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  1. #1
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    power meter for non racer

    i have been playing with idea of getting power meter for a while now, but still not sure i will make any use of it. i dont race, but ride a lot. i will most likely not follow any sort of structured training (not for extended period of time for sure), even though i might give it a try if i end up getting PM. i just been having this feeling that i have been plateauing for too long. i would like to get faster, more efficient on long rides, be able to pace my self better. but mostly get faster is my goal. you guys think pm would enable this. i will most likely not be geeking out on all the numbers post ride. just looking at it during ride so that i stay in proper zone that suitable for the type of ride i am doing. also, will most likely put it on my road bike, even though i mostly road ride just in winter and spring months. any advice appreciated.
    thanks

  2. #2
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    It's how you use it that will make a difference, and by far the best way to use it is for structured training. Just having it and looking at the numbers isn't going to do anything unless you change what you're doing in response to what the numbers tell you. I have a smart trainer and PMs on the road bike and mtb. The utility goes in the same order. The trainer is by far the easiest way to do structured training. The road bike is OK, but my riding environment makes it much more difficult to do structured training, though it still is possible to do and I use it for hill repeats and longer intervals. My mtb riding is way too variable and I don't look at the PM while riding. I look at the PM data after an mtb ride to see if I'm improving, in what zone, etc..

    Nothing wrong with getting a PM just to look at the numbers. There's a decent chance that once you see them, you'll want to start trying to systematically improve them.
    What, me worry?

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    I just purchased a power2max ngeco and put it on my bike. It couldnít be easier and Iím really happy using the data to better understand my efforts etc.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    It's how you use it that will make a difference, and by far the best way to use it is for structured training. Just having it and looking at the numbers isn't going to do anything unless you change what you're doing in response to what the numbers tell you. I have a smart trainer and PMs on the road bike and mtb. The utility goes in the same order. The trainer is by far the easiest way to do structured training. The road bike is OK, but my riding environment makes it much more difficult to do structured training, though it still is possible to do and I use it for hill repeats and longer intervals. My mtb riding is way too variable and I don't look at the PM while riding. I look at the PM data after an mtb ride to see if I'm improving, in what zone, etc..

    Nothing wrong with getting a PM just to look at the numbers. There's a decent chance that once you see them, you'll want to start trying to systematically improve them.
    i have thought about trainer but i dont think i would be using it much. between road and mtb, we can pretty much ride all year around here.
    like i said, i might end up doing structured training but knowing myself it will not last for long. from the most part, i would be using it to make sure i stay in proper zone if i go for a shorter ride so i keep pushing and make the most of it or if i do all day epic to make sure i dont rev myself and can last as long as i need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    It's how you use it that will make a difference, and by far the best way to use it is for structured training. Just having it and looking at the numbers isn't going to do anything unless you change what you're doing in response to what the numbers tell you. I have a smart trainer and PMs on the road bike and mtb. The utility goes in the same order. The trainer is by far the easiest way to do structured training. The road bike is OK, but my riding environment makes it much more difficult to do structured training, though it still is possible to do and I use it for hill repeats and longer intervals. My mtb riding is way too variable and I don't look at the PM while riding. I look at the PM data after an mtb ride to see if I'm improving, in what zone, etc..

    Nothing wrong with getting a PM just to look at the numbers. There's a decent chance that once you see them, you'll want to start trying to systematically improve them.

    ^agree 100%


    If you want to get faster & more efficient you need some sort of structured training, even if it's only loosely structured. Power meters aren't necessary but they can be helpful and they're kind of fun.

  6. #6
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    ok, question for trainer users. i was checking out trainer road site and created training plan for me, just to see what it entails. it does look like to manage these kind of training outdoors is fairly difficult in terms of finding proper roads that would allow to complete the session. so i started playing with the idea of getting smart trainer instead of PM,
    but looking at the training plans, even the lowest volume plan has 3 training days and wants you to rest between training days. so how do you keep training on trainer and still get to use your gained fitness outside if there are no days left?

