Friday, December 5, 2014

New Powermeter survey

The survey is closed per 16-12-2014. Data preparation started. Results will follow.

If you like you can participate in my new powermeter survey. Click on this link:

It's about powermeter brands. You can participate if you have a powermeter, but also if you don't have a powermeter. If you don't have a powermeter not all questions will aplly to you as you can see in the last responsecode in question 1.
By the way I am not selling powermeters. I am just interested in how they (brands) are perceived and in that sense I have no commercial intention for my questionnaire. I also cannot see any respondent information so I cannot contact respondents!
I will publish the results again on this blog (like last year in which I also published the results). Last year however the questionnaire was only open for Dutch speaking people.
Wrt the country of residence question. I selected those countries which have highest visitnumbers on this blog. So I hope you don't feel offended if you do not see your country in the list.
The questionnaire was made on surveymonkey (the non-paid version) so I was limited in the amount of questions, the type of questions and the amount of response I can generate at max (100).

Hope you will participate and encourage others to participate as well!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lost without your powermeter

Not everyone has a powermeter on all their bikes. During winter time you probably ride a bike which is less expensive than your race bike or you do some cyclo-X training without a powermeter. However, since we all love to fill our PMC (Performance Manager Chart) to track our training load we need TSS* (A.Coggan) for our rides. But because we don’t have a powermeter on all our bikes we must have an alternative to derive our TSS.

There are some measures available in terms of training strain like TRIMPS (Bannister, 1974) or RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)  (Borg 1970,1998). However these measures do not relate to TSS (and no wonder because TSS is based on power). There is also a table from triathlete guru trainer Joe Friel (see Table below) in which he converts from RPE/HRs to TSS. You can also use your own experience if you do the same rides under same conditions which you registered before.

I decided to look at some of my own data to see whether I could come to a reasonable estimate. I do not register RPE (something I will start doing for next season) so I used some other data for some small analyses to derive a TSS. I used TRIMPS, TRIMP zonal score and average HR which are calculated per ride in Golden Cheetah (GC). I used average HR just as a possible extra (explanatory) variable. I did not change the weights in the zones in GC to calculate the TRIMP zonal score. The idea behind this zonal score is that when you get into higher heart rate zones there is a higher weight applied in the TRIMPS formula.
My objective was to see whether I could use the above metrics (and which was best) to relate to actual TSS. I was also interested to see how Joe Friels table matched with actual TSS. In this way I could determine which metric (method) better related to TSS. This last exercise turned out to be some more difficult than I expected. You can easily export your aggregate ride metrics data from GC, but to calculate the estimated ‘Joe Friels’ TSS (from now TSS_Friel). I had to export all my raw data files and append them. I used a macro for this task which I found on the internet (, because the problem is not appending (you could use a DOS statement for that), but to include a ride name to be able to aggregate the data per ride after derivering the TSS_Friel for each record.

I exported my metrics data (TRIMPS, etc.) and uploaded it to SAS. I cleaned the data files in which my HR monitor was off, rides with no powerdata (so no TSS to estimate), etc. I also had a few rides with TSS above 300. Since I do not do rides in winter times with TSS above 300 I excluded those data, because if I don’t do those rides it’s no use of trying to predict them. The calculated TSS_Friel were later merged to the GC aggregate file. Below some statistics w.r.t the rides.

Basically on average I do quite some rides of around 1.5 hours. My average HR is around 145 (OBLA HR is around 155) and most of the time HR is between 138-150 (89%-97% of OBLA HR).  In terms of TSS on average 111. Mind these are just averages and as such does not say that much of how TSS is generated.
Below the Pearson correlations (all significant p<0.01) between the metrics with TSS:
Average HR is least correlated with TSS (as expected of course). TRIMPS and the TSS_Friel derived metric are most correlated with TSS. In itself a correlation does not say much, only that there seems to be a relation between the two. To get a better visual sight on the relation of the metrics with TSS I ran some scatterplots depicted in the figure below  (I also included a regression spline for visual sake). I have looked at all the measures, but only two the two best related TRIMPS and TSS_Friel.
You see that the relation between TRIMPS / TSS_Friel is not linear with the actual TSS score so a linear equation is not a good idea. The R2 of TRIMPS and TSS_Friel under the above models are 0.8 and 0.83. You also see some outlier points going towards the top right corner. In the figure below you see the scatterplots of the error terms.  
The spread of the error terms seems a little larger for the TRIMPS model than for the TSS_Friel model, but both models show heteroskedasticity. Again the Friel model just a tiny better. In terms of total model error the judgement is 335 vs 376 in favor of TSS_Friel.
I also ran a model with the TRIMPS and average HR: R2 goes to 0.84 and error to 305. Statisticians would say “be parsimonious in parameters’’, because now we have 3 + 3 + 1 intercept in the model. Since I also want to keep it simple for myself I will agree on that one. In the figure below you see both model plotted in terms of model predicted TSS and actual TSS. The left one is the TSS_Friel and the right one TRIMPS.
On the whole the TSS_Friel table seems a good alternative way to estimate my TSS when not riding on your ‘powermeterbike’. In all fairness TRIMPS is not really (practically) that much worse. For my rides (so for my ‘domain’’) I however will choose to use the TRIMPS. The reason is a practical one. Because for the TSS_Friel I have to first export my ride and convert on a record level with the Friel table. This is a bit too much work and so if I impute the TRIMPS (which is automatically calculated in GC) in the equation (which I put in Excel) I immediately have my  estimatedTSS.
Of course TSS and TRIMPS won’t align and that’s not strange because they are two different things. As you get in better form your HR for producing the same wattage will go down (and vice versa for less form). Since TRIMPS is based upon heart rate is it also more variable due to extraneous influences like temperature, stress, etc. It will also give you less "credit" for supramaximal efforts (there is a ceiling effect due to maximal HR). This last remark, however can be counteracted by placing more weighting on the zonal scores (which I let on default in GC). TSS is based on power and as such more responsive.
Hopefully it gives some inspiration for your own data and this kind of estimate is good enough for you too. If you do not use have HR data (anymore) try to use RPE scores and multiply those scores by the time of your ride and see what the relation is with TSS. Maybe try some other data transformations to tweak the relation with TSS. If you are a Strava Premium Member try to use the Sufferscore to model. Maybe that gives an acceptable result too.
*TSS is a registered trademark from Trainingpeaks

Sunday, September 21, 2014

End of season

Yesterday I had a last race. It turned out to be a race of 54km 1.15h. The course was too easy; a lap of around 3 km and only 3 corners. No wind. So basically it is very hard to get away and with these kind of conditions you know it will end up in a sprint. Why? Because there are too many guys who can bridge a gap when conditions are OK. It's not a 'survival' kind of race so the sprinters will be there in the end. And so it was. Ended up 12th. Let's forget it quickly.

