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spfleghaar

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I am making the transition from time trailing to gravel racing. I never looked at speed, just my watts on the short courses in time trial racing. I am curious to know what kind of average watts some of the cyclists are producing over 100 miles. I do realize it is a different strategy, but I am seeing times of 20 miles plus per hour for the leaders and under those conditions...impressive. I have heard that some of the racers do not even use this as a measurement of their performance and then other do. Thank you!

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #2 
I used to race in Masters age group with some success; including multiple NY State championships and a Silver at Nat's in the 60-64 age group. I'm very familiar with using power meters. I don't race any longer; but based on my power readings riding on hilly dirt and gravel roads in southern NH, I would say that you can expect to go about 10-20 percent slower for the same average power output on dirt and gravel compared to paved roads on a good TT bike. That's under ideal conditions. But since gravel race routes require many other technical skills such as negotiating tricky descents on loose gravel, deep sand, mud etc. You are more likely to be much slower than this. My advice - definitely continue training with a power meter --- but it wont help you much on race day.
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PoolBoyMatt

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Reply with quote  #3 
Long time power user here. For me, power is always the real number. I think you are going to have to do a bunch of reflective power data browsing. Go out and ride some. Do some stuff on gravel. See what your numbers are.

You know the death number. I think power is going to be great on gravel so you know when you are flirting with death. It is just going to take some gathering on your side. Also, you may have to do some changing in what number you are using on your head unit. In a TT I would bet your average power not including zeros, average power including zeros, and normalized power are going to be pretty similar. On gravel, based on loose corners, tech descents, and navigating hazards your normalized power is probably going to be a better number to evaluate. At the least you will need to use avg no zeros to eliminate all of the skipped pedaling so you don't blow your wad.

It can rain, wind, mud, or dry. 200w is always 200w no matter what.

Thats my 2cents.
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bobknh

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoolBoyMatt


It can rain, wind, mud, or dry. 200w is always 200w no matter what.

Thats my 2cents.

Hi PoolBoy -- good comments and advice. Your last comment should be examined though. Power is equal to Torque X Cadence x adjustment constant. In other words you can vary your power output by changing your cadence or changing your torque or both. Depending on the rider, the desired power, the bike, and the riding conditions there is some ideal combination of torque and cadence that on the one hand will produce the desired power, while on the other will produce the least physical stress on the rider. So while producing an output of 200 watts at a 100 cadence for one rider may be their physiological ideal for a certain situation, another rider may do much better at an 80 cadence and at higher torque for the same situation. Many folks argue that higher cadence is always better. In my experience this generalization isn't correct. Some riders, in some situations do much better at lower cadences. So at the end of the ride, 200 watts isn't always 200 watts - at least in how the rider feels.
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PoolBoyMatt

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Reply with quote  #5 
I am trying to help someone who is an experienced time trialer and used to hauling the mail when racing to start to look at the power aspect of it.

I meant 200 = 200 in the sense that if you are on some amazingly hardpack clay with a tailwind doing 30mph - that is ok if you are only doing 200w (the number I just pulled out of my ear). On the other hand if you are in some sandy junk, with a nasty headwind, and feel helplessly moving at 7mph. Whats your power? 200w? Cool. This is your pace for these conditions. Don't blow your wad thinking you need to do 14mph because you think you need to be doing 14mph.

I understand how power is produced. My statement of 200w of effort was meant to be for the individual. Not for the masses. I was more attempting to illustrate how in wildly varying road conditions power is going to be a constant that is more consistent in pacing than mph/target speeds for an event.

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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #6 
My recommendation is opposite. You're new to gravel, so take the opportunity to ditch the power meter and learn from the start. Get out, hammer around, do some races, try different tire setups, ride some hills, some wind, etc and then see what you start to feel around hour 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc... Don't keep your eyes glued to the power and see where you're limited naturally. Then after some time stick the power back on and compare notes and you'll have a better idea of the additional variables that gravel adds over the pavement and how that applies to your power. 
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoolBoyMatt
I am trying to help someone who is an experienced time trialer and used to hauling the mail when racing to start to look at the power aspect of it.

I meant 200 = 200 in the sense that if you are on some amazingly hardpack clay with a tailwind doing 30mph - that is ok if you are only doing 200w (the number I just pulled out of my ear). On the other hand if you are in some sandy junk, with a nasty headwind, and feel helplessly moving at 7mph. Whats your power? 200w? Cool. This is your pace for these conditions. Don't blow your wad thinking you need to do 14mph because you think you need to be doing 14mph.

I understand how power is produced. My statement of 200w of effort was meant to be for the individual. Not for the masses. I was more attempting to illustrate how in wildly varying road conditions power is going to be a constant that is more consistent in pacing than mph/target speeds for an event.


My apologies to you. I misunderstood your comment. And as I said, I agree with your comments and recommendations.
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PoolBoyMatt

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Reply with quote  #8 
Cool, I think it is good. And to agree with the moderator - use the power reflectively and see what you should train to strengthen those weaknesses.
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PMC

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Reply with quote  #9 
When I did the Gold Rush 110 out in Spearfish a couple years back the winner ran power and on strava his avg watts were just over 280 with his weighted avg being right around 300. That was for 5:48 over 113 miles. Pretty sure the winner was a pro mountain biker and coach with one of the big coaching groups.
That is all from memory but those are the #s that stuck in my head.
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reubenc

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontrangegravel
My recommendation is opposite. You're new to gravel, so take the opportunity to ditch the power meter and learn from the start. Get out, hammer around, do some races, try different tire setups, ride some hills, some wind, etc and then see what you start to feel around hour 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc... Don't keep your eyes glued to the power and see where you're limited naturally. Then after some time stick the power back on and compare notes and you'll have a better idea of the additional variables that gravel adds over the pavement and how that applies to your power. 


Couldn't he keep the power on and just take that field off his head unit? That way he's riding from feel, but he's still able to collect that data to look at it later. That seems like it'd be the best of both worlds. Disclaimer: I only have power on my indoor trainer.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by reubenc


Couldn't he keep the power on and just take that field off his head unit? That way he's riding from feel, but he's still able to collect that data to look at it later. That seems like it'd be the best of both worlds. Disclaimer: I only have power on my indoor trainer.


Good points. In my road racing years, I used rolling average power (10 seconds) to help me pace ITT's. But for mass start races, time, distance, and heart rate, were the main thing I looked at during the race. Time and distance to judge when to attack or follow a break; heart rate to moderate my efforts - especially climbing, or when in a solo break. I did gather power data during the race for later analysis. Great way to determine performance parameters such as critical power.
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