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Respectable 15s power?

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Respectable 15s power?

Old 11-13-12, 11:37 PM
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Respectable 15s power?

I know these type of threads can be tiresome, so please humor me. I've been riding for about a year so am still a novice, and have done a couple races (Cat 5). I train with a power tap. My self assessment is my strengths are VO2 (5.2 w/kg) and FTP (4.1 w/kg), but especially VO2. I've been working on sprinting which I've identified as a weakeness, largely based on 5s power. Though my 5s has been coming up (15.6 w/kg from a couple days ago, 1150 watts), my 15s power has really improved (achieved 1,010 watts or 13.7 w/kg). I may be able to hold 1,000 watts for 20 seconds. In a race situation I'm thinking 15s to 20s power would be quite useful. Any chance my power stats could be a force in a Cat 4 or Cat 3 sprint? I fully realize the importance of race experience and tactics and that power isn't everything. Thanks!
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Old 11-14-12, 12:21 AM
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there are many folks with more knowledge than i have here, but there are a couple of things for you to consider.

1) what type of events will you be doing? throwing down 1,000 watts at the end of milan-san remo is different than 1,000w at the end of your 30-minute crit. (not such a silly comparison; i've done a 200-mile race that has come down to a sprint finish). sometimes people will look at results from a sprint workout and cherry pick the best result when they are fresh. what counts more is what you can come up with at the END of your event.

2) tactics and efficiency are huge. if your event and competition tax you so that you are riding at your limit all race, you'll be less likely to see a power peak at the end. conversely, if you are the jedi-master of hiding from the wind, you will be relatively more fresh.

3) you're not going to be the strongest guy in cat 3 or 4, but if you are compact and it is a flat sprint....IF that number is credible...you can be just fine. jump too early? take too much wind? not compact enough? start in the wrong gear? all will work against you.

it's very easy to focus on power (and it is a GREAT motivator for training), but it matters less than you can possibly imagine in many races at the levels you're describing. you can and will be beaten by less strong guys, but you also have the opportunity to beat those with better #s than you have.

up above i mentioned "if your #s are credible." not sure about the power tap, but many wireless meter/head combos continue to transmit the last reported power value for ~3 seconds. why does this matter? well, let's say you go all out for 12s then abruptly stop pedaling (not uncommon for a sprint workout). there's no data, so some units fill that in with the last reported value. adding 3s @ 1,150w to a 12s effort makes a huge difference.....IF one is focusing on numbers. you can check this by combing through your data.

if you are new to this, i would say you have some GREAT numbers to serve as a starting point, and you should not worry about limiters. in fact, don't dismiss any aspect of your training at this stage. continue to race, continue to train (great for you to train a weakness) and you will naturally see where you are getting your best results. if you can't win the cat 5 sprint then the # won't matter in cat 4, or 3, or...
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Old 11-14-12, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sandw1
I know these type of threads can be tiresome, so please humor me. I've been riding for about a year so am still a novice, and have done a couple races (Cat 5). I train with a power tap. My self assessment is my strengths are VO2 (5.2 w/kg) and FTP (4.1 w/kg), but especially VO2. I've been working on sprinting which I've identified as a weakeness, largely based on 5s power. Though my 5s has been coming up (15.6 w/kg from a couple days ago, 1150 watts), my 15s power has really improved (achieved 1,010 watts or 13.7 w/kg). I may be able to hold 1,000 watts for 20 seconds. In a race situation I'm thinking 15s to 20s power would be quite useful. Any chance my power stats could be a force in a Cat 4 or Cat 3 sprint? I fully realize the importance of race experience and tactics and that power isn't everything. Thanks!
Even though I'm a total proponent of training with power, I think you are overdoing it. You have done 2-3 Cat-5 races, and the purpose of which is not to win but to learn how to race safely. Have you done those? Do you find yourself in the top-5 when entering the corners? Do you brake going into turns? Those are the things you should work on.

The following may be semantics, but by VO2, do you mean 5-min power or actual P@VO2max derived from lab protocols? The former is not your VO2max as VO2max is actually power held for 7-8 minutes depending on how much anaerobic reserve you have. Let's assume you are talking about your 5min power at 5.2w/kg, how do you know you have maximized your aerobic potential? Two years ago, I had a 5.5-min power of 5.27w/kg and a FTP of 3.95w/kg and naively thought VO2max was my strength, except i was wrong. Last year i got my FTP to 4.45w/kg with dedicated training while my 5.5-min didn't budge. And if you really are talking about true P@VO2max, then those actually are rather comparable as far as the numbers on the Coggan e-wang chart is concerned. You need a few years under your belt before you truly know what your strengths are.

