Stimpy

My desk is a mess. Completely uninviting to sit down and write.

Had my first real base workout today, a pretty standard two hours in power zone 2. Yesterday, I found Zone 2.9 to be right around 230 watts. I was right in Zone 2.5 with an average power of 205.

I’ve been reading Joe Friel’s The Power Meter Handbook and it’s really easy to digest. Sometimes, Dr. Andrew Coggan’s Training and Racing with a Power Meter got a little too technical. I learned a lot from it, don’t get me wrong.

For instance, take this race:

It was a bit of a rough race, super high intensity from the start and I was being a huge wuss through the corner. I need to find one similar in Kansas City to drill a bunch. Anywho, if I can pull up the power chart from that race:
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Normalized power for that race was 303 watts! At that time the intensity factor for that race was .83. Typically I feel like I’ve raced conservative and smart if the intensity factor is closer to .7 with a good result. Anything between .8 and .9 means I was probably trying too hard. Only in Time Trials is a good thing to be close to 1.0. What I found out from the data from the New American Town Downtown Twilight Criterium was that I was in Zone 6 (442+ watts) for almost 13 minutes for that whole 54 minute race. Excessive, yes, BUT I’m happy seeing a number like that, knowing that I have that ability. I immediately went and setup a ‘RACE’ screen for my Garmin with ‘Time in Zone 6’ right at the top of the page. I may setup one as a ‘CRITERIUM RACE’ and one as a ‘ROAD RACE’ at a later date.

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Stick Stickly

Well, this is going swimmingly.

I’ve even had content to write about. I went mountain biking in Arkansas and it was tons of fun.

I did my first Functional Threshold Power test tonight with my buddy Nathan. It was going to be his first FTP test. Always a treat.

I looked at what my strengths are and what my A races look like for next year. After some considerations and lots of internet investigating, I decided to use the TrainerRoad 8 minute test protocol. Last year I used the 20 minute test and while it was useful, I’m going to be testing exclusively indoors. After one indoors last year, I knew I had to test outside to be able to focus my effort that long. Some people claim that you are getting further away from accuracy by not doing a 20 minute, 30 minutes, or even an hour. Although, Andrew Coggan quickly reminds people that everyone doesn’t necessarily accumulate lactate in exactly an hour but that it was an average and ’round number.’ I hadn’t actually considered that, but indeed you are testing for Functional Threshold Power, not setting an hour power personal best.

So, my goal was 370w. That would have ended up at 333w (8 minutes = 90% of FTP), which was where I was around January last year. It was a bit too ambitious. That first test of the offseason is such a sufferfest, too. 3 minutes into the first test and I thought, “Shit, this really hurts.” Mountain biking is so punchy that it really trains different systems, so it’s a shock riding at that consistent sustained power. After 4ish minutes, I noticed my power was drifting hard and I had bitten off more than I can chew. I adjusted to 350w and tried to just hold steady. By the time there was 1 minute, I was cursing my birthday. The break between the two tests is 10 minutes and it was glorious. I think I pedaled at 60w, gasping for oxygen.

The 2nd test was worse. I reassessed and thought I would shoot for 350w. It was weird 98 rpm pedal cadence was 327w. 102 rpm was 345ish. I just couldn’t maintain that high of cadence. I was giving thanks when it was finally over. I felt like I was battling with a rubber sword. Take that as you will.

First test was 343w average, 2nd test was 327w. I think with even pacing I could probably hit 350w. 90% of 343w is 309w FTP. November 14th of last year I had my 2nd test, getting 289. 95% (20 minute power extrapolation) of 289w is 275w. Not as fit as I thought, but heads and shoulders (34w) ahead of last year. I believe it’ll be easier to gain that muscle that I loss in the offseason. Last year, I had to build that muscle from scratch. I hit 405w (365w FTP) for 8 minutes last April, and I’m pretty sure that was my peak form from last season.

I can get super nerdy about this stuff.
You’ll have to forgive me.

Anywho, I’m not down much, 62 watts. Not sure what my 8 minute power was early last year, but I gained 130w on my FTP last off season. Obviously, that’s asking a bit much 2 years in a row, but I know I can get back up to 405w. I’m just going to stay positive and be stoked about any gains I see from here on out.

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There

I almost didn’t make it today. 2nd day. Doing really good so far.

I’m surprising myself on the mountain bike now. Maybe runs that weren’t so fast, but focused intensely on execution are actually faster than drilling the gas the whole time. I’m still having trouble with one problem out at Shawnee Mission Park. There is a boulder then a root and then a boulder in the matter of a foot right after a turn. I usually chicken out, walk it over, and then get back on the bike as soon as I can. Maybe next time I go out there, I’ll spend half the time getting that section right. My back is still a mess, but I’m definitely starting to feel strong again, I just have no aerobic ability.

My friend Stephen asked if I wanted to do a roundtrip to Lawrence last Saturday. It would have been 5-6 hours of riding and the most I had done in a while was 2 hours. I’m glad I wasn’t on the ride, because I’m sure I would’ve bonked and held them back.

Structured training starts in 3 weeks. I don’t want to get overly ambitious, but I want to establish some goals:

Abdominals 4 times a week using Tom Danielson’s core work book.
Daily meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Daily yoga/stretching routine.

After I establish some baselines for power output, then I’ll think about some time sensitive performance goals.

I wonder how close I am to riding to the moon?