Average Power increased on climb by 10 watts but somehow slower

Hi there, so I’ve been working on my climbing and trying to get a PB on my local climb which currently stands at around 26.15. My effort two week ago averaged 175 watts, picked up a few small PB’s on the way, yesterday 185 watts, higher PRE, no PB’s, and my time was actually slower on the segment…how does this work? I’ve put on 10 watts in 12 weeks with trainer road, definitely noticing the improvements all round. Welcome any ideas.

Could be wind, carrying more water/weight, tire pressure etc.

3 Likes

I don’t know your climb @Bessy but sometimes giving it more power results in you standing up more and on some climbs sitting and spinning is faster.

Gravitational anomalies.

7 Likes

Calibration, temperature…

Even small nearly imperceptible head winds can have a dramatic effect on speed. Climbing, descending, flatting…doesn’t matter.

2 Likes

Yeah, there’s a consistent mobile gravitational anomaly whereever I ride.

4 Likes

Interstellar the movie had some non-fiction elements. Science explained here:

:wink:

Or visit your local Mystery Spot :rofl:

Is everything else the same? You weight? Amount of water you were carrying? Tire pressure? Etc. Small changes in these plus wind could do the trick

1 Like

Thanks everyone, I reviewed the wind directions for the day on Strava and there was a different wind direction, was 12 kmph North East with slower and South West 15 kph with earlier attempt. I think thats probably it.
Thanks for the advice.

2 Likes

Gotta ask what your gearing is. 175 seems pretty low for a hill climb. Maybe I’m wrong, but I would like be hitting 250 or so, especially for a PB. Are you using a low gear and spinning like Froome?

185 watts is 3.5wattsp/kg for me. cadence was average 85

Also check your head unit / gps isn’t set to pause ride when you stop or go below a certain speed. If the climb includes steep sections, especially winding and under tree or cloud cover, gps can have difficulty identifying you are still moving.

And the prize for most useless, self aggrandizing comment goes to…

6 Likes

Doesn’t matter…watts are watts. Whether you use a bigger gear and low cadence or a smaller gear and high cadence, the watts required to go up a hill at a certain pace are the same.

You don’t know another person’s weight or characteristics, so comparing their watts to yours is irrelevant.

5 Likes

As others have commented, there are a variety of factors that make it difficult to compare power and times up a specific climb with any consistency. Another factor that I did not see mentioned is how a climb is paced. There are a lot of ways to “average” a certain power output. One attempt may produce a steady power that did not vary much. Another attempt could produce a higher “average” but if the power is not steady and spikes up and down more, the attempt could easily result in a slower time. Cheers.

1 Like

So many ways! :smiley:

1.) Weather…barometric pressure, wind, temp (colder=slower from an aerodynamic perspective)
2.) Rolling resistance. Tires, tire pressure, inner tubes
3.) Other aerodynamic things such as looser kit, different helmet (probably not!), other gear on the bike. Cold weather gear is usually aerodynamically inferior.
4.) Weight. More water? Body weight different?

HIGH FIVE! :raised_hand: 175W effort got you PBs…185W sounds like a really BIG improvement for a couple weeks. Good job.

4 Likes

Hopefully that would also explain the numbers on my scales this morning :slightly_smiling_face:

3 Likes

I rely on those to keep trending down on my daily weigh-ins.

First of all, grats on the power PB!

As others have mentioned, there are a lot of factors influencing your final time. So let me throw in another:

Pacing. Putting out more power on the steeper sections vs the flatter ones gets you a faster time at the same overall average power compared to the other way around. That’s because at slower speeds (steep sections) you have less wind resistance to overcome costing you precious watts.

Keep up the good work :muscle:

1 Like