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How common is 300w for an hour?

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How common is 300w for an hour?

Old 02-10-21, 07:43 AM
  #1  
burnthesheep
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How common is 300w for an hour?

This topic is totally unnecessary, but got into a back and forth about this with some folks and wanted some more perspective. Your perception is often colored by the folks you hang around with. So, this may be the case and I may be 100% incorrect.

The disagreement was basically about how many people, thin or heavy, are tossing out 300+w as B racers in Zwift for anywhere from 20min to over 30min. 300w isn't very remarkable, at all. But I do feel it's less common than I'm being told to think it is.

I follow about 120 people on Strava. In the last few years I know of at least 40 of those who have done some kind of race. Be it a crit, TT, Ironman, road, endurance MTB, etc......Out of all of that entire list, only 5 or so have ever tossed 300w for even 20min. Not an hour. I know of 3 of those who've done it an hour. One an elite collegiate racer, one an out of contract domestic pro, one a Cat 1.

These folks were telling me that most every Cat 4 racer they know can do 300w for ftp. FTP would be 45 to 70min or so. I know exactly zero Cat 4 racers who can do 300w for 45min.

Am I totally in left field here? I thought the other day Rubik said he thought most 4/5's would struggle to do 210w for 3 hours for a Zone 2 ride? I tend to believe that.

If you could do 300w for 45min, you could ride away from a Cat 4/5 road race field around here on the 2nd lap and never look back.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:11 AM
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Well, it depends on your racing category and size. At cat 4/5, I don't think many are capable of that regardless of size. At cat 1/2, I'd bet that many are.

I'm cat 2, 65 kg/145 lbs and have been at the top of my game for the last ~2.5 years. I've never produced 300w for an hour. My (calculated) FTP usually fluctuates around 300w based on the Friel method, but I have never produced that for a full hour. My best 20 min is 325w.

I'm probably pretty close to that right now, but still using 311w as my 20' number currently. I also know that I tend to "burn hot" and that extended duration efforts aren't my forte. So realistically I think my FTP is overestimated using this method.

As others may mention, FTP of course helps but as a pure power band isn't super critical in most racing formats. It is in (Individual) TT, hill climb TT and well, Zwift. I find Zwift racing in the A's very difficult and can have moderate success when I am at the high end of my fitness range.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:15 AM
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Again - size matters here. Not just in kg, but in your frontal area (CdA) as well. When things get spicy, 300w probably buys me more speed than most racers. I've never had my road or TT positions formally tested, but this has been a suspicion of mine for more than a few years. Of course that doesn't (really) apply in Zwift.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:15 AM
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I agree. That kind of power is pretty uncommon, especially for 4’s.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:22 AM
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Yeah, I don't doubt at all the folks higher up on the food chain can do it.

But C and B class Zwift per the w/kg definitions, if you interpret it this way, to me would be like Cat 4/5 in USAC. And A would be Cat 3. Then A+ would be on up from there.

The other talking point was BIG dudes tossing power. Maybe so. I've just not personally seen that strong of a linear correlation to power output and how much folks weigh. The 220lb dudes who ride the B group that leaves before the hammerfest simply are not magically making mega power. You can tend to make more, but I feel I see more that the people who "care" and do the "work" and grow their fitness........a side effect of that is a pretty lean build. By lean, I mean under 80kg.

They were trying to tell me it's "common" for 85kg dudes to be tossing out HUGE aerobic wattages. I don't buy it. The "weeknight worlds" and most races you attend.........just don't look like that. Usually the body size comes down with the aerobic fitness. Or the folks I hang around that's the case.

So: 80kg dude......250w........3.1w/kg in C. Gains 20w. 270w is now needing to go up to 87kg to stay in the same w/kg class. 270/87 = 3.1 . 250w/80 = 3.1

That's what I think is happening. Folks sandbagging.

I could do that if I raced Zwift. If a race necessitated a 20min effort I would most certainly blow over 4w/kg and be into A for sure. Or, I could just add some kg's and stay B.

This is why I think my anecdote of the real world rider sizes and power not matching what we see in Zwift. The riders maybe DO make that power..........but they're not actually that big. They're sandbagging.

Last edited by burnthesheep; 02-10-21 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 02-10-21, 11:56 AM
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Its somewhat size dependent, 300 watts for me is unreachable, but I am also 140 lbs, and at race weight (134) that puts me at almost 5 w/kg for an hour. Some bigger guys can do it no problem, but their w/kg conversions aren't as good. So, 300 really doesn't translate to great racing per se, but it is kind of a goal of mine to break it for 20 minutes (I am very very close) because that's always been the line people use for being a good rider, which is unfair to us smaller types.

