Epicenter JBL Quantum race #1: Time trial results and analyses

Full results page here

Weekend festival has started with qualifying time trial on a 7.1km long uphill Time Trial with 290 meters of climbing. That’s around 4.0% gradient.

One of the purposes of this racing format, with an aprox. 20min all-out effort, was to test a new categorisaton idea, which should make much more comparable groups in terms of performance and ability, according to very different body shapes. The main problem with simple linear Watt per kilogram (w/kg) categorisation well known from Zwift is, that it’s simply not fair for lighter riders. They have to produce much higher relative power than their heavier competitors, and sometimes, specialy on flater courses they simply can’t compete against them, since the difference is simply to big.

However, calculations of speeds with same relative power, but with different rider weights and gradient shows, that for the same speed, the relation never is linear. Even on a very steep climb with 10% gradient, heavier riders need less w/kg to ride side by side with lighter riders. And on a flat ground, the difference is actually much, much bigger. These relations are graphicaly presented on a chart below. There are three curves. They represent relative power needed for a any given rider from 50kg to 100kg to ride at same speed in comparison to a 70kg rider. As it is obvious, even on 10% gradient with hands on tops, this relation is not linear, and on flat road with hands on drops (normal aero road position) the difference is huge!

And here comes the tricky question. Which curve for what gradient shall we use, to group people into narrower categories, so they will be more fair and make bike races more attractive since very different body shapes will be more realisticaly together according to their actual performance?

Let us thinking. Most traditional bike road races are done on a courses, which vary from pan flat to more hilly or mountaneous terrain. Some might be circular, some from point A to point B, some might be simple uphill races from bottom to the top of the hill. But typical or average road races will ussualy be held on mostly flat ground with various amount of climbing and descending in between. Most of the time of any race is actualy spent on flats, than there comes some climb, and after the climb its ussualy also descend. So, if we would use the upper curve for pan flat terrain with highest speeds to denominate categories, once the road would start climbing, climbers would have big advantage. On the other side, if we would use the curve for 10% gradient equalisation, heavier riders would have big advantage on flats and even more on downhills! So we decide, to use a curve for equalisation at 3% gradient. Anything below 3% will be in favor to heavier riders, anything above 3% will go in favor to lighter riders.

That’s way we specificaly choose a time trial on a hill with very moderate gradient to test our hypothesis. 7.1km long course between Iška vas and Gornji Ig has average gradient of 4.1%. We have hypothesised, that according to speed calculations on 3% gradient, all riders (regardless of their weight) will finish the race with a time that will very closely correlate to the result, which would be observed if we would use formula for 3%:

w/kg’ = 0,0003 kg2 – 0,0632 kg + K

Off course, K is a constant that moves the curve up and down.

Once all the riders where in finish, we could analyse their raw data and denominate them into three categories. Here are results:

If we loook into race finishing time order and we can easaly spot the difference in weight of riders and their finishing times according to their relative power. Despite racing on a course with 4% average gradient. Heavier riders where still faster at same relative power (w/kg) ouput.

That’s why we choose not to create categories on a linear basis, but use some sort of curve instead. In our case 3% gradient normalized wkg curve nicely denominate riders into three groups, which will fight in narrower groups.

Since, saturday’s races are every thing else but steady riding, it will be interesting to see, how theese riders compare to each other when they use draft, when they sprint and when they will have to unleash their short term anaerobic power. We would expect huge differences, as this is normal also in real life. Sprinters are different animals to time trialist or climbers, and puncheurs are not the same as rolleurs. Thats the fun of real life.

Goriška pentlja preview

The last runda this winter. It’s spring slowly penetrating into our land, the daylight is longer, long enough for a quick after work ride, and we are simply runing short on runda courses too.

We would ride Goriška pentlja already in december, but some weird bug on RGT server that day ruined event that evening for everybody. No one was able to finish the ride that day.

Goriška pentlja it self is one of the hardest runda courses in entire serié. All the roads IRL are wide, very rolling, but the terrain is all the time a bit up & down. No sleep this time. With 63km and nearly 700vm of ascent it has a lot of volume, and IRL fastest time never exceded 39 km/h average. Expect between 90-120 min for this ride. The first climb comes relatively soon at around 6km mark, but it’s not steep nor is long. Going into the red to survive makes a lot of sence, since you will gain easy ride until main climb of the day, Cerkvenjak climb. Coming after 27km, with 3min30 for fastest IRL times it will split the bunch apart to many pieces.

There is an interesting youtube clip available here where you can get a bit familiar with the roads we will be riding this week.

Medio fondo Kras preview

Do you remember beautyfull Vipavska walley and Palba runda from this january?

