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So, how do you use a power meter in a break?

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So, how do you use a power meter in a break?

Old 03-05-07, 09:59 AM
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So, how do you use a power meter in a break?

So my brief chase effort yesterday got me thinking... It seems that the concensus from a previous thread was that a power meter is a good tool in a break for setting pace, etc. But my question is this--what numbers do you shoot for? Some of this overlaps a bit with plain old racing strategy, but I'm just curious how hard you go for how long... I guess I sort of envision a quick, 10-15 second burst followed by a hard effort for a couple minutes, followed by maintaining FTP or an appropriate power for however much time is left in the race. Is this the right way to look at it?

Chime in, power gurus...
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Old 03-05-07, 10:16 AM
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I can tell you from this weekend that I did not look at the power meter numbers until I thought the break would stick. The intial jump was a jump by feeling. Once i realized I had another person with me, I settled into my five minute power (I only glanced down once or twice over 4 minutes) then I glanced down a ew more times at various points in my pull (in the lead, at the end, and in the middle of the three person line). Mostly, it was done by feel, but if I had a question (such as on a hill) I made sure that I was in the range of my 5 min power for the front of the line.

When on my own, i watch the meter much more closely and will often use it to make sure that i am somewhere in my 30 min power range unless the gap is over a minute or there is more/less time in the race. Mostly, I use it for post race analysis to see what i SHOULD be doing in training.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:38 AM
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My one example: I found myself off the front (because no one would pull through,and I wasn't going to tow everybody around) I knew it wouldn't stick, but I also knew starting the next hill with a lead would make my life a little easier. So once I had a seperation, just settled into 10-20 watts below my One hour FTP, and felt comfortable I wasn't burning any matches, and waited till they caught me ( which was after the climb, and allowed me to not suffer on the climb.)
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Old 03-05-07, 11:25 PM
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Ignore power....go as hard as the weakest member of the break (assuming it's not you) can sustain if you want to keep it together. Don't be afraid to give them a bit of a verbal or physical push to keep them rolling through.

If you want to blow it apart, you know what to do....then you can set a rhythm and level according to your powermeter.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:50 AM
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I would use it to collect data. If you really feel like you're about to blow up, and if there's time and opportunity, take a peek.
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Old 03-06-07, 04:19 AM
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Don't be reading power meters.

Read the race.

You are not racing a power meter.

I wonder how many low cat crashes are caused by people looking at the stuff on their handlebars.
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Old 03-06-07, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ed073
Ignore power....go as hard as the weakest member of the break (assuming it's not you) can sustain if you want to keep it together. Don't be afraid to give them a bit of a verbal or physical push to keep them rolling through.

If you want to blow it apart, you know what to do....then you can set a rhythm and level according to your powermeter.
good advice.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:22 AM
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Good points all around--I'll most likely stick to data collection only...
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Old 03-06-07, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior
Don't be reading power meters.

Read the race.

You are not racing a power meter.

I wonder how many low cat crashes are caused by people looking at the stuff on their handlebars.
I often wonder if riders get dropped because the technology told them too wuss it? 'My heart rate maxed out, so I backed off'! Sometimes I think riders over-intellectualise things like training, heartrate and power and forget that bike racing is supposed to hurt and you just need to grit your teeth.

I've read interviews with Stephen Roche where he complained that people forget that pros used to race at 50km/h before heart rate monitors were invented.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
I often wonder if riders get dropped because the technology told them too wuss it? 'My heart rate maxed out, so I backed off'! Sometimes I think riders over-intellectualise things like training, heartrate and power and forget that bike racing is supposed to hurt and you just need to grit your teeth.
That's why I basically quit looking at power/HR data in the middle of a race, but I was curious about when you're off on your own. I guess either way you're either strong enough to break/chase/bridge or you're not.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
I often wonder if riders get dropped because the technology told them too wuss it? 'My heart rate maxed out, so I backed off'! Sometimes I think riders over-intellectualise things like training, heartrate and power and forget that bike racing is supposed to hurt and you just need to grit your teeth.

I've read interviews with Stephen Roche where he complained that people forget that pros used to race at 50km/h before heart rate monitors were invented.
Exactly why I no longer wear a HRM when I race.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
Exactly why I no longer wear a HRM when I race.
Did you wuss it?
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Old 03-06-07, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
Did you wuss it?
Nope, but it's kind of distressing to see your HR at 190+ BPM when you're OTF, and knocking on 40.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
Did you wuss it?
I totally did in one of my early Cat 5 races. I was feeling strong, sitting at the front of the pack, and then I looked down at my HRM and saw my HR was 180-something. As soon as I saw that, everything started to hurt more. It's totally a psychological thing, but it can be powerful.

