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Showing posts from 2008

PMC for December

Man the flu knocked me out for two weeks and I'm only just getting back to the form I had - thats cost me an entire month of training. My CTL is almost 80 and I'm looking to maintain 80-90 through to the start of February when build starts.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas one and all. 
Its absolutely gorgeous here today and with the offspring mucking about with xboxes and playmobil I'm gonna sneak in 1 or 2 hours of active recovery in the wintry sunshine (After commuting in and back yesterday I'm pretty whacked, 2x2h sweet spot sessions!). And I'm only riding to justify the second helping of pudding I'll be consuming today. I'm cycling down to the In-Laws on the south coast tomorrow too which should make for a nice hilly 30 miler over the south downs.
Gotta keep rolling ... only 174 training days till La Marmotte!

SRM vs Computrainer

Not a hugely scientific test, I rode an hour tempo with a bit of monkeying around with cadence and resistance in erg mode. Calibrated CT and SRM after 20 minutes warm up at 150-170w.
Outcome? The SRM was consistently less than the Computrainer, but only by about 3%. Average watts for the workout from CT was 206 vs 200 from SRM. 
The complete dataset is available here (edge 705 download into wko vs CT CDF import into wko then both exported as PT CSV and spliced together using the zero watt markers I placed in the workout when stretching etc).
And here is a chart.... (hi resolution version here)
I'm planning on a more scientific comparison tomorrow since the forecast is for rain and I may end up indoors :-( The geek in me wants to look at the peak power and high/low cadence variances ...

Christmas came early at home

810g compared to 768g for the R700s (yes I did weight them without pedals to check, sad I know). But do they look cool or what?

Man Flu

Been hit over the head by something evil. Elevated RHR of almost 90 (!) chesty cough, blocked nose, high temperature, the shivers followed by chucking out more BTUs than a 3kw electric fire.
Needless to say riding hasn't been happening, watching my CTL plummet is as demoralising as it is motivational when watching it rise.
But I got a message from Bob - my SRM cranks turn up on Monday woohoo!!!

Another Milestone

Admittedly its kinda false since I haven't explicitly tested my FTP with an hour test, but its always nice to not be classified as untrained. As it happens my FTP is around 260 now, must do a test soon, but the NP from recent hard SST rides and hilly tempo sessions suggest 260.
Anyways, celebrate a little milestone hit today... w/kg for FT is no longer untrained! yay!

1000 miles

1,720km since restarted riding in August.

PMC For November

For your consideration ...

2 months later

The human body really is quite amazing. On the 14th August I started to exercise again. My weight had ballooned to 92kg, I was smoking and was plain out of shape. Yet, 2 months later here I am almost unrecognisable. 2" off the waist and with 30,000 calories burned, and 1,300 km cycled in just 31 workouts.
Will be having a pop at the ToSH tomorrow ... don't expect to complete it but will be good to see how I get on.

FIA - Why not just give Ferrari the title each year?

Ferrari international assistance strikes again.
So Massa fails to yield to Bourdais re-joining the race, despite the Frenchman staying within the white line, they collide and OF COURSE Bourdais picks up the penalty not the Ferrari man.

FTP - 230w

I got round to doing my FTP test today on the Computrainer, following the protocol from Training and Racing with a Power Meter. CP5 came in at 280w compared to 283 as experienced on the road and CP20 came in at 242w.

Which means my FTP is about 230w. Data point 1 collected, just need to keep doing these tests. Man, they really hurt!!

FTP Test tonight

Man I hate them ... this seemed apt

Forum Pictures

Mean Maximal Power Restart - a long way to go...

When I say All-Time, its all-time power data that I could lay my hands on. I lost a fair bit when my laptop died earlier this year. I haven't done a proper FTP test yet, but all the data points at about 230w maybe at a stretch 250. I've set it to 230 in WKO for now.

I have edited out all the duff data where the powertap needed resetting to zero.

Restart PMC

From 0 to 45 CTL over the last 45 days. Two prolonged periods of rest and just about ready to start winter training!

