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Let's talk about limitations of FTP

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Let's talk about limitations of FTP

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Old 01-12-19, 06:19 PM
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fstrnu
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Let's talk about limitations of FTP

I'll start. Jump in anytime.

FTP is a mashup of fitness and endurance, which are separate things. This is why many plans progress training based on combined interval duration. Take a test. Start with 3 x 10 at SST, increase to 3 x 12 and then 2 x 20; after which you move up to LT because you've reached a practical limit and so on.

What inevitably happens is that cyclists complain that workouts are too hard or too easy and lament their failure to be able to test/pace.

...when, instead, they should ditch the tests and let interval structure naturally and organically self-regulate their workouts based on what they're capable of doing.

So, if you thing you should be able to successfully perform a 4 x 8 workout at LT without leaving too much in the tank, then just perform 4 x 8 workouts at a power at which you can maintain for four eight minute intervals without leaving too much in the tank.

Am I wrong? Don't limit your responses to what I'm saying. But I'm also open to comments on what I'm saying. Now go forth and discuss whatever you want to discuss about the limitations of FTP.
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Old 01-12-19, 06:39 PM
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Yes, you're wrong and your post illustrates, yet again, a substantial lack of understanding regarding ftp and training. But that's nothing new.
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Old 01-12-19, 06:39 PM
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IMO what you're saying is a bit confusing. Of course you want to regulate according to some standard. Otherwise folks just dog it. We see that all the time here, where folks think they're going hard and doing intervals and it's obvious they never get above mid zone 3. If you're really going to TRAIN, you have to test and train w/r to that test. Otherwise you're JRA. Intervals are supposed be hard. If the rider doesn't want to experience the pain and trauma, no need, just ride.

So not limiting to a response to your argument, only to your title, there is a genuine discussion out there about whether to follow FTP or HR when doing intervals. IOW, whether to allow HR zones to change through drift while riding some percentage of FTP. Which is physiologically more productive over a many week training schedule? Now that's an interesting argument. If that's what you're arguing, you could have been clearer. I've read a study which suggested that in the case of HIIT, following HR gave better results than following power. My own training suggests that there may be a larger case for that, depending on the training content and goal.
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Old 01-12-19, 06:46 PM
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Testing is training and training is testing, as one prominent "guru" has put it. Of course, fstr thinks his generic prescriptions of12 min repeats at sst and 8 min repeats at threshold is some notable workout or something, but he apparently doesn't actually understand those two intensities or how to properly incorporate them into training, so we're left with more vacuous threads like these that are fundamentally wrong from the first word.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Testing is training and training is testing, as one prominent "guru" has put it. Of course, fstr thinks his generic prescriptions of12 min repeats at sst and 8 min repeats at threshold is some notable workout or something, but he apparently doesn't actually understand those two intensities or how to properly incorporate them into training, so we're left with more vacuous threads like these that are fundamentally wrong from the first word.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But aw, c'mon discuss. I know you have opinions. It's possible to ignore the OP as is done on so many BF threads which expand from a vacuous premise. I think it's a tentative invitation.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:52 PM
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Nah, it's another poor attempt at trolling. He sent me an elementary-style pm telling me he started this thread. He really craves my attention, apparently.

But anyway, as someone who started out riding off the couch and managed to get to a cat 1 within 4 years by training exclusively with hr, I still see limited value in it. HR is fickle; it's responsive to a myriad of factors that may or may not be associated with performance output. What my hr is at any specific point in time is not relevant to me, not in training, not in recovering, not in performance situations. I've had a hr strap for the last two years just to ensure I'm not missing anything, but at no point in that time frame has it ever shown me anything additional, anything useful, or anything practical that I can use to further improve.

One day 160 bpm might be 90% of ftp, another day it may be 100%. In a race or competition it might be higher. When I'm tired, it'll be lower. Hot days versus cold days will affect it significantly, as does being indoors or outdoors for similar reasons. Whether or not I'm coming into the ride fasted or stuffed will also have a big impact.

On the contrary, and I've seen a prominent person in cycling training say something similar, at best it's showing me what I already know, and at worst it's outright deceptive. Using a Maffetone-esque training plan as a 20 something year old cat 1 drove me to full-on overtraining that took months to recover from. When residual fatigue comes into play, hr drops. Continuing to try to achieve specific hr zones deepens the hole. This is all readily apparent to me now, but as an aspiring (read: delusional) young 20 something with more ambition and drive than experience, it had disastrous consequences.

At the end of the day, what matters is whether or not I am capable of putting out the power at the right time. From 10+ years of training and racing as a 1, that hinges significantly on two physiological things that I can train: 1) how high my ftp is, and 2) how well I've prepared in a neuromuscular sense. When I have both those things right, I can get in the money in just about any amateur or pro crit I can enter. Depending on the race, the former may be more important, like in local races in which I'll likely need to be in a break contrasted to regional/national races in which the latter will be more important in that I'll need to respond to 100+ 700 watt surges before finishing up with 5-10 minutes of high aerobic effort and multiple sprints.

If I had to start over and do it all over again, I'd focus on getting my ftp as high as possible and my sprint. Every month, every year. The rest is just stuff to keep it interesting, snipe KOMs, and drop people on training rides.

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Old 01-12-19, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
'there is a genuine discussion out there about whether to follow FTP or HR when doing intervals.
Besides the obvious issues with trying to do short workouts with hr, and additional issues in which a true steady state effort is going to start well below a prescribed hr for many minutes (I've done 30+ minutes at a wattage before hitting the corresponding hr when a little fatigued), I don't think there is, not by actual people prescribing workouts or performing them. Specific needs drive specific durations and those durations drive specific intensities. FTP may or may not have anything to do with that. Look at WKO4 iLevels. Prescriptions tailored to your own mean maximal power duration curve regardless of your FTP.

