Power climbing vs flats vs indoor trainer. what's going on?

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Catagory6
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:36 am

by Catagory6

i think i might have posted this before. cant remember.

but on the climbs (not TOO steep), i can maintain 225-250 with not much effort. and feel like i can go and go and go

then the road levels off, and i have to kill myself to achieve 200-210.
170 on flats feels more like 240 on inclines

trainer power feels a lot easier than road power, except for road inclines

is this normal?

by Weenie


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kervelo
Posts: 810
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:58 am
Location: Finland

by kervelo

Trainer power vs outdoor power: do you use the same power meter for indoor and outdor rides?

Aress
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:26 am

by Aress

i'm the complet oposite, its way easier for me to put power on the flats than on the climbs.
I think its based on the way you train, i mostly ride on the flats and rolling hills for example

robeambro
Posts: 1792
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:21 pm

by robeambro

Catagory6 wrote:
Thu Mar 30, 2023 2:58 am
i think i might have posted this before. cant remember.

but on the climbs (not TOO steep), i can maintain 225-250 with not much effort. and feel like i can go and go and go

then the road levels off, and i have to kill myself to achieve 200-210.
170 on flats feels more like 240 on inclines

trainer power feels a lot easier than road power, except for road inclines

is this normal?
It might feel easier for anaerobic efforts, as on the trainer you can just close your eyes, not worry about balance and other things, listen to music, etc. On the road you would be rocking left and right(and waste energy, both physical and mental), worrying about staying upright and avoiding obstacles, etc.

On the other hands, outdoor may be easier due to better ventilation. Of course YMMV.

That said - another aspect that can be deceiving is that indoor you don't have to worry about position and can produce watts being very upright (and out of the saddle) with no penalty, whilst outdoor you don't have this luxury.

There's lots more caveats and aspects that could be discussed to answer this. Yet, I would say that on flats you are much better off trying to optimise your position, and as you get more comfortable in an aero position, you'll also naturally be able to produce more watts.

EdWiser
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:50 pm

by EdWiser

If you are using Zwift what is your “ trainer” setting? If it is at 50% reality that is the issue.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 11887
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

No surprise, you are activating different sub-groups within your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, etc. If you want to get good at flat power (high speed) then you need to train at those speeds. If you want to get good at climbing, you need to climb.

cheapvega
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:12 pm

by cheapvega

Climbs probably feel longer than flats... I'd wager you can maintain the same power for the same time on both.

That said I do higher average power on hilly rides than flat rides so who knows

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Butcher
Shop Owner
Posts: 1852
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:58 am

by Butcher

I've always had that problem, real or virtual riding. I can be beat after a 100 miles ride, but if there is a hill at the end, I can always find the effort to push through that hill. Zwift had their Tour of Watopia and I'm dropping people left and right up a climb, before or after, I am just hanging on, hoping not to be dropped [with a lot less watts].

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 11887
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

cheapvega wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2023 1:30 pm
Climbs probably feel longer than flats... I'd wager you can maintain the same power for the same time on both.

Tell that to time trialists like Rohan Dennis. Climbing is fighting a constant acceleration. The power phases elongate. When you climb a lot, then your climbing muscles hypertrophy. If you never climb, those same muscles atrophy.

cheapvega
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:12 pm

by cheapvega

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2023 6:24 pm
cheapvega wrote:
Sat Apr 08, 2023 1:30 pm
Climbs probably feel longer than flats... I'd wager you can maintain the same power for the same time on both.

Tell that to time trialists like Rohan Dennis. Climbing is fighting a constant acceleration. The power phases elongate. When you climb a lot, then your climbing muscles hypertrophy. If you never climb, those same muscles atrophy.
Time trialing is fighting a constant force too (drag). And the main motive force is the same for climbing vs maintaining power on flats (knee + hip extension). If someone can't hold the same power durations on a climb vs flats I really feel like it's more psychological than physiological. I reserve the right to be wrong though...

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 11887
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

Negative acceleration from gravity is way more significant than aero drag for anything I’d consider a real climb. Just consider the coast down time up a 2% incline vs on flat ground. Plus if you’re climbing fast enough you’re still seeing a decent amount of aero drag while climbing too.

blaugrana
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 9:49 pm

by blaugrana

It mostly comes down to momentum, which is very different when doing high speeds on the flat compared to climbing. This article is from a few years ago, but it adresses this issue: https://www.cyclingtips.com/2013/09/cli ... -affected/.

In my case I also always found it much easier to hold any given power on the climbs compared to the flats. This may just be anectodtal evidence, but since I started strength training last season, the gap has closed a lot, and now the numbers are a lot more similar.

by Weenie


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