No one sang it better than Willie. But, that's what I was singing (in my head) on Saturday during my first road ride (on my road bike) outside in a looooong time. I froze my ass off (still plenty left unfortunately) but still enjoyed the time off my indoor trainer. I can think of as many benefits as riding indoors as I can outdoors..but when it comes right down to it..there is NO SUBSTITUTE for riding outdoors. (The principle of specificity tells us that.)
Saturday, in my area, was cold and WINDY. It's the wind that I noticed more on my ride than the cold. In fact, on one 3 mile stretch of Rt. 29 (River Rd.) in NJ I looked down at my speedometer and I noticed I was doing 25 mph while ONLY averaging 200w. Now, that's some tailwind. On the return trip, same route, I was only going 15 mph averaging 200w. Now that's some wind resistance...resistance you don't get on the indoor trainer. Sure, you can always increase resistance on the indoor trainer but that's not the point. The point is, there may be races this year where the wind will play a BIG part in a race and you better know how to deal with it. What do I mean by that? If you don't ride with a Power Meter how would you know how to pace yourself into the wind? If I didn't have a Power Meter on my bike on Saturday when I was riding into the wind, I probably would have ridden at 275w+ (not knowing) to try to maintain at least 18 mph avg. Doing that for 15-20 minutes would have surely worn me out for the remainder of the 2+ hr. ride. Instead, I kept my power at 250ish watts and accepted whatever speed that would bring.
Pacing, in my opinion, is one of the BIG advatages of training/racing with a power meter. You can use your PM to not only help you when pacing yourself into the wind (like I did on Saturday) but you can use it to help pace yourself on climbs. I don't know how many riders I've reeled-in on group rides in the hills because stronger riders just didn't know how to pace themselves up a hill. Naturally, they weren't riding with Power Meters. I usually make it a point to say something to these "stronger" riders when I see them at the top. I know it pisses them off for them to hear me say, "wow, you guys sure hit that hill hard at the bottom". Hey, I could have said, "you guys sure blew your wad on the lower half of that hill..I passed you like sh$t standing still at the mid-point". But, I didn't- I'm a nice guy.
Power ON! Coach Rob