But even before that, it was readily apparent who might be better at something than someone else. I mean, just because a training partner may have had a similar ftp to me didn't mean we did the same wattage for hill repeats. There's a ton of individual variation there.

You do intervals based on what you need to get out of the intervals, whether that's something general, something specific, or something you're building towards. You don't do intervals for the sake of getting better at intervals unless you're the op.
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Old 01-12-19, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Besides the obvious issues with trying to do short workouts with hr, and additional issues in which a true steady state effort is going to start well below a prescribed hr for many minutes (I've done 30+ minutes at a wattage before hitting the corresponding hr when a little fatigued), I don't think there is, not by actual people prescribing workouts or performing them. Specific needs drive specific durations and those durations drive specific intensities. FTP may or may not have anything to do with that. Look at WKO4 iLevels. Prescriptions tailored to your own mean maximal power duration curve regardless of your FTP.

But even before that, it was readily apparent who might be better at something than someone else. I mean, just because a training partner may have had a similar ftp to me didn't mean we did the same wattage for hill repeats. There's a ton of individual variation there.

You do intervals based on what you need to get out of the intervals, whether that's something general, something specific, or something you're building towards. You don't do intervals for the sake of getting better at intervals unless you're the op.
Can't but agree with that. I do power based short intervals, up to maybe 4 minutes, without a PM. I just know my local hills and gears. I hit the target HR holding steady state by the end of the interval, going more by breathing than HR. First one's the trickiest, on the rest, HR comes up faster. But on the longer intervals I bring it up to HR and then hold that, even though I know my power is dropping off a hair. So on that 30' interval, I'd bring it up to HR and hold that, so that power would not be even.

That's what I'm talking about, the long-term effect of the tactic of going by physiologic stress. Last year I did RAMROD with a guy who rides by power, I by HR. He wore himself out and I left him about 20 miles from the finish, even though he was faster than I over the first 100 or so miles. He doesn't watch HR, which I've seen advocated quite a bit here. Deep into a long event like that, I find myself gradually riding with fitter people and the people I saw in the first 60 miles I don't see anymore. My opinion is that's a result of holding my HR to narrow ranges, which depend on terrain and known durations.
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Old 01-12-19, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Nah, it's another poor attempt at trolling. He sent me an elementary-style pm telling me he started this thread. He really craves my attention, apparently.

But anyway, as someone who started out riding off the couch and managed to get to a cat 1 within 4 years by training exclusively with hr, I still see limited value in it. HR is fickle; it's responsive to a myriad of factors that may or may not be associated with performance output. What my hr is at any specific point in time is not relevant to me, not in training, not in recovering, not in performance situations. I've had a hr strap for the last two years just to ensure I'm not missing anything, but at no point in that time frame has it ever shown me anything additional, anything useful, or anything practical that I can use to further improve.

One day 160 bpm might be 90% of ftp, another day it may be 100%. In a race or competition it might be higher. When I'm tired, it'll be lower. Hot days versus cold days will affect it significantly, as does being indoors or outdoors for similar reasons. Whether or not I'm coming into the ride fasted or stuffed will also have a big impact.

On the contrary, and I've seen a prominent person in cycling training say something similar, at best it's showing me what I already know, and at worst it's outright deceptive. Using a Maffetone-esque training plan as a 20 something year old cat 1 drove me to full-on overtraining that took months to recover from. When residual fatigue comes into play, hr drops. Continuing to try to achieve specific hr zones deepens the hole. This is all readily apparent to me now, but as an aspiring (read: delusional) young 20 something with more ambition and drive than experience, it had disastrous consequences.

At the end of the day, what matters is whether or not I am capable of putting out the power at the right time. From 10+ years of training and racing as a 1, that hinges significantly on two physiological things that I can train: 1) how high my ftp is, and 2) how well I've prepared in a neuromuscular sense. When I have both those things right, I can get in the money in just about any amateur or pro crit I can enter. Depending on the race, the former may be more important, like in local races in which I'll likely need to be in a break contrasted to regional/national races in which the latter will be more important in that I'll need to respond to 100+ 700 watt surges before finishing up with 5-10 minutes of high aerobic effort and multiple sprints.

If I had to start over and do it all over again, I'd focus on getting my ftp as high as possible and my sprint. Every month, every year. The rest is just stuff to keep it interesting, snipe KOMs, and drop people on training rides.
Ah, I didn't see this post at first. I deal with some of the HR issues you discuss by monitoring my morning HRs and now being careful of the slope of my CTL. But as far as heat and cold go, I definitely can't put out the same power in the heat that I can in the cold and I'd be fool to try to on a long pass climb. My LTHR is the same no matter the temperature. It comes at a lower power in the heat but the result of going over is the same at any temperature, well maybe worse in the heat.

Maybe crits are different. I've never had an interest in anything under 60 miles. Being older, I suppose I've always worked the endurance side harder. Though until recently I could cremate anyone I rode with in a sprint, especially hill sprints, even after 200 miles. Then this young guy with big legs joined us. I think there's a talent thing with sprinting, some ATP thing.
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Old 01-13-19, 02:17 AM
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Limitations of FTP how?

Are we talking FTP as a physiological concept and model? FTP as as imaginary training threshold which steady-state training is based on? FTP vs other types of training? What's the point here?

