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2017 USAC Masters National Road Race Championships: File Analysis

The 2017 Masters National competition is complete and the champions have been crowned with the coveted stars and stripes jersey. The file analysis contained here is specific to Owen Shott who was kind enough to share his file and Pinnacle athlete Alex Zambrana. Owen won the 35-39 road race in decisive fashion and Alex won the 45-49 crit. As amateurs we readily have access to blogs and articles breaking down files on professionals, this blog is designed to bridge the gap and showcase what it takes to be the best in the amateur distinction.

June 2nd 35-39 Road Race 72 Miles (Owen Shott - Velobrew Cycling)

Time 2:57, Average Power 267 w (4.05 watt:kg), 24.8 mph, 4,137 feet of elevation gain, and 2,847 KJ’s

GEAR: Quark Dzero paired with Garmin 520

The road race course was 5 laps of a 14.1 mile loop located in Fort Gordon Georgia that finished on a .7 mile rise of 3%. It was evident of the start line that the race would most certain become a race of attrition given the 90 degree temperatures and the rather punchy course.  

After 3 laps of sitting in the peloton (42 miles and 1:45:40 of racing with an Average NP of 309 watts at 3.39 W/kg) and 1507 KJ’s later a breakaway, that Owen was not a part of, had solidified . He launched a searing 10 minute effort at 381 watts (427 NP at 5.65 W/kg) to get across to the breakaway that brought another 3 riders with him.  Over the course of the next hour Owen took part in making sure the break stayed away. During that period Owen rode 283 watts (317NP at 4.2 W/kg) for 58:45 with a Pw:Hr balance of 4.39%. On the final climb Owen unleashed his final kill shot of 513 w for 2 minutes at 7.6 W/kg to distance himself from the nation’s elite and secure the 2017 road race title.

Takeaways: Although an amateur, Owen's abilities are clearly on the upper echelon of the nation’s elite amateurs.

  • 2,800 KJ’s of work in 90+ degree heat is rather impressive. What's even more telling is his ability to still tap into the FRC/FTP energy range late in the race. His 2 minute closing effort is a true testament to his fitness and overall capabilities.

  • Cycling is clearly an aerobic sport and those possessing a refined level of aerobic fitness as it aligns with mass start racing excel. While working with the breakaway over the final 58 minutes Owen was well within his comfort zone. This is supported by the 4.39% Pw:Hr value. 

  • A big part of winning isn’t just having the power, but more so how you race it. Outside of Owens FTP per his body mass is his ability to intuitively race to his strengths at the right times. This is what undoubtedly secured him the top step in the national road race. Had Owen not been patient early on or worked too hard in the break his odds of uncorking that final 2 minute effort of 513 w would have been compromised.

June 4th   45-49 Crit Race 60 minutes (Alex Zambrana-Vivo cycling attorney/ Racers Edge)

Time 56:50, Average Normalized Power 282 w (3.41 w/kg), Average Speed 26.8 mph

GEAR: Garmin Vector paired with Garmin Edge 710

The crit course was .8 km, 6 corners, run counter clockwise in downtown Augusta Georgia. This has been every bit of a 2- year endeavor in the making for Alex and the Pinnacle Coaching camp as 2015/2016 was Alex’s  return to structured training and racing after a 20 year hiatus.

The field contained a rather stout group of accomplished amateurs and ex-pros and it was clear from lap one this would be an aggressive race.  Although the pace was high, moves off the front never lasted longer than 1-2 laps before being brought back by the field. This was largely due to the Peets Coffee team which really had a strong presence in this race. Alex was able to read this early, stuck to his plan of holding a spot in the front of the peloton, and was able to stay well below his FTP for the majority of the event. 

Race IQ and pack awareness allowed Alex to ride the 56 minute event with an Average Normalized Power of 282 watts which is 85% of his FTP.  Polished pack riding skills, and using cadence to accelerate with attacks as opposed to standing and mashing ultimately minimized time spent above his FTP.  Furthermore, these traits ultimately allowed him to spend 44% or 25 minutes of the race in zone 1 (170 watts and below) with over 14% of the race in the 0-15 watt range. All of this played into Alex being able to race to his natural strength as a sprinter.  Again, we saw another well placed 2 minute effort in the final kilometer that landed Alex on the top step of the podium.  The kill shot- 2 minutes, 506w average with a peak of 1,479 w and an average speed of 30.1 mph. The first minute of the two minutes was used to stay in the top 5-7 riders and out of trouble, the second minute in the peak 2 minutes was a solo effort to the line. See below

The below Image shows time, kj's, and percent of the race spent in the various iLevels within WKO4. Alex burnt the entire matchbook in the closing kilometers and did an excellent job minimizing energy leading up to that point in the race.

Sterling performance by two of Florida’s own. Having coached Alex and knowing Owen very well I can tell you both men line up with a few non-negotiables; know the course, know the conditions, know the players, have a tactical plan built around your strengths, and commit/execute whole heartedly!  In closing both gentleman are acutely aware of their phenotype, their PD cure (power duration), and their sensations on the bike allowing them to make calculated tactical decisions real time to give them the best odds of winning. Combining analytical prowess with on the bike intuition is a marvelous thing; phenomenal work gentleman! 

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