Yesterday we published an exchange with Pat Lane about his ride in the national championships. The 58kg rider would finish 33rd but it was his attack just before the pivotal moment in the race that caught our attention and prompted the interview. During the chat with Pat we spoke about his power output… and he later supplied his power file from the race. It’s becoming clear that power data is changing the way races are ridden. The new national champion, Heinrich Haussler, explained that he paced his efforts purely on numbers – not his rivals – and obviously it proved to be a winning approach.

Graham Springett enjoys a little bit of power analysis and he’s offered a quick appraisal of the efforts of Lane on Sunday…

 

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What it takes to finish 33rd…

 

– By Graham Springett

 

Patrick Lane went into the national road race championships determined to do a good ride and he delivered in style – he was out on his own in the critical closing stages of the race and he has shared his power data with RIDE so we can see what it takes to be up there with the best.

The first figure that stands out is the toll the race took on him – he raced for four hours 48 minutes over 182 recorded kilometres which gave him a stress score of 357. This figure might mean little to you until you realise that if he had gone out in a time trial and rode bang on his threshold for an hour, he would accrue 100 points. This race, with its duration and numerous efforts way above his threshold, was the physiological equivalent of three-and-a-half one-hour maximum efforts strung together.

His average power over nearly five hours, which would’ve included as much descending (read: freewheeling and soft pedalling) as climbing, was 223 watts, which is impressive enough, but his best 20 minutes (a time period used by many to establish a threshold power benchmark) was 294w.

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Also of significance is that his best average over 30 minutes was just one watt less than his best 20 minutes – 293w. This was Lane’s do-or-die effort, where he was able to ride his own pace but give it all he had during laps 14 and 15.

If we take into account the digs Lane made on rises in the road or accelerating out of bends, we get the normalised power figure, which is viewed as a more realistic representation of the effort’s cost. Lane’s normalised power during this half an hour was 316w.

A rested half-decent local club racer would be happy enough turning himself inside-out to record 316w over just five minutes – that Lane managed it for 30 minutes after nearly 130km of racing says volumes about the enormous aerobic capacity he possesses.

And if you want to compare your best five minutes with Lane’s, he achieved that shortly after the start when fresh legs and bunch enthusiasm forced him to bang out 371w at a peak heart rate of 190 beats per minute during the first ascent of Mt Buninyong.

His best efforts over 30 seconds, one minute and two minutes of 601w, 499w and 447w, respectively, all occurred on lap 13 up Mt Buninyong prior to his breakaway, which indicates he would’ve been digging deep to respond to critical moves from rivals.

But on his own he dosed his efforts and used the power meter to help him maintain a pace he knew he could sustain. His power on the descents is much higher solo than when he was in the bunch, showing his determination to keep the chasers at bay, while the peaks during this escape are also much lower than when riding in the pack.

Lane still had enough left in the tank to stay with the bunch and finish 33rd, less than a minute after Heinrich Haussler had fought his way back to contention and sprint to claim the green and gold jersey.

 

– By Graham Springett

 

Two of the attacking riders in the national championship road race: Pat Lane and Will Clarke. Photo: Mark Gunter

Two of the attacking riders in the national championship road race: Pat Lane and Will Clarke.
Photo: Mark Gunter