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Showing posts from 2006
Weigh-In Sunday

Weight: 81.2kg Body fat/LBM: 19.3%/65.5kg TBW: 54.2 Riding: 135km.

Social rides and a short week have reduced the kilometers, not to mention the almost constant rain for the last 3 days. Why does the sun only come out on a work day? I've managed to lose the 2 kilos (!) that I put on over Christmas in a concerted drive of porridge for breakfast and then 2 high-protein meals and only eating at mealtimes. Still 2kg loss is a bit of a freak week, no idea how it really works, but then who does?

Only another 6kg to lose before July and 1kg before Lanzarote!
Compact Crankset == Clean Frame
I bought a Shimano R700 compact crankset today. Fitted it to my bike and gave it a good test. Blimey, I suspect I'll end up saving them for the Alps and go back to my 53/39 after a couple of weeks. The ratios are nice and I can really kick out a high cadence on some of the steeper climbs around the Surrey Hills. But most of the time they feel a little over-geared. I'm going to keep them on and see if they help me in my quest for a natural 95rpm cadence, which quite frankly feels way too fast to me right now. I figure spending all my time at high cadences will make it 'feel' more natural and I'll get used to it.
For £3 you too can clean the other side of your chainrings!
As a result of swapping cranks I've discovered that the £3 tool for removing the cranks means I could get my frame really clean behind the chainrings and the bottom bracket cups. And taking off the cranks is no harder than taking the pedals off, in some ways its easi…
Weigh-In Boxing Day

Weight: 83 kg (Ouch!). Body fat: 19.5% (Phew!) TBW: 54.2% Riding: 215km. Thought I'd track kilometers too from know on. Hopefully the easy pounds I've put on in the last 2 days (!!) will drop off as fast. Too much stuff to feast on and the more you eat the more you want to eat. Oh well, a whole week of riding between Christmas an New Year should help. I REALLY need to stop eating so much garbage.

I didn't get any substantial Christmas pressies related to cycling apart from a stack load of Clif bars to sustain those long winter rides (which was a nice touch from the missus). That's great cause I really hate power bars and can't undertand how anyone can eat a whole one. I'll be looking for a Powertap and iMagic upgrade in the New Year sales ...

Oh yeah, almost forgot - Merry Christmas!
Less than 2,128 calories per day leads to 80kg in Lanzarote (!?)

As time ticks by the average weekly weight loss needed to hit 75kg on July 3rd is going up. I think the long term targets are making me complacent so I’m setting myself an aggressive and short-term target – I’m going to get to 80kg before the training week in Lanzarote on January 18th.

So thats 4.18lbs in exactly 1 month of 31 days, since its the 18th today. That makes a total calorie deficit of 14,630 or 472 calories a day. Since my training is mostly Zone 3 in January I need to be very careful with fatty food - I’m going to be burning carbohydrate for the month. yeah, I know about increased heart rate and fat burning, but in my experience eating less fat to begin with is a better approach.

According to this my basal metabolic rate is about 1850 calories per day (not including exercise) which takes care of my calorie intake on a rest day. If we throw in 750 calories for a typical daily turbo session (the rowing machine and…
Weigh-In Monday

Weight: 81.9 Body fat: 19.5% TBW: 54.2. Not the best week this week, total weight went up by 0.7kg, which is a whole pound. Perhaps this is the kick up the backside I needed to take the weight loss part seriously. For sure I'm putting in the miles on the turbo and burning the calories but unfortunately I'm also loading the fuel. Gorging myself is probably nearer the point - but then it is Christmas so I'm not going to kill myself over it.
My Turbo Is My Friend!

A beautiful sunny day today and went out for a couple of hours into the Surrey Hills. Shere, White Downs, Holmbury St Mary etc. Sitting at 155-160bpm and spinning up the climbs I ran out of hill before I ran out of lungs or legs. Wow! My turbo is my new best friend.
Normative Power Data

I've been hankering after this for a while and finally got it from the friendly guys over at the cycling plus forums. The table helps to grade your power output per kilogram of weight either as peak power over a given period or as Functional Threshold Power.

Anyway, here's the table, snaffled up from here.

The chart below summarises a poll from the users, most of whom are obviously keen cyclists, albeit amateurs. There is an obvious sweetspot at 300w/75kg that correlates with the table above. I think this is a reasonable FTP target to aim for.
250 watts at 155 BPM

I followed the same protocol as yesterday, warmed up with 20 minutes at fat bump and then did 20 minutes at 250 watts (yesterday I did 30 minutes of 200 watts). I saw lots of cardiac drift but the average was 155. I suspect that 250 is a real limit since as I was finishing the 20 minutes my heart rate was climbing faster and heading off to 160.

