Long rides with power

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by giannip, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. giannip

    giannip New Member

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    Hi

    While rewading up on power training etc. I have come across some mention of the fact that due to cyclings dynamic nature power redings can fluctuate quite a bit (uness doing a specific task like TT training etc.)

    I was wondering how then do you do endurance rides (e.g 3-4hr Sunday spins) or does this problem not really affect one that much ?
     
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  2. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    You will find out pretty quickly when you get your PM that power fluctuates quite substantially. Two scenarios:

    i. Riding in a bunch - expect large and wild fluctuations in power output. If you don't want that at particular periods of you training plan, then don't ride in ill disciplined bunches (which is most of them).

    ii. Riding solo (or on the front of a bunch) - you have much more opportunity to control the power output and keep it steady (if that's what you want).

    Even when going solo it is quite difficult to have really smooth power output when riding on the road (due mainly to all the slight variations in gradient, wind road surface etc). On a trainer or rollers, it is much easier to maintain a precise power level. Hence training programmes generally prescibe power zones to ride in but that doesn't mean religiously sticking to a narrow band. Simple fact is you won't get up a hill in Level 1!

    Generally you are looking for the overall average power of a ride and the composition of how that was generated - a long steady pace or maybe easy with a number of planned surges throughout. Each has it's place in training. In time you'll come to learn about the concept of normalised power, which will help you compare the physiological demands of longer variable power rides.
     
  3. giannip

    giannip New Member

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    Great, thanks.

    I will be riding 90% of the time on my own and only do group rides when I want to do it as part of the overall training plan.

    From trainnig with a HR, I'm pretty used to riding on feel as well as looking at the data on the computer so I'm hoping that after a while I will have a good feel of what my endurance zone is with regards to power and ride accordingly without worrying too much about the exact numbers required.
     
  4. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    When you first get a power meter, you tend to use it like the other real-time, on-bike tools you've used in the past, like heart rate and cyclocomputers, where you periodically "check in" that your effort is "correct." This is only useful with a power meter if one is doing a somewhat focused interval; during longer, less structured rides, staring at the thing accomplishes nothing. I reckon I get about 80% of the value of the PM from post-hoc analysis "offline", after the ride. The remaining 20% comes from better pacing in intervals, and, to some extent, time trials. In group rides, longer efforts, etc., the real-time data is just trivia, which I might peer at from time to time out of curiosity or boredom, but I wouldn't let it affect what I'm actually doing.

    So, how do you "know" you're riding in Z2 during 4 hour rides? Because it's a four-hour ride! Anything harder than the lower edge of Z3 would take an extremely hard effort indeed, and anything under the lower edge of Z2 would feel ridiculously easy.
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Don't forget the "Heck yeah! Take that!" effect as I'm pulling a group up a hill at 500w+. :D
     
  6. giannip

    giannip New Member

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    some day :D
     
  7. postal_bag

    postal_bag New Member

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    I recently did my first "tempo" ride (solo) with my new powertap SL. Come to think of it, I don't think I have consciously done a tempo ride in the past. My goal was to go for 100km or 3 hr (whatever came first) at L3. I was able to keep the power within a fairly narrow range thanks to the route I chose.

    I ended up averaging 83% FT for 100 km. I still don't have any analyzing software, so I don't know what my NP would have been, but I suspect not much different. It was an incredible feeling to hold the pace for ~3 hrs. I did manage to increase my AP by 5w during the last hour, or so.

    Not sure if there is a point to my post, but I will definitely be adding this kind of ride to my training "plan". Now, if I only had some decent roads to do my intervals on. Oh well, back to the trainer, for now. :)
     
  8. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    One thing I see many people change when they start using a power meter is that they avoid group rides. Too much time in L1. Or, they just stay on the front.
     
  9. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Yep, or on the side if company is desired. It's fun to ride up and down beside the line chatting with each person in turn, and just duck briefly in when a rest is needed or the pace turns up.
     
  10. joule

    joule New Member

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    For sure. Got a chuckle out of that comment. I find that I'll grab the front and try to hold power at a range that I won't drop anyone but still hold the "pull". Of course with faster crowds that's not an issue, but most the time I end up "hogging" pull time. Problem is if I wait my turn, then do a pull over my threashold, I'll drop everyone on most group rides I do. So instead I try to "time-trial" on the front.

    Not that I'm that fast. I seem to be in the gray world of either being a very fast "rider" or an average racer. Group training rides are harder to find, so I do what I can with what I have. Of course most time is solo, which works better anyway with training and a PT.


     
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