Power Profiling

I’ve been training with a power meter for 2.5 years now. I didn’t have nearly as much racing experience when I first got it, and it has certainly helped me gain insight into my abilities as a cyclist.  TrainingPeaks recently added a new power profile widget, and when I plugged in a date range encompassing all of my data, I was a bit surprised.  But first, we’ll review my old data.

In the past I’ve been simply using my peak power records from PowerAgent, or using a spreadsheet.  I’ll attach the spreadsheet view below for comparison with last year’s numbers, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Power Profile Over Time

The interesting part of this data is my improvement over time, noted at the bottom.  My peak values (late last season) were only a small increase from 2010 to 2011.  In fact, my sprint power decreased significantly.  Is it coincidence that I won the Colorado State BAR (Best All-Around Rider) without winning a race in 2011?  Now that I see the decrease in my sprint power, I’m not so sure.

But keep in mind that this analysis is only as good as my data.  I didn’t have a power meter for racing in 2011.  I rarely do workouts with short (<5 minute or sprint) intervals in training, and get my short efforts only during racing.  This means I have very little data from my short efforts, so the data is missing.

The TrainingPeaks view better shows the gaps in my data and/or abilities.

Power Profile – All Time (1 bar = 8 weeks)

The graph shows my Power Profile values over time. Take the 5 second grouping: Each bar shows the peak 5s average power over 19 2 month periods.  You should be able to pick out the three seasons (2010,11, and 12), as most of my power values peak as each season progresses.

Firstly, you’ll notice that some of my peak power values are rather old (peak sprint power in 2010, peak 1 minute in 2011).  Next, you’ll probably see the general downward trend of all the power values.  Again, without data from racing, it is hard to say exactly if I’m a touch slower or not.  From looking at my peak power data in Power Agent, I can see the dates I set my peak power records are almost all from racing days in 2010.

I have two ‘action plans’ from this data.  First is to start actually doing sprint workouts and short interval workouts.  Especially since I am racing a little less this year, I think I will benefit from training my top end.  I’m going to wait until after the State TT, of course, but this is going to guide my training going forward.

2012 SRAM Red Power Meter

The second has been a long time coming: a proper power meter.  I am usually rather frugal with equipment, and my PowerTap is an old wired model I bought used locally after it was already obsolete.  Every now and again I find myself in a situation where I can splurge a little bit (I think the last time was my carbon wheels two seasons ago).  By next week, I should have my brand new 2012 SRAM Red Quarq power meter!  I’ll have power data from almost all rides and races for the rest of the season.  Hopefully have complete data will help me focus my training to make the best use of my limited time.

About Russell

I have been racing bicycles for a decade. This blog will chronicle my efforts as a Category 1 road racer lining up with the pros.
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2 Responses to Power Profiling

  1. markj2323 says:

    two questions: Regarding ftp, what percentage increase would you use to compensate for racing at sea level. Also, do you expect your power to be different with it being measured at the crank verses hub?

    • says:

      I’d bet FTP would increase 5% at sea level compared to 5,000 ft around here.

      And yes, usually crank FTP is slightly higher than hub FTP. Some calculators put total drivetrain loss at 4%, and chain loss at 2%.

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