Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A lightbulb moment

I did my fourth 20 minute ftp test yesterday as I had felt that some of the Trainerroad sessions were getting easier, which meant that somewhere, my aerobic fitness was improving. It had been the best part of two months since my last test owing to having serious manflu ( a mild cold) when I should have conducted the last one. This one was slightly different on a couple of counts. Firstly, I did the test in my rather cold shed, the thinking being that I would not get so hot as I normally do in my well-insulated kitchen and therefore this might help me push out a couple more watts. I also spend more time upright, rather than down on my aerobars, which is how I had conducted the test before. After listening to the Trainerroad podcast, they advocated that you simply have to try to get as many watts out as possible and if that means being in a more 'road' position instead of a tt one, then that should be the way to go.

The test this time felt much harder, I guess because I am starting to bump against my limiters a little bit, and I had a definite fade in the middle part of the test,  but the result was good. 240 watts, compared to my last test at 230. That's not too bad at all and I can now power a pretty standard domestic lightbulb for an hour (in theory anyway). Along the way, I also improved on my best power averages for 2,3,5,10 and 15 minutes.

So using some back of the envelope mathematics I have done approximately 70 Trainerroad sessions and increased my ftp by 35 watts. So every session is helping me to add 0.5 watts to my ftp. OK, I know it's not as simple as that and that there or other factors in play, but the numbers  work quite nicely and at least for the time being it is pretty motivating to still see the numbers creeping up. 250 watts plus is an obvious target now and my watts/kg is now up to 3.33. This weekend sees me start my first 25m tt of the season. Not a fast course but I am hopeful that with some ok conditions, I should be very near the mark I set last year.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

My usual Easter......

spent watching the DW tracker, following a couple of crews with personnel that I either know or have followed via blogs or the DW facebook page. As I write, there is a crew who have paddled the heaviest plastic tub down the course and they are currently holed up at Teddington waiting for the second tide; they have been going for over 30 hours already and will have another 2-3 hours paddling once they get back into the water. I have serious respect for that kind of endurance and downright dogged perseverance. It almost makes me want to do it again. I was in the pub with friends last night and text Jamie to have our usual 'Let's do it next year' conversation. Hmm. We'll see.

Trainerroad continues to be going well. A bit of a quieter week this week after a heavy week and the SCCU SPOCO last week. I am coming to the end of the build plan, so I intend to do another FTP test on Tuesday, followed by the start of the 40km TT plan the week after that. Slightly less volume but I think a lot more hurty. Can't wait.

Monday, 21 March 2016

I am the resurrection

It was the SCUU SPOCO 21 mile TT yesterday. This was the third year on the trot I had ridden this event and it is not an event I have enjoyed. In 2014 I had ridden my TT bike for the first time but I had not really trained at all over the winter, so it was a very rugged and diffivult day out. LAst year was much the same, but compounded by truly awful weather, with the temperature only just above freezing and sleety rain. As a result I rode the Van Nic instead, just to feel a bit more sure-footed on the tricky descents. Both times I rode were decidedly average (1:05:xx and 1:10:xx). So yesterday was all about seeing how far my turbo work in the last 4 months had actually got me.

So, two laps. Half of it a bumpy, twisy, downhill section that has you hanging on for dear-life at times, followed by a long drag uphill back to Bletchingly, with three steep and short climbs that have you down in the granny ring, spinning away. The first lap also includes a long climb right from the start and I really tried to keep a cap on my rpe, knowing what was to come later on. I was overtaking a fair few riders in front of me and managed to keep most of the guys behind me as I approached the first of the climbs. I got held up by traffic here as a car could not get past a couple of riders out on a training ride, so I had to bide my time as I waited to overtake and lost 30 seconds or so. It probably helped as I hit the first climb with my heart rate a bit lower than it otherwise would have been. I still felt pretty rough by the end of the climbs as that is one thing I am most as practiced on, owing to the mainly turbo sessions I have been completing, so I felt that maybe I had gone out too hard on the first lap.

The second lap was much the same, this time with a couple of the fast guys going past me. I decided to aim to be as fast as possible between the hills and then let the hills just take care of themselves, and accept that I would not be that fast up them. I was pretty done in by the end and had the usual dry-heaving in someone's driveway. Sorry.

So after much tea and bread pudding the results came in. 1:00:57, a solid 5 minute pb for the course! And that included the hold-up on the first lap. I am really pleased and shows that a little bit on consistency goes a very long way. Happy days.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Long week

Somehow, and I don't know how, I have managed a pretty big week of training with over 9 hours on the bike, not including commuting. That's made up of five hours on the turbo and the rest was a chaingang session and a slow, hilly ride this morning. I was meant to be riding a club 25tt but I had to cancel it at the last minute,which was pretty stressful and frustrating. So a slow forty miles instead, slogging my way up Leith Hill. I spent the first hour trying too hard and not really enjoying it, being surrounded by packs of fellow mamils. As I turned up Raikes Lane and found myself on my own. My mood improved, but my legs didn't. They were just spent from the ftp work that I had done during the week but hopefully that will stand me in good stead in a few week's time.

The next few weeks are pretty stressy for me at work, so it may be just about maintaining some training time rather than worrying about improvement in power or increasing tss numbers. That said, I'm enjoying the process of using trainerroad and while the first few time trials I will be riding will be about training rather than racing. It will be in the summer when hopefully I will see how far this work has taken me.