Race 1: 1.12h, VI 1.05, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, AR 22%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 9%
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP 243, IF 0.854, AR 51%, Anaerobic 7%,   Neuro 19%
Race 3: 1.27h, VI 1.14, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, AR 44%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 17%
Race 4: 1.28h, VI 1.13, NP 296, AP 262, IF 0.926, AR 37%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 14%
Race 5: 1.17h, VI 1.13, NP 290, AP 256, IF 0.983, AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%,   Neuro 24%
Race 6: 1.11h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 266, IF 1.004, AR 31%, Anaerobic 14%, Neuro 18%
Race 7: 1.09h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 263, IF 0.97   ,AR 32%, Anaerobic 12%, Neuro 15%

Race 8: 1.22h, VI 1.23, NP 308, AP 249, IF 0.984 ,AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%, Neuro 20%
Race 9: 2.45h, VI 1.18, NP 259, AP 219, IF 0.826 ,AR 46%, Anaerobic 9%, Neuro 10%
Race 10: 1.15h, VI 1.15,NP 285, AP247, IF 0.912, AR 42%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 15%
Time for some reflection now. An overview and analysis of the season. Some things that went good, some things that went wrong with the goals I defined (and refined) beginning of this season. But first time for some fun rides. Next post will be on W'.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Classic time

After 18 years or so I did a classic race again yesterday. It's called the Zeeland Classic and it's a race of 114km with 2 laps of 45km and 3 local laps of 8km. To be honest I did not train many 'base' kms / endurance kms lately so I was kind of affraid how my body would hold it after 1.5 hours (my training rides and crit times). The indicator at the moment wasn't too bad as I did a nice ride of 2 hours last Wednesday at 4.5w/kg. FTP is in the 310-320 range. Anaerobic power is at season's best. 
When you've ever done a classic race you know that it is quite a nerve wrecking thing. Everyone wants to be in the front and everyone wants to be in the right group (i.e. out of the wind). There was a fair amount of wind and of course everyone wanted to be in the front.....There were 147 participants and some are good at steering and some of them are not. My first objective of the race was not to hit the pavement and finish.
As soon as the neutral car (after 2 km) drove off it's quite hectic and you really have to just rely on people in front of you not to do any stupid things. Because if they do, before you notice, you're on the pavement. I must say I am quite good at peeping through every whole in the group and going around people without too much effort. Mind the 'too much effort'. I was really keen on not to move the legs when I didn't have to which resulted in 45% active recovery for the whole 114km.
There was quite some wind and there were several attempts for breakaways. But the thing is that there are a lot of guys who can race hard and can close gaps so basically every attempt was doomed to fail.
I was quite continuously riding at the first 20-30 rides which was good. The first lap went quite fast. 42.9 km/h with 239 AP and 278 NP. In that first round I also tried once in a group to ride off, but we were captured again just before the first time we crossed the finish line. The result of that was however that quite some people got dropped because of everyone riding after one another and that's not nice when you're riding in the wind.
The second round I tried again but again with no result. I didn't throw in a lot, because I already felt that it was going to be very hard to get away if you wouldn't get an initial 10-20 seconds. So after that effort I tucked myseld back in the group. The second round was done at 41.6 km/h, 204 AP and 237 NP.
Then the 3 local laps began and besides people who got dropped (and people who did hit the pavement or had flat tires) the group was still together. First lap was done at 40.6 km/h and 199 AP and 224 NP.
You could sense it became more nervous and to be honest at that moment I just wasn't alert. The whole race I had been riding among the first 20-30, but in that second round I let it go just a bit to let's say around position 40. A huge mistake, because 11 riders rode off just like that. My legs were still very good, but at the time I got in the front again they already had 20 seconds or so. I was riding by myself after a short attack and very quickly realised I was certainly not going to make it alone to that group nor any backup from the back showed up. Second lap went at 41.7 km/h and 218 AP, 257 NP.
By that time the only thing I focused on was staying in the front and to be as alert as possible. That is not trying to do too much work, but still try to rely on a good sprint since I did feel I still had a good one in my legs. Anyway, to keep it short I did do a good sprint - 4th of the peloton- and ended up 18th. Mixed emotions about it, but eventually I was OK with it.
So after 18 years, 18th place.

Next week one more race to go; season ends. Hopefully I get more time again to write some more on this blog, because lately I was simply too busy.

Race 1: 1.12h, VI 1.05, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, AR 22%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 9%
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP 243, IF 0.854, AR 51%, Anaerobic 7%,   Neuro 19%
Race 3: 1.27h, VI 1.14, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, AR 44%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 17%
Race 4: 1.28h, VI 1.13, NP 296, AP 262, IF 0.926, AR 37%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 14%
Race 5: 1.17h, VI 1.13, NP 290, AP 256, IF 0.983, AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%,   Neuro 24%
Race 6: 1.11h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 266, IF 1.004, AR 31%, Anaerobic 14%, Neuro 18%
Race 7: 1.09h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 263, IF 0.97   ,AR 32%, Anaerobic 12%, Neuro 15%
Race 8: 1.22h, VI 1.23, NP 308, AP 249, IF 0.984 ,AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%, Neuro 20%
Race 9: 2.45h, VI 1.18, NP 259, AP 219, IF 0.826 ,AR 46%, Anaerobic 9%, Neuro 10%

