As a coach the biggest question I’m asked is often “how do I compare to….” or “what step up in power do I need to make to get to…”. Quite often athletes are very protective of their data and think giving anything away also gives away their competitive edge, leading to inflated or deflated numbers being discussed around the tea and sandwiches after a race! I will just add here before we dive into this chart that numbers are only a part of your picture as a bike racer, can you execute your race plan, can you adapt to a situation, how’s your bike handling are all question you need to ask yourself before getting into this. (Cover Credit – Ryan Byrne – Inpho Sports)
|2018 AVG. MMPs|
As you can see we have taken each of the common power durations from peak right up to 60 minute average power and expressed them in W/Kg (a relative metric expressing power in terms of weight). So, to find your absolute value simply multiply your weight by the figures above. Regarding the data set we’ve taken 4 riders in each category that we currently work with here at Premier Endurance to use as a basis for comparison, these peaks were set in 2018.
Where and when did the peaks happen?
Interestingly power durations from PEAK to 1 MIN were often set in training, most likely due to freshness. In racing we’re setting these powers under fatigue from hours gone by, these durations are often your race winning effort. As we go up the categories we usually see more of a potential to produce these maximum efforts under fatigue (in racing) and the capacity to repeat them over time increases. 5, 20 and 60 minute powers were set in racing oftentimes at the start or middle of a race to get into breakaways and push on from a group.
Drilling into the Data
You could add more and more metrics to this chart and expand on it countless times over but for now we’ll look at the basics! From the A4 to A3 comparison we do not see much of an increase, interestingly the 5s average is higher in the A4 data set. If we take a 75-kilo rider we can see the absolute outputs below in figure 1. These are all jumps made (relatively) easily with specific training and greater racing exposure. It is after this that we see a steady increase in power outputs as we move through the categories. Something that caught my eye was the difference between the A2 and A1 categories. Given these athletes compete together it does highlight the merit of separate A2 races for riders who have just been recently upgraded giving them a stepping stone into this domain. The difference between A1 and UCI Continental becomes apparent when we move from 1 minute upwards. The ability to sustain extremely high-power outputs is is quite often due to greater training load, increased recovery and more exposure to racing – it’s their job after all! It is around here that riders begin to specialize in one power duration, so you will often see outliers to the norm here, for example top continental sprinters pushing over 20.9 w/kg as their peak power with more aerobically inclined riders pushing 5.8 w/kg for 20 minutes!
Figure 1. A4 V. A3 Absolute Power at 75KG
As always more data would mean a higher quality data set, I’m also aware of the lack of female data here and it is something that could be built upon. If U23/SENIOR riders and/ or coaches want to send expressions of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org we can work to build this resource which would only prove to be beneficial to coaches and athletes alike! I will make the spreadsheet (along with some more detailed analysis) open access on my website https://premierendurance.ie/ and update frequently.