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Old 06-30-09, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by v70cat View Post
How does the Watt meter help you?
One could write a thesis on this subject / question. Knowing power production instantaneously and over time allows me to track progress. The only proxy to power produced is level of effort on the pedals. Heart rate lags power and varies day to day. Fatigue and mental state can change ones perception of level of effort. However, measured power is a physical measurement by a strain gage in the power meter. Power over time is energy.

So if I am riding producing 200 watts, it is accurate. If I expected to produce 200 and only produce 180, I know it. Based upon power measurements, energy production and tracking, I will be able to know my short term, threshold, and max power. I can track these numbers in the same manner as going to the gym and bench pressing 100 pounds for 10 reps.

The other thing that power measurement does is it shows you how your are managing your energy. For example, if you are climbing a hill and producing 200 watts, you will know if that is sustainable. If you start out at 225 watts, you will overdue the start and run out of energy on the climb for the end.

If I want to do a constant power interval in my TT bike, without power measurement, I must rely on the perception of effort. If the terrain changes and the wind is blowing, it is difficult to maintain constant power. With power measurement, you hold the power constant and speed does not matter.

If you want to do a max power interval, you can do it over a fixed distance and see how much power your produce and compare it to previous attempts to see improvement.

All these concepts are easily done at the gym while weight lifting. You always know how much weight you are lifting and how many reps you are doing. It is very quantitative and I have found over the years, I respond well to this type of measurable feedback. I will have that quantifiable feedback on the bike if I want to use it. It is much better than heart rate or certainly average speed.

Finally, the power meter is best for intervals and monitoring energy. You can track your energy produced each week and increase or decrease it as the event schedule requires.

For long Z2/Z3 rides, power is less important and heart rate is the key metric.
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