I know I said I'd do 220 but heck that was too easy. Tomorrow I'll take a crack at 15 minutes at 300 watts, hopefully I'll make it under my miserably low max heartrate of 181. Then I can look forward to doing this all again in Jan then Feb then March then ... you get the picture ...
200 Watts at 138 BPM

Over this week I'm going to do 30 minute tests at different wattages to measure heart rate to power output. Today I sustained 200 watts for 30 minutes at an average heart rate of 138. My cadence varied from 88 to 95 as I lost concentration. Interestingly the higher cadence also brought the higher heart rate. When I focussed on pedalling efficiency or 'circles' my heart rate went down. Tomorrow I'll increase by 10% to 220 to and see what my heart rate does. I'm still putting in the miles at my 'fat bump' of 136 too, so this is just a side-show.

These tests are just to baseline my heartrate to power output so I can track progress over the course of my programme. It was triggered by this which intrigued me, especially the idea that from 200w at peak heart rate over the course of 6 months you could progreess to being able to knock out 300w plus and stay aerobic (!) - if I could do that, well ...

Anyone got a cheap set of SRM cranks ? ;-)
The 1 hour Power Plan

Getting back to the power output, not that I'm obsessed with numbers or anything, I've done an analysis of the ascent by kilometer looking at the power output I need to sustain using this calculator. The table below is based upon my forecast stats for July 3rd; Height 73 inches, Weight 165lbs, Bicycle weight 20.9lbs (I have no idea but this seems reasonable for my Madone 5.9 SSL), Air temp 68F. I took the profile from here.

So that equates to an hour workout which rather handily incorporates a warm-up and a cool down at the beginning and end. Heck, the AdH is a pretty good training ride (!). The hour long work out is basically (ok so its 1 hour and 5 minutes, I've rounded up):
5 minutes at 130 watts10 minutes at 380 watts30 minutes at 310 watts10 minutes at 340 watts10 minutes at 170 watts
Obviously the 380 watts for 10 minutes is tricky given my max output is 334 (!). I'll be seeing what I can accomplish over the next week or so and post some HR data…
Weigh-In Monday

Weight: 81.2kg Body fat: 19.3% TBW: 54.7%. No movement, which isn't so bad - it's been a good week for intensity since this has been a 'High' week for heart-rate zones but a bad week for diet, with lots of christmas parties. Hooked up with my brother on Saturday and suffered with the Guiness the next day, in truth I'm still a bit ropey.
Weigh-In Monday

Weight: 81.7kg Body fat: 19.0% TBW: 54%. Is this a perfect week? I've lost nearly 1% body fat and replaced it with muscle. It shows too. Lots of cross training this week with a couple of 10k runs including some bitchin' hills. Of course the turbo is still the mainstay, getting those miles in.
302.4 is the magic number

According to this page a 75kg rider climbing the Alpe D'Huez (13.84km at average of 10%) in 60 minutes at a speed of 3.84m/s the rider will need a sustained power output of 302.4 watts. Given my max power output calculation from my Cyclefit fitness test in October was 334 this is a big deal. And then this page calculates the magic number at 350 watts. Maybe I need to go there and have a trial run.

Needless to say the dramatic increase in my sustained power output is helping to focus my turbo sessions, I'm getting stronger but I'm under no illusions to the scale of the task I have taken on, and yes its only November. I picked up a CTS train right DVD recently too. More painfull turbo time. I noticed you can download training "podcasts" from the CTS web-site too, looks interesting ...

Oh yeah, and I also thought this ibike was interesting, since we are on the topic of power. Need to see if it flies, cause the Powertap and SRM solutions are ju…
Weigh-In Saturday

Weight: 81.7kg. Body Fat: 19.9%. TBW: 53.3%. Finally broke through 20% body fat, yay!

Man its been a good week on the turbo and I am definitely getting stronger and thinner. Big jump from last week is almost certainly due to being uber-strict with diet, plenty of hard work and a massive all-nighter meeting a work deadline.

I'm convinced occasional sleep deprivation (<2-3hrs sleep in 24 hours) is a good thing to keep the body on its toes. I know that habitual sleep deprivation is strongly linked with obescity, lepin production etc. I'm talking about getting 8 hours of sleep habitually and throwing in the occasional all nighter, perhaps once a month or less. It certainly seems to always give my body a bit of a kick, I always do a hard workout the day after not sleeping (1-2hrs of medium to high intensity) which practically guarantees a kick-start in weight-loss. I suspect its a similar effect to exercising early in the morning ... but I'm no physiologist.
Weigh-In Monday

Weight: 83.0kg. Body fat: 20.7%. TBW: 53.3%. Actually this is a bit of a result as I've had a drunken night out this week and besides a 70km ride in the hills and a couple of sessions on the turbo I've been pretty lazy. Actually family life has taken over this week more than anything. Still, its a marathon not a sprint.
Weigh-In Monday

Weight: 83.3kg. Bodyfat: 20.9%. TBW: 53.8%. Looks like I've hit a plateau, some serious variation is due this week anyway with some high-intensity intervals.

Not only have I lost the chest strap to my beloved HAC4 cycle computer, but the TANITA scales have given up the ghost this weekend. So, I can't record my HR zones as I train and I can't track my weight loss. Hell, the HAC4 is one of my favourite gadgets, I used my own software to import data into my training log software.