Could your power make you a force in a Cat-4 or Cat-3? Who knows? Are you good at cornering and positioning? Do you have your nose in the wind a lot? If you aren't good at these things and constantly burn matches sprinting out of corners and moving up into the wind, you may not have enough reserve left at the end of the race.

So this all comes back to the first point, which is to race, race some more, and develop the skills and acumen needed to be a savvy racer. Let's see, you started two threads about your two races, and in both people have told you to layoff the e-wang and work on actual bike skills. In both threads you kept on asking about the e-wang necessary to hang. Please don't make the posters who contributed think that they have casted pearls.

So you probably are thinking who the hell are you to be so critical. Well, I was like you and may still be like you in the obsession with numbers, and two years ago I spent a good amount of time wandering in the desert wondering why I wasn't doing well. A few posters eventually pointed out that I made absolutely no mention about how I was moving within the pack and moving up and suggested that I get those down first. Fast forward one year, I got considerably better with my race craft and had my best result last year when I was on declining form, and this was in a hilly circuit race and not a crit (I don't have much of a sprint). You see, being able to read a race and then forcing others to race the way i want them to race got me that result. Hopefully you'll lay off the numbers bit and think more about things like bike handling and bike awareness.

PS. My 5 second number (both absolute and relative) sucks, but in a very hilly road race last year (5000 ft in 42 miles, with 2 time up a 3.7mile hill at 6%), I still pulled out 920W at 69kg at the end.

Last edited by echappist; 11-14-12 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 11-14-12, 03:27 AM
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Teton did you say a 200 mile race? I believe I have raced as high as 135ish but never 200.
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Old 11-14-12, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by echappist
So this all comes back to the first point, which is to race, race some more, and develop the skills and acumen needed to be a savvy racer. Let's see, you started two threads about your two races, and in both people have told you to layoff the e-wang and work on actual bike skills. In both threads you kept on asking about the e-wang necessary to hang. Please don't make the posters who contributed think that they have casted pearls.

So you probably are thinking who the hell are you to be so critical. Well, I was like you and may still be like you in the obsession with numbers, and two years ago I spent a good amount of time wandering in the desert wondering why I wasn't doing well. A few posters eventually pointed out that I made absolutely no mention about how I was moving within the pack and moving up and suggested that I get those down first. Fast forward one year, I got considerably better with my race craft and had my best result last year when I was on declining form, and this was in a hilly circuit race and not a crit (I don't have much of a sprint). You see, being able to read a race and then forcing others to race the way i want them to race got me that result. Hopefully you'll lay off the numbers bit and think more about things like bike handling and bike awareness.

.
All good points, and I have reflected on prior posts so don't think I am ignoring their contributions. After my couple races it did dawn on me that power isn't everything. In fact, the feedback I got on here after I posted about my first crit was very helpful and influential in how I performed in my first road race, where I had a big improvement in tactics and results. But since I don't have the opportunity to race all the time, and it's easy to analyze and track improvements in power because it's there, I tend to spend time on that and do find it to be very motivational. As a runner (former runner?) I am used to planning workouts where each interval or mile is planned to within +/- 5 seconds so quantifying numbers is kind of ingrained in me. I tried to add a disclosure to the fact that I was asking a power question, but also realized that there was a much bigger picture beyond power.

A lot of the things that improve efficiency, like bike handling skills, ability to shield yourself from the wind, etc are difficult to talk about. I could be doing something terrible and I don't even realize it (someone suggested video taping which may be a good idea, but I'm kinda lazy), and not sure what to even ask.
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Old 11-14-12, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider
there are many folks with more knowledge than i have here, but there are a couple of things for you to consider.

1) what type of events will you be doing? throwing down 1,000 watts at the end of milan-san remo is different than 1,000w at the end of your 30-minute crit. (not such a silly comparison; i've done a 200-mile race that has come down to a sprint finish). sometimes people will look at results from a sprint workout and cherry pick the best result when they are fresh. what counts more is what you can come up with at the END of your event.

2) tactics and efficiency are huge. if your event and competition tax you so that you are riding at your limit all race, you'll be less likely to see a power peak at the end. conversely, if you are the jedi-master of hiding from the wind, you will be relatively more fresh.