I'm very excited, though, about the race data gained from a power meter, because when I'm out on the road by myself I have something objective to tell me "no, that's actually NOT as hard as you can go. Remember last weekend?"
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Old 03-06-07, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
When I'm out on the road by myself I have something objective to tell me "no, that's actually NOT as hard as you can go. Remember last weekend?"
When I'm in a race with others I have something objective to tell me "no, that's NOT as hard as you can go. Remember your last fitness test?"

--Steve
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Old 03-06-07, 07:01 AM
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I can say that watching my recorded K-B-K from cycling.tv, there are a lot of powertap CPUs out there.
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Old 03-06-07, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I'm very excited, though, about the race data gained from a power meter, because when I'm out on the road by myself I have something objective to tell me "no, that's actually NOT as hard as you can go. Remember last weekend?"
Do you think you could get that quality of "work" on the road? In a past life as a runner who ran road races, I found it very difficult to reach that level of excitation in regular training no matter what I did. Likely you'd have to pilfer and use something like an NBC epi stick to get to that level of excitement in training. That's why data from races are -the- most important to put into CyclingPeaks or the like.
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Old 03-06-07, 07:34 AM
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I don't look at anything but the road and the riders around me during a race. When I broke on Sunday the only thing I cared about was getting through the corners and sprinting out, because I knew that's where I'd gain seconds for my lead. The main group will not be able to catch you if the course has alot of turns, as they will slow much more than a solo rider.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:31 AM
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Most of the time I look at mine during races, I think...holy crap. This is going to hurt.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
I often wonder if riders get dropped because the technology told them too wuss it? 'My heart rate maxed out, so I backed off'! Sometimes I think riders over-intellectualise things like training, heartrate and power and forget that bike racing is supposed to hurt and you just need to grit your teeth.

I've read interviews with Stephen Roche where he complained that people forget that pros used to race at 50km/h before heart rate monitors were invented.
True dat...

I only use my HRM in the winter and spring. When it's time to race, RACE. If you can look down, look at your PT ot HRM, and figure out math in your head, you aren't going hard enough.

There's a guy we ride with who is 60 years old and a hammer. His problem is that he lends to much creedence to his HRM. He'll be on the front, taking hard pulls and then look at his numbers. He blows up everytime...
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Old 03-06-07, 12:26 PM
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I've been riding with a powermeter for 3 years now and one of the things that I've found is that I know how hard I'm going pretty darn well. I barely even need it now. I know what my LT feels like, I know what I can sustain for 5 minutes, and I know that if I sprint, I only need to go hard enough to beat the guy next to me. Its good for tracking progress, but if you need it to keep from blowing up, you need to start riding without one.
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Old 03-06-07, 12:30 PM
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I try not to look at the powertap or HR info during a race. I will look at it after the fact to compare how I felt with what the numbers actually said. Then I can see what I had to do for a certain race and then I can adjust my training accordingly - to mimick what I need to do in order to survive/do well/whatever...


However, I do look at it in the few TT's I've done just as a pacing tool to make sure I don't start out too hard. I have a tendency to push too hard at the beginning when RPE is low but I am actually in a power zone that is too high. Looking at the PT briefly helps keep me on track. during the TT I might glance occasionally just to be sure I am pacing myself correctly.


In RR and crits though, I don't bother. I just try to focus on the road and the people.
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Old 03-07-07, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
I've read interviews with Stephen Roche where he complained that people forget that pros used to race at 50km/h before heart rate monitors were invented.
People used to be able to do long division before electronic calculators and computers.... Ever been to a fast food restaurant when their computer goes down and had to help the person waiting on you make change?

I was looking at TdF stats...interesting that the very first TdF was 2,428km long (about 1,500 miles) done in six stages in 1903 on ridiculous bikes with one gear at an average speed of 25.679kmh (about 16 mph).

Last year the TdF was 3,657km (2,272miles) long ridden on ridiculous bikes (going the other way) with exotic materials and 10 rear speeds at 40.78kmh (25.34mph).

9 mph gain in over a hundred years...light years in equipment differences.

When they indroduced mountains into the Tour, the riders went faster. 1910 when they introduced the Pyrenees...and did the Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, the Tourmalet, and the Aubisque at a stout distance of 4,737 kilometers (over a thousand kilometers more than today's distance) at a speed of 28.680kmh (just a shade under 18mph). And the roads were dirt. And many riders walked part of the climbs.

Now here's a piece of trivia...the first rider to go up the Tourmalet without having to dismount was Gustave Garrigou...and he did it on a bike with one gear and a freewheel (I am wondering how many would do with ten rear gears and a triple).

...and no power meter. And no cable function derailleur (which did not arrive until about 1950 thanks to Tullio Campagnolo).

...are we getting softer with technology???

Last edited by roadwarrior; 03-07-07 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 03-07-07, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior
Ever been to a fast food restaurant when their computer goes down and had to help the person waiting on you make change?
No, because they generally can't speak English.
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Old 03-07-07, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by classic1
No, because they generally can't speak English.
Where I am, it's the English speakers that can't make change.
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