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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:29 am 
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Location: Los Angeles=Hills, Smog
Just out of curiosity... We are so geared towards gadgets these days as a way to improve our performance. But do they really give you an advantage? My example: I have been riding with the same group of people for a couple years now who all train very hard with computers to be competitive. We go out for long, tough weekend rides & climbs. Truth being told no one has improved to the point where I can say anyone has improved more than anyone else. I personally don't ride with any electronics, don't like them. What are your thoughts?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:11 am 
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I own a powertap and use it in the winter. I find it gives me motivation during the winter on the trainer and helps me work at specific needs (spinning, power, etc) but come spring I start to hate it and ride without any electrics (well sometimes the Ipod) until fall. I just get a more enjoyable time without all the distractions. Sometimes however I will use the powertap if I'm going on some epic ride in the mtns just for braggin rights with my buddies and sometimes I use the powertap for races but I tape over the display as I find it a distraction. Bottom line is 70% of the time I ride without a computer

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:18 am 
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I could see it helping on the trainer, don't like those either :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:14 am 
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If you use them like gadgets, then they are gadgets. If you use them in the proper way, then they are very useful.

Since I started using (and understanding) a powertap I made a very big progress. I have objective targets for intervals, I now understand if I have troubles because of too much workload or too few.

Otherwise a normal computer (i.e. speed/distance/etc.) is not really useful to me, except if it has a clock so that I can be at home in time.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:45 am 
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Location: Switzerland
I don't like computer either. I trained for a while with a polar, but now that I'm aware of my training limits I often go for rides following the feelings of my body.
I don't know if that is useful for any improvements but that is the way I enjoy riding and I keep my body fit.
I'm also against GPS, because it kills your orientation instinct looking the hole time at that display!
IMO... :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:16 am 
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I have sold my Polar S720. I now ride sans electronics. If anything, I have improved after that. It just killed my motivation to train so structured. I don´t need to know when my HR is 183. If I need to push harder in a race to keep up, and I have the legs to do it, I just push harder. If not, well...

IMHO 80% of the people riding with watt meters use them as gadgets. Our local pros have sold their SRM´s, as without an very insightfull coach at hand all the time, it was useless.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:32 am 
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With all respect, if you don't have 25+ hours a week to train and understand the basic principles of training, I cannot see how a powermeter can be useless.

If nothing else, with a good software like cyclingpeaks/wko+ you can objectively quantify workload and follow a proper periodization. Also (for example) for thresold intervals a powermeter is invaluable. Too hard and recovery time is largely increased, too easy and it won't provide as much benefit as it could. Very difficult to do with the same accuracy just by perceived exertion.

This doesn't mean that you cannot be a good racer without a powermeter -sure you can-, but IMO with one you can only be better. Sure it requires a bit of thinking, but if you are a pro or want to be one you better use your brain as well :D

(this does only apply to road training, in my experience it's much more difficult to do specific work offroads)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:47 am 
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I didn´t say it would be useless for me, as I have never had one. So how can I tell? What I said, was that I am sure any training improvements from using a powermeter would be negated by the lack of motivation I would have from using such a contraption. Granted, it could be fun to see how many watts I put out sometimes.:roll:

What I was reffereing to was the Pro´s, which indeed train +25 hours a week. They have been quite succesfull, too. Even without a powermeter. In the last 4 years, two of them has gone to CSC and there´s currently one more riding there as a stagiere.
I also know how much the average pro uses his SRM at CSC... Maybe the stars have more coaching.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:13 pm 
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To me it really is all about my gears & me against the terrain. I've ridden with people who use all types of electronics including power meters. I have found to this point that listening to my body, knowing my limits & pushing myself when I should has brought me to a level where I am pretty even with most who train as much as I do, regardless of the method. It's funny, I've had people ask where my computer is. As if to say that I couldn't be at their level without some gadget strapped to my handlebars.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:26 pm 
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IMO the key point is in your original post: We go out for long, tough weekend rides & climbs

From my not-so-long (~1.5 years) experience with a pm this is exactly the kind of training where a powermeter is not that helpful. In my opinion they are much more interesting tools when you are forced to several shorter sessions during the week, where you want to take the biggest bang for the buck from your riding time.
When I do long rides or group rides, I never watch at the display, I just download the data to track workload.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:29 pm 
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p.s. when you say "all types of electronics including power meters" it's really a way too big generalization.
There is a world of difference between basing your training on a cyclocomputer (speed/distance), a heartrate, a clock, a powermeter, a GPS, a cellphone...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:20 pm 
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Location: Phoenix Arizona
Do I ride with an SRM, Ergomo or Hub now... Nope. Not even a computer.


At one point in my riding, I used both SRM and Tap, as well as a computrainer and they are absolutely a tool that gives results as part of a training program... So is the Ergomo.


That power measurement devices and even basic heart monitors are valuable tools when used effectively is not debateable. They quantify and record performance and allow for accurate, repeatable measure levels that are the basis for performance growth.


Wether or not they are a waste is completely dependant on rider training. For most of us here, every electronic device we strap to our bikes is simply an accesory and power meters are just the next level of onboard entertainment / vanity.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:36 pm 
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I used to ride without any tools, except a speedometer/watch for longer TT's to pace myself.

Now that I have a structured coach I have to wear a hr monitor/watch to give him my training files. I still don't bother with a speedometer.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:55 pm 
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At first I had a speedo w/cadence when I was learning the ins and outs of cycling. Then at some point I stopped watching cadence and just decided I didn't need to look at that. So then I just got a speedo for simplicity. Then my speedo crapped out and I had nothing for about a year. It was an interesting free feeling but the tech geek inside started to rear it's ugly head and also I've been feeling like my performance has been inconsistant. So now I want a HRM, w/ALT, Speed, Cadence and ride recording that I can upload to a computer to plot my progress or lack thereof.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:35 pm 
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I have computers on all but my winter training bike. On that I simply have a mount for my HRM (but no speed sensor for it), since I don't care how fast I'm going, just how hard I'm working. On my road bike the computer's a motivational tool, on the TT bike a pacing tool, and on my MTB a navigational tool. On the tandem which I nominally ride for leisure I have both a computer and a speed sensor for the HRM - not quite sure how I justify that, apart from being a gadget freak :D

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