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Top end power loss

meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
This is just an idle observation before anybody gets too excited :wink:

So, due to my daughter being very ill, I've hardly done any cycling this year (I might have cracked 200 miles today - it's really that bad) and last year was poor.

What I've found mildly interesting is that whilst my long duration power (a kinda proxy of sorts for FTP) has dropped by say 10% (vs 2015), it's my short burst of power figure (10s dash) that's down by a 1/3rd - at least, according to the Strava power curve. And this is corroborated by the peak power I measure in any ride.

Now, I take this all with a massive pinch of salt but I did quite like to have that ability to accelerate hard and, whilst I fully expected to lose aerobic capacity (and I clearly have), I expected not to have seen this peak power drop off the proverbial cliff.

Now, I should point out that, at this stage in the life I'm living, nothing matters less. And, apart from quoting the woeful number of miles I've ridden, I've steered clear of any absolute numbers because they don't matter. And, I'm equally sure that, should I be given the chance to ride more, it'll come back (albeit I'm older).

What I am interested in is whether others have seen the same sort of thing? And what lies behind it?
ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
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  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    'Top end' tends to be the first thing to go but as long as you have a good base it comes back quite quickly IME.

    Hope your daughter's ok mate.
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    It will come back if you are able to keep doing some excerise. It does not even take long either. Sometimes there things important than riding.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Thanks, both. Yup, my daughter's obviously the key concern - that's going to be a long haul. But I'm trying to keep body and soul in order and taking it out on a pair of pedals is good relief. What the PM says is pretty much irrelevant. But I don't think I've done so little cycling since I started again 8 years or so ago. I'm seeing the numbers improve which is no big surprise.

    I'm going to be stuck on the turbo for a while from Wednesday so it'll be see how that improves things.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • For me I don't lose my peak power ability (i.e. 1-6 seconds) all that much after long breaks (years even), it seems much less malleable than aerobic fitness which can tank badly, and body weight which can balloon.

    I've had this several times. Last year when I tried to start back riding I went to a local track for a light spin and did a couple of short sprint efforts. Peak power was the same as my best race form. But my threshold power was about half.
  • When one stops aerobic exercise, muscle fibre type mix/properties tend to move more to the faster twitch end of the spectrum. Obviously much depends on your inherit fibre type mix.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,340
    Yes must admit my ability to put in a couple of short high power efforts doesn't drop much, it's more the longer duration or the ability to repeat high power efforts that goes.

    My younger bro who is a *very* occasional rider can blast up the short hill near my house depressingly fast at the start of a ride but 5 minutes in he's reassuringly breathing out of his ar se.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Yup - I didn't expect to lose this so much.

    The only other time it's happened was when I was on citirizine - completely destroyed my short, sharp, effort capability.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    I would lose that amount too. I think it's due to how much neuromuscular fitness you can hold even when untrained (or not). If I haven't sprinted on a bike in months, I'm like a bag of spanners trying to do it and that is reflected in the power I hold. But I have no real sprint ability to begin with on the bike, all of it is something I've had to train, so it makes sense that when I stop training it, it plummets. What was your 10s power before you lost a third of it? Decent or fairly low relative to weight/size?
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    maryka wrote:
    What was your 10s power before you lost a third of it? Decent or fairly low relative to weight/size?

    Thanks for this. I'm reluctant to introduce absolute numbers to the discussion because experience on BR has taught me very little good comes of it (happy to PM them). I would say my power was OK. In "fun" "sprints" with other fit riders, I'd "hold my own" (I hate that expression). I'm not a racing snake build even when I've lost weight for specific reasons (like the Alpe D'HuZes event) - 85kg and 183cm. I don't really have any decent references without introducing the dreaded "Strava" to the discussion but, poor as that is, it would suggest that I have a chance on a short, sharp climb (and I'm supremely average on long climbs).

    I should say that I don't train for sprinting (in fact I don't "train" in an accepted sense normally anyway) so my top-end power is just an artifact of the riding that I do. If I had to say I was any good at anything, it would be endurance - in car terms, I'm a diesel.

    To add a bit more colour, I've spent many many days (and nights) sat in a hospital room looking after my daughter since 6 Jan. My main exercise (until very recently) has been climbing the stairs to the 9th floor after I've visited the food concourse.

    Another factor, that may be relevant, is that the cycling I have done is in Cambridge - a city not know for its epic climbs. That said, in 2015, I was mostly in Amsterdam which makes Cambridge look like the Alps.

    Anyhow, just so we stay grounded, this is just idle curiosity as I've not seen this discussed on here before.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    When I've had a break my top end power was still there (5 to 10 seconds)- but I put that down to the added mass I was carrying. So I could still "sprint" but I had lost the endurance element of my fitness. I'd also lost the ability to suffer - my brain needed retraining as much as my body did.
    I reduced my cycling last year, from end of August through to January and I'm still struggling now to get back to where I was in terms of numbers (FTP is down by a small %). I'm training hard have lost the additional timber I put on, but I had 6 days off the bike last week while on a family break and I noticed I had regressed again very quickly (weight increased, measurable training sessions incredibly difficult to sustain and then race pace wasn't there)
    Good luck with getting back in to your riding, hope all goes well.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Ha - yes, suffering isn't an issue - getting plenty of practice at that and I'm pretty certain my mental fortitude is my greatest asset on a bike as I'm certainly not blessed with any god-given talent. Something as trivial as riding a bicycle doesn't register.

