Tag Archives: Quarq

Watopia: First June Friday Training Race

I’m so tired from the last two days of riding, I’m afraid that my brain has suffered from oxygen debt. I hope I can remember what happened during the Friday Training Race. As usual, I’ll just let Chris Wiedmann give the extended race report.

I almost didn’t participate. My Six Jersey Challenge attempt on Thursday had only been finished about 16 hours before. However, as I walked down the stairs into the basement my legs didn’t have that stiff feel I had when I woke up that morning.

I had a muted excitement about this ride. It would be the first time I would race with the new Zwift update. This update allows us to connect both a power meter and a Kickr to the program. This is helpful to me because while I love the feedback the Kickr allows from the software, I have not always liked the way it sends data.

You can’t ride like you would on the road. For instance, going for a sprint you have to start well before you think you do because you have to get the wheel spun up before the wattage reaches the level you need. Then when you are finished it just continues releasing the power.

This also plays a factor when trying to ride in a nuanced manner. I have been suspicious that this delay has played a role in my inability to stay with a group. I just haven’t learned how to find the sweet spot.

Riding with the power meter solves that issue. The response from the crank based power meter to the computer is immediate. Now there is only the small delay as the software receives the data and processes it.

Even if I couldn’t finish strong in the race, at least I could test my theory. So after warming up with Chris Wiedmann I pulled into the “drop in” zone to await the start. I kept seeing more and more riders appear with FTR beside their names. This would be a big group.

Becker is the lone rider in the middle - putting a hurting on us!

Becker is the lone rider in the middle – putting a hurting on us!

We rolled off and I looked around to take stock of the FTR-A riders around me. There didn’t seem to be too many. Most riders were FTR-B or C. Well, at least I could count on having a top ten finish!

There was Wiedmann, of course. F. Garcia and M. Wardle were on board. C. Schumm was there as well as N. Law — the usual suspects. This might work out okay… then I saw H. Becker pop up nearby. Oh boy, this really changed everything.

We finished up the warmup and Wiedmann called the start. Immediately I knew things were going to be different. I found it easy to adjust with the ebb and flow of the pack. I was paying so much attention to sitting in I didn’t notice a move up front.

Suddenly, I saw Becker and Garcia with a 2 second gap. This was not normal. Typically there was no attempt to make a selection until the first climb. Here we were just getting started and two strong riders were testing us.

I knew then I had to cross the gap or they would be gone. I could see Wardle and Wiedmann responding the same way. However, by the time we reached the sprint zone Wardle, Garcia, and myself with Becker were holding a soft gap over the rest of the field.

The rollers grew the gap even more and then on the first climb we were over a minute over the closest following racer. I was just happy to hold with the other three riders. We went over the top together and I spent the rest of the second full lap trying to make Becker and company do as much of the work as possible.

It was working until we reached the rollers. This was when I started to feel fatigued. It wasn’t that my heart rate was over the top. It was up there, but manageable. It was simply a matter of my legs feeling fatigued.

However, I stayed with them to finish out that second lap. It was now time to take on the climb once more. We hit it and the other guys started up at a pace that would have me pushing up at over 400 watts. It was too much. I could do 350, but that was it. I was done trying to keep up with them.

That was the race. For the most part the finishing order was where each racer was at that point (though the time gaps continued to grow). I kept an okay pace, but to be honest, with over a minute lead on the next racer, I didn’t have a lot of motivation to push too hard. I would ride along and then pick up my pace if I saw him closing in.

I finished a distant fourth place, but I was happy! Finally, I had no instance where I found myself slipping off the back and having to push to get back on. Of course, with the very early move, there wasn’t much pack riding for me anyway!

One sad thing to note. I was followed by G. Christopher who was in the B group. He stayed about 40 seconds behind me and even closing into around 15 seconds as I would begin a climb. One time he messaged the group asking where the finish was… the alien statues?

