Mind vs Body, aka Controlled Environment vs Real World

I am finding myself under performing. As an example…did a trainer workout Saturday afternoon (was raining) and did 5 X 10:00 at 250W +/-, on 5:00 minutes rest - low zone 4 work. Piece of cake. Yesterday did a 50 miler with some friends and on a three or four of the hills/climbs (they were in the .7 mile - 1.6 miles in length) my watts averaged roughly 230W per effort. Now it was not a go hard day and I had more juice in my legs, but I’m noticing this to be a consistent theme/occurrence.

anyone else bump up against this? Am I just hesitant to push it for fear of running out of gas later on? Not wanting to blow up?? Interested to hear other’s experiemces and what you’ve done to get past it.

Thanks, G

same power meter?

Stop riding outside and fully embrace being master of the universe on the indoor trainer? :rofl:

Ok, couldn’t help myself.

Stop thinking and work on riding by instinct? Before TR, my training involved some structured work outside and a lot of “racing” (well, for me it was) which really meant I was doing a lot of all-out efforts. Those efforts didn’t kill the rest of the ride, they simply meant I had to recharge/reload for 10-15 minutes. Nothing wrong with pushing your limits and blowing up, and for the record I do NOT find that easy - definitely a struggle to ‘let go’ and push my limits. When it happens its a fitness cocktail made from one part desire, one part mental toughness, and one part ignoring my bike computer.


Turn the screen off and just ride. Stop focusing on the data when you are just out riding.

yeah, I do think getting caught up in the power you are currently doing can be unnerving. I think it’s a good idea when you are pulling because you can make sure you aren’t surging, but agree, don’t let the computer give you a momentary lack of confidence.

I don’t focus on data in ride. Refuse to be a Chris Froome stair at computer/PM. It’s post ride review.

Yes, same PM. And I’m not new to this, former Cat 3 many years ago, took time off, and now returning to getting fitter and faster again. Perhaps my younger years I just went for broke, regardless of what happened. Again, Mind vs Body???

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  • We can’t answer that for you. The fact that you have that thought and personal consideration in the first place leads me to suspect it is more likely true that not.

  • Personal doubt exists for some people, and it’s something I struggle with during hard efforts in group settings (hard rides and races). As mentioned above, getting over this takes the acceptance that blowing up, get dropped or otherwise struggling at some point is a necessary part of hard group efforts.

  • You won’t know what you are (or are not) capable of in the moment until you actually flirt with or step well over the edge. If you want to take that path, you need to find whatever works in your head to allow that effort from yourself and see what happens.



There are two options - hang with those in front of you…or don’t. Your power levels are immaterial…

Do or do not. There is no “try” - Yoda

And everything Chad posted ^ is spot-on, too.

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We’re you dropped by your friends on the climbs? Or did you stay with them?

When riding with friends, it’s hard to provide thoughts on what is going on without knowing the dynamics of the group.

Very different if your friends dropped you then if everyone was keeping it chill.

I was not dropped, and it’s really no ride in particular. I go back and look at segments at times and see how slow (relatively speaking) I’m going and how low the power output is compared to what I know I’m capable of. Race/competitive situation - absolutely would see better numbers. But I still often wonder why I don’t let it fly, and who else experiences same. Mind vs. Body… my mind seems to always win.

If you aren’t getting dropped, then is it a question of motivation? Or “social” group ride pressure to not push the climbs? I’ve done some group rides where all climbs are done “all out”, and the group re-groups on the climb / soft-pedals the descents till everyone is on; and other group rides where the etiquette is to tempo the climbs.

I dont seem to understand OP’s post…
OP are you asking why we dont ride climbs like a machine locked on ERG mode to a particular wattage (kidding)?
If you are telling us that you didnt try to ride 250 but wonder why it only ended up at 230, the answer is probably bc thats the wattage that was required to ride with the group.
If you went all out and couldnt hold 250 (which you said didnt happen), then the answer is prob that riding outside on a longer group ride builds up more fatigue that a trainer specific workout (that is you may have more KJ in your legs prior to the efforts than indoors).
You also prob did many shorter acceleration (efforts) throughout the ride that you wouldnt do at home on the trainer following the prescribed workout (and these dinged the legs a bit).
Also, not every day is your best day (if youre telling us it felt like 250 but was only 230). We’re not machines but people. Lots of factors and variables to consider.

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Tons of threads similar to this topic lately. In theory you can push harder outside with air cooling and momentum etc but many don’t my self included. There’s variety of theories including the out side world varies randomly (wind, turns, traffic, road surface, gradient etc) all of which can can stop you getting the same power out as a smoother controlled indoor environment.

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I am the same. Always struggled to repeat the numbers outside that I can hold inside.

I have gotten better at it through conscious practice. If you know you can hold a cetrain wattage, you can make yourself hold it outside. You’ll quickly notice what’s going on. It’s “death by a thousand cuts”, there are a million mini-reasons to coast just a bit, lay off the power for a split second outside.

Interestingly I can hold higher power doing solo intervals than doing similar work in a paceline. I think the main reasons are

  • Fear of getting dropped
  • Not being in control of the effort. 102% is a lot more damaging than 98%. If you are doing intervals you control that, if you are holding a wheel you don’t…