Here is a quick analysis of day 1 and a little bit of day 2 of the cat 2 race at the tour of the Gila.
Chris Carr is one of the top racers in CO. despite just upgrading to cat 2 last summer he already shows great skill, mental toughness and some big numbers. lets take a look at Chris and the Gila’s tough first 2 stages.
Chris’s threshold power going into the race was 310-315. we soon discovered on stage 2 that he is now up to 325-230. Stage one offers everything one can ask for in a bike race. 95 hot, windy miles. Attacks that seem to never stop. Long periods of riding slower that slow and a grueling steep climb to the finish.
Chris did not have a great day. I have done this race 3 times now and to be honest I am not sure what a good one feels like??
Chris is 143lb’s his max power is around 1400 watts and is a very well rounded cyclist.
The raw numbers:
~Time 4:30/ 95 miles
~Avg. power 186
~Norm power 240
~30 spikes at or over 10 watts/ kg of body weight
Tough stuff for sure. Now, Chris missed the break of 7 or so riders that rode away at about 65 miles in. also his peak 30’ which was much lower than he is capable even fatigued was at the end of the race. You could up these longer mean max power numbers for those in the move. I was one of them but no power data on my bike that day.
With myself being 155 lbs and in the break. We could say that a rider in my shoes would have to do 3500 kj’s on this day. I to did not have magic legs and was dropped by a 3 of my breakaway companions. I probably did 280’s on the 30 minute finishing climb. Again, at the end on my 3500 kj’s. pretty stout. This was good for 7th place on the day but still many minutes down.
Even without being in the breakaway Chris had 32’ in his Zone 5 and 6. 20’of that in Z6. an hour in Z4, with just over 90’ in Z1 or not pedaling. Judging by the way things played I could safely say our Z5-6 time was probably pretty equal. But my Z4 time would be quite a bit higher. Say 1:20- 1:30 in Z4. that is a beefy ride. I think we can see the cause of that “not so magic feeling”.
The biggest part of the cat 2 stage one at the Gila is both tactical and physical. One knowing what moves to get into, you can’t cover every move. And two being able to get into them with efficiency. Even the smartest rider will have to make several efforts off the front of the pack. And then ride a solid 30’ TT up the last climb. its steep, aside form the flat section after the first 5’ so of the real climb. so figure it’s an ITT effort.
So as you can see trying to mimic this in training can be done in a fairly straight forward manner. Rack up the kj’s preferably with a fast flat/rolling group ride, then straight to a steep 30’ climb and give it all you got!
Lets not be hasty though. Developing ALL of our zones, all of our “engines” and skills is v ital to success. Yes you have to be able to climb fast to do well on stage 1 but you have 90 hard aggressive miles to survive before you get there. Spend time on specific intervals and training!!
Day 2: Chris’s numbers were… off the charts. He was attacking in the first hour. He did a normalized power on 320 in the first hour. With the last 5’ being around 350. my legs hurt just talking about it. This caused a huge reaction from the field and with 2 climbs being involved in the first hour we dropped about a third of the field. This was finished off with the last windy 30’ climb, where, while sitting in our “peloton” of 15 riders by half way up, he was pushing upper Z3, 280’s. like I said, stout riding. This 3:30 hour stage required a 256 norm. power out put.
This stage is capped off with another 10 miles of windy riding to the finish. A long slight up hill sprint to the line.
As you can see to survive the Gila you have to be a very complete rider. You gotta be able to do it all!