Perform like a pro
You may think it’s difficult to compare yourself to a professional rider as there are so many variables to take into account – they ride the lightest bikes, use the best components and do little other than eat, sleep and train – every detail is taken care of by the team.
Timing yourself along a stretch of road, or on a climb, may give you some comparative data but factors such as the direction and speed of the wind can have a significant impact on the numbers, so if you really want to see how you fare against a professional rider, the best way is to look at power data.
Use an indoor trainer, like a Wattbike, to set your own benchmark numbers to use as the basis for all of your training but also to give you some comparative numbers with some of the riders taking part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
The men and women who often take the glory on a flat course are some of the most technically gifted riders around. Whether it’s going head-to-head with a rival at 70kph or surfing through a crowded peloton to conserve energy by drafting a teammate, the sprinter is a fearless breed. Maximum power outputs during the sprint at the end of a race will be in the region of 1500+ watts.
There are few more beautiful things to see than a professional rider at the peak of their fitness climbing an Alpine pass and dropping down the other side. Climbing performance is influenced by the combined weight of the rider and bike, so a rider’s power-to-weight ratio is the figure to track here. Male pro riders will ride a long climb (20-minutes plus) in a race with a power-to-weight ratio of between 5.0w/kg to 6.0w/kg.
Often called ‘The Race of Truth’, the time trial is the purest form of road riding. The TT rider is strong, powerful and has spent considerable time honing technique and position. All of the top TT riders use power as the key measure in both training and racing. The London 2012 Olympic Gold medal ride for men was won in just over 50 minutes with an average power output of 400+ watts.
How power can work for you
Being able to accurately measure power when training will have a significant impact on your cycling. Whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned sportive rider, the improvements to fitness will come quickly as you’ll be working at exactly the right intensity based on your current fitness. Wattbike, the official indoor bike of Prudential Ride-London, has a wealth of information on training with power on their website at www.wattbike.com