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  1. #1
    Dancing on the Pedals Corsaire's Avatar
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    WATTS OUTPUT - The Real Deal

    This is a quote from G. Lemond:
    "It's amazing how little real knowledge there is in cycling about power output. Everybody talks about heart rate, and heart rate is important. But when you look at performance, it's real simple. It's how many watts you produce. I know riders who say, 'I can ride for 30 minutes at 190 beats per minute.' So what? You can ride at 190 bpm and still be putting out only 200 watts. A heart-rate monitor alone is never the best measure in cycling. There's wind, hills, drafting. You never can really tell how you're riding. In February, I got sick. I could tell I was getting sick right away. I could tell something was going on before I got sick. With a heart-rate monitor, you could train, and your heart rate would be high, and you would think things were fine. My heart rate was fine, but I could see my power output drop dramatically. Your performance doesn't exactly match your heart rate like everybody thinks. I've ridden at 180 bpm for 30 minutes in a climb during race, and I was at 330 watts of power output the who way up to the climb. For me, that was poor. The next day, we came up the other side of the same mountain, and I produced 60 watts more at a lower heart rate."

    Based on this comment:
    What's the best training technique to develop/gain more Power Output (wattage) for the average roadie ??
    Has anybody underwent an specific training to do this in the past?

    My gut feeling is that weight training has a lot to do with this.

    Comments ?

    Corsaire
    "Eat breakfast boys, eat hearty...for tonight WE DINE IN HELL!!!"
    King Leonidas

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    I agree whole heartedly with what lemond says there. Theres this guy that i ride with, with a similar max HR, but my LT is about 5-10 beats higher then his. however, he puts a lot more power per pound out when he's at his LT, and as a result, he kicks my butt when the road turns up...

    I think that the power you put out can be improved by weight training, however, you must remember that power isn't torque. a honda S2000 can put out over 200 horsepower, from a tiny engine in the 2 liter range. it doesn't make that horsepower by grinding away, and having each cylinder make a lot of power per stroke. it makes that power by doing a lot of strokes, which add up to do a lot of work.

    bottom line, it takes more power to spin the gear that you normally turn at 100 then 90, and usually, its not your legs burning when you do that, its your lungs. I think that with interval training, you can increase your power without having to add muscle mass, since there are some of us like myself (180 lbs) cant really afford much extra weight on out bodies.

  3. #3
    Dude who rides bike BikeInMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corsaire
    Based on this comment:
    What's the best training technique to develop/gain more Power Output (wattage) for the average roadie ??
    Has anybody underwent an specific training to do this in the past?

    My gut feeling is that weight training has a lot to do with this.

    Comments ?

    Corsaire

    Intervals and a structured training plan are the best way to increase wattage plain and simple. It's what everyone who races is trying to do. My personal opinion on weight training and wattage is that for a road racer who has pretty solid core strength, it has limited value. I know Friel and most other coaches will push weight room work but I know guys who do TONS more with weights than I do and don't put out nearly the amount of power I can.

    So Intervals, specifically 2x20s at FT and do it with a power-meter to increase. You don't need a power-meter but it helps. It isn't that simple of course but thats a good place to start.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    If you want to increase your wattage, just put a different bulb in.

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    First, you need a power meter to train with power. You have to know what watts you are producing first. Training with power means that you have to work a lot harder than with a HRM. For example, on your interval training with a HRM. 20 minutes into your ride you notice that you are slightly faster and your legs feeling less sore or burn. You thought your body is either getting stronger or you are well warmed up. Your HR didn't change much. If you have a power meter, one glance at it you notice you are producing less watts than before. This can be the result of sudden wind change or the road is much flatter than before. To keep the power output consistent with the training goal (let's say you are trying to keep at 240 watts), you downshift and pedaling a bigger gear. With a HRM, you never notice this subtle changes in your preceived exhaustion level. Training with power is very personal specific in relation to your weight. The heavier you are, the more power you can generate. That does not mean you will ride fast. Don't brag about how many watts you can produce without mention your weight. If you weight 130lb and can generate an average power in hour of 350watts, you are probably a Cat1 or Cat2 racer.

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    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Several years ago I fell into the HR trap and only trained using HR. I've learned that it's all about wattage. HR is is important in other ways, like gaging how tired I am. When doing hill repeats and the like I only pay attention to my output and dissregard my HR entirely. For example I try to maintain 320+ watts for the entire climb. At the begining I might be at 120bpm ( I have a very low max HR 171bpm ) and at the end be at 169. If I worked off of HR I might be at 450 watts a the begining but would be down to 200 watts a the end. I've done back to back tests and my times are much slower when using HR instead of watts.

