Updated 7th June 2019

Cycling the Ras Tailteann, the numbers

The men of the Ras Tailteann . In a blur of colour and speed nearly 200 Cyclists from all over the World will fly around Ireland for 8 days. They will be supported by team helpers. These will include managers /coaches, masseurs and drivers to mention a few.

Ras hills

They will cycle up steep hills where enormous strength and endurance is required. Then dive over the top and race down the other side at 100kph +.  Faster than most cars or motor bikes can get down the hills and through the corners.

Ras Speed

The long and winding road

They will fly along the flat roads at up to 70 kph when the wind is behind them. Struggle in the gutters looking for shelter from the rider in front of them when the wind blows from the side. They will sprint for points at the prime points along the route to the finish and be cheered by thousands of people whose day they brighten up in a flash of colour and speed.

Then they will sprint like crazy for the An Ras Post finish line banner to be hailed by the commentator as MEN OF THE RAS.

The  Numbers

What do these mighty people need to do to get around and reach the finish in Skerries.  What are the statistics of a Ras performance?

Obviously because of each riders basic ability, training and racing history the performances and demands will differ for each individual. However at Peak endurance coaching we thought it might be interesting to look at some of the statistics.

These are based on an average size rider in the field so let’s call him Jimmy Average. We have based it on the medium estimated stage time for each day.

We will look at (for 8 days)

  • How many hours he will cycle
  • How many pedal revolutions he must do
  • The number of heart beats  for the 8 stages
  • The number of calories he must consume to fuel the 8 stages and his basic daily requirements.

Ras Hours cycling:

31.5 hours based on estimated finishing stage times.

Ras Cadence:

this is the number of pedal revolutions per minute (RPM) and the average is usually around 90 RPM  so for Jimmy’s week it will be 170,100 revolutions of the pedals. Cadence will also vary between 60 rpm on some climbs and 130 rpm with tailwinds or on descents.

Ras Heart rate:

A lot of these riders will have resting heart rates between 40-50 beats per minutes but during stages the heart rates might be raised to as high as 200 BPM for some riders  when the pressure is really on . Based on an average of 150 beats per minute per stage Jimmy will use 283,500 Heart Beats for all the stages.. These are just for the stages and don’t include heart beats for the rest of the day.

Related:  Ras Power Watts

Ras Calories:

Jimmy has to fuel the effort of flat out racing for hours each stage. If he neglects this, to quote the late Seamus Kennedy winner of the 1978 Ras “Jimmy will very soon be listening to the Birds whistling” on quiet country roads as he cycles alone miles behind the Ras Bunch.  He will use 39,650 calories to get around the Ras with the peloton.

To sum up

Hours of cycling 31.5 Demonstrates the importance of being comfortable on the bike and really loving your cycling
Cadence/ number of  Pedal revolutions 170,100 Importance of having a good bike setup and good quad balance for knees.
Heart beats 283,500 Importance of recovery and relaxation between the stages
Calories for the week. Includes off the bike calories also 39,650 The Ras is as much an eating competition as cycling competition. Think formula one car with top fuel versus the battered  car with the black smoke streaming from the exhaust

Here’s a table of a riders actual Ras week some years ago.

Stage Distance   K Time Speed  K Heart rate Cadence Note
1 152 4.22 35   – 64. 141-   175 Showery
2 188 5.33 34 –     71 143-   179 91-142 Cold wet
3 146 4.10 35-     69 132 – 175 69 –101 Tough start
4 171 4.17 40 –   69 139 – 171 96 -121 Wet finish
5 143 3.57 36 –     77 140 – 172 88 – 120 Mamore Riding on front
6 90.8 2.27 37 –   70 131 -155 91 –   117 Some dry patches
7 179 4.41 38 –     72 134 – 165 No record Easy home after split
8 61.6 1.26 43 –     63 143 -176 100 -117 12th on stage

So our hypothetical Jimmy  and the rest of the field truly deserves the accolade of a MAN OF THE RAS as they arrive in Skerries.

Enjoy the Week

Paddy Doran Cycling Coach and Tutor www.peakendurancecoaching.ie  For real coaching by a successful experienced coach.  Contact us Here  see testimonials here

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