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Author(s) Wolf, S., Artiga Gonzalez, A., Bertschinger, R., Saupe, D.
Title Modeling in road cycling for optimal pacing strategies: Theory vs. practice
Abstract The right choice of a pacing strategy for a time trial race is important and often difficult to establish. With the increasing popularity of online sports data platforms like Strava (www.strava.com), pacing strategies may become interesting even for recreational cyclists since they can compete against each other virtually on selected segments. Methods are now available to generate pacing strategies that are optimal, however, only in a mathematical sense. Until now, they were tested in practice only under laboratory conditions [1]. Pacing strategies are generally based on two mathematical models: (1) to describe the relation between power output and speed [2], and (2) to describe the fatigue of the rider related to the power output [3]. The quality and validity of these pacing strategies relies on the accuracy of the predictions made by those models. In this paper, we describe our findings on a pilot study during a two week period of cycling with regard to the prediction quality of the two models while following precalculated optimal pacing strategies in the field rides. This is not meant to be a fully-fledged study applying, e.g., a statistical analysis for a sufficiently large number of participants. This pilot study rather intended to demonstrate that, in principle, the theoretically optimal pacing strategies can in fact be implemented for field rides in practice. Moreover, it was the purpose of the study to identify the problems of the approach occurring in practice, and to outline solutions for these.
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