Ran some errands in Waterloo, and then realized how nice it was outside… Took my bike (Gravel) on the road for a short 17km ride down the paved section of Boomer. Bike currently has 35mm Panaracer Gravel King slicks on it.
My two cents – the Strava estimates aren’t very accurate. They can look at speed and terrain (based on maps) but they don’t have any way to account for things like headwinds (or tailwinds) and beyond fairly slow speeds, overcoming aerodynamic drag is where most of your power goes on flat ground.
I also have a trainer that measures watts and have no idea if the number is accurate, but as long as it’s consistent I can at least compare progress. On the road/gravel, I usually just take note of Strava PRs on various segments I ride a lot – or who I can manage to hang with on a group ride – as a very casual measure of progress!
Power meters are great for training and improving fitness. It will be your best metric for comparison or to see how hard the ride actually was.
Heart rate is okay, but it depends on multiple factors and can vary quite a lot (fueling, fatigue, mindset etc).
Your goal for training is to raise your ftp or other power zones, your smart training is great as it will be consistent.
A crank arm or pedal power meter will let you extend your training outdoors.
Comparing a smart trainer with a crank arm power meter I tend to find a small variance which can come down to power averaging by the head unit and/or drivetrain efficiency loses.
Agreed. I got a crank mounted one directly from 4iiii and was able to get one mounted on a gently used crank and then send my original crank back for $$ which made it a better deal all around. With a proper head unit you gather all the data you might want for training as well as managing efforts on the road. A great piece of kit.
As another option, more expensive but more versatile, I have power meter pedals. I have an older set of Garmin Vector 3’s on my road bike and recently got a new set of the Garmin Rally pedals for my gravel/cross bikes. You can swap them between bikes which is great
I would 100% vote for the rally pedals. I’ve had a lot of crank arms, they are great but bike specific. I’ve had my pedals on MTBs, tandem, cargo bike, gravel. I’ve abused them and submerged them on one silly ride with @KevRidesGravel.
My only annoyance is that they don’t like large winter time temperature swings when bikes are stored inside. Although I recently updated the filmware, so I’m cautiously optimistic that will mitigate some of those wonky readings.
I’m also voting for power pedals in general. (I’ve got the Garmin Rally dual sided)
I started with a stages power meter (on sale) a bunch of years ago. That very quickly turned into a second one, and then a third one, for three different bikes.
Then after yet another new bike, I finally smartened up and realized the extra cost of the pedals would quickly be offset by the number of bikes I could use them on. These pedals are routinely going between four bikes now: good gravel bike, winter gravel bike, mountain bike, and fatbike.