Sunday, September 04, 2011

Whats good for Cyclocross?

I've had this quadrant analysis tool as part of WKO+ for some time now but really have not spent any time trying to figure out what it is or what it means.

What is it?
Quadrant Analysis: A means of analyzing powermeter data files to obtain additional insight into the neuromuscular demands of a race or training session. 

Looking at how it relates to cyclocross was my focus.

First you have to look at what the four quadrants mean. (more can be found here if you want)

Q1: High Force and High Cadence- An example of this would be sprinting.

Q2: High Force and Low Cadence- An example would be steep hill repeats, big gear intervals and a lot of Mt. Biking and cyclocross resides in QII as well.

Q3: Low Force and Low Cadence- An example would be a recovery ride or just an easy ride around town.

Q4 Low Force and High Cadence- An example would be a Criterium or fast pedaling drills.

With the info telling me that Q2 is specific to cyclocross I went back and looked at some cross and mtb training days and races to put that to the test.

Nyes, Wells, and now Johnson spend allot of time on the MTB leading up to the cross season.

Here is the tall oak 6 hour team quandrant report.

36.9% of the time in Q2, seems like they are on to something?

Tall Oak 6 hour Race

Here we have  Saturdays training session, 10 laps on the Dogfish Cross in Hermann race course.
54.9% Q2 - lots of high force low cadence work. Very specific to the demands of cross.
Hermann CX 10 lap training

In June I did the Ballwin CX race. Q2 on that day was 52.6% 
Ballwin CX Race

Now lets look at the MO State Road race,  20.8% Q2.
39.2% of the time was in Q4 ( Low Force and High Cadence)

MO State Road Race
And finally a cross specific mico burts workout, 45,2 % Q2

Cyclocross Specific Workout

So what does all that say? To me it says if you want to get better at cyclocross you need to spend a good portion of your time with High Force and Low Cadence workouts.  And the quadrant analysis tool will validate your efforts.

Just under 6 days till cross starts!


  1. I read that 60 was the ideal cadence for cx.

  2. As I was cranking up the long climbs at the Colesburg Gravel race today I thought of your post and hope you are right. Cause that's what I doing, Q2.
    Thinking about coming down to the Hermann CX weekend.
    Hope to see you.

  3. Scott - I would think that's a bit low, 70 to 75 seems about more in line with some other data I've seen. But I do agree that a lower cad will give you more power if you can muster it which should equal faster.

    Landon, if you are inclinded to camp in the park for the CX race let me know, I have some camp sites with full water and power hoook ups. PS, enjoying the Alaska trip photos.

  4. I'll tell you what works for CX - a proper sideline. Are you ready?

  5. proper sidline indeed - good for at least 30 more watts :)

  6. I agree. 60 is pretty low. Cant remember where I read that...