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5 new power PRs set yesterday; Strava’s Power Curve vs Golden Cheetah

Monday, January 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


The other day I was lamenting the (supposedly) inevitable drop in power now that I’m eating under maintenance to cut weight. I’m not the type of person who just lays back and says, “Oh well.” In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite of that personality. That drop in performance was really eating at me, and the other day I went out with renewed determination and I managed to set a new 45s power PR. I only beat my previous best 45s effort by 1 watt, but it was a victory. Apparently not enough of a victory for my liking, however…

On Saturday my buddy Hector and I did a two-man 56 mile/90 kilometer ride that included about 2,400 feet of climbing (and a strong headwind the second half of the ride). We mostly kept things Zone 3/Tempo, but we hit some of the hills a little harder than that. It was a good ride, and not an easy one.

After Saturday’s ride I came home and worked in the yard for the rest of the day. I hit the pillow feeling pretty wiped out.

On Sunday morning I did a very intense 40 minute weight training workout, and after a little rest I saddled up. My legs felt very rubbery at first, but after about 10 miles I was surprised by how good I felt. There was a hill on my route that I knew would take about a minute to ascend if I hit it really hard. My goal was a new 1m power PR.

I was a little over-zealous when I started the climb, and went too hard at first. That may have hurt my 1m power a little bit (not to mention Saturday’s ride and the weight training session about an hour prior), but I not only set a new 1m power PR, I set a total of five new power PRs!

01s: 1,112 watts (+62 watts)
05s: 1,035 watts (+19 watts)
10s: 983 watts (+7 watts)
45s: 725 watts (+39 watts)
01m: 610 watts (+13 watts)

Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked about setting 5 lifetime bests while in a caloric deficit and on tired legs. I guess the point here is to never let your mind convince you that you can’t do something. Often your mind is what’s holding you back, not your body.

I’m going to quickly branch off on a little Strava rant now…

As most of you know, I like Strava. That said, sometimes I find their choices of what to focus their resources on, well, baffling.

If you look on Strava’s message boards, athletes have been clamoring for all kinds of very sensible, useful and otherwise awesome features. Some of these suggestions go back years, and they have a huge amount of support from other Strava members. Strava has, inexplicably, ignored many of these great suggestions, and they recently released an absolutely ridiculous, pandering and trite feature that practically no one wants: yearly KOMs/trophies. Meanwhile, basic stuff such as being able to stop email notifications after replying to a ride, or remove power spike anomalies (just to name a couple of things) are still pipe dreams.

I’m going to go on a little more about the power spike thing. Anyone with a power meter knows that occasionally short (1 second) power spikes are recorded. It happens rarely, but it does happen. Well, I had a power spike record sometime last year, but I didn’t know at the time it was a spike. I thought it was an actual peak power (1s) personal record of 1,400 something watts:

My critical power curve as represented by Strava

My critical power curve as represented by Strava


The excellent (and free) Golden Cheetah software has the ability to seek out data anomalies. It’s found under “Rides” -> “Edit”:

Golden Cheetah will automatically find and flag anomalous data, which you can then correct manually or smooth using the software.

Golden Cheetah will automatically find and flag anomalous data, which you can then correct manually or smooth using the software.


This handy little feature will pick up on crazy power, speed, heart rate and cadence spikes (to name a few) and highlight them for you. Thanks to this feature, I was able to tell that my supposed 1,400+ peak power PR was, in fact, a spike and not an actual PR. I was able to quickly remove the erroneous reading, and now my power curve is correct. Here it is using Golden Cheetah:

My critical power curve as represented by Golden Cheetah

My critical power curve as represented by Golden Cheetah


So, getting back to Strava. There is absolutely NO WAY to remove power spikes. The inability to remove data anomalies on Strava is ridiculous, as those errors will throw your power curve off. I thought, “Well, it’s a pain, but I’m sure support can remove the data spike for me so my power curve is correct.” I wrote to support, and they replied that they could not remove the bad data point. Unreal. So now my Strava power curve, which is a Premium (not free) feature, is wrong and it always will be.

Meanwhile we’ve got stupid “2015 KOM” trophies clogging up our rides, and making no one but the “Participant medal” babies happy (most of whom are not paying Strava users). There’s not even an option to turn that dumb “feature” off.

Come on Strava, you can do better than this.

John Stone Fitness Comments

8 Responses to “5 new power PRs set yesterday; Strava’s Power Curve vs Golden Cheetah”
  1. Bravo on the Strava rant. I’m not a paying member so I can’t say much, but I can say their attention to customer’s needs and desires certainly doesn’t make me want to pay for the premium service. Truth is I actually started to contemplate upgrading right when the new annual trophies came out. Their response has me once again putting off the upgrade so it in the end I it’ll eventually come back to bite them. I always say even the Roman Empire didn’t last forever so at some point it may come crashing down on them.

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    • It wasn’t the focus of this blog, but I could easily devote a lengthy article to Strava’s inexplicable lack of progress towards correcting everything from minor annoyances (like the email for every reply thing mentioned above), to major holes in their service (like their horrendous hazardous segment flagging system).

      Strava putting their resources towards things like the stupid yearly trophies when so many basic/core issues remain unresolved is baffling.

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