Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Power-itis- (n) pow-er-i-tis- An affliction befalling cyclists and triathletes upon immediately acquiring a power meter. Symptoms include half wheeling, pedaling excessively on  every down hill, over exertion on every rise and an obsessive desire "to make the number bigger".  In rarer cases often afflicting triathletes, waiting on every hill may occur because the afflicted rider does not want to exceed his/her target zone.

Just last night I had a friend send me a message on Facebook all excited about purchasing a new power meter, his first. I had actually encouraged it. He's been doing a lot of work at a local Computrainer facility and most of our discussions revolve around power; power on the climbs vs. flats, normalized power vs. average power. etc. He's also an engineer, and like most engineers he's a bit obsessive about numbers, charts and graphs. In short, getting a power meter is perfect for him (I think it is perfect for almost everyone but that's a different topic).

After discussing what he got and how excited he was to get it, I think he was a bit surprised for me to tell him that I would ride with him again after a month has passed. I simply told him that he would have a case of power-itis and that I didn't want to deal with it until it he was over it.

Of course he had no idea what I was referring to, and how would he, since I just made up the term on the spot. But it is a real affliction and one I've seen time and time again with the proliferation of power meters in the ranks.

Sometimes this is the only solution.
Just like everyone, I've been afflicted with it as well. Only it was a long, long time ago. With me it started on the Computrainer in 1994 and then on the road in 98-99 starting with a Powertap and then later moving to an SRM. The trick to overcome it, is to treat your power meter for what it is, a tool and not a challenge.

My number one suggestion is if you are doing a group ride and have a specific power based workout to do, leave the group and do it on your own. No one will get upset if you leave and go hammer, but I guarantee people will say nasty things about you if you are hammering every climb and decent in the group.

Just remember, used properly and with the right guidance and analysis a power meter can help you realize great gains in fitness. Use it improperly, and you're probably just pissing everyone off.


  1. Great entry! Some of the people I ride with accuse me of poweritis still

    1. Thanks Brian! I think it is fine as a rule unless you are riding on a somewhat social group ride. But that's just me.