Using Xert to Evaluate your Cycling

Advanced Data Analysis with Xert

New ideas and concepts continue to come to the forefront on how to apply Xert’s revolutionary concepts.  Xert’s methods to analyze power data and discover new insights into fitness and performance have never existed before.  In this blog post, we’re going to dive into ways you can learn more about your specific performance during a ride, race or workout.

Analyzing your Data After Your Ride

Many athletes are eager to review their data after it is uploaded or synced.  You are interested in understanding:

  1. How well did I perform?
  2. Is my fitness improving?
  3. Why did I get dropped / fail to bridge?
  4. Why did my attack work / fail?
  5. Why couldn’t I sustain the power I thought I could sustain?
  6. Where did I get my breakthrough and how was able to do it?
  7. Am I ready to go to the next level?
  8. What should I look to improve?

This is just a subset of why we examine our data after our rides.  Many times, the answers to these questions are hidden in plain power data.  But with Xert, they become lit up, as if with a spot light.  Let’s see how Xert does this.

Analyzing the Overall Ride

The first thing most every user of Xert will do when they upload their activity data, is look for a fitness breakthroughA fitness breakthrough is achieved when your power reaches or surpasses MPA for longer than 5 seconds during an activity.... More. This activity shows a bronze trophy indicating this activity had a breakthrough.  A bronze indicates that one of the three fitness signatureIt is represented by three values: Threshold Power (TP),  High Intensity Energy (HIE) and Peak Power (PP). The three fitness values are used... parameters has increased.  Xert can determine if a fitness breakthroughA fitness breakthrough is achieved when your power reaches or surpasses MPA for longer than 5 seconds during an activity.... More has occurred at any moment during an activity.  This capability is unique to Xert.  Opening the Table of Activities shows what changed for this activity:

We can see that Peak PowerAs one of the three parameters that define an athlete's Fitness Signature, this is an athlete's highest possible power.  Sometimes... increased and is what gave us the bronze trophy.

From the Activity Summary, we can see that the RatingAlso referred to as Difficulty Rating, this is a calculation that uses the calculated Difficulty Scoring for a workout or activity and... for this activity is a 4 – Tough:

This indicates how difficult this activity was to perform and is measured by looking for a continuous stretch of power that was the hardest during the activity.  Ratings above 3.5 are rare for many athletes and seeing this ratingAlso referred to as Difficulty Rating, this is a calculation that uses the calculated Difficulty Scoring for a workout or activity and... on your activity is indicative that you pushed yourself quite hard.

 

Maximal Effort TimeThis is a duration, typically in seconds or sometimes minutes and seconds (mm:ss) that defines how much time during an... (00:27) tells you how much time you spent at or near you maximum.  The greater the amount of time, the more information Xert has to extract an accurate fitness signatureIt is represented by three values: Threshold Power (TP),  High Intensity Energy (HIE) and Peak Power (PP). The three fitness values are used....  In Xert, this number also corresponds to the size of circle on your Progression Chart.

FocusThis is a generalized concept that is quantified as duration value and categorized as an Athlete Type. The value is... (Puncheur = 4 Minute W/kg) and FocusThis is a generalized concept that is quantified as duration value and categorized as an Athlete Type. The value is... Duration (03:48) on the activity indicate that this activity included many harder efforts such that, in total, the activity had put strainMeasured in joules, this quantifies how much work is performed close to MPA. As MPA drops with fatigue, strain increases... on your ability to hold ~4 Minute Power.  Again, this metric is unique to Xert and tells you “What aspect of my fitness was most exercised during this activity?”.

Specificity RatingThis is a percentage value that provides further detail on a Focus. With Focus Duration characterizing the duration along the... was Mixed (if you mouse over it, it will show the actual percentage).  The higher the Specificity RatingThis is a percentage value that provides further detail on a Focus. With Focus Duration characterizing the duration along the... (Pure specificity), the greater the high-intensity strainMeasured in joules, this quantifies how much work is performed close to MPA. As MPA drops with fatigue, strain increases... was near your actual FocusThis is a generalized concept that is quantified as duration value and categorized as an Athlete Type. The value is... power.  A lower value (Polar specificity), means that little high-intensity strainMeasured in joules, this quantifies how much work is performed close to MPA. As MPA drops with fatigue, strain increases... was at the specific power level.  Lower specificity ratings often correspond with lower overall intensity activities for this reason.  Again, this metric is unique to Xert and tells you “How much did I exercise this aspect of my fitness?”  This provides you another dimension to your activities and workouts unavailable elsewhere.

