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road watts vs. trainer watts

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road watts vs. trainer watts

Old 09-20-10, 08:54 AM
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road watts vs. trainer watts

What are your observations in the difference?

Specifically, my Sat ride showed a 20 minute avg output of almost 30 watts higher than what I typically achieve when on a trainer doing a "formal" controlled test of the same duration.

Anyone have similar experiences or should I chalk it up to a bad test? TIA
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Old 09-20-10, 10:02 AM
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A lot depends on how you have your trainer and training area set up, but generally most people have a noticeable drop on the trainer vs. riding outdoors.
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Old 09-20-10, 10:03 AM
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You can train up to where you'll do as well on a trainer, but it's different. You don't have as much inertia on a trainer, so the wheel slows a lot more during the weak part of the stroke, causing an acceleration/deceleration cycle that's greater than you'd see out on the road. That will make you more tired until you adapt your stroke.

As RX suggests, environment can play into it too, as it's common to overheat on a trainer, lowering power.
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Old 09-20-10, 11:10 AM
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i have had to revert back to the trainer twice in the past two weeks. shorter days, more work, life, blah, blah, blah....

both had planned workouts that involved 5 min intervals of 300 to 325w. i was sufferring like a dog just to keep 300w. i was hot, uncomfortable, hot, and just down right not ready for any kind of trainer workout. they felt like 400 or 450w efforts. man, i dislike winter.

anyway, from last winter i realize that about 3 to 4 weeks into trainer season i will be adjusted this sufferring and it will not affect my performance as much. later.
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Old 09-20-10, 02:20 PM
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My power is lower on the trainer. WR gave the reason. My 20 minute road tests are on rolling terrain or climbing. On rolling terrain, the power drops and cadence increases after cresting a hill and the cadence drops and power increases when climbing. The cresting of a hill offers a few seconds on rest while I shift and get the power back up. And even climbing at slightly slower cadence for a few seconds offers change and mental recovery. The trainer is relentless. Whatever power and cadence one sets is what it is for 20 minutes which IMO is tough. And I try to minimize the effects of rolling terrain and hold constant power and cadence but it still is not perfect and I get some recovery during the road test.

My 20 minute power is different climbing, on the TT bike, on the track bike, on the road bike and on the trainer. I do not worry about it.
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Old 09-21-10, 06:30 AM
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That all makes sense. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.
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