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· Climbs like a sprinter...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I don't own a power meter and my HR monitor keeps acting up so I've been considering just chucking it and training by feeling. Are there any hard cores out there that rock it old school and still crush all us wannabe LA's? How do you do it?
 

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I don't have any major bonafides but I've had some success racing cross, mtb, and Xterra using neither HRM nor power. It's more of a philosophical choice, than financial.

I think HRM is good for doing a series of cruise/sweetspot intervals, to gauge whether your effort is dropping over the course of the workout. My best cross season I did a session of 4x12min doing exactly that, once a week, but the rest of the week was a variety of group, solo, road, cross, mtb rides, without HRM. The hardcore group rides were, by far, the best thing for my fitness and overall bikeitude. Unfortunately I moved and haven't found a good ride where I currently live, but I'm also focussing on other things now, anyway.

It's not so much that I'm anti-technology per se, but I think people get psyched out by their technology.
 

· Climbs like a sprinter...
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
pretender said:
The hardcore group rides were, by far, the best thing for my fitness and overall bikeitude.

but I think people get psyched out by their technology.
That's pretty much the conclusions I'm coming to. I've been doing Carmichael's Time Crunched Training Program and I feel like I get more out of hanging on with all the local hammers than I do following the program.
 

· but thinking about it
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bmxhacksaw said:
That's pretty much the conclusions I'm coming to. I've been doing Carmichael's Time Crunched Training Program and I feel like I get more out of hanging on with all the local hammers than I do following the program.
In my experience, when I came back to cycling more seriously after a move to an area with great group rides, those rides and going out and hitting the hills on a moderate schedule got me to be a comfortable 3 pretty quickly. I was paying attention to my times on my regular climbs and working on spending more time at and off the front in the group rides, not looking at any data, and (without claiming any precision here) felt like I was sort of at a plateau (not one that I was unhappy with). When I then decided to focus on racing a bit more, I ended up backing way off of the group rides and turning to a much more focused program, with a power meter, and saw some relatively quick improvements on my benchmark hills and some good race results in the 3s without regard to whether the race "suited" me, and then some good results in P/1/2 racing in some of the races that "suit" me. Now I'm looking at eeking out little improvements in my strengths and bigger improvements in my weaknesses with the goal of being a useful teammate in any race and being capable of contending consistently, or at least being a protagonist, in the races that suit me. Just one man's experience.
 

· Climbs like a sprinter...
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Undecided said:
In my experience, when I came back to cycling more seriously after a move to an area with great group rides, those rides and going out and hitting the hills on a moderate schedule got me to be a comfortable 3 pretty quickly. I was paying attention to my times on my regular climbs and working on spending more time at and off the front in the group rides, not looking at any data, and (without claiming any precision here) felt like I was sort of at a plateau (not one that I was unhappy with). When I then decided to focus on racing a bit more, I ended up backing way off of the group rides and turning to a much more focused program, with a power meter, and saw some relatively quick improvements on my benchmark hills and some good race results in the 3s without regard to whether the race "suited" me, and then some good results in P/1/2 racing in some of the races that "suit" me. Now I'm looking at eeking out little improvements in my strengths and bigger improvements in my weaknesses with the goal of being a useful teammate in any race and being capable of contending consistently, or at least being a protagonist, in the races that suit me. Just one man's experience.
I'm sure that "training with power" is the way to go but there are a number of things to consider:

Unless I win the lottery a power meter is not in my future.

I'm nearly 50 and don't have the time to devote to moving up from Cat5.

There aren't that many races in my area.

I REALLY enjoy riding with fast groups as opposed to solo training.

I'm not a hugely motivated person and I'm pretty content with my speed/level of fitness and can't imagine ever being near the front on a race with lots of climbing so it's all good.
 

· but thinking about it
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bmxhacksaw said:
I'm not a hugely motivated person and I'm pretty content with my speed/level of fitness and can't imagine ever being near the front on a race with lots of climbing so it's all good.
OK, then I'm not sure what you're asking. But for most people there's a lot to be gained by working on being a protagonist in group rides and doing some hard solo riding (which many find easier to do, mentally, on climbs), without any need for looking at hear rate, power, cadence or anything else. There's also the tried-and-true method of hitting the group ride with as much intensity as anybody else, then continuing on with some solo work.
 

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Used powertaps are not that expensive. . .
 

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I know cat 1's that train/race "naked" and do well. I know non-racers who are slaves to their power meters. You can be "successful" either way. For a 5 just starting with racing, I think fast group rides are a great way to get used to speeds / efforts of pack riding. But in order to have 'breakout" fitness, you will need structured training.

You can do structured training with a power meter, HR, just stopwatch (time trials) or even totally naked - pick a stretch of road that's a few miles long, set a gear, ride it, repeat.
 

· chamois creme addict
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I am not much for techno with my training. I used to use a HRM from when I started 18 years ago until maybe the last 6 or 7 years. My usage was sporadic though and a lot of times it was on me recording data that I would never look at, when the battery died on the receiver the last time I just boxed it up. In my early days maybe it helped with getting a true perception of zones and interval training, and it was interesting to look at average HR data and time spent in certain zones post-race, say low aerobic/aerobic/above threshold.

