Kate Hector

Rebecca Fahringer and the Hoogerheide Cyclocross World Cup

Rebecca Fahringer and the Hoogerheide Cyclocross World Cup

By Coach Kyle Wolfe

When athletes ask me why they should get a power meter for their bikes, my answer is simple and not very original: a power meter makes sure you go hard enough on hard days, and easy enough on easy days. This is important in elite level international cyclocross because the extremes are very hard and any rider who wants to have a good day must be properly prepared.

Last weekend, Amy D Foundation cyclocross rider Rebecca Fahringer competed at the last round of the Telenet World Cup series in Hoogerheide, NED. Her Scott brand bicycle is equipped with a crank arm mounted Stages power meter which is a critical tool to help with her training prior to a race and then analyzing the data to help provide feedback afterwards.

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Rebecca was up against the best of the world in Hoogerheide and found herself in the third row of call-ups, a true indication of her otherwise awesome 27th world ranking. This particular race course is very fast with almost a quarter of the loop on pavement meaning large non-technical groups and difficult passing opportunities.

From the Gun
From the start of the race you can see how quickly Rebecca’s power increases to get going; you can almost imagine how those shallow first few seconds are when she had to let traffic in front of her open up before the hard pedaling started.

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The First Lap
After that start hill section, Rebecca was still caught in traffic for the first lap and you can see from the power file of her next lap that it took almost 9 more minutes of racing until she was able to reach her race long average heart rate of 181 bpm. During that lap, Rebecca hit speeds over 31 mph (a lot on a cx bike) and a maximum power of just 751 watts averaging a relatively easy 187. This is a good indication of the stochastic nature of cyclocross, either you are going wicked hard or you are coasting! You can see from the graph below how the pedaling was all or nothing!

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This was a little frustrating for Rebecca as the traffic of the fast and packed group of riders made it almost like a road race with a strict yellow line rule! No passing allowed!

The Next 30 Minutes
The next four laps of the race really gave Rebecca the chances she needed to get going and start to chase herself back into a decent position behind the fastest women in the world. Here the numbers from her Stages power meter really told a much faster story: Rebecca averages 25 watts more than that first lap and reaches a peak maximum 100 watts more as well! Wow, things are getting fast now!

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Headed toward the Finish
For Rebecca’s final lap at Hoogerheide, she was able to keep the speed and power up all the way down to the finish line where she was able to catch one more rider and finish 24th for the day. You can see from the graph below how there was very little coasting (other than the stairs) during this final lap and as the groups got thinner how Rebecca was finally able to stay on the gas and move up.

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This result was far from her best to date, but the overall effort showed that her fitness and strength are on track going into this weekend’s World Championships in Bieles, Luxumbourg.

Training For A Discipline of Extremes
When we train riders like Rebecca for elite cyclocross racing, we see how their Stages power meter shows the extremes of power needed for such an event. There is no “sitting in” during a cyclocross race as this chart below shows:

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Although it is very important to work fitness and muscular endurance when training for cyclocross, it is absolutely critical to concentrate on those super high end power zones. This is why it is important to use a power meter to make sure that racers are going “hard enough” to match those zones needed on race day. Like those old coaches always say: we race like we train.

Thank you for reading.

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About the Coach
Kyle Wolfe owns and runs Finish Fast Cycling. He is considered an expert coach by USA Cycling and holds his Level 1 Coaching license. Kyle is a Power Based Training Certified Coach, a title earned through months of education, training, practice and testing that has perfected his ability to maximize an athlete’s abilities using the modern power measuring equipment. He is also recognized by Training Peaks as a Certified Cycling Coach at their national level. Kyle spent two years of managing and directing a national level u-25 cycling team has also helped him refine his skills and abilities. Often considered the best two years of his life, that program has since produced a world champion, a national champion, a professional cyclocross racer, a ProTour rider and numerous elite cyclists still racing today.

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Stages Powers Team Sky in 2017

Stages Powers Team Sky in 2017

For the 4th season, Team SKY selects Stages Cycling for its most important performance need—power data collection.


Stages Cycling will continue to supply Stages Power meters to Team Sky for the 2017 season, handling the team’s most important performance need during the 2017 season—precision power measurement.

Team Sky will ride the new Stages Power Dura-Ace 9100 production model as well as the previous Shimano 9000 models and exclusive prototypes, as the team and company continue a relationship that defines the leading edge of data driven performance.

 Team Sky Rides Stages Dura-Ace 9100field_573492c8baf6e“We took a chance on Stages Cycling four years ago,” said Carsten Jeppesen, Head of Technical Performance for Team Sky. “We proved their product meets our needs and they offered us really great support. Even in the worst conditions the Stages meter was reliable, consistent, and accurate. We couldn’t ask for more as we head into the 2017 season.”
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“We take the role of supplying product to Team Sky, and all of our world class athletes, very seriously,” said Pat Warner, Stages Cycling’s Senior Vice President. “We see year four with Team Sky as impactful to our brand as the first, especially when considering that the industry’s largest component manufacturers have their own meters and are known for pushing new products through all-inclusive packages that dissuade teams from partnering with smaller brands like Stages. Signing Team Sky for a fourth year is continued validation that we’re meeting their needs fully and that they want to use the Stages Power meter.”

 

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"We are excited to continue our relationship with Stages for a fourth year,” said Tim Kerrison, Head of Athlete Performance for Team Sky. “Stages has proven to be a great partner, with a great power meter that meets the needs of cyclists at all levels—from the amateur enthusiast who wishes to use power data to better inform and refine their training, to catering for the demands at the highest level of professional road cycling."

Team Sky, known for its lead-versus-follow mentality and technically-driven approach, counts the Stages Power meter’s robust communication channels, and its now-proven prowess as the category’s benchmark for consistency across rapidly changing environmental temperatures, as key features.
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