watts = what??

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watts = what??

Postby brades68 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:33 pm

Hi all, question from the uninformed (that'd be me).
I hopped on a bike set up on a trainer with power meter attached at my LBS. They have a little gimmicky competition running where you have a crack to see what power you can generate, then your name and results go into a draw where the highest wattage wins a trainer....other prizes going as well.
My question is, I produced 606watts as a peak reading so what does it mean? As a non competitive rider, 104kg, 6'2 & 42yro, what can that tell me?

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by BNA » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:05 pm

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Re: watts = what??

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:05 pm

That you need to do a lot of training to win a sprint :P .
606 / 104 kgs = 5.8 watts per kilo...really you need an average for 5 sec to be a bit more accurate...so you are way off the bottom of the chart (LH column for 5 sec / watts per kilo )
IMO thou hitting peakwattage on a bike on a trainer isn't possible so I wouldn't read too much into you results at all.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby brades68 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:28 am

Nice - i am worse than untrained :shock:
But i knew that, thanks toolong, appreciate the insight of how it could all come together. Be a useful term of reference for noting improvement in fitness, weightloss and strength for me should the opportunity arise again to have a go.

thanks again

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Re: watts = what??

Postby silkishuge » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:51 am

toolonglegs wrote:That you need to do a lot of training to win a sprint :P .
606 / 104 kgs = 5.8 watts per kilo...really you need an average for 5 sec to be a bit more accurate...so you are way off the bottom of the chart (LH column for 5 sec / watts per kilo )
IMO thou hitting peakwattage on a bike on a trainer isn't possible so I wouldn't read too much into you results at all.
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Quick question TLL, what is FT?
That is a pretty nice chart..... I don't have a power meter but I use a simple equation to estimate/guesstimate my power on hill climbs but nothing less than 8min 45 seconds......
4.5 watt/kg up Mt White
4.2 watt/kg up Galston Gorge to Hornsby
3.9 watt/kg up Bobbin Heads to Mt Coolah
4.4 watt/kg up Galston Gorge to Galston

So average about 4.2 watt/kg over 9mins = middle of moderate :) Wish I was at a better level, but I guess something to aim for :wink:

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Re: watts = what??

Postby Comptine » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:16 am

I have found that table on the net before and I am a bit dubious of its accuracy. I only recently got a Powermeter, used it for maybe 5 rides so far including 1 A grade Crit. According to the data I have, I am a mix of untrained(1m) fair(5s) and moderate(5m). Yet I will race A at club level and either B open or Elite men in road races, the guys that beat me aren't going that much faster. So who are all those people who are Good, Very Good, Excellent and Exceptional? Or maybe I just haven't had the opportunity to push myself to my max for 1 and 5 mins? Though I did try and do a max sprint when I got the PM and only managed 1060w for 5s.

Just a small diversion from the original thread... I am yet to measure my FTP, as I struggle to produce efforts for testing anywhere near my best race efforts. Does anyone know an acceptable way to calculate FTP based on the crit I raced? It was over 1 hour.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby zero » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:02 pm

I doubt any athlete fits into exactly the same spot across all of the power estimates, and the very top line estimates are probably close to worlds best, and not set by one individual. I personally find 1 and 5 minute power efforts very easy, and that seems reflected in my (long ago now), school athletic performances (reach state carnivals for 400m, not even qualifying for school level 100m or cross country) - I only ever trained cross country.

Individuals with short and spotty recording history and not making specific attempts to set power figures for each interval are going to fit even less well.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby DanielS » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:27 pm

Jon - FT is "Funtional Threshold", its the highest power you can sustain from 1 hour. Your results from a 9 min test are a bit tricky to do anything with as they would be highly aerobic but still too much an aenerobic contribution to estimate FTP from.

Comptine - remember that the table is meant for absolute maximal efforts. So even in your crit your peak 5 min power will be below what you can do if you are fresh etc.

