Power Data Estimates for the climbing stages

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Parker said:
Neither you nor I are riding Grand Tours. Experience with power meters is not relevant. Race experience at that level is.
I focus on shorter intervals. My local races rarely have a 20min climb. But fundamentally it is the same. GT riders are going to be a lot more explosive on shorter efforts. Watts are still just watts.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Parker said:
I've read lots of it. Now show me an actual link where they acknowledge race strategy is an overarching problem with analysing climb data, with discussion of how they provide balance for this situation (rather than an excuse for a low figure). Because as far as I can see, they just chuck out the figure.
Give your claims I find it hard to believe you have read any of it. Tucker, and others, are constantly writing about how the race tactics, route, weather, etc effect the race. In fact Tucker even lists the 3 largest factors: Wind, Climb length and Race Situation.

It took me 5 minutes to find a few examples

Race situation

I will say that the way this Tour had gone, the first big finish was always going to be spectacular. The Tour was effectively dormant for 8 days, and the Pyrenees were done with minimal attrition. Therefore, given the situation and the way that the race had developed, the climb was always going to be fast. This again illustrates how isolated climbs can’t be taken out of context, and is the reason one should look at a collection of climbs to reduce the impact of these confounders as much as is possible.
Tucker urges caution in making such comparisons.

"The performance is fast again, so there is a reason to ask the question but the evidence seems to suggest that they had a tailwind on the day, and that may have helped him up the climb faster than in previous years," he says.
The record ascent of Pantani is a crazy fast performance, coming as it did during a 231 km stage (the summit was not the finish line that day). Eros Poli got himself about 20 min clear at the bottom of the climb, but held on despite Pantani’s record pursuit.
The other point I’d make is that today was a considerably more difficult stage than the equivalent in 2012, finishing atop the Belles Filles. It was preceded by a number of climbs, whereas 2012 was relatively flat (two Cat 3 climbs, though it was a longer stage by almost 40km) before an all-out effort. That should hopefully provide some context to the comparison.
very important thought is that Mont Ventoux is a very difficult mountain to predict because of the likelihood of wind. It’s almost always windy, because it is so exposed, particularly in the second half, and so a headwind or tailwind, as I’ve explained a few times during this Tour, will affect the calculations because they’ll affect the performances. We also have only three recent ascents to work from
after the stage, is try to overlay wind maps onto the Tour map and get a better idea of what the wind would have done. I will also, I hope, get some decent finisher’s SRM values, which can be used to validate any estimations. It’s not that difficult, so before everyone has a coronary about the error, just breathe, and let’s remember to be sensible about understanding the context.
In terms of our analysis of the power, last weekend in the Pyrenees suggested were were looking at two races – the peloton was going relatively slowly (much slower than the pVAM), whereas Froome was faster. Having seen the time that he can gain in the time-trials, Froome no longer needs to gain time in the mountains, and can thus afford to follow wheels, perhaps attacking for seconds closer to the top, if he wishes.
As a result, the climb today will, in my opinion, be done at the pace of the peloton, and so I don’t expect that we’ll be having discussions about “super-human” or “mutant” performances. I think it will be slow, because its best rider will be conservative.
You must remember that this is a CALCULATED power output, and is therefore the result of performance. Any factor that improves performance (like a following wind) will cause an overestimation of the power output if it is not taken into account in the calculation.
 
Race Radio said:
Give your claims I find it hard to believe you have read any of it. Tucker, and others, are constantly writing about how the race tactics, route, weather, etc effect the race. In fact Tucker even lists the 3 largest factors: Wind, Climb length and Race Situation.

It took me 5 minutes to find a few examples
And not a single one of those refers to actual racing. The actual rhythm of the race. Most of it is about the parcours. No names. No mention of the time of attack. No mention of strategy. But I notice many are predictions as to why power figures will be low. Show me something that actually refers to what actually happened in the race and how that impacted on power figures.

