Un-official LEVEL MODE MARCH MADNESS Challenge

The Omnium this morning – was a definitely a fun experience! I enjoyed the lie down. :slight_smile:

Doing it on level mode (with fresh numbers) let me push harder in parts, but mostly it was all I could do stick with the targets. The pursuit and the elimination races felt especially good. The kilo I paced terribly, more like FF’s 1 minute effort rather than the slight negative split of the targets, and I was toasted in the last 10 seconds.

I’m sorry to say I also couldn’t muster the strength for the final sprint either. More than my legs, I think my mind just quit at seeing such a high target, even for a short duration. Excited to revisit in two weeks, I’ll pace the kilo better and will be looking to push just as hard as today on the other races but try to be better prepared for the final effort.


Can I ask the level mode heroes on here - when you’re trying to maintain a steady power, how much variation do you see in the power output from your trainer?

I’ve always been put off by level mode as it seems to be all over the place, but I am concerned that I have a problem.

For example, today I did Attacker in level mode. When trying to hold circa 350w the output on the screen varied betwen 300 & ~420w during a period when there were no changes in level or gear and my cadence was the target cadence +/- 1rpm.
It’s pretty demoralising and hard to concentrate on power levels when things are so variable.

I’m using a Kickr Core with an ANT+ dongle & Windows 10. I’ve experimented with power smoothing on and off but with no real difference tbh.

Sorry to hijack the thead a little - I figured that everyone here is probably on level mode so would have a good view on what they see.




Sorry for the late reply. I saw your post on my phone but couldn’t find the proper time to write something.

Your experience mirrors more or less my own. When I’m in level-mode on my KickR Bike, the wattage without any power smoothing usually varies ± 20-50 W, depending on how well I’m concentrating on a smooth pedal stroke.

I think that is perfectly fine. I mean, I absolutely notice that I’m putting more power to the pedal during my downstroke and in certain moments of my ride. The displayed power seems like exactly what I would expect. Minimizing this big variations is what a smooth style is all about.

I’m sorry you find it demoralizing. I think you should not feel like this. On the contrary, wouldn’t a smoothed out lie of an “even” power be much worse? It takes practice, sure, but it is why we train, right?

Anyway, this is just my two cents. I get that it’s not for everyone. :slight_smile:
Hope it already helps knowing you are not alone.


For sure that happens. When going up in power targets I always overshoot and it then comes back down and levels off. When going down it does the opposite. Eventually you will learn to trust your calculation of how many gears you need to change or how much to change the trainer resistance to get to the desired cadence and power target. It’s great for understanding how your body feels at different power targets too… for example I know what 300W feels like.

I did The Shovel, today. Looking back, I’ve done it four previous times, all in level mode. It’s never been quite as difficult as it was the first time, but otherwise is hasn’t gotten any easier. It’s hard to stick to the power targets - especially the shorter punchier targets - in level mode.

@leebo Yes, it can be difficult to stick to a power target, especially the higher MAP and AC targets. Even when I had a target of 296w I could see my power fluctuate from 240-250 up to 330. Holding targets closer to FTP is easier. And like @Pierre said, I can get less of a fluctuation if I concentrate on smooth, round pedaling all the way around. Otherwise I definitely (especially on higher MAP and AC targets) can see larger fluctuations when I’m mostly just putting out power on my downstrokes.

Also, I found that ANT+ is less responsive than Bluetooth. It’s easier to hold a stable power when the display reacts quicker, otherwise you’re constantly chasing power targets from a second or two ago and seem to never catch up.


Thanks for the replies @emacdoug @Pierre.
I actually think I was getting some interference. I switched off a wifi repeater on the same side of the hosue as my trainer. I have also recently been experimenting with using my phone as a wifi hotspot (with a view to replacing the sub-1mbps broadband abomnination we get in my ara). I switched that off also and things look a little better. I’ve seen elsewhere comments that wifi can interfere.
My ride yesterday (in TP with no smoothing on the chart) looked like this:

After the wifi changes, today’s ride looks like this (The Trick):

To Pierre’s points, I absolutely agree that it is good to have the real data, not a super-smoothed lie. My demoralised state (perhaps the wrong word on my part) comes from that I (like everyone) want to make sure we get as much out of a workout as possible. Yesterday I really had no idea if I was hitting my power targets at all.

