Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

1,859 Posts
Efficiency: Time vs. energy

Falls Hard said:
Anyone got any idea which is best for the most efficient race pace over rolling hills or when cresting a climb onto a flat road. Assuming that you are climbing flat out, with a high heart rate and building up lactic acid, is it better to take a break and soft peddle to lower the heart rate quickly and then ride at a normal intensity. Or to keep riding hard and gradualy lower the heart rate to your normal flat road intensity. I am thinking that taking a quick breather allows a faster recovery and better overall pace
Normally when one talks about efficiency, one is referring to energy efficiency; i.e. the amount of work in vs. the amount of work out. However, this type of efficiency is only of peripheral interest in racing. In racing, the efficiency of interest is time efficiency; i.e. the least time to cover a given distance. Of course, you have to take into consideration energy availability when you work out your time efficiency strategy.

Normally, you can lose more time climbing than you can get back descending, so for time efficiency, it is usually better to increase work intensity on the uphills, and recover a bit on the downhills. But the downhill recovery shouldn't start until you are back up to full speed. So an uphill that crests and leads to a downhill, you should keep your intensity high all the way over the top and into the downhill section until you are up to speed, and then recover at speed on the descent. For an uphill that leads to a flat (no descent), you are still interested in overall time, so rather than recovering at a slow pace, you should keep the intensity up as you crest the hill until you reach a speed just below your normal steady-state pace, and then slowly ease up to normal steady-state pace as you recover.

Is this strategy hard? Yes it is. Is it the most energy efficient? No it isn't. But if you are racing you are interested in minimizing time, not minimizing energy or suffering.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.