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    I use TrainerRoad on a smart trainer and neither of my bikes, road or mountain, have a power meter. I ride outside on Saturday and Sunday weekly, and I try to follow the training plan using percieved exertion on the outdoor rides. There are times I can't stick to the plan on my outdoor rides due to fatigue or the roads/trails being too short, but I usually try to ride at a similar effort to what the plan recommended on those rides. Sometimes I blow off the workout and have a fun mental health ride at my own pace when I feel like it's needed.

    I've had pretty good results using TrainerRoad, but it has also been humbling, frustrating, and demoralizing at times. The workouts are hard and can certainly cause burnout. Personally, if it weren't for racing I'd probably be unwilling to commit to a training plan. Good luck and remember to have fun.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    ok, question for trainer users. i was checking out trainer road site and created training plan for me, just to see what it entails. it does look like to manage these kind of training outdoors is fairly difficult in terms of finding proper roads that would allow to complete the session. so i started playing with the idea of getting smart trainer instead of PM,
    but looking at the training plans, even the lowest volume plan has 3 training days and wants you to rest between training days. so how do you keep training on trainer and still get to use your gained fitness outside if there are no days left?


    Do some of the training sessions indoors and some outside. I did a few training plans with fascat coaching and they actually preferred that you do most of your training outdoors, it may not be as precisely controlled but certainly possible. Sessions are automatically uploaded to Garmin head unit so all you have to do is press start and follow instructions.

  9. #9
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    For me it depends on how strict I want to be with my training. Lately it's not that strict, so I'll replace a training session with an outdoor ride, or do that session a day or two after the outdoor ride. Here's where a coach can be really beneficial IMO as they can continuously adapt the plan based on what you actually do.
    What, me worry?

  10. #10
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    thanks everyone, i was able to borrow kinetic trainer from a friend for couple of weeks, so going to give it a try with trainerroad. its not the smart trainer i believe, it will not be controlled by app but it has some sort of sensor to transfer data to app, but i will need to control resistance. will see how it goes.

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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    i would like to get faster, more efficient on long rides, be able to pace my self better.
    I like long rides, especially in Winter. Others are better at structured interval training, but I feel like I've got Zone 2 rides down to a science (and did well at a couple of NUE 100 milers to back that up).

    With a power meter you could monitor your pacing several ways, but here is the best way: determine your power zones and Zone 2 heart rate, but then watch your NP (normalized power) using a Garmin or another device that calculates this. You will give yourself the freedom to go above and below it on hills, maybe even the occasional fun sprint, but you'll want to average an NP on the high end of your Zone 2 power.

    It works great, and the number doesn't fluctuate much, so you don't find yourself staring at your stem all the time, but enjoying the view.

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    I would invest in a smart trainer with a PM over a PM for your road bike. If all riding is done on your MTB, you could consider the PM, but you would not see the same benefit and it would just be useless data without coaching or a pretty decent learning curve.

    Even if you donít follow significant structure, performing power based workouts even twice a week will pay dividends and help you blast through a plateau. Itís easy. Buy the trainer, subscribe to your service (Zwift, Trainer road, etc), do your FTP ramp test, and start a program.

    You will establish HR and Perceived effort that will allow you to pace rode rides and even perform those workouts on the road bike outside once you understand how your HR and your ďfeelsĒ relate to your power zones.

    One incredible benefit I experienced from the trainer and indoor power. YOU CAN BLOW UP IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR LIVING ROOM. What I mean by this is that you can go deeper than ever before without the risk of being stranded, bonked at a gas station or trail side. Sometimes you donít blow up and you learn incredible things about your body. I.e learning what itís like to hold 400-500 watts for a minute, and how much work you can do after that effort.

    It can drastically change how you approach trail riding and pacing. I know pick apart climbs based upon how long I know they will take, because I know what that effort should feel like.


    My simplest advice is to do the workouts you dread the most and are the worst at. Donít avoid these, as they are likely to address a major weak spot. Itís much more complicated than this, but even if you were to only do one Sweetspot workout per week and one that focused on repeating V02, it would make you much faster in the MTB


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    thanks everyone, i was able to borrow kinetic trainer from a friend for couple of weeks, so going to give it a try with trainerroad. its not the smart trainer i believe, it will not be controlled by app but it has some sort of sensor to transfer data to app, but i will need to control resistance. will see how it goes.
    Yeah. Trainerroad, Zwift and similar use a power curve for a dumb trainer. That means they have a decent idea of the power you're putting out based on the wheel rpm, the calibration curve for the trainer, and a spin-down calibration having been done at the start of a session. For this you need an ANT+ or bluetooth speed sensor on the wheel.

