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Strava estimated power vs. indoor power??

Old 08-09-20, 04:16 PM
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showlow
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Strava estimated power vs. indoor power??

Last summer I went to REI and got a Wahoo Kickr Snap. I started training to the numbers of the Kickr. I took an FTP test recently and Trainer Road estimated 296. I also started using Strava last summer. When I ride outdoors I have never come even remotely close to doing 300 watts for an hour based on Strava's estimate. So, I dug back in my Strava. The closest thing I've ever done to an outdoor FTP test is this segment along the bike path. It took me 17 mins or so to go 7 flat miles. There are some turns including a few hairpins and some bridges and ups and downs, and Strava estimated my power to be 231w for that time. That was just about all the power I had. Here's the activity in case anyone wants to look at it...

https://www.strava.com/activities/27...44#69216361412

Who is lying to me--Strava or my trainer? I keep my trainer calibrated. I think it's accurate (as it can be).

Last edited by showlow; 08-09-20 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 08-09-20, 07:42 PM
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does your trainer have a power meter built in? I don't know the kickr features. But if both are only estimates I wouldn't use either. Sorry the only real way to get an FTP is to use an actual power meter installed on the bike someplace. If the kickr has a power built in then that should be accurate. In my experiences with Strava they are usually very inaccurate.

FWIW my power meter on my bike has me lower than my smart trainer using Zwift. They are somewhat close but always higher than my actual power meter.

BUT if your training with power as a metric just find one and use it. If you are always comparing same systems data that is best. using multiple sources for power for training will give you bad data for training. I have no clue how accurate my PM really is but as long as I always use the same system for comparison is all good.
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Old 08-09-20, 07:59 PM
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Estimated power can get pretty close to beating a blind guess... sometimes.
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Old 08-10-20, 04:06 AM
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I use a Kickr SNAP indoors and Strava outdoors. Strava definitely estimates lower than the SNAP/Zwift. But, I only really use FTP on the indoor trainer anyway.

But you have to make sure you are comparing apples to apples:

On flat rides, on the trainer or outdoors, it is pretty tough for me to maintain FTP level watts for a full 20-30 minutes - the FTP tests I've done on the SNAP have all use high resistance settings in ERG mode on the trainer. The exception for me has been doing flat races on Zwift! Was the Trainer Road FTP test you did at the same low resistance you had on that flat ride?

Here in MD it is pretty hard to find long stretches of roads going uphill, or anywhere I could ride 20-30 minutes full blast without having to turn or stop - and where there are some that come close, you'd end up exhausted in the middle of nowhere! So, I've never done anything close to an outdoor FTP test but on a few hills with 10-12 minute climbs that were Strava segments, my average power on those climbs comes pretty close to the 10-12 minute spot on the power curve line where my FTP is at the 30 minute point.

I don't have a power meter on any of my bikes, others will have to comment there. But here is what Strava says about their power estimation:

"We have seen that in most cases our watts numbers are very close to the numbers provided by a Powertap or SRM. Note that Strava calculated watts are not the watts produced at the crank but the watts produced by the rider-bike system, this will create a slight difference between the powermeter data and the Strava watts. Lack of good chain lubrication and low tire pressure can rob you of the watts you see on your Powertap or SRM. Other reasons watts can be inconsistent include strong winds and bad elevation data reported by the Garmin. Our calculations are most accurate when climbing given accurate rider and bike weight."
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Old 08-10-20, 05:40 AM
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Strava probably assumes you're wearing the best aero gear and have a very light, very expensive road bike. It probably thinks everyone is on Time trial bikes.
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Old 08-10-20, 09:32 AM
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Climbing uphill seems to give me different data, but it's still much lower than the estimated power on my indoor trainer. On Saturday I went for a PR on this segment. I had to stop and catch my breath for a minute after the effort so it was pretty comparable to a 10 min indoor interval. Strava only estimated 240 watts? I guess the answer is to ignore Strava and get a real power meter.

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Old 08-10-20, 10:48 AM
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There ought to be a requirement that anything estimated be within a few percent of actual. This will end all this confusion about why one says one thing and another says something else.