I tried to reply to him to say the Start/Finish banner, but my iPhone was so covered with sweat, I couldn’t get the touch screen to work! I had also dropped my towel earlier and had nothing dry with which to wipe it off. Unfortunately, no one replied and he stopped at the statues.

It is sad that he was giving me, an A rider, pause for concern and had the B race wrapped up. He ended with a DNF. Good ride, Garry! Sorry I couldn’t warn you.

And now… for the real report from Chris Wiedmann:

FTR Race Report 2015-06-05

19 riders gathered for the start of today’s Friday Training Race. This week H.-G. Becker was the main engine in the grinder that chewed up and spit out the rest of the riders. He drove the pace hard and managed a solo victory over M. Wardle with F. Garcia following some distance back in third.

In the B race a miscommunication cost G. Christopher the victory when he finished 1/2 lap early leaving B. Greatrick to take the victory with M. R and J. Lemon rounding out the podium. In the C race, S. Carter held off R. Butler for the victory with S. Yeatts on the third step of the podium.

The race started out fast with immediate attacks over the rollers after the start. Only Becker, Wardle, Garcia and J. Pait made it to the first climb in the lead group. Becker immediately drove the pace up, pulling out a 5s gap over the other riders, but they regrouped shortly thereafter.

On the next big climb, however, Becker managed to split the field with Wardle the only rider able to stay in contact. Garcia and Pait followed solo with growing gaps between all riders. On the third climb Becker proved his superiority by dropping Wardle. The rest of the race was a time trial to the finish with Becker taking the win and the rest of the group following in order.

The fast start separated the B group from the As by the back climb. J. Lemon managed to get a small lead with G. Christopher, J. Curley and B. Greatrick chasing one-by-one further back. By the second climb, Lemon and Christopher had joined up with Greatrick and Curley chasing. On the third climb Greatrick opened a gap on Curley and started working to bridge to the leaders. Curley dropped back to the next chase group of M. R and I. Munro.

Christopher managed to get a gap on Lemon on the back climb of this lap. Christopher and Greatrick pushed on solo in front of the chasers while M.R managed to bridge up to Lemon at the base of the last climb. Christopher dropped out leaving Greatrick to solo to the victory. M.R managed to pull out a slim lead on Lemon and hold him off to the line for second. Lemon finished third.

In the C race, Carter and Butler managed to establish a lead group in front of the rest of the field. Carter managed to pull out a gap on the last lap that he held to the finish. Butler solo a short time after, with Yeatts following for third.

A Group
1. H.-G. Becker 1:00:59 (41.0 km/h)
2. M. Wardle 0:00:32
3 F. Garcia 0:02:54
4. J. Pait 0:05:41
5. C. Wiedmann 0:09:20
DNF N. Law (Pub emergency)

B Group
1. B. Greatrick 1:05:35 (37.0 km/h)
2. M. R 0:01:03
3. J. Lemon 0:01:08
4. J. Curley 0:03:53
5. R. Van Praet 0:04:03
DNF G. Christopher
DNF I. Munro (Pub emergency)

C Group
1. S. Carter 1:11:45 (34.9 km/h)
2. R. Butler 0:00:22
3. S. Yeatts 0:04:52
4. T. Marshall 0:11:35
-1 Lap
5. G. Raya -0:07:00

Note: Time gaps for entertainment purposes only. Corrections to placings and race narrative are welcome. I have skipped listing anybody whose Strava activity I could not find. If you wish to be included, let me know.

Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1410852035907353
Strava fly-by: http://labs.strava.com/flyby/viewer/…

Coming back down to earth

Saturday I am planning to undertake my third power test since starting the Time-Crunched Cyclist Plan. The first one was to set a baseline. The second one was to confirm whether the baseline was accurate and to recalibrate my power zones for more effective training. This third one has only one purpose — to report here on Low Cadence if the TCCP made any measurable difference. Right now I’m just hoping that my power meter allows me to find that out.

Please support the 2012 Ride for Mike

Please support me in the Stars and Stripes Challenge on May 28, 2012. It is part of the 2012 Ride for Mike. Click the logo above and designate your donation in support of Jonathan Pait.

