This AM was almost like all the other Thursday AMs, 4:55am alarm clock goes off.
Quickly hop out of bed, careful not to land on the dog or wake my sleeping Girl Friend, softly close the door behind me and the dog. Head to the bathroom to get dressed with the dog in tow, (won’t leave my side in the morning) and brush my teeth. Then I remember I have new training toy to play with this morning, a CycleOps PowerCal with Speed Sensor, I adjust the comfortable band to fit my chest and clip the band in place. Thanks to Ant+ technology the PowerCal immediately links to my Garmin 310xt only after setting up the “pairing function” the night before.
The plan as I knew it was our club’s standard meet at Engineers Gate in Central Park and roll at 530am. Either people hit like DaynaTrisNYC (check out her blog) the snooze button, or thought it was raining, or maybe even just said forget it it’s the off season and there is no reason to wake up this early because the sun wasn’t even up yet. Whatever the case might have been I waited for 8 minutes, a more than generous amount of time to waste standing over my bike in the endlessly powerful darkness that encompasses the city till the sun breaks over the buildings and illuminates the paths for the runners, cyclists, and triathletes. With this darkness blanketing me as I decided to ride out on my own I pushed the start button my Garmin and saw the data begin to flow, I love how seamless the Ant+ on the CycleOps PowerCaland Garmin 310xt allow for athletes to view various numbers that guide us to higher peaks in our training and beyond our expectations on race day.
Now I am no expert with utilizing Watts or power to guide my ride workout so it will be a learning experience and I am happy to share whatever information I learn with you here. This ride was simply about getting out and experimenting with the PowerCal. The fascination I have with this simple device is the calculation that runs behind the scenes that provides you with an estimated Power output or Watt. Essentially the PowerCal generates these power figures based on expected power output relative to the hearts exertion during exercise. The believed downside to this is lagging data. What does that mean, well basically your heart rate climbs faster than the PowerCal can calculate Wattage or power within a 3% to 4% of what a PowerHub from CycleOps can calculate. The amazing comparison is really right there a PowerHub runs a cyclist about 3,000 dollars which is a very heavy price tag for any Age Grouper, weekend warrior, or amateur cyclist. Meanwhile the PowerCal is 100 bucks, yes that right, no additional zeros a cool hundred, and for that price I will take a 4% error in the calculation, especially if I don’t know what the correct result from a true PowerMeter/Hub.
As you can see in the picture below I didn’t kill myself out on the bike and if you look on Slowtwitch at the power figures of the guys and gals from Kona on Oct12th I am way under their power generation. Granted they aren’t cycling around in the cold, dark morning in central park with a bum hip but still the put out so much power it is hard to figure out how they do it.
I gave myself nearly one warm up loop, where I came across a friend of mine running quickly up Harlem Hill, “RunMaryRun.com” as she is doing a 100miler this weekend, she looked fantastic with her quick and powerful strides effortlessly accelerating her to the top of the hill. I even took the time to gear down, and slowly pedal alongside her to wish her well at the race. Ultra stuff is truly crazy talk! Someday maybe, I can do one, let’s see how the operation goes before I go putting that kind of challenge out there, then again Ironman isn’t really all that different of a challenge, granted one is all running and the other is multisport. I digress as I am getting off topic.
I found it very easy to get into aero position this morning, with my hip I have been struggling to get down into the drops, however with excellent PT sessions like I had yesterday I am so much more flexible and mobile it makes me wonder if the surgery is necessary, and then I realize, yeah I cannot run or put socks on my left foot, so yeah kind of necessary. Anyway while in aero I pushed myself fairly hard on the flats in Central Park. Yes, Central Park is rather hilly and there are two maybe three sections of solid flats where you can really hunker down in aero and push a big gear, which I have to imagine is where I really generated some great power numbers and was able to maintain a fairly steady output on the flat sections. I hope to learn how to better use this metric and the PowerCal device as I build up as much strength going into the surgery, this way post op I will better understand what I am doing and where I was prior to surgery as a sort of base line.
If you could measure Wattage / Power during your ride what would you look for in the numbers? A spike, a long low point, a perceived effort compared with actual effort? Please share your thoughts on Wattage and getting to know it better.