Life in The Peloton: Tour of Southland Prologue Summary Interview with Brett Grieve

A friend of Qwik Kiwi, Brett Grieve is riding in the Tour of Southland for the second time. Brett is an officer in the NZ Army based in Burnham and normally rides for PKF Cycling in the Calder Stewart Elite Cycling Series. We will be publishing a daily interview with Brett after each stage to give you an insight into ‘Life in the Peloton‘.

QK: Congrats on your effort today. It takes a lot of effort to ride at such a high intensity in a team situation like that. How do you feel the team went today?

BG: The team objective was to ride smooth and stay together, wind it out a bit in the 3rd straight if we were feeling good. We achieved that, and while our time wasn’t that great, our team work was good and we are in good spirits. The video shows us lapping smoothly, sticking to the plan.


Life in the PelotonQK: Having really only sat down with your team mates properly yesterday. What did you discuss? What is it like as part of a composite team put together only for this event?

BG: Yeah the team discussions have been really important. We talked about each riders goals and got a sense of what might be achievable for the team. We have three riders with tour experience and three new comers and a bit of a spread of abilities so we just need to find the right approach for where we are at. We have spent a bit of time riding together over the last two days to get a feel for each others abilities. We have done a small amount of hard riding, but today’s prologue was the first race pace effort. Team bonding is really important and we are making a good start on that.


QK: On a personal note how do you feel your personal performance went in the race today?

BG: Today I was pretty comfortable. I averaged 415 watts over five minutes 20 seconds which is well under my maximum. I was riding with team cohesion as a goal. To get on the front and drill it actually slows the team rotation down so while it was a hard ride I was not on the limit.


QK: With 170km of racing from Invercargill to Lumsden (the indirect route), what is the plan for the ITM team tomorrow?

BG: ITM as a lower order team has no responsibility for dictating the race. The stronger teams will be controlling things and going head to head against each other in search of the stage and both the sprint and KOM jerseys. Our job is to get a sense of that battle and find the opportunities for humble little ITM to get swept along in a good breakaway. If that doesn’t work out we’ll just look after ourselves in the peloton and re-assess for the next stage. Note – the decisive breakaway can go at any stage, so we will need to remain attentive all day.


QK: These early stages can often set up a team for a good challenge on a classification jersey if they make it into a break tomorrow. Which of the main GC contenders do you predict will try and gain an advantage?

BG: I don’t think any yellow jersey GC contenders will try to get away tomorrow. They will be marking each other and waiting for the hill stages to make the time gaps. The Green Jersey [Sprint Ace Jersey – Coach Ray] and Polka Dot Jersey [King of the Mountains Jersey – Coach Ray] will be contested though, and the larger stronger riders will show their hands tomorrow in those competitions. The stronger teams include Powernet, Skoda, Barry Stewart, L&M, Skoda, Olivers Real Food, Kia and Mike Greer Homes. I guess a few of those teams will decide to focus on Green or Polka Dot rather than Yellow at some point. Tomorrow will be a bit of a lottery as there are so many strong riders that could break away.


QK: Do you have any personal goals for this stage?

BG: I’m going to try and get in a break, but its a matter of luck for a rider at my level. If that doesn’t work out I will be happy to ride in the peloton and aim not to get dropped!! We’ll just have to see how the cookie crumbles.


QK: All the best for tomorrow.

BG: Thanks Ray its going to be chaotic and exciting. I hope you all enjoy following it as much as we enjoy participating 🙂


Brett has kindly given me access to his Training Peaks data for me to review and share my thoughts on as he progresses through the Tour. With today’s stage being a Team Time Trial (TTT) around Queens Park over a short distance of 4.2km it is a very intense session. I’ve seen riders ride (particularly from composite teams) ride the prologue really hard, with no element of team work or self-pacing involved. This destroys the teams cohesion and means the riders behind have to work a lot harder as they aren’t getting the shelter. The key is to be consistent without massive fluctuations in pace.

Life in the PelotonYou can see by viewing Brett’s power output (pink line) that it fluctuates a little, but this will no doubt be in line with when he was on the front of his teams pace line (putting out more power) with the small dips when he was in the shelter of his team mates. The big dips represent the first two corners. He maintained a very consistent effort with a Variability Index (VI) of 1.03. Anything between 1.00 and 1.05 is considered very consistent. With this being a time trial this will be the only stage I would expect him to be below about 1.20 (unless he gets in a breakaway that rides very consistently). He had a Normalised Power of 427 Watts and an Intensity Factor of 1.18 indicating that he was riding above his Functional Threshold Power (FTP) which is expected for this sort of ride. With his power output he averaged 6.15 Watts/kg, which is pretty high. Coming out of the last corner Brett achieved his Peak Power of 1097 Watts.

Interestingly his cadence averaged 108 RPMs which is relatively high, but a great way to keep his legs fresh and keep the blood moving. It’ll be interesting to see if this was a conscious decision or just happened that way.

It appears that Brett’s heart rate monitor was playing up. As he would normally have a Threshold HR in the 160s but for this it fluctuated between 104 and 137 therefore the red line should be ignored for this.

Despite this ride only being 5:30 min long Brett still developed a Training Stress Score (TSS) (read more about TSS here) of 11.8 which isn’t much but will become critical when we start analysing other stages. Overall for today Brett had a TSS of 96 including his primer workout and warm up/cool down and involved two and a half hours on his bike.

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