The Joule GPS+: A Tool for Coaches and Athletes Alike, Part 1
Cyclists who ride with power now have access to the type of data once reserved for sports physiology labs. The technology advances of the modern age have not only opened up access to a rider willing to pay for power, today you can access these key metrics right from your handlebar.
In short: the cycling computer is an incredibly powerful tool.
Our Joule GPS+ is no exception. No, it doesn't have a touch screen and no, it's not the size of an iPhone 6+. Looks can be deceiving. Our cycling computer is just as powerful and useful as its larger, button-free counterparts. This is especially true for athletes training under the keen eye of a power training coach.
How exactly? We're glad you asked. This is part one in a four-part series highlighting power training metrics that are right at your fingertips. Let's get started with some basic, yet very important benchmark metrics of power training.
Kilojoules Per Hour
In addition to total Kilojoules of work, our Joule GPS/GPS+ unit can display Kilojoules per hour of work.
A coach may have their athlete do a ride telling the athlete, "I want you to work at 800 kJ/hr" on a day when they want a big effort from their athlete. Or they may say, "I don't want you to exceed 400 kJ/hr" today - meaning they want a measured recovery ride.
Note: the "hard/easy" ranges referenced here assume a 160 lbs athlete. In other words, 800 kJ/hr for a strong, 200lbs is not that much; for a 115 lbs female 400kJ/hr is not easy.
Watts per Kilogram
Cycling's power to weight ratio, w/kg of body weight, is another useful metric. This number, over a specific time frame, is a way to do an apples-to-apples comparison between strength of riders, regardless of their size. A rider's w/kg number is one of the dashboard metrics for the Joule GPS+.
Let's say Rider A is 6'0" tall, weighs 75 kilograms (about 165 lbs) and can average 275 watts for 20 minute climb. Rider B is 5'2" tall, weighs 54 kg (about 120 lbs), and can average 220w for the same minute climb.
Who is stronger? Let's compare their w/kg numbers for a 20 minute effort: Rider A: 280/75= 3.7 w/kg, while Rider B: 220/54= 4.1 w/kg. Even though Rider A can average 280w on a 20 minute grade, Rider B, averaging only 220w during the same 20 minute climb, will get to the top faster. Rider B is the stronger rider.
Not necessarily unique to our cycling computer, Training Stress Score, Normalized Power, and Intensity Factor can be displayed by the Joule GPS/GPS+. These metrics have been made popular by Training Peaks and many coach/athletes like to monitor them. All of these metrics can be shown on the Joule's display by adjusting the Display settings.
Why Your Coach Cares
Our cycling computer is unique in that these key power training metrics are often calculated post-ride in a static and complete ride file. Our Joule calculates the data during the ride, so it is essentially live, on-the-fly, and up-to-date each time it is viewed by the rider.
Percent of Functional Threshold Power, or %FTP
A new metric for our Joule GPS+ is the %FTP value. Functional Threshold Power, or FTP, is typically the power a person can hold for a one-hour effort. Many coaches will have their athletes do efforts at different percentages of their FTP.
A coach may say "Today I want you to ride tempo at 85% of FTP for 2 hours." Or "Today I want you to do five, 10 minute intervals at 105% of FTP with 5 minutes of recovery between each interval." This metric is great for changing things up and concentrating on just the FTP percentage, rather than a power number bouncing about.
Want to dive deeper into the data? All of these metrics can be viewed in our PowerAgent software and uploaded to your coach's favorite platform.