The big issue with Zwift is probably 25% are off in some form, bad powermeters, weight, etc. I have an Elite Direto that I can do 320 for 20, on my Neo do 50 watts less (the Neo is spot on). A lot of people have bad pms. Outside there's a guy in my worlds about the same weight as me, but in segments I do 320, he's doing 400. There are also some crazy talented people on Zwift as well, but that's a world sample. That talent doesn't always translate to the road either.

The only thing I do well is climb so I'm very aware of the 45+ climbers, in California. I would probably say in SoCal there's less than 3 in that ag (climbers), and maybe another 5 in NorCal. There are a few big guys in the 40's that have massive FTP to go along with massive bulk that translates to crits but not racing. As for 4 or even 3's over 40+ that are over 300w, there aren't any unless the person is going up the ranks.
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Old 02-10-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Yeah, I don't doubt at all the folks higher up on the food chain can do it.

But C and B class Zwift per the w/kg definitions, if you interpret it this way, to me would be like Cat 4/5 in USAC. And A would be Cat 3. Then A+ would be on up from there.

The other talking point was BIG dudes tossing power.......

They were trying to tell me it's "common" for 85kg dudes to be tossing out HUGE aerobic wattages. ....
I'm with you, it's BS...Sounds like your buddies are hanging around the Zwift group on FB. There is so much bad info there and it multiplies because new people read ...take it as gospel and regurgitate the same bad info.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:06 PM
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Also, the weight doping the opposite way is a thing. I heard a person in a larger group I'm in doing it so he could participate in the groups B team time trial instead since nobody in the group was classed as A. He upped his weight. Flattish TT, he just hammered it and posted results to the group.

Whatever. It's a dang game. Just weird to me. That's all.

Back to training and paying attention to what I'm doing. I need to focus on that, as that'll make me faster than paying attention to what others do.
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Old 02-10-21, 01:51 PM
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Most fours around here wont be able to do 300W for an hour, but for sure some can.

Don't think I've ever actually done 300W for an hour but my 40Km time trial PB is 58:40 and that was done while in cat4 (no power data).
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Old 02-10-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
Most fours around here wont be able to do 300W for an hour, but for sure some can.

Don't think I've ever actually done 300W for an hour but my 40Km time trial PB is 58:40 and that was done while in cat4 (no power data).
It was pretty flat, with some bad road surface for about 3mi per 8mi lap........but mine so far is 58:38 for 25mi. Only 252w. That's before I found a faster helmet and skinsuit also.

I've not tried an all out road bike hour before. I don't know why the TT bike mentally for an hour seems easier. Or even 10mi/20ish minutes. I'm thinking of pacing, hitting lines, position, position, my taint hurts, position, why'd that jerk just pull out in front of me, my taint hurts really bad.............I guess more to distract me from pain than on the road bike.

I've done 283 for 22:38 min on the TT bike outdoors. I sat by the car and half laughed/cried after that one.

2021 once I'm at target weight and power........I want to give the Mt. Mitchell climb another go. I've done 240 for 90min on Zwift recently. Basically a charge up Epic KOM, tempo down and to the Alpe, then upper sweetspot up the Alpe without stopping. If I can get that to an honest 260w for two hours at 70kg..........I'll go give it another shot. 260w for that long at 70kg would probably get me a decent time up it.
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Old 02-10-21, 02:39 PM
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About 10 years ago I did Mt. Diablo in just under an hour. I didn't have PM at the time, but because it's a steady climb, the math works out to 4w/kg. Conveniently because I was 75kg at the time, that's 300w. I think I had just upgraded to Cat 3.
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Old 02-10-21, 03:07 PM
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195 lbs. Power chart for all of 2020 shows me at 300W avg for 38 minutes at some point last year. That workout was doing ZCIs (6x5x1), which takes 35 minutes Interesting that the average is that high including the five 1' coasting recoveries -- my average is about 334W for the work intervals on a 330W FTP.
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Old 02-10-21, 04:12 PM
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Isn't it about dialing it up to 400 watts?


