I’m kind of a data nerd. I like numbers and stats especially when it relates to a triathlon. They’re great because they give hard benchmarks and targets you can try to beat in the future; something tangible and objective to base your improvements off of.
If you don’t know, BestBikeSplit is a site that attempts to predict your bike time in a race. By inputting your FTP, weight, details about your bike, helmet, tires, and more, the site will predict your finish time for any given course.
It pulls from thousands of GPS courses already uploaded. It even takes into account predicted weather conditions (I suppose wind would be the main one) which it pulls from a weather service feed based on your race date. I assume the closer to race date you run this, the more accurate.
The output is not only a time prediction but a detailed power plan.
I have used the site to predict races five times. Two times, the predictions were within mere minutes of my actual finish time. The other three were also close, but not as perfect.
There’s so much you can do with BestBikeSplit beyond just getting a predicted race time.
You can adjust power, drag, weight and/or rolling resistance, change bikes (I did this to see the difference between my TT bike and my road bike before racing Nice, which is hilly), change equipment, adjust to estimate the effect of compare two courses side-by-side, and a ton more.
If you’re super geeky you can even print out a power cheat sheet. This breaks the course into terrain types with power targets for each.
The downside of this is it kind of takes the feel and race-day improvisation out of it. I do like to adjust my race based on the intangibles of my mood and vibe I’m feeling during the event.
To be instructed to hold 220 watts in a “Flat/Roll Headwind” and then 263 watts on a “Major Hill (4-6%)” (for example) kind of strips away the human side. It removes your need (or ability) to think and make your own decisions, and may take the fun out of things.
I’ve used the cheat sheet once, but despite taping it to my bike, I lost it. I had a backup but didn’t bother with it.
In retrospect, I don’t think I would have enjoyed racing that way. But I’ll continue to use BestBikeSplit just for the race time predictions it does.
And it does those very well.
Check it out yourself at www.bestbikesplit.com.