Congratulations on the purchase of your new Powertap. If you've purchased the Elite+ base model it will only have set you back $999.99. If you splurged for the Zipp Disc with PowerTap 2.4, your wallet is a paltry $3,599.99 lighter. While this may seem rather high to the uninformed, the benefits will far outweigh the costs as you train with power and end those meaningless days of going out on your bike for fun.
When beginning to train with power, it's good to have goals. A possible goal might be to dominate your local charity ride, complete a century, finish mid-pack in a cat 5 crit, or even crawl across the line barely under the 17 hour time limit in an age grouper Ironman triathlon. However lofty your goal may be, your new Powertap will get you there.
When deciding if you should go with the base model or leverage your failing 401k for the Zipp, consider this, the extra $2600 for the Zipp wheel is well worth the price. Why? Two words, dimples! The dimples slice through the air infinitely better than a disc without the dimples. To see just how much better we'll use this formula, (coefficient of drag - rotating mass * pi divided by the square root of infinity). Clearly now you see how we all win with technology...
For those not mathematically inclined, look to modern day life where we have the examples of jets with dimples, race cars with dimples, and super fast track stars with dimples. Coincidence? I think not!
But back to training with power, the true beauty of training with power is that it supplies quantifiable evidence of how much you are hating your ride. That dude that the marathon was named after, he didn't have a power meter, and he died. While that may not happen to you, the sobering consequence of training without power could be many enjoyable rides on your bike, something that Bicycling and RoadBikeRider may call "junk miles".
But Lemming you ask, I know heart rate can vary dramatically, but what about speed, do I really need a Powertap when I could just keep a log of speeds on a given course referenced against perceived exertion? On the contrary dear reader, what if you ride a course trying for a personal best on your Spinergy wheels and Trek Y-Foil one day, then the next day hop on your Cervelo P4 with a Zipp disc? You will have no idea how hard you are working or how you little you are enjoying the ride. To make the answer even more enlightening, what if you put your PowerCranks on to your Trek Madone and ride around the same course in your skinsuit after freshly shaving your legs? Now you're beginning to see what I'm talking about. We're going to have 3 different outcomes with possibly the same fitness, but how would you know without the knowledge provided by a Powertap?
Lastly, to protect your investment in the Powertap, RoadBikeRider might suggest to clean your wheel after every ride with generous amounts of Simple Green and a Scotch-Brite sponge. The Lemming recommends and prefers you clean your wheel with lingerie and a bottle of white zinfandel.
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