Or will it? <grin>
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Old 08-10-20, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by showlow View Post
Last summer I went to REI and got a Wahoo Kickr Snap. I started training to the numbers of the Kickr. I took an FTP test recently and Trainer Road estimated 296. I also started using Strava last summer. When I ride outdoors I have never come even remotely close to doing 300 watts for an hour based on Strava's estimate. So, I dug back in my Strava. The closest thing I've ever done to an outdoor FTP test is this segment along the bike path. It took me 17 mins or so to go 7 flat miles. There are some turns including a few hairpins and some bridges and ups and downs, and Strava estimated my power to be 231w for that time. That was just about all the power I had. Here's the activity in case anyone wants to look at it...

https://www.strava.com/activities/27...44#69216361412

Who is lying to me--Strava or my trainer? I keep my trainer calibrated. I think it's accurate (as it can be).
The trainer is lying. Strava doesn't do great either on flat ground or with wind. Strava estimated power works pretty well with good user weight data on your profile AND a steep hill.

I pulled up your ride that you posed. It's a steady small downhill for what you had in mind. Also, I pulled the historical weather data from Weather Underground for that area for that ride. There was a helping wind out the SE that morning of that activity. Both proven by the outbound speed being appreciably higher than inbound. You shouldn't slow that much on that small of a grade coming home, that was the wind.

Therefore......your trainer is WAY off. I'd check the settings, firmware version, do a spindown, advanced spindown if necessary, make sure tire diameter is perfect (if that trainer needs that).

As if you were on that segment at that date on the time indicated by the activity, 300w would have put you well faster than 24mph. The helping SE wind that morning was from 6 to 10mph!

https://www.wunderground.com/history...date/2019-10-9
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Old 08-10-20, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by showlow View Post
Climbing uphill seems to give me different data, but it's still much lower than the estimated power on my indoor trainer. On Saturday I went for a PR on this segment. I had to stop and catch my breath for a minute after the effort so it was pretty comparable to a 10 min indoor interval. Strava only estimated 240 watts? I guess the answer is to ignore Strava and get a real power meter.
Yes.
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Old 08-10-20, 11:31 AM
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https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/07/...2-trainer.html

Once he got it calibrated, he found the wahoo to be very close to his on-bike PM. If yours is calibrated, I would trust that. Strava power is a guess. Usually not even close.
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Old 08-10-20, 12:22 PM
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I have found that FTP for me varies quite a bit based upon the terrain or technology chosen. Flat and slight downhill is harder for me to generate power than 6-8% grade uphill climbing. I generate the best power climbing in that sweet spot percent grade on my road bike on the hoods.

I suck on the trainer and generally derate my workouts 7-10% to get the same results as outside.

Fixed gear on the indoor track is different again and riding my time trial bike is different from riding my road bike. My time trial bike is harder to generate power.

Stava uses calculations and makes assumptions about CdA and rolling resistance and wind can vary a lot. How could they get that correct for all users and conditions. How would they know if you were riding on the hoods or in the drops or riding invisible aerobars? Since climbing is generally slower speeds and done on the tops or hoods, the effect of CdA is reduced. So I suspect climbing power results on Strava are okay with “normal” wind conditions. Everything else is up for grabs.

Assuming the trainer is calibrated and working, it is still going to be off from what you can do on the road but may be indicative with a fudge factor.

Hence, I ride trainer, road, track and time trial and have an idea of FTP on each and have a fudge factor to apply. Then, during the workout, I may adjust the workout to raise or lower FTP due to my training and which equipment I have been riding. If I have been riding my road bike on the trainer, I know that my outside power on the same bike is going to be different - up or down.
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Old 08-10-20, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The trainer is lying. Strava doesn't do great either on flat ground or with wind. Strava estimated power works pretty well with good user weight data on your profile AND a steep hill.

I pulled up your ride that you posed. It's a steady small downhill for what you had in mind. Also, I pulled the historical weather data from Weather Underground for that area for that ride. There was a helping wind out the SE that morning of that activity. Both proven by the outbound speed being appreciably higher than inbound. You shouldn't slow that much on that small of a grade coming home, that was the wind.

