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  1. #1
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    Why should I get a Powertap?

    Hey guys,

    I'm toying with the idea of buying a powertap and am trying to understand the benefits of using such a device in my training/racing. I'll be in Cat 4 this year and my coach trains primarily using heart rate. Power is helpful to him but comes into play mostly during intervals and assessing my recovery. It's pricey and I can afford it but it would count as a silver bullet with my wife (you only get so many per year!).

    So how has a Powertap helped your cycling?

    -s

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by spessx View Post
    Hey guys,

    I'm toying with the idea of buying a powertap and am trying to understand the benefits of using such a device in my training/racing. I'll be in Cat 4 this year and my coach trains primarily using heart rate. Power is helpful to him but comes into play mostly during intervals and assessing my recovery. It's pricey and I can afford it but it would count as a silver bullet with my wife (you only get so many per year!).

    So how has a Powertap helped your cycling?

    -s
    http://www.amazon.com/Training-Racin...3938781&sr=8-1
    Plus there's a lot of good general training information

  3. #3
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spessx View Post
    Hey guys,

    I'm toying with the idea of buying a powertap[COLOR="Silver"] and am trying to understand the benefits of using such a device in my training/racing. [
    OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by spessx View Post
    I'll be in Cat 4 this year and my coach trains primarily using heart rate.
    OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by spessx View Post
    Power is helpful to him but comes into play mostly during intervals and assessing my recovery. It's pricey and I can afford it but it would count as a silver bullet with my wife
    (you only get so many per year!).

    So how has a Powertap helped your cycling?

    -s
    Your answer lies within.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    OK.



    OK.



    Your answer lies within.
    Actually my answer lies in the cost versus benefit relationship of the Powertap. I know what the costs are which brings me back to my original question. How has a Powertap improved your cycling?

    -s

  5. #5
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    The biggest reason to buy a Power Tap is:

    • So you can post threads on BF prior to buying one asking if you should

    • Then you can post threads on BF about which Power Meter you should get

    • Then you can debate this issue ad nauseum

    • Then you can buy the Power Tap and post on BF about the schwag factor

    • Then you can look at how cool it looks on your bike (since you'll need an MIT undergrad degree to ever figure out how this gizmo can make you faster, NASA also holds seminars)

  6. #6
    Senior Member zimbo's Avatar
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    For me, a power meter is an extremely helpful training tool. My coach assigns me power-based workouts and reviews my power data. That said, I know lots of really good racers who don't own one and probably wouldn't get any better if they did own one.

    A power meter is not, as you suggest, a silver bullet. It's one of many available training tools (including "ride lots", heart rate training, intervals, genetics, a six-pack of cold beer, and the "you'll get laid if you win" ultimatim from the GF or SO).

    --Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    The biggest reason to buy a Power Tap is:

    • So you can post threads on BF prior to buying one asking if you should

    • Then you can post threads on BF about which Power Meter you should get

    • Then you can debate this issue ad nauseum

    • Then you can buy the Power Tap and post on BF about the schwag factor

    • Then you can look at how cool it looks on your bike (since you'll need an MIT undergrad degree to ever figure out how this gizmo can make you faster, NASA also holds seminars)
    Dont forget the charts!

  8. #8
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    The powertap (and any power thing) is more a way of measuring your output so your benefit from it is directly related to how you use it.

    Power is more immediately measurable than heart rate - so when you do a big interval using a power meter, you can steady your workload more effectively than if you had a heart rate monitor. With a power meter, you can hit your target (say 400w) and hold it. With a heart rate monitor, it's much less precise, and you'll probably go too hard at the beginning. In some of my hardest but shortest efforts, my hr barely gets moving while I'm going well into the 1000 watt range - it might go from 100-145 bpm but man I'm fried after the effort. Your hr monitor won't reflect that effort too accurately - it thought you just made a small effort.

    For me the power is fascinating, I enjoy trying to "peg the meter" in sprints or big pursuit type efforts, and I've learned that I work much harder than I think on climbs. I bought my PT in April, rode it from May till about 2 weeks ago, but due to lack of training (promote 6 week series of races, prep/sell house, move, wedding, and honeymoon in seven months this year) I didn't race well.

    What the PowerTap did to me specifically is make me realize that I want to know my power and heartrate for an entire ride (i.e. download it to the computer). Since I have a lot of wheels which are not PowerTap-able, I bought an SRM. Actually I bought an SRM bike - it was just a bit more than the SRM, and it's all new - and I can sell off the PT, a bike, and a few things off the SRM bike to help pay for it).

    summary:
    1. I love knowing power vs heartrate, full ride info (not just avg, max for speed/cad/hr).
    2. I think I can use power/heartrate data to train more effectively since I have more time.
    3. Due to the expense of converting many wheels, I am changing to a crank based power meter.
    4. PT is good if you have one or two wheelsets. If you have more, it may not be cost effective.

    I wrote a couple things on PT:
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...ertap-srm.html
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...wertap-sl.html
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...wertap-sl.html

    The second link has some interesting criticism on my use of the PT.

    cdr

  9. #9
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimbo View Post
    For me, a power meter is an extremely helpful training tool. My coach assigns me power-based workouts and reviews my power data. That said, I know lots of really good racers who don't own one and probably wouldn't get any better if they did own one.

    A power meter is not, as you suggest, a silver bullet. It's one of many available training tools (including "ride lots", heart rate training, intervals, genetics, a six-pack of cold beer, and the
    "you'll get laid if you win" ultimatim from the GF or SO).
    Pcad always got laid regardless. Thank God, I suck at bike racing, if I relied on results to swap for sex I'd be a friggin monk.