The analytics section initially provides you with a summary over the overall activity.  Notable values include Equivalent Power (XEPSee Xert Equivalent Power....) which provides an additional perspective of the difficulty of the overall ride and the Xert Strain ScoreAlso called XSS, this quantifies how much strain an athlete endures during an activity.  By taking strain, which is measured as... (XSSThe Xert Strain Score quantifies how much Strain an athlete endures during an activity. By taking Strain, which is the... More) which is the value that is used in your Training Loads, Recovery Loads and XPMCSee Xert Progression Management Chart.....  We’ll also refer to this section when as it changes to reflect the zoomed in section on the chart.

 

Reviewing Specific Efforts

Although many athletes like to check how well they do on various segments, both in relation to previous efforts and with others, properly comparing one result to another can be difficult since there are often so many other factors involved: Which way was the wind blowing? Was there any drafting?  Was the segment started from a fatigued state?  Were there any interruptions?  Was it perfectly executed?  We’re you at your best when you attempted it?

All these questions make comparing one result to another difficult, if not impossible.

This is where using MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More provides an ability to account for many of these uncontrolled elements and compare how well you did.  A simple review of the segment that shows power reaching MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More at the end indicates that you properly “emptied the tank” at the very end.  The shape of this maximal effortSynonymous with point-of-failure, this refers to moments during an activity where an athlete attempts to produce as much power as... provides some clues as to what happened:

  1. If your maximal effortSynonymous with point-of-failure, this refers to moments during an activity where an athlete attempts to produce as much power as... rises to reach your MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More, this is usually a sprint or an accelerated effort and likely indicates that you may have left too much until the end.  A very slight rise is normal and desired as it is means you’ve given it everything right until the very end of the segment.
  2. If your MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More lowers to reach your power, this is usually indicative of “hanging on” in an attempt to maintain your speed and power until the end of the segment.
  3. If your power doesn’t reach MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More, then your effort wasn’t your best and you could have improved with better execution or with better preparation.  During high power sprints, gearing may impact your ability to reach MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More. Successively reaching MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More multiple times during a segment can be very difficult this tests hardnessThis is a new performance metric introduced in Xert that provides a way to measure an athlete's ability to endure discomfort.... and your ability to withstand discomfort.  “Don’t go out too fast” is a phrase one hears quite often as it forces efforts to be done with added strainMeasured in joules, this quantifies how much work is performed close to MPA. As MPA drops with fatigue, strain increases... and if a maximal effortSynonymous with point-of-failure, this refers to moments during an activity where an athlete attempts to produce as much power as... is reached, makes sustaining power much more difficult on the athlete.

Let’s zoom in on our activity to see if we can get more information on our particular efforts (to show the elevation, click on the Altitude link in the legend below the chart):

 

The first effort at roughly the 1:35:16 mark, shows that the effort was sustained until it could no longer be sustained.  The second effort was an effort to produce as much power as available.

Let’s now zoom in to the third effort:

This third effort shows that we came close to reaching MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More but didn’t reach it.  We can learn a lot from examining this particular effort.  By zooming in, we can see that part of the effort occurred on a flat and then during a short climb.  Using Xert, we can also see where on the map this occurred, helping us remember the specific effort.  The zoomed in section was for 30 seconds, as shown at the top of the summary and the average power was 768W with a peak at 1150W.  Cadence had a peak of 131RPM and averaged 94RPM for the effort (use the Cadence link in the legend).   The effort was started in a fatigued state – MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More was 1315W at the start of the effort and declined to roughly 800W by the end.  We wouldn’t expect our 30 second power, therefore, to be near our highest 30 second power.  Even if we had held MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More for 30s, it would be below the highest we would be capable of since it had started in a fatigued state.  Since very many efforts, particularly during race and club rides are initiated in a fatigued state, comparing one effort to another across different activities may not actually provide meaningful information.