OP, do you do the same generic schedule for every event, or do you actually plan your training based on the type of racing you do? Does that even factor in with your tables o' colors and numbers?
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Old 01-13-19, 05:23 AM
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To me, threshold is a number, gives a starting point. Lactic Threshold, FTP, critical power all similar but have differences. Seems to me, everybody's power curve looks different for a lot of reasons and 1 point doesn't define a curve, you need a few. So basing targets on a percentage of FTP is not necessarily the right prescription for everyone, you really need to look at the entire curve. If your point is that is shouldn't be easy to finish your intervals/workout what ever they are, I agree. I don't see how doing something that is easy to finish is going to force an adaptation.
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Old 01-13-19, 06:20 AM
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some background

Originally Posted by newduguy View Post
Are we talking FTP as a physiological concept and model? FTP as as imaginary training threshold which steady-state training is based on? FTP vs other types of training? What's the point here?

OP, do you do the same generic schedule for every event, or do you actually plan your training based on the type of racing you do? Does that even factor in with your tables o' colors and numbers?
Let me help you out here. The op makes a lot of ridiculous threads. From gleaning these multiple threads, it seems he doesn't race, doesn't train outside, doesn't care about performance or fun. He only rides indoors to get better at doing intervals. He doesn't understand that other people don't typically like to stare at a wall while training and claims that everyone that uses zwift or trainerroad or a training plan is a brainless, brainwashed, ignorant, lazy sheep, etc.(his words).

He's shown a paucity of knowledge regarding real training and physiology, so he most likely can't answer your questions about ftp or the like because he understands so little about it. He starts a lot of troll-bait threads in which he throws out utter nonsense repeatedly. This is the latest incarnation.

In short, expect no answers. He genuinely doesn't know any.
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Old 01-13-19, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Ah, I didn't see this post at first. I deal with some of the HR issues you discuss by monitoring my morning HRs and now being careful of the slope of my CTL. But as far as heat and cold go, I definitely can't put out the same power in the heat that I can in the cold and I'd be fool to try to on a long pass climb. My LTHR is the same no matter the temperature. It comes at a lower power in the heat but the result of going over is the same at any temperature, well maybe worse in the heat..
I mean, I get what you're saying to an extent, but you don't actually use power. So when you say you do short intervals with power, or you can't put out the same power in the heat, there's a disconnect there.

It kind of halts the discussion. You can't discuss hr and power if you don't actually have power on the bike.

In any case, in training, at that power (and maybe that power is lower as you adapt, I know mine is at the start of the summer), the hr will be what it is. As you acclimate, the power will start to return closer to baseline.

Can you do similar training or achieve the same results with hr? Of course. You can do the same with RPE, too. But which will be the most specific? I think that's where the differences lie, with RPE being most general and power most specific. I.e., 350 watts feels like nothing after 1 minute, but a ton after 20 minutes, versus 350w gets me 170 bpm after 5 minutes, but 180bpm after 20 minutes, versus 350w is 350w from 1 minute to 20 minutes.

And if I need to maintain 350 watts to crest a hill first (terribly simplified, obviously), that's what I'm going to be focused on. Not how much it hurts or what my hr is at the beginning or the end, because those two things can change tremendously (a lot of times it doesn't even "hurt" when racing in a group versus grinding my teeth in agony on my fourth solo trip up the hill). That way my training is bang on from one day to the next and not affected by other things.
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Old 01-13-19, 10:45 AM
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I have been doing power training based off of FTP since 2008. In a matter of a few rides with power, the limitations of HR and RPE training became patently clear and HR took it rightful place as a tertiary measurement that may be useful in some training instances but honestly, I cannot think of any. I am not going to repeat what rubiksoval already said.

HR training was kickstarted by Conconi and his test to determine lactate threshold. There are better methods for LT testing in the field than using HR. However, my wife was tested at UCLA as part of a clinical trial she volunteered to do for masters athletes. They would not take her into the study because she does not produce any lactate.

I have found the FTP / TSS construct to be adequate for my needs and testing to determine FTP not a problem per se. Although, I do think it takes some practice testing to get a good result.

If the FTP construct has a hole in it, it is that it does not take into account all riding positions, on all terrain and across all cycling modalities. Hence one can have a different FTP climbing versus flat to rolling terrain, the drops versus the hoods, the TT position versus the road bike and the velodrome versus the road and finally the trainer versus the road. I have found that they can equilibrate with enough time in the saddle.

The classic discussion at a training camp will be about my FTP is different when I time trial versus on my road bike

So one has to pick his / her testing protocol. I generate the highest FTP on an ideal climb riding on the hoods. My new Garmin 820 is spitting out FTP, LT and VO2 numbers for me at the end of each ride assuming there is a change. They are not too bad of a calculation.

I have enough experience to know where my FTP is by just riding and looking at data without a test but if one uses a coach that uses power for training, one is going to do a test.

As far as self regulating power workouts based upon how one feels, I do not see anything wrong doing that. One can guess an FTP and go out for 4 x 10' w 5' RBI and see how it goes and adjust as necessary during the workout. If there is a new number, take it into the next workout session.

For me, building FTP is about duration at, above or near FTP which is at least 10 minutes in duration. Shorter duration workouts just do not generate the adaptation for me. And I need multiple intervals. Two intervals is not enough. If I go shorter than 10 minutes then I need 110% FTP and multiple intervals. So OP, your stuff is too easy and short for me.

Unlike my wife, I am mortal and generate lactate such that I do over under work such as 20 minutes of 3'@110% and 2'@90%. At 110%, I generate lactate plus other waste products that I have to get rid of when I continue at 90%. Over the 20', this trains my aerobic system to deal with the waste products and builds FTP plus the physiology is typical of group ride dynamics. Doing constant power efforts do not offer that capability and therefore are generally inferior for training for mass start races or group rides.