  10. #10
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    I couldnt justify the cost vs gain of buying a PT. I dont like data as it is and at this stage of racing wouldnt be much use to me.

  11. #11
    base training heretic Squint's Avatar
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    You don't see pronghorn antelopes with powermeters yet they're way faster than us.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squint View Post
    You don't see pronghorn antelopes with powermeters yet they're way faster than us.
    I've been citing the VO2Max of a Pronghorn Antelope on group rides lately ... I cant wait to try and convince someone that the antelope's vo2max was measured using a treadmill and breathing apparatus.

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    Dont forget the charts!
    Exactly


  14. #14
    A Member kukusz's Avatar
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    Top ten reasons to train with power...

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/defaul...lstory&id=3660

  15. #15
    cmh
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimbo View Post
    the "you'll get laid if you win" ultimatim from the GF or SO).

    --Steve
    For me it isn't a matter of whether I win or lose, it is showing up that counts. In other words - "you'll get laid if you skip the race and take care of the kids".

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    I've been citing the VO2Max of a Pronghorn Antelope on group rides lately ... I cant wait to try and convince someone that the antelope's vo2max was measured using a treadmill and breathing apparatus.
    How was it measured?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kukusz View Post
    Top ten reasons to train with power...

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/defaul...lstory&id=3660
    From a coach that charges more to "analyze" power data than HR. I love this part...


    2. A powermeter takes post race analysis to a whole new level by giving you and your coach something to analyze and serving as a common language for discussion. There is no more, “I got dropped.” A powermeter is brutally honest and now it’s “I got dropped because of x, y, and z”. More importantly it paves the way for adjusting your training to overcome those deficiencies.


    Still comes down to "I got dropped" unless you understand your body and true PE zones. "See now I can tell you got dropped cause your HR poped when you went up that hill thus your power dropped....... We need to work on hill training"

    lol

  18. #18
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    I think I am going to ask for one this Christmas....its just money...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
    Still comes down to "I got dropped" unless you understand your body and true PE zones. "See now I can tell you got dropped cause your HR poped when you went up that hill thus your power dropped....... We need to work on hill training"
    "I see from the power data that on this and the previous several hills you were below LT and not in any trouble. The big surge put you over VO2max power so you were relying on AWC. Since you weren't limited by aerobic power, but by your anaerobic capacity, we should cut back on the LT work and add some anaerobic training to the plan in the form of short intervals. For specificity, we'll do the intervals up hill."
    or
    "Though it might seem like you were dropped because you didn't have the anaerobic capacity to follow the surge over the top, I see from the data, that in fact you were over LT for about 10 minutes before the surge took place. The problem wasn't lack of AWC (which in fact is above average). The problem is a low LT causes you to dip into those reserves earlier than everyone around you so you have nothing left for surges. We need to work more on LT by doing long intervals and tempo rides.

  20. #20
    A Member kukusz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
    From a coach that charges more to "analyze" power data than HR. I love this part...
    Agreed. I was just posting it because the OP wants to put his mind at ease about spending the loot. That being said, I am investing in a powertap as well.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    How was it measured?
    I dont know. I've just been quoting Squint.

    LT / VO2 test..

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    "I see from the power data that on this and the previous several hills you were below LT and not in any trouble. The big surge put you over VO2max power so you were relying on AWC. Since you weren't limited by aerobic power, but by your anaerobic capacity, we should cut back on the LT work and add some anaerobic training to the plan in the form of short intervals. For specificity, we'll do the intervals up hill."
    or
    "Though it might seem like you were dropped because you didn't have the anaerobic capacity to follow the surge over the top, I see from the data, that in fact you were over LT for about 10 minutes before the surge took place. The problem wasn't lack of AWC (which in fact is above average). The problem is a low LT causes you to dip into those reserves earlier than everyone around you so you have nothing left for surges. We need to work more on LT by doing long intervals and tempo rides.

    Point being that if I get dropped in a race and am honest with my PE, HR, and in my case GPS data it will show my coach several indicators as to my weak area and what we need to do to fix it. Another gague to help pinpoint what the issue is sure would be nice but im not to that point yet... Maybe one day

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
    Point being that if I get dropped in a race and am honest with my PE, HR, and in my case GPS data it will show my coach several indicators as to my weak area and what we need to do to fix it. Another gague to help pinpoint what the issue is sure would be nice but im not to that point yet... Maybe one day
    PT memory is way better than human memory. And it isn't influenced by outside factors, which us humans sure can be.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfro View Post
    PT memory is way better than human memory. And it isn't influenced by outside factors, which us humans sure can be.
    I'd add that memory and perceived exertion have their limits. Angie Vargas was a top pursuiter for years but never won the National title under her old coach. They were convinced she was limited by her anaerobic capacity. When she changed coaches and got more data, it became clear it was aeorobic, not anaerobic power that was her limiter, she changed her training and won the title the next year. No amount of heart rate data or PE would have been able to separate out these two effects.

  25. #25
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spessx View Post
    Actually my answer lies in the cost versus benefit relationship of the Powertap. I know what the costs are which brings me back to my original question. How has a Powertap improved your cycling?

    -s
    i wish could give you an answer.

    i wish i had one.

    i keep thinking i should get a power meter, although i'd prefer to get an SRM.

    the thing is, i should be blowing that kind of cash on my work, not my toys.

    now that i've got that off my chest, i'll just point out the fact that you're a brand spanking new cat 4 with a wife and a coach.

    that means that you're too old to be a pro, but have the cash and interest in going as far as you can with riding.

    my first instinct tells me to suggest passing on the power tap. this forum already has far too many newbies with more toys than ability.

    that said (or typed as the case may be), if you've got the cash, and the time to commit to getting the most out of the PT, i'd say go for it.

    that is all.

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