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Investing in a power meter can offer substantial gains when it comes to optimizing a training plan. But fine-tuning a power strategy for a specific race can be a little trickier. That’s where Best Bike Split (Bestbikesplit.com) comes in: Using an algorithm that takes your power data, equipment choices, course topography and race-day conditions into account, it outputs a race-day power plan. The application launched in June 2013, and Best Bike Split founder Rich Harpel knew he had created a powerful tool when his modeling software predicted times of cyclists at the first time-trial stage of the Tour de France within seconds of their actual finishing time.
Here’s how it works: Start by entering data about yourself like height, weight, FTP (functional threshold power) and maximum heart rate along with your bike, wheels and components. Then you can select an existing course or create your own, and Best Bike Split will calculate your drag coefficient, rolling resistance and mechanical loss. There are several other variables mixed in, like altitude changes and wind direction, along with your position on the bike. All these ingredients yield a program that has the potential to enhance a race strategy and help you think about your power data proactively rather than reactively. Harpel believes his service is beneficial to anyone looking to take full advantage of his or her power data; he is currently working with several pros, but the majority of clients are age-groupers. There is a free version of the application and a premium membership ($120 per year) that offers more analytical features.