How To Pace A Sportive With A Power Meter

– Power meters are a
fantastic tool for training and also a perfect tool to get
the most out of your event, as well as getting the best out of your own personal fitness. – That’s right, so, we are going to give you some tips fairly shortly on how to do just that,
using me as an example and how I’m going to use
numbers to perfectly pace the Maratona dles
Dolomites here in Alta Badia. (upbeat music) – One of the most beautiful
yet brutal aspects of the Maratona is that
there’s hardly any flat. Straight from the start,
you’ve got the Campolongo, then onto the Pordoi,
then the Sella, etc. The climbs come thick and fast. – And what that means,
is that it’s very easy to go too hard at the start. So, let’s try to make a pacing strategy based on known fitness levels. – Yeah, now first off,
you’re going to need to know your FTP, your functional threshold power and if you don’t already know it and don’t know how to do it, there is a link at the end of the video to show you exactly how to work that out. – Yeah, well, based on
recent tests, my current FTP is around about 300 watts,
but you’re also going to need to take into account your weight, because that is going affect how fast you can go up climbs
given your current FTP. – Now, we’ve actually
taken the time to work out exactly how much climbing
is in this event, so I hope you’re sat down. First off, 4230 metres of elevation gain and that totals 53 and a half kilometres of up hill riding with an average gradient of seven point nine per cent. That’s pretty punchy isn’t it? – That’s very tough indeed. And if you go onto the bike
calculator website online and shove in some numbers
including my weight, which is 71 kilogrammes and
my threshold of 300 watts, even if I did all of that
climbing at my threshold of 300 watts, it would take
me over two and a half hours and that is just not possible. – So, how do we work out Dan’s pacing? Well, the answer actually
lies within our top ten most commonly used cycling phrases. – Epic. (dramatic music) – It might be epic Dan, but
on this particular occasion, the word I’m looking
for is actually tempo, otherwise known as zone three. Now, zone three is a pace
that you can ride at, well you should be able to ride at, for around three hours, or even more, if you have little breaks. Now, of course in the Maratona, there are plenty of breaks in
the form of multiple descents. Now, in terms of your
FTP, you should be riding at between 75 and 90 per cent of your FTP, which for you Dan, works out at roughly between 230 and 270 watts. – [Dan] Now going back
to our bike calculator, if I average, let’s say
250 watts for the climbs, those 53 and a half kilometres of climbing would take me a little over four hours and I’d say that’s just
about doable for me with those descents to break things up. So, what I will be doing is making sure I don’t go above 250 watts
average on the first four climbs, they being the Campolongo, the Pordoi, the Sella and the Gardena, and that way, as long as
I fuel myself properly, I should get to the last three climbs with enough left in
the tank to get through and possibly even lift my
pace on the last climb, which is the hardest. – So, how does this
equate to other events? Now, firstly and importantly, you need to know how long
the event would take you and secondly, the nature of the course. Now, this table by Doctor Andy
Coggan of the seven zones, will actually help you further understand what exactly the power zones
are and more importantly, how long you can spend
in each of the zones in one single effort. – Now, if your sportive gran
fondo is relatively flat for the most part but then
with a big final climb up towards the finish, a
bit like the L’Etape du Tour in 2017 then you should be able to expect to conserve quite a bit of energy over that first flatter
part by surfing the wheels and staying out of the wind. And then, you should be able to expect to do that final climb at
the lower end of zone four, which is quite close to your FTP. All you need to do, is make
sure that over that first part, your average power remains
in the endurance zone, so, for me with an FTP of 300 watts, that would mean an average
power in that first part of less than 225 watts. – Hmm, on the other hand,
if your sportive or event is consistently hilly but
without any long climbs, then normalised power is a fantastic tool as that takes into account
the shorter, sharper efforts. But, if you do do that,
it’s important to remember that your normalised power should sit within the zone that
you know you can sustain the whole duration of the event. – Yeah, now, before we
finish, we should add one last caveat to all of this, and that is that for two
riders of the same FTP, let’s say 300 watts, the
rider that does twenty hours on the bike each week, might
be slightly more efficient than somebody that does
it with just five hours on the bike each week. So, you should bear that in
mind when you’re working out at what end of each zone
you are aiming to sustain for the duration of the event. So, take for example, the
tempo zone, zone three, that ranges from 75 to 90 per cent. If you’re spending an
enormous amount of time on the bike each week, you could aim for the higher end of that zone, but if you’re only spending a few hours on the bike each week, you might want to aim for the lower part. – Yeah, now, for some
more training content, or content that’s anything
to do with cycling, how about clicking just here on the globe to subscribe to Global Cycling Network. It is absolutely free. Now, to learn how to calculate your FTP, your functional threshold
power, click just down here. – Yeah, or if normalised power
is quite an alien term to you and you want to learn
about that and a whole host of other training
metrics to do with power, there’s a video explaining
it all, just down here.

