Pedaling Efficiently

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Joseph Tsui, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Why don't you ask Eddy Merckx how he gauged his training? More people don't have power meters than do have them. I suspect most of them have a way of gauging how their training is going and it may be somewhat different than how I would do it. Some of those people who don't use power meters are actually world champions so I suspect that whatever they are doing is reasonably effective.

    And, it is not possible to tell on the basis of a single race or two if one is better or not (ok maybe it is if the race has 5000 people and one year you finish 2285 and the next year you finish 183rd one might assume one has improved relative to the competition). In your instance one would need to know more about the race and the competition in each race but such a small change suggests little. Gauging improvement through race results would be the same as gauging improvement using a PM, it requires multiple trials to "know" only with one you are comparing yourself to yourself and with the other you are comparing yourself to the competition (and, perhaps, the clock). If you find that in all of your subsequent races you have advanced your finishing from top 10 to top 5 then I think we can presume you have advanced compared to your competition.

    Let's say your PM tells you your power is up 10 watts but your placing in your next TT goes down. Would you tell everyone you have improved? Did you improve that power by sacrificing aerodynamics? Or, did you just have a bad day? Or, something else?
     


  2. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Bike setup is a given as is position. Equipment choice - overrated for the most part unless you're talking wheels and correct gearing (on a road bike). I doubt that anyone will be able to measure (using a PM or stopwatch) differences between having Dura Ace or 105.

    But after ~2 years on the Power Cranks my only decision is, which bike do I put the PC's on... It's not, do I continue to use the PC's?
     
  3. jollyrogers

    jollyrogers New Member

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    I would bet that if Merckx were racing today he would have a power meter. Plenty of Pro Tour teams and top triathletes are riding with them.

    I don't need "multiple trials" to gauge my fitness progress with my PM. I can tell by looking at my PM during my hard interval workouts and combine the numbers I see with an objective historical record of previous work that I had done to gauge "freshness". By watching how the numbers trend week to week, I can not only tell if I'm getting fitter, but I can shape my training to target certain objectives on an event-based schedule vice a calendar based schedule.

    Since I haven't screwed with my position, I have improved - obviously, maybe not as much as others, or maybe there are new competitors racing, but I would know that I had improved by 10 watts.
     
  4. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    While we don't know what Merkx would or would not do now we do know that there are current dominating world champions that have managed to achieve such status without the need for a PM. Two that come to immediate mind is Conrad Stoltz (who used to train with a PM and abandoned it, preferring to use perceived exertion) and Chrissie Wellington, who I don't believe has ever used a PM. The fact that many champions do use the device is not particularly compelling evidence it is necessary or even useful for optimum performance.


    It seems to me that your historical record of previous work would qualify as "multiple trials" against which you want to judge each workout. Are you trying to say that if your historical record showed you have an FTP of about 250 watts that if you come back from an hour ride and your PM says you averaged 450 watts for that ride that you would conclude you have improved as opposed to there might be a problem with the PM?



    If you have ever been to a wind tunnel you would understand it is not necessary to "screw with a position" to have large effects on drag. So, you really don't know if what you have done to get that extra 10 watts helped or hurt your aerodynamics. So, unfortunately for you, most race directors don't ask for wattage data to be submitted after the race so they can adjust the results. If you are willing to ignore aerodynamics in order to gain 10 watts and say you are improved, I can't stop you. But, most here would evaluate improvement based upon race results and not what the PM says. Power may be part of the equation but it is not the only part and it is not necessary to know that number to see improvement.
     
  5. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    It's my understanding that aerodynamic effects from positional changes can be measured by doing a roll-down test or Chunging, to a fairly good degree of accuracy without visiting a wind tunnel.

    You are correct about it not being *necessary* to know wattage in order to see improvement......however, I would like to give the following analogy:

    Training without an objective feedback device (such as a PM) is like walking around in a dark tunnel without a flashlight;
    you may accidentally find where you are going, but it's MUCH easier (and less wasted time) when you're able to see where you're going;)
     
  6. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Do you believe Merkx or Hinault or any of the early stars of the sport truly trained without any objective feedback "device" and that they just stumbled towards greatness? How about the current stars who eschew PM's. Are there other ways of measuring training intensity and training results that could be used in place of a PM? I already mentioned two current great champions who are known to train and race without PM's. According to some of you this should be impossible.
     
  7. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

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    No, I don't believe they "stumbled" toward greatness. They may or may not have used whatever training technology was available to them at the time....AFAIK, there were no PMs then, so it's a moot point, though.
    Nowadays, however, we do have objective feedback devices - it's up to each athlete whether or not they want to take advantage of said device. I never said it was impossible to improve without using a PM - just easier, because you have immediate, objective feedback. Like the tachometer on a car, if you will.
     
  8. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Yawn. Once again Frank obfuscates. Confusing a measurement device with a training methodology. Claims his products does things when there is no evidence to support his claims. "Take me on faith". Ranks right up there with homeopathy.
     
  9. jollyrogers

    jollyrogers New Member

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    Than neither is the fact that some do not use a power meter compelling evidence. I don't know anyone who uses the word "necessary". I do know several who use the word beneficial.