Back when I did the first 2012 Greenville Spinners Summer Time Trial Series attempt, I had the mechanic take a look at my bike. He looked at me in shock as he examined the chain rings. He pointed out to me the gap that was showing between the chain and the teeth. The chain was stretched and the teeth had been turned into shallow depressions. It was time to replace the rings.

I made the change and then went out to ride. At first it didn’t stand out to me, but then I went out to do some SteadyState and ClimbingRepeat work. Immediately I sensed something was wrong. I was producing 380 watts breathing through my nose. Still, when I got home I found that I was landing PRs right and left. Now my climbs up Paris Mountain were consistently 15 – 20 seconds less than they were before the chain ring change.

So, was I putting out more power and getting the faster times? Obviously I was, but the question was more was I producing that much MORE power? I was convinced after climbing Paris Mountain in 12:18 at 436 watts average that my meter was off. My best estimate is that it should have taken no more than a 350 watts average to get that time.

Well, today, I hope to have an answer. I’m taking the power meter to get calibrated. It would appear that several things could be in play here. First, the slack chain and shallow teeth could have affected the force I was able to apply. Second, the rings themselves may have began flexing. The new rings are now stiffer and the force is better applied with the new teeth and chain.

My guess is that the power meter was off from its original settings because of the wear on the rings. I’d be willing to bet that I was producing better watt averages than the meter was telling me. Now, the meter is thrown for a loop and with the ring changes is showing elevated averages. The truth I believe is probably somewhere in the middle — closer to the old ring averages.

All this means is that my FTP is going to have an asterisk beside it. A very important component of the measurement has altered. Still, I think it will be close enough to compare.

One thing I know for sure. It isn’t a question of whether the TCCP has helped. Just riding my bike convinces me of that! It is just a matter of measuring how much it has helped.

Another thing has come out of this. I believe the power meter lying to me actually has helped me ride faster. How could that be?

Whenever I see 350 watts or so on my meter while climbing warning bells go off in my head. I know I can only hold that for so long. However, I want the best time I can get, so I ride to the edge of that number. It gets me all worked up and I psyche myself out.

Well, when I look down at the computer and see 350 watts and I am feeling like I’m on top of the gears, I relax a bit more. Plus, at times when I would have been pushing myself and wearing myself down, I’m going slower (than I think I am) and have more left in the tank when it really matters. Before my power meter issues, I was consistently getting times in the 12:45 range up Paris Mountain. With my power meter issues, I am getting time consistently around 12:20. The meter might lie, but the clock doesn’t.

Thursday I took a different approach. I noticed on some of my recent better times that my cadence was around 85 rpm. Normally, my average cadence is in the mid-seventies. So, I decided not to pay attention at all to power and focus on holding 80+ rpm regardless of the slope. What do you know? I got a new 2012 Personal Record with a time of 12:18.

So, while it would be nice if my Strava.com 10 minute power was truly 433 watts. I have to tell you that is a lie. Knowing my power meter is off has certainly brought me back down to earth. However, I see a sub-twelve minute climb up Paris in my very near future… I’ll take that 370 watt average!

No stopping now

Recently I’ve mentioned my woes trying to get my power meter situation ironed out. Most every time I do I get an email, blog comment, or someone says “Get rid of that stuff and just ride your bike!” Believe me, I feel that temptation, but it isn’t time… yet.

Now, I haven’t always had power meter issues. When I was riding only with the Quarq CinQo on my White Giant, there was no problem with the power files. I went out there did the workout my coach wanted me to do and sent him the info to evaluate.

Then I got my Black Giant fixed and I got the opportunity to try out the iBike iAero power meter. A few hiccups to get started, but for the most part I was now able to take out either bike on my workouts and have the information needed to send back to my coach. Things were going pretty smoothly.

The problems started when I introduced the time trial bike to my training. I just never could feel comfortable that the iBike was working correctly. Part of it was because it was hard for me to read the screen as I had to mount it in a weird spot on the bike.

