TIBCO-SVB’s Sara Headly gives us a lesson on Effective Power from the Winston-Salem Criterium
Race reports from the Winston-Salem Women’s Pro Criterium stated that the race started aggressively and Headley’s InfoCrank data backs up those claims. A total of 117 women toed the start line and just 42 straggled across the finish 1 hour and 20 minutes later.
Alexis Ryan (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team) took the win with TIBCO-SVB’s, Joanne Hogan coming in 3rd. Indeed, the most furious part of the race came in the first 18 and a half minutes! Headley’s average power for those opening laps was 280W (4.24 w/kg). This is approximately her threshold power or the highest average watts she could hold for about an hour. But this was on a tight 0.69 mile (1,110m) course with 116 other riders! Meaning it was hardly a steady, smooth effort. Headley also hit her peak power output for the entire race just 16 minutes in. She threw down an impressive 1,001 Watts. This was the first time she broke the 1,000 watt barrier ever so you know she was digging deep.
Just how deep or how hard was she pushing herself? We can use a metric called Effective Power to give us an idea of just how erratic and demanding the pace was.
What is Effective Power (EP)? It is similar to average power but it takes into account the way higher power outputs are disproportionally harder. It is a calculation designed to give an idea of the physiological cost of the effort. In plain terms, what a rider could likely have maintained if it was a steady effort. Is it a true measurement? No, it is an estimate but it does provide some valuable insight into the variable and physically taxing effort experienced during the race.
Headley’s Effective Power was 345 Watts (5.23 w/kg)! So theoretically, on a flat road she could maintain a 345 watt average for over 18 minutes. According to Andrew Coggan’s power profile chart (below) that would put Headley at a World Class Level. Of course, anyone who happens to compete against Headley is already well aware of that.
Another great ride and race by TIBCO-SVB. Well done ladies!
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