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California Power: Analysis of Chris Jones’ stage 2 power data

Stage 2: Nevada City to Sacramento
Distance: 122.8 km (76.3 miles)
Athlete: Chris Jones, UnitedHealthcare, 59th place, 15 seconds back

From Monday’s stage 2 of the Tour of California, we have analyzed the power data from UnitedHealthcare’s Chris Jones. At first glance of the race data one can see that his speed, power and heart rate increased dramatically for the final 20 minutes of the stage. This represents the peloton’s quicker speed on the final circuits as the sprinter’s teams lined up their leadout trains.

Final 20 minutes versus first 2.5 hours

Chris Jones' stage 2 power data

For the final 20 minutes of the race, Jones’ normalized power was 332 watts and his average power was 315 watts with an average heart rate of 183bpm.

Averaged speed was 29.9 mph. This is compared to the first 2.5 hours of the race where the peloton averaged 26.9 mph requiring Jones’ only to make 258 watts normalized and 206 watts average at an average heart rate of 145bpm.

Saving Energy

Part of what made the first 2.5 hours easy was the fact that Jones drafted in the peloton so well that he spent 25 minutes or 15 percent of the race not making any power at all. We call this “Zero Power” and it is a good indication of how well a rider is at conserving energy. Granted the peloton lost about 3,675 feet during the stage but still Zero Power is a useful metric in any stage.

The more time a rider can spend “at zero” the more energy he’ll save for the more difficult decisive moments of the race later on like Sierra Road and Mount Baldy. For a comparison, I also analyzed Greg Henderson’s race data and he too spent roughly 15 percent of the race at Zero Power.

You can view the interactive race file by clicking the Training Peaks File viewer link.

Power file analysis by Frank Overton, owner of the FasCat Performance Cycling Center in Boulder, Colorado. Overton will be analyzing Tour of California race data daily for VeloNews this week.

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