I have a little competition going with my friend in Omaha, Nebraska SushiJoe.
Last night on my commute I asked him what his 30 second and 1 minute numbers were in absolute wattage and w/kg. I needed a carrot. I needed something to motivate me because the headwinds were demoralizing me. Have I mentioned how much I hate headwinds? I beat his 30 second number in absolute watts and in watts per kg (w/kg)as well. When reading power data it is important to not focus on the absolute numbers so much.
Here is an example. Two cyclists are comparing their wattage output on a local hill of 1.5 miles 6% grade.
John says: “I can hold 275 watts on that climb”
Mary says: “Really? I can only hold 225 watts on that climb”
Who is the stronger cyclist on this climb? Let’s take a look at body weights for these two riders.
John weighs 165 lbs or 78.84 kg
Mary weighs 125 lbs or 56.70 kg
So John’s w/kg is 275 watts divided by 78.84 kg = 3.67 w/kg
Mary’s w/g is 225 watts divided by 56.70 kg = 3.96 w/kg
On this particular climb, based on their weight and power output, Mary is the stronger cyclist because her w/kg for this climb is 3.96 w/kg.
An important concept to remember is that w/kg is a power to weight ratio. As you lose or gain weight your w/kg will change that seems obvious right? But far too many people try to buy their way into better climbing. If you want to improve your climbing lose weight. Typically you will continue to hold your absolute wattage output if you are shedding fat pounds and retaining lean muscle.
Above is a screen shot from Training Peaks. You will see on the left a small frame that shows a time frame and corresponding wattage. The only thing missing to make the data quantifiable is my weight. I weighed 150 lbs yesterday which is 68.04 kg.
My 30 sec peak power was 721 watts or 10.6 w/kg Sushijoe’s number was 7.91 w/kg. Ok Sushijoe there is your carrot. You have to beat 10.6 w/kg.
Being an Ultra cyclist, I am a slow twitch type of rider. I rarely do group rides. It is especially important for me to work on my fast twitch muscle so as not to lose that snap in my legs.