I do other mixed system efforts since they are real world cycling. I do low cadence high torque efforts at 55 rpm to build tolerance to high torque in my legs and build strength on the bike. In general, low cadence efforts generate a lower HR for the same power such that HR is not an accurate representation of effort.

I ride my harder efforts in the drops or on my TT bike. My goal is to generate FTP in the fastest riding positions.

The other aspect of my training is I start with a goal and the training supports the goal. If I am going to do a 20k ITT, I need FTP on my TT bike not on the hoods of my road bike. If I am doing a pursuit at the track, I need 3' power with a standing start. So I need mixed system capability. A higher FTP is a benefit in pursuit since one generally gets a multiple of FTP for 3 minute power.

OP, you are not wrong but have an incomplete picture and understanding of training. My biggest criticism is that you do not start with a goal and in a positive way state how your ideas add more value. Everything you do starts with a negative premise that assumes the sky is falling. Even in this thread, you propose that FTP is inadequate and athletes will fail due to FTP testing because they cannot do the work. I do fine and know a lot of athletes that have done very well with FTP training. And once again, there is no data, personal information or back up to support your premise. And please spare us the same internet links that you used before.

Different training protocols and programs can support the same goal and provide different athletes an advantage.

You remind me of Professor Herald Hill. Sorry. Oh we have trouble right here in BF training land.


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Old 01-14-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by newduguy View Post
Are we talking FTP as a physiological concept and model? FTP as as imaginary training threshold which steady-state training is based on? FTP vs other types of training?
Yes.

Edit - There's also FTP as an indicator of fitness vs to prescribe training.

OP, do you do the same generic schedule for every event, or do you actually plan your training based on the type of racing you do? Does that even factor in with your tables o' colors and numbers?
I don't follow a schedule. My schedules are for new cyclists who insist on having a schedule. They are all general winter schedules. Most people and plans don't do specific training in the winter.

Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
To me, threshold is a number, gives a starting point. Lactic Threshold, FTP, critical power all similar but have differences. Seems to me, everybody's power curve looks different for a lot of reasons and 1 point doesn't define a curve, you need a few. So basing targets on a percentage of FTP is not necessarily the right prescription for everyone, you really need to look at the entire curve. If your point is that is shouldn't be easy to finish your intervals/workout what ever they are, I agree. I don't see how doing something that is easy to finish is going to force an adaptation.
I agree with 100% of what is said here and would add that %FTP is an especially terrible indicator of VO2 max. Max sustainable 4x4 power is much better indicator; especially indoors with fixed power under controlled conditions.

Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
OP, you are not wrong but have an incomplete picture and understanding of training. My biggest criticism is that you do not start with a goal and in a positive way state how your ideas add more value. Everything you do starts with a negative premise that assumes the sky is falling. Even in this thread, you propose that FTP is inadequate and athletes will fail due to FTP testing because they cannot do the work. I do fine and know a lot of athletes that have done very well with FTP training. And once again, there is no data, personal information or back up to support your premise. And please spare us the same internet links that you used before.

Different training protocols and programs can support the same goal and provide different athletes an advantage.
For purpose of space I did not quote your entire post but can say that there is not a single thing in it that I disagree with. Great post.

Regarding athletes failing to do testing, the larger point is...instead of fretting over a workout being too easy or too hard based on what you think your FTP is or whether you tested/paced correctly, etc., just find what challenges you and make adjustments accordingly. Either test and go by the test or (my personal choice) let interval structure dictate the intensity; but makes no sense to try to use both (unless they line up and triangulation is often a good thing in my book).

Regarding backing up my premises, allow me to clarify them first and then feel free to tell me which is one you have a problem with because it seems we agree on much so I'm not sure which is the problem:
  • Programming variables are intensity, duration and frequency
  • Progression of training load is required to continually challenge the body
  • Training should go from general to specific because of things like prepping the body and shelf life
  • Because of ERG training fixed power and controlled conditions, changes in performance can be more confidently attributable to changes in training status (fitness, fatigue, endurance)
    • This is because power is fixed, effort to produce power is unaffected by environment, measures of effort to produce power is unaffected by environment, and things than effect measures of effort to produce power are unaffected by environment
    • So, indoors, we are able to take better advantage of the internal to external load ratio for load monitoring
      • It's faster compared to outdoors, i.e. we don't have to wait for broader trends to compensate for variability before we are confident that we are improving
      • It's more sensitive, i.e. smaller changes are significant
    • We're also able to leverage understanding of how stress impacts heart rate and how cardiac drift works in order to infer on fatigue
      • Higher RPE or cardiac drift + lower heart rate indicates fatigue
      • Cardiac drift can reflect magnitude of fatigue as well and this can be reproduced
  • Manual ERG control enables both ensuring of adequate stimulus and preserving of workout quality by adding/splitting intervals
  • Today's interval performance is reflective of prior workout external load and recovery time which means things like (I won't go into all the examples) if you were able to do more today than you did during the last workout then external load and recovery from the last workout was adequate and therefore today's workout was likely adequate because internal load was possibly the same because external load was increased because external load used last time was good but the very improvement realized from that proper internal load necessitated greater external load this time because of improved fitness, etc.

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Old 01-14-19, 02:13 PM
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Training by instinct sounds great, but most people (myself included) have crappy instincts. The gains in "honesty" by having a set number more than outweigh the gains in flexibility provided by instinctive training IMO.

FTP is a single concise number. This is both a strength and a weakness. But, unless one is quite advanced, it is likely sufficient.
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Old 01-14-19, 02:16 PM
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What Hermes said.
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Old 01-14-19, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I mean, I get what you're saying to an extent, but you don't actually use power. So when you say you do short intervals with power, or you can't put out the same power in the heat, there's a disconnect there.

