Saturday, April 26, 2008

A good month on the bike

After watching the penultimate stage of the Tour de Georgia online this morning, I was inspired to ride despite the bad batch of weather that was blowing through. At 9am this morning it was over 50 degrees, but by noon it was windy, under 40 and snow flurries. So I drug out the trusty trainer and decided I'd do a a little "Sweet Spot" training today.

After several weeks of riding outside consistently, it didn't take me long to realize that trainer rides are hard. First, you've got the mental fatigue issue of spinning along but going nowhere, but more importantly on the trainer you never get a break. On the road, even when pushing it hard, there are always times where you catch a small hill and just can't push big watts regardless of how hard you try. Don't worry, I'm not going to spend all summer on the trainer, I can't take it but I'll keep reminding myself of this post next winter when I'm in the middle of trainer burn-out.

I decided today I'd try to get in an hour in the "sweet spot". This is a pseduo-rest week for me, meaning I'm at about 50% training load but I've done a couple hard days this week anyway. After about 30 minutes, I wasn't sure I'd make it but it seems I've always got more in my legs than my mind initially thinks. My pacing was spot on and actually found a little deep down to shift up a couple gear towards the end and really push the finish.

The immediate thing to notice, which beautifully illustrates the advantage of a power meter, is how the power (yellow line) stays incredibly consistent but the heart rate (red line) rises steadily as the interval went on. HR ranged from 145 beats per minute to 175 bpm, but power held very close to the range between 238 watts and 254 watts.

April has been a great month for me. The weather is improving, days are getting longer and my fitness is certainly coming around. I use WKO+ to track all my data, but I do like the included software for showing peak records. When I dumped my data from WKO+ to PowerAgent, I was surprised to see that I had entirely rewritten my peak records in the month of April from 5 seconds to 2 hours without really setting out to do so.

The thing to note is that these are average numbers, not normalized power numbers but interesting nonetheless. The riding season is off to a great start.

No comments: