drive out from San Diego to Las Vegas for Interbike I did a little math,
something that probably isn’t such a good thing when I’m driving (or anytime for that matter). Through my superb
addition and subtraction skills, I figured out that 2012 is the 17th
consecutive Interbike I’ve attended, having been every
year since I was 16 years old. Bikes have evolved dramatically over those 17
years, and I’ve grown up (so to speak); but
the one thing that is unchanged is the excitement I feel when I get to the show,
the youthful enthusiasm to see and ride the newest products out there.
The show hadn't even officially started this year before I was
already demoing new products. SRAM had lined up a ride leaving from The Strip
and taking us to the Outdoor Demo, 25 miles away. I figured a nice mellow ride
would be the perfect way to kick off yet another Interbike, and allow me an
opportunity to test the re-designed Quarq power meter. But, SRAM decided to
turn the tables on us and rather than us test the Quarq, the Quarq would test
us! The team at SRAM are eager to point out that the Quarq power meter isn's just another component or accessory on the bike, it's an important tool that, if used correctly, can be an integral part in ones training program.
SRAM took over the parking garage at the Venetian in order to get us and our equipment dialed in before the big test.
rolling out of the makeshift ride headquarters in the parking garage of the
Venetian, Quarq’s “mad scientist”, Troy Hoskins, recorded our
body weight, half of the all important power to weight ratio; the second part
of the equation would be coming next.
We kept a
leisurely pace for the better part of 20 miles since we had been forewarned
about the ensuing Strava Segment that would serve as a 5 min power test towards
the end of the ride. Once we reached the stretch of road (it was actually a
bike path) that would forever validate who the fastest journalist was, we
stopped and got the final instructions from SRAM’s Michael Zellman: “Follow the path, watch out for the two gates, and don’t crash. Oh yeah, go hard.” Ok, got it. I sprinted away,
not exactly knowing where the bike path was
even taking me, and never daring to look down at my Garmin 500 to see my power
numbers. I went as hard as I could and managed not to crash, mission
The re-designed Quarq is dramatically more streamlined. With the electronics now being located within the spider and the switch to a smaller CR2032 battery, the power meter is on par with the sleek looks of an SRM. A Quarq with Red BB30 cranks runs $2045, or $1995 for the 24mm GXP spindle.
into the pits at Outdoor Demo and straight over to the SRAM’s power lab tent to see why it was we pushed ourselves so
hard that our lungs were still seared from the dry desert air. After
downloading our Garmins, Troy began his presentation on why we did an all-out 5
minute effort, and how a power meter can be a beneficial training tool.
After performing our test, then dividing power into our weight in kilograms, it was easy to see where our strengths and weaknesses lay. A sprinter is naturally going to have much higher 5 seconds and 1 minute power than a time trialist, but a power meter will allow you to target certain areas for improvement.
our 1 minute and 5 minute power numbers, divided by our weight in kilograms,
Troy came up with our power to weight ratios for each of the two durations. He
then compared them with collected data from all levels of cyclists, ranging
from World Class all the way down to Category 5. Figuring out your power to
weight ratio for a given duration is hardly a new idea, or even an idea from
Quarq; but since the vast majority of power meter users don’t use them up to their true potential as a training tool,
Quarq wanted to take the opportunity to not only show us their new tool, but
also how to use it.
After Troy made us feel special about our own power data, he deflated our egos by showing us Peter Velits' power file from a stage of the Tour. There's a reason why he makes a living riding a bike and we don't.