It kind of halts the discussion. You can't discuss hr and power if you don't actually have power on the bike.

In any case, in training, at that power (and maybe that power is lower as you adapt, I know mine is at the start of the summer), the hr will be what it is. As you acclimate, the power will start to return closer to baseline.

Can you do similar training or achieve the same results with hr? Of course. You can do the same with RPE, too. But which will be the most specific? I think that's where the differences lie, with RPE being most general and power most specific. I.e., 350 watts feels like nothing after 1 minute, but a ton after 20 minutes, versus 350w gets me 170 bpm after 5 minutes, but 180bpm after 20 minutes, versus 350w is 350w from 1 minute to 20 minutes.

And if I need to maintain 350 watts to crest a hill first (terribly simplified, obviously), that's what I'm going to be focused on. Not how much it hurts or what my hr is at the beginning or the end, because those two things can change tremendously (a lot of times it doesn't even "hurt" when racing in a group versus grinding my teeth in agony on my fourth solo trip up the hill). That way my training is bang on from one day to the next and not affected by other things.
Oh, I agree with this, with a few nitpicks. True, I don't have power, but doing intervals on steady slope climbs while holding speed/cadence is the same thing to me, only no numbers for it. All the same, I know when I'm slow and when fast because I know my hills. For short distance work, power is undoubtedly more valuable, but for LD work, which is my thing, not so much. Physiological strain continues to become more important as the hours wear on and HR is a decent measure of that, along with breathing and RPE. HR tells me when I'm dehydrated, when I need to eat, and when I'm redlining it, no matter how tired I am and no matter how much my power (speed or rate of climb in my case) has fallen off. Power would only tell me about those things in an indirect way, which needs other physiological signs to tell why, HR for instance.

Cresting that hill with the group, I'm going to be focused on cadence, the holding thereof. HR be damned - of course. Leading up to that hill, I'll be focused on conserving. A much better rider once commented, "You're not fast, but you ride smart." That's because I ride by HR.

On yesterday's group ride, where I was hoping for 45' of Z4, I had good companions and got more than that. We were on the tandem, as usual, but keeping up with singles overall. They'd drop us on the climbs (1800' in the first 18 miles) but we'd get them back on the descents and then get away until the next climb. According to Strava, our total tandem 20' power has gone up 30 watts this past month. Six PR's at 142 y.o. My HR was depressed, don't know why, so I mostly went by breathing. Interestingly, we were comparatively slower on the first climb, but kept becoming comparatively stronger on every climb even though our power was dropping off. A lot of that's due to strength work in the gym + high end work on the bike. My average HR for 3:22 in the saddle was 90% of my usual LTHR, though that latter was probably a bit lower yesterday. We had two 2nds on long climbs where our PRs were set in June, 2013 and '14. We're starting to get consistent as I gradually get over my PMR and our barbell squats go up.

Talking philosophy here, one should not blame the training mistakes of one's inexperienced 20 y.o. self on the training mode or on one's self. No blame. It's inexperience, which is unavoidable. We never do it right the first time. This applies to everything in life and especially to relationships. We all hope to make many mistakes, because that's how we learn, but what we learn from our mistakes is the critical thing.

I might get a hub PM for my single. I only ride outside on it a few times a year, so It's mostly on the rollers. No point at my age in investing in 2 sets of pedal PMs for the tandem + new pedals, + new shoes. Oh, and the Calfee to go with all that. It's a minor issue when starting a climb, waiting for my stoker to spool up her power as she watches my HR rise. Power and HR would be better, but.
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Old 01-14-19, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Yes.

Edit - There's also FTP as an indicator of fitness vs to prescribe training.



I don't follow a schedule. My schedules are for new cyclists who insist on having a schedule. They are all general winter schedules. Most people and plans don't do specific training in the winter.



I agree with 100% of what is said here and would add that %FTP is an especially terrible indicator of VO2 max. Max sustainable 4x4 power is much better indicator; especially indoors with fixed power under controlled conditions.



For purpose of space I did not quote your entire post but can say that there is not a single thing in it that I disagree with. Great post.

Regarding athletes failing to do testing, the larger point is...instead of fretting over a workout being too easy or too hard based on what you think your FTP is or whether you tested/paced correctly, etc., just find what challenges you and make adjustments accordingly. Either test and go by the test or (my personal choice) let interval structure dictate the intensity; but makes no sense to try to use both (unless they line up and triangulation is often a good thing in my book).

Regarding backing up my premises, allow me to clarify them first and then feel free to tell me which is one you have a problem with because it seems we agree on much so I'm not sure which is the problem:
  • Programming variables are intensity, duration and frequency
  • Progression of training load is required to continually challenge the body
  • Training should go from general to specific because of things like prepping the body and shelf life
  • Because of ERG training fixed power and controlled conditions, changes in performance can be more confidently attributable to changes in training status (fitness, fatigue, endurance)
    • This is because power is fixed, effort to produce power is unaffected by environment, measures of effort to produce power is unaffected by environment, and things than effect measures of effort to produce power are unaffected by environment
    • So, indoors, we are able to take better advantage of the internal to external load ratio for load monitoring
      • It's faster compared to outdoors, i.e. we don't have to wait for broader trends to compensate for variability before we are confident that we are improving
      • It's more sensitive, i.e. smaller changes are significant
    • We're also able to leverage understanding of how stress impacts heart rate and how cardiac drift works in order to infer on fatigue
      • Higher RPE or cardiac drift + lower heart rate indicates fatigue
      • Cardiac drift can reflect magnitude of fatigue as well and this can be reproduced
  • Manual ERG control enables both ensuring of adequate stimulus and preserving of workout quality by adding/splitting intervals
  • Today's interval performance is reflective of prior workout external load and recovery time which means things like (I won't go into all the examples) if you were able to do more today than you did during the last workout then external load and recovery from the last workout was adequate and therefore today's workout was likely adequate because internal load was possibly the same because external load was increased because external load used last time was good but the very improvement realized from that proper internal load necessitated greater external load this time because of improved fitness, etc.
Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Training by instinct sounds great, but most people (myself included) have crappy instincts. The gains in "honesty" by having a set number more than outweigh the gains in flexibility provided by instinctive training IMO.