I notice that you didn't provide links for anything. Just the quotes you required. Again - taking small things in isolation without context
 
Nov 14, 2013
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Parker said:
Show me something that actually refers to what actually happened in the race and how that impacted on power figures.
It's important to remember these guys are estimating actual race performance, how many watts took to climb at actual speed not possible performance if tactics were perfect.

Race situation and tactics doesn't change this calculation. Yes it's possible they could climb faster or slower depending the tactics but then they would be calculating that outcome.
 
ralphbert said:
It's important to remember these guys are estimating actual race performance, how many watts took to climb at actual speed not possible performance if tactics were perfect.
So you acknowledge that tactics and how a race develops have an impact on power/time. That's my point.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Parker said:
And not a single one of those refers to actual racing. The actual rhythm of the race.
If you actually read the quotes you will see that most of them refer to actual racing.... but we get it, reading is not your thing

Sorry I responded to you. I thought that you actually wanted to discuss the topic but it is clear that is not the case
 
Nov 14, 2013
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Parker said:
I wasn't claiming that. I don't see how your original point addresses that. Maybe you need to expand your theory.
My original point was pacing isn't critical to arriving at best possible performance, if you do first half "easy" and the second half as hard as you can then it will be close max for the entire segment anyway.

But now I realise that it is irrelevant anyway. They are not calculating a person's max capability they are calculating what they did in this section. It might be max, it might be sub max. Those deductions are separate from the calculation.
 
Nov 14, 2013
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Parker said:
So you acknowledge that tactics and how a race develops have an impact on power/time. That's my point.

Yes of course. You seemed to be implying that it effected the calculation, it doesn't. That's why there has been pages of chatter.
 
Race Radio said:
If you actually read the quotes you will see that most of them refer to actual racing.... but we get it, reading is not your thing
No they don't. Not one of them mentions actual racing or what actual people actually did. (And no links either - how many were predictions?)

Race Radio said:
Sorry I responded to you. I thought that you actually wanted to discuss the topic but it is clear that is not the case
Spare me the passive-aggressive BS.

If you want to discuss the topic please provide any indication of your heroes considering the point of attack in their power analysis.


Let's lay our cards on the table here. You're some sort of legal guy with contacts in US Cycling. That's your speciality. When you talk about Armstrong, I'll listen.

On the other hand, I'm a mechanical engineer who used to specialise in data analysis. I can see statistical BS from a mile off. You should listen.;

You do what you do. And I'll do what I do. So just wind your neck back in and don't give it the big 'I am' just because you've met Richie Porte,
 
ralphbert said:
In my understanding no, not possible, going over your threshold power will always result in lower average. Ie if your P20 is 400w and you ride at 450w for 10min your next 10min will always be less than 350w.
The question was about a pb, not about what we think a rider's threshold is. PBs can and do happen during racing, not always and not always when riding as if it was a TT. Don't discount the effect of race day motivation.

ralphbert said:
Regardless this is not really a problem it just means a person's capability is higher than their performance in most instances. If their performance is already startling and the pacing is not ideal then can say there capability is even better.
IOW it's not a data point that's particularly useful, and can impact the power duration model of choice such that the interpretation changes.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Parker said:
No they don't.

Race situation dictates who attacks, when they attack and how they ride. That’s why you need many climbs, and not a single one, to reach a correct conclusion.
http://sportsscientists.com/2010/07/power-from-the-tourmalet-6wkg-anyone/

You are welcome to obfuscate, brag about your degree, and pull the internet tough guy act but we both know the calculations are still the same. Anyone who reads about the topic can see multiple variables are taken into account. Ross lists three.... Wind, Climb length and Race Situation.

Lets not forget how we got here....

Parker said:
I'm referring to the context how a race is raced. Taking a figure over a whole climb ignores the strategies used when climbing it. When did the first attack go? How constant was the pace? How hard had the race been up to then?
The route, the attacks, comparing a stage that was a TT with a 250km death march that ends in a MTF......All of this has been discussed to death. Veetoo even often breaks climbs into 5km segments in order to measure the specific attacks, gradient, race tactics.
 
