Power Profile Interpretation?

I race XC, road and gravel.

I don’t really know how my power profile compares to the typical but feel like I’m more of a tractor style rider than someone that can respond well to short spiky bursts. This is based on the fact that sometimes I feel like I can be easily dropped in road group rides when someone attacks but I can then wind up so to speak, maintain the gap and slowly whittle away that gap and catch back on as their attack ends. However, in the past (previous to me starting Trainer Road) these efforts from getting dropped and catching back on has eventually led to exhaustion where my speed becomes fairly static and I just maintain a pace and lose the ability to respond at all and end up falling off at a decisive moment like a climb or someone taking a hard pull.

In XC this season I find I can generally go back and forth with those that make the podium for the first ~30% of the race, then sort of blow up, get dropped do my slowest lap in the 30-45% of the race period and then get 2nd and 3rd fastest laps in the last half of the race (not as fast as the start but faster than my post race start recovery lap). I’m not really sure how to approach this if I should be attempting to go less hard off the start so I don’t blow up before recovering and picking up the pace again or look to extend how long I can hold that race start pace. Gravel is not split up by category, everyone 18-45 starts together so it felt similar, hold on to the lead group as long as possible, blow up, recover and then start picking up the pace to ride your own “fast pace” (not as fast as start but faster than recovery period). I expect CX to be similar although I haven’t tried it yet (just got my first gravel bike in may, which I intend to use for CX).

Is there a way to compare your power profile to an ideal to determine what your weaknesses and strengths are and what you should address?

I know increasing my FTP will help a lot overall but am curious as to what my power profile says about me as a rider.

This one is sort of famous:



Okay so I think I figured things out here, this is based on now power outdoors, Zwift in late winter early spring and about 3 months of TR with ERG mode, no sprint workouts yet, have done maybe 1 or 2 each of vo2 max workouts not sure I’ve done an anaerobic workout yet but entering a period with a lot of vo2 and anaerobic coming up. So my peak power stuff is based on Zwift free rides back in the winter. A lot of the rest is based on ramp tests and endurance workouts.

Not sure if that makes it too difficult to tell everything from this or not due to mostly workout in erg mode erg based data.

I’ve experienced the same thing on group rides. I honestly think that the conclusion is that the other riders are more aerobically fit than I am.

They drill it up every small climb (300-400 watts) so I’m in over my head with a 250 watt FTP. After an hour of doing this over many small climbs I’ll get dropped.

In reality, when I’m just hanging on at 300 watts (120% of my FTP), the other riders are simply at their FTP.

You should definitely do the VO2 max and sprint work but also think about upping your aerobic capacity if you can.

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Have been pretty focused on upping my FTP which I see as the approach to improving my overall power (not sure if that is the right way to view it or not). Would FTP be aerobic capacity or is that endurance work?

But yes do get worn out with repeated spiky efforts to the point where I can’t respond anymore or hold the avg pace I did earlier on in the ride. I’m a small guy so my 194w FTP is 3.3w/kg (hoping for >3.4w/kg with my next ftp test on Tuesday) so I can generally do well on the climbs, I can sometimes drop guys on climbs that can absolutely crush me on the flats or rolling stuff.

You can get your power profile using intervals.icu
It sounds like your anaerobic power/FRC/W’ is low. Look at the crit race plan.

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I guess it’s a bit of both.

I did a tempo based build this last winter and I’ve had my best performances so far. (Lots of 3x20s at tempo and increasing to 4x20.) My ftp didn’t go up enormously but I believe that my TTE improved by quite a bit. When I went to go do some vo2max work after the tempo work, I found the vo2max intervals were much easier than they were the year before.

My conclusion is that increasing TTE is very underrated.

I think I tend to agree with AJ. You’re just riding/racing above your head. Which isn’t a bad thing.

I am the same, as in I’m much, much stronger at long efforts than short. It’s easier for us to ride at a higher percentage of our FTP or whatever and that can mask some of the fitness deficit.