Therefore......your trainer is WAY off. I'd check the settings, firmware version, do a spindown, advanced spindown if necessary, make sure tire diameter is perfect (if that trainer needs that).

As if you were on that segment at that date on the time indicated by the activity, 300w would have put you well faster than 24mph. The helping SE wind that morning was from 6 to 10mph!

https://www.wunderground.com/history...date/2019-10-9
Ugh. Depressing... All this "training" to numbers is sucking so much of the joy out of riding. To be fair I probably wasn't trying as hard on the way back. Also, that's not exactly a straight segment There are tons of little turns, bridges and even a few hairpins, so maybe that accounts for some of it.

In any case, "training" objectively in cycling is really aggravating. If I were lifting weights it would be so black and white. Can I lift more today or not? With cycling there are so many variables. I don't race and I really don't care to. I am only doing it as a hobby and for the fulfillment of getting better. I gotta figure out how to detox from all this data and social comparison.
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Old 08-10-20, 01:07 PM
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True, the turns would matter.

We have a local greenway by a river here that has some little jukes and turns and bridges. The KOM's are all like 24 to 25mph for long several mile stretches. Most in the 250 to 260w range. Usually with a 5mph or so tailwind.

I was figuring it may be similar. Maybe not?

Like others said, if you get a meter for the bike then you'll know for sure. I own a Kickr Core and do the proper spindowns and stuff. I've had it read low and high a couple times. Usually though, it's within a whisker of my Quarq for the TT bike. The whisker likely being reading at the crank spider versus the rear.

People's budgets are different, so I hate to assume, but if you can afford a smart trainer.........an on-bike meter for outdoors is a no brainer. Ebay, sales, etc.... You'll enjoy it!
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Old 08-10-20, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
True, the turns would matter.

We have a local greenway by a river here that has some little jukes and turns and bridges. The KOM's are all like 24 to 25mph for long several mile stretches. Most in the 250 to 260w range. Usually with a 5mph or so tailwind.

I was figuring it may be similar. Maybe not?

Like others said, if you get a meter for the bike then you'll know for sure. I own a Kickr Core and do the proper spindowns and stuff. I've had it read low and high a couple times. Usually though, it's within a whisker of my Quarq for the TT bike. The whisker likely being reading at the crank spider versus the rear.

People's budgets are different, so I hate to assume, but if you can afford a smart trainer.........an on-bike meter for outdoors is a no brainer. Ebay, sales, etc.... You'll enjoy it!
I guess I can afford it. There's a single sided meter for sale here that would work.

https://sportfactoryproshop.com/stag...ry-blemished/?

As to whether or not I'd enjoy having it, I'm not so sure. Staring down at my mediocre power numbers might just give me one more thing to fixate on. Buying this smart trainer and getting on Strava really let the genie out of the bottle for me. I used to ignorantly and blissfully ride around town, never knowing how fast or slow I was. I was faster than most the people out riding around me and that was fine. Now I'm getting all neurotic. Chasing segments and comparing my times to others.
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Old 08-10-20, 01:57 PM
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Old 08-11-20, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by showlow View Post

In any case, "training" objectively in cycling is really aggravating. If I were lifting weights it would be so black and white. Can I lift more today or not? With cycling there are so many variables.
No there isn't. Train to power and the power meter doesn't lie. Can you push more watts today or not? It's as objective as it gets.

You can get pretty objective with speed as well if you do it right.
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Old 08-11-20, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by showlow View Post
Now I'm getting all neurotic. Chasing segments and comparing my times to others.

Welcome to the dark side.
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Old 08-11-20, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Welcome to the dark side.
I'll probably get the stupid power meter.

The next crisis I'll have is trying to figure out why I'm so weak. I mean, if Colin Strickland can do more watts for 10 hours, than I can do for 10 mins, what is wrong with me? I ride a lot for an average person. I'm reasonably fit. Why am I so slow?

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Old 08-11-20, 08:22 AM
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It's called "being a normal human being." Don't fixate on pros unless you want to develop a neurosis.

My 1 and 5 second power is so low I fall into the "untrained" category on those anxiety-inducing power charts.

