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Suggestions to keep up on the hills?

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Suggestions to keep up on the hills?

Old 05-15-22, 04:22 PM
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oik01
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Suggestions to keep up on the hills?

So I did a group ride today and had a tremendous amount of difficulty keeping up on the hills. On the flats when in the draft it seemed like i was doing no watts. On the hills, I reviewed the data and it seems like I was just dropping seconds like no one's buisness. I spent the ride spiking up the hills and then catching up to the draft then resting then repeating on the next hill until I am eventually dropped. The funny thing is my power output is consistently higher than the others on those hills and im not particularly heavy. 168 pounds ( heavy madone sl6). Im 6 feet so yest maybe I can lose some weight but it would be marginal.

Here are some of the numbers on some hill segments:

Hill A : 0.56 miles 6.2% with some higher gradients at times:
My output: 258 Watts 3:35
Rider 1: 226 3:19
Rider 2: estimated 244 3:14
Rier 3: 225 3:16

Hill B: 0.42 miles 5.0% ( follows a fast segment)
My output: 225W 1:35
Rider 1: 174 W 1:28
Rider 3: 187 W 1:27

Hill C: 1.1 miles 1.9%, flatish beginning.
My output: 291W 3:30 sec
Rider 3: 242W 3:29 sec

Hill D: 0.83mi 157ft 3.6%
My output: 219W 4:42 ( dropped alone so maybe came in with less speed and 0 draft)
Rider 2: 213: 3:59
Rider 3: 216 3:56


Any thoughts from anyone? At first I thought maybe my powermeter isn't calibrated accurately but right and left side match up and i tend to compare it to my trainer every few months and they are spot on. I dont think my weight is that much of a difference. Not sure what to do. Ive been improving but the hills are always a horror story for me. Ive tried to time it by moving to the front in advance but then I am already spiking a bit so making it longer and they still pass me by... Im losing a ton of time each one as you can see. I make it up somehow for a little bit but eventually Im done with the yoying and tremendous spikes to keep up.
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Old 05-15-22, 04:57 PM
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You didn't provide info on your background so I'm wondering what kind of cycling experience you have. And, where you are in your fitness. I do not have the cyclist body and am usually 10-15 lbs above cycling weight at the start of a season. So, where I am at the beginning and end of a season makes a big difference in climbing. Just wondering if that's a factor for you too.
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Old 05-15-22, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
You didn't provide info on your background so I'm wondering what kind of cycling experience you have. And, where you are in your fitness. I do not have the cyclist body and am usually 10-15 lbs above cycling weight at the start of a season. So, where I am at the beginning and end of a season makes a big difference in climbing. Just wondering if that's a factor for you too.
Background: Im 34 not naturally fit especially poor aerobic tolerance and a demanding job. Ive been cycling more regularly for two years now. Maybe 4 months of regular training last year but lots of zwift and solo rides otherwise. This year Im getting back into regular training. FTP is somewhere between 210 and 230 is my best estimate but when I do workouts I can usually complete trainerroad with a setting of 230 ftp with minimal incompletes.

Weight: im at a decent weight for me. At my lowest I was maybe 5 pounds less. This is how I look now. I don't think theres that much more than 5 pounds I can lose and it will be tough to take them off for me.

regardless of experience I just don't understand why I would need that much power. And im finding it hard to believe that both the right power-meter, the left, and the indoor trainer are all wrong on their readings. Its frustrating me and I don't understand it.
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Old 05-15-22, 05:19 PM
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Are you standing in the climbs? That’s gonna make you less aero.
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Old 05-15-22, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Are you standing in the climbs? That’s gonna make you less aero.

i would say its pretty rare but yes for some tough slow bits where I honestly don't expect aerodynamic drag to be that high.
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Old 05-15-22, 05:29 PM
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Have you looked at your power during the segment? Are you starting hot and then fading toward the end, especially hill A, if you can do 290W for over 3 minutes why is hill A so low for power? Are you applying higher power at the steeper parts throughout the segment? Cadence falling off, or missing a shift? Look at your raw data to see if there are technical aspects you can improve. In Strava you can overlay multiple efforts for a segment and look carefully at each effort.

