Power play

“My legs are not feeling it”

“I think my tires are a bit flat”

“Didn’t get enough sleep last night”

“Went out drinking with the boys yesterday”

“Didn’t manage to grab a breakfast before i go”

“Must be the headwind”

“Brakes are scrubbing”

“Bike feels heavy for some reason”

We all have said at least one of the excuses above. I’m definitely guilty as charged. We all require a way to save our dignity when the ride was too painful that you bonked, or when you got dropped by the group, or when it’s your turn to lead but you’re not feeling it. You can say 1001 excuses. Now, this is where a power meter comes into play. The tiny strain gauge filters down all of the reasons into a binary fact: whether you suck today, or one of the above. There is no way out.

And also, being a self-proclaimed nerd, the temptation of knowing how many watts are flowing from my muscle fiber to the bike’s carbon fiber and translate to pure speed is just unbearable to resist. Oh my lord look at all that shiny purplish numbers in Strava 🤤

But the real reason is this. I have tried to put in as many hours riding in a week as my career and social life can endure. I pimped up my bike to the degree where the stiffness, aerodynamic gain, and weight reduction can no longer be justified to the amount of digit in my credit card statement. And yet, i’m seeing that my performance gain started to plateau. I think it is now time to train smarter, not just harder. I need to start following a structured training plan more rigorously. And for that i need to know where i am, where am i heading, and how my progress is, one watt at a time. Climbing my way from Category nuh-uh to Cat-4, and hopefully to Cat-3. Of course there is also a chance that the the data say i’m going nowhere and probably i need to just fucking retire and be a monk in Tibetan mountains and finally made peace with myself.

So yeah. After 7 years of riding aimlessly, I’m getting one. Here’s the tricky part. I’m now training with two bikes. A roadbike with SRAM Red eTap and a time-trial bike with Rotor QXL and Ultegra Di2. I was checking out Quarq for the Red and inPower for the Rotor, but buying both will result in an immediate termination of my relationship with my partner. So pedal based powermeter is the way to go.

I opted for Garmin Vector 3 because it looks like a normal pedal, since i really don’t want anyone to see me with a powermeter on the road. Bought one from clevertraining.com after reading dcrainmaker’s review. Hopefully shipping next week.

That’s pretty much about it. Reminding myself that this additional device is not like buying a more aero wheelset, or a lighter frame. I won’t be getting an instant bump in Strava anytime soon. This will be a very long, and painful journey. Hope it leads to somewhere. I heard there isn’t a lot of vacancy available in Tibetan monastery.