What target power should I aim for on my 5-hour race? My FTP is 269W

What target power should I aim for on my 5-hour race? My FTP is 269W.

Any help/advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Paul

I’d aim for an IF around 0.75

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Depends on the terrain, conditions and what other riders are doing around you. As a general rule of thumb you want to apply more power where speed is (naturally) low and apply less power where speed is high, b/c most of the effort will be wasted as the cost of moving forward increases exponentially at higher speeds.

At times it might also be useful to apply a bit more power if that means you get to hang on to a group where you get the benefits of drafting for a long duration.

For a flat course, an IF of 0.75 should certainly be doable. Higher if your endurance is good.
For a hilly course with lots of puncy short climbs, you can aim slightly higher than that.

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As a follow up, how would you keep track of your IF during the ride? Add NP as a field on your head unit?

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I’ve got a ride totals screen on head unit with average speeds, normalised power, if, avg cadence and things like that.

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That’s what I’ve been doing and it works well.

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It shouldn’t…that is the point of riding with power - it eliminates these variables. Speed should be the variable, not power. If your goal is to ride at .75 IF, then ride at .75 IF, regardless of the terrain or conditions. Your speed will be variable accordingly, but your effort level should be the same.

I have a similar FTP to the OP and for rides of that length, I tend to target ~200W for my NP, which works out to right about .75IF.

Put a field on your computer for both NP and IF, target 200w and you should be good to go.

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It doesn’t if you want to go fast. It’s much more efficient to push a bit more power on the uphill and then recover on the downhill vs. just blindly targeting a single power number.

A good pacing plan has power targets for the various gradients, road surface and wind conditions you will encounter during your ride. Not a single number! Your IF should come down to about the same number if done right, but you’ll finish in a much faster time.

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Zero is my target power. Save for a few key moments. Then it’s everything I’ve got. Outside of that Z1/2 in a group. Z3/4 on a climb.

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No one is saying you hold an exact number the whole time….but your target power for a ride is your target power. You don’t change it for “conditions”.

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If you have done the ride before or have access to the .gpx file and this is a “solo” effort.

Just use best bike splits

You can input everything you want and just need to dial it as close as possible. You can then upload your “race plan” to your garmin and have it guide you for the race.

… I assume the OP is allowed to slightly modify their plan if they’re in second place and on the leader’s wheel with 200 metres to go? :wink:

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I would disagree on the conditions/terrain not mattering when using power, since NP/IF are so heavily weighted to short hard efforts a punchy ride will certainly have a higher NP/IF than a flat steady state. An IF of 1.0 or more for a 90min XCO race is not unreasonable, but that same IF for a pan flat 90min loop is similarly possible but far from the ideal way to ride it.

What you target for AP, NP, IF etc are all very dependent on the specifics of your target ride/course, imo.

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I used Best Bike Splits when I had similar questions with some of my initial longer rides. You can do something like 2 or 3 races free. You just need the gpx file for the course for it to plan with. It will break things down into a large number of intervals with power targets that you can display on your head unit (at least with garmin).

I found it very useful in that it helped me not overcook the beginning of long events (and have some in the tank for pushing hard at the end, but not so much that I felt like I could have gone harder the entire time).

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You are discussing a completely different scenario….the OP was talking about a 5 hour race, not a 90 min XCO race.

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IF (Intensity Factor) is a field you can add. It comes in very handy on long endurance rides too

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Yeah personally I’m about to do a 6+ hour race fondo thing, it’s technically a competitive fondo but it has 16k climbing over 138 miles. So I’m going to try to race but also be aware that IF probably matters if I want to just be able to get home. So I’ll keep an eye on that in the first half and try to not go too deep in the red too early.

That’s fair, I would agree that the longer the event goes the the more NP/IF will converge for all different types of rides.

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Depending on the race it should be as high as possible if you are riding mostly solo, or as low as possible if you are in a group and saving it for a sprint.
The answer can vary so much depending on the course, the discipline, and how the event plays out. In general, it should be the lowest amount needed to cross the line first.

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Probably helps if you state the type of race.

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