    I hired a coach three weeks ago and the first thing he asked me was if I trained with watts or HR. He was very happy to hear that I use watts as that is the most accurate mesure of how you are performing.

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    Dancing on the Pedals Corsaire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Rodies
    Several years ago I fell into the HR trap and only trained using HR. I've learned that it's all about wattage. HR is is important in other ways, like gaging how tired I am. When doing hill repeats and the like I only pay attention to my output and dissregard my HR entirely. For example I try to maintain 320+ watts for the entire climb. At the begining I might be at 120bpm ( I have a very low max HR 171bpm ) and at the end be at 169. If I worked off of HR I might be at 450 watts a the begining but would be down to 200 watts a the end. I've done back to back tests and my times are much slower when using HR instead of watts.
    I hired a coach three weeks ago and the first thing he asked me was if I trained with watts or HR. He was very happy to hear that I use watts as that is the most accurate mesure of how you are performing.
    Very interesting. That explains the other day me and this fellow rider hit the base of this long hill (he's been a racer before and have been riding much longer that I have), I started very good, I knew he's in the same aerobic capacity range I am, perhaps I have more capacity because I've run a marathon, also been a runner for a long time. By half the hill we were still side by side, but I noticed that although I was breathing good, his "punch" or torque didn't drop, mine did, he started to drop me little by little. I could tell that his legs' punch (wattage) was much more than what I had. I want to improve that....my training so far is been solely with a Polar HRM.
    Keep it coming......
    Corsaire
    "Eat breakfast boys, eat hearty...for tonight WE DINE IN HELL!!!"
    King Leonidas

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    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    it would be great to have a power meter, but how much are they?
    Do you have to change your cranks?

  9. #9
    Senior Member formulaben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    I agree whole heartedly with what lemond says there. Theres this guy that i ride with, with a similar max HR, but my LT is about 5-10 beats higher then his. however, he puts a lot more power per pound out when he's at his LT, and as a result, he kicks my butt when the road turns up...

    I think that the power you put out can be improved by weight training, however, you must remember that power isn't torque. a honda S2000 can put out over 200 horsepower, from a tiny engine in the 2 liter range. it doesn't make that horsepower by grinding away, and having each cylinder make a lot of power per stroke. it makes that power by doing a lot of strokes, which add up to do a lot of work.

    bottom line, it takes more power to spin the gear that you normally turn at 100 then 90, and usually, its not your legs burning when you do that, its your lungs. I think that with interval training, you can increase your power without having to add muscle mass, since there are some of us like myself (180 lbs) cant really afford much extra weight on out bodies.
    Raw wattage is great if you're powering a hair dryer, but in this case, just like a vehicle, the power is only half of the basic performance formula: weight is the other. I would add that although Lemond is correct, a more accurate method could be used to measure performance instead of power, because in the end it is the performance that really matters.

    Performance would be indexed: wattage per pound per hour (wattage/lb/hr.) It would be an index that accounts for the weight of a rider to determine performance instead of just power. The relevance? Well, Lance and Jan may produce the same exact wattage for a given ride, but since Lance is lighter, his performance is higher. It would make for a fairer comparison for all riders on the tour regardless of size, because obviously Tyler Hamilton's wattage will be considerably different than Jan Ullrich's.

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    I would recommand a PowerTap hub/wheel. http://www.cycleops.com/index.html How much??? The PowerTap Pro model is about $970 built with a Mavic Open Pro rim. $650 for the older PowerTap model. You can get them used off Ebay for $200 to $300 less. I just got the PowerTap SL last month and it costs a lot. There are cheaper alternatives like the Polar Power unit ($300) coupled with the 720+ HRM model ($300). However, many like the PowerTap because it is easier to setup and less wiring.

  11. #11
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corsaire
    Very interesting. That explains the other day me and this fellow rider hit the base of this long hill (he's been a racer before and have been riding much longer that I have), I started very good, I knew he's in the same aerobic capacity range I am, perhaps I have more capacity because I've run a marathon, also been a runner for a long time. By half the hill we were still side by side, but I noticed that although I was breathing good, his "punch" or torque didn't drop, mine did, he started to drop me little by little. I could tell that his legs' punch (wattage) was much more than what I had. I want to improve that....my training so far is been solely with a Polar HRM.
    Keep it coming......
    Corsaire
    Last week I did a climb with a buddy in L.A. and it was very simular. He's a new Cat 3 (just moved up this season) and I'm currently a Cat 5 (will cat up in two more races). We were dead even over the first 3 miles but his breathing was much more aggressive and I can only assume his HR was at a higher % then what I was at. I never put in any more effort just kept my watts within a 50 watt range and by the end (6 miles total) I had almost 60 sec on him. We are both around 150 pounds and his bike is easily 2 pounds lighter than mine. He doesn't have watts on his bike yet (Polar S720) but I think he was going harder at the bottom than I was. In his defence I'd say he could drop me in a sprint, I'm not much of a sprinter which is why my coach has me doing weights at the gym.

