Powermeter usage among pros

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by SolarEnergy, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Would anyone know about the power meter usage among pros? For instance, on TDF, who (among higher profile riders) are using one?

    If anyone knows how they get used too? How much of the whole train with power concept is getting tested by these folks? Just pure curiosity.
     
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  2. sergen

    sergen New Member

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    A lot more pros are training with them than actually racing with them. If you look at the Tour right now, Liquigas, Milram and Colombia seem to have SRMs on their bike. The Garmin riders can use the powertaps with their computer units but most seem to choose not to (weight penalty perhaps?). Likewise, most of the Silence Lotto riders except Charlie Wegelius use the yellow Powertap CPU but not the powermeter itself.

    Saxo Bank, Rabobank, Astana - these are 3 teams I can think of who definitely use power for training but not during races (although Chris Anker Sorenson has the SRM head unit discreetly hidden underneath his saddle because his data appears on Training Peaks). I would speculate this to be the result of existing sponsorship agreements with other bike computer suppliers.
     
  3. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    I came to the same conclusion.

    Would this be because they don't see enough benefits in using 'em while racing?
     
  4. Hunter w/kg

    Hunter w/kg New Member

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    The reason most don't use them in races is because of sponsor conflicts. I have a very well known client that religiously trains with his power meter, but can't use it at races because the computer head unit covers up the handlebar logo of one of the sponsors of the team. The owner of this component company supposedly pitched a fit when he saw that his company name wasn't visible because of the power meter computer.

    Also, it adds an additional layer of complication for the mechanics. Pro team Mechanics routinely break wires, smash magnet holders and get stuff wet, and if you have a power meter that needs some love, you aren't likely to get it unless you do it yourself. Only the most hardcore power meter users will goto that length in a 21 day stage race.

    Hunter
     
  5. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Thanks Hunter

    To the best of your knowledge, would that be fair to state that most riders that use a PM also bought the TSS concept as well and are therefore likely using wko+?
     
  6. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    Most pro riders have a coach who tells them what they should be doing. Typically, it involves giving them a target kJ number and some direction with intervals.

    I'm sure a good number of them could care less about TSS/etc unless, like Hunter said before, they are "the most hardcore power meter users."
     
  7. bubsy

    bubsy New Member

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    Yep 15-30hrs a week on a bike and the last thing l'd be interested in is looking at is charts and graphs, hell it takes a lot of bootie shakin to get me interested in anything more than food, a good DVD and a comfy sofa on 12hrs a week!
     
  8. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Not the rider's responsibility anyway.
     
  9. runna

    runna New Member

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    Is it because powermeters have not a lot of value for actually racing, they are only valuable for analysing the race afterwards? i.e. A powermeter isn't going to tell you when you are going to blowup, but a heart rate meter will, and in racing you are competing against other riders not against yourself which is what you do when training with a powermeter?
     
  10. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Certainly that perception exists among amateur racers, IOW, if it won't help me go faster today, why use it? So it probably exists doubly for pros, many of whom got to the pro level without that kind of data and learned to train and race effectively without the numbers. And you're right, the PM isn't all that useful in most mass start racing situations while you're actually racing.

    But that data is incredibly useful after the fact and I'm sure many pro coaches would like to have that data to review to find out what went right or wrong, how the athlete's fitness is progressing, whether the peaking plan for major events is working, etc. And even during races the PM is pretty darn useful in TTs or solo breakaway efforts to keep a sanity check on pacing.

    Given his pro racing and coaching experience I've gotta believe Hunter has a pretty good read on why pros do or don't use PMs in races.

    -Dave
     
  11. runna

    runna New Member

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    I guess that's why the aussie track squad mount their SRMs under their saddles.
     
  12. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    Huh? You train AND race with a powermeter (just ask H. Allen & A. Coggan), and yes, it will tell you when you're going to blow up. And you better be competing against yourself and your own limits if you wanna last in a race.
     
  13. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    They do that simply because the UCI won't let them put the computer on the handlebars.
     
  14. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Agreed, and his input kind of made sense (at least to me).

    On the other hand, I am not entirely sure that all coaches/riders in the pro crowd are convinced about the importance of post-race data analysis. Guess it's just a matter of time.

    Also, and that can play big role I guess, there's something probably little taboo in the idea of pacing yourself (in racing situations) using an external tool, whatever this tool may be and no matter how accurate it is. People seem to be scared that it may stop the rider from givin' all he really got in the legs. There's probably little bit of this too, and I would understand although I would disagree.
     
  15. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Some riders probably do overly limit their efforts based on tools like PMs. Looking back through very old training logs I'm convinced I did exactly that by trying to pace TTs by HR back in the day.

    The prevailing opinion among time trialers I know that use PMs is to keep a loose eye on it during the first few minutes of longer TTs but to transition to RPE based pacing with only the occaisonal glance at the PM to avoid late race fading. Not many people advocate strict power based pacing for the entire TT and once you're past the first five to seven minutes it's a lot harder to accidentally go way beyond target pace.

