Measuring power- useful in improving bunch rides?



A

Andrew Price

Guest
In my club we usually rollout say 4 groups on an average weekend ride -
divided into the quicks, 2 middle bunches and an easy/recovery group. No
dissension in the top and bottom groups, everyone knows what they signed on
for and they pretty much all roll back for coffee together, in peace and
some sort of harmony. They also tend to be small groups, which helps.

Not so the 2 "B" or middle bunches, where a wide range of fitness, abilites
and degrees of enthusiasm prevail - the theory is that they are "medium
paced rides" say with an average speed of say 30 or 35kph [19 to 22 mph] -
within that large group there is very wide range of exertion levels which
tend to be set or be varied depending on who gets on the front. I guess
there is no common view of what "medium paced" means - an average speed over
a 2 or 3 hour ride is not necessarily a good indication of how hard the
component bits were for riders of different abilities and fitness. I suppose
average speed is adopted as a means of describing how hard a ride is as most
riders have a cyclecomputer that measures current and average speeds - and
that is the only objective measure commonly available to give some idea of
how easy or hard a pace is being set.

In consequence it often happens that those middle bunches often break up and
folk get cross. How to avoid that problem? (wide levels of experience
prevail)

One of the guys with a powertap hub posted an email graph showing the power
spikes in one of those middle bunches when two of the worst offending half
wheelers were on the front (variations from 120 to nearly 600 watts) as
opposed to a pair that had power indicators and deliberately set the effort
at the front at a resonably constant 200w - whilst the speeds varied with
terrain, the level of exertion stayed the same and the bunch much more
easily stayed together, which I guess is perhaps the principal objective of
a bunch ride. Surprisingly, the average speed was 4kph better for the
controlled and constant 200w alternative over similar terrain than the
wildly spiking power bandits.

[Can forward the graphs to anyone who would like to see them].

I suspect this may not be an issue confined to one club or group and my
question is -

Would describing rides in terms of typically constant power levels be a
better indication of what bunch riders can expect and be more likely to keep
a large group of riders together?

I hold no brief for the cycling gadget industry (I rode for a long time with
no instruments of any kind, in protest at increasing clutter on the bars)
but I wonder if some accurate form of power measurement might improve the
quality and enjoyment of the bunch rides I describe.

Opinions sought - best, Andrew
(remove the .x1 to reply)
 
Andrew Price wrote:
> In my club we usually rollout say 4 groups on an average weekend ride -
> divided into the quicks, 2 middle bunches and an easy/recovery group. No
> dissension in the top and bottom groups, everyone knows what they signed on
> for and they pretty much all roll back for coffee together, in peace and
> some sort of harmony. They also tend to be small groups, which helps.
>
> Not so the 2 "B" or middle bunches, where a wide range of fitness, abilites
> and degrees of enthusiasm prevail - the theory is that they are "medium
> paced rides" say with an average speed of say 30 or 35kph [19 to 22 mph] -
> within that large group there is very wide range of exertion levels which
> tend to be set or be varied depending on who gets on the front. I guess
> there is no common view of what "medium paced" means - an average speed over
> a 2 or 3 hour ride is not necessarily a good indication of how hard the
> component bits were for riders of different abilities and fitness. I suppose
> average speed is adopted as a means of describing how hard a ride is as most
> riders have a cyclecomputer that measures current and average speeds - and
> that is the only objective measure commonly available to give some idea of
> how easy or hard a pace is being set.
>
> In consequence it often happens that those middle bunches often break up and
> folk get cross. How to avoid that problem? (wide levels of experience
> prevail)
>
> One of the guys with a powertap hub posted an email graph showing the power
> spikes in one of those middle bunches when two of the worst offending half
> wheelers were on the front (variations from 120 to nearly 600 watts) as
> opposed to a pair that had power indicators and deliberately set the effort
> at the front at a resonably constant 200w - whilst the speeds varied with
> terrain, the level of exertion stayed the same and the bunch much more
> easily stayed together, which I guess is perhaps the principal objective of
> a bunch ride. Surprisingly, the average speed was 4kph better for the
> controlled and constant 200w alternative over similar terrain than the
> wildly spiking power bandits.
>
> [Can forward the graphs to anyone who would like to see them].
>
> I suspect this may not be an issue confined to one club or group and my
> question is -
>
> Would describing rides in terms of typically constant power levels be a
> better indication of what bunch riders can expect and be more likely to keep
> a large group of riders together?
>
> I hold no brief for the cycling gadget industry (I rode for a long time with
> no instruments of any kind, in protest at increasing clutter on the bars)
> but I wonder if some accurate form of power measurement might improve the
> quality and enjoyment of the bunch rides I describe.
>
> Opinions sought - best, Andrew
> (remove the .x1 to reply)


