factors influence this strategy, such as if the grade is less steep the effect is less pronounced, rider weight will alter the effect, turns and other technical bits will alter the times, but what might be the other reasons for not adopting this strategy?

The benefit would be small and I realize that this is a somewhat riskier strategy because it would be easier to overly fatigue yourself in the first half of the course, but I'm curious as to the strategy behind the course.

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