This is really what it is all about, @Tracyligemagreen, @PneeZee, @stacypro and others who are finding the power to be “easy” but the control to be hard. As I mentioned in the ERG mode thread, cycling is a sport and technique matters.
What if I told you that I am able to hang on with a group of men who are Cats 1/2/3 racers going hard at 25-40 mph (40-64 km/h) on flat roads for 2.5 hours on a group ride? Check out the ride I am referring to here. I saw huge improvements in my ability to go fast in the last 18 months when I changed my training to have consistent focus on technique and skills (yes, my power went up too, but not by a lot).
Another example is the last Zwift race and Tour of Watopia I participated in. When I looked at the results, I noticed that many riders who finished behind me had higher average power/weight (w/kg). So I was able to go faster with less effort.
One of those techniques is control. Being able to control your power, cadence, and shifting. It is hard for a reason - you are having to engage more muscles and work on firing them in the right pattern to deliver more of the power you produce to the pedals and avoid wasting energy (or “bleeding watts” as my coach would say).
We do a lot of simulations in our training program, where athletes have to go through various scenarios like the ones they would encounter out in the road or group rides/races in Zwift, by matching cadence to the terrain, power with cadence for speed, etc. You will get a sample of that during the 30-day challenge.
So going back to technique… Let’s use soccer as an example. Would a soccer coach put the players immediately into a game and turn them loose to try to win it? Nope, a soccer coach spends most of the time teaching technique- dribbling, kicking, passing, etc. Same with baseball, basketball, tennis… With cycling there is the interesting phenomenon of people just riding, or just doing an effort because there is this misconception that power - and power only- is what matters, without much thought to technique.