Restarting Training Words


Off out later for 3hrs in ... the Sunshine, yay! It's absolutely gorgeous here today and after a good nights rest (I went ot bed at 8.30 and slept through till 7!) I'm ready for the hills.

I went for a recovery ride yesterday of just under 2hrs at low hr and low power, jut ticking over really. I felt fine when I got back and pottered around, watched TV etc. By 8pm I was absolutely knackered. Oh well.

I'm out with Andrew F on today's ride and I know he'll try to rip my legs off ... at least in the opening couple of hours anyway. Funny how he calms down towards the end ;-)

Sweet Spot Training

Having collected a month's worth of data (albeit some of the earlier files are skewed upwards) I can now see that my FTP is around 230-250w. This is from looking at the "drop off" on my power profile over the last 7 days (to avoid bad data) and the power I have tended to maintain at around my LTHR which I believe to be between 156 and 160 right now.I will schedule a proper test in the middle of the next off-week (currently doing 3 on and 1 off training over a 4 week cycle). Anyhoo, the point of this post is that now I have a good idea about my FTP, and have pretty much finished my pre-prep phase (i.e. get of the sofa phase). I can start to put some thought into my workouts.

My short term and only goal right now is to finish the ToSH. To do this I need good climbing ability (read CP20) and endurance. To achieve this we're talking L2/L3 and some SST. Given the weather and the prospect of doing 5 hrs at L2 on the turbo I'm going to concentrate on SST during the week …


It has been so frustrating. I got to 88.4kg weeks ago, but alas it was all dehydration and I went back to hovering between low 89 and almost 90kg for the last 4-6 weeks. 
Now, I know I'm losing weight, my trousers don't fit, I  look thinner etc but the scales just sat at 89kg like they were glued there. I know, I know, body fat, muscle is heavier etc etc. But finally seeing the number go down on the scales to 88.1kg, I wanted to dance around the room.
Maybe I should be happy I'm putting on so much muscle? Maybe my slow weight gain in November was nothing of the sort - piling on the pounds whilst losing muscles ?
Anyway, lighter and happy.
I did the ToSH yesterday, well the first 78km. Got past Tanhurst Lane and realised that I was not going to make it up White Downs (18% for about 600m). I was spent but happy. And a TSS of 257.9 in the bag (NP 214w for 3:30). I'm in no hurry, but my CTL has gone from 0 (!!) to 34 in a month. It's all good.
Oh, and we're in for a sho…


I got fitted last year and worked on my posture on the bike quite hard. After spending some time off the bike and coming back I have developed some bad habits. No.1 is a tendency to sit too far forward. On a ride yesterday, for no reason at all, I sat back in the saddle and wow!! what a difference - more power less hurt.
I guess it's a bit like golf - you should continually check posture and alignment to make sure you're setup to succeed not fail. Ho hum.
The weather is forecasted sunny tomorrow and I've decided to have a go at the ToSH, the full thing. See if I'm near the 04:20:00 pb or the 06:30:00 pw(orst). I'll be posting the results here - my guess is I'll be around the 05:30:00 mark. 110km 2000m of climbing, max gradient 21%.

Ferrari International Assistance

Breaking News: Summer is Dead

Yep. Summer (what Summer?) died at 10.30am this morning. This is global warming baby. A quick search on google for 'August', 'weather' and 'since records began' reveals that 2004, 2007 and now 2008 have been the wettest, coldest and least sunny Augusts since records began in 1914. With a trend like that you can safely say that a UK summer is now something we will only read about in the history books. Spring is next on the hit list. If you like heat and sun but don't like rain then go live in Australia.

Time to get some shares in RacerMate, Tacx , Saris and Kurt Kinetic.

CTL and TSB ... need fixing in WKO+ How?

My CTL and TSS make interesting reading with CTL up to 31.6 from zero in just 3 weeks and my TSB down to a miserable -58. I think my original FTP setting of 200w was underestimated and I've lifted it to 250w since the IF for most of my rides was greater than 1, even a recent recovery ride with HR of 125-135!!