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Race 8 was on the program. A race which I have also done a year ago to try again how it feels to race. I then ended up third. Total race time back then was 58 minutes., AP 247 and NP307. Now I raced a category higher, but last weeks I saw some nice improvements on the anaerobic side, because I did lack some of that for the crits.
It was a race with 3 corners and it was hilly. One side up, other side down. This for 40 laps which equalled 51km. Basically there was only one place to make a move: uphill. And so it went.
To keep it short. When the favourites went for it I was there. Was in a couple of breaks with them but everytime we were caught back, because we were not working together properly.
And again. Yes. When they went again (very hard) on the hill side I was just 6 meters behind them. The rest of the bunch was way behind. 6 meters became 7, 7 became 8. I knew that I wouldn't punch it out now they would be gone (3 of them). Damn, didn't make it; I broke. So frustrating!!! It happened after 43 minutes of racing when I was just recovering from previous efforts. W'Bal was trending up again and my HR was also going down. See below the picture. It happened at the arrow.....
It is frustrating, because I was so close, but for some reason still so far. I have the power to ride with them, but at the same time I was not capable of suffering through 6 more meters - I could almost touch them. Bit of the story for some of my rides this year, so close, but yet too far. Next season I will do more races and this is just not going to happen that often anymore like this year. Sorry, my frustration......W'bal (or FRC) will be a very clear focuspoint for next year. My FTP in a range between 310-320 is OK for crits at amateur level.
Below you see some race stats again compared to the other races I did. Very polarized as you can see, but this is quite logical regarding uphill, downhill: quite high VI (highest of all races). In terms of power it is also quite similar to a year ago. If I select the first hour of this race I get AP 254 and NP 303.
Race 1: 1.12h, VI 1.05, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, AR 22%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 9%
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP 243, IF 0.854, AR 51%, Anaerobic 7%,   Neuro 19%
Race 3: 1.27h, VI 1.14, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, AR 44%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 17%
Race 4: 1.28h, VI 1.13, NP 296, AP 262, IF 0.926, AR 37%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 14%
Race 5: 1.17h, VI 1.13, NP 290, AP 256, IF 0.983, AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%,   Neuro 24%
Race 6: 1.11h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 266, IF 1.004, AR 31%, Anaerobic 14%, Neuro 18%
Race 7: 1.09h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 263, IF 0.97   ,AR 32%, Anaerobic 12%, Neuro 15%
Race 8: 1.22h, VI 1.23, NP 308, AP 249, IF 0.984 ,AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%, Neuro 20%
By the way. One of my next post will be on some W'bal reflections; about the concept and my findings from some training and race files. And how I want to use it for training purposes. I think that in previous posts I wrote somethings about it being negative someone with the initials RC would say: hmmmm

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Look Keo Power Essential Bluetooth Smart introduction

OK. It wasn't hard to predict Look Keo would also come up with a cheaper version of their two-side pedal powermeter. At a suggested retail price of 999,90 euro it is however priced at the high end of one-side pedal measurement powermeters. For that you do get Bluetooth instead of their WIND protocol.

The 'funny' thing is that you can buy the original two-side pedal powermeter (this time with Bluetooth) for 1699,90 euro and give the left (or right) pedal to your friend because it can be used independent of one another. So you'll be pedalling with the left pedal and your friend with the right. For 850 euro you are both be pedalling with power. 

Also -like- Garmin, Look Keo added some new metrics with respect to pedalling dynamics. I will get back to those later in a more general post on these kinds of metrics. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Garmin Vector S introduction

Garmin just announced it's new Vector, called Vector S. After Stages and Rotor they also try to reach more customers by lowering their pricepoint. US price is at 899 dollar which makes 675 euro (direct conversion). I have not seen the euro price yet, but won't be surprised that it will be 699 euro. (Addendum: I have seen the price will be 849 euro! from dollar to euro on an most 1-1 conversion.....) This puts them in the pricerange of most expensive Stages, but below Rotor LT (I have seen the price of that one at 995 euro).

Of course this "downgrade" from their existing Vector system (left and right measurement) does not come without cost on the powerdata side. Basically you'll have the same disadvantages Stages and Rotor LT. That is inaccurate total powerdata when there is an imbalance between left and right leg (for most of us) and that this imbalance changes overtime of your ride (and even overtime not specifically in a ride) and at different power outputs.

But then again. Lowering price barriers to attract new customers is the way to go for most powermeter manufacturers. As long as people know the limitations of those systems and accept those limitations. It gives a choice, a trade-off between price and data quality. 

There will always be a market for more expensive powermeters. After more lower pricepoint entries upgrading those customers will be the next game.....

Whose next? Look/Polar to introduce their one-side pods.....what do you think?

Monday, August 25, 2014

And then the rain comes

Another raceday today. This time it was on a track of a cycling club. They had a very nice course (of approx.. 2 km) next to the football fields with a few curves which you could take in a very high pace…except for the last curve before the finish.

My goals for the race were simple: attack, try to close gaps, be aggressive. And so I did. Basically I was very very active (as was later also mentioned on the website of the specific cycling federation). I could really feel that more focus on VO2max / anaerobic levels is starting to work. I recover quite quickly from a surge and my surges become stronger, harder. I also improved my best 10 seconds of PPO of last 3 months so in a sense my ‘’snap’’ to attack is improving as well without actually focusing on this effort. Very interested to see whether this could also be shown with the FRC (Functional Reserve Capacity) metric in WKO4+.

Unfortunately it was a very fast course so every attack (alone or with a group) ended up back in the peloton. This meant the peloton was going into the last lap. I already had in mind to really give it one last all-out attack to make sure to be first at the last curve before the finish so there wouldn’t be a lot of people able to pass me anymore (short sprint after the last curve). I had the legs to do it, but…..
Well, going in to the last lap heaven opened up. Since I am not taking any risks I took a shortcut to the finish line to give it a day. Some would declare me stupid, but to me cycling is my hobby and I have a normal job. Also my race material is not the least expensive and I feel no need to take risks. If I don’t fall someone else might fall. And yes, this can also happen when it’s dry, but if a bunch of riders do 'everything ' to pass the last corner first -also knowing that the road is soaking wet-, it is not my cup of tea.
With –given no rain- 3 races left I feel I can make a few more steps to put the icing on my ‘late season peak’. 2 races are crits (60km) and one will be a ‘classic’ of 114kms.
See below (Race 7) the overall stats:

Race 1: 1.12h, VI 1.05, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, AR 22%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 9%
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP 243, IF 0.854, AR 51%, Anaerobic 7%,   Neuro 19%
Race 3: 1.27h, VI 1.14, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, AR 44%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 17%
Race 4: 1.28h, VI 1.13, NP 296, AP 262, IF 0.926, AR 37%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 14%
Race 5: 1.17h, VI 1.13, NP 290, AP 256, IF 0.983, AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%,   Neuro 24%
Race 6: 1.11h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 266, IF 1.004, AR 31%, Anaerobic 14%, Neuro 18%
Race 7: 1.09h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 263, IF 0.97   ,AR 32%, Anaerobic 12%, Neuro 15%

IF is lower, because I adjusted my FTP upward based on a recent 35 minute training ride in which I averaged 315 watt without digging too deep. This week a serious effort if the weather is OK.