Finally, yesterday I was able to take the TT bike out for the first time with the Quarq CinQo installed on it. Ahhhhh, a little bit of the fun of suffering through 12 minutes intervals returned. I was able to clearly see on the Garmin readout what my power was. As I uploaded my file to TrainingPeaks.com last night, I felt confident that the coach would like what he sees.

Of course, that means that I’ll be racing the Black Giant in the race tomorrow. I’ll be using the iBike then as well. The White Giant is currently hanging up with no crank. I’ve just got to make sure that I have the sensors securely fastened on old black before taking to the course!

So, why put up with all of this? I have put a good amount of a time investment into my training. I’ve also signed up for year of coaching. The system I am on is “Training with Power.” The only way you can train with power is to be able to ride your bike and know how much power you are producing. Each workout requires you to be able to see your power output.

Bottom line is that you can’t train with power without a power meter.

Yes, yes, yes! I would love to just ride my bike and forget about the power meter and all the stuff it causes me to have stuck on my bike. However, I look back over the last six months and see how much I have improved and I must give much of the credit to the fact that I am using this system to train. I still have six months to go… there is no stopping now!

Besides, all of these power meter issues give me something to gripe about in the blog! I don’t think my griping will be able to continue too much longer. I’m starting to get a better understanding of the capabilities of the iBike. There are somethings I can do to alleviate some of my frustrations. I just need to find the time to sort it out.

Why Quarq and not SRM?

When I first got my Quarq CinQo I was often asked, “Why didn’t you go with SRM?” The primary reason at that point was cost. The next reason was the ANT+ protocol that promised more freedom with head choices. Having never used a SRM, I’ve hesitated to write about the two in comparison. Well, it turns out a reader has done it for me.

The below posting of a comment from John does cover most of the comments I have heard over and again. Again, I have not compared the two, so if there are any SRM defenders who wish to counter — have at it. Thanks John for the comment.

I’ve used an SRM for the past 9 years and just 1 month ago moved to a Quark + Garmin 500.  I did this mainly because the SRM I have is a wired system, and the software is really Windows only (SRM software and CyclingPeaks are both Windows-only, and Golden Cheetah is a piece of crap).  Using a Mac, I really wanted to use some nice software, e.g. rubiTrack, and using a Garmin 500 as a head unit gives me that option.  I can also analyze the data in CyclingPeaks in a VM until they update it.

So that said, I’ll say that after using the SRM for 9+ years, I really don’t notice a lag in moving to the Quark + Garmin.  Is there a 1 revolution lag?  Probably.  But I don’t really understand what “instantaneous” power would measure anyway?  Power is force*distance (torque * rpm) so you need to get a rotation or two to measure it anyway.  The SRM may be marginally quicker but not appreciably so.

Also, note that the default of the SRM is to average power over 3-4 seconds, continuously.  You can set this in the SRM software.  I actually changed my Garmin to show “Power 3 seconds” instead of “Power” to more accurately reflect this, because otherwise it jumps around a little too much to give a reading that’s sufficiently consistent to gauge your pace.  If I’m accelerating, I don’t want to see 750w 400w 800w 350w 600w because it’s really more useful to know if it’s closer to 500-550w on average… I know how many seconds I can go at that pace before I’m going to exceed my LT.

One other thing, and a big advantage to me:  As an SRM user for 9 years, I’ve sent units back to SRM 4 times over that time period.  The batteries in the crank are claimed to last about 2 years, but if you ride 200 miles/week year-round it’s actually more like 1.5 years.  So you pack it up, ship it off to CO Springs (used to be to Germany!) and have them change the battery.  So $100 and 1.5-2 weeks later you’re back going again.  What do you do in that 2 weeks you have no cranks?  OK, so you buy a spare set of Dura-Ace cranks at $400 so you can train while you swap out your battery… ugh.  Replaceable batteries = win.