FTP is a single concise number. This is both a strength and a weakness. But, unless one is quite advanced, it is likely sufficient.
Exactly this. A new cyclist starting this training to max power for a given interval is 4x4 VO2max once per week with other intervals inbetween is going to spend at least a month dialing in the correct power, between not having a good starting spot since they don't have an FTP value to go off of, questioning whether they actually rode at maximal power, and the residual fatigue from other previous unrelated workouts that are stressing various energy systems etc. While FTP and % FTP for various intervals isn't perfect, TR programs and coaches at least have a lot of data to draw upon to provide a good enough starting point for the average cyclist. What the OP still doesn't realize is that he's extrapolating his experience and expecting others, especially newer cyclists to be able to repeatably apply his plans. The fact he hasn't provided any data from athletes he's coached using his philosophy despite being asked multiple times leads me to believe he simply doesn't actually actually have results to back it up.
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Old 01-14-19, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Exactly this. A new cyclist starting this training to max power for a given interval is 4x4 VO2max once per week with other intervals inbetween is going to spend at least a month dialing in the correct power, between not having a good starting spot since they don't have an FTP value to go off of, questioning whether they actually rode at maximal power, and the residual fatigue from other previous unrelated workouts that are stressing various energy systems etc. While FTP and % FTP for various intervals isn't perfect, TR programs and coaches at least have a lot of data to draw upon to provide a good enough starting point for the average cyclist. What the OP still doesn't realize is that he's extrapolating his experience and expecting others, especially newer cyclists to be able to repeatably apply his plans. The fact he hasn't provided any data from athletes he's coached using his philosophy despite being asked multiple times leads me to believe he simply doesn't actually actually have results to back it up.
Exactly. In the back of my mind there's been a disquiet but I wasn't sure of the source. This is it. Not only athletes's he's coached, but his own results over several months of doing his own training prescription. And then showing how his FTP results improved his results on repeatable outdoor courses. I think I already mentioned those latter items.
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Old 01-14-19, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
IMO what you're saying is a bit confusing. Of course you want to regulate according to some standard. Otherwise folks just dog it. We see that all the time here, where folks think they're going hard and doing intervals and it's obvious they never get above mid zone 3. If you're really going to TRAIN, you have to test and train w/r to that test. Otherwise you're JRA. Intervals are supposed be hard. If the rider doesn't want to experience the pain and trauma, no need, just ride.

So not limiting to a response to your argument, only to your title, there is a genuine discussion out there about whether to follow FTP or HR when doing intervals. IOW, whether to allow HR zones to change through drift while riding some percentage of FTP. Which is physiologically more productive over a many week training schedule? Now that's an interesting argument. If that's what you're arguing, you could have been clearer. I've read a study which suggested that in the case of HIIT, following HR gave better results than following power. My own training suggests that there may be a larger case for that, depending on the training content and goal.
Rubik made a comment to you that was germain. Until you have power and HR on your bike, you are not in a position to discuss, from a position of strength, the merits of HR v Power training. Of course, you can search NIH and other training website and quote Friel and Coggan and their ilk but, it is much more gratifying to have your own data and results. That is my opinion. That is why I have power and HR data and it is why I do aero testing at the indoor track. I want my own data. Then I can comment on others and share my information if appropriate.

So not as a criticism but I strongly suggest that you put power on your tandem and on your road bike or at least on your road bike. Do some experimentation and see how your body reacts to power intervals versus heart rate intervals. What works best for you. If finances do not support PMs, I totally get it. However, you are passionate about your cycling so why not check out all the tools available.

Prior to getting my power meter, I thought I was killing the intervals. I was knocking out 5 minute VO2 work and thought I was putting in effort at the end. Boy, was I wrong. I was overcooking the front end and dying like a dead duck on the back end but hey my legs felt like my RPE was great the whole time. So power training shifted my effort to more of the classic U shaped curve of slightly more power at the beginning with a slight reduction half way and the increase at the end. I do not know any cycling event, race or group ride where the event is won at the beginning. Today, I do multiple intervals and my best ones are the last ones with my best power coming at the end. How do I pursuit and time trial, I crush the finish. So I not only built a better interval structure that matched my racing but I developed a mentality to have a great finish.

Time trials...When using HR, I would hold constant HR at LT and feel really good about myself and as I crested a climb, for example, keep HR at LT and then continue to hold keeping RPE constant. Thud...when I got power my power was constant, sort of, on a climb but as I crested it would drop and then not return to previous level. WTF. Climbing, it is easy to make power but once you crest the hill, you have to shift into a bigger gear and crush the pedals to keep the power up and keep crushing them until you are back to speed.

Today, I can smash the pedals on the climbs, descents, and flats - no problem. And the feelings in my legs, well sometimes they object and I tell them to shut up.

With HR, I could do constant HR z2 rides or z3 rides. No problem. Constant power rides, OMG, those are ungodly hard and my legs feel like they are going to explode. Even z2 constant power was hard. Why the difference? Riding HR, I could take mini rests. A slight indentation in the road and power drops and force drops but HR stays up. Ahhhhh, 4 seconds of rest. Just what my legs needed. With constant power, there is no rest. It is constant torque in my legs unless I intentionally slow down. That is a huge difference.

