sábado, 15 de mayo de 2021

Riding with or without power?

 What is the worst nightmare for a cyclist data geek?

I’d say being forced to ride without power data. At least that is the case for me.Without power data I won’t be able to spend a fair amount of time looking at the numbers while I relax sitting on my sofa. For me, that is a part of the fun of riding. I just love playing with data.

It is also that I tend to use power to pace myself and today I really needed to pace myself. 

Today we were riding to Sumners Ponds. This is one of our classic rides. We were not riding the “official” route, we were riding one of Dai’s variations, slightly shorter and easier than the official route but a ride to Sumners Ponds is always dangerous. A while ago I wrote a general warning for everyone invited to join a Kingston Wheelers ride to Sumners Ponds (You need to read this if you are invited to join a Kington Wheelers ride to Sumners Ponds - https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2018/10/you-need-to-read-this-if-you-are.html). Long story short is, if you are the weakest rider of the group you’ll be killed riding to Sumners Ponds.

I was riding with Ed and Denis. I knew what was coming. I definitely needed to pace myself.

First half of the ride went fairly well. We rode steady. That always helps me. 

The climbs to Green Dene and Houndhouse Hill followed the same pattern. Ed hits the front and sets a pace that feels reasonable at the beginning but as the climb goes and goes it starts to feel more and more challenging. Denis looks effortless and is always there. Me? Praying for the pace to remain stable, it is already challenging enough. Praying for not being dropped. 

Surprise, surprise. I wasn’t dropped. I was so happy a “yes” came out of my mouth at the top of Houndhouse Hill. 

Could I have sprinted to take the climb? Maaaayyybbeeee. 

Did I sprint? No waaaaay.

We were riding to Sumners Ponds. I knew what was coming. I knew I needed to pace myself.

And that is exactly what I did. With great success I’d say. By the time we got to the coffee stop. I was feeling reasonably well. Knowing this version of the ride had an easier second half gave me confidence.

Until we went back on the bikes. That was the moment the battery of my power meter ran out. There goes my afternoon fun. There goes using power to pace myself. I had to ride the second half of the ride sad and blind. Not sure what felt worse at that moment.

I can say now that it was way worse missing the data (and the afternoon fun). Rigid blind wasn’t actually that bad.

I knew I was going too hard in some of the bumps on the road but for most of the ride all I needed to do was to follow Ed and Denis. Easier said than done but I’m always happier if I have a plan (although not happy enough to compensate for the sadness of not having power data for half of the ride, not even close).

Surprisingly I wasn’t dropped climbing Juniper. Even more surprisingly I managed to take the KOM with a cheeky sprint after sitting on Ed’s wheel in the last part of the climb. That is unusual. 

It makes me wonder if I should ride without power data more often. I mean, without seeing power data in my Garmin, I know I definitely don’t want to ride without recording my power data. 

Now, if I remove the power data from my Garmin, what am I going to look at? I'm always sitting on someone's wheel!!!!

The ride in Strava (without power data in the second half): https://www.strava.com/activities/5301148663

Take care

Javier Arias González

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