I have a Dilema and need some ideas. I have put and order in for a Powertap. It has been on backorder since February 2010. I understand the benefit of training with this piece of equipment, but my question is... Would I be better off sticking with the Powertap and wait for it or should I build up a tubular set and race on tubulars this season?
Tubeless in Cross is worthless. If money was no object, for some it might be, I would get all of the above (powertap, SRM, and tubular wheelsets with FMB's)...But that is just not in the cards. I have to make a decision on one or the other. Thank you for all of your help and I am out.
In picking up from some of Andrew's questions from his last post, I have some questions for you. Are you the type of rider that will take the time to use the Powertap properly? In other words, are you using it every time you get on the bike, running an LT test at least monthly, do you have knowledge of how to train using power (have you read the Hunter/Cogan book on training with power?), will you put the time into downloading and analyzing data from all your rides to really get the most out of the Powertap? If so, then I might say that in the long run, you'll get a lot out of the Powertap. If not, then it's really just an expensive toy. I have a Powertap that I bought when I was road racing a lot. Initially I used it quite a bit, but wasn't necessarily testing monthly and didn't analyze the data as closely as I should have. I DID see improvements in my power though, even without going full in. BUT, after a season or so, and after having some long term issues with my Powertap, I figured out that I like just training and racing without having to constantly look down and chase a number on a little screen. So that too is something to consider. When you train right now, are you training on heart rate and do you spend lots of time ensuring that you are in the correct training zone? Do you mind being chained to looking down at your computer constantly? If you get a Powertap, you will spend lots of time looking down chasing a number, so keep that in mind.
In terms of tubulars, you can get some very reasonably priced off the shelf wheels out there and they will make a noticeable difference in how your bike handles and feels. You might gain a hair amount of speed with tubulars as well since you can run them at much lower pressures and stay in contact with the ground surface more. Plus, the cost of tubulars tires and wheels, assuming you aren't looking at some out of this world carbon rims, are not going to make your wallet nearly as light as a Powertap. Plus, if you get tubs, you'll get to have the experience of gluing them up, which can't be overlooked.
I could go on for days with this. I'm cutting myself off.
I agree with Brian. I have gotten so sick of looking at that god damn little yellow box for hours on end. If you're going to stick to a plan and or get a coach and be all sorts of hardcore about your training, then the PT is a good path. I've found it sucks the fun out of riding and that is why 99.9% of cross racers do this sport. Unlike TT's you won't really get much out of using it as a pacing tool during races, and it will probably break anyway. It kind of made cycling feel too much like a job for my tastes. Given the chance to do it again, I'd have spent the $900 on a ss MTB or pit bike and a reflex/ultegra set of tubies. Honestly once you have been training hard enough you'll get a pretty good feel for what the different zones feel like and if you do reps on the same climbs, time is a reasonable intensity measurement as wind conditions don't contribute all that much.