So although this was a good effort, we wouldn’t expect this to be our best possible effort.

Why did we not reach MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More?  Efforts later in the ride where some long-term fatigueFatigue represents a reduction in an athlete's ability to produce power.  It either manifests as a reduction in Maximal Power... has been accumulated can be more difficult to attain MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More.  Also, execution with your best cadence is important, particularly with higher power efforts.

Notably, for those that have been performing our Smart Workouts, you’ll often notice these natural, XSSR-like efforts in your data as in this effort.  Matching target power dynamically with fatigueFatigue represents a reduction in an athlete's ability to produce power.  It either manifests as a reduction in Maximal Power... is what is only available in Xert.

What should you be looking to improve?

What would be been an incredible effort on your part may be an easy, if not even a recovery ride on the part of a elite cyclist.  It’s what sets them apart, reaching levels of performance and fitness that non-elites cannot reach.

There are several aspects to elite athletes that make them special:

  1. High Fitness Signatures – Ability to produce very high power
  2. High Ratings / HardnessThis is a new performance metric introduced in Xert that provides a way to measure an athlete's ability to endure discomfort.... Scores – Ability to produce their best power repeatedly, generating high ratings
  3. High Endurance Capacity – Ability to dig deep after many hours of riding

Improving all of these three is the recipe for success in cycling.

Increasing FTPAlso referred to as Functional Threshold Power, it is regarded by most athletes as the power that can be sustained... is the standard scope of improvement most people measure.  But remember that fitness is more than just your FTPAlso referred to as Functional Threshold Power, it is regarded by most athletes as the power that can be sustained....  Improving not just Threshold PowerAlso used as an acronym TP in Xert and sometimes described using the more colloquial term FTP, Threshold Power is... (FTPAlso referred to as Functional Threshold Power, it is regarded by most athletes as the power that can be sustained...) but also seeing improvements in High Intensity EnergyAlso used as the acronym HIE, this is the amount of energy or work capacity an athlete has above Threshold... and Peak PowerAs one of the three parameters that define an athlete's Fitness Signature, this is an athlete's highest possible power.  Sometimes... is what will give you the capacity to produce and sustain power and all intensities.

Secondly, cycling demands that you produce your best efforts over and over and those that are capable of this are prepared to do what it takes to win.  From a data standpoint, you’ll see repeatedly efforts that draw MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More down and keep it down over the activity.  This is the definition of hardnessThis is a new performance metric introduced in Xert that provides a way to measure an athlete's ability to endure discomfort.... in Xert and those that are most successful can demonstrate a capacity to do so that is exceptional.

Lastly, rides and races can be 3, 4 and 5 hours long or sometimes even longer.  Being able to produce near breakthrough efforts after spending several hours racing is something that takes years and years of training and a great deal of preparation for the race season.  Elite cyclists that have been training and are in the best formThis is determined by the formula Training Load - Recovery Load.  It is colour-coded on the XPMC chart according to... for winning, will be able to achieve the same levels of performance at the end of a race as they can do at the beginning.  This is seen as the ability to reach MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More later and later into a ride.  You can strive to do the same in your training.

Comparing Your Data

If you look at the data from one effort vs. another, it may be difficult to discern a lot of information.  Looking at averages and normalized averages helps but these can also mislead, particularly with highly variable riding like in crits, races and group rides.  We may be able to see how much power we had produced but we may not readily see how difficult it may have been to produce the power.  This information is often why it’s been common for power analysis software to provide a variety of tools to compare one effort or interval to another.  There is an need to try and understand the context into the efforts, not just the effort itself.

This is where Xert really stands out.  Rather than trying to assess this information indirectly, Xert simply shows this information directly via MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More, allowing you to plainly see how MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More is affecting power and how power is affecting MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More.  How much power you generate is important as helps you understand what you did, but MPAMPA stands for Maximum Power Available. It is a measure of the maximum power an athlete can generate at a given moment... More is the magic number because it is the precious resource that must be managed and used as effectively as possible.

2018-01-28T11:46:24+00:00 Blog Post, fitness, training|