Today, I can do constant power z3 rides and take the leg distress. It has done wonders for my time trials. I am a much more accomplished racer due to power training and it allowed me to identify weaknesses and make corrections.

As cyclists, we are fortunate to have power. Runners and swimmers are stuck with HR and lap times...I do not shed a tear for them.
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Old 01-15-19, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Exactly this. A new cyclist starting this training to max power for a given interval is 4x4 VO2max once per week with other intervals inbetween is going to spend at least a month dialing in the correct power, between not having a good starting spot since they don't have an FTP value to go off of, questioning whether they actually rode at maximal power, and the residual fatigue from other previous unrelated workouts that are stressing various energy systems etc. While FTP and % FTP for various intervals isn't perfect, TR programs and coaches at least have a lot of data to draw upon to provide a good enough starting point for the average cyclist. What the OP still doesn't realize is that he's extrapolating his experience and expecting others, especially newer cyclists to be able to repeatably apply his plans. The fact he hasn't provided any data from athletes he's coached using his philosophy despite being asked multiple times leads me to believe he simply doesn't actually actually have results to back it up.
I see no problem with using FTP, or any other indicator of performance, as a starting point. After that, however, you must be sufficiently challenging the body without overdoing it and those who listen to their bodies and monitor load are going to win every time because training is personal and not predictable by any model or plan.

Regarding results. What kind of results to coaches get? Do you believe a generic plan is going to get a better result than a coach? No one does. That would be ludicrous. Why? Because coaches watch patterns and monitor loads, but, most importantly, get to know their athletes because we are all different. We respond to different things at different rates and require different amounts of recovery, etc. I laugh every time someone claims they have a magic formula that works for everyone. My formula is merely to open your eyes and pay attention. That's all. Listen to your body both on the bike and off the bike. Pay attention to what your power and heart rate are telling you. Leverage the precision and control of ERG training. Ask questions based on data and with goal of learning something and understanding something instead of just being told what to do.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
I see no problem with using FTP, or any other indicator of performance, as a starting point. After that, however, you must be sufficiently challenging the body without overdoing it and those who listen to their bodies and monitor load are going to win every time because training is personal and not predictable by any model or plan.

Regarding results. What kind of results to coaches get? Do you believe a generic plan is going to get a better result than a coach? No one does. That would be ludicrous. Why? Because coaches watch patterns and monitor loads, but, most importantly, get to know their athletes because we are all different. We respond to different things at different rates and require different amounts of recovery, etc. I laugh every time someone claims they have a magic formula that works for everyone. My formula is merely to open your eyes and pay attention. That's all. Listen to your body both on the bike and off the bike. Pay attention to what your power and heart rate are telling you. Leverage the precision and control of ERG training. Ask questions based on data and with goal of learning something and understanding something instead of just being told what to do.
Those that listen to their body and monitor load are going to win every time...I do not think so. Listening to ones body is definitely conservative but win every time, no. And I suspect you do not really mean that but it demonstrates that you have not competed at a high level. That is not a criticism just an observation.

Winning for me is about doing something exceptional in the moment. I won back to back state championships in NorCal in 2016 and Socal in 2017 in masters track 500 meter time trial. When I was tired and carrying a lot of residual fatigue during training, I had to drain the tank. There were times I was so fatigued after a track workout, I could barely make it up the stairs at Velo Sports Center. If I listened to my body, I would stop. No sane person goes on. However, I wanted to get to the next level. To do that one has to drive oneself mentally and physically.

So for beginners, sure, listen to their body and develop the physiology and muscular infrastructure and pay careful attention to recovery. Be conservative in the training, why not. But winning, that is a different matter and beginners generally do not compete for wins.

All the coaches I have used over the years have been winners with success at the UCI, world tour level, olympics or national/worlds and have done hundreds of races and trained thousands of hours.....themselves. They know what it takes to win and they know how awful one has to feel to reach a high level of success. And it is not what you propose. But for beginners, in the winter, sure.
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Old 01-15-19, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Rubik made a comment to you that was germain. Until you have power and HR on your bike, you are not in a position to discuss, from a position of strength, the merits of HR v Power training. Of course, you can search NIH and other training website and quote Friel and Coggan and their ilk but, it is much more gratifying to have your own data and results. That is my opinion. That is why I have power and HR data and it is why I do aero testing at the indoor track. I want my own data. Then I can comment on others and share my information if appropriate.

So not as a criticism but I strongly suggest that you put power on your tandem and on your road bike or at least on your road bike. Do some experimentation and see how your body reacts to power intervals versus heart rate intervals. What works best for you. If finances do not support PMs, I totally get it. However, you are passionate about your cycling so why not check out all the tools available.

Prior to getting my power meter, I thought I was killing the intervals. I was knocking out 5 minute VO2 work and thought I was putting in effort at the end. Boy, was I wrong. I was overcooking the front end and dying like a dead duck on the back end but hey my legs felt like my RPE was great the whole time. So power training shifted my effort to more of the classic U shaped curve of slightly more power at the beginning with a slight reduction half way and the increase at the end. I do not know any cycling event, race or group ride where the event is won at the beginning. Today, I do multiple intervals and my best ones are the last ones with my best power coming at the end. How do I pursuit and time trial, I crush the finish. So I not only built a better interval structure that matched my racing but I developed a mentality to have a great finish.

