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How to Analyze MTB Power Meter Data from an XC Race

I don’t often win races. As a matter of fact, none of us win races often and some of us will never win races.

It’s a complicated thing, going fastest. It’s usually dependent on who shows up, how we feel and how the trails suit us on the day. We discussed this in-depth in one of our recent podcast episodes:

The funny part is that whether we are winning, in dead last or anywhere in between, we are usually doing our best. In a way, I consider MTB XC racing to be a lot like a time trial. Post-race data analyses help us understand what we did and then determine a training intervention to get better. This way we race, then train using evidence, then race again–and if all goes well we go faster.

Most riders will never show their power output or other data. Many consider this stuff too personal to share, and might even feel embarrassed because they don’t have amazing numbers like the pros. This means that whether we do or do not have a way to collect our own data, we still don’t know what to expect or where to start with analysis.

As we discussed before, there is a lot that goes in to going fast. You need to pedal hard, pace well and even brake efficiently. Therefore, power is only part of the story.

Since a lot of athletes do consider this personal, we won’t share their data right now. But until an athlete comes to me with absolute confidence to share their numbers, we can at least look at mine!

I am not the fittest or a very committed athlete, but I demand absolute excellence from my athletes! I’ve been there–you know, all committed and stuff. Now I am focused more on educating and building BrakeAce, and it shows in my power:weight ration. It isn’t what it used to be. And I’m totally fine with that! 🙂

So there is no ego here.

The race we are analyzing here is from a recent win at a local club winter series. I use the term ‘win’ a bit tongue-in-cheek because I know that the guys who had beaten me at the race before this were out racing the road and not at this race! There was still some tough competition and I had to keep pushing when I saw riders from other age groups through the trees. It was super close!

To give you a bit of insight into what kind of power other riders are doing and to understand what to look for when analyzing a race, I did a whole video analyzing my own race just like I would analyze any of my athlete’s files.

You can check that out below.

For added insight, here are my top tips for analyzing a MTB race file:

Start with Averages