If you train with power, do you race with power too?

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by nickd01

I was thinking, as I was sweating on the turbo, that all my training is done with power - either on the turbo or road - using my training bike.

But, when I want to go out for a faster ride or eventually race, then I'd like to take the nicer bike with lighter wheels and so no powermeter. I'm pretty sure without a power meter to guide me, I'll go too hard and then just blow up in a heap with all that hard training wasted. Or, not go hard enough...

Does anyone also race with power as well as train? Do you have a 2nd power meter on "nice" wheels? If so, how light can you get a set of power tap based wheels to be that'll cope with a bit of racing? I've seen the new G3 is 325g now which should help building lighter wheels up?

Or, do you go more "by feel" and hope you've got it right?

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by devinci

I train and race with power. I never look at power during a race. The benefits of a crank based powermeter I guess..

As somebody said: Alls you can do is alls you can do. Even without a PM during a race, you'll go fast enough, if not faster then you think you can go. Don't worry about the power numbers during a race, pay attention to what is happening, who's where, where you are on the course, wind conditions, etc. You'll do just fine without a PM.

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by mattr

What sort of racing are you doing?

If its solo efforts use a powermeter, so you can judge your effort, the small weight disadvantage shouldn't make a massive difference if it allows you to get much closer to your threshold. Without going over.

If its bunch racing, just go with the flow. If you get dropped, you weren't fit enough, no powermeter is going to change that.

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by Martin.F

I also train and race with power. I've looked at my power readings a couple of times during races, but not to adjust intensity, only for motivational purposes.

I actually use my power readings from a race as a guideline for "I can do at least this much" when training as I tend to push myself harder during races than training. Races sets the new benchmark for my wattage goals. I remember one time in May this year I had a peak 8 minute of around 345-350w. Then in a race I did 360 for 10 minutes, so I adjusted my training to the new level.
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by fireball05

Much better to both race and train with a PM if possible. Especially if the racing is a TT or a race where the data may be able to help you. While I agree that oftentimes in-race data won't do you any good at the time, such as during a crit, I would argue that having power numbers on a longer climb, while rotating in a break, etc. can give you some useful information.

I'm also a strong believer that your highest numbers should come in training.

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by nickd01

Thanks chaps.

I don't do any racing yet; I've done some longer sportive rides and was thinking about racing next year; hence the questions as I plan my training.

I completely see that you wouldn't be watching the readings during the race (especially in a bunch!) but wondered if people find the post-race analysis useful.

For TT'ing I can see a benefit for pacing and so on; but maybe in road-racing it's useful post race (or on a break) but not so much actually in the bunch.

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by fireball05

Yes the data is extremely helpful for post-race analysis. And also very helpful during the race as well, if used properly:

pacing a long climb (long is subjective, but really anything 10' or greater)
breakaway riding with a small bunch
breakaway riding solo (determining power level based on distance still to be covered)
watching NP to know how hard you can go
watching NP to remind yourself to pedal as little as possible

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by AlexJ

Yea I always have power on my MTB when I race, i generally don't use it, I look at it to how my pacing is going over the course of the race per lap via Normalized power per lap.

If there I a decent climb ill keep an eye on the numbers but it doesn't change much thou.

But more use it for afterwords on if i have a bad race or a blow a bit, i can look over files and see what happened.
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by vlastrada

the post race analysis of the power data is definitely useful. for example, you might find that in races your short efforts as you close gaps are a bit higher than in training (eg 30-40s, 1 min, peaks), while the rest of the curve isn't. this may be especially the case at the beginning of the season. If that's the case you might want to try and work towards improving those peaks in training. Even w/o a coach, analyzing the numbers can also be good for your motivation to get better racing results. you might find that you got a good race result and still operated well within your power curve. that is a clear signal that you can place higher still, if you get your strategy right. All this said, I would not really look at my power when actually racing unless I am in a breakaway, or if I feel good and want to confirm that I am pushing solid numbers on a climb (to motivate myself).

That said, some riders like to race entirely on feel, which is fair enough, and I have done that plenty of times. But I don't really think there is anything to lose by analyzing the numbers after the race. If they are really crap and you sucked, you can always delete the file : -) and move on! or, even better, use it as a reminder that you need to do better than that!

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by Krull

of course i am training and racing with pm.
while racing, i dont pay attention to the numbers, but they are important for retrospective data analysis, vlastrada already said it .
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by Juanmoretime

I train and race with power. I only time trial so I'm constantly monitoring my power number.

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by jockster

Using a powermeter for my cyclocross training is quite valuable to be able to train as close to FTP as possible.

The on/off-nature of cyclocross, varying and a good half of kilo of mud on your rear wheel makes it quite hard to feel if you're pacing correctly. The auto-lap feature is quite nice for this.

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by eric

Power data from races is very interesting. However for most road races I set my Garmin to a screen that does not show power or HR data. I find that when the race gets hard if I look at the computer and see a big number for power or HR I will give up earlier. If I don't have the data I can turn myself a bit more inside out.
I look at the data after the race.

I do some long races with huge amounts of climbing. For those I use power data during the race although my results have been better when I wasn't using a power meter so I may stop looking at it in those races as well.
Last edited by eric on Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by r_mutt

don't look at your powermeter during a race. the number will be too big and you will get scared that you will be dropped. just race! use the power meter data for analysis afterwards.

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by stefanot

Train and race with power but usually keep my Garmin in my jersey pocket during races. The numbers are important but not when you're supposed to be focused on the actual race.

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