I’d also like to say “Thanks” to Jim and Mieke at Quarq for their help over the last year. The Quarq logo has shown in our sponsors area since last April. Tomorrow there will be a space for another sponsor as Quarq comes down. Still, I’m a big fan of Quarq and the CinQo.

The planets have realigned

Late last evening I looked out my front door to find a small box that had been delivered by UPS. I instantly knew what it was, but as I opened the door to grab it I hoped it wasn’t a Christmas present ordered by the Beautiful Redhead for one of the Things Three. Ah, joy, it was what I thought it was… my refurbished Garmin Edge 705!

I’m really thankful that John James has let me use his PowerTap for about three weeks now. Frankly, I think he has enjoyed not having the computer connected to him when he’s riding. I’m glad to get him back on the ball-and-chain.

Me? I’ve been out of sorts because my Garmin busted right as I was starting a serious attempt at training with power. That is why John’s generosity was so important. Thankfully I didn’t miss a single session.

Still, it was weird using a system that I didn’t understand. It took me a while to feel comfortable with the PowerTap computer. I was always afraid that I would clear it when I went to set an interval. It was also very different from large display Garmin.

As soon as I got the box open, I cranked up the computer and configured it. Then it was down to the office where my Giant with its Quarq CinQo was sitting in the trainer. I popped the 705 into its mount and then spinned the crank. Nothing happened at first so I started to go through the 705 settings to rescan. Before I could get there the alert popped up that the powermeter had been found!


Today I’ll swap out the PowerTap rear wheel with my own and return the PowerTap wheels, wires, and head to John. Things will now be back to normal. Sure, it is a small thing, but when you are starting out on something new — something you are not sure of — it is good to have something comfortable be part of the process.

I do have to say that after using the PowerTap, I am very happy with the Garmin display. With eight possible configurable panels on the display (and a possible 16 with a simple switch)  it is very easy to have as much or as little information as you desire. That is going to be nice!

On the PowerTap I would have to scroll through the selections in order to see the cadence and the time elapsed. Since one of the things Jim is working with me is my cadence (yes, it is too low) I need to be able to keep an eye on it. At the same time, I need to keep an eye on the time elapsed for my intervals. The PowerTap head made that a challenge.

My Garmin screen will be configured with three display panels: 1) watts, 2) time, and 3) cadence.  On the second display that you can access by tapping the joy stick will have other information such as time of day, average watts, average cadence, etc.  Not only that, but a single push of a button will start my intervals.

Once again I find myself very pleased with the CinQo-Garmin combination. It isn’t that the PowerTap did not do the job. The data I received was not noticeably different. However, the ease of use and configurability of the former wins out in my experience.

Finally, once again, a big thank you to John James and Sunshine Cycle Shop. They have been taking care of me for over ten years now and I know they have my back. They can have yours too!

Learning life lessons

I don’t believe in fate. I believe everything in my life happens for a reason and is directed by a personal, good, and great God. That means the “good” things that happen in my life and the “bad” things are from him and are good. Where I struggle sometimes is with trying to understand the message in the circumstances.

This has been very true when it comes to my training. It seems that ever since I signed up to have a coach help me reach a higher level, I have been having all kinds of issues come up that make the training a challenge. Is the message that I am heading down the wrong road? Is God trying to improve me — not just physically, but mentally and spiritually — through the challenges I have to overcome?

A theological point here. Some may say, “If God is a good god, then why does he allow these bad things to happen to you?” Well, understand that man is an eternal being. While the body may last for decades, the soul is immortal. So, what might appear to be “bad” in the here-and-now can actually be something that is “good” in the greater reality of eternity.

God is always more interested in the eternal that the temporal. His actions regarding my life that seem to be roadblocks are either to arrest me from going down a road that will bring me harm, or he is placing me in a crucible to make me stronger. Sometimes the answer comes in the here-and-now as you see God’s plan work out in real time. Some struggles you don’t know the answer to until you see eternity.

