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New Powertap-First ride with it is a race!-Race report included.

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New Powertap-First ride with it is a race!-Race report included.

Old 05-19-07, 07:27 PM
  #1  
markman
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New Powertap-First ride with it is a race!-Race report included.

Well, after almost a year of saving my pennies and resisting the urge to upgrade my bike, I got a Powertap SL last night. I figured that my current 4 yr old Allez Elite was good enough, but the motor could definitely use some work I have limited time to train and I like to race so I figured that a Powertap would help me more than getting a new Cervelo.

I ordered the Powertap laced to an Aerohed rim built by Mike Garcia. After a four week wait Mike received the hub and built the wheel just in time for me to get it on Friday, the day before my 2nd race of the year. The wheel is very nice and the price was very competitive. I spent most of last night getting everything setup and got up at 5AM to drive to the race. I was registered for the cat5 race at the Frazier Cycling Partners Criterium, held near Atlanta.

I arrived at 7 for a race start of 8AM. I had enough time to scout the course and get in a decent warmup. The course was about .8 mile over smooth pavement with a 180 degree turn, a chicane and a couple of "high speed" turns coming into the home stretch. All in all a fun and fair course. There were 45 or so entered in the race. The gun went off and I focused on staying with the lead group at all costs. My last race was the Athens twilight crit and I got dropped after 2 laps due to the 30+mph pace. This course was much more to my liking as it was a bit technical which kept the pace high, but not crazy fast. We went through the first lap at about 23mph and continued that for much of the race. I managed to stay in the top 1/2 of the field throughout the race, following any surges and staying in the pack. About 15 minutes in to the 30 min +3 lap race I noticed a "thump, thump" coming from my fron wheel. It looked like (as best as I could tell at 25mph) that at least a portion of the tire had come unset from the rim. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it held. We came to 3 laps to go and I was still in the field, mid pack, and my front tire was not getting any better. The bell rang, 1 lap to go, and I was in a good position but a little nervous about my tire. I decided that I wouldn't take any risks in the final few turns of the lap due to the tire but instead just try to hold position and unleash my "power sprint" in the final 200 meters. My tire was still intact, but just barely, when I came off of the final turn. Time to sprint. I was in the back of the main group with 1 rider within reach. I dropped down a gear and "dialed it up to...(I won't go there)" sprinted, if it can be called that, catching him right before the line for an impressive placing of 22 out of 45 or so starters.

Overall I was happy with the race. I stayed with the pack, mixed it up a little, and managed to have a little left at the end. I've come a long way since the last race and I definitely feel stronger. For an almost 43 yr old, not too bad I guess.

When I got home I downloaded my Powertap into Cyclingpeaks to see what I did powerwise (see attached GIF). My average watts were just below the 280 FTP I got using my Kurt Kinetic. I'll double check that now that I have the PT. My "sprint" was less than impressive but I was a little tentative due to the tire. Overall I think the Powertap is the best "upgrade" I could have done given my budget and desire to do something that has the ability to give real results to my training. I've joined the powermeter world, look out One question, does anyone have any success with the HR function of these things? It's supposed to have a "coded" HR monitor but I got reading over 250bpm for most of the race and almost no readings on a late afternoon ride around town. What gives?
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Old 05-19-07, 08:55 PM
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Not too bad at all. Nice to complete a race and have the data to see how you performed. Was the readout you posted from WKO+?
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Old 05-19-07, 09:50 PM
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Good work! You kept a nice cadence overall too. Enjoy your PT. I don't have one, but have read here that the HR feature is a bit of a joke -- and not really that useful with the power data. Once you get into cardiac drift due to dehydration, the HR numbers become pretty useless, as you could be aerobic but above LTHR...
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Old 05-20-07, 04:29 AM
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Yeah, Greg that is from WKO+. It is a great program! There are so many ways to chop and dice the information you get. I've got alot to learn yet. The important thing is that I can objectively review my performance and hopefully improve from it.

WR- I try to keep my cadence in the 90-100 rpm range as that seems to be my comfort zone. One thing I really try to work on is "pre-shifting" in the race to make sure I am in the right gear coming into/out of turns, etc. If I do that my cadence is steady and I am not dropping too many places at the exit of each turn.

I'm off to do a group ride so I will have some more data to play with in a few hours
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Old 05-20-07, 06:12 AM
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How much do you weigh, markman?

It looks like you dialed it up to 800 watts! ...and held it for 20-30 seconds for that sprint at the end.

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Old 05-20-07, 07:39 AM
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My weight has been around 160-164 an I'm almost 6' 1".

According to WKO+ I averaged 753 watts for that last 10 seconds with a max power of 809 and a speed of 26. It was a slight uphill finish. I might have been able to "dial it up" a bit more if I had started in a little lower gear. My cadence was only 95 which I think is a bit low for a sprint. My peak 20 second power was 587 watts with a max of 874 while my peak 30 second power was 476 watts. Both of these occured over about a 40 second period about halfway into the race when I was making sure I stayed with the pack as they surged coming up the start/finish straight. I wanted to make sure that I stuck with them so I really had to "dial it up"

So far I am impressed with all of the insight I have been able to get and it's only from 1 race! I can see why power training is gaining in popularity. Looking at the info provided by the powertap I know alot more about my strengths and weaknesses than before. I am really looking forward to using it for all of my workouts and I think it will definitely help me make the most out of my training.
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Old 05-20-07, 09:54 AM
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Good job on your race and all that, but what was up with your front wheel? And why did you continue racing? If you seriously thought that the tire was coming off the rim, ESPECIALLY the front wheel, you should have stopped IMO. It's one thing to endanger yourself on a training ride, but it's a whole 'nother matter when you're in a group. If your tire had rolled off during a turn, you're going down and taking others with you. Not cool.
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Old 05-20-07, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by SirScott
Good job on your race and all that, but what was up with your front wheel? And why did you continue racing? If you seriously thought that the tire was coming off the rim, ESPECIALLY the front wheel, you should have stopped IMO. It's one thing to endanger yourself on a training ride, but it's a whole 'nother matter when you're in a group. If your tire had rolled off during a turn, you're going down and taking others with you. Not cool.
You are probably correct. Looking back It was a little boneheaded of me to continue I guess all I can say in my defense was that I was at the back of the field, everyone else was pretty far behind, and I took the turns very cautiously. I definitely had plenty of chances to move up but I rode conservatively and kept to the back of the field. I only passed people on the final straight and even then it was only a 2 or 3. As it turns out the tire was barely off the rim, just a little bulge about 1/4" wide.
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Old 05-20-07, 03:10 PM
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What was wrong with your tire?
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Old 05-20-07, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
What was wrong with your tire?
A small section of the bead had come unset from the rim. I still don't know how but it happened. It ended up being just a very small section and I don't think it would have resulted in anything major happening. After the race I just deflated the tire a bit, put the bead back in place, reinflated to 100 psi and everything was fine.
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Old 05-20-07, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by markman
One question, does anyone have any success with the HR function of these things? It's supposed to have a "coded" HR monitor but I got reading over 250bpm for most of the race and almost no readings on a late afternoon ride around town. What gives?
Have you tried it with diffrent jersey's? A loose or flapping jersey can cause funny HR readings. Maybe check your strap battery also. Do you have any other electronics on the bike as well?
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