Front Range Classic Road Race Comparison

Front Range Classic Road Race Comparison

One of my athletes, Charles, is a new road cyclist. This is his second season and he just completed the Front Range Classic Road Race last weekend. He did the same race last year so I wanted to give him a comparison so he can really see the improvements he’s made this year. Here’s what the files look like, and he’s given me permission to include some of his comments from his race report.


Above is both race files overlaid, with red being 2013 and yellow being 2014. X-axis is time. The top chart is power, with a reference line at 200W. We can see on both years he went hard on the initial hills, but last year power dropped quite a bit on the descent (the circled data). This year he was able to keep his power a lot more steady. We see this in the cadence file (the middle chart with yellow reference line at 90rpm), with steady pedaling and a lot fewer drops to zero. Now, for a road race it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have power drops to save energy while in a pack, but for this race and the small groups he was with, it’s a good thing he was able to hold steady.

One thing that was different this year is that he did the criterium race the day before, so his legs weren’t completely fresh, but he was probably mentally and physically “warmed up” for harder efforts from the prior day’s effort. The finish line was in a slightly different place this year as well.

If we look at a quick table of statistics, we see he’s definitely improved his fitness from 2013 to 2014. He finished this race solidly mid-pack. We now have a “race performance” starting point to build from and to keep making improvements. As a confidence booster for a new road cyclist, we definitely achieved our goals at this race.




Avg Power









Avg Cadence



Max Power



Avg Speed




Side by side power distribution files show the improvements quite well. (2013 on the left, 2014 on the right.)

Here are some of his comments about the last lap of the race:
On the last lap, I felt like I had picked up some speed. The climbs, of course, were tough, but mentally, I was in it.

By the time I got around to Pine Drive and started climbing, I was very much at ease that I was going to finish this race—and finish it well ahead of my time last year.

About three miles left in the race and a few last tough climbs ahead, I began to see more riders…some of the strong youth riders who beat me in the crit! As I found myself starting to catch up to them, the wind picked up and it started to sleet considerably.

I caught up to a small group of guys, and we very slowly climbed. It was so beautiful. The snow was falling, and I’m sure we had adrenaline running through us—thinking, “This is it, we’re going to do it!”

The light snow quickly turned into pretty tough conditions. We were still slowly climbing, when I felt unevenness in my rear tire. I was so focused the entire race on how I felt, I had totally forgotten that a flat tire was a possibility!

I looked back and it was totally flat. I looked ahead, and we were still a few miles from the finish line. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic, which allowed me to think to myself: “I’ve done way too much work today to pull over and change this.” That would mean, most likely, losing my spot and possibly finishing last. I decided to keep forging ahead and see what happens.

I wasn’t sure if I could pedal a bike up a climb with a flat tire, but I just kept going. As I passed two riders (slowly but surely), I approached another rider and passed him.

At this point, I could hear the cheers and cowbells from the finish line and turned the corner to see the USA Cycling folks and the small crowd. I looked back and the guys I had passed were nowhere near me, so I put my head down and cranked my pedals a few last times to get over the finish line.

It was cold and snowy. We were all wet and ready to get in our cars. But, there was a sense of bonding on the course that day. Good or bad, we had finished a tough race together.

As I was driving home, I knew that was the exact feeling I was looking for. And, that’s why I’m finding myself loving cycling.


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Nicole Odell


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