    You vary resistance by shifting gears and varying cadence to try to approximate and hold the required power for the interval. Using a smart trainer is so much better and easier (and tougher) it's not even funny. Generally, you set it to erg mode and there's no shifting. The smart trainer will hold the required power irrespective of cadence or gear. That means there's no cheating. If you try to ease off at the end of a tough interval by slowing cadence, the resistance will increase proportionally, which usually makes it even tougher. In erg mode, all you got to do is keep pedaling.

    In doing a normal Zwift ride rather than a workout, you use slope mode with a smart trainer. In that, the resistance is based on slope and speed, so you ride as you normally would, downshifting for hills, standing at low cadence on steep hills, etc.. With dumb trainer, the only thing that happens is your speed in zwift varies based on your power output based on wheel rpm and the trainer calibration curve.

    You can use a PM with a dumb trainer. The only thing that changes is the power recorded is much more accurate than use the dumb trainers calibration curve.

    Smart trainers are getting pretty cheap these days.
    What, me worry?

  14. #14
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    I hate trainers, but whatever works for you. It's rare that any personal records are set on a trainer, usually the wattages are lower because it's so dang boring. Hard group rides push you to do what you thought you couldn't. And the fresh air is better for you than staying indoors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    i have been playing with idea of getting power meter for a while now, but still not sure i will make any use of it. i dont race, but ride a lot. i will most likely not follow any sort of structured training (not for extended period of time for sure), even though i might give it a try if i end up getting PM. i just been having this feeling that i have been plateauing for too long. i would like to get faster, more efficient on long rides, be able to pace my self better. but mostly get faster is my goal. you guys think pm would enable this. i will most likely not be geeking out on all the numbers post ride. just looking at it during ride so that i stay in proper zone that suitable for the type of ride i am doing. also, will most likely put it on my road bike, even though i mostly road ride just in winter and spring months. any advice appreciated.
    thanks
    Reading this post tells me that a PM is a total waste of money, unless you just want to be a data nerd.

    You DO NOT need a PM for any training at all. It is handy if you want to be more precise about your training, but that is it. You can train and ride on RPE alone. Heart rate can be useful on occasion, but RPE is all you need. If you want to be a data nerd, get the PM. If not, just do some semi structure training outside with RPE.

    Here is an easy way to do it. A couple of times a week, pick a trail or segment, anything, and try to PR. Maybe a 20 minute one, maybe a 5 minute one, maybe a 30 second one. Take a short break and do that segment again (or, pick another one!). Do that for 30-60 minutes twice a week. There you go, you just did a structured workout, without having to make it boring, no special equipment, all paced on RPE. You WILL see gains if you do this.

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    OP specifically mentioned getting more efficient on long rides and wonders if he's plateauing. Enter a power meter. RPE will not work on long rides unless you're already very experienced with heart rate and power; you'll invariably start too quickly and finish slowly. It sure as heck won't work well for intervals unless you're talking about Tabata which is "go absolutely as hard as you can."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Here is an easy way to do it. A couple of times a week, pick a trail or segment, anything, and try to PR. Maybe a 20 minute one, maybe a 5 minute one, maybe a 30 second one. Take a short break and do that segment again (or, pick another one!). Do that for 30-60 minutes twice a week. There you go, you just did a structured workout, without having to make it boring, no special equipment, all paced on RPE. You WILL see gains if you do this.
    This is my kind of training plan right here.

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    power meter for non racer

    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    I hate trainers, but whatever works for you. It's rare that any personal records are set on a trainer, usually the wattages are lower because it's so dang boring. Hard group rides push you to do what you thought you couldn't. And the fresh air is better for you than staying indoors.
    No offense meant to you, my mega PRs are set on trainers.

    If you did more A/B Zwift races it would prepare you for the pace of the guys in your age group when you have to race the old Texas boys.

    Zwift races have given me the experience and confidence to lead out the pain train in race starts, itís extremely effective for sharpening the sword during These pandemic times or coming into a new season.


