Who does not know the advertising from Switzerland? Two ibexes get angry about the performance of the cyclists, who, red in the face and with the last of their strength, lug themselves up the passes. The devastating conclusion of the mountain animals philosophizing in the best Swiss German: "Carbon instead of condition!“.
The carbon age has penetrated into the animal mountain world, everyone knows the advantages of a carbon racing bike and for some people even the bottle cage should not be made of any other material!
But who actually knows the performance with which he climbs the pass? Of course you can stop the time, measure the speed, you can use your heart rate and the body's own feeling for this and you get a solid basis for an assessment of the performance that you achieved that day. But what happens when the weather changes, what happens when you have a few kilograms more on your ribs during the preparation phase, what happens when you are out and about with different equipment, can this performance be put in relation to that day, she leaves compare yourself? This is hardly possible, there is no objective size that guarantees the comparability of the services provided.
This is where James Watt comes in, the person after whom the unit of measurement used, the watt, is named. Everyone knows the power of the light bulb. They are available in different power classes of 40, 60 and 100 watts. You only develop an awareness of these dimensions when you consider that a track bike sprinter can light up up to 25 of these 100-watt bulbs. In the Tour de France, the passes are completed with a power of around 400 watts.
But how can you determine the value of watts in cycling, how can you measure it?
The German engineer Ulrich Schoberer provided the answer. In 1986 he developed the power meter SRM (Schoberer Rad Messtechnik). Performance is measured where it is performed. Namely with the help of strain gauges, which connect the crank with the chainring. If you multiply the force measured there by the cadence, the display shows the result in watts. The system used by most WorldTour teams is said to be the only reliable wattage measurement because it works independently of air or rolling resistance.
This ingenious measuring system has long been well recognized in competitive sports, is widespread and the very expensive device is also being seen more and more often in the mass and hobby sector. What are the reasons for this development?
Training with the power meter
Sports scientist and Ironman Mathias Flunger reports: "Since I've been training with the power meter, I've been able to significantly increase both my efficiency in training and my motivation. The device supports targeted training a lot!"
The basis of this statement is the athlete's ability to have his performance permanently in view, to be able to compare and assess it. You can react accordingly.
If you take a look at the heart rate, for example. It is a physiological parameter that gives feedback on physical exertion or makes it visible. Of course, the heart rate makes training progress clear and can serve as an indication of tiredness and upcoming infections. However, it reacts with a delay compared to power meters and tempts you to start training or the next interval too quickly and intensively.
Studies have shown that the watt meter has a significant advantage, especially during intensive training sessions, as the athlete can maintain the performance consistently without overdoing it at the beginning of the interval.
The device can also provide information about deficits. Is the right or left leg stronger? If the measuring system shows differences, you can react to them in the weight room. The objective value of watts always gives the athlete an orientation, avoiding too much or too little effort. Curb your enthusiasm for training at the right time, avoid over-motivation, step on the gas at the right time, challenge yourself, the watt meter makes targeted training easier.
This knowledge also helps so-called Junk Miles, to avoid sections where you enjoy a tailwind or that go slightly downhill, where the performance drops unconsciously in the good feeling of speed.
We at the Endurance Network agree: If you want to get better, if you want to exploit your potential, you should take the initiative and take the training into your own hands. Performance diagnostics and training planning bring the structure that ultimately increases performance!
If the athlete knows his training areas, if he has divided his training into certain periods, if the individual training units are planned and defined in terms of content, it is possible for him to train efficiently and effectively even with a relatively small time budget.
The quality of the training is increased through the use of a power meter and the associated, precise knowledge of how powerful you are, wherever and whenever.