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WATT Does It Take To Produce The Fastest Bike Split At The Norseman Xtreme Triathlon?

August 10

Norwegian squad Pro Allan Hovda produced a stellar race this past weekend to take his 3rd victory at the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. Having won the race 2x before, Allan came to the squad looking for some guidance to help drive his preparations towards the 2018 season.

Immediately, we took some of the volume out of Allan's training while keeping up a decent amount of intensity that you would not expect at the long distance level. I'm sure even up til race day, there were some doubts in Allan's mind that he had done enough "volume" in his training, even though he was feeling more fit than ever. Fast forward to post-race analysis, and we find an all time best swim, best bike split, and a first 30k run that ensured a victory atop the Gaustatoppen! 

So what did it take to produce the fastest bike split of the day, and coming into T2 with last years winner Lars Christian Vold? Thanks to TrainingPeaks and Best Bike Split, we can reveal the data Allan utilized in training and on race day. 

Allan is 71kg, and being a very strong cyclist, we set his intensity factor (IF®) to 80% of his Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is pretty much at the highest end (as a Pro) you'd want to ride in a long distance triathlon. Using Best Bike Split, we were able to determine some good guidelines to follow over the course of the day. Due to the very hilly and undulating terrain, it is very hard to have a certain number to follow as the numbers jump around all day. 

Here we see the initial 154km of Allan's Norseman power file. After coming out of the water in 54min, 5min behind Harry Whiltshire and Eirik Ravnan, but only 90sec slower than Lars Christian Vold, I knew we were on a good day! Allan got to work straight away to get towards the front of the race, and over the initial 90min, Allan produced 290w Normalized Power (NP®)(4.04w/kg, 88% FTP) in order to get up to Lars Christian Vold and battling for the lead. At this point, once in the front of the race, Allan settled into a more manageable 268w NP (3.48w/kg, 81% FTP) for the next 2:44. At this point, nutrition and staying warm in the ever changing weather conditions of the day were the main focus. 

The final portion of the Norseman is 39km fairly flat to downhill. And on this day, a massive tailwind really made it a quick finish to the race, as Allan 50kph over the last 46min, and 55kph over the last 23km! At these speeds, both Allan and Lars Christian Vold would have very hard times to keep power to the pedals and it was thus a battle of aerodynamics and being fast on the bike, and not holding certain numbers As you can see, Allan only AVG 220w NP (2.44w/kg, 67% FTP) over this section. 

Final Numbers: 5:04 Bike Split, 268w NP (3.77w/kg, 80% FTP), 4509kJ. 

So, firstly, massive congratulations to Allan and thank you for letting us dive into your data. Now let's get into some coaching notes. From the file, you can see that while Allan was very close to the power numbers he had hoped to hit on race day, there are plenty of segments on this course where the data was not to be followed or trusted. At the end of the day, use the powermeter to keep you in the vicinity, but always be in touch with your mind/body to dictate your effort. If Allan would have stuck only to the numbers, there is a chance he could have not reached the front of the race and been in control, or even blown himself up in that last 40km downhill due to over-pacing and trying to hit “desired watts” that many athletes stress about. Your goal is to get from point A to B the fastest and most efficient to set you up for the best possible run you can!

Photo Credit: Lars+Erick Blenne Lien
Photo Credit: Torden Multisport
All Rights Reserved 
Initial best bike split
Tpeaks 1st 154k
Norseman final 39k
172791 largest 2018norseman17