What keeps me going some days is knowing that a buddy of mine had his girlfriend take an FTP test on Zwift. Her FTP was 81W.

Most days, best to just compare your effort today with your effort from yesterday. The only competition that matters, unless a number is pinned to your jersey.
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Old 08-11-20, 08:31 AM
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For the left only, it works, just plan to be consistent. The actual number might be "off" versus reality, but if you always use the same thing the same way it will be fine.

I ditched the left-only because I needed a more accurate dual sided number for time trial data crunching.

It takes time. People doing incredible things on bikes probably spent a LONG time doing average to mediocre things and then another LONG time doing pretty solid things. Some of the stuff we see is from people who have ridden 20+ hours a week for 15 years of their lives.
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Old 08-11-20, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
It's called "being a normal human being." Don't fixate on pros unless you want to develop a neurosis.

My 1 and 5 second power is so low I fall into the "untrained" category on those anxiety-inducing power charts.

What keeps me going some days is knowing that a buddy of mine had his girlfriend take an FTP test on Zwift. Her FTP was 81W.

Most days, best to just compare your effort today with your effort from yesterday. The only competition that matters, unless a number is pinned to your jersey.
I guess that's true. A few weeks ago I sold my old Surly to my normy, untrained, non-cycling friend. He's a healthy guy who hikes and eats right. He couldn't climb the first 500 ft hill without stopping. I think he was going 12 on the flat roads, maybe.

Still, I can't help but to wonder why I can only, for all my effort and trying, only do 1 percent the effort of someone like Colin. If I could at least hold the wheel of someone like him for 30 mins, that'd be ok. That'd be something. I could live with that. Or how about I compare myself to someone like Oliver Bridgewood from GCN. He is supposed to be the everyday, average guy on that show. He regularly posts 200w+ average on long rides on Strava.

I mean, I think I've gotta be capable of at least maintaining 200w average for an hour or two.
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Old 08-11-20, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
For the left only, it works, just plan to be consistent. The actual number might be "off" versus reality, but if you always use the same thing the same way it will be fine.

I ditched the left-only because I needed a more accurate dual sided number for time trial data crunching.

It takes time. People doing incredible things on bikes probably spent a LONG time doing average to mediocre things and then another LONG time doing pretty solid things. Some of the stuff we see is from people who have ridden 20+ hours a week for 15 years of their lives.
I would guess I've been riding about that (maybe 10+ *focused* hours per week) for about 10 years?
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Old 08-11-20, 09:35 AM
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So are you wanting to get good at riding a trainer indoors or are you wanting to get good at riding a bicycle on the road?
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Old 08-11-20, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
So are you wanting to get good at riding a trainer indoors or are you wanting to get good at riding a bicycle on the road?
On the road of course. I just use the stupid trainer because of time constraints. I'm pretty "good" at riding the bike. I've got years experience as a commuter and did 5 hard years of Jimmy John's delivery in downtown Phoenix. I'm comfortable in traffic or 115 degree heat or balancing a box of fountain drinks in one hand.

What I want is to be stronger. Before last summer I never really compared myself to others objectively.

Ultimately, I'd like to do endurance events and do better. In January I did this really long gravel event. It was supposed to be 180+ with a ton of climbing. I DNF'd. Bonked hard. Rode home on the highway and and did 160 miles.

https://strava.app.link/t5UfwX1QR8

In the meantime, with my free time being limited, I would be happy to average over 200w for a 2 hour ride. Looking back, the best I've ever done, based on a Strava estimate, was 175w for about 30 flat miLes. Coulda been the wind.

https://strava.app.link/h6kXTOORR8

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Old 08-11-20, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
So are you wanting to get good at riding a trainer indoors or are you wanting to get good at riding a bicycle on the road?
Let's not get into that trope.

If you bothered to look at the link to his rides, he rides outdoors plenty. Not everyone can ride outdoors 100% of the time all year round.

Looking closer at the rides also, seems he's on a good start on Trainerroad. Just keep with it. If anything, I would figure out how to ride the outdoors rides when it is a little cooler and focus on holding the Z2 power on the longer rides. That heat on those looks oppressive and might be bringing down how productive those rides are.
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