Racing with power meter



Peter11

New Member
Dec 10, 2013
3
0
0
If you have power meter and you have raced with it. Tell about that. Road racing or time trialling.
If you dont have, you can still tell your opinions etc.
I have couple questions if some of you have raced with power meter.

I have some questions which you can answer. Lets think that the rider has 300w FTP.

1. Time trials; 1km-40km. How to use FTP/powermeter in different length time trials. Obviously you should be able to do more than 300w in example 20km time trial, but how much? What about shorter time trials? 10km tt? 1-5km tt?

2. Road racing; breakaways? solo breakaways?
 

tomw1974

New Member
Jan 10, 2011
48
0
6
The simple answer to #1 is that you'll never know until you do. Some people have incredible endurance and can hold very high percentages of their 20 minute power for the full hour. Some people have terrible endurance and cannot hold anywhere near it. FTP (60 minute power) is usually around 92 to 94% of 20 minute power (276 to 282 in this case), but only trying it out will tell you for sure.
 

smaryka

Member
Aug 18, 2009
186
8
18
A powermeter is all well and good, but your "internal pacer" is just as important. For me, the numbers are just there to show how good or **** I am on that day -- the perceived effort is the same whether I'm on a PB time for a 10 mile TT or 10% below what I should be able to do.

It's handy to have the data though, as you can use it in the early minutes of a TT to limit your efforts (not go out too hard), in the middle to keep pushing, and in the final minutes to eke out every last watt. Also useful if your TT has a headwind and tailwind section, or is rolling/hilly then flat, or whatever -- you can use it to get the most out of your effort depending on your own strengths and weaknesses.

For road racing, it's mostly on feel too for me -- again, my watts just show if I'm doing well, average, or badly. My best result last season in a big road race came where I bridged to the break for ~5 min on nothing more than threshold watts (all I could do!) but I kept going because the bunch let me go and I could see the break in sight and just needed to get to them before they crested the climb and went downhill (I'm a climber). From a numbers perspective, nothing special for me, but had I sat up once I saw I had nothing better than threshold watts to get across to the break, I would have missed out on a hard-earned 4th place in that race. Other times I've instigated a solo break early in a crit race and realised from the numbers that my legs were great and that just gave me more incentive to keep going and win.

YMMV but remember that powermeters and data are descriptive not prescriptive. You don't start/drop out of a break because the numbers are good/bad. You do it based on feel and what's going on in the race, and what the other riders do, same as you would if you had no powermeter. The numbers just help tell the story afterwards.

If you take my 60min/25mile TT power as 100%, then my best ~20min/10mile TT power has ranged from 105% to 112%. My best 10min/4mile TT was 122%. Those were all flat high-speed TTs though; uphill I can add another ~5% to all my values.
 

Alex Simmons

Member
Mar 12, 2006
2,471
20
38
Originally Posted by Peter11
If you have power meter and you have raced with it. Tell about that. Road racing or time trialling.
If you dont have, you can still tell your opinions etc.
I have couple questions if some of you have raced with power meter.

I have some questions which you can answer. Lets think that the rider has 300w FTP.

1. Time trials; 1km-40km. How to use FTP/powermeter in different length time trials. Obviously you should be able to do more than 300w in example 20km time trial, but how much? What about shorter time trials? 10km tt? 1-5km tt?

2. Road racing; breakaways? solo breakaways?
1. For road TTs, I use it to ensure I don't start too hard (the opening minutes your sense of exertion is way out of line with reality), or don't attempt to start a hill too hard for the length of hill, and for occasional checks to see if I'm keeping focussed. I also use it as regular cyclocomputer to check distance travelled and time.

For short TTs, these are usually on the track, and use of a visible display on the bike is not permitted. even if it were, power data isn't great for attempting to pace by on a track as it fluctuates a lot, speed is more helpful (lap splits from a caller are best). So the data is used more for post-hoc assessment of pacing strategy, and learning how to best pace the event.

2. Road racing is much more about reading the race and knowing thyself. Data is mostly used for post-hoc analysis.

The value in the data goes quite a long way beyond what you happen to do in real time while racing / riding. That's a pretty small part of the training with a power meter paradigm.
 

needmoreair

New Member
Oct 19, 2013
88
1
0
Originally Posted by Peter11


2. Road racing; breakaways? solo breakaways?
Doesn't really matter. In a road race, you either can go or you can't. And then there are all the times when even if you can go, you shouldn't.

