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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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