I've done 300 for an hour at around 130 pounds at a hill climb. I've done 304 indoor for an hour. Pure numbers aren't really that meaningful.
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Old 02-10-21, 07:14 PM
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Pedal or hub meter?
Of the general population - hardly anyone. I think quite a few Cat 1/2 riders. That is mostly developed (300W+) IMO and in reach of many if they want it, but most do not.
Few even big guys holdi over 300W because an hour is a real long time. Big guys or fat guys can do huge short power, but if they did that for an hour, they would not be so big - see Froome, Wiggins, Schleck. I "believe" I held that in my 20s at 190-200# but was not measured. That opinion is based on speed and distance I road then. I did 400 miles a week pretty fast.
The poster known as Fudgy (we have not seen in a while) held >350W (I edited post and corrected spelling and power) for an hour up Palomar as did the cookie guy who rides clean. When VO2 testing my 15 year old I told them to set him for 350-400W FTP @ 130 lbs and they didn't, ignoring dad (these were Horner's guys). I knew junior was exceptional then and have huge regets they didn't run the test right. I got a refund, junior never repeated. But I believe he was around 350W / hour @ 15 130#. Guys like the AZ UAE pro later (not at 15) hold over 400W/hour (at 16/17). Latest USA pro ITT rider was so high (he is huge) that when they saw his power at 17 number were kept secret. If the numbers are secret they are better right? Numbers so high there were questions about equipment malfunction. He won the USA pro ITT at 21 (?) so that kinda settled that. My guess is he's north of 450 and you'd likely have to find Indurain or Magnas Backstad to see those numbers. I think he is a lean > 190#.

As Bike forums is open to search engines I avoid names. You can find these folks.

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Old 02-10-21, 07:22 PM
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I'd think that power for an hour might be more common in triathletes than road racers.
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Old 02-10-21, 07:48 PM
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On Zwift it is hard to say, because it is a much larger group of riders than your local circle. If you are sourcing B's from around the world and 5000+ are logged in at any given time, it does not strike me as unreasonable to think that many who choose to race are capable of 300w.

In the real world? I have no idea. I'd wager most of the p/1/2s in this area are capable of it, and the ones that aren't are probably super lightweight. Below that it is a crap shoot.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
On Zwift it is hard to say, because it is a much larger group of riders than your local circle. If you are sourcing B's from around the world and 5000+ are logged in at any given time, it does not strike me as unreasonable to think that many who choose to race are capable of 300w.

In the real world? I have no idea. I'd wager most of the p/1/2s in this area are capable of it, and the ones that aren't are probably super lightweight. Below that it is a crap shoot.
Capable of (after a year or so of training) and being able to do it now are different. So are calculations on the 20 min power vs actually doing 300W for a whole hour. I guess I don't get Zwift.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:16 PM
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I mean if the cohort is sourced from the entire Earth, and those that race inside are likely self-selecting based on motivation and fitness, it seems like a perfectly reasonable assertion to make. I guess the w/kg cap is 4 for b's? But so what? I am *never* able to do in a Zwift race what I can do steady state, the brief periods of over threshy just feel too weird on a trainer.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:26 PM
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I think there are plenty of people in my area that can test FTP at 300W (meaning about 315W for 20 min), but few that can actually hold 300W for an hour, or at least few that have done so. I'm one of those that tests at 300W, but I've never come close to holding 300W for an hour. My numbers are very similar to Tmonk - my PR for 20 min is 325W, my current 20 min test is at 311W (both outdoors). The difference is that I'm 25 lbs heavier than Tmonk . There are a lot of people here stronging than I am, so maybe many that can hold 300W for an hour, I don't know. But there probably aren't that many that have actually done it, and they are likely mostly 1s or 2s.

I disagree with the statement in the original post that if you could hold 300W for 45 min you could ride away from a Cat 4/5 road race field. Maybe you could if you were light and the road was going uphill. Or you could on flat ground if you first put out 700-1000 watts for 10 seconds to get a gap, held 450-550 watts for a minute to grow it a bit, then settled into 300W. This is quite different from doing a stead 300W for 45 minutes. And even so, most 4/5 fields around here will work together and drafting is significant enough that they would pull someone back doing 300W.
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Old 02-10-21, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
(meaning about 315W for 20 min), but few that can actually hold 300W for an hour
These are very different IMO, but somehow that 20 min thing was allowed to become a valid calculation on what one could do for an hour.