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    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R600DuraAce
    I would recommand a PowerTap hub/wheel. http://www.cycleops.com/index.html How much??? The PowerTap Pro model is about $970 built with a Mavic Open Pro rim. $650 for the older PowerTap model. You can get them used off Ebay for $200 to $300 less. I just got the PowerTap SL last month and it costs a lot. There are cheaper alternatives like the Polar Power unit ($300) coupled with the 720+ HRM model ($300). However, many like the PowerTap because it is easier to setup and less wiring.
    Yeah the PowerTap is more accurate than the Polar which is more accurate than the HAC4. But the best of the best is the SRM Pro which costs a ton of money, about $2600.00.

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    Coastal NC oneradtec's Avatar
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    Your power output improves by riding. Riding your bike is much more productive at making you a better cyclist than by weight traing. Weight training is not very cycling specific. Greg Lemond never lifted weights during his career. He said once that he did his resistance trainig on the bike.

    Some of your largest power gains will come during your early base miles believe it or not. In prior seasons I would make exceptional gains in watt output while going out solo and doing long slow distances during my early base training. There are many obstacles out on the open road that will stimulate power adaptations..such as wind, hills, and the mere presence of the asphalt under your wheels... etc.

    also, watts are important..but it is equally important to be able to sustain a certain wattage output. This is where the cardio-vascular-respiratory-neurological systems come into play. It is important that all these systems are trained...because they all play an important role in power output...and the ability to sustain that power output. Cycling performance is like a 4 legged stool...and each leg is equally important. Try sitting on a 4 legged chair after removing one of the legs.

    Another often overlooked area is economy or effeciency. A more economical or effecient cyclist can do the same amount of work as a less effecient cyclist while using less energy.

    Cycling is so much more than raw power. There are a lot of technical factors that improve or impede peformance. The most powerful cyclist is not always the best cyclist...just as the biggest strongest boxer is not always a champion. perhaps such a boxer comes up against a less powerful fighter..but one more technically skilled and better conditioned and more intelligent. The brawler is usually no match for such an opponent. It's the same in cycling. It doesn't matter if you are the most powerful sprinter if you are unable to unleash that sprint at the front of the group in sight of the finish....after racing hard for 150 miles. No, usually many of the 'power mongers' have usually long sinced exhaustred their tanks and are languishing at the back of the peloton when the real contenders are moving to the front to contest the victory.

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    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Rodies
    Yeah the PowerTap is more accurate than the Polar which is more accurate than the HAC4. But the best of the best is the SRM Pro which costs a ton of money, about $2600.00.
    Hmmmm........there's the problem right there

    It would be great for all of us to be constantly monitoring our output, but for that money........

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    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie
    Hmmmm........there's the problem right there

    It would be great for all of us to be constatnly monitoring our output, but for that money........

    Which is why I went with the HAC4. Full bike computer w/HR/Watts and downloadable for under 300 bucks. It does everything as well as the Polar unit does but it's not as accurate. Last month I did side by side test with one of my teamates. He has the Polar S720 with watts. We are about the same weight, bike and rider and about the same age 43/45. We did a climb of just under 2 miles and maintained the same speed and gear while riding next to eachother. At the top we checked our measurments. His max wattage was 580 watts with an average of 420. Mine was quite a bit less 420/270 respectively. I can only guess that the Polar units way of calculating watts (chain tension) is more accurate than the HAC 4 which uses gradient/speed/virtual wind resistance.

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    I found this web page which explains all the details of calculating your wattage (http://www.mayq.com/Best_european_tr...speed_math.htm). For those of us without bike computers which do it for us it at least may allow you to get a ballpark idea of what is going on. You will need to have at least completed algebra 1 to understand this, but it is not too bad with the examples in both imperial and metric. My feeling is that once you know your course you can get a reasonable idea of the watts after a ride if you can keep track of some of the times and conditions. If nothing else I found it interesting.

    Andy
    He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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    Is an investment. Not a toy. There is no reason recreational riders would need to train with power. If you race or compete and want to unleash whatever physical potential you have, train with power. You also have to learn how to use and train with a power meter. http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/ is a good place to start if you can't afford a coach.

    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie
    Hmmmm........there's the problem right there

    It would be great for all of us to be constantly monitoring our output, but for that money........