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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    No offense meant to you, by mega PRs are set on trainers.

    If you did more A/B Zwift races it would prepare you for the pace of the guys in your age group when you have to race the old Texas boys.

    Zwift races have given me the experience and confidence to lead out the pain train in race starts, itís extremely effective for sharpening the sword during These pandemic times or coming into a new season.


    For sure^ outdoor riding is more fun but workouts or races on zwift are serious ass kickers. I can only dream of hanging with the A's though, need 3.5 w/k just to stay at the front of the C group!

  20. #20
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    Yeah. Riding a trainer totally sucks, so anything that makes it a little less tedious can be very helpful. Smart trainer, Zwift or other vids, full motion platform (really helps the butt), good music (I use BT ear buds) etc...
    What, me worry?

  21. #21
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    Strava + MyWindSock can be an extremely useful training set up.

    That said, one of the problems with chasing Strava PRs/KOMs is that it might not be a sustainable long term training plan. Meaning, if your goal is to build strength, and you're trying to do tempo efforts, pushing it past that into Z4 in an attempt to take your PR from 20:47 to 19:45 and knock Tommy Smith down to #2 is tempting but perhaps not the most productive. Do that for long enough and you'll find that you're going backwards. Turning Z3 rides into race-like efforts will hurt you after a while.
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  22. #22
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    If you live some place where winter interfers with your ability to ride outside then a smart trainer is really nice. But if you are living some place where you can ride outside year round then a power meter might be used to make you quicker.

    I say might because for most people the biggest source of improvement is increasing how much they ride and how long they ride. If you are only riding three times a week for 2hrs each time then you are going to plateau relatively quickly, no matter what the composition of your training is.

    What a lot of people find is that getting a power meter motivates them to train more and perhaps train a bit smarter. Chasing those numbers and getting a nice measure of improvement is great for motivation.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Counter point, LMN.

    I live somewhere you can ride year round. I also work a normal job. Having a trainer is very important to keep from going backwards from November-February.

    We donít have enough. Light to get the intensity. And when you donít get to ride outside all week, you crave lots of trail volume in the weekends.

    There is a high correlation between a ideal working hours and the ability to train outside and get fast.


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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Counter point, LMN.

    I live somewhere you can ride year round. I also work a normal job. Having a trainer is very important to keep from going backwards from November-February.

    We donít have enough. Light to get the intensity. And when you donít get to ride outside all week, you crave lots of trail volume in the weekends.

    There is a high correlation between a ideal working hours and the ability to train outside and get fast.


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    I am in the same boat as you. My work day finishes early, but up here it is pitch black by 4. If I am really organized I get 45 minutes before I am riding in the dark, and riding roads in the dark makes me nervous.

    I find that Zwift is an awesome way to come out of the winter with form. Last year I went 3 months with the only outside riding being on a fat bike the rest of my training was on Zwift and on XC skis. I went to California in late February and was just stomping on the pedals. It felt like I was fully bike fit right away.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Phone died mid post...

    Iím looking to se up a second trainer. That way my wife and I can train at the same time instead of waiting our turn. That will really help with volume this winter.

    Iíve told her I am going to put my Hammer behind hers so I can draft.


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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Phone died mid post...

    Iím looking to se up a second trainer. That way my wife and I can train at the same time instead of waiting our turn. That will really help with volume this winter.

    Iíve told her I am going to put my Hammer behind hers so I can draft.


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    My wife and I talked about getting a second trainer but with a Baby coming in February I don't think we are going be training at the same time any time soon.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    My wife and I talked about getting a second trainer but with a Baby coming in February I don't think we are going be training at the same time any time soon.
    Iím dying to do a B race at the same time with her.

    Yíall might have to both train during that nap. I bet that baby will learn to sleep to the hum of the trainer too!


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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Iím dying to do a B race at the same time with her.

    Yíall might have to both train during that nap. I bet that baby will learn to sleep to the hum of the trainer too!


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    Zwift doesn't let her do B races, at least when she is on reasonable form. When 4 watts/kg is your aerobic pace that Zwift algorithm flags you as a sandbagger in a hurry.