Saturday, August 16, 2014


Last two weeks I have been doing some more short (anaerobic) interval work given the crits that are left. Up until now I haven't really done such efforts, but I have to say that I do like them and even after doing them a few times you do see results. 

The intervals were 1 minute on, 1 minute off. 4 times within a set and 4 minutes rest in between. I do three of those sets and I build them in my 2h rides. 

At first, I could barely hold on to the end of each minute at 400 watts average (around 135% FTP), but now I can hold them more easily at 430-450 (around 145%) watt average. Of course you can do variants of 30s on, 30 off etc but then at higher % of your FTP, but they need to go at least more than 120% of your FTP.

Why do I do them? To increase my anaerobic capacity. In this way it stimulates my lactate tolerance. You know that burning feeling in your legs. 

Next step you could do then is to add some more time at FTP (or SST) right after finishing the 1 minute to mimick an attack and settling to "steady state". 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hopefully it doesn't rain

Last weekend I did another race. Although I am fresh (too), my fitness is not great. I an still trying to build up to let's say what's left of a descent form this season. 

The race was at a small industrial park and was a ride of 1.3km (38 laps) with 4 cornes in which you could pedal if you wanted. 

First objective I had was to get a preme. There was bad weather coming up and if it would start raining I would stop. Anyway, I got that preme so first objective achieved. 

Then after some attempts to escape one guy rode off and had quite a gap. Two others then also left and they had quite a nice gap too. I just gave it a try and with one firm "interval" I got to the two (almost crushed my 2 minute power record). 

There is just one but. One of the two guys had to let to just at the moment I came there. I looked behind and saw the peleton coming. The first guy was like 20 meters away from the other guy. Because I saw the peleton coming I just let it go. 

Now. How stupid was that because yes, the two guys rode off again and became 1 and 2 of the race. Aaaaarrrgghh. I shouldn't have written this down, it's that stupid. 

Anyway. About 15 laps before the end I got away with a group of 9 and the peleton never came back. Last 5 laps it started to rain but since we were so close to the end I decided to stay on the bike. Last lap I did not sprint: just rode in the front position at a descent speed so the others could do their sprinting. Therefore I ended up 9th. The feeling wrt riding in the front, closing a gap and then to be in the chasing group again did however give some perspective.

In race 6 below you see the race stats compared to the previous ones:

Race 1: 1.12h, VI 1.05, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, AR 22%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 9%
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP 243, IF 0.854, AR 51%, Anaerobic 7%,   Neuro 19%
Race 3: 1.27h, VI 1.14, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, AR 44%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 17%
Race 4: 1.28h, VI 1.13, NP 296, AP 262, IF 0.926, AR 37%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 14%
Race 5: 1.17h, VI 1.13, NP 290, AP 256, IF 0.983, AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%,   Neuro 24%
Race 6: 1.11h, VI 1.12, NP 296, AP 266, IF 1.004, AR 31%, Anaerobic 14%, Neuro 18%
Here's that spikey chart again:

IF is 1 because I set my FTP at 300. Maybe slightly too low but that's OK. It certainly isn't at 320 or higher anymore.

Wrt to racing in my category you get a good idea of what it takes in terms of overall power. Most of them are between 290-300 watt NP and depending on the course between 250 and 280 AP for let's say one and half hour. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


On Monday I went to the yearly local crit race which is held once a year after the Tour the France. You know those post-Tour-de-France crits in which guys who rode the Tour de France do their thing for a few or more euro's and you can actually "touch" your Tour heroes. 

Before the pros "race" you also have a race for elite riders without a contract. Some of them are however sponsored well (teams). Those guys also ride a high speed and it's still a very "nice" level to compete in. I normally don't see these kinds of races but I am quite amazed from what I have seen.

From the approximately 50-60 riders I think there were 6 riders with a powermeter: 2 SRMs, 2 Quarqs, 2 Power2max. And mind you the racing gear and equipment they rode are not the least expensive.

So here a list (not exhaustive / in a random order) of benefits from training and racing with a powermeter:

1) Accurate performance measurement: you measure output (watts) and not input (heart rate)
2) You can train at the right traininglevels (vo2max, threshold, etc.) and
3) train specifically for the demands of an event.
4) You can effectively monitor your progress: how about your improvement in x seconds, x minutes, x hours power output? and
5) plan towards peak performance using the concepts of ATL, CTL and TSB.
6) It will help define your strengths and weaknesses and
7) tell you how you generate your power (high/low cadence , high/low torque) and guidance to change. 
8) Also it will help you to optimize your aerodynamics: by using certain methods (e.g Chung method) you can estimate benefits of aero equipment / position and 
9) it can help you with defining your racing strategy and pacing strategy
10) It can be of help to "optimize" weight by converting joules (energy) to calories and guide for eating during a ride/race and 
11) will help in training more effectively per minute spend on cycling (and no more "junk miles"). And last but not least 
12) insight in performance can motivate, because you will definitely improve!!!!

Just leave it with the normal wheels, forget about those 1000 euro carbon ones: buy a powermeter!!! and spend some time to get used to the concepts, analyses and applications. 

