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Your "Best Efforts" Power Curve

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Your "Best Efforts" Power Curve

Old 08-14-21, 07:22 PM
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mschwett 
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Your "Best Efforts" Power Curve

I'd love to see what these look like across the spectrum of amateur/motivated amateur riders. I think mine is pretty "flat" from about a minute out, due to keeping heart rate and cardiac output low. Do most reasonably well trained riders (which I am not) have a more gradual drop from their burst down to the 5 or 10 minute mark? My output at an hour and a half (219) is 80% of 5 minutes (269). Is the 219 good, or the 269 horrible?

I've never actually tried to go all out, so it isn't uncommon for a relatively normal pleasure ride to push up some part of this curve or another.

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Old 08-15-21, 07:42 AM
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I don’t think that simply comparing graphs will tell us if anyone’s performance is “horrible” or “great,” because the info it contains is not generated the same way between riders. For example, whereas the OP’s and my 90min power is essentially the same, my curve starts getting steeper at 40min, and shows a less pronounced drop-off from peak power. We could say the OP’s 90min is great or my 90min is horrible, but if we consider that I do mostly group rides and weigh a hefty 250lbs, and ride rolling terrain with short climbs, then it kind of explains why I have to generate high “burst” power and why my 90min power looks comparatively low, because I’m spending a lot of time sheltered in a paceline. Of course I don’t know the OP’s particulars and circumstances, but I imagine someone like a lighter rider in flatter terrain probably doesn’t generate the same ratio of extremes as I do. Also, over the years, my power curve looked different when it included data from races and my stationary workouts, neither of which are included in this 2021 graph. So, lots of variables, and while it’s interesting to see the CP curve (and maybe consider how it influences folks’ opinion about bikes, gear, and cycling in general) I’m loathe to use it to make assessments about other’s performance, because it just doesn’t contain the info to tell us that.


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Old 08-15-21, 07:59 AM
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good points, and thank you for sharing! that looks more like what i’d expect - a more pronounced relationship between interval/time and power output.

i agree that it’s less meaningful if it doesn’t represent a large number of attempts at best efforts for each of the many time ranges represented. in your case, if you went out by yourself to crank as hard as you could for an hour and half that section (and everything for a while to the left) would probably go up.
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Old 08-15-21, 08:19 AM
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I am not sure if it helps OP, but this was mine last Fall. I do not have a good effort race from 40 minutes to 60 minutes, which is why there is a small discontinuity in the curve.


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Old 08-15-21, 08:38 AM
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There isn’t much ‘pleasurable’ about pushing up the curve to the left of 5min. All those efforts require suffering. Finding a fast group to ride with is probably the easiest way to raise the curve.

The basic shape of everyone’s curve is pretty similar and you can get a reasonable fit using the critical power equation: P = Cp + AWC/t where Cp is the all out power you could maintain for about an hour (I.e. FTP), AWC is your Anaerobic Work Capacity in kJ and t is the test duration. For this to work you need all out efforts. Once you’ve done about 3 efforts between 1 and 20min the equation provides a reasonable estimate of your capability at other durations.
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Old 08-15-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
There isn’t much ‘pleasurable’ about pushing up the curve to the left of 5min. All those efforts require suffering. Finding a fast group to ride with is probably the easiest way to raise the curve.

The basic shape of everyone’s curve is pretty similar and you can get a reasonable fit using the critical power equation: P = Cp + AWC/t where Cp is the all out power you could maintain for about an hour (I.e. FTP), AWC is your Anaerobic Work Capacity in kJ and t is the test duration. For this to work you need all out efforts. Once you’ve done about 3 efforts between 1 and 20min the equation provides a reasonable estimate of your capability at other durations.
interesting! i assumed some people were inherently stronger at sprinting relative to their sustained capacity, and the formula seems to take that into account. different amounts of glycogen stores or muscle types etc.

in both examples above, the drop to the long sustained tail of the curve is much farther right than mine.
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Old 08-15-21, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I am not sure if it helps OP, but this was mine last Fall. I do not have a good effort race from 40 minutes to 60 minutes, which is why there is a small discontinuity in the curve.


thank you! amazingly steady/strong from 5 minutes to 2.5 hours.
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Old 08-15-21, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
interesting! i assumed some people were inherently stronger at sprinting relative to their sustained capacity, and the formula seems to take that into account. different amounts of glycogen stores or muscle types etc.

in both examples above, the drop to the long sustained tail of the curve is much farther right than mine.
If you're in SF you've got no shortage of hills to go all out on!
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Old 08-15-21, 10:32 AM
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It isn’t a great chart because “different tool for each job”.

The key is to probe each general area by training it for a short while then seeing if it is anything nice or not. Where your personal talent lies.

Training a sprint always and never cracking 1000w would be a waste. So would training Ironman style ftp power and not having the gift for it.

Depends on what bike riding you like also. Depends on how big or small you are.
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Old 08-15-21, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
thank you! amazingly steady/strong from 5 minutes to 2.5 hours.
It is just the training. Also, note my meagre W'.

However, both, LT/GET and CP can vary widely amongst individuals depending on the state of health or training. Specifically, LT/GET and CP occur at 50–65% and 70–80% O2max respectively in healthy young subjects. In contrast, in well-trained individuals (where the maximal rates of oxidative metabolism are increased by endurance training) or in some patients with chronic disease (where maximal rates of O2 transport and utilization are selectively reduced), LT/GET and CP can reach approximately 70–80% and 80–90% O2max respectively (96).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5070974/
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Old 08-15-21, 02:21 PM
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Mine from the last 6-7 years. All done in training. Races don't tend to lend themselves to max efforts for my style of riding.

