Power Training: Indoors vs On The Road (and equipment choice)

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robertbb
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by robertbb

Hi Weenies, long time commenter first time thread starter!

I'd like to move into structured training with power, and am trying to figure out the best way forward given the type of riding I do and the equipment I already own. I figure there are many weekend warriors like myself going through the same decision making process.

The riding I do.

I don't race, but I do try to get the best out of myself. I ride 3-4 times a week. For my "A-rides", every summer I take weekend or week-long trips to the many mountains in Victoria - love to climb and try to get up all the big cols at least once in a season. Occasionally I travel overseas; did l'etape acte 1 in 2012, some riding in Tuscanny around Giro 2016, and this year am doing GFNY Jerusalem as part of another Giro trip to Israel. I envisage riding other fondo-type events in future.

The equipment I own

I have two road bikes: both Canyon Ultimate's, both running full Campy Chorus. One is alloy with Shamal clinchers (for indoor/rain/air travel) and one is carbon with Bora tubulars (for fair weather outings and climbing local mountains). I also own a "dumb" Kurt Kinetic Road machine which I've used for around 3 years to keep my fitness up through winter. And a fixie to ride to the pub and my g/f's place.

My dilemma

Add power to bike itself I have ruled out any hub based or one-leg options and would also prefer not to have to replace my Campy cranks.

So unless I'm missing something, that really only leaves me with pedal based options such as the Garmin Vector 3 and to continue using my Kurt Kinetic.

I should also mention that I'm a speedplay user for 9 years... any chance I don't end up liking the Keo style of the power pedals so much that I won't want to use them?

Buying a smart trainer

Another option that is growing on me is to replace the Kurt Kinetic with a smart trainer with power meter to let me do highly accurate and structured power based training indoors. I obviously wouldn't be able to train with power outside - but how useful is that *really* given cars, traffic lights, changeable terrain, other riders/groups, etc? When it comes to my "A-rides", I could continue to monitor my HR to make sure I pace myself...... right?

Appreciate your advice! :beerchug:
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alcatraz
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by alcatraz

Pedals or rear wheel. Only way to really make it transferable.

Braking on the rear wheel is not that big of a deal. (If you are concerned with a carbon braking surface on a power meter wheel.)

I'd use the alloy bike on the indoor trainer for safety. Also if you put some thick foam pads under the legs of the trainer you get a little bit of that natural side/side action which I think relieves the stress off your frame should you need to go carbon.

Grab some second hand vectors maybe or lace a rear wheel with a powertap g3 (cant go wrong with zipp 404 -ish rims for allround). That's the only way to have one power meter on "all" bikes. I have two bikes but I chose them with the same bottom bracket standard so I can move a left arm power meter between them. Not ideal but possible, and light (+10gr). Free wheel/pedal choice.

Read some books/articles on training with power. Monitor your heart rate and do some structured indoor training in each day at a different power level. L1-L7. Info on zones: http://trainingbible.com/joesblog/2008/ ... power.html

Figure out a ballpark figure of your FTP. Get on the trainer and try to keep a stable max power for 30 min. The average of that is your current FTP.

Your max heart rate is 220 minus your age (age times 0.8 if you are a long time cyclist). Stop interval early when you reach it. If you never reach it you might need to increase the length of your intervals.

Zones L1-L4 are done almost continuously whereas L5-L7 are in intervals, with shorter intervals as the zone gets higher.

I'd like to add I just started myself with using an indoor trainer. This info may or may not be right.

/a

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

I don't even look at my HR unless I'm in a race scenario. Power is king and so is consistency. Don't blow your wad on a smart trainer before a power meter if you are at all serious about seeing power gains...you're going to want to use the power meter both indoors and out. I have not had any issue with my Garmin Vector 2's KeO-based system in 2.5 years of use, but I also use zero-float cleats and crank down the cleat retention to almost 20n-m. If you for some reason require 15 degrees of float, then I would advise selling your Campy cranks and getting a spider-based PM of your choice.

If you want an accurate smart trainer, you're going to have to go direct-drive anyway. The Elite Direto and the Tacx Flux are the entry-level. I would lean towards the Direto because the Tacx Flux had quality-control issues at first, and I'm unsure if those bugs have truly been dealt with properly. You cannot go wrong with the Wahoo KICKR. The Tacx Neo is an option, but I personally do not like its flexy legs/base. I use a CycleOps Hammer because it's solid as a rock, the best trainer for out of the saddle efforts, but it also has a few outstanding firmware issues that need to be fixed. I get around the firmware power reading issues by using one of my power meters instead of smart trainer power. If you go the smart trainer route, you need to be prepared to spend power meter money to get the best experience. Do not buy something like a Tacx Vortex or KICKR Snap if you want accurate, reliable power.

