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CAPE EPIC 2023 | Training and data log 1

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To generate mountains of data, it helps venturing into to some big mountains, for your Cape Epic training. (Photo: Rob du Preez)
To generate mountains of data, it helps venturing into to some big mountains, for your Cape Epic training. (Photo: Rob du Preez)

Along with the monthly update on how I'm training for the Cape Epic and what I'm doing wrong, I thought it might be interesting to follow along with the data I'm producing. 

We live in a data-saturated world, and the numbers can mess with you. But mastering data, its acquisition and interpretation, can help shape better training outcomes for your mountain biking. 

There's the easy stuff to compile, like mileage per month and elevation. 

Apps like Strava are ideal for this simple data. With a mixture of mountain biking and road riding, distance and elevation can fluctuate vastly between months. That's why hours ridden is a better indicator of how much time in the saddle has occurred.

Then there are deep stats that you can pull from specific training apps such as Training Peaks that will give you complex numbers to explore. Data such as Training Stress Score (TSS - a number assigned to a ride as an indication of how challenging or stressful the ride was), intensity factor and time spent in zones.

As I'm a data nerd, all my bikes have power meters. They aren't perfectly accurate to each other, but my feeling is that they read similarly enough that neither will massively skew the data. 

With the benefit of power meters, I can track stats like time in zones, average power, normalised power, and many time-based and performance metrics. That's where all the tasty data is sourced, to help structure training and track performance. 

Throughout the series of articles, I'll detail how to use or not to use specific metrics. It will also be interesting to see if I can shift the needle and conquer personal plateaus I've encountered, as I ride into my 38th year.

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