Team rider Mark Scott is taking is his really seriously this year. He’s working with Alan Milway, he’s spent the last few weeks smashing out the road miles in Spain and he’s 100% focused on starting the season on top form. A new tool in his training-arsenal is the Stages Power Meter which just landed.
What is a Power Meter?
It’s a training tool that allows you to measure the output that your body is driving in to your bike. It comes as a crank arm which you fit in place of your existing non-drive side crank. It docks with a cycle-computer such as a Garmin and feeds live data which you can view as you ride and also download for analysis back at home.
Cranks are available for all sorts of bikes from BMX to road to DH and for the MTB crowd there are offerings such as Shimano Saint or SRAM X9.
They are however, not cheap. Stages vary in price … and start at £599 making them a serious investment in your training.
Why use a Power Meter?
The Stages gives you a live, instant look at the power you’re driving through your cranks. If you’re out training on your bike you may want to train at certain intensities which the Stages will help you with. You may ride intervals at high intensity, or try to maintain a long and steady tempo, or short and hard sprints. Many riders use a heart rate monitor for this which is generally OK up to a point… but isn’t instant (it takes time for your heart rate to get up, reach the monitor and output) and measures your ‘input’ rather than your ‘output’.
What does Mark think so far?
“The Stages power meter will help me to keep a close-eye on my training and progress this off season. I’m working with the Shimano Ultegra 6800 on the road bike and the Sram X9 GXP for the race bike. Straight out of the box it has been super easy to install, you just whip the non-drive crank arm off and replace it with the Stages equipped crank. Once that’s on, all it needed was a quick calibration to my Garmin head unit and I think I was looking at my watts and cadence within 5 minutes. Easy!
It’s fine and well just having the numbers and outputs to look at but this year having Alan Milway in my corner who knows exactly what the numbers mean and will most certainly get the most out of my time using the Stages meter and numbers don’t lie!
When the race season comes around, we’ll get so much more valuable info from the cranks to put back into the training and I’m always learning more and more about my training and how to make it most effective, so that everything we do can make me faster at the races! I’ll be able to look at the data produced on timed stages and see where I’m riding strong and where I’m falling behind, so we can tailor my training to how I need it. I have no doubt it’s going to improve my results.
So far, I’ve not had a single glitch or problem and I’m riding in wet, cold, wintry Scotland with it. They seem to be built to stand up to the shitty weather, which is critical for me and the rest of the UK!”