power

SRM Raw Power

SRM_RAW

Are  you using a Cannondale, Specialized, Rotor, or SRAM crank?  Looking for an SRM?  We have the deal for you.  For only $1490, you can get an SRM Powermeter.  This powermeter attache and  replaces the existing spider on your cranks.   This is an excellent way to get SRM Power on your bike for a great price!  Ready to go?  Have questions?  Contact Coach Burke at  sean@crankcycling.com or call 619-865-3389

Year in review

At the end of every season you should take a break from focused training. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ride your bike...not at all! But you should stop looking at your heart rate monitor, your power data and even your personal training duration for a few weeks. This helps to relax the mind, rejuvenate and reboot yourself. We don’t often think about it, but disciplined training is mentally taxing; it’s just plain tiring. Sometimes at the end of a good season the body will feel like it is ready to keep going but the mind still needs a break. After this ‘cooling off’ period I usually add very loosely-structured training with small goals to my riders’ training diaries. These goals are usually pretty simple: do a 4-hour ride 3 times a month, accumulate 3 to 5 hours of tempo per week or maybe do a club ride just for fun once a week. These workouts and weekly goals are low stress, low commitment and allow your brain to slowly get used to the mental workload that is coming when training season arrives.

Riders should find that rides during this time of the year are meant to be fun, motivating and inspiring. This is also the time when you should review how your riding and racing season went during the past year. New-found inspiration and motivation will help you see the future and all its possibilities. You should try to assess whether or not you’ve met the goals you set for yourself this past year and whether you want to try and improve on your gains. Maybe you want to attack those shortfalls that you may notice in this review. Maybe you’ll want to set entirely different goals for the coming year. It’s all possible, and it’s up to you!

Setting goals is paramount. If you’ve never set goals in past seasons you should try doing it this coming year. If my athletes are planning on competing in the upcoming racing season, I have them try to set at least three goals to strive for. After all, if you know what goals you want to achieve you can then measure how close you’ve come to attaining your desired results and make adjustments in successive years.

Setting goals is one of my favorite parts of riding and racing because I have the opportunity to entertain all the possible things I can try to accomplish, and that’s just fun! But remember: goals should be challenging and attainable. After you set some goals you should make sure to keep a record of the training you do, being sure to add comments about how you felt during and after your training sessions. You should also make sure to set milestone markers to measure whether you are moving in the right direction in order to attain your goals.

In my next blog post I’ll talk about setting accomplishable goals for your next season.

See you on the road, Coach Jesse Eisner

Did you have goals this past season? Did you achieve them? If you need help setting goals for next season and you need direction in how to achieve those goals, let the coaches at Crank Cycling know. We can help!

I love my PowerTap, but this is ridiculous.

I saw this story on Velonews today:   Upcoming from CycleOps: Heart-rate-based power meters and superlight carbon wheelset I am going to say this as clearly and simply as I possibly can.  There is no way to measure power using heart rate.   It just isn't possible.   Heart rate is to dynamic.  It changes due to factors such as fed state, level of fatigue, how long you have been exercising, hyrdation level and more.      Power measured via strain gauges is instantaneous,  and any effort put into the pedals can be measured right then and there, but but  heart rate may take several minutes to catch up.    So heart rate is a reasonable proxy  for effort level on long efforts, but  is practically useless for long efforts.

Like I said, I love my powertap,   I have one on my bike, and I have a studio full of powertap stationary trainers.   But don't tell us you are measuring power when you aren't.    What PT is trying to do is measure training stress using heart rate, and make it applicable across different types of exercise.   This is nothing new and it can be useful.    You can read a good article on TRIMP HERE.    But there is absolutely  no no way that TRIMP equals power measurement.

-Sean

Is power measurement the "End All Be All?"

