Friday, February 20, 2009

MIT Power Nerds Meeting - Boston-Area ECCC Racers Welcome!

Hello Conference-o'-mine,
We are going to have a get-together on MIT campus to talk about training with power on the bicycle. This will be the first meeting of the MIT Power Nerds, and I would like to invite some ECCC riders that also train with power. To keep the meeting small, we can only take 8 people from the ECCC, so please RSVP to me if you are for-sure coming.

The meeting will be just an informal discussion about our experiences and analysis techniques for power training. Bring your laptop with power data if you can. While I am no expert, at the meeting will be Jeff Godin, PhD of Blackstone Valley Human Performance ( and Chair of the Department of Exercise Science at Fitchburg State.

Time: 7pm to 8:30 or 9pm
Location: MIT Campus Building 1 Room 134 (see map)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New 1m and 5m Power Records

Apparently racing up the Eastern Ave hill in Arlington is motivation enough to smash my previous 5m power by 20% and my 1m by 12%. I knew I wasn't a Cat 5 power level in my 1-minute times because I do pretty well in Crits, I just don't win the sprint.

Exciting times in the land of Hamilton. Men's B this year perhaps?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Power Profile Completed

So here is my power profile, representing my max power over the 4 different interval periods. 5 second is the sprint, 1 minute is like fast criterium race accelerations, 5 minute is like the breakaway power in a road race, and the FTP is my 60 minute time trial power.

I did some additional testing to find out what my strengths and weaknesses are, and it seems I need to work on my sprints and anaerobic capacity more. My threshold power and 5 minute power are pretty good, in the Cat. 3 racer range. But the 1 minute power...damn I was pretty sure I wasn't a Cat 5. Maybe the test wasn't a true max, but I'll find out when I do some 1-3 minute intervals later today.

The Feeling: I am happy about my fitness, and I can probably race in B's this year, but not A's. My final year of collegiate racing should be a great experience.

Dear Mr. Hopengarten, I *heart" my PowerTap Hub

So apparently ECCC blogging etiquette would disallow me from discuss such inane things as "watts". But I assure you, training with power has been the biggest motivator for me to continue training over the past few months. I can see myself getting faster, even if I am riding through the snow and ice by myself for hours at a time. Perhaps as race season starts, I'll start writing Pulitzer prize-winning vignettes about my cycling adventures, but in the meantime, I will periodically post some power data since it is what gets me pumped!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Soccer is not good recovery

So I was already sore after the threshold power test, but for some reason I decided to go play soccer with some of friends in my degree program. I never play soccer, and that game is really hard. Half way through the game, I remembered my coach's recommendation for the week. Recovery and relaxation was the doctor's order, but sadly:

After being the most sore I remember ever being on the Sunday and Monday after playing, I am finally recovered. That's the last time I play new sports during recovery weeks.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Threshold Power Test

So yesterday I did a threshold power test to check and see if I have increased my FTP (functional threshold power) since last fall's lab test. This number represents the power I should be able to sustain for a 60 minute time trial. After a warm-up, and a few small high-cadence and all-out intervals, the main part of the test is a 20-minute time trial. 95% of the average power over this interval is my new FTP.

New FTP: 247 watts
Old FTP: 235 watts
Increase in FTP: 5.1%

This is a great result given that my base training was never targeting specific increases in my threshold power. Over the next few weeks, my training will be targeting this specific system, so we should see further increases in this number.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Back to Work!

Ok everyone...I took two months off posting to this blog. But lucky for you, it seems the really interesting part of the season is still to come. Race Season Starts in New Jersey March 6th-8th. What you missed while I was gone:

I am done with my aerobic base, and I feel confident I am in the best shape of my life, with only greater things to come. I completed hours somewhere in between the Coach's recommendation for all team riders and the higher goal for Nationals riders. My original goal was the Nationals hours, but I tell you what, it is very difficult to find the time to do 20+ hours/week for weeks in a row.

Long Rides in the Cold- While riding home from a road race last year, I was inspired by my friend Chris' (a Cat. 2 rider from the Harvard University Cycling Association) tales of long rides out to Rockport and Cape Ann during the winter for base training. At the time, I though he was crazy for riding so far by himself in the winter.

But now armed with a full arsenal of winter clothing, along with chemical foot warmers, I was inspired to try these longer rides myself. This winter I did longer rides from 65-95 miles at pure base pace. I would take two big peanut butter and jelly (or honey) sandwiches, two Clif bars, two bottles of gatorade, and some cash money for lunch. I would ride all over Cape Ann and the North Shore, going to Rockport, Ipswich, North Andover, etc. Some days I would go northwest, and go out to Harvard, Concord, Billerica, etc. The rides would last 5-6 hours usually, and it turned out to be a great way for me to get my hours in, since I hate riding inside for more than 2 hours.

It was cold, and sometimes wet or icy, but I had fun doing it. I am sure this experience will make riding 100 miles in pleasant 65 degree sunny weather a piece of cake.

One small story- About 8 days ago, I did a very long ride in the cold, and something pretty crazy happened, and showed me how wacky these long winter rides can be. My front shifter stopped working, and it felt just like I had broken the derailleur cable. I pulled over a looked down, and there was half and inch of ice built up on my downtube that had grabbed my cable and locked it in place. I got out my tool and broke off the ice with the screwdriver, and kept riding. But how crazy is that!