So I'd heard the squad compare the "numbers", and boast about aligning normalised and average power to the second decimal place. And I judged them. Hard. I'd heard them shower praise on the A-team for keeping their effort so consistent and minimising variability, and I thought, "Idiots... just ride your bikes". And then I tried riding with a power meter, just to see what all the fuss was about, and I realised that this little gadget will suck you in like a sale on TT-bikes 3 months before your first Ironman.
From a totally agnostic, to somewhat disdainful stance on riding with power, I'm dancing in the aisles and leading the choir. So be careful - there's no turning back once you're able to see EXACTLY how kak you are at 4:45am on a Tuesday. Weirdly. It is quite simply revelatory and it adds a fantastic dimension to training, particularly if your bike is your weak point. I'm hesitant to say it's essential to improving your riding - there is massive to return to toughing it out and pushing through your own barriers. But if you want to skip a few steps in the process, then this "disgusting little contraption" (Claire's words, not mine - referring to the addictive nature of the beast) is your best friend.
Having now ridden with a power meter, I've included a bonus list of things we now know for sure:
1. When you are chasing watts, gradients are your friends.
2. When you are chasing anything else, they definitely are not.
3. For a given power output, Paula is faster than Price. This is because her power is superior.
P.S. When asked to give a star rating, out of 5, Paula very promptly replied, '13!'. They are clearly THAT great.