Training with Power is So Cool

Distance: 25.2 miles
Time: 1:21:14
Average Watts: 209 watts
Normative Power: 222 watts
Average Heart Rate: 166 bpm
Total Work: 1,018 kJ
Average Speed: 18.6 mph

Now this was an outside ride in the wind. I got my work done a little early today, so I scooted out and snuck in a little ride. I thought I was going to go to really crush the pedals and set a new land speed record, but a stiff headwind really had other plans for me. It really is amazing what a headwind will do to your average speed. I wanted to average about 20.0 mph, but today was not the day. But the good news is my average and normative power was way up from my other workouts. This type of “breakout” workout shows you how tough you can really be.

Why Training with Power Rules

I have a PowerTap Power Meter on my rear wheel. I bought myself a Mavic Open Pro with the Pro+ wireless Power Meter as I started training for Ironman St. George last year. I wanted to know how many watts I could push and how I should be pacing myself for the race. I rode the bike course several times and knew what it would take to hit my goals. On race day my pacing was right on and I felt fantastic about my performance.

Training with power teaches you several things, one being that every ride is different and your ability to perform on any given ride is governed by so many different factors, it will make your head spin. But regardless of external factors like wind, rain, the uphills, downhills, and false flats, you can always compare two rides that are very different by the power you produce. You can also use power during a ride to figure out what may be happening if you are riding fast or slow on any given day.

Let’s take my ride from last night. My average power was much higher than normal for this course, but my speed was down. A couple of things could have happened, but excluding mechanical issues with the bike and psi, the wind must have kicked up. And what do you know, that was the case.

Then let’s dissect the out and back sections of the ride. For the first 12.5 miles, my average was 222 watts and 18.3 mph. I pushed that section had. I will admit that I did sort of take it easy on the way back. I averaged 195 watts and 19.0 mph on the way home. I told my lady friend that I pushed it from beginning to end on this ride, but the numbers prove otherwise. I only negative split the ride by a minute. It should have been five.

Instead of patting myself on the back for such an awesome effort, my take-away is I need to back off of the front side of my ride a little and then pound the return a little more. I really though my return trip was much quicker,  but the numbers don’t lie.

And that is the great thing about training with power — the numbers will always show you your strengths and expose your weaknesses. If you are a beginner triathlete or experienced cyclist, one of the tools you should add to your resources is some type of device that measures power. I think they are worth their weight in gold.

Paris-Nice Stage 5

I don’t know how you could watch Paris-Nice this year and not get pumped for the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. One of the good guys of the peleton just took the lead after a spring victory in Stage 5 of Paris-Nice. Andreas Kloden who rides for Team Radio Shack beat out Olympic Champion Sammy Sanchez in a sprint for the line to take the Yellow Jersey.

The cool thing about the race is there are only 29 seconds that separate Kloden from Levi Leipheimer, Frank Schleck, Ryder Hesjedal and Bradley Wiggins. The stage Friday is a 29 km individual time trial. Every one of those riders can turn in a fantastic performance in a time trial, but my money is on Bradley Wiggins. I love Levi Leipheimer because he was gracious enough to talk to my son at the Tour of Utah, but that Wiggins puts together a great time trial when he is on.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...