You say you own a Kurt Kinetic, but how much do you use it? A smart trainer with Zwift will help make things more bearable, but it still takes a certain kind of masochist to train indoors willingly. I am one of those people, but the vast majority are not. Most of the people I know who have purchased smart trainers don't really use them at all. For them it was a wasted purchase. In contrast, a pedal-based power meter will come along with you on every outdoor ride. It will be extremely useful in gran fondos to make sure you don't overextend yourself in the first 1-2 hours of the ride. It will be even more useful when trying to set personal records up the local climbs.

Re: alcatraz. Max heart rates are way more genetic than they are based on training. I am 37, decently fit at 4.5w/kg FTP and my max HR is only ~176bpm. Max HR hardly matters to an endurance cyclist either...some intervals just don't get you to max HR. You simply don't hit within 10 beats of max during Threshold or VO2Max efforts. Hell I don't even hit max HR when I do 5min intervals. When I did my FTP test, my average HR for the last 15min was 161. That number is my Lactate Threshold HR, and that is the base value from which your other HR zones should be set using Coggan's method.

Don't tell a guy he isn't pushing hard enough on an 8 or 12 minute interval because he isn't hitting max HR. That is just flat out wrong.

--

TL;DR = Buy Vector 3s. Use them indoors with your Kurt Kinetic if you want. Sign up for Zwift and start doing group rides and races. Add structured training to fill in the gaps in your power curve. Budget towards a Wahoo KICKR or Tacx Neo if you start taking indoor training very seriously.
Last edited by TobinHatesYou on Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jekyll man
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by jekyll man

alcatraz wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:39 am

Read some books/articles on training with power. Monitor your heart rate and do some structured indoor training in each day at a different power level. L1-L7. Info on zones: http://trainingbible.com/joesblog/2008/ ... power.html

Figure out a ballpark figure of your FTP. Get on the trainer and try to keep a stable max power for 30 min. The average of that is your current FTP.

Your max heart rate is 220 minus your age (age times 0.8 if you are a long time cyclist). Stop interval early when you reach it. If you never reach it you might need to increase the length of your intervals.

Zones L1-L4 are done almost continuously whereas L5-L7 are in intervals, with shorter intervals as the zone gets higher.

I'd like to add I just started myself with using an indoor trainer. This info may or may not be right.

/a

Its not right. Go back and read some books on training, and in particular training with power starting with the basics.
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ergott
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by ergott

Training indoors with power is great. I use a crank PM and smart trainer for terrain based resistance (Zwift) or ERG mode. Ideally you want both because the PM can be more accurate and you can also bring all that you've learned about yourself out on the road. Isn't the whole point of training to be better when riding outdoors?

If I were a Campagnolo user I'd consider either the P2M or SRM cranks. Both can be had with Campagnolo arms. I wouldn't swap a major contact point like pedals for power, especially if you like them. I'd also get the PM on the bike before getting a smart trainer, but I do think the combination can't be beat.

alcatraz
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by alcatraz

I see your points.

When I wrote that I was trying to reason between the far ends of the recommended interval duration of that zone. Say 3 vs 7 min intervals. (Zone5)

I just started training with power and I noticed even at the shortest duration I can reach max heart rate on the 5th/6th interval. I know I shouldn't try longer than 3 min for a while then.

But what do you do if you can't even get over 150bpm even at the 10th interval doing 3 min intervals? Then it seems to me you are not inside the intensity window of that zone. Instinctively I might want to increase the duration or recalculate FTP.

Sorry if my point came out all wrong. Still learning and happy to be corrected.

/a

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ergott
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by ergott

I try to keep my zones set correctly for power. I set my heartrate zones based on threshold HR, but rarely look at it beyond that. Best thing I use it for is to tell me I'm out of shape. My heartrate is higher for a given effort until my fitness is where I want it to be.

I can see a scenario where your threshold is set correctly, but your VO2 zone power doesn't coincide with the traditional calculation for what your heartrate should be. I would rather adjust my heartrate zones to fit my power profile rather than the other way around. Ultimately they are formulas and everyone is slightly different.

AJS914
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by AJS914

First, you don't need to spend $2000 in equipment to add more quality to your training. You can do structured training now without buying anything. Racers did it for eons on perceived exertion and then they did it based on heart rate.

The first step is educating yourself and designing a training plan. Look at Joe Friel's book - The Cyclist's Training Bible. There is also the Hunter/Coggan book - Training and Racing with a Power Meter. There are tons of blogs and podcasts as well. You could also just buy an online training plan subscription like TrainerRoad. The software will also control a smart trainer.

You can get a lot of improvement out of basic interval work. You don't need a power meter to 10 x 1 min full gas intervals. You can also do things like 20/40s - 20 seconds on full gas, 40 seconds rest, repeat. Going from zero interval work to some basic interval work will reap a lot of benefits.

Power helps with tracking fitness. You can test your ftp every now and then and see how you are doing. Power also helps when you are trying to target certain zones - staying in the endurance zone during winter base training (though I find that easy to do with heart rate and perceived exertion) - or attacking the FTP by doing intervals just below it and just above it - or trying to optimize your time on the bike with sweet spot intervals.

