I simply like trying to get more out of my body, nutrition and labor. Only way to know if you are do that is to measure.
OK, so here one of the things I am currently measuring. I am doing a 2 mile uphill ride on my bike. Not the typical 2 mile uphill ride mind you. This ride has a name, "The Zoo".
From a local web site that is nothing but bike climbs in the Seattle area. This one is one of the most difficult if not THE the most difficult climb locally. There are longer climbs in WA state but few as continually as steep the Zoo. Only Lion Rock is harder imo. The Zoo is 10 minutes away. Lion Rock 2 hours.
"Zoo Hill - named after the small zoo at the bottom - is arguably the toughest climb in the Seattle area. Ascending 1200 feet over 2.5 miles, it has an average grade of about 10%, with common gradients in 15% and some sections approaching 20%. This is not a climb to be approached lightly.
Or, as one rider noted, "Zoo Hill is the puke-inducing lactate-producing gasp-fest that I avoid unless taunted.""
So I keep track of my time, bottom to top @ every ride, along with my average cadence, average and max HR. To those numbers I add my body weight, gear/clothing weight and my bike weight.
With the right formula I get how many watts of energy I produce from a given time on the ride. That has varied from 235 watts to 358 watts, depending on how fast I am able to ride the hill and how much my kit and I weigh on that particular ride.
I have been keeping track on of my weekly or monthly rides on the Zoo since 2005. Literally every ride I have done there rain or shine.
@ColdThistle but I forgot where I stole the quote...
"training is not just about how far you can go. Training is about how hard you can go for how long."
At the moment I can put out somewhere around 350 watts. I'm surprised it is up from 320 watts which had been a personal best 4 years ago when I was fit, slightly heavier and had more muscle mass. But I am working on power right now so it is good to see the improvement. Good enough, if I could actually hold that tempo and the 350 watts, for a 18 minuite ride on the Zoo. Which would be a new personal best. Problem is I can't produce and hold that kind of power for 18 minutes. More like 5 minutes or less right now.
So I am strong enough but I just don't have the endurance. But it took some serious time, measuring, testing and retesting to figure that out. It wasn't an easy answer and it wasn't the first place I looked. My original thought was I simply wasn't "strong" enough. Not enough power. Truth is I just need to produce the power I have, for a longer period of time. Knowing all this stopped me from looking at new gears and new bike parts as well.
The real answer here? I require the endurance to produce that level of power if I am going to make 18 minutes on the Zoo climb. And while I am training for that I'll make sure to add strength training to my endurance (and LTH) training so I can produce even more power to go even faster...for a much, much longer period of time.
I mentioned this before. I use to do a lot of rock climbing. Trad 5.11 and easy .12 cracks. I was never very strong by comparison...and could never do more than a dozen or so pull-ups at any given time. But I could hang a long, long time on finger and hand jams by comparison to my partners who could do one arm pull ups and dozens of reps. If I had been smart I would have added a few more pull-ups and dropped a few pounds back then. My rock climbing would have likely taken a big jump in technical difficulty because of it.
Climbing on a bike or climbing on ice and rock easily tells you that you can never be too strong or too light. Unless of course you don't have the endurance to pull off your particular goal. Be it a 17 minute run on the Zoo, the Enduro corner on Astro Man or a quick run up Rainier. If you can do the hardest move on your project you have the power. But do you have the endurance to link every move for the red point?
Bottom line? Make sure you are training for your goals and to your weaknesses. Power and Endurance both have their place. And for most climbing, on the bike or in the mtns, those two goals should be equal partners. Or at the very least know how to define them for your own benefit.