Riding with power (or lack of)

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,474
2,170
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Asakadai, Saitama
#1
Hey all

I got a power meter a month or so ago and I've been enjoying riding with the extra feedback ever since. However, a few things do leave me a little baffled.

When I'm on a climb I can hold around 380w for about 20mins. It's a hard effort but not all out. The other day I was doing a ride down the Arakawa. I did 28mins @ 290w, then 23mins @205w then 4mins 40sec @370w. The 370w on the flat almost killed me. It was far tougher than 380w on a climb. People have told me that it's easier to get higher wattage on a climb than on the flats, but why is that?
 
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bloaker

Maximum Pace
Nov 14, 2011
1,502
1,146
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Miura, Japan
#2
No idea - but a guess...

Ever tried to build power on a trainer with no resistance?
The dyno I used to tune my superbike on - if there is no load, there is no output reading.

There has to be some kind of threshold that requires resistance.
Maybe hills are the magic resistance? Especially for featherweight riders?
On the flats maybe you get to some kind of gearing/wind resistance that you don't hit climbing?

Again, I have no idea - If I do sprint on a flat, I run out of air before I run out of legs, but it seems I can spin out at times on a flat and I will NEVER do that on a climb.
I am positive I work harder going 16kph up Yabitsu than I do at 35kph+ on Rt134 getting there.

I am interested to see the real answer tho.
 
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theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
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...
#3
Because climbing at or close to your max means you are probably in and out of the saddle, out of the saddle riding will yield a higher wattage because you can use your body weight. On a climb wind resistance doesn't negate this advantage like it would if you were trying this on the flats.
 

Bruno BQ

Maximum Pace
Mar 9, 2015
149
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#5
As far as I understand the how power meter works, wind resistance don't make any difference in the calculation. I would assume that the difference is in the muscle group and fiber type that you are using and have developed in training.
So you muscle should be more using to using a more slow and concentrated strength instead of the more high cadence that you need in the flat.
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,474
2,170
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#6
Because climbing at or close to your max means you are probably in and out of the saddle, out of the saddle riding will yield a higher wattage because you can use your body weight. On a climb wind resistance doesn't negate this advantage like it would if you were trying this on the flats.
But I'm often sitting for around 4 minutes or so at a time before I stand up, and those four minutes are no where near as painful as the 4:40 I did on the flats the other day
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,474
2,170
133
Asakadai, Saitama
#7
As far as I understand the how power meter works, wind resistance don't make any difference in the calculation. I would assume that the difference is in the muscle group and fiber type that you are using and have developed in training.
So you muscle should be more using to using a more slow and concentrated strength instead of the more high cadence that you need in the flat.
Of course wind resistance makes a different to your power reading. If I head down the river with a tailwind and keep a steady 37kph, I might be at around 240w. When I do a U-turn and hit the headwind, keeping the same 37kph would generally require a little over 315w.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,513
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#8
if your bike is stationary the changing wind will not effect the power reading. lol, Power is power... doesn't matter what the wind is doing or how fast you're going or whether you're going up or down. Those other factors will help you or hamper you.... I can see how using your weight going up hill can help you cheat a little bit. Gravity helps more, unless you're sitting in the saddle. You can just put all your weight on the pedals 'dancing' from left to right. Sitting in the saddle you're forced to use more leg muscle with no help from the weight of your body above the hips.
 
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Bruno BQ

Maximum Pace
Mar 9, 2015
149
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32
#11
Man... that is what I said, you use different types of muscle fiber...

The exercise type is not the same, even the muscles are a bit different in fact think how in a hard climb you also push the pedal more and press it down a bit different than when spedding.