Frog Hollow race analysis

After this last race, I spent some time looking over the power files from each lap. I've started trying to analyze my workouts and my races a little more with Coach Adam's help and this was a good race to do a more thorough analysis. (I would have done this with Sage, but somehow lost most of my files...) I was initially pretty hard on myself for two reasons - I thought I was overcooking the climb, thus getting sloppy on the descents and I also thought I should have slowed down the pace a little during the technical sections. One of those is true - I should have backed off just a little on the last half of JEM trail and on Hurricane Rim. I would have been less likely to get the two flats if I had. But as far as pace, looking at the lap files reveals that I actually did a really good job. That was good to see from the files as it shows I'm getting smarter as well as stronger when it comes to 24 hour racing.

Some background info first - I have a Powertap on my Specialized Fate, which is a carbon HT 29er women's bike. We have set the fork, which is Brained, to 100mm of travel from the initial 80. I rode five of my 9 laps on the Fate. My spare bike for this race was a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er - not light, but lots of fun. It's 130mm front and rear travel and I also have a 75mm dropper post. I ended up with four laps on that bike, the third lap and my last three laps. Both bikes have complete tool kits - tube, multi-tool, tire lever and other needed equipment for racing. I was honestly surprised - despite the six pounds difference between the two bikes, as well as the slightly different geometries, my lap times on the Fate and the Stumpy weren't much different. Weight weenies - take note - sometimes carrying a little more is actually better. :) I didn't lose any time on the climb on the first lap I rode with on the Stumpy and was a lot smoother through the technical sections. I was also faster on the descent and less fatigued while riding over the rocky sections of Hurricane Rim. In a race of this length, these are all things to consider. The Fate did ride better on the smoother sections of trail, but took more of a physical and mental toll through the rest of the course.

With that said, here's a look at the files from a few of the laps from 25 Hour in Frog Hollow. Warning - this is mostly numbers and charts and such.... :) See here for the fun report from the race.

Lap 1 - 59:38 riding time

I always go out hard on the first lap and this race was no different. On the climb, I averaged 217 Normalized Power with an average heart rate of 159 for the 26:00 it took to get to the top of JEM trail. That's just above my current FTP of 210, so while I was working hard, I wasn't over doing it. Then came the descent - with several high spikes of over 250 watts during the short climbs and technical sections. So for the first lap, nice pacing, strong surges where I needed them and a good set up for the rest of the race.

Lap 2 (AKA comedy of errors...) 1:18:46 lap time, 1:00:21 pedaling time

Started out strong again, settling in to the effort needed to ride for 12 of the 25 hours. My normalized power for the climb was 205 with a HR of 156. Despite having a lower power output, I didn't lose much time on the climb - keeping it right around the 26:00 mark for this lap. Then came the burped tire, sidewall tear and subsequent tubing. I didn't have any of the high power spiked on this lap - rode in pretty gingerly after fixing the flat.

Lap 3 (1:00:16) was on my Stumpy, so no pretty lines to look at. I kept the HR near where I was on the Fate and rode smart.Used the setting on both the shock and fork to maximize efficiency when climbing and flow when decending

Lap 4 - back on the Fate - 1:01:15 lap time

Definitely lower with the NP - only hitting 189, which is closer to my "tempo" power. It's where I can ride for a long time and just keep the pedals turning, so actually a good place to be for such a long race. The time up the climb did reflect the drop as I slowed down to 28:00. Another interesting thing to note here is the lower HR on the descent and technical sections, but slightly higher on the climb. Some of that is race stress with the flats combined with the fatigue from the first three laps. As far as the surges to get over the technical section, they are a little lower then the first two laps, but higher in regards to the overall power. Again, normal in mountain bike racing when you're tired, but still need to clean the obstacles.

Lap 5 (1:03:46) was very similar to Lap 4, the tempo power of about 190 on the climb, then settling and recovering more on the descents. A sign of good pacing that I was able to maintain times close to my first lap time. It was also the first night lap of the race for me.

Lap 6 - 1:19:35 lap time, 1:04:56 riding time (another flat...)

Same story here, 187 NP for the now 29 minute climb up to JEM trail. The HR on the climb is a little wonky - with two spikes that don't correlate to anything and climb almost to 200 bmp. After that, the power and HR follow the normal pattern of settling down through the descent and into the technical sections. I did have another flat on the this lap - pinched the tire on one of the rocks. Power is lower after the climb, and the spikes are not as pronounced. Getting tired, but still able to maneuver through the rocks. Still showing good pacing on the climb and (mostly) smart riding through the rest of the lap.

After that flat, I switched over to the Stumpy for the rest of the race, so nothing to really analyze. Nick and I also decided that we'd exchange at our pit and to slow down just a little. Both of those decisions slowed our lap times significantly, with my next three laps showing as 1:10:16, 1:14:47 and 1:15:54.

So overall, after Coach Adam looked at the race results and the analysis of my laps, he was happy. It was good pacing as evidenced by my ability to maintain the power for the laps I rode on my Fate (and since the times weren't much different, it's safe to assume the same type of numbers while on the Stumpy. Maybe a little higher since the Stumpy is a heavier bike.) I was also honest with myself regarding my descending and the fact that I needed to pick smoother lines and slow down just a little. One minute slower on the descents would have actually saved 20 minutes over the course of the race. All things to think about going into the next block of training and next big race.


  1. Hey, fun report for engineer brains like mine! I've heard about setting Fate 80mm fork to 100mm before - been thinking about trying this on my Fate for a bit more technical confidence; does it affect how it rides/the geometry etc? Any downsides at all? And is it something relatively easy to do? Thanks!

    1. It did increase the rake angle on the fork by 1*. I noticed that the handling became a little slower and needed just a little more body language to manuver the bike. But now that I've been riding with it like that for over a year, I don't even notice. No downsides - the increased travel definitely is worth it. I have not noticed any changes in my riding style and am a lot more comfortable. As far as his hard it was - my husband did it for me so I don't know. It didn't take him that long to do though.

  2. Thanks! I may look at trying this.


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