    I have to say that I expected, based upon what I think I know about myself, that the short duration power would have changed far less than the aerobic side of things. Maryka probably has a strong point about the neuromuscular side of things though. It's not a topic I know much about so I will do some reading.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Are you measuring your power (loss) with a PM or are you using Strava Power?

    I've cut back a lot over the last couple of years - family commitements - fortunately not like yours though! - just having a look at Strava power curve where you can compare against previous years - there is apparently a much larger %age drop at the top end to the mid/lower end of power.

    15seconds - I've "lost" 25%
    5-20 minute - it's 10% loss
    1hr - back up to 20%

    but that's just comparing a single ride to 2016 stats - I wouldn't say I worked my hardest during the ride either - I know I've lost (what little) climbing ability ...

    measured with a PM...
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    slowbike wrote:
    Are you measuring your power (loss) with a PM or are you using Strava Power?

    PM - Strava power is a bit of a joke: my default bike is my Renegade but, as I swap to the Foil, the Strava power estimate (before I had the PM running) would drop by 25-30%. Now, the Renegade isn't as quick as the Foil but the difference is nothing like that. In fact, Strava's estimate for the Renegade is about what the PM says the Foil had required (if that makes sense) i.e. If I tell Strava I'm riding the Renegade, it'll give a pretty good figure for the Foil.

    Anyhow, all of this is with the PM.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,410
    I've hardly done any cycling for 8 months (car accident, followed by winter, followed by an op). I've started to get back on track, cycling to work and the odd 30-40 miler.

    What I've noticed is that my sustained power and endurance has gone, if I have a dig at a couple of minutes long segment my legs go long before the end. A few weeks ago I did a 40 mile loop, the last 20 miles were nearly all into a 20+mph headwind. I've never suffered so much on a bike, I wanted to climb off and all I could do was turn the smallest gears. It wasn't the 'bonk' as it was purely my legs that were gone.

    I know though that if I keep commuting and getting out for a few weeks, I'll get some decent fitness going again. It's just really frustrating.
  • voodoomanvoodooman Posts: 183
    I cannot say for cycling but I used to be a pretty handy squash (and cricket) player.

    Just started playing again (mainly as my son has found a sport he quite likes to play with his dad) and my pace around the court has completely gone. That is the power to lunge and get around quickly. Due to cycling though I can keep playing for far longer than the 40 mins, but leg speed has gone totally.

    Will it come back? At 48 (nearly)? No, or not unless I could give up my job and train full-time for about 6 months.

    I bet your underlying stamina is there, and most people who've ever trained even semi-seriously can get back to their previous basal "engine" rate quite quickly. It's always the sprinting speed / snap and sheer power that goes first.

    And of course all the best to your daughter. Working as I do with very high acuity special needs means I'm always extremely grateful that both mine have been healthy to date.
  • slowbike wrote:
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
    Stages are unreliable for measurement of peak power.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'm reasonably sure it will come back. I'm blessed with parents who are very fit and active in their 80's - and so were their parents. That's why it seems such tough luck that two of my kids have had cancer - there's absolutely no history of it in either family (we're told there's no genetic link to either cancer let alone between them).

    It's good to know that there's a few of us that are working to get our fitness back. Good luck to you guys.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, too. Going through all of this makes you appreciate your fitness and health.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    slowbike wrote:
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
    Stages are unreliable for measurement of peak power.

    The figures I used to get were pretty consistent and I'd certainly trust it to tell me when I'm 30% down. If it were 5%, I wouldn't care.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • slowbike wrote:
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
    Stages are unreliable for measurement of peak power.

    The figures I used to get were pretty consistent and I'd certainly trust it to tell me when I'm 30% down. If it were 5%, I wouldn't care.
    I still wouldn't trust them for that purpose.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    slowbike wrote:
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
    Stages are unreliable for measurement of peak power.

    The figures I used to get were pretty consistent and I'd certainly trust it to tell me when I'm 30% down. If it were 5%, I wouldn't care.
    I still wouldn't trust them for that purpose.

    Without wanting to open up a whole "single-sided power" debate again, it's a strain gauge (array?) on a lever against which I apply force with my left leg. If all it's telling me is that my left leg peak power is down 30%, that's equally interesting to understand why
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    slowbike wrote:
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
    Stages are unreliable for measurement of peak power.

    The figures I used to get were pretty consistent and I'd certainly trust it to tell me when I'm 30% down. If it were 5%, I wouldn't care.
    I still wouldn't trust them for that purpose.

