OK, click-baity headline, but there’s a study I have read that says basically; if as an experienced cyclist you turn off your data over load and focus on one single metric you get on average 60w because you freed up your brain.
I am a postdoc researcher myself (psychology), with strong emphasis on experiments. Apart from this article being in a low impact journal (Frontiers in Psychology), the sample size is extremely small to draw any conclusions, especially given that they had three conditions. For a medium effect size, the minimum recommendation in an experimental cell is N = 50 (approximately). This is basically comparing dyads of people to each other. In other words, any effect is just attributable to an outlier. This is also evident in light of the relatively high P-values (hovering around .05, in other words, barely significant).
Although the idea is interesting, empirically, no true conclusions can be drawn in my view. It should be repeated with a way larger sample size.
Furthermore, I also question their theoretical rationale. Similar to sports, there is a lot of research on what cognitively taxes your system in driving a car. They mention mental fatigue by looking at metrics. But this is a weird theoretical reasoning, because similar to how driving a car becomes automatic and implicit - lowering the cognitive burden - athletes also become conditioned and autonomated in using their bike computers and processing inputs. Athletes may also develop cues or habits linked to how they feel, virtually adjusting pacing effortlessly and implicitly, without burdening their cognitive systems at all (similar to shifting back to first-gear at a traffic light in a car, and using the clutch and gas pedal in right balance for an experienced driver).
I must admit I do think the sample size devalues the study to a large extent.
When I’m working at VO2 etc I don’t look at the TR app I use the turbo trainer speed sensor as a sole data source, so no time, duration, power etc (I know for example that 32kmh is my target speed).
But the scale of the response is 227w to 287w is staggering and surely calls for a further investigation.
Oh yes Frontiers in Psychology did remind me of this more than Nature etc!
But I am genuinely interested in playing with this - sadly my TT power for 30 min is pretty much where all prior data says I should be, but a free 10w for switching my head unit to one metric well I’d take that…Club Championship may still demand more of me!
This is a really good reply.