Beasty Administrator

Back in Manchester on Monday for my "Taster Improver" track session - basically the 2nd stage of 4 for getting track accreditation

There were about 15 riders in total looking to progress - I was slightly taken aback by the number of them that had done the session before - their lack of progression was perhaps an indication that getting a pass was not going to be straightforward

The first exercise involved creating a chaingang with changing from the back, and on the inside, with the group starting on the blue line and overtaking on the black line. My first error of the day was probably starting too close to one of the coaches who was riding in the session. We were told to stay close - between half and a full wheel behnd the rider in front. The exercise seemed to go well enough but we were informed after it that only 4 or 5 riders did it to a suitable quality, with too much closing the gaps quickly and then slowing down too quickly. I was one of the guilty parties, as I'd been more focussed on maintaining the "correct" distance from the rider in front, and the differing abilities of the riders made the pacing very erratic, making it difficult to keep it steady

The next exercise involved riding the blue line and changing every half lap, meaning there would be perhaps 3 or 4 riders moving back from the top of the track at any one time. The coach would be pacing us from the black line. I started at the back - the changes seemed very slow. By the time about half the riders had moved up the track I still had another 6 or 7 in front of me. Then one of the riders at the top of the track came off, sliding down into the bunch and taking out one rider, with the next one unable to avoid the carnage. I was the first rider not to fall, but after a couple more laps whiel they checked out the fallen rders the exercise was curtailed

The final exercise involved groups of 3 or 4 moving from the blue line onto the black line and picking up pace to take a lap on the field. I was in the back group - it was originally going to be a group of 2, but we were eventually joined by the first group (of 2 again) and formed a group of 4. Everything was so slow however that we obly managed to gain half a lap before we were all called off the track.

So to the results - a failure. In fact only 4 or 5 were passed, and I suspect most of those had done the session previously. There was a definite feeling of not knowing what was expected of you - a bit like taking a driving test without having had any formal lessons

I'll give it another go, but it's not a major issue if I don't get accreditation - I've no intention of doing open racing on the Manchester track - the main purpose would be to allow me to ride the vets Structured Quality Training sessions. Having said that, I thnk that for the type of racing I do want to do (pursuiting and TTs), the skills they train you are not so important. I do think I'll have a much better idea of what is expected next time.

I was back in Manchester yesterday and took in another taster session. It was not a session I normally do (last night was my first experience of competitive first-team football at Old Trafford on a Thursday night, making a daytime Thursday session viable), and there did not seem to be any "regulars" there, so I just did my own thing, which was basically an hour TT (63 and a half minutes to be a bit more accurate). I rode alone throughout and got minimal drafting benefit. I still managed 38.4kph for the full session, and 38.8kph for the hour ignoring the speeding up and slowing down laps.

The Strava record is here. If you go into the detailed analysis you can see the spikes in speed and elevation where I overtook the main bunch (not so much in the middle of the session when most of the riders left the track for a rest). Strava suggests an average power of 268w, which ties into the hike calculator for my overall average speed. That increases to about 285w for my "best hour". There will be an element of drafting benefit, but I spent at least 5% of the time on the hoods which would more than compensate for that, so overall I reckon that was my best ever 1hr power output

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Beasty Administrator

In addition to the 2 track sessions set out above, I had my first race of the season today. In addition I managed a commute, and evening training session and yesterday's road test of the new bike.

Total distance for the week was 250km, bringing the YTD to 1,827km

I've been suffering a bit from a head cold/virus over the past couple of days, but it doesn't seem to have slowed me down too much. Assuming no deterioration, the plan will be to do a couple of commutes and evening sessions next week, and then getting out or on the Wattbike over the weekend

Beasty Administrator

The headcold has not limited my training much if at all last week. I'm still left with a bit of a cough, but am otherwise fine.

I managed to get 3 commutes in, together with a couple of evening training spins, and rounded off with a Wattbike session this evening, for a total of 262km in just under 9 hours.

I set a new PB for the 2k pursuit on the Wattbike, improving my previous best by just over a second - it now stands at 2m 34.49s. Hopefully I still have another 2-3 seconds in me, particularly if I manage to do a session when reasonably fresh.

My YTD total now stands at 2,090km, which is over 500km ahead of the same stage last year (and just about in line with my average weekly target of 250km up to the end of March). Not only that, but I'm about 1.8kph faster. Quite a lot of that is down to the fact that I'm getting more time on the track and Wattbike, but I'm also benefiting from the additional work I managed to get in towards the end of 2011. In addition I'm about 6/7kg lighter than last March, which is definitely helping with the climbing - I'm now regularly averaging 20kph or more on the Ardgillan Hill Climb, whereas last year it was very much the exception rather than the rule.

