Creating watts

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by matt76, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. matt76

    matt76 New Member

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    For me it seems easier to push high watts going up a Hill compared to doing it on a flat section. Is there any reason to that? Are you experiance the same thing? 20 min @ 250 watts upwards are easier than 20 min @ 250 watts in flat terrain.
     
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  2. Subliminal-SS

    Subliminal-SS New Member

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    I find Watts at Flat to +-1-3% Gradients suck bad. Find a really good 5-7% Decent or Ascent and its much easier settling into a rhythm.

    I like the challenge of going up hill and feel like im achieving something significant.

    I like the adrenaline of going down at 40mph and again feel like im achieving something.

    rolling between 18-22 on a flat. Well that just sucks and the small ups and down sap my legs and spin me out, they completely break my rhythm.

    Those are my reasons for it being easier on up or downhill anywho. My Favorite is a 8.7 Mile 1000 feet Descent that takes me roughly 20 mins. All downhill but an excellent leg pushing exercise and completely contrasts all guidelines for Threshold building intervals in common sense terms, i.e. Climb repeats etc but works great for me to push sustained power.
     
  3. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    Have a read of this, http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/09/climbing-and-time-trialling-how-power-outputs-are-affected/
     
  4. Subliminal-SS

    Subliminal-SS New Member

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    Quote: Originally Posted by smaryka .
    Have a read of this, http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/09/climbing-and-time-trialling-how-power-outputs-are-affected/


    That's a really good article, thanks for sharing. Certainly however raises some more questions...
     
  5. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I don't buy into that article - it suggests that at the same power, and cadence that climbing and TT'ing recruit different muscle groups. That would only be true if the rider is also in a different posture between the two. The posture piece is simply glossed over in the discussion.

    The discussion is that at a cadence a TT'er is applying power for a lesser period than an climber. The kinetic energy in the legs is the same, if the cadence is the same. I wonder if the blogger did not misintrepret the research.

    Right?
     
  6. bmoberg337

    bmoberg337 Member

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    http://galebernhardt.com/blogs/news/7828475-why-does-cycling-power-increase-for-a-given-heart-rate-on-hills

    This article references some research that examines power output on flat vs. hills
     
  7. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    Quote: Originally Posted by maydog .
    I don't buy into that article - it suggests that at the same power, and cadence that climbing and TT'ing recruit different muscle groups. That would only be true if the rider is also in a different posture between the two. The posture piece is simply glossed over in the discussion.

    The discussion is that at a cadence a TT'er is applying power for a lesser period than an climber. The kinetic energy in the legs is the same, if the cadence is the same. I wonder if the blogger did not misintrepret the research.

    Right?

    No I don't think so. I think the point is that the pedal stroke inertia is different. I noticed this today when I was pulling my toddler around in the bike trailer which simulates hill climbing, as on a slight to moderate hill or in a headwind I have next to no momentum with it. I can put out very good watts in those situations (I don't do really steep hills with it as I don't have enough gears!) but the minute it flattens or goes slightly downhill or into a tailwind I notice how much harder I need to focus on putting out power to maintain those watts, regardless of cadence. It's because even with the same cadence, the amount of pedal stroke that I can put out power in that kind of inertia is a lot shorter. Whereas with low inertia (slower speeds) it feels like I'm putting out power longer on the same stroke.

    Edit -- not sure if I'm being clear here. If the pedal stroke is like a clock, I think it's something like this: in low inertia situations (hills, pulling a load) you can put out power from 10 to 2 whereas in high intertia situations (TTing at high speed, going downhill) it's more like 11 to 1. So with the cadence being the same, for high inertia riding you need to put out MORE power during that shorter part of the stroke which suits fast twitchers. Whereas in situations with low inertia and little momentum, you can spread that power out over the longer part of the stroke, which suits slow twitchers. That's how I read it.
     
  8. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Quote: http://galebernhardt.com/blogs/news/7828475-why-does-cycling-power-increase-for-a-given-heart-rate-on-hills
    The blogger misunderstood the source material:

    For example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23247716 concludes that efficiency decreases at a more extreme gradient. This was attributed to a change in pedaling technique. Changes in posture and positioning were not controlled. There is no change in inertia since the exercises were performed on a trainer.

    A varied power technique is better than constant power on time trials because the marginal increase is speed vs. marginal increase in power is greater during climbs and slow sections than on downhills or flats. The effect was not attributed to rider efficiency gains during climbs in either of the two latter referenced studies.

