Just when you are feeling good and think you are getting faster, you take a look at a pro on Strava and realize what it really takes to be a professional cyclist.
Over the course of the Tour this year, riders like Ted King (Cannondale) and Laurens de Dam (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) took the time to update their data to Strava. We have all starred at the TV screen wondering how these riders ride all of these miles back to back in race conditions or how they seem to just be able to climb walls for days. But…now when you put some data behind it…it REALLY seems impossible.
For example, Strava wrote a blog post pointing out Laurens de Dam’s achievements on the Mont Ventoux climb. Yes you are reading that right…over 14,000 feet of climbing, 148 miles and an estimate 10,752 calories burned. I am pretty sure Laurens can eat whatever the hell he wants after that ride! His average speed and wattage up the Mont Ventoux climb was 395w at 13.1 mph. I can’t even imagine holding that up that climb for a short period of time…much less an hour.
Laurens thoughts on this segment from his ride journal:
Fifth in the Tour and Strava King of the Mountain (KOM) on the famous Mont Ventoux climb. Who would have thought that before the race?
Unfortunately, I am not the “real” king of this climb as exactly eight guys went up faster than I did Sunday. Still, I am happy with my result and Bauke and I are sitting in 2nd and 5th on the GC (General Classification) with less than a week to go.
The stage started off crazy, and when I say crazy, I mean CRAZY! The parcours (course) was rolling hills and we had a really fast first hour, averaging almost 50 kilometers per hour (km/hr). What happened in the second hour however was something I haven’t seen much before: we averaged over 52 km/hr on an up-and-down course. Belkin managed to stay out of trouble and we came to the final climb near the front. The team did an AMAZING job and we had our guys helping me and Bauke until the steep part of the Mont Ventoux. I felt great, but when Richie Porte accelerated for Froome like a motorbike, we couldn’t follow and kept our steady pace up until the finish. Once we reached the windy part out of the woods, I hit the front and tried to minimize the time loss. We arrived close to Alberto Contador. If there would have been more cooperation in our group, we could have come even closer to the fastest climbers.I am satisfied with this result. Really tired, but satisfied. I was actually four minutes faster than the number two ranked rider on the Strava Segment (Mt. Ventoux via Bedoin) and fifteen minutes faster than when I explored the mountain in April. My average speed was about 21 km/hr up the Ventoux climb. Not that bad huh?
Now we are really looking forward to Alpe d’Huez. I hope we will get a lot of support on the “Dutch Mountain” and maybe Bauke, myself and our strong team can make something happen.
The Tour isn’t over and of course we will try to defend and even improve our standing!
Thanks Strava! How we get even more data
As I have written before on here, Strava is a really cool tool. It took what we used to love about mapping our own rides and brought a social/light competition element to the mix that has enhanced riding in a lot of ways. One of the best things Strava has also done was to bring pro riders in the mix and give them an additional social point with fans.
Personally, I love seeing what it takes to be at that level. When you follow the riders throughout the year, you get a real sense of what it takes to be an elite athlete. The hours of training…the dedication to the sport…constant traveling…all of it adds up over time to produce the riders like we see in the Tour today. For them to open up their lives in that manner and share that with other riders is pretty damn cool.