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Old 08-15-21, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Mine from the last 6-7 years. All done in training. Races don't tend to lend themselves to max efforts for my style of riding.

350 ftp? You are a machine. Way to go.
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Old 08-15-21, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
350 ftp? You are a machine. Way to go.
That's their made up number. I've only ever done 30 minutes at 350, and that was up a mountain.
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Old 08-16-21, 07:32 AM
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I had one ride this year where my power meter went haywire so you get this nice Excel graph. I've seen it written that 20 min power x 0.92 is often a better estimate of FTP than x0.95. In my case that's true.


Last edited by guachi; 08-16-21 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 08-16-21, 08:53 AM
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What you are looking for is something like this:

https://www.cyclinganalytics.com/blo...he-power-curve

This table gives an idea of what the max power would be for different durations from untrained up to world class pro.
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Old 08-16-21, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post
What you are looking for is something like this:

https://www.cyclinganalytics.com/blo...he-power-curve

This table gives an idea of what the max power would be for different durations from untrained up to world class pro.
thanks! interesting to see that the FT / long term power close to triples from the untrained to the pro, whereas the short burst more like doubles. in my case i don’t think my power over an hour or more will change much, but i think i can probably improve technique and strength a lot at the “low” end.
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Old 08-16-21, 09:39 AM
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I've been riding for about 4 years now. I haven't raced yet, but I'm able to get close to max efforts on solo rides and when I'm chasing random people. I don't have a lot of years of training, so most of this year I'm continuing to build base fitness with some hard efforts lightly sprinkled in. Later this year I'm going to switch training and try to build Pmax and <30s power.


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Old 08-16-21, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by newduguy View Post
I've been riding for about 4 years now. I haven't raced yet, but I'm able to get close to max efforts on solo rides and when I'm chasing random people. I don't have a lot of years of training, so most of this year I'm continuing to build base fitness with some hard efforts lightly sprinkled in. Later this year I'm going to switch training and try to build Pmax and <30s power.


nice. i assume the yellow is measured and the red is a curve fit? (which obviously greatly underestimates your long efforts…) what app is that from?
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Old 08-16-21, 09:49 AM
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Yeah, the lumpy curve is my meanmax power. I don't particularly test at all of the necessary durations to maintain the PDC model, so that's why the gaps are there. But I don't rely on one single thing to train, so everything is a reference point.

The chart is from WKO5. It's pretty nice software if you can get it at a discount. I only bought it so I can do side-by-side comps with Golden Cheetah, which is my software of choice.
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Old 08-16-21, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
thanks! interesting to see that the FT / long term power close to triples from the untrained to the pro, whereas the short burst more like doubles. in my case i don’t think my power over an hour or more will change much, but i think i can probably improve technique and strength a lot at the “low” end.
Your curve being almost flat from 1 min out is just because you haven’t done any all-out efforts yet in the 1 to 5 minute range. You can instantly increase the curve by going out and doing these efforts.
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Old 08-16-21, 12:50 PM
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Mine shows that my sprint isn't great, my 1 and 5 minute power is pretty good for my age and category, and my FTP is nothing to write home about.

Light line is 2021, dark line is from 2015 to present. I've been working on my 5' power, which at 54 I'm feeling pretty good that I can still set a PR.
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Old 08-16-21, 02:00 PM
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I don't like how TP doesn't give me semi infinite values.

But I know the following from looking around:
5s: 1173
30s: 740'ish from a KOM a year ago
1min: no recent tries.....shows as 510, I could do more, hills too short
1min 40: 475, in the aerobars on TT bike
5min: 350
7min: 340, Box Hill ended, so didn't get the last minute in
20min: 301, need to re-test.......pretty sure I can destroy that right now
47min: 277....up Alpe, Alpe ended and I started a bit easy
60min: only two true efforts last year or so that was this long............262w on the TT bike
90min: 240w last night
120min: 240w last night, well it was like 115min but close enough........5min short due to soft pedaling the warmup

All of this at 71kg plus or minus a kg.

I'm pretty sure I could do 315 for 20min right now based on HR drift for shorter efforts of about half that time not getting near my "death HR" for a 20min effort.
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Old 08-18-21, 03:57 PM
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this is mine (power curve is from an app I made myself using python/django), this curve just encompasses 2021 data. Clearly I don’t work on a lot of sprint stuff lol not totally obvious but my nearly 5hr power is about 230 or 80% which is pretty nice!
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Old 01-09-22, 12:30 PM
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8 months of riding, it's "interesting" that i haven't made too much progress on the shorter-duration parts of the curve. i'm guessing this is entirely the result of my heart condition, but i would have thought the <5 minute efforts would be easy to improve through generally better strength, balance, comfort with the bike and my/it's limits, etc. instead, i've seen a pretty decent jump in what i can comfortably sustain for one hour (200 to 230), two hours (180 to 225), two and half hours (165 to 215) etc.

on the other hand, for one minute i only went from 325 to 355, and five minutes from 255 to 270, which considering that the initial numbers were within weeks of riding a road bike for the first time EVER, is pretty disappointing. i am almost 10% lighter (200lb to 183lb) and the bike is lighter and faster too (hahah) so it's not like i'm not going faster... but still, this pretty clearly illustrates that although short intense bursts require strong muscles, they also require big cardiac output, which at 120BPM and 45% LVEF isn't happening for me.

still having a TON of fun on the bike though!
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Old 01-11-22, 02:15 PM
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This is mine, screencap from Training Peaks. I don't emphasize short-duration efforts in my training, which is why those numbers are pretty lackluster. Which doesn't explain my lackluster performance at longer efforts.


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