    I chalk up the differences to being positional and mental. Perhaps you have less discomfort during a climb because you can sit upright, use more muscle groups and breathe deeper - so it seems easier. You are probably burning more glucose to get those watts however. I also believe that the marginal gain in speed vs. marginal effort is at play. On the flat, speed vs. power is non linear. Working harder produces only a small increase in speed. Our primitive brain may say that a small increase is not worth the large wattage cost. On a hill speed vs. power is more linear and the rewards for working marginally harder are much more apparent, its easier to justify the cost of working harder.
     
  9. cyclightning

    cyclightning New Member

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    If cadence and power output are the same pedaling up a hill or on the flat, then there is no difference in terms of pedaling dynamics. A cyclist better on hills and mediocre on the flats relative to other cyclists of the same mass has a high CdA, or drag area. Lighter cyclists tend to be better hill climbers.
     
  10. JibberJim

    JibberJim Member

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    Yes there is, the variation in speed (and therefore cadence) within the pedalling stroke is higher in the low inertia uphill situation, so there will likely be a corresponding difference in force application.
     
  11. cyclightning

    cyclightning New Member

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    There isn't any difference - assuming the possibility to select a wide range of gears is present - i.e, 400 watts at 90 rpm in a 42x23 is the same as 400 watts in a 53x12 at 90 rpm. There would be slight differences in cadence due to gear selection and gear availability - otherwise except on very steep hills where cadence drops ( and effective pedal force increases) because a suitable gear ratio isn't available - there is no difference in the effective force between hill climbing and on the flat, since the pedal resists your foot with a force equal and opposite to the force applied, and you can freewheel going up a hill, going down a hill, or on the flat. A cyclist better on hills vs. the flat compared to other riders of the same mass has a larger CdA, or drag area, and possibly a better ability to dissipate heat.
     
  12. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Quote: Originally Posted by cyclightning .
    There isn't any difference - assuming the possibility to select a wide range of gears is present - i.e, 400 watts at 90 rpm in a 42x23 is the same as 400 watts in a 53x12 at 90 rpm.

    Not exactly. It depends on how one makes power. For example, I am a "snapper," in that I apply power in the stroke through a very short arc from about 60 degrees to about 120 degrees (90 degrees is halfway down). On an upgrade, depending on the grade, I have to apply power earlier in the stroke because the bike speed tends to slow more quickly after I relax on the downstroke. Yes, it's true that 400W on a climb is equal to 400W on the flat, but it feels different. And, if I can't get my cadence up to my preferred cadence (~90rpm) due to gearing, it feels really different.
     
  13. jcm01

    jcm01 New Member

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    First post here...gotta start somewhere. So glad this thread came up. This is something I have often thought about. Like the OP, I too feel a big difference riding at X watts on the flat vs. a hill. Sometimes if I'm doing an interval, I look forward to an upcoming hill because it feels so much easier. When I hit the hill, the effort level drops, the leg burn diminishes...it's just much easier. I guess my remaining question is: if it feels physically easier on the hill, does that mean it's less beneficial? For example, if I'm doing an interval at 240W on the flat, should I bump it up to, say 260W on the hill in order to keep the effort level the same?
     
  14. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    I think it depends what you're trying to accomplish. Steady-state riding (isopower, i.e., the same watts in all conditions) isn't the best pacing strategy for most people on hilly courses anyway, so I would go more by feel than by watts in terms of pushing yourself on climbs the way you do on flats. When I'm riding my ~20-min test loop, I invariably put out more watts on the rises than I do on the flats or dips because that's what feels best to me. But I feel as though I'm working equally hard the entire time, even if the watts show otherwise.

    If I'm doing hill intervals, the watts I try to hold are probably 5% higher than I could hold on a flat interval, but only because I can, if you see what I mean! I don't think it necessarily means that I'm getting less benefit on the flat -- all you can do is all you can do. But I think you can train yourself to put out more watts in different situations too, it's about adapting to the different inertia.

    Anyway to answer your question, I would say that yes if it feels physically easier on the hill, it's less beneficial. I would ride to perceived effort rather than use X watts as a target for all roads/gradients.
     
  15. Manu3172

    Manu3172 New Member

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    I feel exactly the same,
    I able to hold 260W for an hour on a climb, but I tried on a flat part, it was just impossible!
    Maybe on a climb, the effort is more constant (it is just about the grade). On a flat road, it is rare to have perfectly constant conditions (wind, road, etc.).
    Also as said before, the pedal inertia isn't the same, to be efficient in a climb, the legs have to work almost 100% of the time to maintain a good constant speed.
    Also the legs frequency is not the same, it would be interesting to try at the same frequency.
     
  16. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Not necessarily. You may climb at a different cadence than you ride on the flat, but some of us climb at the same cadence. For example, my preferred climbing cadence is exactly the same as my preferred cadence on the flat or downhill. There is nothing inherent in a climb that argues for changing cadence, it's just what some choose to do.
     
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