How much faster could you ride if…..

………now you focused your training on QUALITY?

Around this time of year I get a bunch of questions about POWER and what it actually means for people in the real world out riding their bikes. There is a lot of science and engineering behind this but given that I neither have a PHD, and my only claim to being an engineer is owning a toolbox, I am not going to try and dazzle you with a lot of jargon just to make me look, on the surface, a lot cleverer than I am.

You need to generate power on a bike to overcome three primary forces:

  1. Air resistance.
  2. Rolling resistance.
  3. Gravitational resistance.

If you add up all of those resistances (which I don’t have a clue how to calculate) and multiply by speed you get power. So simply put, the more power you have the easier you will find it to overcome the three primary forces and that has to be a good thing if you want to get faster.

You can generate power on a bike two ways:

  1. Turn your legs faster.
  2. Turn a bigger gear.

Over the years the number of gears available to us has increased from……well none to lots. This means that you can now fine tune the trade off between how fast you want to pedal with how big a gear you want to turn. My job as a coach is to try and optimise and improve this for you so that your power increases over the course of a season.

I love this time of year as this is when all the hard work you have put in over the winter should start to bear fruit in terms of increased power. Below is a graph showing how power could/should have improved over the last 3 months. The orange line is threshold power and the blue bars are training load. You can see a large jump in power just after this rider completed his winter training at the end of February and it has then been building gradually ever since. So far it has risen from 266w to 303w, a 14% increase. By the end of the build period of training I am hoping that this will rise to around 315w.

But what does this actually mean in terms of my riding? How much BETTER am I now than in January? How much FASTER could I climb Alpes D’Huez ?  These are the things that matter to me not just improving a set of numbers so my chart looks pretty.

Let’s assume that conditions are constant and that the weight of your bike with bottles and you say at 78kg are also the same. What time difference is there between 266w in January and 303w today?

Alpes D’Huez  – 11.9km at an average gradient of 9%.

At 266w = 65 minutes

At 303w= 57 minutes

This is a  pretty significant time difference and the steeper the gradient the more these differences are amplified. For those of you doing alpine events this year, taking in say 4 major cols, you could be SAVING UPWARDS OF 30 MINUTES if you now focus your training on PERFORMANCE and building POWER.

But what about weight I hear you shout? Yes there are definitely two sides to this equation especially on hill climbs but, and this is a massive BUT……if you are focusing your training on performance then you kinda have to accept the weight that you are currently at. You just can’t significantly improve performance and lose weight at the same time. It just wont work. I have tried it and I can tell you it is a recipe for failure.

If you agree that significantly improving performance by building power are your main aims right now then our COACHING PLANS will guarantee great results.  I have designed these plans specifically for this time of year when you are a couple of months away from major events and want to significantly improve your performance. IT IS NOT TOO LATE!!

I hope that you NOW get your training focused on quality improving your PERFORMANCE. If you are interested in finding out more of the science and engineering behind this stuff and work out your own local climb times then this website is a great tool http://bikecalculator.com/index.html

Any questions then please email me at rob@propello.bike