Accuracy of power profile?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by ccrnnr9, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9 New Member

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    This is just a question of pure curiosity and also a two part question. I was looking at the power profile available on cyclingpeaks.com and also in Coggan and Allen's book and happened to find that my FTP power falls into the bottom of the "Good" range (or Cat 3) at 3.48 watts/kg. I was very suprised to find this as I am a cat 5 rider who does not do too well in any race (just pack fodder mainly :) ). I know that racing is more than numbers but I am curious as to the accuracy of the power profile? Anyone else notice a vast overestimate in actual ability? It seems that my 5-min power is even more of an overestimate.

    My second question is regarding changes in FTP just due to weight change. I have noticed that my FTP (not relative) has only changed about 10watts in the last few months but my relative has changed significantly due to a 10lb weight loss just sense more intense training has begun. Has anyone else noticed this? I feel that I have had little success increasing my gross wattage that I can maintain though. It has increased from around 230 to now around 250 and my weight has dropped from around 72.5kg to 69kg (around 10lbs).
    ~Nick
     
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  2. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    I must ditto the first paragraph. I'm a 54 kg rider and my FTP and 5 min numbers put me on the bottom of Cat. 1. I am however still an average Cat. 3 with only top 15 placings this season in races that should fit my abilities. For example, this past weekend I could not stay with a successful breakaway on a 2-3 mile 7% hill despite being at around 4.8 W/kg FTP (260W). I was pushing over 300 W before being dropped. I eventually settled at 240-280 W to recover and regroup. It's true that the winner was 20+ years my junior, but watts being watts... :(
     
  3. Bullseye_blam

    Bullseye_blam New Member

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    I believe Dr. Coggan has stated in the past that the labels are not necessarily accurate [and that he was not even in support of using them]. I think the most important use of the chart is to see the absolute maximum that was tested, as well as the ability to compare watts/kilogram among the different durations.

    -Eric
     
  4. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    Well, let's then conclude that Cat. 3's in Utah must climb at 5.5 W/kg (at 1200 - 2000 m elevation no less) to be competitive. Good for us, I guess. :confused:

    Based on my 230 NP for the race I've no reason to doubt my 300+ W reading during the deciding climb. I suppose it could've been an issue of pacing.
     
  5. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    The purpose of the tables is not to define your racing category - after all, if you want to know how good you are at bike racing, just go race your bike! That said, the category guidelines are reasonably accurate, especially if you understand the relative importance of various physiological determinants of performance in different events. Thus, when somebody encounters a major discrepancy such as you have observed, it's usually a pretty clear sign that it's not your physiology that is holding you back. IOW, if you want to no longer just be "pack fodder" among cat. 5s but instead wish to race with the 4s (where you still shouldn't be shot out the back), you need to figure out what you need to do other than train more/differently to get up there (and since going from cat. 5 to cat. 4 only requires that you ride X number of races, upgrading should be easy).
     
  6. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Yup: at one point I stripped the labels from the table because all-too-often people misunderstood the purpose of this tool. I was convinced to bring them back, however, by numerous coaches who felt that they were very good at identifying someone's potential to compete at various levels. IOW, if you've got a functional threshold power that falls somewhere into the cat. 2 range, but you're still racing as a cat. 4 (on the road), it clearly ain't your physiology that is holding you back.
     
  7. ccrnnr9

    ccrnnr9 New Member

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    I appreciate the reply. I do realize where my weaknesses are. I have realized that for awhile and I have improved in many ways. That being said, I was simply asking about the accuracy of the charts out of curiosity.
    ~Nick
     
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