Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Testing and a Look Ahead

I took a break the last two weeks. Being well rested and well fueled from thanksgiving goodness... a good opportuninty for testing arrrives. Results are ambiguous. I'm seeing great gains to my under two-minute power. But my threshold power isn't progressing as well as I'd have like given the attention I've given it. Some of that may be due to my testing. I went too hard at the beginning of the time trial interval. I may repeat the interval today, striving for a more steady power level, or re-test in a few weeks.

I planned out the first six weeks of the 2011 season. It's the most aggressive plan I've ever written. I've included tons of skill practice time. Several times last year I felt limited by bike handling skills. No reason for that. I also planned in a lot of flexibility. I've come to realize that it's impossible to lock down a plan during this time of year. Weather dictates what's possible. And there's no way to predict what the weather will be like three weeks from now. So, for most long workouts I've planned a dirt option, a road option, and an indoor option. Otherwise I tend to say "if I can't ride as planned, I'll just ride the couch".

2011 is an important season for me. I expected a better 2010 season than it turned out to be. Can't help but feel like there some unfinished business to take care of.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Watts are not Watts

A nice benefit of using a power meter is that it accruately protrays your efforts. You can't, for example, use speed as a good effort indicator. Single-digit speeds may be a heroic effort if the road is steep enough or the headwind strong enough. Power measures the effort much better.


Watts are not always the perfect measure either. Last night weather forced me onto the rollers. This was my first attempt at riding intervals on them. Let me say this... ### watts on rollers > ### watts on a trainer > ### watts on the road. Even on the smoothest, flattest road you still have variations in speed that apparently allow for significant recovery. You have less on the trainer. The resistance is constant. And there's absolutely no interruption. But you can still 'coast'. On rollers... you don't even get the minimal 'coasting' effect you get on a trainer. You spin without interruption - because stopping means falling off! And effort changes are hugely apparent because of the gyroscopic effect. As your wheels decelerate you get shoved to the side.

It makes a huge difference. The legs obtain an amazing amount of recovery with just a few lightened pedal strokes. These aren't as freely available on the rollers. That's a good thing. Makes for a better workout. But it may mean that I need to adjust my workout durations. I plan for the road. But may need to come up with some multiplier for the trainer. Clearly... they are not equivalent.

Last night was my first attempt at intervals on rollers. Longest ride on rollers to date as well. I'm happy to report that after almost two hours I didn't get bored to tears nor was my butt beat to a pulp. Those are my two biggest complaints after being on a stationary trainer for more than about 40min. I've heard of people doing epic 4hour indoor rides. On a trainer this would lead me to jump off the nearest bridge. I can easily see me doing this on rollers though. I can't say enough about what a revolution this is for me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A set of 5x 10min intervals tonight. I'm riding much stronger. Just in time for the 'off season'. Ha! I will take it as I'm determined to ride through this winter season. Perversely, I'm looking forward to the challenge.

My progress stems from the last six months of training. Been a tough few months. I started from a low point. And progress hasn't occurred linearly. Instead my body has stored up most of the gains and is only now converting the training into fitness! It always comes in waves.

This is why it is so important to have faith. One must have faith that training will eventually pay off. Every athlete must have some degree of it. You must have confidence that training will work. Even when it appears it isn't. Not easy!

Admittedly, mine was weak at times over this year. Returning to my preinjury fitness has been far more difficult than anticipated. "I know I can do better than this" dominated much of my thoughts. Faith in my training delivered me through. Without it, I'd still be on the couch...