Last edited by Doge; 02-10-21 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 02-11-21, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
I disagree with the statement in the original post that if you could hold 300W for 45 min you could ride away from a Cat 4/5 road race field. Maybe you could if you were light and the road was going uphill. Or you could on flat ground if you first put out 700-1000 watts for 10 seconds to get a gap, held 450-550 watts for a minute to grow it a bit, then settled into 300W. This is quite different from doing a stead 300W for 45 minutes. And even so, most 4/5 fields around here will work together and drafting is significant enough that they would pull someone back doing 300W.
I had a friend who was a pro triathlete (sub 9 hour Kona-type guy) who started bike racing. I want to say his FTP was 350w, and he could motor all day long at that. Of course, he could not cross 900w to save his life - he just had no top end. Anyway, he rode away from every race field and solo'd for the win in crits and RRs until he got up to a 2.
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Old 02-11-21, 09:42 AM
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The power duration curve for most low level roadies, like me, is such that it goes down quick from 20min to an hour. 20min is closer to the intervals you often do. 5x5min, 3x8min, 3x12 under over.....etc......

I do agree, for you to solo a 4/5 race you need to first get away and hold VO2 for a few minutes then settle into your effort. Some can do that, some can't. That's actually exactly how the shot off the line works in Zwift. VO2, settle into 25min of threshold, pray for a miracle sprint.

The original issue though is Zwift Cat C is up to 3.1w/kg for 20. B is up to 3.9w/kg for 20. If that's the case, having folks in C doing 300w for 30ish min just seems ludicrous for the limit to be 3.1. I can do 4.0w/kg for an hour today. I'm like 70kg. So, only 280w.

So, goes to my idea that it's likely B and A riders sandbagging down by adding weight.

Totally agree with the above that once you get to certain fitness, if you ain't 7 feet tall the weight will come down at least a bit.

Personally, I haven't raced Zwift due to this. I'd class into A immediately on w/kg. Even on uphill stuff, since A goes from 4 to 4.5w/kg I'd get roasted.

Basically..........go to a points system instead of w/kg or watts. New guy wins? New guy moves up.
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Old 02-11-21, 09:59 AM
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My decay between 20 minutes and an hour is far better than most riders, maybe 5%? I attribute that to 25,000 miles or so distance running since I was a teen. I think most people's decay is probably 10%, people with that kind of profile sacrifice a lot of burst, which I'd rather have in bike racing. Steady pacing just doesn't translate well.

Its good for TTs and Hill Climbs, but for me that struggle in races is always if I can hold on to the surges. Even if I have a better FTP than everyone in the group, I'm not riding them off my wheel and I can't pull big 1 minute power like they can. I'm aware of this so I usually try to be one of the first 5 wheels during those points.
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Old 02-11-21, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The power duration curve for most low level roadies, like me, is such that it goes down quick from 20min to an hour. 20min is closer to the intervals you often do. 5x5min, 3x8min, 3x12 under over.....etc......

I do agree, for you to solo a 4/5 race you need to first get away and hold VO2 for a few minutes then settle into your effort. Some can do that, some can't. That's actually exactly how the shot off the line works in Zwift. VO2, settle into 25min of threshold, pray for a miracle sprint.

The original issue though is Zwift Cat C is up to 3.1w/kg for 20. B is up to 3.9w/kg for 20. If that's the case, having folks in C doing 300w for 30ish min just seems ludicrous for the limit to be 3.1. I can do 4.0w/kg for an hour today. I'm like 70kg. So, only 280w.

So, goes to my idea that it's likely B and A riders sandbagging down by adding weight.

Totally agree with the above that once you get to certain fitness, if you ain't 7 feet tall the weight will come down at least a bit.

Personally, I haven't raced Zwift due to this. I'd class into A immediately on w/kg. Even on uphill stuff, since A goes from 4 to 4.5w/kg I'd get roasted.

Basically..........go to a points system instead of w/kg or watts. New guy wins? New guy moves up.
I'm not on Zwift, but I was under the impression that w/kg is the deciding factor. So, adding weight would bring w/kg down, making your slower in Zwift. Isn't that why people are "weight doping" by putting a lower weight to increase their w/kg?
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Old 02-11-21, 10:29 AM
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My best 20 minutes in the last couple months was 320 W according to Strava (powertap hub power meter). Injuries (and tumors) and life changes have gotten in the way in the 6-7 years since I was last at peak weight and I'm now up to ~107 kg, so 320 was only ~3 W/kg. My 95% average of my best 3 is more like 305. Those are from ~30 minute races, no way I could hold that for an hour.

I get tired of the folks saying that flat races on Zwift are all about pure Watts so that I have an unfair advantage in Cs. On a flat TTT where we have it set so that the puller is going at constant speed instead of constant W or W/kg, I put out 50 or more W than the little guys to maintain the same speed when pulling because of my much bigger cDa/friction/whatever.
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