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racing without a power meter?

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racing without a power meter?

Old 01-21-19, 09:20 PM
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spectastic
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racing without a power meter?

Power meter is primarily a training tool. I'm wondering what people think about power meters for races. I think they can be useful for solo or small breakaways or pacing up a hill. Even so, I feel like heart rate and RPE may do the trick just as well. Other than that, power seems mostly useful for analysis afterwards. What do y'all think?
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Old 01-22-19, 12:30 AM
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I agree it's mostly useful for training, not racing (TTs aside).

But if you have the option, might as well use it - not to look at during the race, but for analysis later.
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Old 01-22-19, 07:10 AM
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I race with a PM. I don't look at the data at all during races. On the road bike, I tape over the screen. On the track, the computer is under my saddle. But it gives me data to analyze later. If you haven't read "Racing and Training with a Power Meter," you might want to. It discusses much of this question.
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Old 01-22-19, 07:31 AM
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If you train enough with the meter then the RPE corresponding to a time/effort becomes second nature. Even I, as a schmuck hobbyist at this, have gotten to the point I can gauge it.

When I took my bike to France for work, I rode out to the mountains on the weekend to go sight-seeing and stuff. I guessed by RPE a few longer climbs I went after and it was fine.

Also, I've taken the cyclocross bike on the local hammer ride a few times without the meter and did just fine. If you're on front, you're on front. If you're not, you're not. If you're trying to break over a hill, you still need to hurt some boys.

The RPE has been sufficient each time.

In TT, if you're steady enough you can kind of look at it just once or twice and go by RPE also. Once you ramp into it and are going steady, it is what it's going to be. Maybe if there's a hill or something make sure you don't blow up.

My meter battery died right at the beginning of a 2 hour TT bike ride Saturday. Going by RPE only with the computer in my back pocket my HR was perfect steady the entire 2 hour ride. Which was the idea for that workout. Steady rise the first 10 minutes then didn't move for pretty much the rest of the 2 hours.
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Old 01-22-19, 09:08 AM
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IMO, we are all capable of much more than we think. Any on bike measurement, I use is a signpost not a destination. This goes double for heart rate since it is flakey at best and has a host of bad things associated with the heart and if that is not enough, it is limited. Power production is unlimited although we all know there are practical human limits.

In timed events such as hill climbs, time trials and pursuit, I use power as an indicator of where I am versus what I am capable of. My goal in racing is to do something extraordinary on race day such that FTP well, that is just another number not a limiter.

For mass start races and track structured sessions, I do not look at the PM. Business as usual will not get the job done.
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Old 01-22-19, 11:06 AM
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Post race analysis is the reason I race with one. I don't look at it during the race save for curiosity. Many of my crits are night races anyway, and I always forget to turn on the backlight, so I can't see it even if I want to.
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Old 01-22-19, 11:10 AM
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I turn on my Garmin but I don't even display power on the screen I use for races. I'm mostly looking at the time if anything. I'll upload it to TP later.
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Old 01-22-19, 02:32 PM
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I have power displayed on my Garmin during road races, but don't really look to it for guidance. Maybe on a long (20+ minute) climb I might take a few looks to judge if my legs are really as good or as bad as they feel before I start thinking about attacking.
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Old 01-22-19, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
If you train enough with the meter then the RPE corresponding to a time/effort becomes second nature. Even I, as a schmuck hobbyist at this, have gotten to the point I can gauge it.
...
Which is why some very fast TT riders don't ride a TT with (looking at) one.
Finney says he doesn't and 2 time Kona record TT breaker Cam Wurf says he doesn't.
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Old 01-23-19, 03:30 AM
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what about for breakaways? personally, breakaways has been my niche in the past season. while i don't think power was crucial to have, I do think it helps a little with pacing, especially when the terrain has a lot of false flats and rollers.
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Old 01-23-19, 04:55 AM
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meh. Naysayer here...I use it. If I'm bridging to a break, in a break, or even coming down to the end of a race it's one more data point to go with perceived effort as to what I'm capable of. There's a difference between having it as a tool and building a religion to it.
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Old 01-23-19, 10:47 AM
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I use it but unless its a TT I rarely look at it. For TT's I look at my HR / Watts and just make sure I don't go over my numbers.
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Old 01-23-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
meh. Naysayer here...I use it. If I'm bridging to a break, in a break, or even coming down to the end of a race it's one more data point to go with perceived effort as to what I'm capable of. There's a difference between having it as a tool and building a religion to it.
+1 - I use it as well.
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Old 01-23-19, 08:52 PM
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I use it. Very useful where I race with the long hills.
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Old 03-14-19, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
Power meter is primarily a training tool. I'm wondering what people think about power meters for races. I think they can be useful for solo or small breakaways or pacing up a hill. Even so, I feel like heart rate and RPE may do the trick just as well. Other than that, power seems mostly useful for analysis afterwards. What do y'all think?
... not if you post on the road cycling forum.
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Old 03-17-19, 03:28 PM
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Eddy Merckx didn't need one.

And if are like Eddy, you won't need one either.
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Old 03-17-19, 05:38 PM
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I've asked this before, but the thread is more narrowly scoped.

How do you use a PM in the actual race?
What does the PM tell you that makes you change how you would ride without one?
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Old 03-18-19, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
I've asked this before, but the thread is more narrowly scoped.

