TSS Score for Outside Rides

My training schedule is generally geared to a drop ride on Sunday morning that is considered the “A Ride” in my local community. Being in South Florida, the route is flat, but the ride itself is quite punchy with many accelerations, and there is typically a good deal of wind. With sustained speeds in the high 20 to mid 30 mph range, this is my hardest ride of the week, both from an RPE and from a recovery perspective. If that is true in practice, then why is the TSS score for the Sunday ride, which is calculated from my power meter data, almost half of that of my other rides during the week? Case in point, I did a recovery ride on Saturday that was of similar distance and way less RPE , and the TSS was calculated to be 109. However, the TSS for the much harder group ride the next day had a TSS of 45? I understand there may be more coasting due to the nature of a group ride, but the amount of exertion is 2x, if not 3x, greater, and my heart rate is much higher during group ride as well?

Could you share the links to the rides? Or at least of the summary of the power data from the rides?

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what are the times and normalized power for each ride?

I don’t think its that unusual for the TSS for a solo ride to be more than that for group ride on the same course. We all remember the fast parts but there is a boatload of coasting and low power in most group rides and the hard parts have to be really hard to end up beating the TSS of steady but constant power.

But, your numbers do sound off. 45 TSS is not much unless your group ride is only 1/2 an hour long :wink:

As for speed, its meaningless. 30 mph in the pack on a downwind section can be downright easy so “it all depends.” I’ve been dropped a few times on my weekly ride where we turn upwind and I have data to back up the fact that it can take the same watts to go 13.5 mph solo into a stiff breeze as did to go 30 mph downwind while in the middle of a group!

I’m having trouble uploading the files, but here is a summary:

Duration: 2:13:37
NP: 117
Avg Pwr: 83
Max Pwr: 505
Avg HR 132
Max HR 164
IF 0.45
Kj 666
Dustance: 47.05 Miles

Duration: 2:12:37
NP: 204
Avg Pwr: 141
Max Pwr: 1326
Avg HR 120
Max HR 164
IF .78
Kj 1,122
Distance: 45.47 Miles

For this comparison, I took data from two group rides. I had one sprint on the Saturday ride, and thus the higher max power number. Even in this case, the RPE on the Saturday group ride was still way lower than the perceived effort on Sunday. I guess the numbers imply that I must do a good deal of coasting on Sunday? It may also point to the benefit of working one’s ability to manage the numerous surges that are typically associated with hard group rides?

Without digging in too deeply this is the difference in the TSS. Your NP is 204 on the ‘easy’ Saturday ride and 117 on the ‘hard’ Sunday ride.

Hard to say without the graphs and files but basically you’re putting out a ton more effort on Saturday than you are on Sunday.

Sunday might feel harder because of a few very short very intense segments (1-5 minutes in length) but it is otherwise a pretty easy ride. Keep in mind it only takes one intense effort to crack any rider - you could noodle along at 50 watts for 5 hours and then get dropped in 5 seconds and get very little TSS as opposed to keeping a nice steady 200 watts for 5 hours


How much coasting % do u have in your sunday ride?

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First thing I noticed too. The other interesting thing is the average HR between the two. A 12-beat increase in average HR is definitely going to jack up the RPE even if the power isn’t as high, particularly with a bpm range where max HR is 164.

Sunday I coasted 12.6% of the time and Sunday I spend 16.6% of the time. Here’s another clue, on Saturday, I spent approximately 10.5% of the time in my threshold (4.2%), VO2 Max (3%), and Anaerobic (3.5%) zones. On the Sunday ride, I spent less than 2% of the ride in the highest 3 zones (threshold 0.9%, VO2 Max 0.5% & anearobic 0.5%). The zone that I spent the most time in for both rides was Active Recovery (41% Saturday & 66.6% on Sunday)

Wow, I’m really surprised. The data really doesn’t lie.

Clarification my my last post…Saturday I coasted 12.6% and Sunday was 15.6%.

maybe I’m wrong but something doesn’t seem right with the Sunday ride… my lowest IF on outside flat ride is 0.54 on an incredibly lazy 2 hour ride home (3 hr hard ride, then a couple of beers, then 2 hour lazy/slow roll home).

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Same bike and power meter, yeah? Is your power meter working right, or did you have lots of dropouts? Or, next question, were you especially fatigued or bonking on Sunday?

I just can’t work out how a ride with an IF of 0.45, 50% of time spend easy, an avP under 100W (for someone with a 1300 sprint) can feel ‘hard’. It can’t even have been especially surgy, or you maxP would be higher. I always get a few 500-600W spikes, and I don’t sprint at 1300W!

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FWIW here is my “lowest outdoor IF ride” which was solo/slow/lazy/had-a-couple-beers after a hard 3 hr ride:

My off-the-cuff feeling is you had power dropouts, but maybe you never took a real pull and sat in an awesome draft. Or your FTP is much higher than mine and you were tired and sat in the pack. :man_shrugging:


I think this will work. If it does, here is my file from Sunday’s ride.

that is Saturday ride according to what you wrote above.

something is going on with your sunday ride, but a 2+ hour 0.78IF ride is not a recovery ride by any definition

Again, apologies, that was Saturday, this is Sundays:


Good thing I’m not in IT…


Rode in, and rode home? Some really low watts bookending that ride.

Yes, about 5 miles to and from the start.

seriously low watts on the ride in, and for a short bit after the ride start. That plus the low watts on the ride home. That seems to be the explanation.

Something still doesn’t seem right, I couldn’t ride that slow to the start and back home…