Power profiles for 'normal' cyclists

Iktome

New Member
As I recall, the power profiles that Andy created are based on the maximum outputs for all types of cyclists assumed to be at a certain level. So, for example, the 5 second and 1 minute numbers are based on sprint specialists on the track (rather than roadie 'sprinters').

Is there any way to convert the power profile into representative numbers for non-specialists? That is to say, can it be used to estimate what outputs are typical for a strong sprinter in a given category on the road (rather than on the track)?

Or is the revised version of the profile with corresponding USCF categories the attempt to do this?

I ask out of curiosity's sake only; I understand that the profiles are just loose guidelines.

acoggan

Member
Iktome said:
As I recall, the power profiles that Andy created are based on the maximum outputs for all types of cyclists assumed to be at a certain level. So, for example, the 5 second and 1 minute numbers are based on sprint specialists on the track (rather than roadie 'sprinters').

Is there any way to convert the power profile into representative numbers for non-specialists? That is to say, can it be used to estimate what outputs are typical for a strong sprinter in a given category on the road (rather than on the track)?

Or is the revised version of the profile with corresponding USCF categories the attempt to do this?

I ask out of curiosity's sake only; I understand that the profiles are just loose guidelines.

So by "normal" you mean "road only"? How, then, do you account for the fact that most people who race on the track also race on the road (and if one of them happens to be in your race, they're most likely the one you're going to have the hardest time beating in the sprint, individual pursuiters excepted)?

Another/a related factor to consider: the longer the race, the more it will disfavor those with a very high neuromuscular power. However, just because people like Boonen or Pettachi max out at ~20 W/kg (vs. the ~24 W/kg that a match sprinter might develop), that doesn't mean that in a shorter/local race you won't be going up against somebody whose 5 s power is, relatively speaking, higher than theirs.

Lastly, while the associated category guidelines are meant strictly as that, i.e., guidelines, even if you take them at face value they won't tell you what you want to know, since what distinguishes riders of different ability on the road is the aerobic half of the table. I'm a perfect example of that: my neuromuscular power is, and always has been, quite low, but I was a cat. 1 back in my youth, and still win my share of masters races today (though rarely, if ever, if it comes down to a sprint).

Iktome

New Member
Actually, I meant "non-specialist." But I'm sorry about the use of "normal". It was in small quotes for a reason, and although I think you shouldn't have concentrated so much on that word, I do understand that it was an unfortunate title.

The point of the post was simply that I recalled (perhaps incorrectly) that you have said on several occassions that the numbers are from the highest performances you had data for, and that the 'sprint' numbers actually might not correspond to what numbers might actually be present at the front of a bunch finish in a Cat 2 (for example) road race. To put it simply, I was just wondering if you had (or anyone had) information about how much of a drop there might be between a track sprinter and a road sprinter (of roughly the same level).

FWIW, I'm not trying to figure anything out about myself. I have my own data about what it takes to win or finish at the front of a road race. In my experience (and it sounds like in yours as well), what it takes to win a sprint finish is often well below what's indicated in the power profile. This, of course, varies dramatically with the length of the race, and particularly the difficulty (especially in the last minutes in my experience).

I understand (I think) that the profile was intended for intra-individual comparisons -- to create a picture of the type of cyclist an individual is, rather than the level. My question is sort of an inter-intra-individual comparison -- i.e. how does having the aerobic power necessary to compete at a given level affect your sprint power (in this case, because I'm talking about the numbers already provided in the profile, compared to the strongest sprinters a that "level").

RapDaddyo

Well-Known Member
I think what you are asking is an interesting question and one I have an interest in as well. There are two different questions at play. One is what Andy has created, power profiles of riders of different types and at different levels. What you seem to be asking is about actual performances in actual races. It's not so much a question of how much power the riders have but how much power they used in the event. I think this is a particularly fascinating question when it comes to match analysis. The issue isn't whether one can ride one 3min effort at 130%FTP. The issue is whether one can do the 3min effort after 5 previous anaerobic efforts that have cut his AWC in half. Training rides can then be designed to replicate race efforts in NP, AWC and NM terms.

acoggan

Member
Iktome said:
Actually, I meant "non-specialist." But I'm sorry about the use of "normal". It was in small quotes for a reason, and although I think you shouldn't have concentrated so much on that word, I do understand that it was an unfortunate title.

The point of the post was simply that I recalled (perhaps incorrectly) that you have said on several occassions that the numbers are from the highest performances you had data for, and that the 'sprint' numbers actually might not correspond to what numbers might actually be present at the front of a bunch finish in a Cat 2 (for example) road race. To put it simply, I was just wondering if you had (or anyone had) information about how much of a drop there might be between a track sprinter and a road sprinter (of roughly the same level).