When you have no idea what to do with it or how to start ask the layman ;)

One last remark:

Source: twitterpic CyclingPowerLab

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The moral factor

After almost a week of ilness I am back on the bike again. It also made me make the decision not to do the 122km time trial in September. I was still struggling to get my setup right and if I have to build it up from now -with basically a bad form- to September it's just not going to work. I am constantly feeling pressure from myself to keep pushing and pushing and it gives too much stress. Enjoying rest of the cycling season is my main objective now. There are 3 more races to do and I will focus on a nice result on those. One is next week (which I consider one to just get the racing feeling back), other one is end of August and the third beginning of September.
So, currently my form is not that good. No wonder. After two weeks of holiday of the bike a week of training with a race and then a week ilness is just very stimulating. Current CTL (50) is at the level of March of this year, in a phase I was building. Apart from the bad form my moral also went down. So how to change that?
By starting off very easy again and working up step by step. My first ride (1.30h) after ilness was just a ride to get the feeiling of the bike again. Nice sunny ride. Looking around. Halfway of the Endurance level in terms of wattage. O yes, I haven't changed my FTP which I already brought down after two weeks of holiday. It's still at 295. Reason that I haven't changed that is that based on CTL values and peak power values for 60 minutes this FTP is about OK. Not too high, but also not too low.
So, first ride to get a nice feeling. Second ride was about trying to ride 45 minutes in the Tempo level (halfway) in a 2 hour ride. Rest of the two hours at Endurance pace. It's OK to do something like that and again because you will be able to hold on to it, it will give a good feeling again.
Third ride. Just one hour. One hour with 3 small sets of 10 minutes just around Treshold with 5 minutes rest in between. So I did three sets at 300 watt. This is just about enough. I felt that and the end of each sets I got the same feeling when doing VO2max sets; you know the feeling...the heavy breathing comes in. But again. Since I did not push myself to the limit it gives a good feeling to see you are able to hit the numbers.
Fourth ride. Try to get VO2max 6 x 3 minutes back into a 2 hour ride along with one 40 minute Tempo / beginning Treshold level. VO2max intervals were NOT at the level I used to do. That is they were around 20 watt lower than normal. But hey, that's the way it is and at this moment it is just good training. Again when you see you can hit the numbers it's a good feeling. And yes, I did not reach the numbers in the last two sets, but hey, it's OK. Next time I will and I will do 10 watt more. The 40 minute ride was tough, but achievable.
Every training from now I will add again another step in intensity. First I want to raise the ceiling again, but slowly and realistically.
In all. My advise after illness. Don't stress out; adjust some of your goals (in other words be realistic towards yourself). Build up with numbers you can ride. Try word count on ''good feeling''. I hope it works for you too.

Monday, July 21, 2014

No watts

Pffff. As soon as you're thinking of building up again you get ill. After the kids, mum, mother in law, I had hoped I could skip this one. Unfortunately not. Sore joints, sore muscles, my throat starts to hurt and a temperature rise.

Nice. Also given the fact that since last Wednesday's race I wasn't able to do a proper training, because of a delicate (sit)injury I got from that race. 

No watts, so no moral.......

Friday, July 18, 2014

Race time: ''official'' start of period II of the season

After quite a while I did a race again. This time it was in Westkapelle. After my holiday I did not do really any focussed training. Basically trying to get 'the ride feeling' back. I see this race as the first in a build-up period towards end of September (time trial) and towards a race end of August in which I want to do well.
There were 78 participants and I ended up 11th. In total approximately 25 riders finished. The rest of them were doubled (once or several times) or had to abandon earlier. Why? Because the race (crit) was not that easy I guess. It were 30 laps of 1.73km with a lot of corners as you can see below. Also the pavement was tricky in that it were small stones instead of asphalt. The carbon wheels made quite some noise....

The average speed of the race was  41.5 km/h. Below you see how today's race compared to other races I did wrt some metrics:

Race 1: 1.12h, VI 1.05, NP 297, AP 283, IF 0.928, AR 22%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 9%
Race 2: 1.03h, VI 1.12, NP 273, AP 243, IF 0.854, AR 51%, Anaerobic 7%,   Neuro 19%
Race 3: 1.27h, VI 1.14, NP 292, AP 255, IF 0.911, AR 44%, Anaerobic 10%, Neuro 17%
Race 4: 1.28h, VI 1.13, NP 296, AP 262, IF 0.926, AR 37%, Anaerobic 11%, Neuro 14%
Today's race,   VI 1.13, NP 290, AP 256, IF 0.983, AR 46%, Anaerobic 8%,   Neuro 24%

You see that this race was one of the more extremer in terms of %AR and % Aneaerobic, but especally % Neuromuscular. After every corner (which some of them you could not ride at full speed) it was putting pressure on the pedals immerdiately which gives these results.
During the race I constantly stayed within the first 10-15 riders. Why? Because with this kind of races it's hard to ride to the front (lots of corners and speed is relatively high and everyone is riding behind one another). This riding in the front also resulted in two premes.
I only had one ''difficult'' moment so to say around 7-8 laps before the end. At that time was quite a big group of riders which were doubled and they were in my group. Because of that gaps occured which did cost some effort to close. You can see that below (don't look at exact W balance, just trend)

Although I did not do any of anaerobic / neuromuscular work in my training for a long time I could still do well so I am happy with this ''new starting point '' right now. What I do notice that I feel that I am not able to do a rush and then to go into FTP mode. It's just to hard at the moment. I am going to put in some 'race winning' exercises in my training. If you don't know what those are, let me know and I can explain in an other post.

Next period will be focussing more on FTP (for time trial), time in aeroposition and I will mix in exercises more specifically for the race I want to do well in (means training on the roads of that (hilly) race). Also a combi of anaerobic and FTP exercise (race winning efforts) will be done.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

CdA test Part I

With the first half of the season finished I throught about some goals for the second half. One of the goals is to ride a TT.  Not just a 40km TT (or shorter), but a 'monster TT'. Basically it is a TT of 123km. The TT is end of September. I have selected this goal not in terms of trying to win (because there is nooo way that will happen), but merely for the experience.

I have never done a TT and I don't have a TT bike. I do have some gear: a Castelli San Remo speedsuit, some shoecovers and Mavic Cosmic SR wheels.  I don't want to invest too much money in this 'small experiment / experience. After reading some articles on TT gear I conclude I can get most bang per euro by buying some aero clip-ons. And that's what I did: the 3t Aero clip-om pro.

Why do I bother about aero? Because with generating speed it's about the fight of overcoming air resistance which makes 90% of the effort of moving your bike forward. You might have a very big engine in terms of being able to produce a lot of watts, but you are not very aero, you might loose it from someone who produces way less watts, but is very aerodynamic.

