Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012 Mt. Buller Road Race

Detail: A 47km Road Race from Mansfield to the summit of Mt. Buller with 1 major climb. The final 15km rises 920m with an average incline of 6.1%.

No masters divisions, racing B grade.

Top of Buller..  c/o Marisa Farrell

Working the night before = on the phone until midnight. No sleeping until 1am. Up at 5:10am. Drive.. Coffee, Drive..

Chilly morning, long queue for registration.. Getting a bit nervy - 1st road race of the season..

Struggled with the bike number as usual (all mental - perfectionist not coping with square peg & round hole). I like the sticky paper much better..

Turned over some laps of the Mansfield CBD as warm-up.

Race time. (I had until recent days been without power meter for a month. After about two weeks my panic/withdrawal subsided and I fell back into a hybrid groove of old+new training ways. I had been using HrTSS to track CTL and this has been a satisfactory substitute for bigger picture stuff, but pacing efforts was back to the old PE guessing game. I picked up my Quarq 3 days before the race (distributor proclaims the exsessive wait was for a new unit to arrive in country with updated hardware) and had only a couple of rides pre-race to kind of get my eye back in. No testing for over a month & not 100% sure where my fitness is at.. )

To the foot of the climb:
With the odd NRS level rider in B grade, and lots of kids half my age - I was ready to get my legs ripped off. There was wind, but I'm not sure which direction it was predominantly blowing from. Maintained position top 10 at all times, covered attacks. Surprised at how lumpy the course was - elevation profiles I had seen pre-race do nothing to convey this. Very early on there were a couple of committed attacks on flatter terrain which were shut down pretty quickly. After this the pattern evolved that riding was to a tempo until encountering lumps, and lumps = full gas. Two did get away 3/4 of the way along - but fell back into to the bunch (looking pretty haggard) after melting under the heat of 5 minutes x undulations + winds.

Lap 1 (to foot of climb):
Duration:   56:06
Work:       739 kJ
TSS:       94.7 (intensity factor 1.011)
VI:         1.22
Pw:HR:       1.57%
Pa:HR:       10.06%
Distance:   32.319 km
Elevation Gain:     429 m
Elevation Loss:   95 m
Grade:     1.0 %  (335 m)
Min Max Avg
Heart Rate:   100 180 154 bpm
Cadence:     18 133 94 rpm
Speed:       19.3 68.1 34.5 kph
Pace         0:53 3:07 1:44 min/km
Altitude:     290 625 424 m
Crank Torque: 0 74 21.5 N-m
Temperature: 13 15 14.4 Celsius

This section of the race didn't seem so taxing at the time, but intensity factor of 1.011 tells another story. So how did NP get so high?
If the general definition of a "match" is 1min+ at 120%+ FTP, then I didn't really burn many on the way to Buller.
This section of the race did take it's toll, and due to the multitude of smaller undulations over what was an an on-average positive gradient - I'll redefine a match here to be 20sec+ at 150%+ FTP.
Within these parameters we have 13 matches burnt at 150%+ FTP for 25-60sec duration. Much shorter but higher intensity efforts than a traditional match - but burning 'em at an average rate of one every 4 minutes over the 52 minute period.

The climb:
Full gas from the toll booth. Two minutes later I eased off - letting the head of the race roll on up the road. Cramp in left calf some minutes later. I was frustrated with the cramp, it subsided after a couple of minutes and I spent the rest of the climb feeling positively slow. 

Lap 2 (climb):
Duration:   52:32
Work:       794 kJ
TSS:       82.2 (intensity factor 0.969)
VI:         1.02
Pw:HR:       3.59%
Pa:HR:       10.71%
Distance:   15.143 km
Elevation Gain:     921 m
Elevation Loss:   0 m
Grade:     6.1 %  (922 m)
Min Max Avg
Heart Rate:   160 175 165 bpm
Cadence:     19 114 81 rpm
Speed:       0 34.2 16.1 kph
Pace         1:45 0:00 3:44 min/km
Altitude:     625 1547 1095 m
Crank Torque: 0 63.1 30.1 N-m
Temperature: 14 16 14.7 Celsius

Buller village was perfect for post-race basking in and amongst the alpine vistas. Ride back to Mansfield for a bite to eat was a great way to finish the morning.

In hindsight - disappointed at the slow rate of ascent during final climb, but in the context of the entire effort it seems more Ok.
On the up side, 1:48:59 at IF 0.99 does suggest fitness improvements while the PM has been absent - so time to test and lock-in new numbers.

Entire workout:
Duration:   1:48:59
Work:       1534 kJ
TSS:       177.3 (intensity factor 0.99)
VI:         1.12
Pw:HR:       -7.29%
Pa:HR:       56.36%
Distance:   47.556 km
Elevation Gain:     1354 m
Elevation Loss:   95 m
Grade:     2.7 %  (1260 m)
Min Max Avg
Heart Rate:   100 180 160 bpm
Cadence:     18 133 88 rpm
Speed:       0 68.1 25.5 kph
Pace         0:53 0:00 2:21 min/km
Altitude:     290 1550 751 m
Crank Torque: 0 74 25.6 N-m
Temperature: 13 16 14.6 Celsius

Thanks Cycling Victoria and Mansfield Mt. Buller Cycling Club.
Enjoyed this outing. Good training for the Baw, spectacular weather, great (tough) little course, good company, great climb. Dare say I'll be back next year.

Full Results


  1. That sounds like A grade pace to me! Great work, mate.

  2. Well done on your effort Lumpy. To be sleep deprived and then to race in that classy B (nee A grade) field is an achievement. Was nice to catch up for the ride back to Mansfield, and looks like the next engagement will be Baw Baw - any tips for a first timer?

  3. Cheers Mat. What a spectacular day - would have been nice if the ride back to Mansfield was longer.
    Baw Baw: I would usually recommend compact crankset, or a 28t sprocket out back (or both) - but I have come to recognise that you seem to quite happily tap your way up exceedingly steep gradients using gearing that'd have me coming apart at the seams.. Gearing aside - the Baw is a shorter climb than the Dargo finale, but the journey to the Baw is tough - Conserve, conserve.. Good luck! & I'll catch you there :^)