Power vs. Heart Rate for cyclocross

I have used power for both my road bike and trainer for years. For the first time I got a Stages power meter for my cross bike for this season. Having done a few workouts using FasCat Summer CX Sweet Spot w/ Skills and Running, I have noticed my TSS and NP are way out of synch with the actual effort or strain of the workout. My heart rate data seems to much more accurately reflect the work I’m doing. I guess this should have been obvious. I use TrainingPeaks and keep a paper and pen training diary. I will log my time in zones based on HR and not PWR for these workouts. I almost think having a power meter on my CX bike is not very useful.

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Astute observation @john.dunn - yes, when you are running off the bike the power data is zero and your heart rate is pegged!

For races and workouts that have quite a bit of running the TSS is maybe 85-90% representative compared with hrTSS that will capture the true effort.

I still find cx power data useful but not as useful in cx compared to other disciplines. More data is better so blending the power and HR data is the best , imo.

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This is a great article regarding this. Sure the impressive wattage numbers are fun to look at but Ryan was superhuman back in the day. For me, the most interesting data point when I read this back in 2011 was "One standout stat is that he didn’t pedal for a full 16% of the race. "


@john.dunn I’m also doing the CX Sweetspot plan and have found the same thing. RPE is higher than power/TSS indicates for days practicing CX.


Thanks for the feedback Frank! I will use both HR and PWR for CX.

This is a great article. I also discovered some useful training articles linked below this from CX Magazine as well. Thanks coach.

Which kinda makes sense with regard to the the number of turns and the need to not pedal as part of not braking… 16% - for me it’s about 50% - which has nothing to do with course and 100% to do with FATIGUE!