Check out the data analysis report from Drops Cycling rider Rebecca Durrell’s day in the Warwickshire hills! Her coach, Mark Young, talks us through the facts and figures below:

Stage 2
Stage 2 of the 2016 Aviva Women’s Tour was a lumpy long drookit (Scots for rather wet)140 km from Atherstone to Stratford-upon-Avon using some undulating and tight roads to test the technical skills of the 90 riders left in the race. 
Yet again the crowds that came out to watch were vast, and they were treated to a lot more attacking racing than yesterday. Stage 1 was a little calmer as an introduction, before the big guns came out to play and decided to exert authority.
Rebecca Durrell of the Drops Cycling Team, still on this exciting adventure, was on the receiving end…

Realistic Ambitions
Before the stage today, instructions were given to be a little conservative, since the Queen Stage (hardest and most likely to have the future winner come from that day) is Friday in the very very sticky steep hills of Derbyshire. Basically if Rebecca and the team were to thrive in this highest quality environment with the very best riders from around the world, they have to be realistic about where they are and what is and isn't possible to achieve. This is always a difficult thing to get right. Positivity tinged with realism; pragmatic but attainable.
How was it today then Becks?
“Much more climbing today and weather conditions not the best, a few downpours and lots of huge puddles to contend with. Climbing isn't naturally my strength so today's aim was to get around, help team mates where possible and conserve energy with tomorrow's Peak District stage in mind.

Spent the majority of the stage in the main bunch, admittedly much more time spent at the back today than ideal, which can sometimes be a less physically demanding place to be but you also run the risk of missing moves at the front and getting caught up in crashes.

Was climbing well enough to move up on the climbs but wasn't well positioned when the break occurred on the final QOM. Finished in the main bunch.”


The Training Stress Score from today was a slightly higher medium 274 (yesterday 218), Rebecca tried a bit harder and accumulated a little more towards a High level of TSS (300-450), nonetheless, she should be feeling ok for tomorrow, provided again that she replaced the calories she expended and had some recovery food immediately.
She used 2107 (1827 yesterday) calories in todays stage, which for context is more than the Daily Allowance of 2000cals that the NHS has set for Women!!

The Intensity Factor (IF) was 0.86 (yesterday 0.8), which shows that she used a bit more of her Anaerobic Lactic system for energy supply, which of course is means fighting with the acidosis internally to shift it and prevent the muscles from tiring out.
Her heart rate average of 149 beats per minute and 182 max, which is lower than yesterday and a narrower range. The lack of a flat out sprint and the length of the stage are the reasons I suspect.
The Power that was needed to be in the race was a fairly steady 170 watts (161 yesterday) average, which is enough to power a decent quality HIFI for a Disco for the 3hrs 42mins of the Stage, while her Max Power was 764 watts, which was almost 200w less than yesterdays max, and would get one of those handy Drills that dad has in the shed to burst into life!!
Now yesterday was a fairly flat day that meant Rebecca had to only climb 707m, but today with the lumpy nature of the Parcours (another French word this time for stage route) meant more than double that at 1493m. Tomorrow will be a lot more than that!

Drill down

The Graph above is just Power data from today and its shows that the early part of the day was very up and down with regards to Rebecca using her energy and definitely a lot smoother in the 2nd half as the main bunch has let the break with the main protagonists go. The engine was pretty much switched off to conserve resources on the run in to the finish.

This Graph shows Heart Rate and we can see concerted efforts on the climbs in 4 or 5 separate areas from 1hr 50m onwards and particularly at 2hrs 55m.

The Blue speed line kind of shows a similar pattern in that the race shows sections. The first half was fairly fast with a more constant speed, while after the 1hr 35m mark, the speed goes up and down a lot with the undulations of the roads, and finally the run into the finish in Stratford becomes a bit more steady. It was still a nippy 37.7kph average for the whole stage though. Try it and you may see how hard it is to ride that fast for that long!!

Bins of power like yesterday and its even more time spent hardly producing power, however the spread is different from Stage 1. There’s less time spent below 100w and more time relatively under 300w. You’ll notice that there’s virtually nothing at the 600w and upwards, showing that a sprint effort was not required.

Here’s the bins for her heart rate, showing quite big bins at 145-165, and a drop off from 165-170. This is actually quite useful, since we know from tests that Rebecca has a change of AER to ANL system right around 173bpm, which means that she spent a lot of today working just below that level.

I thought I would add this Speed bin graph, which illustrates well the time spent at various speeds in the bunch. 40-42kph and just below appears to be the optimum speed for the race, but note the little spike at 10kph, which I suspect was the neutralised run out to the proper start!!
It was a tougher day than yesterday for Rebecca and her team mates; those with winning ambitions came to play today. While she did her best to hide and save energy for tomorrow, she was forced into ensuring she wasn’t spat out of the safety of the bunch, since that could have spelled disaster and Rebecca having to maintain speeds of 40kph on her own. Not really a good thing to stay in the race!
The Queen Stage beckons and a number of weeks ago Rebecca and the other Droplets reconnoitered the course, so know full well how tough it will be tomorrow.
May all your winds be tailwinds.

– Mark