Getting started with Power #2: Training and Racing with a powermeter
It’s been a cold spring so far here in Ontario. But regardless of how close to zero the thermostat goes my desire to do 3-hour long trainer rides on the weekends fades quickly once spring officially hits. So regardless of the conditions, I’ve been getting outdoors for at least one long ride per weekend.
Over those cold rides, I’ve moved the pedals around on to 3 separate bikes. My tri-bike on the trainer, my ‘cross bike for when the wind is too bad to leave the trails and of course my road bike for when the mercury crosses 3-4 degrees. That brings me to why I wanted to go with the Powertap P1 pedals in the first place because changing crank arms and spiders is more than a 5-minute job.
Related: Getting started with Power #1
On my early group rides i found I didn’t get to use the power meter much. I mean that in the sense of I wasn’t constantly looking at it or checking power output as I was cruising along in a paceline. But once I got home it was very interesting after to get some baseline power numbers at winter base pace.
A few days later I went outdoors to actually train, I have a hill that’s about a 3-4 minute hill depending on my fitness. It was interesting to see what that felt like at my FTP or what that felt like at 120% ,150% or 200% of FTP and where I could push and then the effect of that on my heart rate compared to my perceived exertion. I think as I move forward it’s hills like this where the power meter will be my biggest tool. On our Tuesday night club run pushing yourself easy, but on solo hill reps, it really helps to have a power number.
Not long after I raced in the first O-Cup road race of the season. This year’s Good Friday Road Race had a change of venues and took place at the Mosport race track near Bowmanville, Ontario. The course features an 800m climb that averages 5%. There I would glance down to see how hard we were working. It was comforting (well, marginally comforting since it still hurt) that I knew I could hold that number for a longer period than just 800m, despite the screams coming from my legs.