Next is tactics. Except for hill A the others aren’t particularly steep so where you are in the group and drafting really matters (like your hill D effort) so make sure you position yourself behind the ‘mountain goats’ of the group at the start. If you get caught behind folks who are not good climbers you have to waste watts passing them out of the draft. Follow behind the good climbers and try to match their gear and cadence, and talk positive to yourself, everyone else is dying too.
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Old 05-15-22, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
Have you looked at your power during the segment? Are you starting hot and then fading toward the end, especially hill A, if you can do 290W for over 3 minutes why is hill A so low for power? Are you applying higher power at the steeper parts throughout the segment? Cadence falling off, or missing a shift? Look at your raw data to see if there are technical aspects you can improve. In Strava you can overlay multiple efforts for a segment and look carefully at each effort.

Next is tactics. Except for hill A the others aren’t particularly steep so where you are in the group and drafting really matters (like your hill D effort) so make sure you position yourself behind the ‘mountain goats’ of the group at the start. If you get caught behind folks who are not good climbers you have to waste watts passing them out of the draft. Follow behind the good climbers and try to match their gear and cadence, and talk positive to yourself, everyone else is dying too.
Fair point. Here's my power on that hill: I think I hit a small peak in the 400s at the beginning but it seems brief?



here's one of the other riders ( my takeaway is he came in with a faster speed and only put the effort when his speed hit 10 miles per hour:

another rider: ( more steady effort I guess)



Here's another comparison closer to the beginning. I kept it steady but look at my heart rate and the difference in power. That was a gigantic effort for me. Any chance all my powermeters are equally off?



The other rider:
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Old 05-15-22, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by oik01 View Post
So I did a group ride today and had a tremendous amount of difficulty keeping up on the hills. On the flats when in the draft it seemed like i was doing no watts. On the hills, I reviewed the data and it seems like I was just dropping seconds like no one's buisness. I spent the ride spiking up the hills and then catching up to the draft then resting then repeating on the next hill until I am eventually dropped. The funny thing is my power output is consistently higher than the others on those hills and im not particularly heavy. 168 pounds ( heavy madone sl6). Im 6 feet so yest maybe I can lose some weight but it would be marginal.

Here are some of the numbers on some hill segments:

Hill A : 0.56 miles 6.2% with some higher gradients at times:
My output: 258 Watts 3:35
Rider 1: 226 3:19
Rider 2: estimated 244 3:14
Rier 3: 225 3:16

Hill B: 0.42 miles 5.0% ( follows a fast segment)
My output: 225W 1:35
Rider 1: 174 W 1:28
Rider 3: 187 W 1:27


Hill C: 1.1 miles 1.9%, flatish beginning.
My output: 291W 3:30 sec
Rider 3: 242W 3:29 sec

Hill D: 0.83mi 157ft 3.6%
My output: 219W 4:42 ( dropped alone so maybe came in with less speed and 0 draft)
Rider 2: 213: 3:59
Rider 3: 216 3:56


Any thoughts from anyone? At first I thought maybe my powermeter isn't calibrated accurately but right and left side match up and i tend to compare it to my trainer every few months and they are spot on. I dont think my weight is that much of a difference. Not sure what to do. Ive been improving but the hills are always a horror story for me. Ive tried to time it by moving to the front in advance but then I am already spiking a bit so making it longer and they still pass me by... Im losing a ton of time each one as you can see. I make it up somehow for a little bit but eventually Im done with the yoying and tremendous spikes to keep up.
7 seconds out of 1.5 minutes is quite a bit. Those numbers cannot be correct unless the people you ride with are pro level light. That dude did 51 Watts less than you but was 7% faster?

Also, 95 seconds for 0.42miles = 676m -> 25km/h

Putting the numbers into a bike calculator, 76kg with 10kg bike weight (assuming some clothes, bottles, bag) with 225w at 5% gradient is 15.8km/h. That is nowhere near 25 and I actually find the calculator to be much more accurate that 10kmh discrepancies. So something is off with the numbers you stated there.
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Old 05-15-22, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by oik01 View Post
Here's another comparison closer to the beginning. I kept it steady but look at my heart rate and the difference in power. That was a gigantic effort for me. Any chance all my powermeters are equally off?



