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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-13-13, 04:25 AM   #1
Street Pedaler
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Do You Feel The Power?

Good morning, everybody, and happy Saturday

Before I ask this question, I should probably start with a disclaimer, so here it is- I do NOT race nor do I ever have plans to. The only race I run is against myself.

OK, now that that's out of the way, I read a lot on the various forums here about Power Meters. I'm curious to hear (read) your thoughts and opinions on them. For those of you who, like me, primarily ride for fitness and not competitively, do any of you use them? If so, how to you use the info they provide and incorporate it into your training?

I use a Cadence Sensor and HRM but have never really considered a Power Meter simply because I've always thought that they were more useful to competitive riders. Am I wrong in thinking this?

Anyway, more of just an academic question. I'd like to know what you think.

Smooth roads!
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Old 07-13-13, 08:51 AM   #2
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I don't compete, have no intention of competing, but I do use a Power Tap Pro+ power meter.

The biggest use, for me, is that it gives a much more accurate picture of calories burned than anything else I've tried.

I also find it to be an effective training tool. I don't do a whole lot of data analysis but I do know my FTP and that alone is a big help. I used to have a tendency to leave my driveway at top-speed, then burn out after a couple of miles of over-the-top effort. With the power meter, I now get immediate feedback on just how much energy I'm expending. That's a big help when tackling a long route or a new climb. I'm not a huge fan of intervals, but I do think the power meter makes them more effective. Again, it's the immediate feedback versus the lag you get with a heart-rate monitor.

Plus, it's just fun to play around with. You can answer questions like: does that new racing tire require less power than your previous tire? Do clipless pedals allow you to generate more power than platforms? How much power do you save when drafting someone? And so on.
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Old 07-13-13, 10:04 AM   #3
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I, like you, had thought that I would never use a power meter nor would I ever race at my advanced age and fatness.
That changed when I started ridding with folks that would be doing training rides. I'd ride with them and they'd be doing exact plans of what they wanted to do to become faster. Hanging around them showed me the value of a real plan to get faster and that the investment might be worth it. I can say 6 months later that it did indeed translate into more endurance and speed.

HR will always lag your the effort that you put out and depending on the time lag you could be burnt out before your HR is at it's peak. A good explanation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSqEAX9mRq8

So, in my opinion, if you want to get faster, you should invest in one and use it to train and ride. You will know your power zones and be able to ride within them.
For example; if I know my FTP is 200W I then know my power zones and can ride according to them. If I come to a long climb at the start or middle of a century I know I can put out a max of 150W, which is an endurance pace, and I won't suffer the rest of the ride.

There are a tonne of books and articles on training with a powermeter such as "Training and Racing with a Power Meter" by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan and a slew of stuff on the internet.

Good luck.
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Old 07-13-13, 11:58 AM   #4
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I recently got a power tap wheelset. The data is awesome if you're into that. It reports truth, if you're into that. pricey but fun is my opinion.
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Old 07-13-13, 05:00 PM   #5
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Good info, guys, and thanks. You've got me reconsidering what I thought I knew. I need to research them a bit more but it's definitely something that I feel is worth a deeper look into. Thanks again!
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Old 07-13-13, 06:58 PM   #6
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I do race and I don't use one. I train using fixed courses, a simple bike computer and a spread sheet. I have thought about getting one but that's as far as I've gone. I do well enough without spending the money on one, not that the money is a big deal as all my bikes are rather expensive, I just haven't felt that it would provide that great of an advantage for me.
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Old 07-13-13, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
I do race and I don't use one. I train using fixed courses, a simple bike computer and a spread sheet. I have thought about getting one but that's as far as I've gone. I do well enough without spending the money on one, not that the money is a big deal as all my bikes are rather expensive, I just haven't felt that it would provide that great of an advantage for me.
I'm not sure that one wouldn't be wasted on me. I can better understand how training could be enhanced after reading the first few replies here, but I'm not sure that, for what I do, it would really be necessary. Helpful, I'm sure, but not needed. Still, I'll read up on them. Thanks, Homeyba.
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Old 07-14-13, 12:46 PM   #8
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The power tap is a tool just like anything else. You'll get out of it what you put into it. I've been riding long enough that I'm very in tune with what my body is doing and am pretty good at setting a proper effort level when I race/ride. I see a lot of people throw a lot of money at tools that never get used or not used properly. I would say, that after you have done your research, a power tap may be a great investment for you if you're going to really use it.
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Old 07-14-13, 01:04 PM   #9
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I am another who does race, but doesn't have a power meter. I don't doubt the usefulness of powermeters, and I am well aware of the limitations of HR training, but as things stand I don't think my training or performance is limited by the lack of a PM.

Partly this is because I am experienced in HR training, I know enough to "aim off" for HR lag and cardiac drift, and so don't suffer too much from its supposed disadvantages. If your intention is simply to get fitter and faster, I'd recommend starting with a HRM and taking the time to learn how to use it. I have not yet exhausted its usefulness. I'm not ruling out buying a powermeter in the future, but there's still plentyof room for me to improve my performance without one.
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