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    This site is pretty accurate too:

    http://www.exploratorium.edu/cycling...dynamics1.html

    Quote Originally Posted by NzAndy
    I found this web page which explains all the details of calculating your wattage (http://www.mayq.com/Best_european_tr...speed_math.htm). For those of us without bike computers which do it for us it at least may allow you to get a ballpark idea of what is going on. You will need to have at least completed algebra 1 to understand this, but it is not too bad with the examples in both imperial and metric. My feeling is that once you know your course you can get a reasonable idea of the watts after a ride if you can keep track of some of the times and conditions. If nothing else I found it interesting.

    Andy

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    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    what's the least amount of money I can spend on one that's accurate enough?

    That 300 buck one that 2Roadies has?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Rodies
    Which is why I went with the HAC4. Full bike computer w/HR/Watts and downloadable for under 300 bucks. It does everything as well as the Polar unit does but it's not as accurate. Last month I did side by side test with one of my teamates. He has the Polar S720 with watts. We are about the same weight, bike and rider and about the same age 43/45. We did a climb of just under 2 miles and maintained the same speed and gear while riding next to eachother. At the top we checked our measurments. His max wattage was 580 watts with an average of 420. Mine was quite a bit less 420/270 respectively. I can only guess that the Polar units way of calculating watts (chain tension) is more accurate than the HAC 4 which uses gradient/speed/virtual wind resistance.
    the problem with the HAC4 is when you are riding into the wind, which I seem to do an unreasonable amount of the time, at least in my opinion. I was riding with this guy (same one as in the first reply) and he's got a HAC4...we were hammering into this really awful headwind at around 17 mph or so, and it was really hard, my HR was around 80%...anyway...I remembered his HAC4 and I asked, "so how much power you makin? 400watts or so?" he goes, "well...its actually like 150..." and that totally demoralized me...

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    Try this site http://www.midweekclub.ca/powerFAQ.htm#Q1

    I would see if I can a used PowerTap or PowerTap Pro wheel. If not, you can get a new one for a little less here http://www.analyticcycling.com/Cycle...pProducts.html

    Although the Polar is somewhat cheaper, the cost does not include the cadence kit. You also need a Polar s720 HRM model and the Power unit. Total comes out to $630+. Then, you probably need to spend couple of hours setting the unit up and it is not gurantted to work right off also. That was I like the Powertap but my wheel choice is restricted. I don't think I will win or lose a race because the wheels I am using.

    Don't the HAC because it does not really measure watts. The power feature only kind of works when you are climbing. On the flats, I don't even know if it could report watts at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie
    what's the least amount of money I can spend on one that's accurate enough?

    That 300 buck one that 2Roadies has?

  22. #22
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    how do they estiamte these outputs for the hour records?
    I'm pretty sure they didn't have SRMs on their bikes

    http://www.bikecult.com/bikecultbook...cordsHour.html

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    Probably an after thought and using real mathmatical formula to calculate the wattage.

    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie
    how do they estiamte these outputs for the hour records?
    I'm pretty sure they didn't have SRMs on their bikes

    http://www.bikecult.com/bikecultbook...cordsHour.html

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    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by R600DuraAce
    Try this site http://www.midweekclub.ca/powerFAQ.htm#Q1

    I would see if I can a used PowerTap or PowerTap Pro wheel. If not, you can get a new one for a little less here http://www.analyticcycling.com/Cycle...pProducts.html
    .
    Thanks

  25. #25
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    the problem with the HAC4 is when you are riding into the wind, which I seem to do an unreasonable amount of the time, at least in my opinion. I was riding with this guy (same one as in the first reply) and he's got a HAC4...we were hammering into this really awful headwind at around 17 mph or so, and it was really hard, my HR was around 80%...anyway...I remembered his HAC4 and I asked, "so how much power you makin? 400watts or so?" he goes, "well...its actually like 150..." and that totally demoralized me...
    There in lies the problem with the HAC4. Since the HAC uses a combination of gradient/speed/virtual wind resistance you could be riding into a 40mph head wind on a flat road and it think you are only putting out 50 watts. What I do is use the HAC within the same training session rather than against previous ones. That way I'm getting reletive information. The Polar unit uses chain tension which is more accurate but not as accurate as the PowerTap.

    When comparing the two units, Polar and HAC, the advantage overall goes to the HAC. It has better graphs and has gradient % and overall is a better bargin ($$$). This is another reason I went with the HAC because I could download all the info into one graph. The PowerTap and SRM units are watts only. watts are the most important, and you've narrowed it down to just these two I'd go with the Polar. If watts is all you care about then the PowerTap is best bargin but the SRM is the best unit. If you want to be able to download your bike info and your HR info you'd have to spend in excess of $1000.00 for the PowerTap and a downloadable HR monitor. Having said that I would probably do just that if I were doing it all again. I would go with the SRM and a Polar HR monitor that had downloadable capabilities.
    Last edited by 2Rodies; 02-23-05 at 08:24 PM.

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