    But it's funny because the UCI has a history of taking exactly the opposite view during hour record attempts. Several riders challenging the hour record have not been allowed to use their PMs as it can be construed as a pacing aid under the rules. They can have their coach calling lap splits, but the UCI apparently fears that the PM would create an unfair pacing advantage.

    -Dave
     
  16. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    That though was even worst, due to HR drift, unless of course that you were not trying to ride iso-hr. Power based tools probably inherited from bad reputation of HR based tools.

    And even then, I remember recently having had a little argument with a French rider arguing that PM would only be useful for TTs in racing situation. No matter what Allen and Coggan think about it, convincing this guy about the benefits of racing with it seemed to be an impossible sell.

    If you ask me, I'd say that using PM for pacing will help those that are less experimented saving time in learning how to pace, given they use it exactly like you suggest. You go RPE, and sometimes a quick look at PM in order to reconcile RPE with actual reality.

    What I mean by saving time is that take the 180k TT part of an IM tri, no way that an experimented rider can pace this RPE alone. No way!! 'd better rely on AP than on RPE alone in this case (and for the first 10 IMs at the very least, and on unknown courses as well).

    Anyway, a lot of riders probably reconcile RPE with actual speed. RPE often have to be validated against something.
     
  17. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    I have previously made the observation that getting pacing wrong is far more likely when you need to (strategically) ride sub-maximally for the distance/duration, which is the case for an IM bike leg, since you are trying to minimise time but ensure you don't end up walking half the marathon that follows.

    When going maximally for the duration (such as in 10- and 25-mile TTs), then, apart from novice pacing mistakes like going out too hard, in general you are more likely to pace better because you at/very near your limit and it is actually far harder to go harder, our physiology governs our pacing to a degree. IOW, at FTP or 10-mile TT power, it's darn hard to put another 20W down for more than a few minutes as you'll be forced back to ride at/within your limits.

    But when riding at IM power levels, putting down another 20W is not only entirely feasible, it can happen for a far longer duration quite easily, and end up costing you big time at the back end of the event.

    In TTs, the opening minutes a PM is very handy and thereafter a guide to the first metres of a big hill perhaps and as a bit of info/motivation/concentration aid. In IM/HIM racing, it is very useful throughout the bike leg.
     
  18. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Shhhh, I can assure for more than one reason it was far better to have Jayson's SRM under his saddle than on his handlebars during his hour record and for pacing guidance to come from me trackside.
     
  19. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Could you develop on what these reasons might be?

    On track, I guess pacing can be time based?

    Never done any track, but in the pool we pace ourselves using a huge 4arrow clock. They'd give me the choice between power and time base pacing, I'd certainly pick time based.

    Would trackers use such a clock to pace based on lap splits?
     
  20. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    3 main reasons:

    1. Self pacing in an event like this is not Jays strong suit. So a method by which I would provide feedback: visual (large printed cards showing lap splits to 0.1 sec); verbal (shouting "easy", "steady", "good", that's good", "spot on" etc); hand signals; and a lap split pacing strategy that both rider and coach were very clear on. We knew based on environmental conditions and previous training what made sense and what didn't on the day and we adjusted accordingly.

    2. Jays needed to focus on being consistent, and chasing power meter numbers is not the way to do that. Even on a supposedly dead flat TT, power still fluctuates, especially in/out of bends, and all that does is make one even more variable as they chase their power tails. So lap splits made more sense and was effectively providing him with an "18-19 second rolling average" of his effort. Much better to make moderations to effort when you are thinking about a change in effort over a whole lap or so rather than over a few seconds. Once I took the PCV out of sight, Jays leaned to pace very, very consistently using my cues.

    I knew that he would be up and down on laps splits at the start but it would settle with strong feeback from me. Once into a rhythm, he could than make very subtle changes to effort and that would adjust lap times to suit. Indeed he often said that if he drifted out by 0.1-0.2 he wouldn't necessarily pedal harder but turtle a fraction more than typically comfortable for a lap or two and without trying he would bring lap times down again while he got back to concentrating on pedalling.

    3. Aerodynamics, on 3 fronts:
    i. most importantly, whenever the meter was on the bars, however hard we tried, Jays would keep looking at it and that would tilt the rear of his helmet up into the air. Not good.
    ii positioning of PCV on the bars we settled on (a BC design) meant some compromises in comfort/position etc and it was primarily important that his position was perfect for him. It also meant wiring was more exposed, compared to the saddle mount position where the wiring could run up the inside of the curved seat tube, well out of the air flow.
    iii while I can't say for certain, the way I mounted the PCV under the saddle, it almost became an extension of the aero shaped seat tube and I can't think it did any damage to his aero
     
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