So I spent Saturday trying to decide what to do about my cycle computer, given the HAC4 is discontinued and getting a belt is quite a challenge (I wish you could 'watch' on ebay for stuff being listed). I narrowed it down to the Garmin Edge 305 versus the Polar S725X. The Garmin came out top for ease of use and innovation with the mapping software like memory map. But when it came down to it I'm looking for a cycle and run heart rate monitor not a GPS tool. The Garmin has limited battery life and limited data capture according to most reviews I've read, so I bought the Polar and am waiting for it to arrive. I went for the caden…
Lest there be any doubt ...

I need to lose between 8 and 10 kilos before July and continue to build sustainable power. Perhaps in future I'll keep my shirt on, especially now I've got a fan to keep me cool (but alas no stand, but its amazing what you can do with junk from the kids play room)!

Watching the Colts squeak the Broncos 34-31 at Mile High.
L'Etape 2007 Booked

Well, if I'm going to all that trouble to get uber-fit and strong for July I might as well carry it through to L'Etape. So I booked a place on the Sports Tours Winter Training Camp in Lanzarote in January which guarantees me a place on July 18th - so much for transition and recovery after my personal Alpe D'Huez time trial on the 3rd.

Gives me even greater focus ... not that I really needed it.

The consensus seems to be that this year's Etape is the hardest yet. I went to last year's supporting a friend and if this years is harder than that I really have bitten off a challenge. Looking at this recon ride I think two hours a day on the turbo is a minimum to prepare. I also need to be under 77kg.

So - no cakes, refined sugars or chocolate till July 19th.

Weight: 83.7kg. Body fat: 20.7%. Been fairly idle this week, only 6hrs on the turbo. Lets chalk this down as a recovery and adaptation week. Next week is a medium intensity week, so I'm doing some hill intervals at Pitch Hill this afternoon and probably won't lose a lot of fat for the week.
Up and running, just 36 weeks of staring at a blank wall
Weigh-In Saturday

Weight: 84.4kg Body Fat: 20.4%. Wow, all those hours in the gym at 126 bpm are paying off.
They say a bad workman always blames his

Which is why I decided to tool up for my 36 week training plan. I've long had a home gym with rower, treadmill and weights...

Tacx Flow Trainer

I decided to go with the Tacx Flow primarily because it is reasonably priced at roughly £260 and has watts, heartrate, cadence and speed. But should I find I use it a considerable amount I can always update with the i-Magic and Catalyst software via my PC and use some of the tools over at to replay my favourite rides.

Having got the thing home after a mercy dash to Evans cycles in Woking to pick it up I find the frame is missing. I ring the sales droid to discover it was the display model. All plans of Friday night assembly and 2 hour burn in ride are blow. Need to go back tomorrow and pick up the part that was sitting in the window and spend Saturday afternoon building and burning. Hey ho.

Heart Zones Cycling Training Methodology

I guess I can spend the evening working out my macro-, …
On a scale of one to ten where ten is Lance and two is a
couch potato, I scored 4.
So last week I had a fitness test with Cyclefit and the results were relatively encouraging, for a 39 yr old, 6' 1" male ...Weight: 85.5kg, 21.4% body fat. Well actually this is from my dodgy tanita scales. 85.5kg is pretty reliable, the 21.4% seems a little flattering. I enjoy Marks and Spencers wine gums, Dunking biscuits and Crunchy Crisps Selection a little too much - they are gonna have to go.

Heart Rate Min: 47 Max: 181. I was most disappointed with the max heart rate, having taken all that time and effort during the test to get an accurate measurement (ie. terrible nausea with screaming lactate pain) it was most disappointing to find out my maximum is exactly 220-my age!!!!!

Maximum Power Output: 4w/kg. I also found my max power output is woefully low at 343 watts, my watts per kg is 4.0. I need to seriously work on this. We reckoned anything above 5 would be good. Fortunately, I can improve…
Get to know the route they say, well this is what it looks like....

And this is how to do it....
On my 40th Birthday I will climb the infamous Alpe D'Huez
in under one hour.
Well, thats the mission statement out of the way... just a small matter of developing my fitness levels, getting the trip sorted out and then completing the task. Perhaps its the mid-life crisis, or perhaps a throwback from giving up smoking 4 years ago and wanting to do something outstanding. Perhaps I need a goal to stop me from going insane. Whatever the underlying motivation I am determined to complete this mission.

Since I only took up cycling in 2003 I'm not in the greatest of shape. For sure, I skiffed down the River Thames with a close buddy in 2002 and have run quite a few 10ks (Goring, Christs Hospital, Woking 1010 ...) I've even cycled an Audax event (Tour of the Surrey Hills). I am in relatively good shape. But I'm no Marco Pantani and certainly come July 3rd 2007 if I am able to take less than an hour to traverse the 21 switchbacks along the D211 north of Bourg d'Oisans, past the…