I personally have been using power meters since 2002, and I love to use power meters to coach athletes. I'm kind of a science geek and I love to crunch the numbers and evaluate the data. I also love that fact that the power data can enhance or even tell a different story from what the athlete conveys. Power meters give truly objective and accurate information that can't be obtained any other way. They let us track progress more accurately than any other method, and they help us dial in an athlete's effort level to ensure an efficient use of time, as well as determine when "enough is enough." There plenty of resources out there on training with power, and there is ever more powerful software available to analyze, evaluate, and plan training. These are all powerful tools, that help athletes track and attain higher levels of fitnes, as well as help coaches communicate and track their athletes better than ever. The problem comes when athletes and coaches become too reliant on the power meter.

The training and coaching of an athlete is not just a simple recipe or formula with predetermined inputs and outputs. Every athlete is different, and every athlete's response is going to be just a little bit different. An athlete needs to be viewed as a whole organism, not just a set of power data. In fact the subjective feedback from an athlete is every bit as important as that power data. I think some athletes and coaches easily forget that. They just want to open up a book, take training plan from the book, and adjust it for the athlete's power numbers. It is easy to get caught up in all the charts, graphs, and information that today's powerful software provides, but all those charts and graphs just don't tell the whole picture. I would argue that power data in isolation can even confuse the issue. For example in riders look at their power meter data along with a chart that says they are in a Cat 1 range and get frustrated because they are still a Cat 3.

How and athlete "feels" is every bit as important as what that athlete does. In fact there are several athletes I have been training for years that don't use a a power meter, a heart rate monitor, or any piece of electronic equipment on their bikes whatsoever. We train primarily using RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion), or how an effort feels, and these athlete have reached many of their goals, as well as put wins on their palmares. Power meters have their place. And if i had my way, most of my athletes would train and race on them all the time. But power meters aren't for everyone. Price, functionality, and even all of that information makes powermeters and training with power undesirable for some.

For those that don't want to train with power, RPE works just fine. I used to rely heavily on heart rate monitors for athletes without power meters, but now I've gone the other way and prefer to use just mostly RPE. Heart rate data can simply change so much from day to day, and RPE conveys both what I want from the athlete, as well as what the athlete should do much better than heart rate.

Power meters have their place and many coaches and athletes love to use them, but they are by no means a requirement for success. Coaching and training is more than just looking at power numbers, and the entire experience of the athlete needs to be taken into account. Rate of perceived exertion and how an athlete feels is just as important as power numbers, and many coached athletes are successful using nothing more than than their own perceptions and some feedback from their coach.

Use the comments section below to tell me what you think.

"Understanding Your Power Files" Clinic

Ok, You've got this fancy doohicky on your bike. Maybe its made in Germany, maybe its built in the US, . This fancy thingamajig may have cost you just about as much as some people spend on their entire first racing bike. It tells you how hard you are going in watts, it tells you you average watts, your max watts, it tells you how much work you've done in kiljoules, and more. It gives you all sorts of information, but what do you DO with all this information. The coaches at Crank Cycling are here to help. We work with power every single day. We sell more Power Tap and SRM power measuring systems than most bike shops. We've helped elite athletes analyze their power files, and adjust their training.  We've written articles on power for local and national cycling news outlets, and we want to share our knowledge with you with you.

This clinic will cover:

  • The basics such as how power is measured, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the different power measuring systems.
  • How, when and why you should do field testing with your power meter.
  • How to monitor and analyze individual workouts as well as weeks, months, or years worth of data.
  • Creating and implementing a training plan based on power.
  • Racing with your Power Meter
  • and more

This clinic is appropriate for anyone who owns a power meter, or anyone who is thinking about purchasing a power meter.    It is appropriate for self coached athletes as well as athletes who work with a coach (Crank Cycling or anyone else!)*.    Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have, the greater your chances for success.

The clinic is scheduled for Sunday November 20th at 1PM at our downtown training studio and is expected to be 3-4 hours in length.   The cost of the clinic is $99 with discounts being offered to Crank Cycling coached athletes or clubs with more  5 than athletes attending.

Registration is HERE , or use the contact form on the lower right or call Coach Burke at   six- one –nine -865-3389 for more information.