How to quantify aero? With a measure called CdA, which is a combination of frontal area x the drag coefficient. It is measured in metres squared. The lower this number the more aero you (and your setup) are.You can imagine that with riding on top of the handlebar you will be less aero than when you ride in the drops. For a TT it is important to have a good watt / CdA factor. It's a factor like for climbing but there you have the watt / kg which is a good indicator who will ride fastest up the mountain. For a more extensive review on CdA see: and
In a post coming later when I have finally got my equipment installed properly (I am facing some problems with the clip-on width) and conditions to test are more ideal (i.e. no wind), I will explain the method I used to derive CdA and I will then try to give a better estimate of my CdA.  I will also try to make some scenario’s of how fast I would be able to ride given some parameters (a.o. CdA).
For this first test - do aero clip-ons give a CdA advantage for me?-  I went to a small industrial area in the evening (to decrease the chance of traffic) and rode the same laps over and over again for different scenario’s:

1)      3 laps on the top

2)      3 laps on the hoods

3)      3 laps on the drops

4)      3 laps on the aero-clip ons
The conditions were not ideal (there was wind although consistent head and tailwind on the same parts of the course).  However, I am only interested to see if aero-clip ons do have an advantage as opposed to the real (estimate) of CdA. Below you see the results (index) of the estimated CdAs from drops, hoods and aero-clip ons compared to the CdA estimate for drops. 

Now it is quite clear that the aero-clip ons show an improvement in CdA estimate, also in relation to drops and hoods. So, the conclusion is: yes, I do get more aero from this.You might think drops to be better, but hoods turn out slightly better now. Possible explanation: when I sit on the hoods I tend to pull my elbows (arms) more towards my body (I get narrower), which seems more aero.  If it is hoods or drops which are more aero, I can test that later under better conditions; I am not interesten in that now.

Next thing which is nice to see is the difference in speed and wattage average for the 3 laps on drops and clip-ons. This is quite nice. I go from FTP range on drops for a lower speed (38.7 km/h) to SST at higher speed (39.3 km/h).

As said I am still fumbling a bit with my setup. This has firstly to do with the fact that my handlebar goes from 31.8mm in the middle to around 26.5mm. These 3t clip-ons are for 31.8mm so I have used rubber (from a tire) and all of that stuff to fill up the gap. However, the clip-ons are very unstable then and after a while they start to slide. I have to find something for that otherwise I am going to buy a vert cheap handlebar on which I can fit the clip-ons. Getting this fixed is priority number one.
Second is that I am also trying to find a good position, in terms of that it feels comfortable and it is as aero as possible. These are adjustments w.r.t the position of the stem and the saddle. I still have 3 rings between my frame and my stem and I want to get rid of those so my handlebar will go down. This also implies I can sit more deep and I have to make sure that there is enough room for my legs not to bump into my chest. Maybe I have to put the saddle just a bit upward. Those rings should be gone somewhere next week.
After I have done these modifications I will be able -of conditions are well- to calculate my CdA. I will then probably try to vary a bit in position of the clip-ons. I all I must say this testing and 'fumbling' takes more time than I thought and distracts me from putting time into proper cycling (or training). I hope I will be ready by the end of September.....stay tuned for some more test results in the coming weeks.

Friday, July 11, 2014

New: Rotor LT

Again we have a new powermeter variant. This one has features of the Stages powermeter, in that in measures power only at the left crank. It's called Rotor LT (LT stands for lite) and I would say it's the little brother of the existing Rotor powermeter which measures both left and right. In that sense Rotor is the first brand in the market to have 2 types of powermeters. 

Since it only measures at the left crank it basically does the same as Stages to get total power: namely multiplying it by 2. Is it wrong? It doesn't have to, but left an right balance might not be 50% for a rider nor consistently balanced (or consistently not 50%) during a ride. 

Currently the Merida-Lampre guys are testing this left crankarm in the TDF and on the right they have installed the Power2max Type S. 

For 990 euro's it's yours, but it is still a bit more expensive than the Stages. For 990 euro however you get the complete crankset, whereas with Stages its only the left crank arm. Anyway, again a powermeter brand moving to a lower pricepoint to attract customers.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Trois Ballons 2014: long version

On Saturday I got up at 4.15 in the morning. We (me and my friends and father) were about 40km away from the start at a place called Le Thillot. I ate some muesli, a banana and started with drinking an eletrolyte drink. My friend Richard and I were going to do the 218km of Trois Ballons and the other were doing the Senior (108km). Richard goal was Gold with meant he had to finish within 9.20h.
We (my friend Richard and I) left at 5 o’clock to go to the finish place. For Trois Ballons the finish place is somewehere else than the starting place. After the 40km ride we parked the car and ate some more. With a free T-shirt we had and our cycling kit underneath we rode to the start which was about 7 kms further.

When we came at the start place (around 6 o’ clock) there were only a few riders standing in front of us. I have to clarify on this one. There are basically 300 riders who have a priority starting position. That is, they stand in front of everybody else. They line up in a different box and the rest (me and Richard) in an other. About 5 minutes before the start they opened the fence of our startbox so we could stand behind the first 300. Then they gave the start, but since the road narrowed towards the finish line you are still a few minutes behind the first after going over the starting line (with timer). At about 7.25h we were off to go.
After the start I immediately tried to ride to the front. Which was not that easy. That it it did take me some effort to get among let’s say the first 80 riders. In total it took me about 10 minutes with an AP of 267 and NP of 301 (4.4 w/kg) in which I burned 10 matches. Maybe I should have ridden this part a bit easier with the knowledge I could still get in the front in a more relaxed way (mistake 1).

Then we were at around km 20 at the Faucogny/Cote de la Mer which is a climb of 2.6 and 3.3km in total but very narrow roads I di. I had  no clue from there what my exact position was because there are a lot of corners in that climb and you cannot see far ahead. I averaged 257 AP and 299 NP. According to Strave segments of the two 313 and 318 watts (4.7 w/kg).  From the picture below you can see that it is a irregular climb with the first minutes far above my FTP (red line is watts, black W’balance, blue HR, gray cadence)

After the very steep descent of the Faucogny (with parts 16%) we immediately started the Col du Chevreres (9.3km climb) - the one I explored some days before and found out my gearing was a bit too big for some parts. I found out there that I was still in the first group. This climb has two parts. The first is OK and the second part is steeper with parts of 14-15%. It’s also very narrow again and you cannot look far forward (at least not at the steep part). the first part was done in the first group but then I crawled up the steep part and you could tell the group was torn apart.
There were more people crawling and I made a small mistake here to push it just a bit too much I think (mistake 2). According to the Strave segment I rode the climb overall at 298 watt and the steep part at 310 watt (4.5 w/kg). See the picture below.

