A somewhat strange question here, where I don’t know where this will be headed: what are the pro’s / cons of “spikey” vs. steady power, and what effects/physiological costs do these have?
Some background: my girlfriend and I both enjoy riding our bikes, and dabble into (gasp!) Zwift racing every now and then for some fun short all-out efforts.
I have noticed that my girlfriend’s power output is very different than mine. She tends to spike her power repeatedly (as in every 10-20 seconds or so) then drop below sweet spot. So she’ll typically be sitting at 150W-170W and spike to 200-250W, rinse and repeat. She refuses to do a FTP test, but she has held 192W average (3.4W/kg) for an hour in a race so she’s no slouch on the bike.
For my part, I tend to be more of a “pick your power ad sit there” kind of guy, and I only spike when I intend to (e.g. climb / attack / losing the wheel).
We are using the exact same setup (swapping our bikes on a Wahoo Kickr), so that’s not an equipment artifact.
So what do you guys think is causing this very different approach to putting down power on the bike, and what are the pro’s / cons of both?
Illustration: typical girlfriend’s race, note the jagged power
Illustration: typical for my races, note the steady power line