Photo: JPov Photo
Whitney Allison had a breakthrough ride at Belgian Waffle Ride Cedar City winning the climbing jersey, the sprint jersey and the women’s overall race. Here’s a power analysis of her race winning file.
Setting the stage
This edition of BWR Cedar City had a 10 minute separation between the men’s Waffle wave and the women’s Waffle wave. The Waffle this year was 129 miles with about 6600 feet of climbing. This made for a clean start for the women without getting caught up in a ton of male tactics. After about 15 minutes the top women started catching slower waffle men and a few minutes after that the fastest wafer riders caught the pro women, so there was a mixing of fields relatively early on.
The first day’s effort was the first KOM climb up to Parowan Gap. Whitney was committed to going hard over that climb in order to stay within range of the women’s leaders at the time. Whitney, Lindsay Goldman, and Heidi Franz, were all negotiating wafer riders over the top of the climb. That initial effort was a necessary match to burn with a 13 minute climb at 276 NP. Early efforts in longer races of this magnitude are really where AMP PR lotion comes into play buffering those early slightly anaerobic efforts. This first effort is a pretty traditional road race type effort to make a split but this effort's effect on the later race fatigue is really where things get interesting.
The descent and flatter sections following Parowan Gap allowed the race to come back together into a womens and wafer leader main group. This interesting mixed gender dynamic makes the lead women's group roll faster but is not by any means easier for women. Whitney ended up with a 230 watt average, a subthreshold effort after the climb at threshold, for the next 15 miles until the next technical sector.
Double Track Section
The next sector of the BWR is a double track sector from mile 40 to about mile 50. This sector is a large break up period for many groups. It’s hard to pass in this section, its technical, climbing, sand traps, and less visibility bring gaps. On top of being 1500kj in by this point at over 80% FTP for most of the course, the mens wafer group started to split apart, actually making it a slightly easier sector for Whitney with 40 minutes at just under 0.9IF. Coming out of this double track sector Heidi Franz had flatted and Lindsay Goldman had been gapped by Whitney.
At mile 54 the wafer men turn off the waffle course leaving Whitney alone and Lindsay Goldman in sight, Whitney had the insight to recover for a short time and have someone to ride with instead of drag racing Lindsay at a small gap over the next 10 mile incline. For the first half of this 12 mile dragging, shallow grade climb, Whitney and Lindsay had a couple men to rotate with and rotated themselves. At about half way up the climb, it became apparent that Whitney had another gear than the rest and settled into an “altitude threshold” pace for the last third of the climb, putting as much time as possible into Lindsay Goldman.
The next 40 miles leading into the Kanarraville climb are flat to rolling with some large technical sections. Nutrition to this point is key, after 2500 kj, more if you’re a larger male or doing more power, if you failed at nutrition to this point you’re not coming back from that. Luckily Whitney had a large selection of JoJe Bars and NBS electrolyte. A couple key items in Whitney’s nutrition are 1 Litre bottles on her bike allowing her to have enough water to PLAN on skipping aid stations, feeding from the ATV and only grabbing bottles at the mile 86 aid station. Pre riding all the technical sections possible at the Source Endurance Survival Camp became an asset as Whitney averaged a lower power zone and 17 mph through the southern part of the course which is very dry, sandy and technical.
With no competition within minutes from about half way, Whitney settled into a sustainably high tempo pace at 200w NP for the remainder of the race with specific sections of injected pace such as the Kanarraville climb. This final major climb is 2.5 miles and comes after 3800kj of energy expended by Whitney in the previous sections of course. While being alone at a high rate of fatigue, Whitney still managed a 220 watt average pace up the climb to maintain her lead and not over exert herself knowing the following sector is a 5 mile single track technical sector.
With the gap earned at the halfway point, Strava showing Whitney at 3 minutes up at the top of the course, steady pacing, quality prep, and nutrition, Whitney earned as smooth of a ride as possible through the single track section and final dirt portions of the course into Cedar City and the win.
Some specific efforts that Whitney trained for is the ability to do very high efforts early and late in a long 100+ mile race. In events where the pace is dictated by men early on, being able to stay with a larger men’s group longer than your competitors is a massive advantage. Being able to recover and do late race power after mens tactics play out is how you win a women’s BWR race overall. Built into Whitney’s taper is a few rather long rides at altitude with hard efforts after 3k kilojoules. Mixing the ability to accumulate time at threshold and time at threshold after 2500kj we maximize Whitney’s ability to oxygenate, buffer, and fatigability. Charting these efforts after 2500kj in WKO5 we can see that a world class athlete like Whitney is not much different at 500kj or after 2500kj of work.
Next up, follow the second part of the series on Whitney Allison’s BWR Cedar City on nutrition and equipment.
Zack Allison earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Colorado State University. As part of his education, he participated in many hands on exercise science practicum and internships, coaching many types of athletes, specifically cyclists. Zack’s affinity for cycling started at the early age of 14 racing on the east coast. He quickly moved up the amateur ranks to race on the elite national circuit. This level of competition sparked his interest in exercise science, taking him to Colorado State University. While racing for his alma-mater and on various amateur teams he saw many podiums at the Collegiate Championships and Pro/Am events. Zack is currently living in Fort Collins, Colorado and has raced for Elevate Pro Cycling and currently races for Clif Bar. He also co-founded and operates Bike Sports, a bike fit studio, adventure experience, and gravel bike racing business. Growing up with great mentors and coaches, Zack has a goal of paying it forward. He hopes to use his education and racing experience to bring success to Source Endurance and his clients.