*Athletes that work with another coach may bring their coach with them to the clinic for no charge.  We welcome the company of knowledgeable coaches, and encourage their  participation in the question and answer portions of the clinic.

Free Coaching with a Power Meter Purchase

You know you’ve been thinking about the taking the power meter plunge for a while now. We know that you want to quantify how hard you are pounding those pedals into submission (+- 1.5%) It is unlikely that your power meter will make you the as tough as Jens Voight,. Nor will it help you put out enough watts to power a small alpine village like Fabian Cancellara. But a PM can help you hone in your training so that you can see the maximum possible improvement, as well as make the most of your precious training time.But what do you do with that expensive toy once you get it? Well, the Crank Cycling coaches are here to help. Crank Cycling is an authorized dealer for both Powertap and SRM and we really want to get you on a power meter. More than that....we want to get you into a power meter and teach you how to use it. That’s why from now through the end of October, we are giving you 3 months of coaching with the purchase of either an SRM or Powertap SL. It’s as easy as that. Buy a power meter and a Crank Cycling coach will work with you for 3 months. That alone is a $495 value. So head on over to the Coaches page and check out the coaches. Don’t know which coach is best suited for you? Contact head Coach Sean Burke and he will help you figure out which Crank Cycling coach is the best match for you.

So to sum it up.... Here are the reasons why you should buy a new power meter from Crank Cycling right now:

You’ll get free coaching worth about $500 It will help you make the most of your training time You want to quantify how hard you are crushing it They look cool Jens Voight uses one, and he is a badass You know you want one This offer is only good through October 31st 2010

Contact Coach Burke at Coachsburke@gmail.com to get going on your power meter.

Usain Bolt vs Sean Eadie

Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive, but can a top track cyclists beat him? That was a question posed in the June issue of outside magazine. Most trackies know that a top track sprinter doing a 200M time trial will go almost twice as fast as a 100m runner ( both pretty darn close to 10 seconds, with the track rider going twice the distance), but the cyclists has the advantage of the standing start. The folks at Outside magazine went to Jim Martin, and former track racer and now one of the top cycling bio-mechanist in the world. Just do a google scholar search and you'll see. Jim has done extensive work in modeling performance, so from a theoretical perspective, he was the guy to answer this question.Jim took some power data from Sean Eadie, the 2002 match sprint world champion, along Bolt's 9.58 100M and ran the model. From a standing start, it makes sense that the longer the race gets the more likely the cyclist is to win, as the runners are already slowing down after 100M and the cyclists is just gaining speed. But it is a pretty close race at 100M. Who do you think won?

The answer is the cyclists by 0.16 seconds. Bolt pulls ahead at the start, but then Eadie Passes him at 89.7 meters. Jim's models are excellent, and can be be highly accurate, but when it comes down to 0.16 seconds, I think it could still be anyone's race. If those two men lined up at the starting line in top form, I wouldn't have much confidence in predicting the winner one way or the other. I would love to see something like this happen. It would be great or Gatorade, Red Bull, or a company like that could put on a race with Bolt and a top track sprinter.....maybe Chris Hoy or Gregory Bauge...Jaime Staff is known for heaving a blistering start, so he might be a good candidate. What do you think?

Crank Cycling Time Trial Clinic

This clinic is designed to help you get fast! The focus is primarily road time trials, such as the 20K and 40k events, but triathletes can also benefit from this clinic. We will also devote a portion of the class to special events such as team time trials and track events like the 4K, 1K, and team pursuit. The morning session will be indoors at the Crank Cycling Training Studio and the afternoon session will be on the bike at Fiesta Island. This clinic features coach and exercise physiologist Sean Burke, coach and Fiesta Island TTT record holder Chris Daggs.  Classroom topics in the morning include: exercise physiology basics and energy systems used during TTs, on the bike training, weight training, flexibility training, warm ups, power outputs,  pacing, aerodynamics, and more. The afternoon "on the bike" topics include: proper starts, turnarounds, course management, TTT practice, and more. This clinic can accommodate a maximum of 20 athletes. To to make sure you don't lose out,  sign up HERE.

