Bradley Wiggins must be enjoying riding in the sun of California, resplendent in his yellow jersey. Much more preferable to slipping all over wet Italian roads. 12 months ago, it was painful to watch Wiggins nervously descend Italian roads like he was on an old fashioned club run. But, 12 months on, it was good to see him putting out the power in the time trial and up the long mountain in sunny California. By contrast the Giro riders are having to deal with extraordinarily difficult conditions, which is leading to crashes all over the place. A times it appears more like a badly planned circus than a cycle race.
Here in the UK, we grumble about the rutted state of British roads. True the gravel and heavy roads slow you down, but at least you don’t have the ice-skating ring of Italian roads which seem to be doused with olive oil. There are so many crashes in the Giro this year, that you would think that if it was monkeys riding the Giro, it would get shut down for cruelty to animals.
Power on the Uphill
I can understand why light riders go quicker uphills. Less weight, increases your power to weight ratio. But, one thing I’m not quite sure is why is it much easier to put out more watts cycling uphill. In a recent hilly time trial, I was struggling to do 300 watts on the flat. If I made a big effort, I could do 310, 320. But, when the road went uphill, I could hold 360-370 watts. The last five minutes of the race I averaged just shy of 370 watts, because it was a 10% climb. If it was a flat five minutes I would have averaged 290, if I was lucky. The steeper the hill, the easier it is to put out more power.
Recently I did a one minute intervals, I went flat out for a minute. But, despite making maximum effort, the power depended on the gradient. At the start it was flattish and I was getting 450, but when it became steep, it went up to 600 watts.
I’ve heard that some riders are more suited to putting out power on a climb. I wonder why or perhaps everyone experiences that.