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Archive for June, 2010

Mawson Marathon Data Analysis 2010

Posted by fenner on June 28, 2010

The Mawson Marathon was a 360km point to point MTB race completed in pairs and followed the Mawson Trail from Blinman to Melrose in South Australia. The course followed a gently undulating profile with only 1800m of vertical gain along its entire length and was on mainly open fire trails with about 30km of tarmac along the way. In the pairs format is was always going to be a race were drafting and working together as a team was going to be a vital component of the race, along with all the usual feeding and hydration issues associated with ultra endurance races.

Let’s have a look at what the Mawson Marathon cost in terms of Physiological effort and output for the top 3 teams by looking at Mark Tupalski’s Power Tap data from the race before his memory filled up after 12 hours of racing.

Entire workout (219 watts):                                              

    Duration:           11:54:24 (12:08:59)

    Work:                9403 kJ

    TSS:                  664 (intensity factor 0.751)

    Norm Power:    248

    VI:                     1.13

    Distance:          314.541 km

                              Min      Max     Avg

    Power:              0          976      219      watts

    Cadence:          30        225      88        rpm

    Speed:              0          64.4     26.3     kph

New Range #1: The first 3.5 hours of racing

    Duration:           3:30:01

    Work:                3075 kJ

    TSS:                  253 (intensity factor 0.852)

    Norm Power:    281

    VI:                     1.15

    Distance:          97.215 km

                              Min      Max     Avg

    Power:              0          976      244      watts

    Cadence:          30        225      89        rpm

    Speed:              0          64.4     27.6     kph


The data from Marks power tap was quite awesome and showed the massive overall load race created. Mark weighs in at 70kg’s so the first 3.5 hours of racing was completed at a very solid pace considering there was another 260km’s to go. This phase of the race was a through and off chase with Jason English and Andrew Bell to try and limit our losses to Chris Jongeward and Brett Anderson who had taken off right at the start. Using Normalised Power (NP) Mark completed this first section at 4 watts/kg and then went on to hold a power to weight output of nearly 3.6 watts/kg a very impressive output over such a long duration. The variability index (VI) shoes that it wasn’t your average MTB race which sees bigger fluctuations in power, but, it is greater than your average time trial and added to the overall stress and load placed upon the body. The total Training Stress Score (TSS) would have been another 150 points by the time we finished the race so would have been about 800 points. This is a massive load and would be 3 – 4 times the average TSS for a stage of the Tour De France and almost 2 x Mountain stages to put it into perspective. Along with the massive kj’s used an estimated 12,000 kj’s it again shows what this race took to complete.

The time it takes to recover from an effort like this is very individual and I believe relates to each rider’s current Chronic Training Load (CTL) and their historical load and overall ability to handle large volumes of training. Mark was still recovering a week later, whereas I was knocking out my best numbers for the year in the state TTT Champs.

Well I hope this gives a little insight into the demands of the Mawson and I look forward to seeing you all out on the trail soon.



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Cube Team Line Elite Carbon Hard Tail

Posted by fenner on June 22, 2010

Having ridden Specialized bikes for over a decade the move to a new sponsor and a new bike manufacturer was an exciting prospect. The Cube range of bikes comes out of Germany and the brand is a big player in the European market. Until this year, however, the brand had only been seen a few times on the Australian race scene. With Monza imports deciding to import the brand and sponsoring the UCI MTB Race Team the change from GT to Cube was on the cards.

Arriving at the Monza warehouse I was stoked to see up close and personal for the first time the stunning Cube Team Line race bike. Catherine O’Shea was in the warehouse having just returned from overseas World Cup duties and was full of praise for the overall ride of the new rig. It was a light, stiff rocket ship and I was frothing to get it set up and out on the trail. With the support of Sram and Lezyne the Cube was tricked out with XX, XO and a full complement of Lezyne products, along with some Continental Race Kings it tipped the scales at a shade over 9.3kg’s. With the new 2011 frames the weight will come down even more as the full XX group will be able to be used.

The Noir and XX front end

The first race was going to be the Chase the Sun at Lysterfield Park, a great venue for the first 5 hour thrashing on the new rig. From the get go it just felt instinctively right. Having been a full suss convert for many years with the Epic I was a little nervous about the harshness of the ride in an enduro event on a hard tail, I needn’t have worried. From the start the bike felt fast and accelerated like a scalded cat out of each and every corner. This combined with the incredible stiffness of the 11/2 top and bottom head tube allowed for just sensationally quick and precise cornering rail to rail. I was having a hoot and just settled into a real rhythm through each section on the track. After a solid couple of hours I decided to up the ante a little and with only a few weeks of training under the belt after getting struck down by Ross River Fever I started to pull through the field. With Adrian Jackson leading about 6 minutes up 2nd place was getting closer and closer until he was at under a minute. All this time and the bike never put a foot wrong and to my surprise felt very comfortable, I had no back ache, no sore upper body. This was a hard tail that not only had incredible lateral stiffness, but, even though it has huge diameter rear stays had great vertical compliance and soaked up the trail like a full bouncer, happy, happy days indeed. So after 4  and a half hours I decided to pull the pin on the race, I had a little upset stomach and whilst in 3rd and not wanting to visit the suitcase of courage for a placing in a little local VIC race I pulled over and got ready to fly home with my new Cube.