    Flat Zwift races are brutal for small riders. If I pick a hilly Zwift B race I usually make the selection on climbs and am often in the lead group for the final sprint. But on a flat crit, I really struggle just stay in the group. I guess it is the same in real life but difference is I am pretty good at moving around a pack in real life, but I am struggling to maximize the Zwift drafting algorithm.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Zwift doesn't let her do B races, at least when she is on reasonable form. When 4 watts/kg is your aerobic pace that Zwift algorithm flags you as a sandbagger in a hurry.

    Flat Zwift races are brutal for small riders. If I pick a hilly Zwift B race I usually make the selection on climbs and am often in the lead group for the final sprint. But on a flat crit, I really struggle just stay in the group. I guess it is the same in real life but difference is I am pretty good at moving around a pack in real life, but I am struggling to maximize the Zwift drafting algorithm.
    I noticed the same thing when I was on Zwift. At ~4.8-5.0 w/kg FTP (but only weighing 138 lbs) it was brutal to ride flat races. In real life, I could win Cat 3 (and podium Masters 1/2/3) crits just by having pack skills and knowing when to apply power. There's no algorithm for racecraft, sadly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    I noticed the same thing when I was on Zwift. At ~4.8-5.0 w/kg FTP (but only weighing 138 lbs) it was brutal to ride flat races. In real life, I could win Cat 3 (and podium Masters 1/2/3) crits just by having pack skills and knowing when to apply power. There's no algorithm for racecraft, sadly.


    Cat 3? You should be a solid cat 1 @ ~5 w/kg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Cat 3? You should be a solid cat 1 @ ~5 w/kg.
    I was mid-40's with 2 kids and a job. Also only raced road 10-ish times a year, mostly MTB. I had Cat 2 upgrade points but as I usually raced Masters there was no point in upgrading. Maybe if I had been mid-20s I would have cared.

    Also, around here there are literally no extended climbing road races, so that big w/kg helped a lot more off-road than on. I was constantly racing guys with 350-375 FTP in crits when I was ~300 with no sprint. Great training, though, and fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    I was mid-40's with 2 kids and a job. Also only raced road 10-ish times a year, mostly MTB. I had Cat 2 upgrade points but as I usually raced Masters there was no point in upgrading. Maybe if I had been mid-20s I would have cared.

    Also, around here there are literally no extended climbing road races, so that big w/kg helped a lot more off-road than on. I was constantly racing guys with 350-375 FTP in crits when I was ~300 with no sprint. Great training, though, and fun.



    Still, must have been fun racing cat 3 with those kind of numbers. I'm 150ish pounds with a weak 230-something ftp and even at that Zwift makes me race B category. I live at the back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Still, must have been fun racing cat 3 with those kind of numbers. I'm 150ish pounds with a weak 230-something ftp and even at that Zwift makes me race B category. I live at the back.
    Crits were fun, but while that FTP kept me always in contention my lack of top end meant I had to race really craftily to place.

    I would look for a break with 2-3 bigger, stronger guys (remember, flat circuits) and make sure I pulled on the false flats and slight climbs, where my w/kg helped. I'd go 5-6 seconds longer than necessary on front, come off the front and stay on the gas 3-4 extra seconds (so they would need to accelerate to come around), and intentionally create gaps when I came on the front after the strongest other rider finished pulling (making him have to work a little harder to latch on the tail of the break after just pulling).

    If done subtly enough, no one would catch on and after 15-20 laps in the break I had worn people down a bit, to where (at worst) their sprint was eroded by the finish or (at best) they couldn't follow a late attack. I just ended up sometimes being the strongest of those left after a race of attrition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    No offense meant to you, my mega PRs are set on trainers.

    If you did more A/B Zwift races it would prepare you for the pace of the guys in your age group when you have to race the old Texas boys.

    Zwift races have given me the experience and confidence to lead out the pain train in race starts, itís extremely effective for sharpening the sword during These pandemic times or coming into a new season.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Lol are you Cat 3 or Cat 2? Settle down, tenderfoot, you'll get gored by the longhorns.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    Lol are you Cat 3 or Cat 2? Settle down, tenderfoot, you'll get gored by the longhorns.
    I finished far enough ahead of you to get a beer, grab my camera and come back and cheer you on.

    Alas, I am not one of the fast Texas old men, yet.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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