So, what am I to take from all that is happening to me right now? First there are the physical issues. I won’t go into all the detail because I have already brought it up in past posts. All I will say here is that it has been bad enough to cause me to question whether I will be successful. It is going to be hard to improve if I am continuing to have these nagging pains.

Second there is the scheduling stuff. Adding this training to my schedule is really putting some pressure on me. It is one more thing to fit into an already busy schedule. When that happens, something has to give. It is very important for me to make sure the important things in life don’t!

There are also those nagging little things that come up. For instance, I rushed home last night leaving the office at 5 PM. By 5:30 I had the mountain bike loaded on the car and I was backing out the driveway to do my first night ride of the year at Paris Mountain State Park. No sooner had I pulled out onto the road and the rain started pouring on my windshield.

I don’t mind riding in the rain. I love riding at night. However, I was not going to chance doing my first night ride in the rain. Turns out it must have been a passing shower, but I ended up spending an hour and a half on the trainer. There went my cross training.

Third there is the issue with my powermeter. I chose to train with power. I believe it is the best method of training for me and I had all the equipment I needed to make it happen.

Then my equipment failed. One day about a week after starting my training I started out for a ride. I turned on my Garmin 705 and then started to spin. Typically the Garmin would recognize my Quarq CinQo after the first spin. This day it didn’t.

I started scrambling to 1) find another way to get my power numbers, and 2) find out how to fix my own system. Thankfully, John James at Sunshine Cycle Shop loaned me his Power-Tap. I really appreciate him letting me use it until I can get my own issues resolved. That was my answer for number 1.

The second issue is more complex. Which one was broken — the CinQo or the Edge? I noticed that my Garmin was picking up the HR strap (which uses an ANT protocol) so I figured the network chip was okay. It must be the CinQo. So, I sent it off to Quarq. Turns out the CinQo was working just fine. The Garmin 705 Edge uses two ANT+ chips — one protocol  for the HR strap and another for other ANT+ devices.

Now I’ve got to get the Garmin fixed. How long is that going to take? What is it going to cost?

All of this leads me to the question… Is all of this worth it?

I think it is. There have been many other circumstances that have been encouraging as I’ve started this process. Besides, I’ve only been at it for two weeks! (I have to admit sometimes it seems much longer.) I have the whole year ahead of me and it is good to have some of these issues taken care of now instead of later.

At the same time, I believe questioning my motives is good. If I allow this one aspect of my life to get out of balance with more important ones, I could be headed for trouble. These little issues that come up are reminders to check why I am doing what I do.

God is good. I know that what he brings into my life is for my good – always. God is great. There is no circumstance — or powermeter problem — for which he does not have the answer. This is path I’ve started down. Until God takes away friends like John, has people stop calling me to offer their help with my physical issues, and closes the doors to the great support I’ve gotten from people like Jim and Mieke at Quarq; I’ll keep going.

Perhaps I’ll see why I’ve gone through all of this at some point in the near future of here-and-now. If not, it is still important that I learn some eternal life lessons that I may learn in the here-after. Maybe God is using this training to train more than just my body!

Your compact Quarq CinQo is waiting for you

I’m a fan of the Quarq CinQo powermeter.  I have a compact crank sitting in my basement right now that I bought specifically to deck out with the unit.  However, by the time I got around to affording a powermeter, I had graduated to a standard crank.

Well, now the CinQo is available for anyone interested in putting one on their compact crank… as long as it is one of the cranks that will take the unit.  Come to think of it, if there is anyone out there that would like to start measuring their power output, I have a very nice SRAM S900 crank I will sell you.

I don’t believe I will be switching out my cranks.  If I need to get some easier gearing, I’ll do it on the backend instead of at the bottom bracket.

Anyway, here is the announcement from Jim Meyer – the originator of the Quarq CinQo power system:

We now have a limited quantity of the 110 BCD CinQo Saturn Compact for SRAM S900 cranksets.   The wait is finally over for those of you wanting to run the 50/34T compact ratios with the CinQo Saturn powermeter.

You can place your order via our webstore: www.quarq.us/store. Orders will be filled in the order in which they are received.

