Powermeter values on the road

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 992
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:48 pm
Location: Denmark

by Kermithimself

I've got a P2M powermeter and use a Garmin Edge 500 as computer. When I train I have the computer set to show me the values of the last 3 seconds which work quite good. It's trying to maintain a given power that is my issue. I know that little things like wind, elevation etc. plays a major part, but how do I cope with that when trying to train at a certain power lever? For instance if I train at my FTP - 240 watts, I might push 260-280 watts at one time, going up a hill I might average 300 watts, going downhill I might average 120 watts. Should I just go for the average power of the interval and try to get that value around my FTP, and not really care about the the fact that some of the values are higher?

The obvious answer is to try to keep a constant wattage at 240 watt, but that's nearly impossible when riding on the road.
If you dream of being famous - think of what birds do to statues.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kermithimself/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdCPaXwpeXT_LpuEF0REjqw
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gotlegscycling/

Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:55 am
Location: USA

by wetpaint

You'll get better at holding an even wattage over time. For intervals, it helps to pick a course that will allow you to stay in your desired range, avoiding very steep hills or tricky downhills that would require coasting, stop signs, etc.

When not doing intervals, I don't worry about going over/under my FTP. For a 3 hour ride, I might target an AP of 200w, but there will lots of times over 300 or under 100, it all evens out in the end.

User avatar
Posts: 2032
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:30 pm

by Rick

You are noticing the same thing I have noticed with my new power meter.

I think it is just making you realize how to be conscious of what power you are really putting out. Here is an odd thing that I did: I have a regular ~27 min hillclimb that I rode a couple time, just observing my power. Like you, it was from nearly nothing on small descents to near 500 watts on steep sections (~10%). So I established my "average" power for the climb (~230 watts).
So the next time I rode it, I strived to maintain a constant wattage that was a little above 230 W. If I fell below 230 W, i would push harder, if I went above 230. which is natural to do when push up steep sections, I would force myself to back off a little, even if it seemed like I was hardly moving. Of course I went "all out" for the last few minutes, when I knew I could finish without blowing up.
I shaved 45 seconds off my best time !
There are probably a lot of wind, temperature, and motivation vairiables, but I can't help but believe it is the power regulation effect that gives you more efficient power to burn near the end of a long effort like that.

User avatar
Posts: 3039
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:43 pm
Location: Canada

by devinci

average power of the interval for sure

Also, try to stay within power range on the climbs and learn to spin fast to keep power high on descending section whenever possible.

It takes a little time to get used to road power fluctuation, but you will eventually be able to control it pretty well no matter the terrain and conditions.

Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 6:25 pm

by Ypsylon

Kermithimself wrote: Should I just go for the average power of the interval and try to get that value around my FTP, and not really care about the the fact that some of the values are higher?

The short answer is no. While out training, the average is pretty much meaningless, imho. When you are back home looking at the data, it's a different matter, but when you are out on the road executing your plan, you care about your zone, not your average.

If someone has an FTP of 200W and spends 10 minutes with 1 minute at 100W and 1 at 300W he gets an average of 200W, but didn't spend any time at threshold.

That's why there are zones, not "points". Just try to spend as much time as possible in the zone you are aiming for.

If your Watts go up, try to back off carefully to get back into your zone, but don't let them drop under your zone to make up for a spike.

Use the gears you have to even out the terrain.
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasures of a bike ride," said John F. Kennedy, a man who had the pleasure of Marilyn Monroe.

Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:52 am
Location: Sheffield, United Kingdom

by amaferanga

Where I ride is generally rolling terrain with some 10-15 minute climbs and usually twisty descents. If I'm doing intervals then I'll pick a suitable hill with as constant a gradient as possible for the interval duration. If I'm doing a tempo or endurance ride I will try to roughly stick within zone on the flatter bits, but go over going uphill and often 0 Watts downhill. I'd generally try to not go over threshold for more than a few seconds at a time on such rides. Trying to religiously stick to a prescribed Wattage for a ride over rolling terrain isn't really a smart way to ride IMO.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:01 pm

by GaryD

Due to the stochastic nature of cycling, you will never hit the exact power level(unless you can turn yourself into a fixed watt electric motor) that you want nor is it important that you do. Look for a route that complements the type of workout you want to do(ie - don't choose rolling hills for a threshold workout). You could increase the sampling rate time to get less variability in the watts displayed. If your still not happy, do the session indoors on a trainer.

Posts: 422
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:21 am

by Ghost234

One thing I would suggest trying is on your garmin putting one section of the main screen to "avg lap power" and another to "lap timer". This will help you average out your power to the interval. On the road it can be very difficult to hit a particular number (unless you have a constant incline or headwind), but it can be much easier to hit a relative target.

My goal is usually within + or - 3-5 watts of my target for longer intervals and a %'age on shorter anaerobic intervals.

Shop Owner
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:41 pm
Location: UK

by hanzypanzy

Average over the ride AND not spending too much time above the gievn power zone your looking for. For me its ok to go above this zone when climbing (small ish climbs here in UK though) and use tough gear to lower the cadence/strenghten leg muscle,but then you must throttle back to your zone once over the climb. Secret is to not spend more than 2-3 min above the zone at any one time

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post