How do you best prepare for cyclcocross? Use a Quarq power meter according to SRAM. Apparently the world’s best riders all know their numbers…
Cyclocross is a tricky one. Straight from the gun there’s that furious sprint off the line and then, even when ‘settled down’, the racing demands high intensity virtually all the time with little let up. Therefore, you need to judge your effort perfectly to get a good position early on, whilst avoiding going too far into the red, and then know where to put in the hard effort during the ensuing hour or so. Easier said than done.
To us normal folk it may seem crazy to fit an expensive power meter to a cyclocross bike that you are going to thrash around a muddy field, but the pros need every advantage over their rivals and money is not really an object when top honours are at stake. SRAM reckon that success requires that each rider knows their numbers and uses them to maximise their performance; and that apparently is why more top cross pros are using SRAM’s Quarq power meters in 2014/15 than ever before.
The pros are set to use the new SRAM Force CX1 1×11 drivetrain, as a single chainring up front becomes the favoured set-up, paired with the Quarq Elsa R power meter, which is accurate to +/- 1.5%, has SRAM’s Power Balance to capture left and right leg performance, and Exogram Hollow Carbon crank arms to keep weight down.
SRAM Quarq users include both the UCI Cyclocross World Champion, Zdenek Stybar, whose Omega Pharma Quick-Step Pro Cycling team use Quarq power meters, and the U.S. National Cyclocross Champion, Jeremy Powers of Rapha Focus Racing.
Also using Quarq are the Belgian Telenet Fidea Cycling Team, which includes Bart Wellens, and the U23 World Champion Wout Van Aert of Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace. Then there’s Kaitlin Antonneau, Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon of Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com, Elle Anderson of KDL Cycling Team, U23 U.S. National Champion Logan Owen of California Giant/Specialized and Danny Summerhill of K-Edge/Felt.
Elle Anderson of the KDL Cycling Team, who will be based in Belgium this season, said, “For the first time this summer, I was able to record all my training data with a Quarq power meter. Training with my Quarq has allowed me to gain valuable metrics and analyze my fitness heading into cyclocross season. This access to my power data is a powerful tool that I wouldn’t want to be without.”
Quarq Power Coach Gord Fraser said the knowledge provided by a power meter is crucial to success in modern-day cyclocross. “You see the demands of a ’cross race – it’s very violent. You need a reliable, durable and accurate power meter to analyze that,” said Fraser, a former Canadian professional racer and three-time Olympian. “A key stat you’ll see is how many surges at certain watts per kilogram levels you’re making during a race. You’d probably be surprised how many surges you’re making during a race. Once you get that count, you can start replicating that number and intensity during training to be ready for race day. That can only be done by a good download of a Quarq file.”
As for us amateurs, there will be a day when we all have power meters on our bikes, of that I am sure; just don’t hold your breath…
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