Mar 12, 2014
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
I agree and think he has done a fair job in making this point in more recent times. I was pretty critical at one time.

I don't agree with the notion of a clear indication doping or sans doping plausibility ascertained via power output though (e.g. suggesting there is a magical number one crosses). The line is just too fat and blurry and individually variable as far as I'm concerned.
I totally have to agree there. To my mind, a 'magical number' on power output would be just as arbitrary as the 50% hct used to be. I also really like your suggestion of error bars to power data estimates, as long as there's a way for those to be useful. At the moment, it feels like there'd be just as much guesswork involved in obtaining error bars as there is to obtain the actual estimates, rendering them useless.

Parker said:
And not a single one of those refers to actual racing. The actual rhythm of the race. Most of it is about the parcours. No names. No mention of the time of attack. No mention of strategy. But I notice many are predictions as to why power figures will be low. Show me something that actually refers to what actually happened in the race and how that impacted on power figures.

I notice that you didn't provide links for anything. Just the quotes you required. Again - taking small things in isolation without context
As far as I'm concerned, you do have some point, but I've still got a few questions about it. Firstly, am I reading this quote correctly, if I think you are claiming that strategy and parcours are completely independent? Also, a few pages back you claimed that the way in which a race is raced is a single variable. Could you explain how this would only be one variable, where I'd expect a whole bunch of variables to be involved? (Notice this is before you singled out the one variable of the point on the climb of the final attack.)
 
HSNHSN said:
I totally have to agree there. To my mind, a 'magical number' on power output would be just as arbitrary as the 50% hct used to be. I also really like your suggestion of error bars to power data estimates, as long as there's a way for those to be useful. At the moment, it feels like there'd be just as much guesswork involved in obtaining error bars as there is to obtain the actual estimates, rendering them useless.
Nobody is saying that there is a magic number that everything faster is doping. It's a straw man argument for the "pseudo-science" critics.
 
Apr 20, 2012
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IzzyStradlin said:
Nobody is saying that there is a magic number that everything faster is doping. It's a straw man argument for the "pseudo-science" critics.
That is certainly true. On the other hand we know some power guestimatess in the past were pretty accurate and were accomplished through dope. Take Chiappucci for example, he had to dope to achieve 5.5w/k in 1990, several years later he rode at 6w/k.

Perhaps there is a maximum doping uptake...

And when that doesnt work there is always the 'laberror' defence :D
 
IzzyStradlin said:
Nobody is saying that there is a magic number that everything faster is doping. It's a straw man argument for the "pseudo-science" critics.
Yet we have people, including Tucker and others, who put a definite line in the W/kg sand:

However, I’m going to be as direct as possible right now and say the following:

A sustained (over 40 minutes) power output of greater than 6.2 W/kg at the end of a Tour stage is simply not physiologically believable, and is strongly suggestive of doping. In fact, anything above 6.0 W/kg is very, very suspect. Those are power outputs that are produced by riders who are doping, because the physiology required to drive that kind of performance, well, it just doesn’t exist.
http://sportsscientists.com/2010/06/the-tour-on-the-horizon/
 
Nov 14, 2013
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
Yet we have people, including Tucker and others, who put a definite line in the W/kg sand:


http://sportsscientists.com/2010/06/the-tour-on-the-horizon/
I'll put my hand up and say I'm one those people. Not so much a line in the sand but an important marker to gauge performance.


If the performance of current winners compare well with past winners we know without doubt whose performances were enhanced.

We make allowances for tactics, route and weather. (Thats for you Parker)

We know from past dopers, if you have low hemocrit high efficiency physiology you can boost performance 10 to 20% with blood manipulation.

There is still cannon fodder who get popped for epo but are competitive rather than winners.

People like Bassons talk about riding at those times where oppressive speed in a grand tour took his hemocrit from 41 to 36 when riding as a dom. Speeds today are the same.

Talk of drugs that raise the point the body can use fat for energy and appearance of skeletal riders who can tt with enormous power.

