Cycling power, watts and suffering . Tom Dumoulins TT and Mark Downey’s Worlds Road race

What an exciting week with fantastic racing at the World Road Champs in Bergen this week. It’s always a week where there’s something to be learned from some of the performances and brilliant riders.

Tom Dumoulins TT Watts

Fast wheels

Something that stood out for me was Tom Dumoulins performance in the Elite TT.

Could Tom Dumoulin have lost the World time trial championships if he had followed the numbers. Here’s a quote from Dumoulin in Cycling News report for the Elite TT.

A rider enjoying a day of grace typically professes that he could scarcely feel his pedals or his chain, but Dumoulin, an analytical kind of bike rider, reached for a more modern metaphor.

“I thought my power meter was off because it was so high. I felt really, really good,” Dumoulin said.


So, I wonder was that a dilemma for Dumoulin or has he a strategy for this?. You would have to think from his quote that he ignored the high numbers and pressed on anyway.. Imagine if he had thought, I’m over the planned watt numbers and slowed down. He might not even have won!

Feedback while cycling

This  highlights the importance of being familiar with and using all the possible feedback .systems to control pace. Power / watts is great for getting up to race pace at the start. Combined with Heart rate and perceived exertion then gives the complete feedback and an indication of whether the rider is on a good or bad day.

Mark Downey: Garmins or power meters don’t measure suffering!

The Joys of cycling

I’ll have to credit Tony Lally with the quote above. Its from a facebook reply to a post.

There was another great example of the need to just bury yourself and suffer sometimes.

From the Worlds Under 23 Road race. This was a quote from  Mark Downey in an interview with Ger Cromwell in the Irish Independent

“My plan was always going to be to wait for the gallop because that’s obviously my forté, so the last time up that climb was absolute torture. My legs were cramping left, right and centre; my quads, my calves. I knew to stay near the front as we started the climb to give myself a bit of sliding room and once I got to the top it was all for the sprint.””

So there’s a few good examples that show the importance of the ability to tap in to your feelings of how hard the effort is and also to be able to drive yourself to the very limits when required.

The power meter is a very powerful tool for training, testing and sometimes pacing. However cyclists need to take care that the numbers don’t actually become a limiting factor.

THeres a few suitable quotes

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. (William Marrow)

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” By William Feather

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