I also finding recovery easier - I'm often managing to get out for 6 or more days in succession. In previous years I would need 2-3 days recovery, but I'm now reasonably comfortable with a single day's rest.

Next week I'm hoping to get another couple of commutes in and an evening session, before returning to Manchester on Thursday. Hopefully (weather permitting) I'll then be able to get some time on the new bike over the weekend

Beasty Administrator

Training went pretty much to plan during the week. I got the 2 commutes in on Monday and Wednesday, plus a shortened one on Tuesday when I was dropping the car in for its service

I pretty much TT'd the track session on Thursday, recording an average speed of 37.6kph according to the Garmin, but it was actually a bit faster as I had the wheel circumference set too short - the actual speed was around 38.4kph over 61 minutes, but it was probably around 38.8kph when the first 2 or 3 minutes of speeding/warming-up are excluded.

I tried a 1km TT on the Wattbike on Friday, but after a good start I tailed off badly during the final couple of hundred meters to finish with a time of 1:11.69, just under half a second outside my PB. I reckon I'll improve that when I get a chance to try it when fresh though.

Then this morning I did get a chance to get out on the new bike, and with some careful planning the Beast has managed to get her first four KOMs, so no complaints there

Total distance for the week was 261km in a fraction over 9 hours, to leave the YTD total at 2,351km which is just under 600km more than at the same stage last year, and I'm pretty much keeping to my target of 250km per week.

Plans for next week are another 3 commutes plus a couple of evening session, and hopefully getting another spin in over the weekend.

Beasty Administrator

A week of commutes, with total distance of 275km over the 5 weekdays.

Having only been off the bike for 3 days since 18 February, I was getting tired towards the end of the week (still managed 6 KOMs since last Sunday though), and have taken a rest over the past couple of days.

YTD now stands at 2,626km at 29.7kph, putting me 640km ahead of the same stage last season.

Next week I'll be taking it easy with a business trip to London keeping me off the bike from Tuesday morning until Thursday evening. I probably need a bit more of a rest, and will stick to a commute after hopefully a decent spin tomorrow, in advance of the start of the Vets League next Sunday (assuming I'm not put down for marshalling)

Beasty Administrator

Bit of an odd week, after a longish spin on Monday, the lack of a car resulted in a 1 way commute on Tuesday, then a couple of days in London, with a commute home on Thursday evening, and back to work the following morning, picking the car back up on Friday afternoon. Then there was the vets DMS at Batterstown this morning.

A total distance of 210km for the week, bringing the YTD to 2,836km. That's over 700km more than at the same time last year, and over 450km more than the year before.

Next week will be a bit more of the same, with a trips to the UK on Monday returning Tuesday and Friday returning Sunday, so time on the bike will be limited making it another rest week I guess ...

Beasty Administrator

Not quite the rest week I had anticipated. I actually managed 211km, and increased my KOM count by 6!

Monday involved a short session on Manchester velodrome, then I managed to get out locally on Wednesday evening, when I managed my first couple of KOMs. Not only that, but I also improved my PB on the Ardgillan hill climb by 10s, dipping under 5 minutes for the first time.

On Thursday I hooked up with some of the Swords guys on the inward commute. I should have got a 2nd place in one segment, but due to the vagaries of Strava, Staro took it despite starting ahead and finishing behind me! I was somehow relegated to 41st place. Once I left the other guys behind I managed another KOM on the N32 Eastbound just before turning off to work.

Then last night I managed another 3 KOMs in Cornwall. Admittedly they were not the most popular of segments. Indeed I am the only one to have ridden one of them, but as it was an average 10% (peaking at around 21%), I'm happy to take it

Having flown back into Dublin this afternoon, I then went out for a couple of hours. The hills are clearly going well for me at present, as I managed another 8 PBs on Strava segments, a 2nd best time on the ascent of Snowtown. I also improved my time on the Ardgillan Hill Climb by another 13s, with my PB now standing at 4m 45s, about 30s ahead of my best times last year. I'm certainly benefiting from the weight loss over the winter. I also menaged to hit my highest ever speed - 72.6kph coming down Snowtown towards the Naul. So all in all everything is looking good for the racing season.

I've also now broken through the 3,000km barrier, with my YTD total now standing at 3,047km

Next week I hope to get out tomorrow evening, followed by a couple of commutes, and maybe a quiet spin on Friday, with a view to doing the vets race at Dundalk on Sunday.