Because road racing is a fickle, crazy entity. Which is why it's so awesome.
 

JibberJim

Member
Aug 25, 2009
146
5
18
Originally Posted by needmoreair


Doesn't really matter. In a road race, you either can go or you can't. And then there are all the times when even if you can go, you shouldn't.

Because road racing is a fickle, crazy entity. Which is why it's so awesome.
I often look at the power in handicaps, and realise very quickly that if I'm only rotating through at X watts, then it's doomed, and can then make the quick decision to attack your bunch or just give up like everyone else...
 

needmoreair

New Member
Oct 19, 2013
88
1
0
Originally Posted by JibberJim

I often look at the power in handicaps, and realise very quickly that if I'm only rotating through at X watts, then it's doomed, and can then make the quick decision to attack your bunch or just give up like everyone else...
That doesn't really make a lot of sense.
 

JibberJim

Member
Aug 25, 2009
146
5
18
Why?
Originally Posted by needmoreair

That doesn't really make a lot of sense.
Why? If I look down and see the on parts of the handicap are too slow, there's no point carrying on at the same intensity, you're just tiring yourself to be caught anyway... Attacking might break the group up enough to get a group who will work hard enough, or sitting on will allow me to be better rested for when it all comes together and can then attack with stronger riders from the later groups.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,057
183
63
Originally Posted by JibberJim

I often look at the power in handicaps, and realise very quickly that if I'm only rotating through at X watts, then it's doomed, and can then make the quick decision to attack your bunch or just give up like everyone else...
Your X watts on through-and-off is about 20 seconds of your best 1 minute pace, right?

Don't get all fancy like the guys on TV at the Tour. Hit it hard and get off the front. If the guy behind doesn't pull make some comment about racing like a school girl/that time of the month or if he's just a slacker. Make a note of those that work and those that don't and remember them for the next races, be social, have a chat after the races and say hi - it makes letting some guys know you want to get something organized in future races when you're on the road so much easier.

If you're with the 3rd or 2nd Cat guys and they're not pulling more than needed to bring you back then just use it as a learning experience. Wait for the 1st Cat train to arrive. When you rotate to the back of the bunch take a look back and try and be prepared for the "fun" when the express train runs through. DO NOT wait for the back of the line to pass before you give it some serious stick you or you'll never get on. Try and hang on for a lap or three - it's fun and a game changer.

If you're a 3rd Cat guy, when the 2nd Cats arrive - attack. Just nail it. As with the above, you'll be able to follow the faster lads and you'll help blow the slackers away.
 

smaryka

Member
Aug 18, 2009
186
8
18
Not sure where you race Swampy but there are handicaps around here where the scratch group won't catch the 2nds or 3rds. So with all due respect your paragraphs above (comments about schoolgirls and time of the month sound pretty lame btw) are full of sh!t. If you're in a group in a handicap where half aren't working and/or aren't strong enough to put in a decent turn, and you know it, why not attack your group and take a few with you? Why tow around everyone else? Oh yes the "learning experience" of course! ;)

Handicaps are about training around here, not about sitting in and waiting for the scratch group to arrive and decimate everyone. And if I wanted to ride around putting out threshold watts for 10secs once a minute, I wouldn't pay 15 quid for the privilege, I'd just go do my club's training night for free instead. The learning experience comes from knowing when to ride around waiting for the scratch group and when to leave the slackers behind and forge on to the group up the road if you feel like not many are actually contributing to your group.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,057
183
63
Either the 1st Cat lads have gotten slower, the 2nd's have got faster or the 1st Cats don't bother entering handicaps anymore. If there were 1st Cat lads halfway worth their salt and the handicapper didn't screw up too much, in most races it'd all come together in the last 1/4 of the event. I remember on weekends where there was nothing else to do, handicaps were just through and off training in an uncomfortable gear until the 2nd and 3rd were caught. Invariably handicaps were on flat courses and I'd be struggling for wheels like crazy in the last mile.

You ever jumped on the back of a 30 mph train when you only have 27mph legs? You won't be doing much but hanging on and the lads that just caught you know that and as long as you don't become a road hazard on wheels they'll probably not mind towing you around.