While it is an interesting thought, power levels vary so much between
riders for a given speed and a given level of exertion, I don't think
settling on a power range would help much. If it were a team where
everyone knew everyone else's level it may work. IE rider A knows that
when they pull up a moderately steep hill at at 200W, rider B needs to
generate 240W to keep up, etc. But since these are semi-formal group
rides, a power consensus would be very difficult to establish. For
example one of my riding buddies weighs about 40kg less than I do. At
our normal pace, even on the flats I need to generate about 60W more
than he does. When the road tilts upward the gap is even more extreme.

What we do here is just wait at the top of any hills for stragglers.
And if someone has problems on the flat sections, we wait as well,
until the person insists the group leave them. The faster groups have a
lower threshold for ejecting people, because the slower groups are
always behind to collect folks if need be.

On our MTB rides, we have a "Ride King" who is in charge of setting
pace, choosing the route, and stopping as necessary to make sure
everyone is together. It is the Ride King's responsibility to make sure
his choices suit the group thaty happens to be present.

Joseph

PS: I'll be thinking of you guys Down Under spinning in the sun,
arguing about how fast to go when the wind dies down later today and I
hit the XC-skii trails!
 
S

Sandy

Guest
Dans le message de news:[email protected],
Andrew Price <[email protected]> a réfléchi, et puis a déclaré :
> In my club we usually rollout say 4 groups on an average weekend ride
> - divided into the quicks, 2 middle bunches and an easy/recovery
> group. No dissension in the top and bottom groups, everyone knows
> what they signed on for and they pretty much all roll back for coffee
> together, in peace and some sort of harmony. They also tend to be
> small groups, which helps.
> Not so the 2 "B" or middle bunches, where a wide range of fitness,
> abilites and degrees of enthusiasm prevail - the theory is that they
> are "medium paced rides" say with an average speed of say 30 or 35kph
> [19 to 22 mph] - within that large group there is very wide range of
> exertion levels which tend to be set or be varied depending on who
> gets on the front. I guess there is no common view of what "medium
> paced" means - an average speed over a 2 or 3 hour ride is not
> necessarily a good indication of how hard the component bits were for
> riders of different abilities and fitness. I suppose average speed is
> adopted as a means of describing how hard a ride is as most riders
> have a cyclecomputer that measures current and average speeds - and
> that is the only objective measure commonly available to give some
> idea of how easy or hard a pace is being set.
> In consequence it often happens that those middle bunches often break
> up and folk get cross. How to avoid that problem? (wide levels of
> experience prevail)
>
> One of the guys with a powertap hub posted an email graph showing the
> power spikes in one of those middle bunches when two of the worst
> offending half wheelers were on the front (variations from 120 to
> nearly 600 watts) as opposed to a pair that had power indicators and
> deliberately set the effort at the front at a resonably constant 200w
> - whilst the speeds varied with terrain, the level of exertion stayed
> the same and the bunch much more easily stayed together, which I
> guess is perhaps the principal objective of a bunch ride.
> Surprisingly, the average speed was 4kph better for the controlled
> and constant 200w alternative over similar terrain than the wildly
> spiking power bandits.
> [Can forward the graphs to anyone who would like to see them].
>
> I suspect this may not be an issue confined to one club or group and
> my question is -
>
> Would describing rides in terms of typically constant power levels be
> a better indication of what bunch riders can expect and be more
> likely to keep a large group of riders together?
>
> I hold no brief for the cycling gadget industry (I rode for a long
> time with no instruments of any kind, in protest at increasing
> clutter on the bars) but I wonder if some accurate form of power
> measurement might improve the quality and enjoyment of the bunch
> rides I describe.
> Opinions sought - best, Andrew
> (remove the .x1 to reply)


