First ride with power- what to make of the numbers?

After a ton of smart trainer-rides, mostly ERG, I had my first outdoor ride with power yesterday (brisk-for-me 100km, 700m, with a short bit of gnarly gravel requiring some brute force at the top of the hill and city riding to start). The numbers I was seeing (set to 3 sec rolling) seem high; but when I look at the power curve 20 min power was within 5% of FTP and 4 hr power was bang on where I do my 5 hour endurance rides indoors. Heart rates across the board were higher than indoors but, as I say, much bigger momentary power numbers as well, and of course much more stochastic outdoors.

NP 246W

Ave Power 212W

Ave torque 25 Nm

IF 0.91

VI 1.16

TSS 312 (For comparison, a recent indoor Century went at a TSS of 257; NP180W; torque 19.8Nm)

A couple of questions: Both Ave power and NP are higher than I could manage indoors, is this more likely to be just a feature of indoors vs outdoors power or is the new power meter being kind (4iii single sided vs Wahoo kickr)?

What is that torque figure telling me? Is torque a helpful training metric?

First pure endurance ride tomorrow (hilly 200km): should I be concentrating on power and aiming for 180W as I do indoors or should I be concentrating more on HR as I have done on long rides up to now?

Sorry to repeat some old questions here but…

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Hey there and welcome to the world of outdoor power!

It’s totally possible that your power meters don’t quite read the same. They’re likely both consistent with themselves, but could be off by a few % from each other (which is normal between different units).

That said, many athletes also find it a bit easier to go harder outside vs. inside on the trainer. Cooling is often better outside vs. indoors, and many athletes find it easier mentally, too (effort becomes speed outside!).

Regarding torque, power = torque x cadence, so increasing your torque would often mean riding at a lower cadence. It’s the feeling of recruiting all of your fast-twitch muscle fibers. The following articles might help explain it a bit more in-depth:

While torque doesn’t necessarily mean “sprint power,” sprinting provides some good examples on how torque works in cycling. It’s a pretty advanced training metric, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much – especially as you start out with riding outside with power more generally.

For the endurance ride tomorrow, try to aim somewhere within the Zone 2/Endurance range. It doesn’t have to be a super specific, single number when you’re riding outdoors. Trying to keep it in that general range at a steady pace should be the goal given the more stochastic nature of riding outside. Your HR can help guide you – if it starts to creep up, you can ease up on the power to bring it back down.

Hope this helps – feel free to let us know if you have any other questions!

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