    Every workout is not a "trial" in the sense that its primary purpose is not to evaluate FTP. As far as accepting outlying performances as evidence of improvement goes, that seems to be something that you have been particularly fond of until beaten about the head and shoulders with overwhelming evidence to the contrary

    Strangely enough, I can use a power meter to determine my; CdA. You're being deliberately obtuse, again.

    Twisting and distorting again here as I never wrote anything about ignoring aerodynamics. Bottom line is that there are some things an athlete can control and some that they can't. I can control my training to maximize my fitness - the power that I can produce for a given duration. I can't control who else shows up for a race or how fit they are, but then you knew that too.
     
  10. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    That is all well and good. Only one problem, there is zero scientific evidence that using a PM makes improving easier either. Obviously many people believe this to be true but there simply is zero scientific evidence to support such a conclusion.

    So, while it may be a "moot point" that PM's were not available in the day of Merkx that does not take away from the fact that there are current world champions that choose to train and race sans PM. That, it seems to me, would make it an obvious open question as to what Merkx might choose to do if he were competing now or not or whether having or using a PM offers any racing advantage now.

    To answer a few more comments.

    Alex Simmons complains that I am obfuscating and "Confusing a measurement device with a training methodology." I simply didn't know that simply having or using a PM was a training methodology or that there was a training methodology that could not be done without owning a PM. And, even if there was such a methodology, where is the scientific evidence that the training methodology is superior to all other approaches. I submit it is Alex doing the obfuscating.

    And while JollyRogers correctly points out that CdA can be determined outside of a wind tunnel using the Chung technique if one owns a PM I would submit that the number of people who know how to do so is miniscule and the number who actually do so is even smaller.
     
  11. jollyrogers

    jollyrogers New Member

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    Smaller than the number who have been to a wind tunnel in the last year or two?
     
  12. jollyrogers

    jollyrogers New Member

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    What objective methods did Merckx and Hinault use Frank? Lemond saw the value of power and began to use it very early on.

    Sure there are other ways of measuring intensity and training progress. What better way(s) do you suggest?

    I still haven't seen anyone but you (when attempting to overstate others' points of view) say or imply that improvement without a PM should be impossible. Many of us make tremendous use of our power meters to focus and guide our training. You don't seem to care much for objective feedback for some reason...
     
  13. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    But after ~2 years on the Power Cranks my only decision is, which bike do I put the PC's on... It's not, do I continue to use the PC's?[/QUOTE]



    After 2 years of PC use why do you have to continue using PC cranks while training. Why not use the PC technique with standard cranks, it's your muscles, not your cranks, that generate the pedal power. Frank, could you explain in more detail why the PC idea was not suitable for HPV pedalling.
     
  14. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    I don't have a clue what objective measurements that Merkx or Himault or any other "old-time" cyclist used. I can tell you the preferred feedback mechanism of world champion Conrad Stoltz because he told me he stopped using a power meter as he preferred perceived exertion as his intensity feedback.

    And, I don't know if any of the other ways are superior or not. I am simply saying there is no scientific evidence to support any particular training feedback method, be it using an objective method like using a power meter or a non-objective method like using perceived exertion, or anything else as being superior to any other method.

    Anyhow, the original question went to pedaling technique and efficiency. This diversion has absolutely zero to do with that.
     
  15. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    What are you talking about?
     
  16. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    Quoting from [ Who is Frank Day ]------- " Some wonder how he came up with the idea for POWERCRANKS. This came about as he was pondering the problem of designing a vehicle to set the human powered vehicle land speed record. His design required independent cranks but he was not sure how strong they had to be and decided to try some out on a regular bicycle. As soon as he tried this out the lightbulb went on and the HPV idea was abandoned (or at least put on hold) and Powercranks (the company) was born." ----------------- When that lightbulb went on, what did you believe you had discovered?
     
  17. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    My idea for the HPV required a somewhat different pedaling technique than regular cycling, designed to minimize the frontal area so as to maximize the aerodynamics. But, when testing the concept on a regular bicycle the "lightbulb went on" when I figured out that the independent crank concept had actual potential as a product to teach circular pedaling technique. I then abandoned the HPV record thing, at least for the present. I still think using my original idea it may be possible to get a HPV to close to 100 mph.
     
  18. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    After 2 years of PC use why do you have to continue using PC cranks while training. Why not use the PC technique with standard cranks, it's your muscles, not your cranks, that generate the pedal power. Frank, could you explain in more detail why the PC idea was not suitable for HPV pedalling.[/QUOTE]

    Because... like most folk, I get lazy. That's why they stay on the training bike.
     
  19. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of watts and folks like Hinault, there's a reference in Hinault's book that "a superchampion can produce approximately 600 watts in an hour"

    I know they had calibrated ergometers and lab equipment back then but bloody hell...

    Hinault bringing the smack down in printed text as well as in pretty much every important time trial he rode in. :p
     
  20. choffman

    choffman New Member

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    I like to teach those I coach to pedal in triangles. One quote I remember from Miguel Indurain. Someone asked him (pre-ipod days), "What do you think about while riding a bike?" He replies, "Every pedal stroke!"

    So, think of pedaling in triangles while you are riding. It will help you become a faster and more efficient rider.

    Cameron Hoffman
    Pure Endurance
     
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