In the descent I was in a group of approximately 15 riders which all came together on the ‘flat’ (because it simply is not flat there) part to the Ballon D Alsace. I could see a group riding in front of us and the gap was growing. I decided to ride in the front to close the gap to that group because the others were not inclined to ride (mistake 3). We finally closed the gap just before the start of the Ballon D Alsace. Below you can see the part in which I ‘foolishly’ went in front to do the work.

We started the Ballon D Alsace with a group of in total (estimate) 80 riders. The pace was OK, but 5 km before the top the pace went up just a bit and I had to let go of the first group which was by that time diminished to around 60 riders I think. .Because the pace of the first was just about 10 watts higher they were not riding away far; I could constantly see them eventhough there were more corners towards the end. My stats for Ballon d’Alsace were (278 AP and 283NP (4.2 w/kg). On the top I had ridden 2.22h and I had an AP of 247 and NP of 280. Total IF until that time was 0.875 and VI 1.135.

On top was my dad and I had to get off the bike to get some new bidons and food. Problem with this stop was that I lost the connection with the first group. When I got on the bike again (20 seconds later?) they were all gone, simple as that. The descent was very tricky and I simply don’t have the descent skills nor the descent courage to go very fast. To be honest; I have seen a lot of guys just taking the whole road while there is still traffic coming from the other side of the road. To me it’s a miracle that there aren’t a lot of casualties in this kind of rides.
Anyway. When I got down I was in a group of 6, because in the valley between Ballon D’Alsace and Col de Hundsdruck 5 people made the connection. The Col du Hundsdruck still went quite OK (264 AP, 280 NP (4.1 w/kg), but I could feel that my best legs were gone; Mistake 1,2 and 3 were boiling up. In the descent I lost connection with 2 guys who went down really fast, but they had to stop at a heavy traffic road. End of the day I have been waiting there as well (we were with 6 again) for about 4 minutes! before we were allowed to ride further again.

Next climb was the Grand Ballon; we were 110km and 3.20h on our way. At that time my AP was 237 and NP 270 (4 w/kg). In the first kms one guy was clearly strongest and rode away. After a few kms another group came at us (about 3 guys) and the rest of my group rode away with those guys. Me and another guy stayed together because he told me they would definitaly blow up in the next kms.
My power was sliding down quite dramatically. Whereas the Col du Hundsdruck was quite OK I saw my wattage numbers go down to 230 and I even had to let go of the guy in front of me. Basically the tank was empty and I had difficulty even riding in the smallest gear (38/29). I got taken over by a lot, and I mean a lot of groups and besides the physical breakdown I also had a mental breakdown just thinking of stopping, because the pace I was riding just made no sense. See below the picture of the Grand Ballon climb. At around 3.50h you see the wattage drift down dramatically. IF in total was 0.837 at that time and VI 1.139.  

I was also overtaken by Mister C (someone also from the Netherlands and via this blog we came in contact with each other). He relatively had a bad moment at the Grand Ballon, but he was able to recover better than I. He was able to ride in a group that overtook us and ended up 85th overall. You’ll see his info also in some of the graphs below. O yes, the Grand Ballon was done at 225 AP and 233 NP (3.4 w/kg). Horrible numbers…….At the top I had 4.30h of riding at AP of 235 and NP of 263 (3.9 w/kg).
At the top of the Grand Ballon it was quite cold and also the descent was cold. I got overtaken (I only got overtaken rest of the ride ;) by a small group of 3 guys and I tried to follow them in the easy descent of the Grand Ballon. At the bottom I had to let them go again because my father was there with new drinks and some food. As I said I just wanted to stop, but for some reason the way my dad was talking and just very quickly changed my drinks and put food in my shirt pockets and pushed me off I just ‘forgot’ to think about stopping; I was on the bike again before noticing.
Immediately after this stop the Col d’Ă“deren (AP 243, NP 245 (3.6 w/kg)) began. The first kms went quite OK and I thought I was over my breakdown. Unfortunately it was not the case and the wattage just dropped again. Needless to say there were groups passing by and I just let them go. Below the picture in which you can see the wattage for the first 5 minutes were OK, but after that you see it trending downward quite severely.

Next, another bad part of the ride starts. From the top of the Col d’Oderen untill halfway Camp Jaillet I have seen no one. No group in front of me or behind me. That meant riding for 35km all by myself. In terms of ‘’recovering in the wheels’’ this of course was also not very nice. In between was Col De Croix which I crawled up at 239 AP (240 NP (3.5 w/kg)). Below you can see the 35 km ride alone.