How do you use a PM in the actual race?
What does the PM tell you that makes you change how you would ride without one?
If my perceived effort is off, I want to know. If I'm at 400W, that's fine, I can probably sustain that for 5+ minutes. If I'm at 550W, I need to get it down or I'm going to incinerate. It's nothing more than calibrating perception with a few glances, at least for me. The rest of the time, I'm looking at where I'm going and who I'm following. This works for crits.
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Note to you BLOWHARD MORONS out there: The fork is not bent. Most PEUGEOTS of the '70s forks DID NOT line up with the head tube angle. This is normal. The last pic is from the 1972 Dutch catalog showing this EXACT MODEL in diagram. Keep your comments to yourself......
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Old 03-18-19, 10:24 PM
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I believe that the power a body can puts out varies by day.

So...If you want to put out 400W and feel you are putting out 400W but are really doing 360W then:
-If you believe that the power the body can do is fixed (for a time period) you suck it up and increase power.
-If you believe what I do, you keep it at your RPE level. Increasing could be a big mistake if you are not up for it.

In the latter case you have to learn how you are that day. Morning resting HR, blood pressure, actual sleep are indicators. If you believe you can do 400W because yesterday you did 400W, none of that matters.

So for crits - most racers just go - or don't go based on the strategy and how they feel. If seeing you are putting out more power than you feel makes you feel good, I can see a benefit in that. If it makes you back off, that explains some of what causes modern racing to be boring.
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Old 03-19-19, 03:23 AM
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The poster cites a 150 watt spread and Doge responds with a 40 watt spread.
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Old 03-19-19, 06:44 AM
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I don't use power in a race. I know others do, particularly to moderate efforts in breaks or TTs. For me, knowing the numbers is more detrimental than helpful - it's a mental game. I tape over my computer in RRs and crits. For the track, computers are not allowed to be visible, so mine is under my saddle.

The value comes after the race. My coach can analyze my numbers to see how I did in a real race setting.
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Old 03-19-19, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
I believe that the power a body can puts out varies by day.

So...If you want to put out 400W and feel you are putting out 400W but are really doing 360W then:
-If you believe that the power the body can do is fixed (for a time period) you suck it up and increase power.
-If you believe what I do, you keep it at your RPE level. Increasing could be a big mistake if you are not up for it.

In the latter case you have to learn how you are that day. Morning resting HR, blood pressure, actual sleep are indicators. If you believe you can do 400W because yesterday you did 400W, none of that matters.

So for crits - most racers just go - or don't go based on the strategy and how they feel. If seeing you are putting out more power than you feel makes you feel good, I can see a benefit in that. If it makes you back off, that explains some of what causes modern racing to be boring.
360 to 400 is kind of an interesting spread for me. Going off my best effort power curve, I'm guessing that I could hold 360 for 10+ minutes, but 400+ for 5+, but not 10. Maybe I could, but that's a 10% increase over the past few weeks. 10% jumps don't happen in a day.

I also think it depends on how I'm doing in the race. If I'm chasing at "too high," I'm going to need to back off. If I'm in no man's land solo, like last week, I just want to maintain something pretty high but not incinerate. If I'm in the pack "doing ok" or "resting," any number might be fine. If we narrow it further, like I'm doing 360 or 370 ... naah no difference in terms of what I'm thinking: It might be that I'm better hydrated, It's warmer, It's cooler, I got more sleep, etc.. You can put too fine a point on it.

If I'm at 360 but not covering the ground I want to, I think about my position on the bike and my cornering: Am I out of the wind? Am I low? Can I take the corners smoother to maintain speed? These are the things I think of rather than trying to move my power up.
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Originally Posted by Craigslist View Post
Note to you BLOWHARD MORONS out there: The fork is not bent. Most PEUGEOTS of the '70s forks DID NOT line up with the head tube angle. This is normal. The last pic is from the 1972 Dutch catalog showing this EXACT MODEL in diagram. Keep your comments to yourself......

Last edited by TimmyT; 03-19-19 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:30 PM
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I appreciate hearing your data as a person that actually uses one in a race. I had not heard that much (can't recall at all) before. I found that while many use them for training, few changed how they road in a race because of what the number said.

To be clear, you are saying the number you see makes you ride differently than if you saw another number. Or...if aliens hijacked your display, you would do different things based on the number.

The pros do look at them and react / maintain based on the numbers. It increases the boring factor. They should be banned from pro races, as they are from track.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
The poster cites a 150 watt spread and Doge responds with a 40 watt spread.
@TimmyT noticed the difference in duration.

Just seems elite riders can tell from their bodies and experience what they can take.
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Old 03-20-19, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
@TimmyT noticed the difference in duration.

Just seems elite riders can tell from their bodies and experience what they can take.

You've been cited the same examples, often by the same people. numerous times over the years. And yet you post questions like this as if they're novel or you've never gotten an answer.

yes, one can sometimes go harder than they think. people do actually break PRs. But if I'm undertaking a bridge to a break that might take 5 minutes and my enthusiasm has me punting out 500 watts, it's staring me in the face telling me I'm not going to make it and even if I came close it I'll blow when I get near it.

And as said in this thread, it is simply another tool. Personally I can tape over the numbers and hit them any way in most circumstances. It doesn't 'change' the way I ride per se, but it checks the enthusiasm in the early part of an effort, or the pain when the mind says you can't do it.
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