Measuring power- useful in improving bunch rides?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Andrew Price, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Andrew Price

    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)
     
    Tags:


  2. 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!
     
  3. Sandy

    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.
     
  4. Robert Chung

    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.
     
  5. 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???
     
  6. 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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  7. dvt

    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
     
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