Interpreting the data of the cycling computer Part 2

The most advanced devices also provide other extremely sophisticated data which are more difficult to interpret.

In the previous article, I explained the basic parameters to be monitored with the help of our bike computers and their respective explanation. The most advanced devices also provide other extremely sophisticated data which are more difficult to interpret.

Let us go over them in detail:

Power is nothing without control

With this slogan Pirelli wrote a chapter of the advertising history in the ‘90s, but it also applies to training methodology.

The mechanical power, measured in Watt (W = J / S), indicates precisely the amount of mechanical force we are applying to the pedal. It is therefore an indisputable parameter of the external load. If taken alone, however, it tells us nothing about what is happening to our body (the internal workload). The mechanical power indicates the capacity at that moment to produce a particular power output, but does not suggest in any way how long we can maintain it.

The mechanical work (J) which is measured in Joules is the power over the time taken to develop it (1 joule per second). This is an absolute number and is the result of a mathematical calculation. It does not give us a complete understanding of the actual amount of metabolic work to which our body is subjected. The body is in fact not 100% efficient in converting metabolically different energy substrates into mechanical work. It is estimated that only about 25% of the energy 'burnt' is converted into mechanical work.

The Average Power (AP) indicates the mathematical average of the power sustained for a certain distance and which can be simply understood as the average quality of the workout.

The Normalized Power (NP) is a more accurate value of the average power. It is calculated by taking into consideration the effects of sudden accelerations and decelerations during training. It is as such the most accurate value for quantifying the effort made in terms of power.

The sustainable threshold power - bike Functional Threshold Power (bftp) is a numerical value that estimates the average power the subject theoretically can sustain during an hour of cycling.

The Aerobic Threshold (AT2) indicates what values of power, speed, and heart rate a person can support in the presence of a concentration of 2mmol of lactic acid in the blood. It is a parameter that cannot always be rigidly interpreted.

The Anaerobic threshold (AT4) indicates the values of power, speed, and heart rate a person can support at a level of activity conventionally corresponding to a concentration of 4mmol of lactic acid in the blood.

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