A Power Meter is the ‘must have’ accessory if you
take your cycle racing seriously.
That’s what I used to think before actually getting one.
When I was Planet Playtex, I was loaned an Ergomo power meter as part of my
sponsorship package. I had it for two or three months and soon realised I’d probably
been doing it right (pace-wise) all the time. So I gave it back.
I’ve still got the Ergomo print-outs of some of the races and must admit it makes
interesting reading but that was as far as it went. I never trained properly with it … it
was just acquired to try to i) ensure I didn’t start to fast and ii) give me something else
to look at during my ride other than the same scenery I’d been looking at for the past
forty years or so.
A few years later it suddenly seemed that EVERYONE was training by power. Since
the early Ergomo days, times had improved beyond comprehension and that can’t
have JUST been down to better equipment and faster roads … not to mention wind
tunnels (okay I did).. I was sure there was more to it than that.
As ‘everyone’ had one, I decided to invest again … although I should really have
The price of Power Meters had been reducing over the years and decent ones were
thankfully available within (even my) budget. I wanted a meter that measured both
legs’ output … not just the left leg as per Ergomo, Stages etc. I was also aware of
the problems (still) encountered with Stages so looked at more reliable makes. I was
drawn to Power2Max as all the reviews I had read had been good.
One was ordered and it soon arrived from Germany with no hitches whatsoever and,
my God, was it easy to fit? Even I managed it. No messing about ‘zeroing in’
(whatever that is?). I just fitted the chainset … paired it up with the Osynce
Navi2coach which was supplied with the chainset and Bob was my Uncle.
This one was much better than the Ergomo. It measured both legs’ output for
starters, so I was able to ride in straight lines rather than just round right hand
bends ;-) Loads of different permutations of data could be made available on the
head unit. I set it up so I could monitor left / right balance, rpm, speed, distance
covered, NP wattage, average wattage, current heart rate .. all on the same screen.
Bloody brilliant. 9.5 out of 10 from me. All it needed was Sky Sports and it
would have been a 10.
So off I tootled up to the A428 and a set about a swift(ish) 25 to see what difference
I didn’t go any faster …. or slower … than usual.
Nevertheless, I downloaded all the data on to my desk top when I got home and
saved it for future reference. I even got a GPS map of my ride, temperature during
the ride, altitude, cadence thrown in free of charge! Fantastic. So simple too.
But as I hadn’t gone any faster, I decided to look further into training with a power
meter. My research suggested I needed ‘Training and Racing with a Power Meter’
by Allen and Coggan ... the holy grail of power meter training books. One was
purchased and as soon as it arrived I sat down with a hot chocolate and packet of
hobnobs and set about becoming an expert.
It was heavy reading, but there were lots of graphs and figures which looked very
interesting so I turned over on to the second page to see if it got any better.
Jeez there were even more acronyms, target zones, case studies and pages and pages
of data, information and advice which, I’m afraid, went right over my head although I can
imagine it would be invaluable to anyone with any degree of intelligence (which obviously
counted me out).
Several months have now passed and I’m still using it (the power meter … not the
book) if only for the hours of entertainment the downloads give me. That’s more than
can be said for the countless number of bikies who have tried them … and given up
completely. Just browse the classifieds!
The Power2Max meter I have is simply superb. So superb … I’ve invested
in another for my fixed wheel tt bike. I can’t rate them highly enough. If YOU
are considering moving over to power, I’d highly recommend Power2Max
… and someone to help you to train with it properly. Unless you’re
cleverer (!!) than me, the Allen and Coggan book won’t be enough in itself.
Power 2 Max 'classic' series power meter fitted with a 56 t Qring
O synce Navi2coach
Power 2 Max 's' series track power meter fitted with 54t Gebhardt track chainring