Over the weekend Evan Bausbacher represented the University of Texas at the USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships in Augusta, Georgia. It was a hot and challenging day out in the road race, with a very sweet finale when Evan took home the win! He worked hard all winter and spring to be ready to fight for the stars and stripes. Read about the race through his eyes, and then follow up for our analysis of his race data.
Evan Breaks it Down
Shortly after the race started there was a massive pile-up that left over 60 people on the ground or stuck behind. Our race was stopped for over 35 minutes as people were fixing their bikes. During this delay I just stayed calm and tried to stay hydrated since it was hot and we were sitting in the sun.
After we finally started up again, there were a few small attacks by solo riders that didn't last long, until 2 eventually got away. The field began to sit up a bit and the gap grew, but it was early and the other favorites were still in the field so I wasn't worried. The next two laps had some fast surges and some slow soft-pedaling, especially with the really undulating course. I followed a few moves from the CU Boulder riders, but for the most part stayed out of the wind and continued to eat and drink. I ate every 20 minutes and was doing about a bottle of water or mix every 40 minutes.
Heading into the 4th, and final, lap the gap had grown to 2 minutes and the field was getting nervous about it, so it got pretty hard up the feed zone climb and into the 4th lap. Last year's champ on Boulder attacked on the only big climb which is at the start of the lap, and I jumped to follow him. One other rider came with us and we had a solid gap so we began to hit it. We didn't last all that long though as some of the other strong riders in the field made bridge attempts that brought the whole field with them.
Once all back together, the field sat up again. Shortly after being told the gap was at 1:30 to the two leaders, the moto told us we were now on our last lap because of bad weather expected to come in. It got really chaotic with the race being shortened like that with just over 12k to go. The larger teams sent riders to the front and they started chasing all in. With no teammates, I decided to take my chances and let the other teams work with the hope it would come back. I would spend the next 10k fighting for position in the top 15 wheels.
With 2k to go, we were getting quite close and the teams were running out of riders, but the finish had a 1.5km kicker where we caught the two riders shortly after hitting the climb. It got really chaotic in the run-in because it was donwhill/flat and everyone wanted to be up there. I was able to hold position near the top 15 as we hit the climb. I kept my momentum and slung around the little bubble and slotted into 6th wheel behind the defending champ. We ripped up the climb. Before the top he may have attacked or followed a move but somehow I was 3rd wheel heading over the top. The field was pretty stung out and we may have even had a gap of about 10 riders or so. Over the top of the climb it was flat and then a slight right turn. I've been successful with long sprints and due to the tailwind and slight downhill, I launched out of the bend. It was a REALLY long sprint but never felt any riders coming up my sides and never saw anything in my peripheral vision.
Boom. Hook Em Horns. Super happy to take this win. Felt like I managed the fueling well with around 70 grams of carbs per hour and electrolyte bottles. With no teammates I had to be smart with my efforts and only followed moves that I knew were dangerous threats. Pretty cool to pull that one off.
To start, here’s a snap shot of the file. A few numbers to draw to as a general overview of the race:
2 hours 12 minutes, 225w average, but 301w NP
o Race was not super hard in terms of constant average power, Evan has done plenty of races with higher raw average power this year.
o 301w NP when the average was only 225w average shows the race was quite “spikey” and intense, just not for long durations, total volume of intensity in the race was high though
Evan spent 16 min @ VO2 power ranges and another 16 min over VO2 (430+ watts for him) – near 25% of the race over threshold by time in zone
Minimal HR drift – in relation to the power he was doing Evan wasn’t seeing an increase in HR as the race went on, essentially he wasn’t having to work harder for the same power in the end of the race compared to the start of the race.
o This is a great sign that Evan nailed hydration and fuel intake, especially on a warm day.
Key moments of the race
o Evan’s move to cover the attack by the defending champion at the start of the final lap was 80 seconds @ 497w – way over threshold.
This paints the picture of how there was a lot of high intensity / time over threshold, but all broken up into short chunks and the overall average was not super high in relation to the NP
o Positioning for the final sprint
2 minutes 45 seconds leading into the final climb, where Evan had 7 spikes over 500w – all these efforts were not super hard individually but in the context of leading into the sprint they can really load up the legs before the key effort even starts.
o The final
The final push to the finish was just under 2 minutes (1:48) at an average of 543w with a max of 931w. It was a very long “sprint”, more of a hill top finish with a final push for anyone who had legs for one more acceleration.
Here’s a closer look at the final:
As you can see, the “sprint” itself was not very powerful – only an 889w max. For reference Evan’s best ever 5 second power is 1210 watts, he didn’t even get close to that. But the reason because of what happens before Evan even starts his “sprint”. By the time Evan launched his sprint he’d done 1 minute 32 seconds @ 541w average. This is a really important point as preparing for this kind of race really necessitates training the ability to sprint off of that load. Some people can make it up the hill and have no room left to kick, those people finish 10th. Some people can kick hard at 1500 watts, but they can not make it up the hill at 550w for a minute prior. This sort of finish is a really interesting combination of both VO2 type power and ability to accelerate hard. Evan nailed it!
Thanks for reading!