Recent years, sometimes I have not even been using a speedo/computer....really just training totally by "feel". This year I am back to higher tech using a speedo/computer....can't say it makes much difference to me except I get average speed after a race or training ride. I do use speed as a reference when training on familiar loops so it is useful in that sense. I have fought the urge to buy the SRM a few times, I think it would be a neat toy but given my "sensation oriented" training it would also likely end up being under-used.

As to training program versus hitting the group ride circuit, I think both methods can work for the average guy. Training program takes more discipline but if done reasonably correctly can lead to somewhat predictable form. Training via the local hammerfest can make great fitness gains, but sometimes one might find the form is great at the wrong time and really bad when it matters. The group ride hammerfest is great for race simulation, if one is going through a period without much racing in the season. But in general, to truly improve as a racer one must identify weaknesses and train to improve them and that is not always achievable via group rides.
 

· disgruntled pigskin fan
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Never used a power meter or a HRM. I lost the sensor on my speedometer last season and I've been too lazy to buy a new one. Has my fitness suffered? Not at all, in fact, it's gotten better because I'm putting in more miles and more hard group rides; I've discovered that I enjoy riding more when I'm not constantly analyzing my speed, cadence, avg. etc. Technology is great so long as you don't become a slave to the minutiae.
 

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I think HRMs and PowerMeters have their place, but I think Eddy Merckx had it right: Ride Lots.

If you're bad at climbing, climb more.

If you feel like your sprint lacks punch, sprint more.

If you feel like you're riding slow, ride faster.

A watch and rudimentary arithmetic skills are basically all that any amateur cyclist needs. I have a basic Cateye Wireless cycling computer that gives me speed, trip mileage, and elapsed time. I used HRMs when I raced triathlon as it's easier to judge my pace for long distances like the Ironman, especially since there's multiple disciplines involved. I've never felt the need for a PowerMeter. I just don't think they're worth it.

Riding with people who race is a great way to improve your fitness, because those hardcore rides generally turn into races of sorts anyway with the climbers attacking on the hills, the hammerheads setting a hard tempo on the flats, and the sprinters jockeying for position at the county line.
 

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oroy38 said:
I think HRMs and PowerMeters have their place, but I think Eddy Merckx had it right: Ride Lots.

If you're bad at climbing, climb more.

If you feel like your sprint lacks punch, sprint more.

If you feel like you're riding slow, ride faster.

A watch and rudimentary arithmetic skills are basically all that any amateur cyclist needs. I have a basic Cateye Wireless cycling computer that gives me speed, trip mileage, and elapsed time. I used HRMs when I raced triathlon as it's easier to judge my pace for long distances like the Ironman, especially since there's multiple disciplines involved. I've never felt the need for a PowerMeter. I just don't think they're worth it.

Riding with people who race is a great way to improve your fitness, because those hardcore rides generally turn into races of sorts anyway with the climbers attacking on the hills, the hammerheads setting a hard tempo on the flats, and the sprinters jockeying for position at the county line.
Kind of agree with you on your points, but, it is hard to refute the writings of Chris Carmichael who outright debunks Eddy M's philosophy. On the other hand, I think there might be a backlash to all this cycling technology and science at some point. It seems to be getting a bit ridiculous, especially at your local club levels...people who will never rise to pro levels or even semi-pro levels. I tend to avoid power meters and HRM primarily for the reason that it just takes the fun out of cycling and makes it all too much work. I also spend enough money keeping the bikes outfitted nicely and with riding apparel and such that the extra cash required for these tech devices is too much. But I can see why others want to use these devices being they may be more OCD about fitness and geeky about tech gadgets. We all know people like that....
 

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pretender said:
What exactly do you mean by this?

Does Carmichael advocate not riding a lot?
I would assume it means that well designed traing will almost always win out over just riding a lot with out rhyme and reason.


I have trained "naked"(RPE only), with HR and RPE, and with power. I did fine with HR and RPE, but since I had used power, when I was really suffering for the same HR/ and/or higher RPE I was wondering if I was at the same power or should back it off.

I think you can use HR and RPE and be just fine. I think training with power is definately a good tool to use if you use it correctly. IT can hold you back or help you to excel. It all depends on the training plan, your mindset, and how you use it all together.
 

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BuckeyeBiker said:
Never used a power meter or a HRM. I lost the sensor on my speedometer last season and I've been too lazy to buy a new one. Has my fitness suffered? Not at all, in fact, it's gotten better because I'm putting in more miles and more hard group rides; I've discovered that I enjoy riding more when I'm not constantly analyzing my speed, cadence, avg. etc. Technology is great so long as you don't become a slave to the minutiae.

I agree with this.

Though I still track my rides, I do it on my cell phone, in my seat bag (omg, breaking a rule), so I cant see it. I forget its there, then I hammer based on effort, and see how I did at the end.
 
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