54 thoughts on “How To Pace A Sportive With A Power Meter

  1. I just know that the moment I buy one, the "NEXT BIG THING" will come out and replace the power meter…

  2. I see the point of a powermeter in racing but in sportives? I dare to say that if all you want to do on your bike ks to have fun, you should perhaps rather invest in a nice trip to ride in the Alps or whereever else you would like to go

  3. I don't believe I got same power figures as Dan…. He rode for Cervelo Test Team, he is probably still much better than this despite all that beer

  4. I don't use a power meter but for my endurance events I always start out easier than I think I need to. I prefer building into a good pace because I'd rather start slow and finish strong than to really suffer badly

  5. I did a 130km (sounds better saying that figure lol) and had a 39t c.ring (& a 25 sprocket which shoudlve been a 28t ;/) on for hills etc…and noticed my power was down by about 50 watts though i was saving for the hills that came late… #jusayin as for the end – i totally faded towards the end…i still did it though and lasted which i was happy with as ya dont ride 80ml everyday.

  6. I've had power displayed on my head unit for a while now, but recently also added instantaneous 'zone' reading to my display, and am now better able to manage my pacing.

  7. Didn't really work out for you guys, did it 🙂 Since you cut the Maratona short and took the short course 😀

    To be honest, did the same this year on Les 3 Ballons, started too fast (didn't look at the numbers of the powermeter) and blew up completely on the last climb to La Planche des belles filles.

  8. 37 comments already and no-one has spotted that your power table at 3:37 is wrong!Those are LTHR zones, not power zones.

  9. Sounds pretty much exactly how I set my idea. My FTP is about Dan's (a shame that is not the same watt/kg since I've got a few extra… mineral waters in my gut). So a sportive that took me about 5 hours I had mental rules on the climbs:

    Aim to average about 250w, avoid going above 300w, push about 180-225w on flat sections. Join pace groups when possible. I had issues with dehydration in the second half so my numbers tanked a bit. But my first half was about 190w average and 230w normalized. And was about 20 minutes faster than the previous year at that point.

  10. The correct way to pace a ride with a power meter is by IF (Intensity Factor) which is a function of your NP (Normalised Power) as a percentage of your FTP. For a typical long Sportive of 100 miles or so ride to an IF of 0.70 to 0.75. No need to worry about "zones".

  11. Did my first FTP test today after having been riding for 5 months, was brutal D:! Got 263W, super chuffed with it!

  12. Yeah Yeah very Scientific and all.. But if you spend that kinda money on this Sportive and ride only numbers. You are going to miss the stunning scenery and beauty of the ride.. You will end up looking like Chris Froome, on big climbs head down watching his power meter.. And you should be enjoying the ride…

  13. Just wanna tell y'all how happy I am for finally getting my name in a Strava segment top 10.

    It was a climb of 131 steps which you had to carry your bike through. I finished 6th. 1st in both my age and weight categories. And no, I didnt cheat (go without a bike)

    So yeah keep chasing your dreams. Cheers.

  14. Used a PM when riding London Ride 100 with my girlfriend. We have worked at that I can do 70% of FTP for the 5 hours+ of R100, and thanks to drafting, even though she 25kg lighter and has an FTP of two-thirds of mine, she can ride at 70% and sit on my wheel….. geeky, but really useful.

  15. this table at ~3'35" is complete nonsense, because you mixed the numbers for %LTHR with those for %FTP! Please make a new video with correct numbers – this one is absolutely misleading!

  16. In my experience one should take into account the loss of power at higher altitudes. Most riders would run deeply into the red when attempting to ride at 90% of their sea level FTP for a prolonged time at altitudes of 2000m. Without proper acclimatization studies show a loss of around 10% at such height and even with it was established be around 7% for most riders.

  17. Hey Guys! Is it really possible to have a 300-watt FTP by riding just 5h a week? To me that sounds impressive! I imagine those 5 hours must be hard training but, it sounds a lot to me!

  18. FYI, for anyone riding a long event, tell us (email FFT) your best effort (eg 20min best) and we will tell you your predicted power (the power you can sustain) over your event duration, precisely down to the minute.

  19. You have missed one important aspect of the Maratona. This sportive has not only plenty of tough climbs but it also takes place at altitude and you don't go below 1000 m at all, going above 2000 m on multiple occasions. Unless you are an altitude native or underwent week long acclimatization, you will not be able to hit the same power levels once above around 1800m. You will probaby see drops in power in access of around 10-15%. So if you did your FTP test at sea level, you can forget about hitting the same zones in an event like the Maratona.

  20. i find it pacing with power is infeasible as power is too spike especially since my computer doesn't have 3 sec ave reading 🙁 i think hr works fine instead.

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