On September 11, Molly and I are planning on doing our first 400K (about 250 miles). This one starts in Simi Valley and ends in Solana Beach. I’m doing this event 4 weeks out from Kona. Most coaches would probably not advise such a long ride this close to Kona, but I also have to keep in mind my goals for next year, namely Paris-Brest-Paris. I don’t want to attempt this ride at setting any record paces. Just finishing it will be stressful enough, and a new personal best since my longest ride to date is 188 miles. I have been reading on the wattage group forum some advice on intensity factor (percentage of FTP) for a fast 200 mile race, and most recommendations are around 70-73%. I am going a little further, and don’t need to go all out, so I am considering around 60%. This would be an average power of around 205 watts for me. I also need to be sure that Molly and I stay together, primarily keeping the pace so that Molly is in my draft. It is our goal to complete this together.

I looked back at two 200K events I did in July this year to see where my power was, and to evaluate my overall pacing. Here is the power distribution for each:


I smoothed the data so that it is clearer. Just by looking at the power curve compared to the average power it is obvious that my pacing was better for the 7/10 200K.

Here is some data summarized:

 

7/10/2010

7/24/2010

Distance

122

127

Elevation Gain

6035

7064

Total Time

7:07

6:44

Ride Time

6:37

6:36

Rest/pause Time

0:30

0:08

Avg Power

230

233

Avg Power 1st Half

229

256

Avg Power 2nd Half

230

211

Again, it is clear that my pacing was much better for the 7/10 200K. Determining the power I want to average over the 400K for the start will be important for a good second half.

One rule of thumb is that for doubling the distance of the event, the average power drops 5-7%. If I was to set a record pace for the 400K, I might strive for a 5% drop from 233 watts, which would be 221 watts. Trying to keep a reasonable pace I’d probably shoot for a 10% drop, which would be 210 watts. This is reasonably close to the 205 watt goal I mentioned above. Since the ride is a week away, we’ll see then how this plays out.

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