The other rider:
In the OP you said that the flats are easy for you, but here you're showing a ~300W effort along the flats when the other guy is showing much lower choppy power. Are you doing big pulls right before the starts of climbs?
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Old 05-15-22, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
In the OP you said that the flats are easy for you, but here you're showing a ~300W effort along the flats when the other guy is showing much lower choppy power. Are you doing big pulls right before the starts of climbs?
I cant remember totally but I know the beginning pace was really hard for me and I didn't have much of a draft at all because I would yoyo back after the hills or the corners. I may have been catching up to them but Im not sure. In the middle of the ride, a slower group came off and with them I could hold in the paceline so long as I got to it. Im also not particularly good at keeping close to the guy in front but im not sure its that important on the hills were I lose the time.

Also with the flats perhaps the correct word would be doable. I was holding 150 or so most of the time except for the inclines ( In the second half. The first was just insane for me I was struggling all the way).
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Old 05-15-22, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
7 seconds out of 1.5 minutes is quite a bit. Those numbers cannot be correct unless the people you ride with are pro level light. That dude did 51 Watts less than you but was 7% faster?

Also, 95 seconds for 0.42miles = 676m -> 25km/h

Putting the numbers into a bike calculator, 76kg with 10kg bike weight (assuming some clothes, bottles, bag) with 225w at 5% gradient is 15.8km/h. That is nowhere near 25 and I actually find the calculator to be much more accurate that 10kmh discrepancies. So something is off with the numbers you stated there.
As mentioned above, hill be follows a fast segment so we came in at speed and slowed down gradually up the climb. We came in at 22.2 and 22.1 miles per hour. Yes 7 seconds is a lot and thats why im frustrated.

Last edited by oik01; 05-15-22 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 05-15-22, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by oik01 View Post
Im also not particularly good at keeping close to the guy in front but im not sure its that important on the hills were I lose the time.
Draft has a diminished impact when you're going slow up steep gradients, but being able to draft effectively on the flats has a huge effect on recovering and staying fresh for the hills.

Also, I'm looking at this again, and it appears that the fast section of flats where you were doing high power is part of the "climb" segment in question. If you were pulling or failing to draft, obviously this will increase your average power on the "climb" segment independent of your performance on the actual ascending.
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Old 05-15-22, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by oik01 View Post
As mentioned above, hill be follows a fast segment so we came in at speed and slowed down gradually up the climb. Yes 7 seconds is a lot and thats why im frustrated. THe gaps that would open up on the hills were crazy.
But if those numbers are right, then the others just must carry the speed a lot better. Otherwise it isn't possible to be faster but 51W less than you.
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Old 05-15-22, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
But if those numbers are right, then the others just must carry the speed a lot better. Otherwise it isn't possible to be faster but 51W less than you.
How would I make sure my power meter is right?
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Old 05-15-22, 06:54 PM
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Your PM is off or you are too heavy relative to your friends, or both.

