I love data. LOVE it. I find it a useful training tool on man fronts. Helps you track progress. Tells you how hard your training. Is an essential element of truly understanding recovery.
So when I come across new ways to apply this data, I always get a little excited.
I'm currently undergoing the process of trying to set some targets for IRONMAN Cozumel, a big component of which is the 180km bike leg.
Enter Best Bike Split.
Best Bike Split helps you predict race day performance using a variety of information including power data, course information, race day conditions, cycling technology and much much more. Not only that, the Premium Plan creates a power plan that you can use on race day.
Sounds great right? Well let's check it out and see how Best Bike Split works.
I've now used this for two race course. Victoria 70.3 and most recently I utilized it for my upcoming IRONMAN Cozumel.
I utilized the Demo version. As my race season winds down, the Premium Account didn't seem worth it at this time. Next year it is definitely something I'll consider using.
Step 1: Athlete Profile
Creating an athlete profile was easy and captured among other things, weight, height, FTP and training elevation.
Step 2: Bike Profiles
Enter in your bike details. Best Bike Split asks for a lot of information including bike weight, wheel and tire data. I'll be honest, I didn't know exactly everything, like bike weight for instance, so I guessed. I left default values for Yaw Angles and rolling resistance. Not perfect, but you can always update later. That being said, the more accurate you are, more accurate your output is undoubtedly going to be.
Step 3: Course Files
Next up, course information. This can be a little tricky for some cases. Some IRONMAN races have the required .GPX or .FIT files - Victoria 70.3 for example. For IRONMAN Cozumel, I went into my Strava account and downloaded the Cozumel course from the segment search. It doesn't look to be exact - the file was 181.2km, not 180 - but again, close enough.
Once your course file is upload, you'll get this elevation profile and map to let you know you've done it correctly.
Step 4: My Races
Once your course is uploaded, the fun begins!!!! There are a lot of options available to tinker with.
First off - Weather conditions - temperature, humidity, wind speed. I did a little historical research for my demo try, but the Premium Account appears to do all this for you. A great little benefit.
There are also some great additional premium features, available when you pay the yearly fee, like setting a time goal or using your training test score.
I chose an Intensity Factor (the percentage of your FTP output you plan on targeting) that is pretty conservative but typical for this type of distance. I've done a number of rides at this intensity, for 4+ hours with little trouble. Of course, I will be running a marathon after, so better to error on saving a little in the tank.
The advanced settings also provide the ability to add in more variables. In this particular case I chose to ignore them. One has to appreciate the effort and apparent sophistication of the algorithm as you add more and more variables.
Step 5: Your Race Prediction
Once you've gone through and selected all your variables, Best Bike Split magically and amazingly provides you with a very detailed Bike Split Prediction. The end result is pretty cool. You're given a time estimate, average speed, intensity score and much more. You're also able to download the prediction into a number of file formats like TrainerRoad and Garmin Activity or Workouts. Which as you can see below, is an incredible value add, especially if you use TrainerRoad.
The end result - A prediction for me of 5:12:26.
In addition to your prediction, the demo version gives you a detailed race intervals section detailing time, distance, speed and power for each interval.
Step 6: Putting BBS to work
Once you've got your race prediction, the real fun comes when you use this file to create a TrainerRoad Course so you can actually practice your race and targeted time before hand! Here is what my TrainerRoad Ironman Cozumel file looked like.
In closing, Best Bike Split is a pretty awesome addition to anyone's training regime. I just took the demo for a spin and am totally hooked. Next year as I look to tackle more races I'm definitely going to consider getting the Premium Account and testing out some of the more detailed variables and features offered.
The obvious question remaining is - how accurate is the prediction coughed up by Best Bike Split?
Well, when I did it for IRONMAN Victoria 70.3:
Actual Performance: 2:32:26
Not bad, Best Bike Split is definitely worth a shot if you ask me!
Happy Training Everyone!