One of the advantages of having a Power Tap is you can actually see if you're getting stronger (or weaker) as it shows how many watts you're pumping out. Watts are watts. The trouble with just measuring speed is that it can be greatly affected by other variables (ie wind, terrain etc). Another factor is how much resistance is on the trainer. Too little resistance and I'm flying along while too much resistance means I'm working hard.
I was comparing my watts to Peter A who is about the same size and weight but a faster rider. Since we have the same coach and I'm sure, similar workouts, I figured our output should be roughly the same. We traded emails yesterday and he told me at 250 watts he's really working hard while for me, at 250 watts its a step up from a warm up. This isn't making sense. We should be roughly the same.
Last year, days before Muskoka 70.3, I was having trouble with my Power Tap. It kept losing the signal and no data was being recorded. I told ex-coach and he installed new batteries in the hub. That seemed to have been the problem but my watts suddenly shot up by 25 percent. I mentioned it to ex-coach and he simply said "I must have had a great ride." Hmmmm ok. Needless to say, this really screwed me up at Muskoka as my watts were all over the place.
So I emailed new-coach and she said while its not realistic to compare our results, make sure to check to torque. She emailed me a simple procedure and sure enough, even while the wheel was spinning with no peddling, the Power Tap was showing I was generating 24 watts. Crappppp!!! And here I thought I was getting stronger on the bike as I was pumping out 450-500 watts as maximum effort. Worse, new-coach told me it wasn't a linear measure, meaning that at low power, the difference is 24 watts but at higher power, the difference would be much more. Sure enough, for this morning's workout, I was no where near Monday's numbers. At the end of today's workout I tried for an all out sprint and could only muster a max of 351 watts where on Monday, I was hitting 491 watts. A massive difference. I'm back to being a wimpy rider.
New-coach told me that the torque should be checked on a regular basis and especially after changing the hub batteries. Thanks ex-coach!
I will try a couple of 15 minute runs later this week. Hopefully I'll be able to make it without having to walk home. My calf feels fine. Wait stop me if you've heard that one before!