Editor’s note: Throughout the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, VeloNews will be publishing and analyzing SRM power data from UnitedHealthcare’s riders. Today, we look into Chris Jones stage 1 file. TrainingPeaks is providing the race data to us, as well as making Sutherland’s interactive race file available to the public on their website. All our Colorado power articles
Stage 1 saw the USA Pro Cycling Challenge peloton tackle the toughest climb of the day early, cresting the 11,312 foot Monarch Pass before the 30-mile mark. As a result, the climb became a non-factor for most of the field, doing little more than softening up the legs a bit for the long, slowly rising stretch to Crested Butte.
Chris Jones stage data
- Total time: 4:30
- KJ: 2986
- Average power: 184 watts (228 normalized)
- Average heart rate: 148bpm
- Max heart rate: 190bpm
- Max 1-minute power: 437 watts
- Max 5-minute power: 325 watts
- Average speed: 21.9mph
The long stretch to Crested Butte saw a consistent headwind, the brunt of which was being shared by GC leader Patrick Gretsch’s HTC-Highroad squad and Garmin-Cervelo. That meant that Jones and his UnitedHealthcare team could sit in for most of the day. Once the road turned north at Gunnison the headwind turned to a crosswind, and Jones’ effort increased.
The climb up Monarch saw Jones average only 247 watts. For a rider of Jones’ caliber that effort should feel somewhat relaxed. However, the raw wattage up Monarch is a bit deceiving. “Chris is a pretty light rider at 140 pounds (63.5kg) and combining that with the impact of the elevation makes those wattage numbers lower than we are used to seeing,” TrainingPeaks’ Hunter Allen explained. “The effect of the altitude on Chris and all of the riders today is roughly a 10 percent decrease in power across the board. When the elevation goes above 9,000 feet to 10,000 feet, then factor in about a 12-14 percent decrease in power output.”
So add on 10 percent to Jones’ 247 watts and he’s up to 271 watts, or 4.27 watts/kilogram. That explains why his heart rate hovered around 170 beats per minute for most of the climb — well away from the 190 bpm he would hit coming into Crested Butte, but not relaxed, either.
The stretch from the top of Monarch to the base of the final rise to Crested Butte was much more casual for Jones. He spent nearly half of his time (2 hours and 19 minutes) of the stage in his active recovery zone, and most of that was between Monarch and the finish.
The final climb up to Crested Butte saw fireworks within the field, and Jones averaged 316 watts for the last 2 miles of the stage, or 4.9 watts/kilogram. He finished with the main field in 49th place, 1:20 down on stage winner Levi Leipheimer.