This race calls for a power meter!!

Since my training partner Kristie and I are doing the men’s team time trail next month, I decided to call Tony Manzella to find out the best way to prepare.

“You?” he said, fairly incredulously.

“Yeah,” I said.

He paused because he is a nice guy and a time trail champion and a problem solver and he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. “Well, as long as you have enough time to prepare, it should go okay.”

“How much time do you think I need?”

“Five or six years, maybe?” I could hear the note of faint optimism, and seized it.

My main question though was about equipment. I’m very cheap and don’t like spending money on anything, especially bicycle things. Tony was helpful there, too. “Don’t buy a TT bike. Get a power meter if you can. A helmet and a power meter and you’re good to go.”

I went online and stopped looking at power meters after twenty or thirty seconds, which was how long it took me to understand that they cost more than $15. Next I went to my bike parts drawer, located above the underwear and below the socks, and rummaged around. I was pretty sure I had an old Timex power meter in there somewhere. Sure enough, I found it.


Unfortunately, the battery was dead. It was complicated replacing it, especially pulling out the little watchband springy thingies, which shot across the room and landed on the beige carpet, invisible. I had to replace the blue strap because it was covered in a strange brown rusty fungus that smelled like the underside of a toenail.

Lots of people think you can’t really monitor your efforts unless you have a modern power meter that costs more than $15. But the Timex power meter has in the past been used in bicycle racing with modest success.


The Timex power meter has several cutting edge functions that are quite useful and relevant today. First, it measures time. This tells you how long you have been pedaling. If you are pedaling over a set course, such as the state team time trail course, then you also will know the distance.

By combining the Timex time output with the distance, the Timex power meter lets you calculate something known as “speed.” With the time output, the distance, and the speed, it is then possible to predict whether you should pedal more, pedal less, or go home.

I have high expectations of this performance device and will provide a DC Rainmaker appraisal of it in much greater detail after the race. For now, here is a basic review of the Timex power meter:

  • Aero fit on wrist.
  • Easy to read display.
  • Lightweight.
  • See-in-the-dark dial for when you’re deep in the pain cave.
  • Convenient date display so you know you are there on the correct day.
  • Retails for $38, roughly 100 times cheaper than the SRM power meter.
  • Compatible with all bottom brackets.
  • Compatible with Campy/SRAM/Shimano.
  • Accurate to within +/- 5 seconds per year.
  • Installs in seconds.
  • Removes easily for quick cleaning.
  • Looks good with a suit and tie.



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28 thoughts on “This race calls for a power meter!!”

  1. Ray’s in LA this week. You might be able to get a review template from him if you ask.

  2. Are you sure that’s within the rules, didn’t sky get into trouble for smuggling Wiggo’s Rolex in a package marked performance enhancing drugs?

  3. Two statements in one sentence…one the truth, “I’m very cheap…” —
    and the other not so true, “…I don’t like spending money on anything, especially bicycle things.”
    You love to spend money on bicycle things…I think you need an intervention.

    1. I have less bike stuff by orders of magnitude than any cyclist I’ve ever met … true story. For starters, I own one bicycle [drops mic].

  4. Merckx was really ahead of his time in training methodology, that looks like a FitBit on his wrist.

  5. If you’re going all old school tester, the least you should do is attach it to your bars, so it at least look like you know what you are doing. Roger and Eddy are where there time pieces road race style, because they are road racing.

  6. Seth, I remember the first time we rode together. It was before the donut and we did a clockwise loop around PV to warm up (and finish me off!) Just us. The conversation was good as we went nice n easy. You yanked on my jersey pocket a few times as a kind notification that I was half wheeling you like a half-wanker. I keep that lesson with me. Then as we passed Via Coronel and came to Pregnant Point a couple guys bridged up to us (ha) and started quizzing you on bike gear. The question & answer that really got me rolling was when they asked what kind of power meter you had. You responded (more or less…) “One with five sensors (with animated smacks to key locations): one on each thigh, one on each glute, and one on my heart. And when they burn I know I’m going hard!”

    I nearly fell off my bike laughing! Thank you for that ride and the fun memories and good luck to you and Kristie! I’m sure your Timex will suffice.

    1. Haha! I remember that ride! I think the sensors were two legs, two lungs, and a heart!

      Thanks for the refresher tech course!

  7. Good enough for all of those riders who could ride 25 miles in 54 minutes in wool shorts, toe clips, hairnets, 19 lb bikes. Aero was a flat back. Your computer was the wrist watch you wore on the inside of your wrist so that it faced you while in the drops. Your cadence was what you counted out in your head while watching the sweep hand. Your watts were what you had left at the half way turn around. To hell with Moser and LeMond technology.

  8. And if you can find your pulse after a time trailing session it makes for a fantastic digital-manual heart monitor.

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