3) you're not going to be the strongest guy in cat 3 or 4, but if you are compact and it is a flat sprint....IF that number is credible...you can be just fine. jump too early? take too much wind? not compact enough? start in the wrong gear? all will work against you.

it's very easy to focus on power (and it is a GREAT motivator for training), but it matters less than you can possibly imagine in many races at the levels you're describing. you can and will be beaten by less strong guys, but you also have the opportunity to beat those with better #s than you have.

up above i mentioned "if your #s are credible." not sure about the power tap, but many wireless meter/head combos continue to transmit the last reported power value for ~3 seconds. why does this matter? well, let's say you go all out for 12s then abruptly stop pedaling (not uncommon for a sprint workout). there's no data, so some units fill that in with the last reported value. adding 3s @ 1,150w to a 12s effort makes a huge difference.....IF one is focusing on numbers. you can check this by combing through your data.

if you are new to this, i would say you have some GREAT numbers to serve as a starting point, and you should not worry about limiters. in fact, don't dismiss any aspect of your training at this stage. continue to race, continue to train (great for you to train a weakness) and you will naturally see where you are getting your best results. if you can't win the cat 5 sprint then the # won't matter in cat 4, or 3, or...
Agreed about there being a big difference between putting out a certain wattage when fresh versus in a race situation. The numbers I mentioned were cherry picked when I was fresh. The type of events I plan to do are road races, rather than crits which I don't enjoy as much.

As far as the power tap, I don't think it has the issue you mentioned of continuing to transmit the last reported value. I forget what the sampling rate is set to, but empirically estimate the lag to be less than 1 second. It's very responsive.

Another thing I'm working on in the sprints is getting my cadence up. In the 15s I mentioned in my first post, my cadence was only about 105 (starting from 86). I know these need to be higher (approx 120), and that should give me more acceleration. I am shifting too early.
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Old 11-14-12, 08:45 AM
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In short, yes, but reserve some focus for all aspects of racing now that you are getting started. You should try stretching to 1' and see how your power goes. At a race, consider measuring 800m back from the finish, find a landmark, and launch from there on the last lap, from somewhere in the top 10, but not from the front. 100% every pedal stroke, take off like the finish line is only 50m ahead -- ALL OUT. Don't let up. Get aero. Keep hammering 100%. I think you have a shot at winning like that based on your profile description.

But, take some risks while you're new. Attack during the race. Hurt people with your fitness. Learn.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki
Teton did you say a 200 mile race? I believe I have raced as high as 135ish but never 200.
I did. There's a 205-mile USAc-sanctioned race.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider
I did. There's a 205-mile USAc-sanctioned race.
Holy crap that's a long race. What race?
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Old 11-14-12, 09:46 AM
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im the biggest example that you dont need a huge jump/power to do realtivly well in a sprint. for example my 15 second sprint is only 15.7 w/kg. i would say work on positioning, and conserving energy in the race. You'd be surprised the people you can beat very strong sprinters.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining
im the biggest example that you dont need a huge jump/power to do realtivly well in a sprint. for example my 15 second sprint is only 15.7 w/kg. i would say work on positioning, and conserving energy in the race. You'd be surprised the people you can beat very strong sprinters.
Absolutley true.
To beat me it comes down to jump and tactics, to be honest in a flat out drag race there are very few I would lose and guys know this so the tactics that hurt me are slowing the pace down and forcing me to jump or make a quick acceleration. I simply need too much horsepower to respond.
If you are going to keep the pace high and make me jump from 38 rather than 28 mph you will not come by me as I will spin out a 53x11.
That is why pure, raw power is not the tell tale of who is going to win.
Take our Lordship Stein. He wins based on his raw, violent acceleration and tactics, I would struggle against him in a tight course where jump is needed. Throw me on a Tour stage with a 5km run in to the line in a straight shot and watch out.
That's what makes racing so interesting, every finish is different.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:09 AM
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ive found i do better with a longer sprint from higher speed. my jump versus sustained isnt that different. i lose like 300 watts over the course of 30 second. But if theres a monster sprinter, i make sure im right near him, because even if i cant beat him, being in his draft adds a ton of speed to my otherwise none existent sprint. (also if someone peaks at 1500 and you peak at 1300, you can probably keep in his draft, and if u have a "longer" sprint then you can probably get aruond him if you both started sprinting from far enough out.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki
holy crap that's a long race. What race?
lotoja
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Old 11-14-12, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki
Holy crap that's a long race. What race?
LATOJA

*edit fricken fricken fast Googlers
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Old 11-14-12, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki
Take our Lordship Stein. He wins based on his raw, violent acceleration and tactics, I would struggle against him in a tight course where jump is needed. Throw me on a Tour stage with a 5km run in to the line in a straight shot and watch out.
I've led him out for a field sprint win. What you describe is only a piece of the story, but I'm not about to tell the Northeast racing community how to beat him.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:00 AM
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OP, ponder this.

