The Joule GPS+: A Tool for Coaches and Athletes Alike, Part 2

The Joule GPS+: A Tool for Coaches and Athletes Alike, Part 2

In part 1 of our four-part series, we discussed foundational metrics for training with a cycling power meter. Part 2 will dive deeper into a few unique power training data available via the Joule GPS+ cycling computer that is beneficial for coaches and their athletes.

Surge Counts

The 4-6 w/kg surge count metric is great for measuring:

  • How hard a group ride was or
  • How hard a mountain bike ride was or
  • How easy a specific recovery ride was.

Why Your Coach Cares
Using traditional metrics like average power or average speed, or even using normalized power, does not always paint the whole picture. The more surges, the harder the ride. On the flip side, the same can be said for a recovery ride. For example, a coach could urge the athlete to keep the surge count at Zero. Surge Counts even can be used for a unique interval workout, in that a coach could say "I want you to do 25 surges today with 30 seconds of recovery between each effort." Remember: a "surge" is 3 or more seconds in the particular power range and our Joule displays 3 surge ranges: 4-6w/kg, 6-8w/kg, 8+ w/kg).

A rider weighing 160-165lbs would need to produce around 290-300w to get to a 4w/kg effort; they need to produce 430-450w to get to 6w/kg; 575-600w to exceed 8w/kg. Each time an effort is in one of these ranges for 3 or more seconds, before dropping out of range the Surge Count would be incremented by 1. If the rider does a 10 second 6-8w/kg surge that would be counted as one surge, not three 3 second surges.

Peak Power

Many coaches like to make sure their athletes are aware of their peak average power during a specific time frame within a ride. The Joule GPS+ tracks some of the more popular time frames during a ride. Those time frames include a rider's best 5 seconds, best 30 seconds, best 1 minute, 5 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes and 60 minutes. Peak average power for any of these time frames can be viewed in the Ride History area at any time during a ride.

Also, a user can select the Peak Power metric for display in one of the dashboard windows. This metric displays the rider's best 5 second, 5 minute, and 20 minute average peak power at any point during the ride.


  • Let's say a coach has specified some 5 minute intervals for their athlete. The athlete can select the Peak Power metric to display on the dashboard. The Peak Power metric will show the peak average power for their best 5 minutes during the ride—essentially, the average power of their best interval.

  • After doing a hard group ride, a rider would like to know what the average power was for their best 30 minutes during the ride. They can go to the Ride History area in the Joule GPS+ menu, select the ride, page through the history report until they come to the Peak Power pages and review their best 30 minutes during the ride (along with their best peak powers during the other time frames).

  • Many coaches will use an athlete's best 20 minute peak power during a particular ride to determine what the athlete's FTP. FTP is Functional Threshold Power. This is basically the power a person can continuously maintain for an all-out one hour time trial. Many people don't have the time or inclination to ride hard for one hour. However, you can get a fairly accurate estimate of a person's FTP by having them ride as hard as they can for 20 minutes. Many coaching methodologies will take a client's best Peak 20 minute power, subtract 5% and thumbnail that value in for their FTP.

Display Averaging

Setting the Display Averaging for power at 3 to 5 seconds can really help the athlete who is new to training with power. New comers to power training tend to expect power to work similar to speed (a smooth change in values). Our power meters are very sensitive. Newbies tend to "chase" the power number instead of letting it bounce around (kind of "visually" averaging the number while you ride), and this bouncing can be frustrating. Averaging the display lets new riders to dial-in their level of comfort, while maintaining the second-by-second raw data in the saved ride file.

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.

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