Chris Daggs Time Trial

Measuring Energy Expenditure On The Bike Continued.

This is a long overdue follow up to: Measuring Energy Expenditure on the Bike So last time we talked about how  indirect calorimetry is the gold standard, and  why equipment such as heart rate monitors and GPS units are inaccurate.    The next topic to examine is typical gym equipment such as stair climbers,  and treadmills.    These machines suffer from the same inadequacies as the heart rate monitors, in that they rely on equations and guesstimations to measure your energy expenditure.    Just hop on any gym treadmill, and it will ask you your body weight so that it can calculate your energy expenditure as your exercise.   The problem here is that there are many assumptions, and that the work you are doing is being calculated rather than truly measured.    Something else you should know about the calories as given by these machines, is that they include your energy expenditure due to your basal metabolic rate.  Most people burn  between 50 and  80 calories an hour even if they are just sitting on the couch watching TV.   So the calorie count given by these machines is inaccurate to start with, and then  you add  an additional  50+ calories that doesn't really count towards your energy expenditure from exercise, because you would be burning those calories even if you were sitting on your butt!

So the most accurate method of measuring energy expenditure  is definitely indirect calorimetry (measurement of  expired O2 and Co2), but it isn't practical because of these expense involved, and because you have to breath into a mouthpiece containing Oxygen and CO2 sensors.   The next best way of measuring energy expenditure is going to be through the use of power meters.  Power meters such as Power Tap and SRM, use strain gauges to measure force. The strain guages are little strips of metal at  hub or crank, and the amount of deflection is measured.   Power is force X distance/time.  If you measure force with the strain gauges, you can  measure distance with the rotation of the hub or cranks, and then time is measured with a simple clock.    So power meters accurately measure power.  From power  and time you can easily calculate work, and work is measured in Joules.   It's an easy calculation, 1 watt for 1 second = 1 Joule.    Think of it  like this:   If watts were miles per hour, Joules would be total miles.   So if you measure power, you can quite readily get Joules.  At the end of the workout, you can look at your powermeter and and it will give the total joules.  One joules is actually a tiny amount of work, so this measurement is typically expressed as Kilojoules, or thousands of Joules, also known as KJ.

Now we can calculate how many calories you burned during your workout.  We know how many KJ you did, as it was calculated from watts and time.   For demonstration purposes,  let's just say it was 1000KJ.  Calories and Kilojoules are both measurements of energy.    There are 4.18 KJ in every Kilojoule , so you actually did only 239 Calories worth of work.   However, the human body  about 24% efficient at turning food energy into mechanical energy and pedal power, while the other 76% is lost as heat.   So it actually took you about 4.16  times as many Calories to produce that 239 Calories of work.   239 times 4.16 = 996...basically  the number of Kiojoules you did.  This is why we typically tell riders that the number of KJ they do during their workout  is the same as the number of calories burned.   Riders frequently ask me if their body weight makes a difference, and the answer is no.    A larger rider can typically put out more watts, and therefore  do more kilojoules in a given amount of time.    But is still takes a 100lb rider just as many calories to do 150 watts for an hour,as it takes a 200lb rider to do 150 watts for an hour.  The only difference is that the larger rider will burn more calories as part of his basal metabolic rate, but he would burn those even if he were sitting at his desk typing on his keyboard, so that doesn't really count towards his energy expenditure from exercise.

So.... indirect calorimetry is still the most accurate way to measure energy expenditure on the bike, but power meters are definitely the next best thing, and are much more practical for every day use.

All of our bikes at Crank Indoor Cycling are equipped with powertap power meters.  At the end of every ride, you can use your console to examine your data and a d find out your energy expenditure.  This has obvious implications for weight management, but it  is also one of many indicators of fitness.  If you are able to do more KJ of work, and  burn more calories in a similar workout, you know that your fitness level has increased.

Have any more questions about power measurement or measuring energy expenditure?  Feel free to ask questions in the comment section or come to class and ask me afterward!