Tour De France winner who reveals his talent with world best performances in his late 20s

Take those points and considering them, for me the most likely explanation is nothing has changed cycling.
 
ralphbert said:
I'll put my hand up and say I'm one those people. Not so much a line in the sand but an important marker to gauge performance.


If the performance of current winners compare well with past winners we know without doubt whose performances were enhanced.
IOW we don't need W/kg estimates to establish that, at least at a population level. Individual data points need to be treated with great caution.

ralphbert said:
We make allowances for tactics, route and weather. (Thats for you Parker)
It's discussed, but the only allowance I've ever seen in quoted numbers is an arbitrary % added to or subtracted from W/kg estimates. No allowance for estimation error factors is ever quoted.

ralphbert said:
We know from past dopers, if you have low hemocrit high efficiency physiology you can boost performance 10 to 20% with blood manipulation.
What's that got to do with W/kg estimates and how they are calculated or should be used wrt assessing doping?

ralphbert said:
There is still cannon fodder who get popped for epo but are competitive rather than winners.
Precisely, and hence the fat blurry plausibility line in the W/kg sand is highly individual as well, not to mention even more prone to tactical considerations given the majority are racing to meet time cuts or other domestic duties, not attain best results.

ralphbert said:
People like Bassons talk about riding at those times where oppressive speed in a grand tour took his hemocrit from 41 to 36 when riding as a dom. Speeds today are the same.
Are they, or is it a case of cherry picking individual data points (e.g. a particular race day) to find examples of where that might be the case?

It's a genuine question. e.g. when I plotted the average speed of the top 5 riders up the Ad'H climb over the years since late 1980s, that doesn't appear to be the case for that particular well documented climb.

So what's the real overall big picture wrt climbing times?

ralphbert said:
Talk of drugs that raise the point the body can use fat for energy and appearance of skeletal riders who can tt with enormous power.

Tour De France winner who reveals his talent with world best performances in his late 20s

Take those points and considering them, for me the most likely explanation is nothing has changed cycling.
Interesting points, but what's that got to do with W/kg estimates and how those estimates are used?
 
Nov 14, 2013
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Alex Simmons/RST said:
Interesting points, but what's that got to do with W/kg estimates and how those estimates are used?
Nothing to do with the estimate but everything do with how is used. What piece it plays in forming an opinion on what is happening the modern peloton.


Also it is not just climbing performance which factors but also average speed overall. Massive rise post 80s with the blood manipulation revolution and no drop since. Some can be explained with tv time and race tactics but imo some increase has another explanation.


That said my opinion is not fixed and happy to convinced If more compelling evidence emerges
 
ralphbert said:
Nothing to do with the estimate but everything do with how is used. What piece it plays in forming an opinion on what is happening the modern peloton.


Also it is not just climbing performance which factors but also average speed overall. Massive rise post 80s with the blood manipulation revolution and no drop since. Some can be explained with tv time and race tactics but imo some increase has another explanation.


That said my opinion is not fixed and happy to convinced If more compelling evidence emerges
Can you provide non-cherry picked data to support your point about overall speeds now being as high as they ever got?

Assuming you can, can you then eliminate some explanations and not others for why that might be the case?

Just so it's clear, I still consider there to be a significant doping problem within professional cycling.

But what I'm trying to do is avoid the logical fallacy of motivated reasoning.
 
Alex Simmons/RST said:
Can you provide non-cherry picked data to support your point about overall speeds now being as high as they ever got?

Assuming you can, can you then eliminate some explanations and not others for why that might be the case?

Just so it's clear, I still consider there to be a significant doping problem within professional cycling.

But what I'm trying to do is avoid the logical fallacy of motivated reasoning.
And what is your motivation? ;)

Sorry for the tongue in cheek.

While kudos are deserved for your objective, if you are looking for evidence of fast climbing wouldn't you look at the fastest climbs and see how they compare? In other words, aren't you going to have to effectively cherry pick down to a very small set of data points?

Even if everyone else were going slower than they were (not saying that is the case, though), how would you know they aren't just riding piano?

Just saying.

Dave.
 
May 10, 2009
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