Campagnolo crank - Stages now has Chorus/Record/Super Record left crank arms. Pioneer has a Potenza based solution that is cheaper.

I got a Smart trainer last year - a $350 Tacx Vortex. It is a fine tool. As much as I'd like to have one, I honestly don't see how a $1300 direct drive trainer would do any more for one's training. Having the smart trainer is nice because I can program interval sessions based on power and they run automatically while controlling the trainer - no guess work.

robertbb
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by robertbb

Thanks all for your responses (and hope not to offend other posters, but in particular TobinHatesYou's response is very useful.

I actually use the Kurt Kinetic quite a lot. I don't need Zwift or a movie to get motivated. In the winter, just a trance album and a candle to look at can be enough for me to sit on the trainer for 45min to an 1hr 15min... 4 times a week depending on other commitments that day/night. Something like TrainerRoad would be more than enough for me, I think... and I don't need a mag trainer to automatically adjust resistance for that, the Kurt is very stable and has a good resistance curve.

With all this said, it sounds like Vector 3 is the one. I really don't want to have to replace my Campagnolo cranks (twice!). I also have no specific biomechanical issues that require me to use speedplays so other than changing my clicking in/out technique there really shouldn't be any issues with the new system.

Now to find it as cheaply as possible o/s and get it to Australia. It's $1500 here which is a farce, considering it's $US999 (cheaper if u look around) and the current exchange rate is favourable.
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ergott
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by ergott

What about Power Tap pedals? Garmin isn't the only company out there.

robertbb
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by robertbb

ergott wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:18 pm
What about Power Tap pedals? Garmin isn't the only company out there.
Fair.

The P1's are chunky and heavy... and likely to be superceded soon. So I've ruled them out.

The Assioma's are also an option but the pod will apparently stick out over my Campy cranks. I could be convinced... if I could see a pic of them mounted to a 2015+ campagnolo crankarm. Not the hugest fan of rechargeable battery, but, not really a showstopper.

The Garmin's use replaceable batteries, the aesthetic is the cleanest, and they are relatively new product so will remain current for some time (some firmware issues are known, but nothing that will affect the way I'll be training).
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alcatraz
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by alcatraz

I saw something interesting about the vectors.

It was just a picture but it was quite clear that it was measuring in several planes. Might help you to dial in your cleat position perfectly.

Pedal pressure center along the axle, power distribution during the stroke, difference in power left/right, measure time spent in/out of saddle. Pretty cool. No other type of power meter can do all that.

If they just weren't so damn expensive. Kills me...

/a

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silvalis
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by silvalis

I'm looking at doing the same thing as you and leaning towards vectors3 too, despite the price. Other meters pricing actually make vector pricing reasonably attractive (I've got SR, and stages SR pricing is just silly. As is p2m and srm pricing).

If you can wait, occasionally (they did it twice last year) pushys discounts their gift vouchers, which you can use to get a discount on vectors as they normally block garmin from their sales.
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Geoff
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by Geoff

I have never really understood the desire for the right-left thing. For me, I just produce power the way that I do and don't think that there is too much that I can do about changing that. What is important is repeatability in the powermeter.

One of the powermeters that I have is an SRM Campagnolo, which is really nice. The crankarms are made for SRM by Campagnolo, so they are just perfect. I think you would be really happy with that.

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TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

AJS914 wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:15 pm

I got a Smart trainer last year - a $350 Tacx Vortex. It is a fine tool. As much as I'd like to have one, I honestly don't see how a $1300 direct drive trainer would do any more for one's training. Having the smart trainer is nice because I can program interval sessions based on power and they run automatically while controlling the trainer - no guess work.
The Tacx Vortex or Flow is the absolute bare minimum for a cyclist who wants to lightly train and simulate grade changes. I'm going to have to disagree with you on the point of it being good enough for anyone.

These wheel-on trainers are very bothersome to keep calibrated. Is your tire worn? Does it have oil on it? Is the ambient temperature different? Did you pump the tire to the same pressure as last time? Is the roller tension exactly the same? This will all affect the trainer's power estimation / spindown time. If you are serious about training you at the very least need consistency...consistency with accuracy is even better and worth paying for.

The Tacx wheel-on trainers are not as beefy as the Wahoo KICKR Snap or the CycleOps Magnus. The former has a pretty large flywheel and is effective silent. The Magnus is capable of a ridiculous amount of resistance for those who can really put out high instantaneous or 5s values. Wheel-on trainers are around 25lbs...some are much lighter, a few are noticeably heavier. Weight and stability matter when the bike is static (unless you have some sort of rocker plate.) Most of the direct-drive trainers are closer to 45lbs and much more suited to standing efforts and sprints. Direct-drive trainers also remove a lot of the variables from Wheel-on trainers. Remember, consistent power measurement is key.

I would only ever use a wheel-on trainer with a separate power meter, which is why the power meter should be the first purchase. A power meter + existing dumb trainer is better for training than a Tacx Vortex by itself. It is however also more expensive unless you look for bargains on single-leg options, but the extra investment is worth it.

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