Thresold Power more or less on hills?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by acrafton, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. acrafton

    acrafton New Member

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    Hello. Preparing to do my Threshold Wattage test following the Cyling Peaks formula (essentially a 20 min all out effort after warmup). Where I live there are really no flat areas, just hills and rolling hills. I plan to do a section that is 3.5 miles long, turn around and ride it back. It is constant up and down (again, rolling hills). In a practice run I noticed my watts went way up going uphill and way down (even with rapid peddling). So, my question is will this type of course reflect too high or too low Threshold - or just right? Also, is doing the test on a trainer equivalent?
     
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  2. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    Not sure what kind of responses that you are going to get, but my testing loop sounds like it is pretty close to what you have described. When I first tested on this rolling loop, the ride data showed that I was basically either cranking out some impressive watts or damn near coasting. There was very little in between.

    I found out over time that there is a cadence and gearing approach that I can use that levels out the power output over this rolling hills type of a loop. I spin faster and grind less over the climbs and then am able to continue pushing coming out of them so that my overall sustained power ends up being higher over the course of the test. In other words, I get less of a power spike grinding up the climbs but then don't have such a low number during the descents and transitions. I find that the only limitation using this method is how fast I can go coming off the climbs and still maintain control of the bike.

    On a flat section of road...that I had to drive across the county to find...my norm power and my average power over the course of the entire ride are close to identical. The first time that I tested on this rolling hills loop, there was about a 20% disparity between my norm power and the average from the entire ride. Now that I have gotten better at my spinning and gearing approach, I see that the norm power and average power are getting pretty close, even with the climbs and descents. At this point, I am getting closer and closer to the average power on either testing loop being about the same.

    On my CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer, I get a consistent norm versus average power over the same type of test. The average power consistently ranges to be about 7-10% less that what I would see out on the road test though.

    I have ended up keeping and tracking both indoor and outdoor test data so that I can gear my training accordingly whether I am riding on the road or inside. When I didn't I found that I was riding way too hard indoors in order to achieve the training power levels suggested by the data from my road tests. After several weeks of that I was seeing some clear signs of overtraining.

    Good questions! I will be interested to see what the gurus have to say. ;)
     
  3. jws

    jws New Member

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    Good question: I have this situation in hilly W PA. It's natural to see higher power uphill and see power quickly drop off over the top. The way I think of it is that it's hard to apply torque when you are chasing the pedal around the crank.

    What's happening is that the neuromuscular demands of the two situations are different. People that train a lot on the flat will usually be able to generate as much power as they can uphill, because their NM systems are trained for it.

    So the answer to your question is that your metabolic abilities will be reflected by the highest you can sustain for the duration. However, your NM abilities may limit how much of that metabolic ability you can use. The bottom line is that if you want to be able to perform on hilly terrain, train there to develop the NM abilities; if you want to crank out flat power, train that way, etc.

    All this said, remember that in hilly terrain you will be faster(the ultimate goal) if you put put more power uphill and recover slightly down. This is because the extra speed downhill is more costly in terms of power, because of the exponential effect of wind resistance.

    Check out this link:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~acoggan/quadrantanalysis/index.html
     
  4. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    You mean the Hunter Allen approach. :)

    It's confusing, but CyclingPeaks is a program that is intended to be as "method neutral" as possible...Hunter also runs the Peaks Coaching Group, and the method you describe is the one he uses, not one built-in to CyclingPeaks or necessarily advocated by all who have contribued to the program.
     
  5. Woofer

    Woofer New Member

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    For this reason I do almost all of my tests or intervals up hill. There is almost no place near me that is flat *and* safe to ride for a long enough time period to be a signficant interval. When you say hill, I assume this means something you can climb in less than 2-3 minutes?
     
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