I have been cycling with power since the fall of 2011. Power meters are a great tool for any cyclist (as long as you or your coach knows how to interpret the numbers and apply them to your training). It keeps you honest by giving you data to know the difference between feeling like quitting because you feel like your struggling, but instead to keep pushing through it when the numbers are still within the goal Power meters also let you know when to quit. If RPE is sky high, but watts and HR is low, then you’re body is depleted and you’re better off bagging the remainder of the workout.
I had been riding with SRAM Quarq power meter from 2011-2013. My training was revolutionized when I started training and racing with power. I was able to pace myself better in races (especially 70.3 and 140.6 distances). However, this year I made the switch to the Rotor Q-rings. After one ride on with the Q-rings, I was a believer in all their claims they made on their website. Here is what I’ve noticed in the first few rides on the rings:
1. 20-25 watts higher at the same RPE – During my hard intervals that I’ve done on the trainer, I noticed that my RPE that used to produce about 300-310 watts (slightly over HIM pace) is now about 320-330 watts. I am confident that I should be able to hold 310 watts now on a HIM race, which is about 20-25 watts higher than last year. This, according to some on-line calculators, translates into about 4 minutes faster for for a 56 mile ride. For an IM race, assuming the watts are consistently 20-25 watts higher, that is a little more than 8 minutes faster for 112 miles.
2. The cranks are more beneficial at higher power outputs – While riding in Z2 and Z3 yesterday, I could see some difference in the amount of power being produced from my level of exertion. But this morning when I was riding at threshold, I could see a much bigger increase in the power in comparison to the SRAM Quarq I had used the last 2.5 seasons. It is consistent with their findings on the website.
3. Although my watts are higher, my recovery time is the same or less – One would think that if the watts are higher, more lactate is produced by the body. However, Rotor broke that rule. Studies show that Q-rings help riders produce more power and produce less lactate.
I’m sure that as time goes on, my body will become more adapted to the elliptical chain rings and produce even more power as the season progresses. And the data on their website agrees with that assumption.
I’m super excited about what this season could hold for me with the improved power on the Argon E-118 bike, the Rotor Cranks, and the Enve wheels. Couple that with my swim times being about 5 seconds faster per 100 meters than the end of last season (thank you Lakeside Seahawks), and I should finally break that 4 hour mark.
Thanks again to VO2 Multisport for building the bike fore me… couldn’t be happier with it.