We have plenty of SRAM S900 cranks in stock (including 177.5mm length). You are also welcome to send us your cranks and chainrings to us for the CinQo assembly and calibration.

We’ve received many inquiries regarding the use of Rotor Q-rings with the compact CinQos. In order to use Q-rings on the compact CinQo, you must use the “OCP3” 110 BCD outer ring. The inner 110 BCD Q-ring requires modification in order to fit properly. We can do the necessary modification here.

Please keep in mind that there are a limited number of these CinQos available. They are on a first come, first serve basis. We will start shipping these CinQos on August 17, 2009.

We will continue to add additional inventory to the webstore as we have it ready.

Seriously, though, I do have one of those S900 cranks in very good condition.  Whether you plan to do the powermeter or just want to upgrade to a nice, light weight, crank with carbon arms, let me know.  We can work out a deal.

Figuring out my WKO+ Power Profile

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.

My power profile... for now.

My power profile... for now.

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.

More on the Garmin 705

I know I gave my final word on the CinQo and Garmin a couple of posts ago.  However, I had some follow up questions come my way from someone interested in the combo.  His questions centered around the Garmin rather than the power meter.

Since I took the time to craft the e-mail, I figured I would put it out on the blog just in case someone else has similar questions.  If you have any questions about the devices or the combination of both, I will be glad to try to get the answers for you.

The only issues I have had with the Garmin is when I have tried to put a que sheet on it and follow it on a long ride (we’re talking ride lengths of 4+ hours).  It is as though the computer can’t handle it and it freezes.

I have had no problems at all with the CinQo and the mapping conflicting.

The reason I like the Garmin is:

1.  the point-to-point directions
2.  the ability to use the mapping function to follow rides afterwards
3.  the fact that it collects data from my HR monitor and power meter
4.  the way you can configure the screen to show different fields of data

Your friend had something happen to him that has happened to me.  When you use the Garmin with the speed sensor on the back wheel, sometimes the connection between the two gets broken.  This happened to me mostly if I had not been on the bike in a day or two.  The way to avoid it is to make sure you pair the devices before you get to the race location – or at least 30 feet away from other riders.

Anyway, if you do not pair the two together before you go into a group situation, you can end up picking up someone else’s speed sensor.  However, that is alleviated when you use the CinQo.  You don’t have a speed sensor in that case.  CinQo becomes your cadence sensor and the Garmin uses the GPS for measuring your speed.  You don’t have to have the little speed sensor on the chain stay.

Obviously, everyone has their personal habits that are different from others.  Perhaps you would want to use the combo in a way I have not and therefore could experience an issue.  However, I can say that I have reached the point where I don’t even think about it.  It is second nature.

Let me know what you end up doing!

Glad you enjoy the video.  I am hoping to get out there tomorrow night at Donaldson Center and get some there.

Of course, I am simply giving my experiences with these devices.  Other user experiences may vary.

My final word on the Quarq CinQo & Garmin 705

I’ve had several different contacts recently concerning my Quarq CinQo and Garmin 705 combination.  It finally drove me down to the basement to do some testing to see if there is a lag in the processing of the data.  I also had to ask myself that if there is a lag… do I really care?

Quarq CinQo Saturn

My SRAM S900 Quarq CinQo Saturn

Some information about me so you understand where I am coming from as I write this.  I am a Category 4 racer.  I do not have a training plan or a coach.  I have a power meter because I love playing around with data.  I am also interested in building a power profile for future training.

Why this power meter?  I was drawn to the Quarq CinQo because of the price, Quarq’s innovative approach to application development, and the fact it would work with my Garmin 705.  Since I already owned my Garmin, it made the price point on the CinQo very attractive.

I do not regret getting my Garmin 705.  I know that there are people who down it as a power collection computer because of some of the algorithms used.  However, as a cycling computer it is pretty stout.  I’m not just talking about the GPS portions.  If I were to buy another cycling computer, it would be another Garmin.