Take three sprinters with the exact same sprint power profile. Each has the exact same jump, 1s, 5s, 10s, 30s power right to the echappy-approved hundredth of a watt. Line them up for a sprint, one behind the other, and who do you think will win? The guy at the back. Why do you think that is? Because of positioning, tactics, and timing, none of which has anything to do with power.

FWIW I am a drag race sprinter with just enough jump to hold off other riders, but if I'm out-jumped, it's over. Most of my wins have come OTF.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by sandw1
I know these type of threads can be tiresome, so please humor me. I've been riding for about a year so am still a novice, and have done a couple races (Cat 5). I train with a power tap. My self assessment is my strengths are VO2 (5.2 w/kg) and FTP (4.1 w/kg), but especially VO2. I've been working on sprinting which I've identified as a weakeness, largely based on 5s power. Though my 5s has been coming up (15.6 w/kg from a couple days ago, 1150 watts), my 15s power has really improved (achieved 1,010 watts or 13.7 w/kg). I may be able to hold 1,000 watts for 20 seconds. In a race situation I'm thinking 15s to 20s power would be quite useful. Any chance my power stats could be a force in a Cat 4 or Cat 3 sprint? I fully realize the importance of race experience and tactics and that power isn't everything. Thanks!
I second all the stuff about race craft. Bike racing, at least the ones that don't go over climbs or aren't TTs, favor smart riders over strong ones. I seriously have a hard time hanging with many Cat 5s on training rides. I don't think going on a ride with you would be much different. On the other hand if you and I raced together in a crit I'd have a much better chance at doing a respectable showing.

Couple things:
1. In a sprint w/kg is virtually meaningless. It does show how efficient you are at putting down watts for a given mass but it's really just an extrapolation of w/kg for climbing which is very significant. Ultimate wattage, compared to frontal area, will determine top speed (like cars - get HP and coefficient of drag and you can calculate top speed pending gearing, tires, and other lessor factors). W/kg affects acceleration a bit but I can out-jump the same guys whether I'm 160 or 190 lbs (on a hill).
2. In a sprint 20 second power is actually very pertinent.

I'm a perfect example of a Cat 3 sprinter. I'm nowhere on the FTP chart (typically hovering around 2.6-2.8 w/kg) so I get shelled on anything longer than a 200m hill by old riders (men and women) with racks, rack bags, handlebar bags, etc etc etc. As a 2 I really struggled just staying in a race and when I could actually make it to the finish I had no sprint left because I was using it up just holding position for the last lap or two.

As a 3 I can sprint pretty well, especially in uphill sprints. This is why I say that w/kg is almost meaningless - I should be sprinting better on flat roads because of my mass but I'm best in short uphills, next best in slight uphill grades, mediocre at best on flat sprints, and terrible on slight downhills.

To address your question I've spent quite some time perusing my sprint power numbers, patterns, etc. What I find is that I've never sprinted full on for 20 seconds in a race, even if I think I have. I've sprinted 18-19 seconds quite often. A typical "good" sprint for me is 1000w for those 18-19 seconds, a great one is 1100w. My peak numbers in races is usually 1200w or so. I've led out (and won) sprints without breaking 1000w (rain, flat course, long sprint for me, max wattage was about 900w, sustained sprint was in the 800s). I've also hit 1250w peak in sprints and gotten annihilated.

I hit much higher peak numbers in training - 1350-1550w peak and something like 1200w for 18-19 seconds. My best sprints have come at the end of very long rides, over 4 hours. I don't know why. I wish I could sprint like that in races but I haven't been able to replicate the effort. I think I'm taxed in the approach to the sprint. I prefer things to be slow going into the last 200m

If you look at my clips on YouTube (username sprinterdellacasa) you can see my various sprints. For example, in this clip, where I do probably one of the best sprints of my recent life (and my favorite that I caught on cam), my peak power happened on the first lap right after the first turn - 1200w. I don't have my sprint numbers in front of me but I think I hit about 1100w peak in the sprint and didn't average 1000w for the sprint. It's a long sprint for me and I only sprint for about 15 seconds. Yet it was highly effective, so much so that my friendly rival Bryan (former Cat 1-2-3 New England Crit Champ) sat up with about 50m to go.