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Yeah TTE if it is what I think, where I find I can’t hold the group pace anymore at 60km into a 90km drop group ride and start yo yoing off the back is probably something I need to develop. I feel like my FRC is also lacking where I can keep up on the climbs early on but later on this effort means I can’t hold the pace on the flats.

Interestingly as I move into my build phase next week (week 12) each week of my low volume plan consists of one Vo2, one Anaerobic and one threshold workout for 3 weeks, then one week endurance, then 3 weeks of VO2, anaerobic, threshold until another week of endurance and so on. Until my last race on the calendar (an A race) which is followed by a week of endurance and then nothing. Have a single XCM race I might do a couple weeks after my final A road race but don’t want to put it on the calendar even as a B or C race in case it shifts my preparation for my A road race.

I haven’t done a lot of VO2 and anaerobic workouts yet so interested to experience them and see what effect they will have. My previous weeks have been mainly sweet spot with a few threshold and endurance workouts.

Also, you can use Intervals.ICU to compare your power profile to different groups, eg male, age group etc. Not sure if there’s a weight category, but it’s valid.

If the guys around you are bigger, and slightly higher or the same fitness, there’s a chance they’re working even lower in their capabilities when on the flat.

CX and XC is very power to weight influenced, but road and gravel is still largely Watts wins if not mountainous.

Are you eating enough carbs on the bike? 60k is about the limit you can do without eating.

I think, as alluded to earlier by you and others, its about the aerobic engine and not FRC. Bigger FTP means less time above threshold on those climbs and better ability to recover from going over threshold after the climbs.

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Yeah definitely something I am working on with Trainer Road, hoping the adaptive training will build up my FTP.

Yeah I also eat while riding and use drink mix in my bottles, training rides I don’t fuel as well as races, probably around 50g of carbs per hour while training but while racing more like 60g per hour. Could probably fuel a bit heavier but I’m also only 57kg.

Reading your post, I’m not sure if you aren’t actually asking for pacing advice. In your second post, you wrote you haven’t even done many VO2max workouts, i. e. your current power profile for this season won’t be very useful. I’d look at your power profile in the past. Also, I would not use power profiles that are generated only from workouts, you need all-out efforts over various time lengths. The other component is age: with age, you tend to have more trouble with power spikes.

Overall, if I were you, I’d try to vary your pacing strategy first. It seems like you are going too hard in the beginning of your races and then pay the price with interest, because your body couldn’t cash the checks. Rather than aiming for a spot on the podium, try to improve your placement first. See where your limiters, your strengths and your weaknesses are. It is very easy to claim you are a diesel when you haven’t really trained anything beyond threshold. But maybe you just aren’t trained yet. So I would resist classifying myself and just try things.

The other thing is to take the long view. If you need more aerobic fitness, then I’d work on that. E. g. you could tack on a 30-minute endurance workout once a week to one of your shorter workouts. Don’t overdo it. Consistency is king. (I have the scar tissue to prove that one! :wink:)

Yeah I find without a power meter on any of my bikes, pacing to be pretty tough, go by RPE and HR.
So in drop group rides or races with faster riders I end up with poor pacing, where I need to recover (usually a slightly slower lap in the case of a race) then start doing faster laps but not as fast as the start. I feel like as I have been training and increasing my FTP that recovery time is getting shorter.
In road I have been consistently top 5 this season (Cat C/3), so hard not to go for the win (haven’t won yet). In XC I’ve finished 4th and 7th this season (for XC its not all my fitness but also have been bumping into the limits of my skills that has also kept me off the podium due to mistakes).

As far as not over-doing it, find that tough, when I look at the guys that are faster they are often doubling my volume, whereas I’m trying not to overshoot my TR prescribed volume by too much, so that I don’t ‘fail’ a workout or burn myself out but I’m doing low volume and wonder if I could be doing even more outside to accelerate my fitness gains.

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