My third official race. :0)

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by stormer94, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. stormer94

    stormer94 New Member

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    I've read a lot of things about the accuracy of the Polar power "guesstimator". I haven't read much positive about it (poke around these very forums, and you'll see). Doesn't mean it's bad, it means that the people that have them, and are not happy are quite vocal, OR, the Polars value is debatable. Additionally, I've heard it's quite a bit of monkeying around with wires and crap on the bike. I try to keep my bikes pretty clean. As much wireless as possible on the new ones. $300-$400 is a lot of money for a good "guess". I'd go Power Tapp before I do the Polar version. Which is a shame, as I'm already running the Polar watch, all the information would be right there.

    Plus, I don't know that "knowing" my watts is really helping me train. I push as hard as I can. I'm running against the clock, and at that point I'm not sure, for me anyway, that also knowing the watts would be an advantage. If I have a particular hill I can attack in 3:20 and I did it today in 3:15 It was faster. Knowing that the 3:20 was also 200 watts and the 315 was 205 is something I don't know has much value. I'm just interested in improving my times. During a race, you're flat out, whatever your watts are, they are. Your against the clock.

    UNLESS, there is some training regiment that revolves around hitting and holding particular watts and ignoring your heart rate (within reason). I've done some of that indoors on the computrainer. I know what watts I can do on the CT, and what heart rates correspond to it.

    I do feel they have a legitimate value in comparing riders from different parts of the country. I see a guy pulling 350 watts for 10 minutes on his computrainer, and think "DANG"... this guys an animal, Or see somebody talking about only being able to hold 180 watts, then I think to myself, "DANG", I'm an animal :p I bet it would be good if you had an "offsite" or Internet coach, trying to help you train.

    I'd be interested in a Powertapp if it can be configured to show up on my Polar watch... OR, if I could get a different watch that would show speed, cadence, HR, elevation, temp, AND power tapp numbers all in one print out and on one device.
     


  2. stormer94

    stormer94 New Member

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    Thanks man.
    :)
     
  3. stormer94

    stormer94 New Member

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    If I did a Powertapp, it would be on this setup:
    http://www.zipp.com/products/wheels/808.shtml

    Set of the dimpled 808's with the power tapp in it. Of course, now that I think about it, the awkward part of that is that it seems a shame to put that in a race wheel. I wouldn't race with them, I've got some 909's. Maybe a "better" plan would be to "train" with the Powertapp in a training wheel. Hmmm.

    Gonna go read up on the Powertapp some more. :)
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I agree that the Polar power module is demeaned in this forum. I'm just telling you that I have a friend on the East Coast who runs a bike shop and has customers using all three of the current four power meters (he hasn't sold an ergomo to my knowledge) and he believes the Polar is the best, albeit not usable on an indoor trainer. If you want his name and number, I'll send it to you in a private email. It would be clearly the cheapest way to get power data and you would retain all the other data you have come to know and love. The Polar basically has one additional part, which is attached to your chain stay. My friend says that installation and setup are critical, and I think improper installation may account for some of the negative comments about the Polar.

    Those who have power meters basically don't want or need to know any of the other stuff you are now relying on for training. They really don't care about speed, cadence or anything else. HR is in the category of "interesting to know, but not all that useful." They ride to produce a desired power output over time, period. Training isn't about going flat out very often, unless you are doing sprint intervals. Training is about riding at a pre-determined intensity for a pre-determined time, followed by a pre-determined recovery intensity for a pre-determined time. This used to be specified in HR bands or levels. Power is much more accurate, precise and responsive and is the best way to define intrensity levels. For TTs, power is how you ride at just below the level that you can't sustain. HR is just not consistent from day to day for that purpose and it is too slow to respond to changes in intensity. Power responds to changes in intensity almost instantaneously.

    I don't believe you're going to get power data on your Polar computer unless you buy the Polar power module. There's not much incentive for Powertap to be compatible with Polar's computer. As to the other meaningful data you now get on your Polar computer, I think you would get all or most of that from the Powertap computer. But, the main point is that after you have power data I'm not sure you'll care much about all that other stuff. Personally, I don't care whether you get a power meter or not. I'm just sharing with you that I think you would become a better, faster rider if you trained with a PM, especially given that you are training mostly alone.
     
  5. stormer94

    stormer94 New Member

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    I know, we're having freindly conversation, and I appreciate your input. You seem quite knowledgable in this area. You're probably right about the people mis-installing the polar version.

    I'd like to hear from some people that have had positive experiences with the polar version. If it can be calibrated and run pretty accurately, it would be smooth that it works with my 720i.

    Maybe for the few hundred bucks, I should try one out. Clearly, if it were a major pile of crap, they wouldn't sell any. I'll do some checking on that again as well.

    Appreciate your input.
     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Stormer, I've sent you an email with the link to the bike shop of the guy I talked about who is a strong advocate for the Polar. Personally, I favor the strain gauge technology that underlies the PT and SRM power meters. But, I don't think the Polar chain-tension technology should be discounted out of hand. My friend can answer your questions about the Polar and the keys to installation and setup. As a data junkie, I think you'll really like power meters once you have one.
     
  7. Leozinho

    Leozinho New Member

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    Congrats on the excellent race. And I'm trying to encourage you - not trying to sharp shoot you - by saying you might be selling yourself short with settling to be only a " pretty good cat-5 racer."

    Just guessing, but staying off the front for an extended time, only to lose to a break of Cat 3 riders, means you are already better than most Cat 5s in your area. (Besides, "pretty good Cat 5" sounds like another name for a sandbagger. :D)

    But if you are only racing once a year, no one is going to begrudge you for staying in Cat 5.

    Good luck.
     
  8. stormer94

    stormer94 New Member

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    Thanks for kind words. :0)

    To add insult to injury those guys also ran the 10K (on foot) just before the bike leg. They had about 30 minutes to cool down and hit the bikes... Did I mention they all ran the 10K in around 41 minutes... (groan)...
    :D

    Here's the odd part... I really have no idea. I've just decided that I have no real racing experience, and no way to guage against other cyclists. I've raced 3 times total. I train alone (indoors and outdoors), I have never ridden a training ride with another living soul. I don't have a coach, I'm guessing at what to eat (but am pretty sharp, I think, with my diet). I'm 41, and have only been on what I call a training ride with another human 2 times in my whole life. The last time I rode with another guy rider, (actually trying to ride hard) was in 1991. I've got a lot of heart, and I like to ride. But have no idea where I stack up, not one. When I said I was likely the fastest Cat-5 racer in like a 150 mile radius, what I really meant to say is that I think I'm the only rider in a 150 mile radius... :eek: :) I know I try hard, that's all I really have to guess with.

    I've never even been to a race where they classify cyclists by category. I just figure, "total rookie" = Cat-5.
     
  9. karries

    karries New Member

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    Congrats,well done.I am enspired to train to do the same.Carry on and beat those front runners.
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Hey, Stormer. I realize that you have decided to get a PM, but I just wanted to refute this perception. I've got enough experience now with PM training to know that when you think you're pushing as hard as you can that is often not true. The problem is at the upper end of one's capabilities. It's relatively easy to distinguish between, say 80w and 120w. But, it's very difficult to distinguish between, say 350w and 390w. Over an extended period of time, they both feel "flat out," as you say. But, the gap is the same as 80 vs. 120. With a HR monitor, you can slack off a bit and your HR won't drop. So, you're getting a false confirmation of what you "feel" you're doing. With a PM, if you slack off for even a few strokes you are instantly aware of it. It keeps you honest in your interval sessions. "Feel" and "real" are indeed different.
     
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