So, what about the two of them together?  What about this lag that people are complaining about?  I went to discover what was up.

First, I have been riding with my new CinQo power meter and Garmin 705 computer with updated firmware for several rides now.  Second, I have gone into my “lab” to test and see if I could isolate a consistent delay in data making its way to my Garmin.  I’m now ready to give my opinion.

In real life, I have to admit that I just don’t notice it.  My approach to data is to go out and ride.  When I’m done, I move the data to my laptop and then analyze what I’ve collected.  I notice no lag at all in that case.

Yes, there have been times when I will bottom out at the end of a downhill and then kick up a new incline.  I will look down at the computer and then start pedaling.  I came to notice that I would not see the data appear on the screen until I had completed one full revolution with each crank arm.

So, I moved it into the lab.  I put the bike on my stand, held the Garmin in one hand, and then started turning the crank with the other.  Let’s see what happens.

I started the crank at dead top center.  On the Garmin I saw a blank line where the power would be displayed. I turned one revolution.  The Garmin registered a zero, but no number.  Hmmmm.  I tried it again and this time did two revolutions.  After the first revolution the zero appeared and after the second the power reading came up.

Wow.  That was a delay.  Now, that didn’t seem to be consistent with what I was seeing out on the road.  Then I stumbled on something.

After bringing the crank to a stop, I started the revolution more quickly.  This time the Garmin was registering a zero before I started to turn the crank.  No sooner had I finished one revolution than I saw the power data appear on the Garmin.  I repeated this several times and could not even time the delay with my stop watch.

What appeared to be happening is that the Garmin would “go to sleep” after a time of inactivity from the CinQo.  When this happened, there was a more substantial delay (we’re talking around 1.5 seconds).  However, when the Garmin was “awake” I couldn’t get the watch started and stopped fast enough.

Quarq tells me that the CinQo starts sending the data at the conclusion of the first revolution.  This will always be the case as long as they are using the ANT+ protocol.  So, if you want power data collection as soon as you move your foot a fraction, I guess the CinQo isn’t for you.

The Garmin 705 appears to take about a half second to display the data (when it is awake – as it would be in most cases when on a ride).  If you take that half second and a quarter second for the CinQo to calculate and transmit, you will be looking at the potential of three-fourths of a second delay.

So, what is my opinion?  If I were to go out to buy a power meter, I would do the same thing again.  The cost of the CinQo is a big factor to me, but so is the fact that they are building their system for growth.  If I don’t like the Garmin, there are other computers I can connect it with — even the iBike.  There will be even more to come.

I ride with friends who have Powertaps.  One particular riding buddy is a very similar rider to me (a much more experienced rider, but very close in build and riding style).  It is very interesting to see how similar our data is in WKO+ following a ride.  I am confident my system is doing as good of a job as the Powertap system.

What about the SRM?  Well, they aren’t letting me test their meter and I can’t afford it.  I do like the SRM for one of the same reasons I like the CinQo over the Powertap – it is crank mounted and not part of the rear hub.  However, I cannot say that I have compared the two in any way.

Here is the bottom line for me.  I have had absolutely zero problems with the construction or capabilities of my CinQo.  The Garmin is a known item that might do so many things well it isn’t necessarily the best for collecting data.  To me, its other positives outweigh that negative.  I have been given no reason not to be happy with my Quarq CinQo.

The apparent lag?  I know it might be important to some people, but I just don’t care.  Perhaps if I were a professional it might be a bigger deal to me.  However, for an amateur like me, I highly recommend this system.

The Quarq CinQo has given me consistent data for multiple months. I can say that the data I’ve analyzed has told me a lot about myself.  I have adjusted my riding to strengthen my weak points and been encouraged by the gains I’ve seen.

They say that ignorance is bliss.  Perhaps I am just ignorant of some major flaw in the product.  I have not experienced anything close to being what I could call a flaw or failure.  I am a very happy Quarq – and Garmin – customer.  Someone is going to have to have a pretty strong argument to make me otherwise.