Sure, you can attack your bunch a million times and it'll be good training... By the sounds of it JabberJim discovered the curse of the lemmings - you jump and they all jump after you, no one keeps the pace up and you're back at square one. That seems typical around these parts too. Jim would probably be better off training his "hail Mary" last 4 minute effort with a ton of top end VO2 max work. At that point in the race either the lemmings are too cooked or they don't know whether they should jump with only 2 miles left as it's time to line up their "train" for their "sprint" guy - aka ride in a line at the same speed and launch the guy who won the sprint for donuts to 15th place.

It all depends on what plans you had for that race - a training race or something you targeted. If the prize money is fairly good then it's worth a dig or six.

We used to give each other a good ribbing - not sure what it's like in modern day namby pamby politically correct land. Insults galore when deemed necessary. More than a couple of elbows and ill-intended "leans" too. The term "school of hard knocks" was never more apt. Liverpool was the worst - if you didn't speak with that accent so exceeding rare, you got given a ton of grief and left to dry in the gutter in the Irish Sea breeze - or stuffed in the concrete benches on the prom at Southport...
 

smaryka

Member
Aug 18, 2009
186
8
18
Originally Posted by swampy1970
Either the 1st Cat lads have gotten slower, the 2nd's have got faster or the 1st Cats don't bother entering handicaps anymore. If there were 1st Cat lads halfway worth their salt and the handicapper didn't screw up too much, in most races it'd all come together in the last 1/4 of the event. I remember on weekends where there was nothing else to do, handicaps were just through and off training in an uncomfortable gear until the 2nd and 3rd were caught. Invariably handicaps were on flat courses and I'd be struggling for wheels like crazy in the last mile.

You ever jumped on the back of a 30 mph train when you only have 27mph legs? You won't be doing much but hanging on and the lads that just caught you know that and as long as you don't become a road hazard on wheels they'll probably not mind towing you around.

Sure, you can attack your bunch a million times and it'll be good training... By the sounds of it JabberJim discovered the curse of the lemmings - you jump and they all jump after you, no one keeps the pace up and you're back at square one. That seems typical around these parts too. Jim would probably be better off training his "hail Mary" last 4 minute effort with a ton of top end VO2 max work. At that point in the race either the lemmings are too cooked or they don't know whether they should jump with only 2 miles left as it's time to line up their "train" for their "sprint" guy - aka ride in a line at the same speed and launch the guy who won the sprint for donuts to 15th place.

It all depends on what plans you had for that race - a training race or something you targeted. If the prize money is fairly good then it's worth a dig or six.

We used to give each other a good ribbing - not sure what it's like in modern day namby pamby politically correct land. Insults galore when deemed necessary. More than a couple of elbows and ill-intended "leans" too. The term "school of hard knocks" was never more apt. Liverpool was the worst - if you didn't speak with that accent so exceeding rare, you got given a ton of grief and left to dry in the gutter in the Irish Sea breeze - or stuffed in the concrete benches on the prom at Southport...
I sense this story's been honed down at the pub over the years.... You must know a few guys in our club who hail from up there, from the sound of it. ;)
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,057
183
63
smaryka said:
  I sense this story's been honed down at the pub over the years.... You must know a few guys in our club who hail from up there, from the sound of it.  ;)
It's been toned down over the years, actually. That incident with the concrete sided bench - a "well" placed nudge on the bars of a friend and a broken collar bone. I loved sitting in my sweaty shorts in Southport royal infirmary. Just a farking hoot. There hard been more than couple of crits where people have been "leaned on" and "nudged" into the ditch and a few weeks or months later a 'racing incident'  would occur where revenge was mysteriously enacted.  Lost skin, cracked ribs, bruises that look like a rainbow that a cow **** on. Red and yellow and green and blue, brown and custard and beige.... If someone digs me in the ribs, I'm not going to waste the race commissaries time. But this was when Pro's like Jelle Nijdam would punch riders and Sean Kelly's KAS team would dispatch them in the ditch. Different time, different place, dinosaurs and men ruled the Earth and that m'larky... Well not really, have a read of Cav's book and you'll hear tales of him being slapped upside the head by an Euskatel rider in the peloton of the Tour and riders being "taken care of..'  I remember some guy smacking someone over the head with a wheel for Christs sake, in the Tour just a few years ago... Just because you're riding in womens Cat3 doesn't mean that somewhere someone is getting a dig in the ribs Vanderaerden style. Eric Vanderaerden was a Belgian hard b'stard that took no **** and duked it out with everyone that also wanted to win. If the road was 50 ft wide and you needed 51ft to win then you took 52. There were probably more skinned elbowed from attempts to stuff each other into the ditch than there were from crashes. I think it was in 85 that Guido Bontempi tried to pull a clever hook (hands off your bars and onto someone else's) to try and win a Giro stage and took out almost all of the peloton. People didn't ***** - "racing incident". Remember when Eric popped Kelly upside the head (and got it back in spades) during the 85 Tour? Remember Greg LeMond told a spectator that he'd punch them in the face? You probably don't... All of that filtered down it the pee-wee amateur ranks to some extent. ... now, someone pops their tyre and act of Congress awards them a prize equal to the winner. The picture that best defined that era: That was Hinault and he wasn't afraid to cast his will upon spectators or riders. That puss sack in the background is what riders have become... (that's Phil Anderson btw.)
 

