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Riding to numbers

mr_pollmr_poll Posts: 1,612
edited June 2012 in Pro race
When watching eurosport or reading things in the press there has been a lot of comment about riding to numbers - or certain riders training producing great numbers.

I don't fully understand a few issues around this (and Rick happy for you to merge this to New to the TdF - if sufficiently Nooby).

1 - Firstly what are the numbers? (I am presuming they are heart rate, power wattage, cadence, speed).
2 - Do they inter relate? - is there some sort of magic coefficient that riders should have
3 - What are good numbers? - I know some teams release stage figures (sky did Flecha's in the stage he was run over) but they look like a load of spikey differently coloured lines.
4 - How are teams getting each others numbers? (with the exception of the example above) - F1 for instance dont go around revealing how cars are performing in wind tunnels and testing, but Vaughters seemed to know enough to tweet about it.
5 - Does riding by numbers take away for the humanity/unpredictability of the sport - riders pushing themselves to unknown limits and blowing up - rather than riding to a pre-set monitored scientific program?

Posts

  • ddraverddraver Posts: 22,092
    1 - That's correct
    2 - Not directly...they re all measuring similar things but in different ways. Each rider will be different
    3 - Pfft, good question, you re looking at riders that can push out average 450 - 500 watts over a day. Most of us normos might manage 2-300 or so? Again, this is very personal to each rider
    4 - they arent - Not at all! Some lowly domestiques may post their numbers, but the big guys will keep them closely under wraps. That said, there's nothing to stop Cadel glancing over at Bradley's SRM screen I suppose, and also, there is no massive benefit to be gained from it. At the end of the day, each rider still has to push the pedals around plus you have the effect of drafting etc...
    5 - Arguable...People may say so but then these are riders that ride every day and know their body well so most of the could do it be "feel" This just makes it more scientific. For example, my swimming coach used to ask the kids (who were much better than me) what time they had done for a certain distance before telling them, the good kids could say to within a few seconds. Obviously there is no such data for swimmers.

    That said, if a rider knows he can ride at 450W for ever, he may not follow an attack if that means he has to ride at 455W, which means that he is less likely to spectacularly implode and therefore the race will be "less exciting"
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    ddraver wrote:
    ...3 - Pfft, good question, you re looking at riders that can push out average 450 - 500 watts over a day. Most of us normos might manage 2-300 or so? Again, this is very personal to each rider....

    Not quite - over an hour yes, but over a day no. It's quite rare to see an average power of >300W for a tour stage.
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Many riders use power meters - either crank based or hub-based. The racing by numbers bit - rider's will only do this if they're in a break or long climb and they want to pace themselves so as not to blow up.
    More problems but still living....
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
    ddraver wrote:
    That said, if a rider knows he can ride at 450W for ever, he may not follow an attack if that means he has to ride at 455W, which means that he is less likely to spectacularly implode and therefore the race will be "less exciting"

    If this were true then it would make things pretty dull. If said rider is say Wiggins pushing 450W and Evans attacks would said rider let him go or could he dig deeper and find those extra 5W because it's Le Tour bla bla bla

    I'd guess that numbers are there to help but when everything explodes you just push as hard as you can.

    As Sean Kelly would say "He'll make a calculation"

    Will Wiggins watch Evans ride away and gain 30 seconds because he knows he'll take 50 seconds out of him in the next TT?
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 22,092
    Well, some do some don't - Wiggo is known for doing such stuff, but then Tommy V does nt use anything - Obviously they re very different riders to start with but...

    What people (FF being a particular exponent of this) want to see is Wiggo busiting his balls to stop Evans gaining 30 secs and then exploding and loosing 5 mins. Clearly Wiggo doesnt want to do that though. Eventually it boils down to do you want to watch people doing their best to win, or do you want to watch entertainment, Sometimes the two things might co-incide, but other times they don't i.e HTC and the sprint train
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • rebsrebs Posts: 891
    For the world Champs didnt wiggins say they set out to ride the Time Trial at a certain wattage all the way. But I'm guessing that is TT'ing all over. It's all riding by numbers with TT's....
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