Wrote a pretty opinionated post going on 5 years ago on the old bog, but still a good reflection on power meters and indoor training this time of year.
A lot has changed since then with the introduction of Zwift but the goals are still the same. Here is a video as well of some of the racing action now taking place in virtual cycling that computrainer sessions were a pre-cursor too.
From Monday, January 24, 2011
CompuTrainer Time: Riding Kona and a Powertap Critique
Well for some reason the “easy course” we were suppose to be riding for base miles was not loading and we had to ride the Kona Ironman course which saw anywhere from 1%-15% grades, but I just spun like mad in low gears and kept the power right on the hills. It is so nice to have a simulated course though and the numbers are always higher and the workout on the muscular system better when there is change in elevation, simulated or not. Averaged 20-30 watts higher over the 3 hours than I usually do at home in the basement with the Powertap alone.
Speaking of Powertaps…
Lately I have seen some critiques on Powertaps. Some people are saying they are just “bling” on the bike and money thrown away for the sake of show and maybe a confidence boost. Some of these comments include references to Eddy Merckx and other legends who have said to get fast you just “ride, ride, ride”.
As a qualifier, I do think there are those who have Powertaps as bling on their bikes, to that I do not argue. This is a response to general blanket statements like this about Powertaps.
In response I will tell a story…
The other day my Grandpa and Grandma were having trouble with their computer. They did not know how to get their Microsoft Word to start working. They did not know how to interpret the information coming from the computer or what to put into this technology to get the benefit out of it to create a Word document. Without this they would have to go back to a typewriter and it may get the job done, but much slower and in a format and manner that may not be acceptable professional standards for the time. Also if they made mistakes, the time spent making up for them would be much longer and catching those mistakes would be much more difficult and time consuming. I helped them out with this and got Word working and now they just have to point , click, and type etc…now they can produce Word documents, as before they could not because of their inability to interface.
If it is about riding, sure then ride…
If it is about getting faster, then training with the most efficient equipment will get you to that goal the fastest. One may be able to get similar results the “old fashioned way” but they may not understand or be able to reproduce those results as consistently. I would also like to know more about the inner workings of the “legends” training plans and if any type of training logs or strategies were used besides “ride, ride, ride”.as the acceptable standards for the time.
Personally I think Powertaps are a good thing for anyone who wants to compete, get faster, or has the extra cash to quantify their progress on the bike.
Not a good thing and “bling” for the “weekend warrior” who just rides for fun with no goals whatsoever in cycling. The bigger the goal or project the more a computer can help in respect to data analysis and organization.
This one seems to be a bit of a hot topic lately, got opinions please share!
Thanks to Chris Washburn for the CompuTrainer time and the pics!