Power profile confusion... (swear i already tried search!)



beison

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Feb 18, 2008
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So I've had my powertap for a week now, been following the Training and Racing With a Power Meter book, and I'm trying to get the hang of testing, and what not. I've gathered data from 5 rides, ranging from two testing days, a crit race, and a VO2max day, plus a high tempo day. I figured that should be a broad enough spectrum to make some assumptions on my power profile.

I've attached a copy of said profile

Now, my power profile indicates some goofy things--at least as far as I'm reading it...

Using the chart's Cat 3 numbers for comparison (my USCF category) , I'm interpreting the profile as I have a pretty solid sprint compared to only road racers(not looking at track guys), I have an extremely poor 1min, my 5 min power is good, and my FTP is above average.

Now that's all well and good, but comparing these values to my race performances...
-I do have a pretty good sprint, and can finish top 5 pretty consistantly if it's a field sprint (and I choose the right wheel...:eek:)
-I can solo-bridge gaps pretty well, and I do alright on shortish power climbs (even in collegiate 1/2/3 races) so I had assumed my 1 min was at least decent for a cat 3... definitely better than untrained... :(
-I'm pretty much in agreement with the 5 min power, cause I'm consistantly with the front of the pack/setting the pace on 5-10 min climbs
-I'm pretty good at TT's as well, so I think the FTP placement is pretty accurate.

I suppose what confuses me most, is that I could have a good value for the entirely neuromuscular/anerobic 5 sec power, then have such a low value for the anerobic 1 min power values. Is it common to have a good sprint, but a bad anerobic power?

What's further confusing, is that the power profile seems to say that I'm more of an endourance/climber/TT guy (with a decent sprint), but my entire background in sports before cycling focused around fast twitch strength sports (wrestling, shot put, waterpolo), which would have led me to believe that my profile should have a negative slope, not such a strong positive one...

Would the fact that I'm slightly heavier than most, at 80kg, explain some of my confusion between my race performance, and number comparison? As in, since I'm heavier than the average cat 3 cyclist, can I still make valid assumptions and comparisons to the average cat 3 cyclist's power profile?

Any insight/advice would be appreciated! (...especially from the person who wrote the power profile chart :D)
 

Piotr

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Jan 29, 2007
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Don't expect to get your best 1 & 5 min numbers from rides or even races (unless you're a trackie). They just don't happen by themselves. You need to specifically test those durations when you're fresh. They're supposed to be your best single efforts, not best of 5 x 5 min or 10 x 1 min, and not taken from an attack or the last mile of a race. Commit a training day toward an all out 1 min test (after a good 30 min warmup!), recover completely, then do an all out (but sensibly paced) 5 min test.
 

beison

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Feb 18, 2008
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Piotr said:
Don't expect to get your best 1 & 5 min numbers from rides or even races (unless you're a trackie). They just don't happen by themselves. You need to specifically test those durations when you're fresh. They're supposed to be your best single efforts, not best of 5 x 5 min or 10 x 1 min, and not taken from an attack or the last mile of a race. Commit a training day toward an all out 1 min test (after a good 30 min warmup!), recover completely, then do an all out (but sensibly paced) 5 min test.
No, I agree--But that's what I did.

I did an FTP testing day, then later in the week I did a 1 min/5 min power testing day. Even followed all the instructions from Dr. Coggan's book for the tests.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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beison said:
No, I agree--But that's what I did....
Try a couple more and you'll know if you nailed it if you feel like puking and all but fall off your bike when the minute is up. Different folks have success with different approaches, but my highest 1 minute efforts have started as a full out sprint followed by hanging on for dear life then a second sprint with everything left in the tank. I nearly retched last time I did one of these and could barely turn over the small ring for several minutes afterwards.

But in the end the charts are only a tool to help you identify strengths and weaknesses to guide training and perhaps to help you fine tune race tactics. If you have no problem with the short anaerobic efforts during races then it doesn't matter so much where you show up on the chart.

-Dave
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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daveryanwyoming said:
nearly retched last time I did one...
-Dave
Nearly schmearly...

Could do better. Try harder next time.

:D

Trying to go absolutely flat out for one minute is a exercise in futility but can be a great source of amusement for others... which is why I like watching the kilo on the track so much.
 

buckhorn

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Aug 17, 2006
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I was in the same position last year, all my power profiles looked good except for the 1min column. I decided to do like everyone says here and go flat out for 60 seconds. Sure enough, it fixed the discrepancy on the chart as I had never done a flat out 60 second effort.

My reward for this was a workout that lasted for about 25 minutes, 23 was the warmup, then the 1 minute test, then 1 minute home (coasting downhill), followed by not feeling "right" for 2 days. That really took a lot out of me, and I don't think I will ever do one again. It is just not worth it! I didn't want to look at my bike the next day.

Remember- It's a stupid chart, if you have good results in races be satisfied with that. There is much better ways to train than this effort requires.

YMMV
 

acoggan

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Jul 4, 2003
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With the exception of your 1 min value, your power profile looks a lot like mine. Based on that, as well as your various comments, I'd guesstimate:

1) you get your results in bunch sprints as a result of positioning, not high neuromuscular power, and

2) you have significantly underestimated your 1 min power.

As for your mass, I don't think that really plays into it from the cycling perspective - however, the fact that you slightly bigger than average (with presumably larger muscles) may have contributed to your success in less aerobic/more explosive sports.
 

beison

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Feb 18, 2008
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Thanks for the help guys...

I suppose this leaves me with another question too though--
I have massive legs, that were able to squat 415 lbs before I started cycling. I still got the humongous quads and gluts, and calves I had before--they've even gotten bigger due to all the cycling. (I suppose that'd be expected) However, while I can do pretty well in the bunch sprint, my peak power's still not much more than 1200. So maybe my question would be, what aspect of cycling does pure leg strength contribute the most too?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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beison said:
...what aspect of cycling does pure leg strength contribute the most too?
Standing starts (e.g. the kilo) and pure sprints, IOW match sprints at the track without several hours of racing leading up to the sprint. Got a track nearby?

-Dave
 

frost

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Oct 25, 2007
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daveryanwyoming said:
Standing starts (e.g. the kilo) and pure sprints, IOW match sprints at the track without several hours of racing leading up to the sprint. Got a track nearby?

-Dave
And I'd add that even higher strength for a same person probably means higher peak power it doesn't necessarily mean that high strength (squat) equals high peak power.
 

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