Monday, January 30, 2012

Power!

I picked up a new toy last week: a new rear training wheel with a PowerTap hub. Now I can train outside with the same metric that I train with inside: power!

Even though I've only been back at M2 for a few weeks, I already have a pretty firm grasp of my power numbers. This weekend, I had a chance to see how those numbers translate on the open road. I learned some new things:

I coast a lot. I definitely push way too hard on climbs. I need to work on consistant power output over long periods of time and varied terrain.

Perhaps the most important performance-related statistic in the world of cycling is power-to-weight ratio. And mine doesn't seem that great. My ten-minute test at M2's puts me at roughly 4.1 watts per kilogram. I've never done a pure 20-minute test, but I bet the ratio would drop down to 3.75 watts per kilogram, and that's being generous. That, my friends, is something that needs to improve!

Back in his heyday, M2 himself used to push around 345 watts over 20 minutes for a P/Wr of 4.75. That kind of efficiency made him one of the most dangerous cyclists in the pro triathlon circuit. Now, I'm not saying I think I can increase my output over twenty minutes by 75 watts between now and July, but maybe 15 or 25 watts might be a decent stretch goal.

On the other side of the ratio, I'm still a ways away from race weight, so perhaps there's hope for me yet: if I can shave off these eight extra pounds and maintain the same power output, I'll be a lot closer to 4 w/kg over 20 minutes than I am now!

Things to think about...