All interesting stuff! Thanks again.


I used to use the smoothing just so I wasn’t chasing the numbers too much. But then found I wasn’t seeing all my peaks and valleys. Turning it off makes it both easier and harder to stick to your targets. But, I do prefer having it off, now.

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That‘s a crazy difference. It looks like a lot of dropouts and too much variation. Your changes in setup definitely moved the results closer to what I‘m getting out of my workouts.

Glad you figured it out.

That‘s a good point and probably something I need to improve on myself.
Even when I run I am chasing the pace number on my watch too much. On the other hand, I kinda like to be my own best/worst Rival.

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Of course you realise that now this means I’m likely to be doing mroe in level mode. Damn you!


I did Butter today in level mode. I thought I was smashing it.

Then I looked back at my previous attempts. I did Butter the end of Oct in the KOS training plan and then as the 4th video of my KOS attempt. Both on ERG mode. Both were at reduced intensity and both had nearly identical stats. And both also had higher stats than my workout this morning that I did in level mode. :frowning: Tho, i supposedly burned more calories today than those previous attempts. But I thought my target numbers should have been pretty similar. I guess not. Guess I have a lot to work on to get back to where I was.

…but you will get there!!! :muscle:


So, I have to confess I did not do today’s workout in level mode. I’d say Cadence Builds and Holds is not suitable for level mode. However, I found a fun game to help pass the time, I call it «spin the beat».

Basically, the point of the game is trying to match your cadence with your HR. Have fun kids!!


Back when I had a manual trainer, I had to do every workout in level mode. I did this one on monday on level mode, as well. It’s definitely doable. You just have to adjust your gears properly, but it’s definitely doable. Maybe more doable than on erg mode, I think. You aren’t really supposed to worry about your power at all. So, you can pick a gear that’s as low as you need to spin as high of an rpm as you can. I was always in my 2nd or 3rd lowest gear with the smallest ring at the front. It was much easier to it those high cadences than when erg mode is trying to adjust my power up to ftp.

I have no doubt it is doable, but for me at least, I do not se any purpose in doing it in level mode. Bringing gear changes into the equation would only complicate things in my mind, thus I only have to focus on the cadence.

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It doesn’t take many gear changes. Usually was just 1 gear difference between the builds and the recovery intervals. But, erg mode definitely removes that from the equation.

Yeah I mentioned way ^ that for me any ‘drill’ type sessions would still be done in ERG. It’s not that they can’t be done in level mode, I just want to remain purely focused on technique during these sessions.

This had level mode written all over it from the beginning!

Interestingly though, in a kind of double madness March way I actually tried out erg mode in a few of the 15sec sprints.

In level mode I was ramping up to maybe 130 rpm and during the acceleration my power was above/around target but once at 130rpm power dropped off as I wasn’t accelerating anymore.
Consequently I think I was often over tgt for first 5 seconds and then under by the end.

Changing gears during the ramp sort of worked but I sort of slowed a bit as the change happened. Plus bike not exactly happy shifting at max wattage! The few 15sec sprints I tried in erg sort of solved this gear change lag as the resistance progressively ramped up once I was at top leg speed. I guess outdoor bikes don’t actually have this feature though!

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18/31: Who Dares, in which I decided to try to ride intervals and get some $WORK done in parallel – level mode was too distracting for that to work so I switched to ERG.
19/31: The Chores – level mode felt great for this, making me really focus on the 40/20s. Also gave me the freedom to let it rip on the final sustained effort, slowly ramping from 95% of threshold to ~125% of threshold.

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So, I went beyond level mode and rode entirely by RPE today. It was totally immersive, almost felt… real! Even had to take a photo.


I suspect this will be in the ToS2022.