Time trials...When using HR, I would hold constant HR at LT and feel really good about myself and as I crested a climb, for example, keep HR at LT and then continue to hold keeping RPE constant. Thud...when I got power my power was constant, sort of, on a climb but as I crested it would drop and then not return to previous level. WTF. Climbing, it is easy to make power but once you crest the hill, you have to shift into a bigger gear and crush the pedals to keep the power up and keep crushing them until you are back to speed.

Today, I can smash the pedals on the climbs, descents, and flats - no problem. And the feelings in my legs, well sometimes they object and I tell them to shut up.

With HR, I could do constant HR z2 rides or z3 rides. No problem. Constant power rides, OMG, those are ungodly hard and my legs feel like they are going to explode. Even z2 constant power was hard. Why the difference? Riding HR, I could take mini rests. A slight indentation in the road and power drops and force drops but HR stays up. Ahhhhh, 4 seconds of rest. Just what my legs needed. With constant power, there is no rest. It is constant torque in my legs unless I intentionally slow down. That is a huge difference.

Today, I can do constant power z3 rides and take the leg distress. It has done wonders for my time trials. I am a much more accomplished racer due to power training and it allowed me to identify weaknesses and make corrections.

As cyclists, we are fortunate to have power. Runners and swimmers are stuck with HR and lap times...I do not shed a tear for them.
See post 18. I agree with you on the training part. I'm looking into it. Certainly training with constant power will tire the legs sooner, which is kind of the point. And it would be nice not having to wait 20' until I've warmed my rollers up to do constant power.

However I disagree with you about event rides, even as short as a 20k TT. All my rides which don't feature drafting, which is most of them, are really TTs, just very long TTs. The key equation for TTs is P = f(v3), for power to maintain speed is a function of speed cubed. Therefore one wants to vary power depending on speed. So less speed (climbing), more power; more speed (flats), less power; even more speed (descending), zero power. I learned this the hard way on my very first competitive group ride. One goes hard on the climbs and eases off when speed picks up. Conservation of energy is the game. The most fun 4-person rotating paceline I ever had was after 10,000' of climbing.

We are DNA, and our DNA has our HR always lagging effort by a very particular amount. This lag enables us to recover better after hard efforts, IOW keeping HR more or less constant with small variations in terrain is actually faster over the long run. Etc. Hence I was able to beat the 17-year younger and more athletic friend who used constant power on a very strenuous event ride, simply by riding by HR and knowing what to do with it. Not to say this couldn't be done with power, but how? How would one determine the exact power number to use in situations more complicated than a relatively steady grade climb at the temperature of one's last FTP test? How would one use power when the first 2000' climb might be at 70 and the second one at 100+? I've been there, done that.

Using HR is really simple and effective by comparison. HR drift is a good thing, automatic compensation. Plus as I mentioned earlier, being able to effectively track hydration and nutrition over 10-18 hour rides. - or even on 4 hour rides. It's all about being able to titrate physiological stress. "Titrate the pain" is actually what I say. It really helps to have a physiological stress meter staring me in the face.

Or take a situation like doing long rides on our tandem. Currently stoker matches my HR. Interestingly enough, our LTHRs are almost the same. Hers is a little higher, but OTOH she tires more quickly so that all works out. Were she to attempt to constantly match some fraction of my power, that would feel great to me but only until she started to tire faster than I, at which point I'd blow her up on the next climb. Matching HRs, she's been able to stay with me on rides up to 15 hours. Broken stokers are the bane of a captain's existence, a problem which of course you don't have!
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Old 01-15-19, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
See post 18. I agree with you on the training part. I'm looking into it. Certainly training with constant power will tire the legs sooner, which is kind of the point. And it would be nice not having to wait 20' until I've warmed my rollers up to do constant power.

However I disagree with you about event rides, even as short as a 20k TT. All my rides which don't feature drafting, which is most of them, are really TTs, just very long TTs. The key equation for TTs is P = f(v3), for power to maintain speed is a function of speed cubed. Therefore one wants to vary power depending on speed. So less speed (climbing), more power; more speed (flats), less power; even more speed (descending), zero power. I learned this the hard way on my very first competitive group ride. One goes hard on the climbs and eases off when speed picks up. Conservation of energy is the game. The most fun 4-person rotating paceline I ever had was after 10,000' of climbing.

We are DNA, and our DNA has our HR always lagging effort by a very particular amount. This lag enables us to recover better after hard efforts, IOW keeping HR more or less constant with small variations in terrain is actually faster over the long run. Etc. Hence I was able to beat the 17-year younger and more athletic friend who used constant power on a very strenuous event ride, simply by riding by HR and knowing what to do with it. Not to say this couldn't be done with power, but how? How would one determine the exact power number to use in situations more complicated than a relatively steady grade climb at the temperature of one's last FTP test? How would one use power when the first 2000' climb might be at 70 and the second one at 100+? I've been there, done that.

Using HR is really simple and effective by comparison. HR drift is a good thing, automatic compensation. Plus as I mentioned earlier, being able to effectively track hydration and nutrition over 10-18 hour rides. - or even on 4 hour rides. It's all about being able to titrate physiological stress. "Titrate the pain" is actually what I say. It really helps to have a physiological stress meter staring me in the face.

Or take a situation like doing long rides on our tandem. Currently stoker matches my HR. Interestingly enough, our LTHRs are almost the same. Hers is a little higher, but OTOH she tires more quickly so that all works out. Were she to attempt to constantly match some fraction of my power, that would feel great to me but only until she started to tire faster than I, at which point I'd blow her up on the next climb. Matching HRs, she's been able to stay with me on rides up to 15 hours. Broken stokers are the bane of a captain's existence, a problem which of course you don't have!
In terms of pacing power>>>>>HR.
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