Fixing PM won’t get you up the hill any faster, but losing some weight probably will.
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Old 05-15-22, 07:51 PM
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couple of things
you haven't noted the weight of the riders to whom you're comparing you stats, above...
My guess is that Riders are all lighter than you, Ride 1 & 3 considerably.
After all, climbing is power to weight... lower the weight the lower power required to climb.
also noting the stat charts you posted. One rider has a max of 164 and avg of 148 - he;s staying aerobic for the entire span of the chart - and holding a steady speed.
you are showing a MAX HR of 176 and an avg of 170... so well into anaerobic for most of your chart/effort.
Why do I say 'anaerobic', because riders with Thresholds above 170 are quite well trained, elite riders might get to 174-175.
Aerobic vs anaerobic is not an 'on/off switch, it's progressive, but anaerobic (ADP) enegery production ramps up quickly once above a measured threshold.
You're burning your matches very early and very quickly, hence it'll only get worse with every progressive climb.
Have you measured your Anaerobic Threshold (also called Lactate threshold) ?
your chart showing 188 max HR and 180 avg, you are well into anaerobic ... and even though you sense 'recovery' the body energy production doesn;t recover that quickly after prolonged anaerobic.
watch any pro racing? seeing the leadout train for sprinters? most leadout riders will give max effort for about 1 KM max (all done anaerobic) then they peel off, because there's no way to hold that effort any further - happens sooner in climbing...
the Anaerobic Threshold (AT) / Lactate Threshold (LT) can be trained to a higher level - over extended, proper training time...
I would dig deeper into the info available for this. And test for your AT.
2 links to start you off
https://www.velonews.com/training/th...ate-threshold/
https://lanternerouge.com.au/2022/03...data-analysis/
Ride On
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Old 05-16-22, 12:27 AM
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I wouldn't get too caught up in the power numbers.
The proof is in the result and you simply need more fitness/power.
But I would expect that you need around 4w/kg for 5 mins to keep up with most recreational cyclists.
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Old 05-16-22, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
couple of things
you haven't noted the weight of the riders to whom you're comparing you stats, above...
My guess is that Riders are all lighter than you, Ride 1 & 3 considerably.
After all, climbing is power to weight... lower the weight the lower power required to climb.
also noting the stat charts you posted. One rider has a max of 164 and avg of 148 - he;s staying aerobic for the entire span of the chart - and holding a steady speed.
you are showing a MAX HR of 176 and an avg of 170... so well into anaerobic for most of your chart/effort.
Why do I say 'anaerobic', because riders with Thresholds above 170 are quite well trained, elite riders might get to 174-175.
Aerobic vs anaerobic is not an 'on/off switch, it's progressive, but anaerobic (ADP) enegery production ramps up quickly once above a measured threshold.
You're burning your matches very early and very quickly, hence it'll only get worse with every progressive climb.
Have you measured your Anaerobic Threshold (also called Lactate threshold) ?
your chart showing 188 max HR and 180 avg, you are well into anaerobic ... and even though you sense 'recovery' the body energy production doesn;t recover that quickly after prolonged anaerobic.
watch any pro racing? seeing the leadout train for sprinters? most leadout riders will give max effort for about 1 KM max (all done anaerobic) then they peel off, because there's no way to hold that effort any further - happens sooner in climbing...
the Anaerobic Threshold (AT) / Lactate Threshold (LT) can be trained to a higher level - over extended, proper training time...
I would dig deeper into the info available for this. And test for your AT.
2 links to start you off
https://www.velonews.com/training/th...ate-threshold/
https://lanternerouge.com.au/2022/03...data-analysis/
Ride On
Yuri
I wouldn't read that much into the HR comparisons. They can be wildly different between individuals. For example my LTHR is 179 and I'm no elite athlete! One of my riding mates has a much lower HR profile right across the board but is considerably less fit. It's just pointless to compare HR across individuals without specific knowledge of their complete HR profile i.e. resting, threshold and max HR values.
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Old 05-16-22, 04:57 AM
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If all those power numbers are reasonably accurate to within say 2% (and they probably are) then your mates are probably considerably lighter than you. That would be the main thing to check before drawing any further conclusions.

The only other thing you can say is that you appear to have a tendency to go a bit too hard at the start of the climb and then fade toward the end. You may get better overall results with the opposite strategy. There's no point in putting out 400W+ if you know that you can only average around 250W on the whole climb. That initial effort will just tip you into the red with the rest of the climb still to come. Better to save that burst for the crest of the climb when you can at least recover over the top. Most people get dropped against more experienced riders going over the top of climbs for this reason.

Regarding weight, I'm about the same as you (literally to within a pound and also 6ft tall) and I consider myself a middle-weight climber. Most really quick climbers are under 150 pounds. You say your mates appear close in weight, but are they really? If those guys are 150 lb, that's going to be worth around 30W on a climb.

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Old 05-16-22, 05:07 AM
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Word of caution. The following comment comes from a newbie, who would probably be better served by shutting up.