I just wish I could retrospectively change the FTP settings and get the IF and TSS re-calculated... any tips on how this can be achieved?

EDIT: Ok, so you just change the zones in the athlete settings and they get recalculated automatically. D'Oh. I could have sworn I tried this and it didn't make a difference!

Extensor Tendinitis

Again. Last year I went a bit hard for a week and really did my right foot in and ended up skipping the NYC marathon. The pain on the top of the foot was really nasty and was made worse from running. After a month of no running it went away.

Its a good job I'm not in training for the marathon yet, just getting back to some form of fitness. The pain isn't as bad as last time and I'm pretty sure I can blame overuse rather than my shoes. I'm going to change the lace pattern from criss-cross to straight-bar and tie them with less force. Obviously I'm gonna lay off for a week and then get back with some ginger runs of no longer than 40 minutes. Ice, Ibuprofen and Stretching being practised as I type.

Anyhoo, means I'll do more on the bike instead, which is ok.

Jamie Staff at the Slipstreamers

Jamie Staff, the olympic gold medallist took time out to visit the Hillingdon Slipstreamers today. What a top bloke and inspiration for the kids that were there (not to mention the Dads). He gave his time graciously despite having flown in the day before and being woken at 5am.

He signed autographs and answered questions for a while. I couldn't resist and asked him about his training. Surprisingly, it is about 4 hours of road training and 4 hours of track work per week. But the track work, I guess, is at high intensity. In the sprint final Jamie completed the first lap in 17.1 seconds and I asked him about the kind of power he generates. He said that in training prior to the world championhips he was peaking at 2,300w for the lap but had managed to increase by over 10% to 2,600w for the olympics! And in case you are wondering he is still pumping out over 1,200w when he crosses the finish line for Lap 1. Unbelievable numbers, but that Gold Medal tells you how real those numbers are…

Upping the rest days

OK. So it is early days, I'm going to do 50/50 splits between rest/recovery and training days. I just took 2 consecutive days rest (instead of 1 day a week) and felt better for it and posted a much better time for the 'Ian Run'.

Previous bests were a completed 23:10 and two runs aborted after 20 minutes due to exhaustion. I passed the point at which the previous two runs aborted with 19:30 on the watch before going on to finish in 21:31. Its only 2 and a bit miles but right now that feels like a half marathon!

I'll still do some walking or recovery riding on rest days but nothing strenuous. Will review along the way to see how it goes. No heart rate data for now as strap is broken.

A good day!

Hippy Training? ... Barefoot running

OK, I'm not convinced entirely but I'm more than willing to believe some of the messages. As a result I'm gonna spend some time running barefoot or at least without the highly cushioned shoes I'm used to (ASICS Gels). Fortunately, we have a high quality treadmill at home so I can start there. I've also ordered some Nike Free shoes, but may not go the whole hog to start with and run just around the local park barefoot on the grass. Watching out for dog eggs obviously.

If you're thinking I'm a lunatic then read some of the evidence and science here, here and here. Of course, the biggest part to all of this is learning to run as a forefoot striker and running "quietly". Since I'm starting afresh and from pretty much square 1 this will all be part of my approach.

The Gordon Pirie reference above is my nod to the Chi / POSE method. I have to say that Gordon sounds like a pretty special guy and his free book has got me assessing how I run and what my …


Opening up

I can feel my CV system springing back into life. I feel like I can breathe again instead of feeling constrained and tight as soon as I started to lay down any power on the bike or lifting my pace on the run.

Still a fat lardy tho. Which is really depressing when I hit a gradient. I get overtaken by litter. Indeed, my weight has gone up, despite dieting and lots of exercise. I'm putting it down to high intensity eating into carbs more than fat and whilst body fat is reducing more muscle is being laid down. That's my excuse anyway - a look in the mirror confirms my body shape is changing.

My wife and I are definitely in the Flora this year, so I'm mixing up cycling, running and rowing to get back into shape and avoid injury. It is enjoyable too, which right now is sooooooooo important.

