Power meter issues or am I really that weak?

power-meter

#1

Ugh! I went from excitement to disappointment. I am new to TR and have completed about 10 weeks of base phase. I was using a speed sensor, Cyclops Fluid 2 and Virtual Power. For my first ramp test I had an FTP of 254 which I guessed was high by listening to the podcasts. My second ramp test was after my first 6 weeks of base phase. I figured I should see a decent jump the first time I retested because I had never done any structured training before and was feeling better and better rapidly as I was adapting to the new form of training. For my 2nd test I had an FTP of 274. I always felt that the virtual power was quite high but it works for my training. I was able to complete all of the workouts but did have to dig deep a few times. Mostly I added to the workouts though.
Well, I purchased a new power meter (Dura Ace Stages Gen. 3 left & right). I just performed my first ramp test with the new power meter. It seems to be working fine. I zeroed it before my ride and both sides were connected. I had adjusted my FTP down to 190 for the test but it felt hard. I then adjusted it to 180. It still felt hard when starting out but I just went with it.
I ended up with an FTP of 106! I kinda lost heart looking at the numbers and maybe could have done a little better but my HR did reach 174 which is about as high as I ever see at age 52.
Frame of reference:
52 years old, 164lbs/74Kg, 5’10"/180cm
I ride with a friend who had his first ramp test recently with an FTP of 202 on a Wahoo Core. He and I have ridden together a lot and he is 20lbs/9Kg lighter than me. Based on his FTP and the fact that he is faster than I am I was hoping mine would be around 190.
I did several rides last spring and over the summer of 120 to 135 miles with 12,000 to 15,000ft of gain.
for those that are in Reno, I did Geiger Grade in a little over 48min. but that was not a TT effort. I had a loose jersey, heavy training tires, 2 large bottles (full) and did not push that hard because I wanted to do 60+ mile ride with over 6,000ft after the climb.
I just have a hard time believing that my FTP is 106.
Sorry this was long.
Does anybody have any ideas of what might be going on?


#2

For validation, see if your friend will let you install your bike on his Core, and do some data collection comparing wattage between the Core and your Stages.

Make sure both are calibrated or zero offset appropriately (start for PM, after 10 minute warm-up on the trainer). Then run some steady pedaling at a range of wattage (100, 125, 150, 175, 200) and see how the two devices match.

Outside of that, do some workouts at the current FTP and see of they feel correct to the intensity they should feel like.

Ignore the old VP values as they are effectively garbage for comparison. They are only good for showing change on your setup.


#3

Thanks for taking the time to read my long post. Great idea!


#4

If you have enough parameters you can calculate a guesstimate wattage for a certain climb - not recommended for flats/downhills though.

http://bikecalculator.com/

Enter weight, bike weight, distance, average gradient and so on and you can move the power slider left and right to see a resulting time.


#5

Another calculator:

https://www.cyclingpowerlab.com/VAM.aspx

Use your Geiger climb to get a power number for that climb. Then you know your FTP is at least that.


#6

The fact that it’s almost exactly half what you were expecting makes me suspicious of left/right issues. Are you connecting via Bluetooth or ANT+? I’m not too familiar with Stages L/R, will it broadcast combined power from one unit?

My understanding is that for Bluetooth Smart connections, TrainerRoad doesn’t support gathering power from two sides separately.


#7

That’s true for BLE, I think it pulls from one side only, but I believe that it’s supposed to double that value to give a more accurate estimate.


#8

Wow! Thanks so much to all of you!
OK, feeling better now.
I checked Strava for the climb and the estimate was 197
I checked the 2 awesome sites shared and got 199.78 and 215.
I know I could actually shave time but I guess 48 min. is not an hour so maybe the numbers above are close. I am guessing that Mathew was right. From what I read in the manual the right meter links to the left and sends the signal to the head unit from the left. I was using bluetooth and connected both left and right to TR. I need to see where I went wrong with the settings but should be able to figure it out.
Thanks so much everyone!


#9

Try an ANT+ phone or bike head unit and see what you get at the same time as a BLE device.


#10

I bet if both are connected to TR via Bluetooth then each sends its own power… and TR ignores one. If you pair TR to only the left side, it might figure out what it needs to do and send the combined power. There might be more to setting it up correctly, though, I don’t have a Stages.


#11

Firstly, don’t get worried about the numbers. You can’t compare virtual power with real power, and don’t stress about comparing to a buddy. Focus on yourself and the gains you can make. Set your FTP at 106, and get to work. It’s consistency that’s the important thing when measuring power.

As long as you make progress, don’t worry about anything else. The proof of the pudding will be when you drop your buddy on the hills💪


#12

I second what Mathew suspects- it’s only reading half. Is there a native app you could compare with TR?


#13

Thanks everyone. I checked it out both ways and it is as we were thinking. If I connect TR to the left arm I get a good reading (double what I had). TR sees both but I need only to connect to the left and I am good to go. Thanks so much.


#14

I read your post waiting to see the word Stages, and then you said Stages