I want to be faster. Should I focus on heart rate? Or focus on power? Junior racer Joe “Pepe” Sullivan asked this question and here is his story:
While working in the shop, I came across a 2009 CycleOps PowerTap, a rear hub-based power meter. I was certain that a little love and care would bring this piece of equipment back to life. PowerTap is a great company that stands behind their product. Through their warranty program, they upgraded the unit to a brand new PowerTap, one that is compatible with my Garmin.
The mechanics at Higher Gear then performed a custom wheel build around the new PowerTap hub. They built up some beautiful H Plus Son rims for the new hub, and these became the new wheels to “El Diablo Dos,” my Specialized Venge. Now that I was riding with power, I needed to learn how to use it.
I contacted Coach Geoff Chandler of TLC Endurance. Geoff is a high school teacher, and has over thirty years of multi-sport experience. He has won the 2012 Indiana State Time Trial championships for his age category, and has gone to ICU Masters Cyclocross World Championships.
Geoff is an excellent coach, and he bases all of his cycling training on power numbers. A few tests showed where my threshold was, and from there we created training zones.
After working with Geoff, here is what I understand about training with power:
As your work load increases, so will your heart rate – to a point. At one point these numbers split. Heart rate continues to stay high, while watts drop. Although the heart rate is high, showing high effort, watts start decreasing. When training with a power meter, I can train smart – so that I can outlast my competitors in a high-intensity environment. Watts matter.
I’ve raced for the last five years. I thought riding more, faster, and harder would make a difference. Now that I’m training and racing with power, I’m racing the best races of my life.
Joe “Pepe” Sullivan is a junior cyclists from Evanston, Illinois. He tackled the 2014 cycling season as a 16 year-old, riding a Specialized Venge, named “El Diablo Dos.” Joe races for Higher Gear in both cyclocross and road. You can find him most of the summer and many weekends in our shop.