It could be wisest to remove all measuring devices, observe the social
dynamics, choose your riding buddies from what falls out. We have a group
"cop" on our club's B-group. It's cool to make him wheeze. That's us
unruly people for you.....
--
Sandy
--
S'endormir au volant, c'est très dangereux.
S'endormir à vélo, c'est très rare.
S'endormir à pied, c'est très con.
- Geluck, P.
 
R

Robert Chung

Guest
Andrew Price wrote:

> Would describing rides in terms of typically constant power levels be a
> better indication of what bunch riders can expect and be more likely to
> keep a large group of riders together?


Your group's problem isn't a lack of information about wattage--it's a
lack of a leader who can enforce the pace. The fast and recovery groups
keep their groups together without needing to specify power levels.

If the pace violators go off the front, let 'em. Just cuz they're in the
front doesn't mean that they're leaders, and it doesn't mean you've got to
follow them.
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
Andrew Price wrote:
> In my club we usually rollout say 4 groups on an average weekend ride -
> divided into the quicks, 2 middle bunches and an easy/recovery group. No
> dissension in the top and bottom groups, everyone knows what they signed on
> for and they pretty much all roll back for coffee together, in peace and
> some sort of harmony. They also tend to be small groups, which helps.
>
> Not so the 2 "B" or middle bunches, where a wide range of fitness, abilites
> and degrees of enthusiasm prevail - the theory is that they are "medium
> paced rides" say with an average speed of say 30 or 35kph [19 to 22 mph] -
> within that large group there is very wide range of exertion levels which
> tend to be set or be varied depending on who gets on the front. I guess
> there is no common view of what "medium paced" means - an average speed over
> a 2 or 3 hour ride is not necessarily a good indication of how hard the
> component bits were for riders of different abilities and fitness. I suppose
> average speed is adopted as a means of describing how hard a ride is as most
> riders have a cyclecomputer that measures current and average speeds - and
> that is the only objective measure commonly available to give some idea of
> how easy or hard a pace is being set.
>
> In consequence it often happens that those middle bunches often break up and
> folk get cross. How to avoid that problem? (wide levels of experience
> prevail)
>
> One of the guys with a powertap hub posted an email graph showing the power
> spikes in one of those middle bunches when two of the worst offending half
> wheelers were on the front (variations from 120 to nearly 600 watts) as
> opposed to a pair that had power indicators and deliberately set the effort
> at the front at a resonably constant 200w - whilst the speeds varied with
> terrain, the level of exertion stayed the same and the bunch much more
>


I'd say your bunch is confusing 'training' with 'racing'...in other
words, training like ya race and perhaps racing like ya train...giving
up. A little preride communication as to what is going on...a little
more emphasis on riding and less on racing???
 
J

John Forrest Tomlinson

Guest
On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 03:27:42 GMT, "Andrew Price"
<[email protected]> wrote:

This all begs the question of what is the purpose of the ride? Or
more accurately, what is each participant hoping to get out of it?
Without that, the term "improving" is meaningless.

JT

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D

dvt

Guest
Robert Chung wrote:
> If the pace violators go off the front, let 'em. Just cuz they're in the
> front doesn't mean that they're leaders, and it doesn't mean you've got to
> follow them.


Amen and hallelujah. And when they go off the front, don't listen to
anyone in the pack that complains about the frontrunners' lack of social
compliance. If they want to ride faster, let 'em.

--
Dave
dvt at psu dot edu