What do all you fast guys and gals have on your Garmin/Wahoo screen during racing? Different screens for different kinds of racing? One screen or multiple?
I’ll be starting my first Crit season in 2020 and I’m thinking of displaying:
Speed and Avg speed. (this will help me in breakaways to hold or exceed average race speed).
Lap power (useful for pacing a breakaway effort)
Agree with the last 3. Not so sure about speed; it isn’t a TT so the important thing is your speed relative to the people you want to beat. That TV graphic they sometimes put up showing breakaway speed vs peloton speed is useless because one might be climbing while the other descending, or taking a corner etc. And how do you know the peloton isn’t going to be going faster to catch the breakaway?
I usually have % of max HR on there. It’s quite useful in the first half of the race to know if I’m overstretching myself and doing too much early on. If it gets too high it might be telling you it’s time to sit in and save energy for a bit (if it gets too high even when you’re sitting in and saving energy then you’re in trouble).
To be fair I mostly do rolling road races where there are more opportunities for steady power output. In a crit where the power is all over the place all the time (even in a breakaway to some extent) I suspect that elapsed time and distance is all you really need.
For road races I like to put the mileage too, so I know how far I have to go and how far away key climbs are. Probably less important for a crit where you have lap cards but if you dabble in road races it’s something to think about. Similarly, I’ll tape a cue sheet of climbs to my top tube if it’s a course I don’t know that well. Otherwise, I have 30sec power and average power. I actually don’t look at my computer that much during a road race as ‘you’ve got to be able to do what you’ve got to do’ if you’ve got to close that gap, it doesn’t matter what the power out put says…that said your use case of breakaways etc is a good use of power numbers to avoid burning too many matches
If there’s one thing I can suggest, it’s that you should have less data fields than you think. Especially if you’re new to racing, you need to learn how to race and not how to race by numbers. Learn how to read the field, find lines, practice perfect positioning. Down the line with more experience, you can add more fields as you learn what you need. If you’re just doing your first series of crits, I’d have just the elapsed time. Do a few races, and go from there.
That being said, here’s how I do it.
Criteriums Time - The race is based on time, and if you’re like me you might not be checking the lap cards every lap. It’s good to know how far into the race you are, as well as how far into any effort you may be. Heart Rate - HR doesn’t lie in punchy races like crits. It’s the best indicator I have of how recovered I am.
Road Races Time - Unlike crits, road races aren’t time based. But I need to remember when to eat. Heart Rate 3s Power - Unlike in crits, I do like to go on long attacks in road races and so power is useful when establishing a move. Distance - I always scope out the course for a road race, wither in person or on a map and make notes of the distances of critical points in the race. I stick those on my stem, and so I need to know how far in I am.
Gravel Time - Same as road races, if I don’t have a clock to look at I won’t eat. Speed - I’m often on my own for long stretches in gravel races, and I usually have a target speed to maintain. On long flat stretches it gives me something to focus on. Distance - Like a road race, I have course notes. If I’m on my own and having a bad day, this is basically just a countdown timer to the finish. Heart Rate - See above 3s Power - As a light rider, gravel eats a lot of my watts and skews my RPE, so I do have to make a concerted effort to keep myself at a reasonable output or I’ll implode before the end.
I put my head unit in my pocket. It can’t tell me anything useful in a race, and if I have to change bikes then it comes with me.
Again, this is all super personal. But I hope it helps.
For crits I have: Overall time, speed (useful as a breakaway rider), 3s power, lap avg power, lap time
For road races: Distance, speed (again, breakaway rider), 3s power, lap power, overall time, lap time
For TTs: Elapsed time, speed, 3s power, distance, avg speed
I took HR off all my race displays some time ago because I found it distracting and limiting.
Using a Garmin 1030 so the display is pretty readable. I’ve found that for my racing style any data other than that is pretty useless to me in a race. I definitely look at it all afterwards in analysis though.
I’m considering adding an ave Power/lap for certain mountain bike races that have extended climbs for the purpose of pacing. I always think I have too much on my screens, I need to put some thought into that this year
For Race Day I have two screens one for RR and one for ITT
I do away with HR data as I found it to be a limiter in a RR and TT. Same with speed. In a TT speed isn’t required if your in Power target the. You can’t go any faster. And I want to keep my focus not have too many fields.
This is super interesting to me. What are your experiences with pacing off HR vs power? I would imagine a lot of it has to do with how you train, but I would love to hear from other people how they approach this.
Personally I find looking at a power field to be more limiting than a HR field, but I’ve also heard a lot of other people say the opposite is true for them and I’ve never asked why. I spend a lot of winter (base season, gotta do something) thinking about the mental side of training and racing, and I’d love to hear from as many people as possible about this one.
I did a quick tally and found these to be recurring settings. Obviously not a sufficient sample to draw real conclusions, but fun to see the themes emerge. Number in parenthesis represent mentions in this thread.
(4) Elapsed (total) time
(2) 3s Power
(2) Lap Power
(1) Heart Rate
(1) Lap time
Those top 4 are very close to what I originally was considering, so I’ll go with those!
(4) Elapsed (total) time
(4) 3s power
(1 each) 10s power, HR, Avg speed, Normalized power, Avg power, Speed, Lap power, Lap time.
I don’t plan on doing many road races, but the top three choices seem obvious!
Feel free to keep posting your preferences and I’ll update this tally post.
I have a bunch of stuff on there but I don’t really look at it too often when I’m racing.
I threw kJ on there this past season to help remind myself of how much I should be eating - its handy for me to see that tick up over time. Others are all self explanatory
If I was really struggling with cognitive load I’d just put time distance and power up there as I’m usually a breakaway rider and knowing whether something is sustainable to the finish line is really my primary concern
You guys are totally right. Less is more. I just finished two Early Bird criteriums. In the first one my Garmin battery died right before the race started (which turned out to be a great learning experience). The ONLY thing I REALLY wished I could track during the race was ELAPSED TIME. How much time left to suffer…?
The second race I had a screen with elapsed time and 10 second power. My power meter calibration went bad before the race and the power numbers were way off, but at least I had elapsed time.
I think for the next race I’ll just have elapsed time, and nothing else. It’s not like I can adjust my power output when I’m hanging on by a thread anyways. Just gotta do what I gotta do, and the rest by feel.
Thanks for all your input!
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