Doing my first long gravel race with a power meter. What metrics to watch?

I’m in the 100 mile MidSouth in a few days and this will be my first really long gravel race where I have a power meter on my bike. I’ve done a few 50 to 70 milers. From what I recall listening to the podcast I should watch Normalized Power and Intensity Factor.

What values should I try to stay under? 70% of FTP? 60% of FTP? Any guidance or something else I should watch ?

I like to keep track of things like time in Zone5 as a rough measure of matches on longer rides.

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I watch 3s Power and NP.

With regards the IF to aim for, that very much depends on how long you expect to take (and how you’ve performed similar efforts recently).

0.7IF is a pretty good goal for a lot of people for long races.

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This is exactly what I was looking for!! Really should pay closer attention to the blog

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I am also in MidSouth this year and I am considering this same question. I did not have a power meter on my gravel bike last year when I did a century. I have done a few rides with friends this year of around 65 miles (100k) and managed a IF of .75. I’m thinking .7 seems pretty reasonable for the 100 miles assuming I stay under control in the beginning and pace correctly. What I don’t want to do is go out too strong and fall off later in the day. I think a conservative start will make for a more enjoyable day overall

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Don’t be surprised if you do…so easy to fall into the trap of “this feels pretty easy / OK…I’m just gonna hang a bit longer.”

We’ve all been there and done it!!

Good luck in the race.

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Right - “I’ll just hang with this fast group and draft and be just fine…” lol.

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If I was racing MidSouth this year, I would be targeting a finishing IF in the mid .7’s. I would tolerate seeing upper .8’s for the first hour or so IF it means I’m in a group, If you don’t make a conscious decision to back off at some point, your body will make it for you so err on the side of caution here. I would also avoid going above the upper threshold limit(105% of FTP) like the plague. Also in my experience ALOT of people start coasting the second they crest the top of a hill. You don’t need to stay on the gas, but 40-50% of FTP here isn’t gonna hurt you.

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I used to train with 3s power and average power on all my bikes. After my first gravel race I realized that average power isn‘t the most appropriate metric for such efforts. (My average power was quite low but I felt destroyed). I found that due to the loose underground I had to coast and change pace a lot more than I would on my road bike and many more surges due to the rougher terrain. I found that normalized power is much better for such rides, ended up switching AVG to NP on my gravel and mountainbike, on my road bike I still have AVG but since the efforts during normal training rides without big intervals are steadier and there is not much difference between both metrics.

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