Monthly Archives: November 2011

Winter Cycling Training – Day 1 of Week 4

The instructions for today’s workout read as follows:

10' @ 65-70%FT + 5' alternating 20" @ 110-115%FT
40" @ 65-70% + 5' @ 75% FT

5x1' (1' Rest@ 65-70% FT) as 1-4 set @ 150-120% and last one try pushing 3-5w higher
the last set will be your baseline for next week-- + 15' @ 78-80%

5-10' @ 60-65%

WU: Warm Up
MS: Main Set
CD: Cool Down

In the Warm Up section, the instructions call for ten minutes at 65 to 70% of my functional threshold power. Then five minutes of intervals – 20 seconds at 110-115% with 40 seconds at 65-79%. Then five more minutes at 75%

Easy to understand right?

Well, when I read the Main Set section, I got confused. First of all, there is a typo – the 150 should be 105. But I never made sense of the “…as 1-4 set…”. After requesting clarification, I learned that the Main set first called for ten minutes of activity. One minute at 105-120% followed by one minute at 65-70%, this repeated five times, except the last interval I was try to increase my effort by three to five watts.

Instead, I did four minutes at what turned out to be an average of 281 watts or 117% and then one minute at 117%.

Oh well, at least I was on the trainer!

Winter Cycling Training – Day 4 of Week 3 (Test Week)

Last day of test week, and the tests are over, so this workout should be easy. Nope.

This workout was my longest session on the trainer, ever. After a brisk warm up, there were four 30 minute intervals beginning at 65% and increasing 5% every 30 minutes ending at 30 minutes at 80%. The above graph reveals the following…

1) As the effort increased, my cadence decreased. In order to obtain the required output, and yet still keep my breathing under control, I had to shift up and slow my cadence.

2) My heart rate was near 150 bpm at the end of the workout. This is near or at my measured lactic threshold. I was working as hard as I could; I could do no more.

3) I was not meeting the intended level of effort on my fourth interval. I tried to keep my effort at the required 89%, but there were times I just could not do it. However, I buckled down for the last five minutes and finished strong.

4) I skipped the cool down. At the end of the fourth 30 minute effort, I was done. I tried to do the cool down, but my legs said “enough!”.

I have now finished three of the sixteen weeks of the training program. I expect that the suffering will only increase, but this program is making me ride the trainer more than I did last winter. In the last three weeks, I have been on the trainer twelve days. In addition, I have ridden outside (in the rain) on four occasions each at recovery pace. As such, I have been on the bike 16 of the last 21 days.

Yes, I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day.

Winter Cycling Training – Day 3 of Week 3 (Test Week)

Another hard day on the trainer.

I intended to do this ride early in the morning, but soon after getting out of bed, I had a migraine attack. I went back to bed and slept to 1:30 in the afternoon. I did not start the workout until later in the afternoon – about 4:30 pm.

I was still feeling the headache as I began the workout, and I do not know if the migraine effected my performance, but I think not.

After a twenty minute warm up, the work out call for an all out five minute effort. I was hoping to average 300 watts for the five minutes, but I fell short. I started strong, perhaps too strong, and I faded during the effort. I ended up with a 265 watt average. Acceptable, but not my goal.

Now that I have completed the two all-out effort tests, I could plug in the numbers into the Beginning Triathlete web site and have it calculate my Critical Power. The number came out to be 244 watts. You can see the report here.

I should note that Joanne and I decided to have dinner at the local Mexican Restaurant, when I had my second migraine attack of the day (a first for me to the best of my memory). Dinner was very painful as the attack was severe. As soon as I got home, I went to bed.

Post Thanksgiving Day Ride

Joanne and woke up to clear skies!

We decide to take the Cannondale Tandem out for a flat spin. We headed off over the Wheatland Ferry and headed north on Webfoot Road to the small town of Dayton and The Blockhouse Cafe named after the Fort Yamhill Blockhouse which was moved to Dayton after Fort Yamhill was abandoned.

I enjoyed a Caesar Salad and Joanne was in heaven with Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.

We returned on the Dayton-Salem Highway, back to the Wheatland Ferry and home.

Winter Cycling Training – Day 2 of Week 3 (Test Week)

Power (Watts): 191
Average Heart Rate: 142
Average Cadence: 71

Test week continues with a non-easy day. The main set consisted of two 20 minutes efforts at 80% of my newly estimated Critical Power of 240 watts. Since there were two equal efforts, I decided to use a lower gear for the first so my cadence would be faster, and then a higher gear for the second which would slow down my peddling. My thinking was that my heart rate would drop during the second interval. I was wrong.

