So I woke up this morning and it was not raining and it wasn't even very windy... so I packed enough fuel with me for a 5 hour ride just in case I felt like going that far... (I could choose at ~2 hours whether I wanted to go 4 or 5). Ok I should just be honest... after I got my garmin to talk to my power meter last night (power meter detected! yay!) I got it in my head that I was doing the longer loop today so I don't know who I'm kidding suggesting that I might have turned around early. I was not going to turn around early. Duh. I mentally prepped myself to ride for several hours longer than I've ridden since early October and got going as soon as it was light enough to see.
I set my garmin to show me 3 second power, avg power/lap, and HR. I didn't need distance or time b/c I know this route so well and honestly it didn't matter today. My plan was to ride as I normally do- same HR range, and just watch power to get a feel for how it works and what it does. Interesting that the 3" power numbers really do jump around all over the place even when your PE/HR stays totally constant. But the lap avg power was a great feature and one that I will continue to look at probably just about every ride. I hit the lap button every ~30' and my goal was just to try to keep it steady and try to repeat the same avg power for each segment of the ride... which didn't happen when I was climbing or descending of course.
How's this for a sexy looking graph of my ride profile today?
I actually felt fairly good for the first 4.5 hours of the ride. My power numbers were lower than I
So my overall first impressions:
~Power data keeps you from slacking. I really did stay more focused (and normally I'd say I'm pretty good at focusing for long periods but today especially) b/c I kept checking that avg lap data and trying to get it to display the number I wanted. Lose focus for a little while or start coasting and that number goes down which is the opposite of what you want!
~Hills and headwind are now more appealing b/c they provide an opportunity to raise your avg power. Hills are my friends!
~HR doesn't show the whole picture of the ride. Notice the flatline here that doesn't show at all how I was completely falling apart at the end...
~It's going to be fun to start planning interval rides now that I'll have some concrete way of measuring the work. Ok maybe 'fun' isn't the right word- I anticipate there will be times this year that I will HATE that damn power meter, but in the end it's going to be really good.
~I think that this ability to play with a new toy on the bike is going to keep my bike training more fresh and interesting this year. You know, I think this is my 17th year of riding(?) and I pretty much do the same couple of routes all the time and that can get *old*... but adding this new element of something concrete to measure will keep it more exciting for me I think.
~As a coach, I would LOVE IT if all my athletes had power (no pressure!)... Because although I could subjectively say "I felt tired" or "I felt great" while riding (both of which are important assessments), being able to say that my power dropped ~10W in the last 30' of the ride is concrete and measurable. Objective evidence combined with subjective assessment makes for a really clear picture of what is happening fitness-wise.
~Overall I give it a thumbs up. :)