Any chance it could be a bike fit issue? Meaning no disrespect, your probably way past the fitting stage, But to my untrained eye the bike looks a bit small and perhaps it’s inhibiting you from delivering your power? It almost looks like you may not get enough extension in your legs.

ok everyone forgive my ignorance if I’m way off.
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Old 05-16-22, 05:26 AM
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This reminds me or a pertinent anecdote. One winner of the U.S. road cycling championship in the late '70s or early '80s - Dale Stetina, if I remember correctly - wrote an article in one of the bike magazines in which he described how he won.

He'd been unable to do his customary amount of racing and training leading up to the event because of work and school obligations, so he knew that he had to go into the race with a strategy worked out in advance to minimize his effort.

The race consisted of several laps of a course that had one major difficult climb, so for each lap except the last, per his plan, he worked his way up through the pack on the rest of the course, while spending as much time sheltering behind other riders as possible, making sure to arrive at the front just as the climb started. The result was minimal exposure to wind, followed by riding at his own pace up the hill while the other riders passed him. He'd arrive at the top of the climb dead last, but still in a position to draft the others, at which point he'd begin working his way up to the front again.

Finally, the last time up the climb, he stayed near the front until the crest of the hill, where he jumped away from the pack. He then soloed to the finish line and won.

Following this strategy would probably help the OP stay closer to his riding companions. That, and making sure to spend more time spinning in lower gears on the climbs rather than lugging along in higher gears. (I didn't see any mention of what gears he uses while climbing.)

Racers call hard anerobic efforts "burning matches" - as in, you have only so many matches to burn. So keep the time you spend in an anaerobic state to the absolute minimum. Spinning a lower gear on climbs, even when you think pushing a higher gear is the only way you can keep up, is almost always the better approach. You recover much faster from aerobic than anaerobic efforts.
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Old 05-16-22, 05:47 AM
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Drop 5-6% of the weight of you and bike combined or gain 6-7% in power or a combination of the two to keep up with your buddies. That is all you really need here although the suggestions about sheltering and reserving anaerobic capacity for the climb are spot on.
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Old 05-16-22, 06:53 AM
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It can take a lot of years to fully develop cycling muscles. It also takes a lot of miles. When I was working, I could only find the time for 2-3,000 miles per year. I rode with some guys who were good enough athletes to qualify for the iron man, but I could only draft them and sometimes got dropped.

When I quit working, I rode 5,000 miles most years and was I able to ride the Mt. Evans Hillclimb route in a 2:35, which would have usually put me in the top 10 at age 53. The fastest rider might be 15 minutes ahead of me. Then I read where a 70 year old beat my time by quite a bit. Genetics plays a big role. I'm about to turn 69 and there's no way I could ride Mt. Evans in 2:35 now.

It's easy to under estimate how much excess body weight you have. It's power to weight ratio that matters on the climbs. I'm only 168cm tall, but my body weight is close to pro level at just under 61kg. I'm hoping to get down to 60kg. I lift weights and don't have the pencil thin arms of a pro. I'm also too old to worry much about my power output. I mainly want to keep my ability to ride 10-12% grades and the endurance for over 3 hours of riding in the mountains.
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Old 05-16-22, 07:06 AM
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On the flats, weight is almost irrelevant. In the hills, it is everything.

I see this even in my own little group of retirees. The guy I am always chasing up the hills weighs maybe 130 lbs. But on the flats, the big and tall riders pound us into submission. But it's all good, we have fun. I see it as revenge on those big guys that used to beat us at football and basketball "back in the day."
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Old 05-16-22, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
I wouldn't get too caught up in the power numbers.
The proof is in the result and you simply need more fitness/power.
But I would expect that you need around 4w/kg for 5 mins to keep up with most recreational cyclists.
Yes agree 100% with not getting fixated on power numbers, proof is in the pudding/results.

I do think 4w/kg for 5 minutes is a pretty high bar for "most recreational cyclists" as most of the folks I know and ride with are putting out something a bit less, like 3-3.5, but of course YMMV.
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