Ok, knowledgeable people… I’m officially calling out TSS as BS
I’m attaching two power graphs below as visual aides. For reference, my FTP is 280.
Graph #1 is from a prep ride I did 8 days ago. It was a ride that included many stoplights, stop signs, was mostly meant to be a sweet spot and relatively intense NP ride, but not meant to gas me. After this ride I felt refreshed-yet-taxed and like I’d put in a good, solid effort. The stats for graph #1 are:
- NP: 260
- IF: 0.93
- Duration: 1:59
- TSS: 168
Graph #2 is from a 33 mile gravel race I did yesterday. From the start, it was a hammer fest. My goal was to stay with the ‘A’ selection for the entire race, and 2 miles into the race there was a ~2 min, 13% grade “selection”. Then I was caught behind many riders who made it over the hill, but were blowing up and dropping from the group right afterward – so I was forced to pull around them into the wind and bridge to the main peloton. In between all of this there was hill-after-hill-after-hill. In fact, for the first 10 miles of this race, all that was going through my head was, “I f#cking hate riding bikes. This is dumb. I’m never going to ride a motherf#cking bike again” – I mean, I was completely pinned. Red lined. Call it what you will. I was on my limit. Then I settled in for the middle of the race and found my rhythm in the pack, and then the final 8 miles were full gas yet again. Today I am sore in places I didn’t know existed. I feel like I was in a boxing match.
The stats for graph #2 are:
- NP: 254
- IF: 0.91
- Duration: 1:42
- TSS: 141
Now . . . look at those power files. There is NO WAY you can tell me that #1 has 27 more TSS points than #2. No. Way.
Which ride looks easier to you? With all the data and metrics at our disposal, there has got to be a better way to quantify training stress.
Based on RPE, ride #2 was 5x harder than ride #1. I’m wasted today. After ride #1 I was mildly fatigued.
Yes, ride #1 was 17 minutes longer…but there is no way that accounts for the difference. Right?
Anyone else struggle with this?