New Research

Power Training for Indoor Cycling Chapter 12: Data Collection

The byline of this chapter is “If you can measure it, you can improve it,” a well known quote adapted from Lord Kelvin (whoever that is) and used in everything from business to sports and more.

In the real world, practical evidence of this truth is all around us if we take the time to think about it. One of my favorite and most apt examples is of a physical therapy visit I had a few years ago. It was my final visit for my wrist, broken a couple of months earlier from my first road crash.  What’s the first thing they do in PT? They measure. What’s the last thing they do? They measure. On my last visit, all my measurements improved except for one. Truth be told, it was the only thing that I hadn’t done my ‘homework’ for. The poor results then made me ultra aware of its weakness, and so I became committed to turning that around. I worked the wrist in the specific direction and manner that I had slacked off on (in other words I did my homework properly and consistently) and in just four days, upon my return and re-measurement, I had increased my joint’s mobility by 14%!


  1. Hi Gene would I be able to view your new iBook on indoor power training on my iPad? Would I need adobe flash player? Not sure which version I should preorder! Thanks Julie Zweck-Bronner

  2. I sent this story about the impact of data to Gene and he suggested that I post it here.

    I have a long story regarding the power of data. Two summers ago I coached a group of people to ride the Cabot Trail. They started riding outdoors, most for the first time, in April. I gradually increased the difficulty and complexity of the weekly group rides. I have a “no one left behind” policy and enlisted my husband, George, to ride sweep. One woman, Michelle, was always back with George. One day I took her under my wing and coached her from behind for about 40 km. We reviewed and practiced pedalling mechanics and mental and physical approaches to hills but mostly I just gave her feedback on how fast she was riding and cheered when she hit a new best for that ride.

    I saw a big difference in her so the next day I asked her if she had any idea how fast she was going when she was with George on that and other rides. Her guess was twice her actual speed. When I showed her the data from his GPS she was amazed. She bought a bike computer the next day and was never with the sweep again. In fact, she rode 12 km of 11 % grade comfortably on the last day of our four day trip. She had been very apprehensive about that stretch. But without any prompting she compared the profile for that hill against the profiles for previous training rides and realized before she began that she had completed a similar amount of climbing, albeit in a different place and form. The data alone were enough to make her successful.

    Michelle subsequently became a strong advocate for data and, thanks to her, most new riders in the group buy some sort of bike computer when they purchase their bikes.

  3. Gene,
    When is the launch date?!

  4. Great job Renee! That’s the same approach I use – I give the straps out as loaners to some, and they eventually buy their own, and slowly but surely I end up with nearly the entire class training with training tools – it’s a slow process but it does work 🙂

  5. Thanks Gene. wonderful information that offers support and application to class. Now to get other instructors and riders to “buy” into it. I am currently the only instructor speaking the language of HRM, Zones and Power. I express to my riders that the power console and HRM are tools that keep them from wasting their time. i am the only one speaking power language and conducting classes with heart rate zones, power, and the testing focus to identity them it is new information for most. The reward is seeing their eyes light up when i introduce them during a ride to what is happening on their bike and then at the end when they see their averages for the first time. they realize what they’ve been missing and want more. it’s so cool. I’ve created my Zone Club and slowing building it with 10 HRM owners and 8 Power Zone members. It’s growing, slowly. I make it a point to acknowledge each rider in every class as I give them their “personalized” ride focus and by checking in with them “where’s your heart rate now check that power #.” Unfortunately, it’s kind of like working the teenager mentality of not wanting to be left out. The perfect scenario happened Tues. night with several people going up to the rider wearing his new HRM and he showing them the strap, talking about what he saw, etc.. Goal accomplished for that night. Progress is slow but better some than none are drinking the kool-aid.

  6. Thanks Carol,

    While these chapters do have the bulk of what is in my book, you know Thanks Carol, encouraging words always fuel my fire. But in the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I had to hold just a little back :-). The book has a lot more graphics, animations and I wrote 2 short summaries at the end of each chapter – just 1 paragraph that embodies the most important take aways. One summary is for the rider/student reader and one is specifically speaking to the instructor.

    I only mention this because yesterday I announced our launch date and I’m excited I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not another train! LOL

    Thanks again for the support.

  7. I enjoy these Power Chapters. Thanks Gene!

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