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Old 02-10-20, 02:00 PM
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Enthalpic
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post

The other thing to clarify is that if truly all out, the average power sustainable over a set period is always the highest when performed in an even manner (at the critical power for that duration). Any over/under would lower that average power sustainable for that period (b/c lactate generation isn't linear with respect to intensity). The only reason why over/under is optimal in the first place is due to gradient differences.
Remember you are racing for shortest time not highest power. As mentioned the gradient fluctuations are important, but it not the only reason. Acceleration, head / tail winds and potential coasting* can vary the ideal output profile.

*In cycling and speed skating you can be going very fast near the end while power output has already dropped off significantly. A big burst at the beginning and a burst just short of the finish can get you a faster time with less power. Mostly applies to short events or a downhill finish.
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