# Understanding power curve

Hey team! Relatively new cyclist here.

Over the week end, a few of the lads were talking about their power profiles and speculating what sort of rider they may be. Some of them it was clear… My mate Ciaran is a climber through and through, Johnny is a workhorse over 5 hours plus… but a couple of the others weren’t sure. Me being relatively new (just under 12 months now) to the bike scene, i had no idea.

So Im trying to understand my power curve and where my strengths and weaknesses may lie.

Am I able to see a few more power curves from you guys so i can get an understanding what my natural strengths may be, and what I need to focus on?

For context, ftp of 240 and weight of 72kg puts me about 3.3w/kg i believe.

Thanks guys!

Does your power curve contain max efforts over a few different time periods?

This is my all career records. Pretty well all points are from within the last month or two

A brief understanding/description can be seen if you link your data to intervals.icu.

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WKO4/5 will objectively determine your phenotype using discriminant function analysis.

You can also compare your curve to population-derived standards (e.g., “world class”).

Just looking at your P-D curve, you’re clearly a better sprinter than most.

Also, a 17 h ride? Respect!

I’m not sure there’s much value in pigeon holing yourself early on in your cycling career, but if you are interested in your power curve I would check through for anomalous data.

In the second/minute PRs you may find your PM recorded a random huge number, and you may have a record where you forgot to turn off your recording at the other end of the spectrum…

WKO will tell you, and so will some other tools. Intervals.icu is free and easy to try out. Intervals credits its chart to Dr Coggan with this link:

On Intervals its under Power on the left-hand navigation:

bottom right you can see there are 2108 people in the 60+ age group, on Intervals.

You can also toggle between raw Watts (good for benchmarking on flat terrain) and the W/kg I’m showing above.

You can also toggle to Coggan Male:

That doesn’t look so good but I was never aspiring to be a pro LOL. And I prefer to spell it newb thank you

I do group rides with a lot of 40+ guys and gals, so ranking myself against a bunch of 40+ males with this option paints a better picture of what happens on rides:

If I really want to stroke the ego - hey its pancake flat on Wed group rides - toggle raw watts:

It is generally true that on pancake FLAT group rides, compared to others, I do better over 2-3 hours, and the last minute coming into the town sprint.

I’m also an All Rounder in WKO5, although sometimes I come up as a Sprinter.

Give that article I posted a quick read, and maybe take a look in Intervals or WKO.

Hope that helps.

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It is fun to look at power curves but as a new rider you’ll want ride a lot before you really look too deeply into the numbers. If you haven’t done an all out 5/20/60/etc minute efforts then there’s not much value in looking at power at those specific durations. As an example, my graph shows 322w for 20 minutes but I’ve never actually tried to hit max power for 20 minutes. I was just curious if I could do it so I set my trainer at 325w and used erg mode for 20 minutes. My true max would be a bit higher than that, maybe one day I’ll set it for 335w and see what happens. If you haven’t tried to max out at each specific duration then you could come to a conclusion too quickly as to what ‘type’ of rider you are.

That said, just for fun here are mine:

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Unless they have permission from the owner*, it’s still a copyright violation.

*Not sure who that might be - I learned recently that Outside had sold the now-defunct VeloPress, but I don’t know if that included the rights to TRWPM (although probably, since at >100k copies sold plus multiple translations, it was one of their more successful titles).

this is incredibly helpful. thanks mate.

not looking to pigeon hole myself, just want to get an understanding of my physiology and my natural strengths and weaknesses :). thank you!

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Start by using w/kg only

Thanks for all of your messages and thoughts guys, it was really interesting to look through your data, as well as on intervals.uci. super interesting platform, i’ll try the trial and may sign up if i enjoy sifting through the deets.

According to Intervals.icu, i’m in the 90th percentile for 5s power, and about 50th percentile for just about everything else. So its good to know that i need to work on everything except my peak power .

Kicking off base II this week so looking forward to seeing some more newbie gains!

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Hey there!

Studying your power curve can be useful for understanding what your strengths and weaknesses might be as a rider based on what you’ve done so far in your riding career.

As @K42 mentioned, it’s important to think of these numbers as strengths or weaknesses only if you’ve done an honest all-out effort for those durations. Since it sounds like you’re a newer rider, make sure to keep on turning those pedals hard in different scenarios you find yourself in to get the best data possible.

Beyond that, I’d also like to echo the notion that just because you may look stronger at certain parts of the power curve than others, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve those weaknesses! It can be tempting to categorize yourself as a sprinter/climber/etc., but as amateurs, we can make solid gains across the entirety of the power curve by focusing our training on those durations.

Here are a couple of TR Blog articles we have discussing how to use your power curve:

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any additional questions.

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This is brilliant. Thanks Zac!

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