“Power never lies to you.
It is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver.
Friends may come and go.
But two hundred watts is always two hundred watts.”
The above quote is a modified version of one by Henry Rollins who at the time was talking about lifting weights. It’s a quote often thrown around in bodybuilding circles, but one that can easily be adapted to cycling when looking at power data.
Your heart rate, average speed, perceived effort and Strava segment times are subject to so many variables that it can be difficult to accurately gauge progress from month to month or even year to year.
Were you stronger along that particular segment today? Or was there a slight tailwind. Heart rate higher or lower than normal? Is that good? Knowing your power data would conclusively answer those questions and many more.
Sure, all the factors I’ve listed can be used to train effectively and before the advent of the power meter it was more than enough. But if you want to know exactly what’s going on, exactly what you’re putting through the pedals, then there is only one metric worth worrying about. Wattage. Because at the end of the day…
Two hundred watts is always two hundred watts.
3 Comments Add yours
Interesting post, more scientific than you’d normally find! You’re right though, it’s all about efficiency. You have a set amount of energy and it’s all about choosing when to exploit it. New technology in sports is looking like it may allow the amateur cyclist to soon understand their performance which can only be seen as a positive.
On a side note, Mike Franchetti, our head cycling contributor at thesportspace.org has recently written a post on the five best cyclists of all time. We would love to hear your opinion on the topic here:
Thanks, and happy writing!
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