If your crit was 1 hr and was very very hard then you could estimate your FTP based on the Normalized Power for the duration of the race. Even that is going to be a bit dodgy though. Best bet might be to do a 20 min all-out TT effort on either a long hill climb or uninterrupted flat road and then take 95% of that for your FTP.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:56 pm

DanS is pretty much on the mark...Comptine you really need to test to get accurate numbers.
THe chart comes from Andy Coogans Train and Racing with a powermeter book.He sets out protocols needed to test these 4 zones.Taking numbers from a race isn't the best.IMO you won't hit your highest 5 sec or 5 minute or FTP numbers in a crit.I have hit pretty high 1 minutes in races thou.Your best FT results may come from TT etc but not in a road race.Normalized power is your best bet for a rough estimate...but it could be way off the mark as well.
And yes you are comparing against the very best athletes in the world in this chart...the best 5 sec power will come from track riders and bmx'ers etc.FTP from the best power to weight riders in the world.
I think it is better to test all the zones specifically then see where you lie...then try to improve against yourself.It tells you quite a lot what sort of rider you are.
I used to go from pretty much untrained in sprints even thou I can put out 1400w (I'm too big!) to excellent for 1 minute power (well over 700w)...which pretty much explains how I race.I can't compete against pure sprinters but if the run into a finish is very fast and hard I have a good chance of getting up there.
Returning to the OP thou...5 sec power numbers on a stationary trainer don't really compare to on the road efforts...be interested to hear what the highest number recorded was?.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby Comptine » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:02 pm

Thanks Daniel and TLL,

I have ordered that book by Coggan and Hunter Allen, and plan to do some testing, I just find it very difficult to get the effort out of myself unless I am in a race.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:05 pm

Comptine wrote:Thanks Daniel and TLL,

I have ordered that book by Coggan and Hunter Allen, and plan to do some testing, I just find it very difficult to get the effort out of myself unless I am in a race.


I can assure you that will change the more you train with a power meter... :D .

Edit: I should say that it will stay difficult..you will just get better at it and maybe learn to love it.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:01 pm

zero wrote:I doubt any athlete fits into exactly the same spot across all of the power estimates,

Correct, the whole idea is to establish your individual power profile, as some will have good aerobic power and not so good sprint power, and vice versa.
Whenever referring to this chart, it is important to also read the accompanying notes, otherwise one will quickly take this information out of context.
http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/ ... iling.aspx

It is not a predictor of racing ability - you race to find that out. However, as an example, if your FTP is rated as very good but you are struggling in local club A/B grade crits, then it's not fitness that's your problem.

zero wrote:I doubt any athlete fits into exactly the same spot across all of the power estimates, and the very top line estimates are probably close to worlds best, and not set by one individual.

Actually the top line is taken from the world's best ever recorded power output, from specialists at the disciplines that would encompass those durations (e.g. track sprint/BMX, kilo TT, pursuit, road TT).

As an example, world hour record holder Chris Boardman would be at/close to top of the FTP column, but barely makes "fair" on the 5-sec power column. That's part of his "power profile".
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Re: watts = what??

Postby JV911 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:05 am

Team Sky’s Ben Swift Interview; Race File from Australia

Race Data Summary:

66 minutes, 52kms

261w= average watts; 1264w= max watts

140=average heart rate; 178= max heart rate

508w= Last 2.5 minutes

1075w= Final sprint max watts

66kph=Finish sprint max speed
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Re: watts = what??

Postby brades68 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:28 am

JV911 wrote:Team Sky’s Ben Swift Interview; Race File from Australia

Race Data Summary:

66 minutes, 52kms

261w= average watts; 1264w= max watts

140=average heart rate; 178= max heart rate

508w= Last 2.5 minutes

1075w= Final sprint max watts

66kph=Finish sprint max speed


hmmmm, i'm getting there! maybe just the once for a second or 2 :lol:
But thanks to all, it's an education into the mysterious world of watts (mysterious to me anyway :D )

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Re: watts = what??

Postby JV911 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:31 pm

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Re: watts = what??

Postby steveoc » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:24 pm

Thanks for the link to the WKO analysis.

Its good to see that that the power output and speeds on those climbs are within the realm of the possible ... I think I could almost match those numbers on those same climbs, but only for around a couple of minutes tops. I would be truly blown out of the water after that. These guys do that all day, and then repeat it the next day. Something to aim for ;)

I found it really interesting how in Ben's case, you can see on the last flat section before a climb, he really lays the power down and gets a good entry speed to the climb. Then he settles into a rhythm on the climb .. and then puts the power down at the end as well to get a decent speed over the crest of the climb and a higher entry speed into the next descent. Good stuff.

Notice too how the cadence stays pretty consistent all day, regardless of whether the road is up, down or inbetween. Power output is also held pretty high on the descents too - interesting.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:23 pm

steveoc wrote:Thanks for the link to the WKO analysis.

Its good to see that that the power output and speeds on those climbs are within the realm of the possible ... I think I could almost match those numbers on those same climbs, but only for around a couple of minutes tops. I would be truly blown out of the water after that.

