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By- Stephen Gallagher
Race- An Post Rás
Rider- Ronan McLaughlin
Stage 5- Bundoran-Buncrana 150km
After the epic effort of Stage 4, it is very interesting to see how a Pro and a well trained athlete can handle and recover from such a high training stress, coupled with the accumulative fatigue of riding the previous 4 days ‘full gas’ and being part of the An Post team with an obligation to be at the top end of the race fighting for overall honours. So with a day full of mountain roads and aggressive riding to contend with and Ronan being a main actor in the play for the overall honours his team is searching for, it was going to be a tough day in the saddle. There was ZERO chance to be on a substandard day and take in the panoramic views that was on show for the spectators who lined the steep slopes of Donegal.
So from a quick view of the overall average for the stage you can see Ronan averaged 264w (65-70% of threshold power) for 3hr 35min at an average speed of 41.5kph (with 1242m of total climbing). The tailwind that greeted the riders left it for another fast stage over the hilly terrain. Ronan’s total Training Stress Score (TSS) was actually higher than Stage 4, he accumulated 314 on this mountain stage compared to 295 on stage 4. This points scoring system, calculated by Training Peaks software, is one of the best indicators when judging total fatigue and effort on race day...again a hard day in the saddle. So what were the details?
Ronan again proved to be extremely active in the early part of the stage covering attacks at the front end of the bunch producing his peak 10min effort directly in the first 10min of the race. He produced an average of 350w during this time with a peak of 1018w so it is easy to see that an aggressive start was on the menu for Ronan and his An Post teammates.
What is very interesting from Ronan’s data and one of the reasons why it was such a hard day in the saddle...the vast frequency of his peak powers during the day. From his 10min power at the start of the day to his peak 20min effort (322w) approaching and on the Barnesmore Cat 3 climb, peak 12min effort (348w) on the 3 quick successive climbs between 67-75km’s and further added in here is peak 1min/2min/5min efforts in the last 3km to the finish line. This indicates that there were no easy periods in the stage with the pressure being kept on during the entire 149km. The ability to be able to produce peak Vo2 efforts at the end of a 149km mountainous stage clearly indicates the talent and attributes of Ronan as a stage race rider who can handle such stress loads.
Ronan was active on the stage by getting into a 12man chase group that was swallowed up just before the start of the famous Cat 1 climb Gap of Mamore, by this stage Ronan had produced some maximal efforts on the previous climbs so by Mamore he had added fatigue to contend with along with the 25% slopes. His statistics for the climb are:
Time- 9min 50sec
Average Wattage- 340
Max Wattage- 635
Ave Cad- 67rpm
So again an epic day in the saddle with aggressive attacking and very hard maximal efforts on steep slopes, no rest days in the Rás!
Same again tomorrow.