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I recently started using my first power meter. i have my FTP have been looking at my normalized power, and IF. Here is my question. I am going to Italy/France this summer to do a week of big climbs (lake como region). I want to ride as fast as I can but not blow up before I reach the top of each climb. What would be the best "metric" to look at...ie IF, average power, normalized power etc..and what numbers would i be shooting for..sorry i know its a very technical question.
 

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I recently started using my first power meter. i have my FTP have been looking at my normalized power, and IF. Here is my question. I am going to Italy/France this summer to do a week of big climbs (lake como region). I want to ride as fast as I can but not blow up before I reach the top of each climb. What would be the best "metric" to look at...ie IF, average power, normalized power etc..and what numbers would i be shooting for..sorry i know its a very technical question.
Forget about "shooting for" a given number. You will climb at a rate limited by your sustained wattage divided by your weight. The higher the ratio, the faster you will climb. For long climbs, it's all about what power you can sustain for however long it takes to do that climb, so whichever way you look at it doesn't make much difference. There are some strategies proposed about going relatively easy for the first third, moderately hard for the middle third, and then at your limit for the last third but if you're climbing for an hour, that's 20 minutes in each section and going at your limit for 20 minutes is like doing a time trial - no fun and you end up exhausted. Not a great strategy for long climbs.

Find a power output that will leave you with something at the end of an hour of sustained hard riding. You will feel tired the next day and probably unable to do it two days in a row, and almost certainly not three days in a row. You will have to decide whether you want to "go hard and pray for rapid recovery" or enjoy yourself and find what you can do, day after day.

You're thinking too hard. And BTW there is a training forum where this should have been posted.
 

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Doing a big climbing ride? See my sample chart below. Any longer climb, more than 10 minutes or so, will be best done at less than your best effort for that time period. You could hit the hills harder than this, but then would need to slow down and recover.

I recently did a ride with two very long climbs, and "mostly" staying in my goal wattage range helped a lot. I had some reserves at the end of the ride, and could bump up the effort a little on the last half hour of the ride.

These climbs, almost an hour each, set a new hour CP for me -- I don't normally ride a steady, hard pace for a whole hour, there's usually some easier riding or downhills included. So, just trying for a steady wattage, the climbs went very well for me.

Very steep climbs without low enough gears will be hard on your legs, too.

~~~

I, too, got a power meter this year. I've been using the free Golden Cheetah software. It's got tons of features, but a new user can ignore most of them to start.

The most useful page is the Critical Power graph. Just import your ride recordings, and it calculates automatically.

Here's a cropped screen shot, showing vertical watts and horizontal time periods (in a log format, so there's more detail for the shorter time periods.)

I added some comments in red.
The dashed line is the calculated theoretical best power for each time period. The small 'x' marks are the time-wattage points it used to calculate the curve.

The shaded curve is from all the best efforts at each time interval.

The dark red line is the current ride's best efforts, and the gray line is a selected hill climb from the ride. That climb was the hardest effort on shorter time periods, and it was the best so far this year for about 30 through 45 seconds and for about 5 minutes. There was a fairly easy pace on portions of the ride, with some all-out efforts on the climbs.

You can click each recent ride from the left sidebar, to get it's red line onto the CP chart, and see what kind of longer period watts you can do for easy, moderate, or all-out rides.

 

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Normalized power and Intensity factor as you are probably aware - are pretty closely related in that IF is NP/FTP, so you can use either to pace yourself for the entire ride. Personally, NP makes more sense to watch than IF - it's just more tangible to me than IF.

Target power for me on one big climb (If big is about an hour) would be stay in Z3 / Tempo most of the way and ramp up when I get to close the top to just over FTP for the last 5 minutes If I am trying to PR it - If that was just one big climb I had to do that day well.

If I had multiple big climbs to do on a long ride (say 5 hours saddle time). I would try to stay at the low end of Z3/Tempo on the climbs and not push at the top. For the total ride on a 5 to 6 hour 'ish ride I can keep my NP at high Z2 comfortably. If I get Z3/Tempo on a long ride like that for NP, I'm going to be finishing pretty weak.

Watching NP instead of 3 or 10 second power helps if you have frequent grade changes that cause you to surge over your target power due to gearing or choosing not to shift, but you would need to look at lap NP and make sure you hit your lap button on your computer at the base of each climb. For your NP target, use the same number you would for a steady climb.
 

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For long efforts, I usually watch my HR and try to keep it at or below threshold. NP is also good to keep an eye on.

For short efforts, I go by feel, but if it's part of a longer ride, try to stay out of the 'red' if you can, at least until you are closer to the end of the ride.
 

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If I am trying to PR a long climb (over an hour) I stay just below FTP.

The power metric I watch is average lap power. Simply press the lap/reset button before the climb.
 
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