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  1. #1
    Looking for more watts
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    Will a powertap really help me improve?

    I've been riding seriously for 3 years and get about 250-300 hours of training/year. I have begun racing criteriums in cat 5 as well as TT's in the 10-30k range. My results have been OK but nothing great. Since I have limited training time I'm wondering if I can improve if I start using a Powertap type device instead of HR. My goals are to be competitive in Masters 40+ and cat 4 criteriums and TT's. I am pretty disciplined and can follow a plan so structuring workouts is not a problem. Assuming I follow a program, do I stand a better chance of improving using a Powertap vs perceived effort and HR? What results have others had after switching?

  2. #2
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I think the powertap is a good tool, and it does help but it's not a panacea. Read Allen and Coggan's book training with power, and you'll get a good idea of what it can do for you. One of the big differneces I've seen with the Powertap, as oppossed to HR is that the intervals tend to be a more sustained hard effort.
    For example doing steady states by HR, you inevitably have to ease up at times to keep your HR in the zone. However, going off power, you have to maintain the power for the prescribed time. With less confounders, such as heat and dehydration, power is a more useful measure.

    And if you train with a coach, the ability to share the data with the coach is very helpful.

  3. #3
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    riding harder is the only thing that helps


    powertap is a toy with useful data to almost negate 'bad' or 'junk' miles
    and can guide you into zones you'd have a hard time hitting consistently
    w/o the instant info


    you bonk less

  4. #4
    On the right
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    Quote Originally Posted by edzo
    riding harder is the only thing that helps

    powertap is a toy with useful data to almost negate 'bad' or 'junk' miles
    and can guide you into zones you'd have a hard time hitting consistently
    w/o the instant info

    you bonk less
    I would say riding smarter, which includes harder at times. Agree on the getting rid of bad/junk miles. 9 out of 10 people you see riding are just doing general fitness stuff, which is fine if you want to smell the flowers and lose a few pounds. But if you're posting on a message board, it's a reasonable assumption that you want to get more out of your riding.

  5. #5
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i know a guy who gets a lot of use during his races with it. he's able to determine how successful he'll be in a breakaway because he knows exactly how much power he can output and for how long he can do it.

    he's also said that his subjective view of the ride is often much different than what the power meter reports. sometimes he feels faster than he actually is and vice versa.

  6. #6
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    well, it is also easy to get sucked into the power tap and not make as much headway
    as you could be doing...

    there are plenty of times you need to ignore the thing and just blow yourself
    up. that will push you to new levels when everything comes together in those
    magic 'jumps' of fitness. no computer is gonna tell you, you have to risk it

  7. #7
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i just think it's too expensive for me to justify buying. i'd like one, sure, but i'm not about to spend almost the same as a new bike on one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by edzo
    there are plenty of times you need to ignore the thing and just blow yourself
    up. that will push you to new levels when everything comes together in those
    magic 'jumps' of fitness. no computer is gonna tell you, you have to risk it
    I'm not sure why anyone who understands the data provided by a power meter would ever have to ignore that information. What you're missing is that those jumps to new levels do not occur by magic, though it may appear so to someone who doesn't have an accurate record of previous training and performance. Performance is the result of past training and current fatigue. What a power meter does is let the rider accurately know what has been done in the past and what is likely possible in the present and future so that it isn't a matter of just going out and "risking it", but being able to know just what level of riding is possible and most beneficial (neither too easy nor too hard).

  9. #9
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    I understand.

    and understand when to throw out the tech and just plain motor

    you are more likely (if you are into pain) to completely do some
    good damage to yourself if using a powertap, then just set
    it aside and hammer without thinking once in a while. push
    yourself till you taste blood. ears ringing. teeth pounding. super
    silly unmaintainable levels. and no brain input trying to decode
    numbers from a powertap because frankly you can't speak or remember
    your own zip code at these levels. then crawl home dead.

    2 weeks later that pain you invested will pay out doubletime, if you
    have a good recovery plan. it works for me...YMMV

    maybe you don't go 'beyond' enough for it to matter
    and I am not talking about huge watts. forget that. I am talking
    pain pain pain. there are plenty of times I push so hard the
    pain just becomes me, and my speed may be lower than it can
    be (if I was watching watts and HR and stuff)
    but the pain is wayyyy up. all a meter will tell me is low watts.
    pain is the investment, watts aren't so much. who can deal
    with pain the mostest and longest will end up creating a steady
    wattage longer and be able to respond to attacks better

    it is nice to ride up hills no handed and pass all your buds who
    are stuck and cannot respond. powertap didn't do it, killing
    myself on the bike did it

    oh I cheat though. I test my blood regularly, maybe that is my secret.
    you know a lot more about yourself when you do blood analysis, much
    more info than a powertap alone.

  10. #10
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    Well that certainly clears things up.

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