Racing by power

So I competed in my first Half Iron distance event at the weekend and I’m super happy with how it went. 5th in age group, 33rd overall.
I rode to power using Best Bike Split and all was fine however I found I wasn’t really enjoying the ride as such as I seemed so focused on power targets. Then half way through the battery on my Edge ran out (thankfully I was recording on my watch also) so I rode the 2nd half by feel and found enjoyed it so much more and was actually a touch faster. So I’m now questioning whether to carry on racing with a power meter? Training absolutely, I think they’re an amazing asset to have. Racing I’m not so sure… Thoughts?


You can record power but hide it from your main screen.

Then it’s there if you think you need it during the race, e.g. at the start of the bike leg, or pacing a climb, but easy to hide if not. And it’s there after for the race for analysis, to see if you made breakthroughs, how it compared with your heart rate, etc.


Sorry yes I should have clarified that Im still going to record power data but probably not race by it.

BBS is just a prediction, you should race as you feel but you should also have power on your screen.

Lets says BBS predicts 200W for a given segment but you see that you can push 230 during the race and still keep rolling.

You can only push your limits, if you know them.


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Power is good in the beginning to ensure you’re not going out too hard at an unsustainable pace, when everything feels easy. Also when pacing different parts of the course (ie: hills). Then once you get a feel for the power, you can periodically look down to see if you’re still on track. I wouldn’t recommend constantly looking down and trying to match a number.

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I’m the polar opposite of steady state/tri racing - gravel races in northeast USA that are 3+ hours in duration and with tons of steep climbing, lots of ups and downs. I’ve found multiple times that if I’m not watchful of my power in the first hour I go too hard, too early, and blow up for the 2nd half. When I use power and my FTP knowledge wisely and keep myself in check, I have a much better day.

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I think this is a fabulous topic. Having focused on TTs for many years I always pace with a power meter. Last few seasons adding BBS to further optimize. I don’t do the 30 BBS segments but rather the more general cheat sheet part.

Over the course of trying to optimize everything I will say the initial pace by power meter helped me a great deal in terms of not blowing up and pacing better Then adding BBS allowed some additional improvements.

After several years of getting “pretty good” at this, I’m thinking carefully about releasing the technology shackles and going back toward more of an RPE pacing strategy. Thinking that I’m fairly well calibrated now and where the meter was once useful in not going too hard, it might now be holding me back or constraining total performance on race day.

David’s comment on “enjoy” is also important. If the effort is physically hard and the technology is adding a mental burden that is unlikely to lead to great performance.

Take home is while technology definitely has a role in teaching us certain things, I am all for athletes saying they just want to go for RPE and let it rip. You should always record the data for reflection and learning though. If you find you start too hard or finish too slow then the technology can help refine your approach.

Its an easy enough experiment to do some races with PM and some without PM and see where you perform best.



I suppose something I haven’t considered is, I raced to power for the first half which maybe then left me with enough in the legs to have a strong second half of the ride. Maybe I’d of gone out to hard if I wasn’t riding to power? Urghh this racing malarkey gets complicated. :joy: