Once I started using my Quarq CinQo power meter, I ended up with a lot of data. How was I going to collect it all? Once I had it collected, what did it all mean? These are questions to which I’m still finding the answer.
I have two applications I use most often. There is Ascent – which I use primarily because of the really cool integration of the data from my Garmin and CinQo with mapping software. I have found I do not use it as much as I once did. The down side of the program is that it is not as useful as a training tool.
Enter my TrainingPeaks WKO+. This is my program of choice for analyzing my ride data. It has taken me a while to learn – and I’m still picking up on how to apply some of the graphs.
Today, I’ll just point out the one that is the most frustrating one – if you take it literally. It is the Power Profile graph. At first glance, it appears to be a graph that tells you where you fall in your ability as a racer. The little vertical bars will show you how you would fare against the competition in the various racing categories.
I have competed in a number of category 4 races since moving up from my category 5 season last year. If I might say so, I have done pretty well. So, when I was looking at the Power Profile earlier this season and seeing myself in the “Untrained” section of the graph, I was a little upset.
What exactly is the graph telling me? Basically it is telling me how I compare to myself and others at my peak power outputs. It graphs my best 5 second, 1 minute, 5 minute, and 1 hour peak power numbers from the last 28 days. Using my best output, it then tells me how I would do in a race with racers in the various categories – putting technique and strategy aside.
Now, this confused me at first because for several months I was showing up as an untrained racer. I knew that wasn’t true. I was at least a category 5 racer!
Of course, the data doesn’t lie, so what is happening here? Well, when I was showing up as untrained it was because I was riding for base miles. I didn’t have any high peak periods.
In the last 28 days that has begun to change. You can see that my 5 minute graph is moving into the category 3 range. All the other graphs are finally moving into the category 4 range.
So, wouldn’t I know this anyway? How is this helpful? What can I learn from it?
According to what I have been able to read about this type of method, I can consider myself to be an “All Rounder” with a little lean toward “Time Trialist.” This basically means I probably should avoid trying to make my way in the racing world by sprinting! The advantage of this graph is that it helps you determine you strengths and weaknesses in the various aspects of racing. You can then tailor you training to hone your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
I’m pretty certain that by the time the next 28 days have cycled through, I will be in category 4 level in all of the areas. It will be interesting to see what TrainingPeaks’ Power Profile will say about me then. That is where the system helps — it gives me motivation to improve.