Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Bike Course

I  thought i would do a bit of a detailed section on the bike course and some tips and key points i feel that you need to go quick. The bike course here often get over looked by athletes wanting to go fast mainly due to the difficulty of the final run. Whats interesting is at an elite level the race is often won on the bike here. Firstly I will say you need to be “bike race fit” and not “tri bike fit”. By that I mean this course has lots of pace and power changes, even the long climbs are not very constant with there gradients. there is a whole lot of little, steep rollers that force you punch over them. Even if you don't really punch over the rollers by just having the ability to your legs will be fresher for that final run.

The course itself is made up of a 50km lap with between 500 and 600m of climbing that you do 3 times. Roads are generally smooth and they are pretty fast. There is 3 main climbs that are fairly steep which are followed by generally shallow descents which you will have to pedal down to keep any speed up. It for that reason why a TT/Tri bike is a key here. I will say this is the first course I’ve rode where i have felt electronic shifting would be extremely beneficial to going quick. Climbs are always changing gradient and being to shift on the base bars as well as under load will mean its easy to be in the right gear at the right time, not only saving a little time on the bike but possibly also on the second run as you shouldn't get caught pushing to big a gear. I personally break the lap into 7 sections based on key geographical markers

Section 1 is the first 8km of the loop to the base of the first climb. Once out of town your on a false flat climb with a few rollers thrown in. Theres a nice long straight section where you can do the Tony Martin head bob. Its fairly easy to keep the pace high without wasting to much juice depending on wind.

Section 2 is the first main climb 4.7km with a 3% ave gradient. This climb is pretty quick for the first half then kick up through the trees the last 1.5km. Once over the top you hit the next section which is a descent to the base of the next climb, Starts of steep and quick the flattens out with a few little rises along the way to slow things down.

Climb 1
Section 4 is the Bodenberg. This climb is a leg killer, 4.5km 5.2% ave max of 15%. Don't be fooled by the 5.2% average, this climb you are ether at less 2% or above 8%. This climb is where your bike fitness comes into play. the last part of the climb is pretty fast and can make up some time if you can push it over the top. 
The Bodenberg
 Next up is section 5 which is also the longest section, a 13.5km descent. At the very top of the climb there a section just over a km long at -7% although you cant hit it to hard as its twists left and right the whole way with a tight right hander to finish it off meaning a lot of you speed gained is washed straight off. The next 12km to finish the section off is at a -1.7% average. This is one of the key sections where riding a TT bike and Disk has a large advantage. This section also has a lot of little steep rollers that act like speed bumps, killing any speed you have.

Now its time for the final main climb, about 2km long. Its a fast climb through as you twist through a forest. This is the only climb with a consistent gradient which is at about 4%. Once over the top of that its around 11km back to the start of the loop. Its pretty much downhill for the first 6km then there is a larger roller then a couple of small rollers in the last 2km.

The Final Climb

So there you have it a lap of the Powerman Zofingen bike course.


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