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

I think this gets more dofficult when there is a large field in the race.

As an example…Barry Roubaix. I was strong enough to hang with the lead group, even of the big hills early in the race, and survive as a bigger rider to when the flatter sections comefor the 2nd half of the race. But I was absolutely shattered, and got dropped on the flats and limped in the rest of the way :joy:.

I think it’s tough. Drafting/staying with a group is an enormous advantage. I dont have any real answers on when to pull the plug. Probably earlier than completely blowing up with 40 miles to go :grimacing:

Variability will be less for a 90 min XCO race vs. 5 hour race, but since we’re discussing a hilly race, variability will still be high if you’re actually racing.

I did a 193km/2900m gravel race on rolling terrain a few weeks back which took just under 7 hours. For the first 70km/1000m my average power was 207W while my NP was 240W. Unfortunately my Wahoo dropped power at that stage so I do not have concrete numbers for remainder of the race. I hung onto the lead group until just aver 80km, then soloed for remainder of the race. Variability definitely decreased once I was solo, but I still would power up hills and recover on descents. As mentioned, if you’re racing and wanting to go as fast as possible, that will be the optimal pacing approach.

To answer OP’s question - I wouldn’t use average or normalized power to pace a race, it is too risky and limiting. You could be leaving a lot on the table or put yourself in a hole by trying to stick to some power number. Races are dynamic in nature; you need to figure out how you feel in the moment and react accordingly. My goal is to stay with the fastest group I am able to without blowing up early on. You may find yourself hanging onto a faster group than you planned and getting dropped at some state, chances are you’ll either have gained enough of an advantage to stay ahead of the next group or you’ll just get picked up. In case of my last gravel race, I got blown out less than half way, but by sticking to the lead group I managed to keep enough of a gap for 4+ hours to podium. If I had chosen to drop off earlier, chances of being picked up by next group would be higher and then I’d have to fight for position.

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We don’t know the type of event. If it’s a 5h solo relatively flat TT, then absolutely correct. Ride at 0.75 like you were on a trainer.

But if the race involves at least one other human being and/or climbs, then riding at 0.75 may either not be possible (for example how can you ride at 0.75 down a sustained windy 8% descent?) or not advantageous - you’re in the peloton avoiding taking pulls to stay at 0.75 and a potential winning move goes up the road. Stay at 0.75 and watch them ride away or burn a match so you can get in the break?


If someone is asking what their target power should be for a 5 hour race, I think it is safe to say they are not racing at the pointy end and worrying about “getting in a break.”

If you are truly racing, then a power meter is almost irrelevant…you either hang at the front or you don’t.

If the goal is to complete the event, ride well and finish strong, then you ride by target power. Based on the OP, that is my assumption as to the nature of his question.


Define “race.” Thanks!

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Evening all, just getting to read all these! Thanks very much for all the advice and discussion, really appreciated.

I’ve been using TrainerRoad for 8 months to train for a 180km bike race - its part of the Lakesman Triathlon and I am part of a Relay Team. I’ll be on a Boardman 9.8 Air TT bike (so no drafting) racing on A-roads. There are two 20km very hilly sections.

75% IF seems to fit well with what I managed 4 years ago in a similar event.

The race is in 2 days time so leaving it late to ask your advice!!

Thanks again guys

I think you’re referring to more like overall ride IF and they are talking about moment to moment power output. If your goal is to go fast over this race distance then you won’t want to ride at 200W the whole time. You would want to do 250W on the climbs, 200W on the flats and coast or soft pedal the descents (for example). Both can come out to the same event long target IF but one will get you there faster.

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my 5hr IF is .80, but these are from a solo century I do for myself generally once I year and I ride at a steady power throughout, so not like pushing hills or whatever. I might be able to get this up a bit more, but for me .8 has been my sustainable really long tempo

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Which is why I said…

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Riding at an exact IF no matter the terrain is a recipe to get dropped on climbs.

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How many times do I need to repeat that I am not advocating riding at an exact power number the whole time?

:roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:


Good luck at race. If the weather is cool and fueling/hydration is good, I can do .8if for a 6 hour effort, you might be able to do better then .75 if conditions are good. Maybe try to maintain.75 for the first couple hours and then ramp up a bit if you’re feeling good.

Well you have one statement that really leads people to think your saying that. Dont write that if thats not what you mean.

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Ride by feel. Do you feel like you can go like you’re going for 4 more hours? 2 more hours?

By all means look at your numbers at home later and see that it was 0.7 or 0.8 and be amazed at how your average power for the day was 200W or 150W or whatever but don’t bother to think about it while you’re riding.

This is a non-drafting TT/triathlon, it doesn’t matter that they get dropped on climbs, all that matters is the fastest time to the finish line.

I did write what I mean…RIF.

It’s still faster to go hard on hills rather that completely steady effort

I agree, but not by varying power that much. plugging numbers into best bike split usually has it maxing out around +/- 15% for power differential other than very short and steep up and downhills. And almost never going above threshold for any efforts in a ~5hr TT.

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0.75 IF is a good target, but I would caution that if you’ve never done 0.75 for 5 hours, it can blow you up on the 5th hour. Fueling is key, IME.

You can also feel great with plenty left in the tank, but leg cramps can suddenly hit you. Fueling helps with that too, along with more obvious things like hydration and electrolytes. I like pickle juice as backup. It’s a race saver.

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