Also, regarding race tactics:
1. The "guy that won the 4s solo" turned pro either that year or the following year. The 4s race was his first win I think, according to an interview in a magazine. He was in the break that mostly got caught in the sprint.
2. My leadout guy Cliff is an ex-pro mtb (raced for K2/Proflex about 15-20 years ago). He averaged 380? watts for the race. I averaged somewhere in the 170s, and for me the race was insanely hard.

Full write up of the race:
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...arke-2010.html
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Old 11-14-12, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
OP, ponder this.

Take three sprinters with the exact same sprint power profile. Each has the exact same jump, 1s, 5s, 10s, 30s power right to the echappy-approved hundredth of a watt. Line them up for a sprint, one behind the other, and who do you think will win? The guy at the back. Why do you think that is? Because of positioning, tactics, and timing, none of which has anything to do with power.

FWIW I am a drag race sprinter with just enough jump to hold off other riders, but if I'm out-jumped, it's over. Most of my wins have come OTF.
lol
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Old 11-14-12, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
OP, ponder this.

Take three sprinters with the exact same sprint power profile. Each has the exact same jump, 1s, 5s, 10s, 30s power right to the echappy-approved hundredth of a watt. Line them up for a sprint, one behind the other, and who do you think will win? The guy at the back. Why do you think that is? Because of positioning, tactics, and timing, none of which has anything to do with power.

FWIW I am a drag race sprinter with just enough jump to hold off other riders, but if I'm out-jumped, it's over. Most of my wins have come OTF.
that's not good enough. You need the Teton-approved[SUP]TM[/SUP] 1/1000th certification of accuracy, with a Teton-verified[sup]TM[/sup] precision of 4-sigma
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Old 11-14-12, 12:12 PM
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We were not discussing tire pressure.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist
that's not good enough. You need the Teton-approved[SUP]TM[/SUP] 1/1000th certification of accuracy, with a Teton-verified[SUP]TM[/SUP] precision of 4-sigma
uh...what?

the guy is new so he can use power to train and improve his numbers (never hurts to be stronger), but he'll also need to figure out technique. fortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive.

what he may not realize as someone new is that, counterintuitively, the guys who have a "better sprint" actually are better due to other aspects of their racing (e.g., technique or other areas of their power profile that mean they are more fresh, better positioned, etc.).

comparing sprint #s is a bit silly, particularly given the error that commonly pop up in power for short intervals with many popular power meters, so i suggest focusing on general trends in power and technique/positioning.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
I've led him out for a field sprint win. What you describe is only a piece of the story, but I'm not about to tell the Northeast racing community how to beat him.
Agreed.
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Old 11-14-12, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
OP, ponder this.

Take three sprinters with the exact same sprint power profile. Each has the exact same jump, 1s, 5s, 10s, 30s power right to the echappy-approved hundredth of a watt. Line them up for a sprint, one behind the other, and who do you think will win? The guy at the back. Why do you think that is? Because of positioning, tactics, and timing, none of which has anything to do with power.

FWIW I am a drag race sprinter with just enough jump to hold off other riders, but if I'm out-jumped, it's over. Most of my wins have come OTF.
excellent illustration of a critical point!
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Old 11-14-12, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider
uh...what?

the guy is new so he can use power to train and improve his numbers (never hurts to be stronger), but he'll also need to figure out technique. fortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive.

what he may not realize as someone new is that, counterintuitively, the guys who have a "better sprint" actually are better due to other aspects of their racing (e.g., technique or other areas of their power profile that mean they are more fresh, better positioned, etc.).

comparing sprint #s is a bit silly, particularly given the error that commonly pop up in power for short intervals with many popular power meters, so i suggest focusing on general trends in power and technique/positioning.
sorry, it was a comment at how there are people who demands even more accuracy & precision than I
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Old 11-14-12, 02:24 PM
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comparing sprint #s is a bit silly
Yeah, I prefer to get insight into how poor my sprint is by the grins on my training partners' faces as they hold off my full-on attempts to overtake them with a half-assed effort
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