Well, we will ride in this part of the world again. Only this time in a counter clockwise direction, and on much bigger loop which will include so scenic (IRL) Kras region.

https://www.visitkras.info/upload/gallery/329/kraska-hisa-2.jpg

This is a beautiful IRL course featuring most popular roads on Kras. Right now it’s exactly the time of the year when these roads are very popular for continental riders due warm mediteranic climate and rolling terain perfect for gathering of early spring base miles. Do not expect any long and straight flats here. This is a landscape made for rolling and twisting roads. Yet, do not expect crasy wild climbs and descends either. This is simply constantly waving form of riding on the roads that are constantly in a slight curve left or right or up or down. Time flies here fast.

The course is relatively easy until kilometer 65 when we hit the main climb of the day, Stjak climb. It’s a nice, regular 5k @6% climb. Not the hardest on the world, yet long enough for climbers to attack and try to shake off from heavier and punchier riders. However, even if selection will be made there, there is still some distance to cover until finish line, and if by some scenario groups come together before the end it will be an uphill sprint to the line. Namely, our fondo ends in a super scenic Kras village named Vipavski Križ.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to see it in RGT, so here is a picture to imagine the place and to put it into your list of must visits this summer.

https://www.vipavskadolina.si/files/12071/marijan-mocivnik-vipavski-kriz-8451-1920x10805848585318acb.jpg

Meanwhile, register here

Medio fondo TopFit Flanders preview

foto by Matej Zalar – Nergač

Here comes the ugly, the bad, and the brute. TopFit Flanders. Real annual event of local cycling club called TopFit.

The one for the strongmens. Real classic, just like real tour of Flanders. Running entirely in the walley between two alpine chains, yet all but flat. Uper photo captures the landscape perfectly. Like real Flanders, TopFit course is circling forth and back, left and right, riding over every single hellingen or local hill in the walley. Most of them are short and punchy, too short for pure climbers, these can be grinded over with pure force and brute. Just look at the profile below and count those dark red strips. There is enough of them to bite into the legs of even the strongest of the fittest. The one who wants to win this, has to be strong enough to survive until end and very punchy to finish first a top of the Bled castle.

One of the protagonists and main motor in TopFit gang, Miha Kosmač – Kosi, who spent tremendous effort to edit this twistling-knotted course for perfect RGT user experience, has prepared special table with all climbs along the course. He gave them star rating, similar to Paris-Roubaix pave rating with one star for the easiest and five stars for the hardest. Anyone challenging the course can have a proper information what was done, whats coming up, and whats still left to ride. Here is the list of “gorenjska hellingens”:

#Nameat distdistanceaverage gradientmax. gradientRating
1Ribno5km500m8,4%12,8%**
2Helling voorbij Legenda14km940m10,0%21,4%****
3De Kerk Heuvel21km1600m5,3%22,5%***
4Prezrenje Zuiden47km370m11,3%17,0%***
5Gobovce – Podbrezje30km1900m4,1%9,4%**
6Muur de Žeje34km300m10,9%20,1%***
7Trnovc37km400m8,0%22,0%**
8Op Globočnikberg50km430m14,0%20,8%*****
9Onder de Brug Dobruša51km200m13,8%26,2%****
10Muur deMoste65km200m17,6%30,1%*****
11Breznica Climb (Edelweiss)68km100m6,8%15,1%*
12Smokuč Climb70km200m9,7%17,3%**
13Op Koritno76km440m7,2%21,5%**
14Dorp (Selo)80km330m7,4%13,4%**
15Grot Zaka Climb84km570m11,0%15,1%***
16Poljšica Classics86km2000m6,0%16,0%****
17Podhom Climb92km310m7,8%18,2%*
18Triglavska cesta (Na Planiko)95km160m5,4%19,1%*
19Veslaška promenada96km350m10,0%27,2%****
20Castle Climb97km530m11,0%30,5%*****

With 1.640m of altitude gain in 98km it is third hilliest course in this serié. As already mentioned, the climbs here are not very long, and those longer 1.5-2.0km are not that steep on average, but they are numerous, dispersed throughout the course and most of them include some painfull steep ramps. Think of climbs like famous Patterberg or Oude Kwaremont in Belgium, these are like this. The entire fondo is like later part of real Flanders. With one exeption, the finish line. No flat run in here, instead you can expect 75 seconds long, burning, smoking, painfull grind up the Bled castle.

https://www.ptg.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Vintage-Slovenia-uai-1500x750.jpg

Sounds scary? Naaah…c’mon. It’s time for a fest!

Join the party here.

Osmica runda preview

After fairly flat Šentjur power runda, its time to climb again. Osmica (eight in english) is similar runda to Barjanka which was the second runda riden in early november 20′.

Althought not flat, its easy ride for most until km 27. At this point we start to climb for some 5 kilometers, with 3.5km of pure Smrečje climb, just shy of 6% gradient average. Not the hardest in the world, but hard enough to split the front group and try to finish in front of heavier trailing panzer wagens. What makes this weeks runda attractive is the clash between climbers and more classic riders. There is just enough long and steady downhill road, for heavier guys having a chance to catch back those running goats upfront. All they need is a bit of coordination and cooperation.