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Beasty Administrator

It's been a while since I posted a CP chart, so here's the one I've built up over the winter training, with the black line showing yesterday's ride:

It doesn't tell the full story, as it does not include any data from my Wattbike sessions (which would improve the "short end" of the curve, with a maximum power of around 1,130w, and filling out the dip a bit at the 1 minute mark. It also does not include any race data (I'm waiting for the Garmin Vector to come out which I could then swap between race and track bikes) - typically this data would help fill out the long end of the chart - last year my CP was at 269w, compared with only 239w on the chart above.

One thing it does show is my peak 5 minute power (which is pretty much the length of the Ardgillan Hill climb) is just over 370w, which is actually slightly higher than when I set my best time last year. I guess it's indicating I've lost the "right type" of weight (about 7-8kg, or 9% of my bodyweight) since then, as I seem to be maintaining pretty much the same power output. Hopefully it will also help instil a bit more confidence on the hillier race circuits.

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Beasty Administrator

Beasty said:

I should have got a 2nd place in one segment, but due to the vagaries of Strava, Staro took it despite starting ahead and finishing behind me! I was somehow relegated to 41st place.

Beasty said:
filling out the dip a bit at the 1 minute mark.

Having dropped a car off at Airside this morning I had another go at the segment that Staro robbed me of second place last week. It was only a couple of minutes into the ride, and so I was in no way warmed up, but I still managed to beat Staro's time by a second, and filled in the dip in the CP curve a bit, with a 498w 1 minute interval in achieviing it

I then went on to establish my first 50+kph KOM on the N32 segment, imrpoving my average speed by 10%

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Lumen Registered User

Your charted CP of 239W seems quite low, and your AWC of 40kJ seems quite high.

Taken at face value this makes you an appalling TTer and a great sprinter, but I'm not sure those figures are accurate.

I've read posts on the Wattage group from sports scientists who says that 20 is a common figure for AWC with 40 being the upper end of the range, although I've no idea what sort of cyclists they are talking about.

From what I recall you usually commute at around 250W average. Surely you're not commuting over threshold? Unpossible.

Maybe this suggests that your 10-20 minute efforts are submaximal. Your best efforts follow the theoretical CP curve all the way past the hour. Unless your pain system has an off switch I'd expect it to fall off long before that (mine does anyway).

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Beasty Administrator

That's just the CP curve over the winter. I occasionally get up to 250w for the commute, but that would usually be over the summer (although checking back I have been not far off 250w for some of the winter commutes).

The long end of the curve was established in one of the Xmas races, when I was dropped from a group of 5 with a few km to go, but before that shared the workload with morana and a couple of other lads. I think it would have been quite a bit higher if I'd had a PM on the new bike's debut in the "ladies" race at Dundalk

I've been focussed on the short end more recently, and have pushed it up a bit, which hopefully means I am improving as a sprinter, but more importantly as a pursuiter (which for me is a 2m 40s or so event). I think the long end of the curve will head back up when I start doing some TTs again (the TT bike does at least have a PM). In particular my maximum 20 minute efforts have always been in 10m TTs (I think I was up to about 290w on the road bike with aerobars, and a little less, just under 280w, with the TT bike last year)

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Lumen Registered User

Ah, OK. Doesn't that mean you should do the seasons xml thing or create season-specific rider profiles in GC? Mixing data up from different time periods is bad.

Beasty Administrator

I'm not mixing seasons - the underlying data just goes back to October 2011, and the "best" line is all from rides since 7 December

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RobFowl Moderator

This discussion is going a long way to dissuade me from buying the new Garmin power meter......

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Lumen Registered User

Beasty said:
I'm not mixing seasons - the underlying data just goes back to October 2011, and the "best" line is all from rides since 7 December

Ah right, sorry I misread your post.

What I find problematic about the CP curve in GP is that (a) it gives you two numbers which ought to be extremely useful (CP and AWC) but they're totally dependent on accurate maximal test data without which they are completely misleading, and (b) there's no obvious way to see progress over time except by switching seasons or rider profiles.

The Metrics view, and specifically the Aerobic Power chart with Weeks selected and 1/5/10/20/30/60 Peak Power plotted, seems to give a better indication of training progress and encourages a good regular training mix. Which I don't have, and so that chart just mocks me silently and objectively, which (RowFowl) seems to be the main outcome of buying a power meter - documenting one's mediocrity.

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