December 3, 2010

WATTS UP?!?! - Power is here...

I had hinted a while back that the Lunar Phoenix was getting some new additions and more upgrades this season, but I hadn't gotten around to posting anything about it yet. (probably had something to do with my solidification of my "top-10" list in the post prior!...I had to sample them all again JUST to make sure they were worthy, heh heh!) 
Well this year I broke down and had one of those you-can't-really-pass-this-up type of deals put in front of me and I had to jump on it!  Many thanks to my buddy Turbeau Curbeau who was the one getting rid of a spiffy new-to-me wireless PowerTap SL+ hub.  Here it is installed on a brand new rim that I just got back the other night.  It's a 32 hole hub and it was originally installed on a 16 spoke rim (actually a Bontrager Race X Lite rim) but being that I am about 155-160lbs, I got a little sketched out with it being on such a light rim that I had it swapped over to a sturdier one. 

I've been riding for about a month now in the dungeon and been racking up the base mileage.  I have a Tacx trainer for the time being and that's giving me a really good and accurate depiction of my current level of fitness.  I'm also reading "Training and Racing with a power meter" by Allen Cogan and Hunter Allen as suggested over a few beers up in Lake Placid by my buddy Ryan.  (he just got back from Kona for the 2nd year in a I listen extra careful to what he has to say - all the while trying to weed out the uber metro-sexual dribble that he often injects into his conversations!) But he's more than legit, so I listen.  This book should be the freaking power-bible, it's got so much information. Honestly, I knew that power=watts when I started riding and that was a fun little factoid, but this is written in a very scientific, easy to read approach that kind of spells out how to use and interpret data from power files in order to make you a more complete rider.  It's just great and I feel like I'm learning a lot about myself as a rider and where I can improve mainly. 
Normally, when I bike (or run) I have a tendency to go out MUCH too hard and fade over the course of the race. I mean, I hang on for dear life, but it's not always the most effective way to pace a race. With a powermeter, I feel like I can almost keep myself in check and make sure I have the much needed gas left in the tank for the latter stages of the marathon and the latter stages of the bike. I have a feeling this will be a very valuable tool as my fastest stand alone marathon is a 2:53 and my fastest Ironman marathon is only a 3:41. Ideally these should be MUCH closer together and I feel like if I pace the bike a little better, I can run the marathon that I know that I am capable of.

Plus as a bonus, it’s really cool to see your wattage displayed on a screen and when you ease up on the pedals, your watts INSTANTLY decrease. There is virtually no lag time. I am so used to racing with heart rate, which always keeps me in check, but the lag time is about 30-45 seconds and your heart rate can be influenced by a variety of other factors (wind, temperature, hydration, etc) Have you ever had a ride into a headwind and been pushing on the pedals all ride long, only to come home, enter it into your training log and then forget that it was windy that day when you look at the ride 3 weeks later? A powermeter will eliminate that, because as a head wind increases, so do your watts and it’s just a more accurate depiction of your ride.

All in all, I’m stoked to do my FTP testing at the end of this weekend and get my base zones so I can gauge fitness levels and gains over the course of the season. After all, I’m kind of a numbers guy and I’m just pretty excited to have the ability to coach myself more accurately and remove another x-factor from my self made training plan.

So, a new blog entry will be written in the near future about seasonal beer offerings (since there was an over whelming response to the top 10 list) but I just wanted to get a new one up about the watt-o-meter and my newfound accuracy of bike training this season. Watch out friends, I’m coming for you in 2011. See you down in the dungeon while I’m crushing cranks! Cheers.

1 comment:

Tim said...

But son, she's got Huge.....cranks. Or is it tracks of land? Either way, enjoy my friend. Maybe you can hook that bad boy up to a light bulb so you have some light during your rides for a change. But having seen you ride I'd suggest a CFL to make sure it stays lit. Leave the flourescent bulbs to us big boys on the pedals. Lance used to joke about his chain being missing during great rides. But I don't even use one. My cassette turns based solely out of fear that I might attach a chain to it if it doesn't. I once attached my bike to the grid for an hour ride so I could sell back the excess watts. That was three years ago and RG&E is still sending me a statement telling me how much they owe.

Sweet tap Travis. No need to keep me updated on your progress though. In the spring I'll look over my shoulder and see if your faint outline appears any bigger than usual on the horizon behind me. If it does then it worked, or you gained weight.