Power (Watts): 201
Average Heart Rate: 146
Average Cadence: 77

Power (Watts): 201
Average Heart Rate: 149
Average Cadence: 67

As you can see, during the second interval, my cadence dropped by ten revolutions, more than I expected. However, I maintained the same power for both intervals. The heart rate? Well, it actually went up by 3 bpm during the second interval! Not much, but it move in a direction I was not expecting. And the funny thing was I felt I was not working as hard during the second set. I thought my breathing was not a labored.

Food for thought.

Now, on to Thanksgiving dinner!

SBC Wednesday Night

Joanne and I got lucky.

While the weather forecast had called for rain all week long, when it came time for our Wednesday Night Ride, there was no rain.

Jim, Jean, Joanne and I did a shorten Windsor Island Loop. I ended up with 23 miles at recovery pace.

Winter Cycling Training – Day 1 of Week 3 (Test Week)

This is my first test week, and my first test was a 20 minute all out sufferfest.

After a 20 minute warm up, the training plan called for a 20 minutes of maximum effort. I was to hold nothing back but pedal as hard as I could. And I did.

For the 20 minute test, my average power was 249 watts which is nine watts better than my best time trial effort. My average heart rate was 157 bpm. At the start of the maximum effort, my heart rate was 129 bpm and rose to 165 bpm at the end. I also lost 1.6 pounds of fluid during the workout.

This effort is better than my expectation. I would hoping for an average of 240 watts, and I thought that goal would be very hard to obtain. But 249 watts! I feel very good (and tired).

Man, was it fun!

Winter Cycling Training – Day 4 of Week 2

Another long ride, the second of the training series.

This ride was hard. My legs were still cooked from yesterday. My quads started complaining early and continued throughout the ride. Near the end, I began to lose power and I limped home. This is the kind of workout that I hope will help be become a better cyclists.

In reviewing the data, I notice first of all that when comparing this ride with the first long ride, almost all of the metrics were comparable.  The average power was just one watt, and the time difference between the two was less than 2 minutes apart.  Distance was a bit less this week, but less than two miles.  But the big difference was cadence.  Last week, my average cadence was 60 rpm and this week it was up to 69 rpm, an 15% increase!  (Remember, I’m using Power Cranks which tend to slow down your cadence.)   To be honest, I was not concentrating on my peddle speed; I was just peddling at a comfortable rate.  None the less, I am please with the improvement.

The graph above reveals an interesting fact – my pedal velocity drops as my power increases. During the main set interval of the workout, the training plan called for an effort equal to 70% of my Critical Power (CP) for 25 minutes. During these two weeks, I have been using 220 watts as my CP, so 70% would be 154 watts. But I actually average 160 watts at 75 rpm and my heart rate averaged 129 bpm. The second main set interval was for 75% of CP or 165 watts for 30 minutes. I averaged 173 watts and my cadence dropped to 70 while my heart rate rose to 136 bpm. The final main set interval called for 80% of CP or 176 watts for 25 minutes. I averaged 191 watts and my cadence dropped to 64 rpm and my heart rate rose slightly to 139 bpm.

Here is graphical representation. The left axis is force and the bottom axis is peddle speed. As the graphic shows, at my peddle speed increases, the force on the peddle decreases.

Winter Cycling Training – Day 3 of Week 2

This was an interval workout.

In the Warm Up, the workout called for five 30 second intervals at 95% of my 220 watt Critical Power (CP) with 30 seconds recovery. Then in the main set, the workout called for ten 30 intervals at 90% of CP and then a 10 minute steady state at 70%. This should have been an easy workout, but because the intervals were short, it was hard for me to target my effort so I just worked hard and found that my effort was much higher than what was called for. For example, in the warm up intervals, my effort should have been 209 watts, but was between 250 and 290 watts. Then, in the main set intervals, the workout called for an effort of 198 watts, but I was often over 220 watts. As such, I made this workout much harder than it should have been.

Winter Cycling Training – Day 2 of Week 2

Some days go well, others, not so well.

First of all, I still had my migraine headache that started yesterday. It was not as bad, but it was still there. As such, I waited until the late afternoon to do my scheduled workout. Then, I had issues with the computer I use to watch videos during my workouts. When I got it working, and I was in the main set, I got a telephone call that I had to take. In total, I was off of the bike for over six minutes. I felt the headache throughout the workout, but the pain in my head was masked by the pain in my legs.

In this workout, I concentrated on keeping my peddle speed up. Because my trainer bike is equipped with Power Cranks, this lowers my cadence. I am attempting to raise my cadence so I can peddle more efficiently and also put less pressure on my feet.