FWIW, I'm not trying to figure anything out about myself. I have my own data about what it takes to win or finish at the front of a road race. In my experience (and it sounds like in yours as well), what it takes to win a sprint finish is often well below what's indicated in the power profile. This, of course, varies dramatically with the length of the race, and particularly the difficulty (especially in the last minutes in my experience).

I understand (I think) that the profile was intended for intra-individual comparisons -- to create a picture of the type of cyclist an individual is, rather than the level. My question is sort of an inter-intra-individual comparison -- i.e. how does having the aerobic power necessary to compete at a given level affect your sprint power (in this case, because I'm talking about the numbers already provided in the profile, compared to the strongest sprinters a that "level").

First, I think you misunderstand how the tables were created. There are only two "anchor" values for each column, i.e., the very highest value and the mid-point of the untrained range. Everything else has been filled in simply by interpolation. This in no way affects the validity of the tables for their intended purpose, which is to facilitate intraindividual comparisons, but it does mean that you shouldn't be interpreting them as you apparently are.

As for your specific question ("how does having the aerobic power necessary to compete at a given level affect your sprint power'), the best, and perhaps only, answer might be "inversely". That is, while it's unlikely that you're going to be sprinting on the road against someone who can generate 22-24 W/kg for 5 s, you might (e.g., against Nothstein when he was making the switch from match sprinter to criterium specialist). Moreover, you might just as easily find yourself sprinting against somebody who can generate 20 W/kg for that duration as somebody who can generate only 2/3's of that. IOW, while there is undoubtly a selection bias such that the extreme fast-twitchers aren't likely to be there at the end of a road event, this influence isn't so strong as to really guarantee that fact across categories (versus across events, where it very well could).

velomanct

New Member
acoggan said:
So by "normal" you mean "road only"? How, then, do you account for the fact that most people who race on the track also race on the road (and if one of them happens to be in your race, they're most likely the one you're going to have the hardest time beating in the sprint, individual pursuiters excepted)?

Another/a related factor to consider: the longer the race, the more it will disfavor those with a very high neuromuscular power. However, just because people like Boonen or Pettachi max out at ~20 W/kg (vs. the ~24 W/kg that a match sprinter might develop), that doesn't mean that in a shorter/local race you won't be going up against somebody whose 5 s power is, relatively speaking, higher than theirs.

Lastly, while the associated category guidelines are meant strictly as that, i.e., guidelines, even if you take them at face value they won't tell you what you want to know, since what distinguishes riders of different ability on the road is the aerobic half of the table. I'm a perfect example of that: my neuromuscular power is, and always has been, quite low, but I was a cat. 1 back in my youth, and still win my share of masters races today (though rarely, if ever, if it comes down to a sprint).

I've got Petacchi's 5 second power at ~23w/kg.
73kg
Stated is Velonews - 1600w over last 10 seconds of Tour stage. Max power of 1800w. Estimate 5 second power = 1700w. = 23.28 w/kg

I think the 1 minute and 5 second columns are just fine for analyzing road cyclist's power. The difference in absolute power comes down to the roadie being lighter, in general, to the trackie.

I know of a bunch of road sprinters who are well above 20w/kg for 5 seconds, and they are not pros. I did a little under 20w/kg during a 23 second hill sprint race, against mostly normal road riders. The guy who won, with virtually the same time as me, was a pro downhill mtn biker. There were a bunch of amatuer roadies who were only a couple seconds slower.

None of us were close to the ability of elite track sprint cyclists.

11ring

New Member
Where can i get the table???

acoggan said:
First, I think you misunderstand how the tables were created. There are only two "anchor" values for each column, i.e., the very highest value and the mid-point of the untrained range. Everything else has been filled in simply by interpolation. This in no way affects the validity of the tables for their intended purpose, which is to facilitate intraindividual comparisons, but it does mean that you shouldn't be interpreting them as you apparently are.

As for your specific question ("how does having the aerobic power necessary to compete at a given level affect your sprint power'), the best, and perhaps only, answer might be "inversely". That is, while it's unlikely that you're going to be sprinting on the road against someone who can generate 22-24 W/kg for 5 s, you might (e.g., against Nothstein when he was making the switch from match sprinter to criterium specialist). Moreover, you might just as easily find yourself sprinting against somebody who can generate 20 W/kg for that duration as somebody who can generate only 2/3's of that. IOW, while there is undoubtly a selection bias such that the extreme fast-twitchers aren't likely to be there at the end of a road event, this influence isn't so strong as to really guarantee that fact across categories (versus across events, where it very well could).

Alex Simmons

Active Member
11ring said:
Where can i get the table???
http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/profile.asp

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