JibberJim

Member
Aug 25, 2009
146
5
18
Originally Posted by swampy1970
Either the 1st Cat lads have gotten slower, the 2nd's have got faster or the 1st Cats don't bother entering handicaps anymore. If there were 1st Cat lads halfway worth their salt and the handicapper didn't screw up too much, in most races it'd all come together in the last 1/4 of the event. I remember on weekends where there was nothing else to do, handicaps were just through and off training in an uncomfortable gear until the 2nd and 3rd were caught. Invariably handicaps were on flat courses and I'd be struggling for wheels like crazy in the last mile.
If the handicapper is having the race come together with still a 1/4 of the race to go then it's a failure, that sounds like a scratchicap as they get called round here (officially a handicap as it's the only way you can have E's and 4ths in the same race, but with such small gaps that it's designed to all come together quickly) If it's handicapped well I'd say it should be coming together in the last lap, or really the group that manages to work best together should go the finish.

If it was through and off training I absolutely would've attacked (I actually always chose attack, attack, other than the one event which had a full Pro Tour Pro in it when no-one was even interested in rolling through at sub threshold) I typically had no problem with the E's and 1, I only ever got dropped once the E/1 group arrived, and that was after a long time in a 4-up after attacking my group and all the ones ahead - and it was only half the scratch group who made it up to us, still solo'd to the finish ahead of anyone behind.

Mind you, I've never seen a train in any of our handicaps, even the most organised of local teams just do h'caps for training...
 

needmoreair

New Member
Oct 19, 2013
88
1
0
Originally Posted by JibberJim
Why?

Why? If I look down and see the on parts of the handicap are too slow, there's no point carrying on at the same intensity, you're just tiring yourself to be caught anyway...
Because that's not how racing works and that's not necessarily the determining factor of a break being caught.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,057
183
63
JibberJim said:
If the handicapper is having the race come together with still a 1/4 of the race to go then it's a failure, that sounds like a scratchicap as they get called round here (officially a handicap as it's the only way you can have E's and 4ths in the same race, but with such small gaps that it's designed to all come together quickly)   If it's handicapped well I'd say it should be coming together in the last lap, or really the group that manages to work best together should go the finish. If it was through and off training I absolutely would've attacked (I actually always chose attack, attack,  other than the one event which had a full Pro Tour Pro in it when no-one was even interested in rolling through at sub threshold)  I typically had no problem with the E's and 1, I only ever got dropped once the E/1 group arrived, and that was after a long time in a 4-up after attacking my group and all the ones ahead - and it was only half the scratch group who made it up to us, still solo'd to the finish ahead of anyone behind. Mind you, I've never seen a train in any of our handicaps, even the most organised of local teams just do h'caps for training...
Nothing organized - people just doing through-and-off and giving it some welly. There's no pennies for the piggy bank if you don't catch the lads in front, right? I said "in the last 1/4" (ie normally in the last 10 miles) not come together with a 1/4 of the race left. Handicaps are always good training and are nearly always used that way unless it's something like the Eddie Soens memorial.
 

ambal

Active Member
Oct 15, 2010
905
33
28
Originally Posted by JibberJim

If the handicapper is having the race come together with still a 1/4 of the race to go then it's a failure, that sounds like a scratchicap as they get called round here (officially a handicap as it's the only way you can have E's and 4ths in the same race, but with such small gaps that it's designed to all come together quickly) If it's handicapped well I'd say it should be coming together in the last lap, or really the group that manages to work best together should go the finish.
Depends a lot on the conditions. Good conditions tend to favour the weak as fark outmarkers, lots of wind, rain favours the scratchies. I don't particually like racing them, but they're bloody good training.