    Without wanting to open up a whole "single-sided power" debate again, it's a strain gauge (array?) on a lever against which I apply force with my left leg. If all it's telling me is that my left leg peak power is down 30%, that's equally interesting to understand why

    Exactly - it's not the absolute number that matters - it's consistancy in the result - something my Stages has been reliable at doing - I'm reasonably confident that my left leg is being trained (or not) at roughly the same rate as my right leg - last time I tried a wattbike the imbalance was minimal and quite frankly - the absolute overall power number doesn't matter (to me)
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'll do a bit of a test on the Neo to see what that reckons I can do for 10s power and compare with the Stages. But, absolutely - I don't care whether it's Watts or Zorgs or Lefties - all I want to get an indication of is broadly what the number is today vs another day. I can see that the number in 2017 is getting closer to the number in 2015 and where the big deficit is.

    I like power numbers but I'm not losing a second's sleep over it.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    Sorry to hear about your daughter, best wishes that she recovers well.

    Not much to add to the conversation other than I find I keep short burst power but lose aerobic fitness quickly (5-6 days of down time is enough to see a degradation for me). Fortunately it doesn't take much to maintain, I find I can maintain with 2 * 1hour SS rides a week if pushed, but it does seem to drop away fast. I took my turbo on the family ski trip this year to avoid the dip that normally gives me, my mates are still milking that hard...
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I'll do a bit of a test on the Neo to see what that reckons I can do for 10s power and compare with the Stages. But, absolutely - I don't care whether it's Watts or Zorgs or Lefties - all I want to get an indication of is broadly what the number is today vs another day. I can see that the number in 2017 is getting closer to the number in 2015 and where the big deficit is.

    I like power numbers but I'm not losing a second's sleep over it.

    I did a very rough comparison with my Bkool Smart turbo - instant numbers were different - but the 3s average was about the same - which is handly.

    I'm not training to power either - I just happened to be in the situation where I could buy a PM and intended to use it - then along came a life changer (for the good - he's nearly two now) and any training thoughts went out of the window.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    slowbike wrote:
    I'll do a bit of a test on the Neo to see what that reckons I can do for 10s power and compare with the Stages. But, absolutely - I don't care whether it's Watts or Zorgs or Lefties - all I want to get an indication of is broadly what the number is today vs another day. I can see that the number in 2017 is getting closer to the number in 2015 and where the big deficit is.

    I like power numbers but I'm not losing a second's sleep over it.

    I did a very rough comparison with my Bkool Smart turbo - instant numbers were different - but the 3s average was about the same - which is handly.

    I'm not training to power either - I just happened to be in the situation where I could buy a PM and intended to use it - then along came a life changer (for the good - he's nearly two now) and any training thoughts went out of the window.

    Yup - I've no doubt pretty much all of these devices will give different figures in the very short timescales: they will sample and process the data in different ways. 3s and 10s averages will be what I'll look at - but only for fun. I'm not going to get out on the bike much now for 3 weeks due to babysitting duties but I can use the turbo.
    stueys wrote:
    Sorry to hear about your daughter, best wishes that she recovers well.

    Not much to add to the conversation other than I find I keep short burst power but lose aerobic fitness quickly (5-6 days of down time is enough to see a degradation for me). Fortunately it doesn't take much to maintain, I find I can maintain with 2 * 1hour SS rides a week if pushed, but it does seem to drop away fast. I took my turbo on the family ski trip this year to avoid the dip that normally gives me, my mates are still milking that hard...

    Thanks - appreciate it.

    Ha - yes, you probably deserve a bit of ribbing. I find, if I've been getting plenty of cycling in over an extended period, a week off does me good. But it depends upon what you've been doing and upon you too.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    One good test to see what you have at the top end, is holding yourself up in a A/B KISS race on Zwift.
    If all you can do is mainly turbo .....
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    jgsi wrote:
    One good test to see what you have at the top end, is holding yourself up in a A/B KISS race on Zwift.
    If all you can do is mainly turbo .....

    I've only dabbled in Zwift until now - will need to look that up.

    I'm conflicted with my Neo - it's a fabulous bit of kit but the weather needs to be truly apocalyptic before cycling indoors seems like a good option. That said, I don't currently have the option of leaving home "so when the devil sh!ts in your coffee cup..."
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    I was going to dump Zwift last month... but I just find it too good a training tool to miss.
    The races are filling up now with rocket fuelled Aussies , fighting fit as their season changes.
  • slowbike wrote:
    yup - thought it was - cos I seem to recall you discussing taking a onesided PM through the airport in hand luggage?

    Anyway - mine is recorded with a Stages PM too - perhaps it's the age of the PM and nothing to do with the riders obviously AWESOME power - which far outstrips any pros ... or that's what we like to dream anyway ;)
    Stages are unreliable for measurement of peak power.

    The figures I used to get were pretty consistent and I'd certainly trust it to tell me when I'm 30% down. If it were 5%, I wouldn't care.
    I still wouldn't trust them for that purpose.

    Without wanting to open up a whole "single-sided power" debate again, it's a strain gauge (array?) on a lever against which I apply force with my left leg. If all it's telling me is that my left leg peak power is down 30%, that's equally interesting to understand why
    It's not the force (torque) measurement that's the problem (even putting aside single leg issue which at peak power is not an insignificant one), rather it's the Stages' lack of ability to accurately determine crank velocity under such circumstances that means it's unreliable for peak power measurement.
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