Fundamentals (again)

I am a bit of a robot. I've been running without objectives or any rules and as a result my fitness has been impacted and my weight has crept up. So, to get me back on track ...

Primary objective
Get weight and fitness to level that I can comfortably complete a Tour of the Surrey Hills regardless of timeSecondary objectiveGet back into good habits of eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleepRules8 hours sleep - in bed by 10.30 at the latestKeep a food diary, with every item recordedLimit refined sugar and no cakes, biscuits etcEat breakfast, lunch and small dinner (after exercise)Exercise every day with a rest day on fridaysDon't fret about exercise intensity, just get out there and run or cycle at a pace I am happy with. If I am fatigued then take a rest day or just do 15 minutes of something.Started on Sunday and will maintain until primary objective is hit. I'm not even ready to attempt the ToSH (100km and 2,500m climbing) and probably won't be till S…


My critical power numbers are getting better all the time, the chart below shows my mean maximal curve for now versus all time. The dotted line is now.

I went out for a jaunt with my wife on Sunday morning and managed to put the hurt on her for a change and felt good too. I feel like I'm coming out of a cloud of unfitness and emerging stronger and stronger.

Having lots of historical data has really helped to put this into context. I know there is a way to go (especially my 60 min watts per kilogram!!) but at least I have realistic targets - these are real numbers since they are what I was capable of only a year ago.


Dehydrated so a little flattering. Probably more like 89kg. Looking healthier and chubby cheeks are subsiding rapidly. Still lost over a kilo in a week, I'll be delighted to keep that going for a while.

51.5% body water (!!). 23.4% body fat.

Happy with good progress and feeling good about myself. Of course, it also helps that the sun is shining and bike riding is fun again!!

Critical Power

So, out for a "tempo-ish" kinda ride today. Working from home and could spare an hour or so as a break from Microsoft Office. I went for a ride in the hills with Samantha and watched her disappear over the hills.

It was quite an eye-opener in many ways. My power output wasn't that horrible and CV system is starting to kick into life. I use cyclingpeaks and so I am able to compare my critical power numbers against all time (well all time that is recorded in cycling peaks and training peaks anyway).

So, my very best Critical Power numbers on file were captured on the 10th June last year on a fantastic ride between Alnwick and Jedborough and back. When compared with today's little jaunt things don't look quite so bleak. I just need to lose the 20kg strapped to my stomach!! (and work on endurance, obviously).
CP.2 575 vs 502CP1 388 vs 349CP6 285 vs 272CP12 255 vs 244CP30 211 vs 207CP60 203 vs 197CP90 200 vs 183CP180 185 vs 143Now obviously one was an e…

Recovery Time

Don't ask. I'm in pre-prep-base training phase with Build phase peaking sometime around April 2009. I cannot believe how quickly you can lose fitness. But, with spring here and a fresh new leaf I'm on it. Just need to form two habits, namely;
Exercise every dayEat less every daySimple.The everday exercise is running since it is so time efficient when you're not fit. I'll mix in cycling when I get a bit fitter and at the weekends when it's not raining. The Computrainer gets a recovery ride in the evenings but thats mostly to stop me drinking or eating!!I have thrown in turbo sessions in the morning but they are NO FUN when you're rubbish.

Back to square one

Well. Fell off for a few months. Fags, Booze, Chips, Chocolate. I've been bad. But like all good (?) things they have to come to an end. Largely in me being 2 stones heavier than I was at L'Etape and unable to ride at pace for more than an hour. Where did it all go wrong? Burn out man, burn out. I have an obsessive personality - I'm either riding 2hrs+ a day and eating pulses and raw fish or sitting on the sofa stuffing my face with chocolate. There is nothing in between!

As you can imagine the Marmotte is a non-starter this year, but I need to get back into decent shape ready to train for the London Marathon next year. And I'm starting to crave those rides in the hills ... before it became a chore and was actually a bit of fun?

Anyways ... fags and fat are gone. Let see if I can get some value for money out of this here computrainer ... shit I reckon so far its been the most expensive clothes horse in history... I reckon losing 10 kilos is reasonable given I'm nearl…