Camp Jaillet. What can I say. Try to ride and not to fall of the bike. After 190km you get a few very steep parts (17%). Not nice. There were some tourist riders walking up that climb and maybe I should have done that because I wasn’t riding very much faster. (211 AP, 230 NP (3.4 w/kg)).
When I was at the top it is still going up and down and just before the last desecent and 15kms I got overtaken by a group in which I stayed until the finish. At the finish it turned out my overall ranking was 157th, age group 30-39 79th and I was kind of surprised, because half of the Trois Ballons just wasn’t nice.
End of the day Richard got his gold medal which is great. The others all got a golden medal for their Senior ride (to be very honest, the time to ride gold in the Senior is way way too easy).  And I was left with kind of an empty feeling (physically, but even more mentally). Strange because I did achieve my goal of riding between 7.15h and 7.30h.
Below a small table of my planned AP for the climbs and realised (including cadence).
                                        AP       NP     cad      AP                Result Realised AP - Planned AP
faucogny                         257,    299,    88.     Not planned
col dus chevreres            312,    313,    74.    Planned: 296            +16W
ballon d’’alsace               265,    275,     82     Planned: 278            - 13W       
hundsdruck                     264,    280,    81      Planned: 261            +3W
grand ballon                    225,    233,    77      Planned: 270            -50W
col d’oderen                    243,    245,    78      Planned: 262            -20W
col de croix                      239,    240,    80     Planned: 317            -78W
camp jaillet                      211,    230,    70     Planned: 297            -86W
Quite a lesson in humility if you ask me ;)
You will find my total riding stats in the Appendix Trois Ballons below.
In ate and drank:
* 6 bidons (Born carbo pepto pro / go2 ac+)
* 3 bananas
* 3 energy drinks (High Energy Drink Maxim 160ml)
* 2 cookies (Snelle Jelle)
* 3 magnesium sticks cranberry (Wcup)  
As said above although I reached my goal in terms of total time, I did have a bad feeling afterwards. When looking back on this experience I can write down a lot of things to improve:
Things to improve in training
* Focus, focus on high IF for longer rides.  The longer rides I did last weeks before the Trois Ballons had a too low TSS and IF: They were all around 0.73 IF and total TSS of 270. I had never done a ride with an IF of at least 0.8 for let’s say 4 hours (the moment I cracked). If I look at my ride file I reach that TSS of 270 at exactly the point at which I simply break and have to go to an other wattgage level. That is at the 270 point I had done with an IF of 0.84(!) (NP 270 and AP 235) and I have never trained for that!
As you can read in ‘Appendix Trois Ballons’ you will see that I also didn’t do enough long (tempo) rides
* No slack in training (in the Ardennes or other hill environment). This kind of double in a sense that since I do not have the world of hours to train I have to make everything out of every training hour. Meaning trying to ride / train with riders with same goals: Socially not nice, but that is a consequence
* Planning: Try to start from the TSS number needed and then calculate back for better build up to that goal (see also Friel’s book for a good example)
* Try to work on higher cadence. In effect this places less stress on the muscles which might keep them better for longer and may keep cramps away longer
* Last but not least, but this one is simpy essential as well as ‘base’ for the above: improve FTP
Things to improve in the race
* Make sure you're in the first 150 starters (so I won't expend too much energy getting in front)
* Be really carefull in the beginning w.r.t surges. It's OK to let x places go in the first climbs.
Usually groups will melt together again and end of the day you will end up in a group of similar strength riders
* Do not ride in front of the groups too soon (let other's do the work while you do the coasting)
* Don’t get off the bike; try to find people who will give drinks / food while riding (I saw a few teams which had more than 1 person on some climbs who gave bottles and the other gave food)
Things to improve: Gearing
* Just pick your right gears. Don’t think the gearing is OK if you’ve done 2 climbs, because the ride is longer than just two climbs

Appendix Trois Ballons

Above I have written about Mr C who ended up being 85th. Fact is that me and Mr C don’t differ that much in some stats:
                                    Mr C                 Me
age                                23                   36
FTP                           310-315          320-325   
weight                            70                   68
FTP w/kg                       4.5                  4.7
CTL                               83.3               72.1
ATL                               58.7               76.1
# kms*                         6450                4907      
# rides 3 hours*             11                     8
# rides 4 hours*               5                     4
# rides 5 hours*               7                     1
# rides 6 hours*               4                     2
# rides 7 hours*               2
# hours*                        249                  161
hours per week*             10                   6.7
*since jan 2014
So you would say I have just slighly better numbers physically, but he has better numbers in terms of training load which is largely expressed in training hours. Also the number of longer endurance type rides he did was quite some more as me (OK I should have asked for TSS and IFs of his rides instead of hours. but hey).
That morning he had a priority starting position (so within the first 300). He started 1 minute before me and at the top of the Col du Chevreres top I was about 2 minutes before him (which makes 3 minutes). From this you can also deduct I started rather quickly. His race stats and mine you see below:
    Mr C                  Me
Total time                       7.02                  7.15
AP                                  199                   213
NP                                  243                   248
AR                                 33%                  28%
Endurance                     17%                  24%
Tempo                           24%                  23%
Treshold                        15%                  13%
VO2max                          6%                   7%
Anaerobic                        4%                   4%
Neuromuscular                2%                   1%
Aerobic Decoupling    12.2%              12.4%
VI                                   1.22                 1.16
IF                                  0.785                0.775
I have put more power into it and I finished behind…..Also see some of the numbers for the climbs (watt/kg) according to the Strava segments
                                Mr C    Me   
faucogny                  4.4    4.6   
col dus chevreres    4.0    4.1   
ballon d’’alsace        3.7    4.1          
hundsdruck              3.7    3.9   
grand ballon             3.4    3.3   
col d’oderen             3.5    3.5   
col de croix               3.6    3.5   
camp jaillet               4.3    3.1   
The difference is that I pushed harder in the first climbs, but that after the Hundsdruck he kept himself rather stable and he was even improving towards the end, while I only went down after the beginning of the Grand Ballon (which is also the longest climb of the day). Despite almost similar watt/kg for some climbs he did manage to ride them faster than me. This might be explained by a multitude of factors like: his bike is lighter than mine (?), he is more aero than me (even uphill this might play a part), he was in a group and I rode by myself (aero / wind advantage), my powermeter reading too high (or his too low).
Below you see a graph of the first kms and power of Mr C and mine (black line). It’s clear he was in the priority place and I was trying to ride to the front.

Also you see below from the descent of the Chevreres to 60km I ‘waisted’ more watts than he by riding in front of groups.

The last picture below you see the part from the descent of the Ballon D’Alsace until the start of Camp Jaillet. Until that first arrow (the point at which my wattage significantly drops down on the Grand Ballon), I have also ‘’waisted’’ relatively more power on the ‘’flatter’’ parts. You also see that even on the Grand Ballon to Markstein where he was in a group he really got benefit from that. There was quite some wind over there and I had to ride by myself pushing more watts but going slower! (due to the wind and NO group).

From arrow 2 onwards you can see the part from the descent of Col d Oderen to finally the start of Camp Jaillet. It’s clear that I was by myself that part and he was in a group
Now you understand the main difference between our wattages numbers (see also his AR % of 33 and mine of 28%!)
From the above I conclude that:
1) Despite some better physical numbers in favour of me, he did prepare better in terms of the type of rides (in terms of hours). I had more focus on shorter rides on higher intensity, but I simply did not stress enough duration. His aerobic engine worked better than mine
2) He paced himself extremely well and made very good use of the groups! His AR was 33% which is 5% more than mine (note, the info w.r.t the groups I got from himself). So credits to you Mr C! ;)