The solid rear Stays

Since this race we have become very good friends and completed the Mawson Marathon again without a single step out of line. Overall I am super impressed with the Cube, the Carbon frame is great looking, both very stiff and forgiving where it needs to be. The small attentions to detail that come from the factory are very much like the Pinarrelo road bikes from Italy, it just screams class through and through. The Germans assemble the bikes by hand in Germany and it is this attention to detail that really shines through. If you are looking for a boutique top of the line new bike for 2011 look into the Cube range, you will not be disappointed. I am now eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the full suss rig and the road bikes.

Cube Team Line

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Posted by fenner on June 21, 2010

All systems were go when I finally got the all clear from the doctor “the dreaded Ross River virus had gone”! I was free to start training again albeit easing into new program. The Mawson Marathon had come up on the radar as a new event, raced in pairs, travelling along the length of the Mawson Trail from Blinman to Melrose covering a total of 360km and it looked like a bit of fun. I had chatted with Andrew Bell about the event when we competed in Wildside in the New Year and he seemed to think it would be pretty funky and that the terrain, although not technically testing, was beautiful to travel through. Last year the event was completed as a staged tour and was very successful.

Not from the Mawson, but, loving the new Cube

This year the event was going to be held as a point to point, pairs, non-stop race, as well as a stage race. So, after getting a little bit of training done and starting to regain a little bit of fitness, the Torq team of Mark ‘Tupac’ Tupalski and ‘Fenz’ started the ball rolling in preparation for the point to point race. New considerations needed to be addressed which were very different to the usual circuit type 24 hour race. Nutrition, hydration, bike choice and general logistics were planned alongside Team Captain and all-round super star Dean Clark. Everything started to take shape and before we knew it we were all in the small town of Blinman getting ready for the start. It was certainly cold and the weather conditions looked like a block head wind the entire way to Melrose. After a lengthy briefing most riders got a fidgety night’s sleep in anticipation of the early start the next morning.

So on Friday the 11th of June, we all lined up ready for the start. The film crews were busy interviewing riders and the race staff were busy checking we had all the essential items in our rucksacks or on the bikes. Then the gun went off……..

 …………….twenty four pairs of riders rolled out of Blinman on the first 10km of black top. There was a jovial spirit in the peloton before Chris Jongeward smacked it in the big dog and laid down his intentions for the day. Brett Anderson, his team mate, and South Australian 24 hr champion was going to be in for a long hard day at the office. Jason English and Andrew Bell quickly gave chase followed by Tupalski and Fenz along with Bellchambers and McAvoy. And this exact same scenario played out again as soon as we hit the dirt. Brett and Chris smacked it hard at XC pace, Jason and Andrew tried to bridge the gap and the rest of us scrambled to follow. Holding 400 plus watts, discretion was going to be the better part of valor and although Mark and I were pushing hard we decided to ease off the gas a little. Bellchambers punctured and we didn’t see these guys again for a fair few hours. Jason and Andrew also decided to sit up a little and the four of us rolled turns for a few hours in hot pursuit of the South Australian dynamic duo. The race settled into a pattern. After the initial three hours the usual feelings of being strong gave way to a little hunger knock, which gave way to feeling strong again. This can be a usual pattern in endurance racing and just knowing that you will come through a bad spell, eating and hydrating correctly, gives you the spirit to dig in and power on. Andrew and Jason pushed on during one of these bad spells and created a good gap but the race was far from over. The terrain held big challenges, not in a technical sense, but in the long, never ending false flats and head winds that seemed to sap your strength and play havoc with your mind and motivation. It was a time to really dig into the suitcase of courage and summon your reserves of perseverance. Tupac rode superbly and bit by bit we began to claw back time on Jason and Andrew and by the time we pulled into Quorn in the darkness there were only four minutes separating us. Behind us McAvoy and Bellchambers were also putting on a last charge and were only a few minutes behind us. The last stage from Quorn to Melrose was going to decide 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. The South Australian Team were just too far up the road and barring a major mechanical were not going to get caught. Dean was frantically jumping up and down, gesticulating that Jason and Andrew’s tail lights could be seen further up the trail, it was certainly time to hit time trial mode. As we pulled out of Quorn, Bellchambers and McAvoy passed us coming in to the feed stop. It was all systems go after 12 hours of racing. The average speed to this point was close to 27km/hr! After pushing as hard as we could we just couldn’t close the gap on Jason and Andrew and they ended up finishing just over 5 minutes ahead of us. Behind, however, we had broken the spirits of McAvoy and Bellchambers and they realized in this final leg that we were not going to roll over and give in. They came in a further 15 minutes behind us.

And so that was it! 360km in just over 14 hours. An incredibly fast race and one which I will not forget in a hurry as the pace was definitely on from the start to the finish and to be that close after that long is testament to a great race. Having raced for the first time with Tupac, I was astonished by his resolve and his dogged determination. I was also astounded by the amount of times that he had to stop for a piss! He certainly must have a bladder the size of a pea and within his next training program I am definitely going to incorporate learning how to pee on the bike!!

Cheers and see you on the trails


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