Well that ride would be classified as pretty cruisy. Assuming the FTP setting is accurate, it was only an IF < 0.7.

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Re: watts = what??

Postby Comptine » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:06 pm

JV911 wrote:Team Sky’s Ben Swift Interview; Race File from Australia

Comptines Race Data Summary:

66 minutes, 52kms

261w= average watts; 1264w= max watts

140=average heart rate; 178= max heart rate

508w= Last 2.5 minutes

1075w= Final sprint max watts

66kph=Finish sprint max speed


Thanks JV, I put my stats from a crit at Penrith a couple of weeks back below. Makes for an interesting comparison, I think they were bludging though :wink: . I didn't have a pro peleton to sit in, just 12 guys intent on smashing each other, oh and I didn't contest the sprint cos I was shattered. :lol:

Race Data Summary:

68 minutes, 46kms

294w= average watts; 1115w= max watts (normalised was 332)

172=average heart rate; 197= max heart rate

381w= Last 2.5 minutes (normalised 441)

1115w= Final sprint max watts

56kph=Finish sprint max speed
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Re: watts = what??

Postby Allkai » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:22 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Returning to the OP thou...5 sec power numbers on a stationary trainer don't really compare to on the road efforts...be interested to hear what the highest number recorded was?.


They have a similar set up with a Cycleops trainer in the TDU village at the moment.

The highest reading so far is just over 1400 IIRC....
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Re: watts = what??

Postby JV911 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:26 am

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Re: watts = what??

Postby snark » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:30 am

The gym I've just joined has a Wattbike. I've never used one before, and the gym guy admitted he didn't know much about it either. I'm at the gym for shoulder strengthening but the guy who did my program said "since you cycle, have a go at this - it might be interesting".

First go I got an 8 minute average of 281 watts - that's from "cold", ie no warmup. I have no idea if this is good, bad, woeful or average! That works out to about 3.42W/kg or in the middle of "fair" in the table above (the 5 min column). At least I'm above untrained :)

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Re: watts = what??

Postby JV911 » Mon May 02, 2011 9:46 am

snark wrote:First go I got an 8 minute average of 281 watts - that's from "cold", ie no warmup. I have no idea if this is good, bad, woeful or average!


281 doesnt mean much in itself i.e. hard to compare one person to another, but could be used as a benchmark for yourself

better still, do a MAP test and adding some structure to your training.
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Re: watts = what??

Postby snark » Mon May 02, 2011 1:09 pm

JV911 wrote:better still, do a MAP test and adding some structure to your training.


I'm not really training (for bike riding) at the gym - this is mostly curiosity value. My bike riding is mostly fitness and weight less, and just happens to be fun as well. I'll plan to skip the bike at gym if I've done or doing a ride in that day or before or after. IE, I plan to go to gym one afternoon on the weekend, two during the week and go for a ride on both mornings of the weekend (family commitments permitting), so I'll try the Wattbike twice during the week.

A practical question about a MAP test on a Wattbike - I like to keep my cadence relatively stable (between 90 and 100) so I assume as you increase power you just vary your cadence a bit and then reach down every now and then and tweak the resistance knob (without toppling off!)?

Cheers,
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Re: watts = what??

Postby JV911 » Mon May 02, 2011 1:57 pm

snark wrote:so I assume as you increase power you just vary your cadence a bit and then reach down every now and then and tweak the resistance knob (without toppling off!)?


yea pretty much

have a good play around with the bike first though to see what effect on power, say 1/2 a turn of resistance has at a certain RPM. then see what increasing cadence by 5 rpm does at a set resistance does. this will help you ramp up smoothly as its a bit tricky
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Re: watts = what??

Postby snark » Mon May 02, 2011 3:07 pm

JV911 wrote:
snark wrote:so I assume as you increase power you just vary your cadence a bit and then reach down every now and then and tweak the resistance knob (without toppling off!)?


yea pretty much

have a good play around with the bike first though to see what effect on power, say 1/2 a turn of resistance has at a certain RPM. then see what increasing cadence by 5 rpm does at a set resistance does. this will help you ramp up smoothly as its a bit tricky


Sounds good. I'll have a play tomorrow, and try the MAP test later in the week.

Cheers,
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Re: watts = what??

Postby toolonglegs » Mon May 02, 2011 3:57 pm

Can you download the data off the Watt Bike?...you will need your best 1 minute average at the end of the test.
Has it got really big fans keeping you cool?...the main thing is that it is perfectly repeatable so you can compare with your next MAP test.
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