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Showing posts from 2009

3D Plotting of Power Data

Well, it has become a bit of an obsession over the last 3 or 4 days, but the video above shows a new tool I've developed for visualising cycling power data in 3d. Well actually, its 3.5D because you can also use colour to visualise different data. Aw, and I forgot to show the grid, surface and arrows (normals) plot. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome but there are still a few bits of polish needed - gridlines would help enormously and a colour legend!

Wrong job

Inspired by (my new favourite website)...

Patch pushed to Golden Cheetah

A 270k (!) patch to include this stuff in the Golden Cheetah codebase has been pushed across to Sean. Hopefully this will get released to the world soon. Really excited about it. In the meantime, here is a screenshot of it running on Linux. I wasn't pedalling at the time :-)

Ride across America (and the Atlantic Ocean)

Wow. There is now a team of folks in the Golden Cheetah community developing some really cool and exciting new features. Justin in Montreal is getting ANT+ devices working so you can turn that tired old turbos or set of rollers into a Computrainer, I'm still mucking about with the Computrainer support and a few other odds and sods, and Steve in Seattle has the coup de grace, by adding a streaming server and support. The video below is our first proof of concept with streaming workouts via a specially built server. In it you will see Steve's Mac, running Golden Cheetah but reading telemetry from his server. I'm in Cranleigh riding my socks off on my Computrainer and sending my data over the Atlantic and across to the West Coast of America. As you can imagine, its all very exciting and we're already thinking of next steps, group rides, racing and who knows what else we can imagine. The killer here though is there is a lot of very, very clever folks working on this, in

ANT+ Support!

Yep, we can now stream from any ANT+ device so Cinqos, SRM, Powertap and just about any of the new devices coming to market. Justin has done some awesome work as you'll see in the video below.

Computrainer Update

Edit: Breaking news 20th October - I now have it coded into Golden Cheetah. The gui is a basic set of LCD numbers (rather like the display on a Garmin 705 in fact). Next steps are to add saving data to disk and a real-time scrolling graph! To explain the video I start Golden Cheetah, show some of the features then start a realtime session, get on my bike, ride stop and then get back to my PC and stop the session. The 5 numbers are power, cadence, heartate, speed and load. I start with a load of 100w and then you will see it go up to 200w or so and then back down again. I am controlling this using the +/- keys on the unit. Edit: Breaking news 11th October - I now have outbound control and inbound telemetry working . I can sit on my turbo and set load up and down with the +/- keys and watch watts cadence et al. Its all very ghetto, with just a console mode, but I can now set about turning it into something pretty with graphs etc. For those of you that are interested I have opened up

Ultremo carnage

Promised to upload some photos of the split and bulging Ultremos. Note these are two separate splits on the same tyre. From normal riding on French roads. 'nuff said, eh?

Computrainer on my Macbook

Its gonna take me a while but I'm onto it. I need to; 1. decode the Computrainer's serial protocol (see image above). 2. Write CompCS for the Mac. Simples. I reckon by 2010 I should have something worth downloading. UPDATE 8th NOVEMBER. Its done.

3d critical power history prototype

I've been having fun getting back into coding and one of the things I've always wanted is a visualisation of my critical power profile as it changes over time. The visualisation above is a working prototype and (hopefully) will find its way into the excellent Golden Cheetah software. I've made some small contributions recently and am fizzing with ideas and energy. No more wishing WKO did certain things ... just write them yourself and hey presto!! I'll update further but as you can imagine with a bit of sumamrisation (the above is ALL rides) and a few other tricks I have planned it could become a good tool for visualising training and outcome ... more later! Edit: I've now integrated into my local GoldenCheetah codebase... time to start 'polishing' and making it usable rather than a hacked up prototype!

Exporting WKO files to CSV

Phew. I've spent *far too long* decoding the WKO+ binary file format. I'm still not there yet. But close enough that all my WKO files (wow, I have so many) can be exported to CSV and played with in MS access and MS excel. It was freakin' difficult. Put it another way, I had to give up decoding via hexdump and hexcmp tools in the end and wrote a tool of my own to compare and examine in binary (!?). But anyways, now all my data is as free as a bird and I'm already creating lots of pointless analysis to explain why I'm so crap! :-) If you're at all interested the project is hosted over at sourceforge and you can download the convert, it's source code and a document that describes the WKO binary file format. You will also find an older project of mine that converts binary data files from my beloved HAC4 into Polar harm format too. I can get back to concentrate on riding my bike now! Edit : Oh, and today I just had my code to support WKO import into Gol

Shimano quick-link. EPIC FAIL.

Nice one Shimano. The quick-link doesn't last as long as the rest of the chain basically . Mine slips and clicks so badly I'm off to buy a new chain. Needless to say, it won't be a 7900 with quicklink (but then Shimano have quietly withdrawn them from sale anyway). Pah!

Contador Wins!

Image Copyright PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

La Marmotte 2009

It took me 11:09. I may have finished La Marmotte but in return La Marmotte finished me. I won’t be entering another epic european mountainous sportive in this lifetime. Preamble I stayed at Chalet Namika above the main town of Alpe d’Huez. Hosted by Wayne and Ambra I had a thoroughly fantastic stay. The weather was fantastic and the views were breathtaking. It seemed like only yesterday that I was panting my way up the Alpe on my 40th, but here I was again to take part in Europe’s hardest sportive, La Marmotte. When it came to the carbo loading these guys rocked, the food was fantastic and I couldn’t have gotten a better base for the event. Sam and I are alerady talking about returning with the kids to ski in the new year. There were a few guys staying at the Chalet, all of whom were Marmotteers. Some clearly experienced and fit and others less so. I fell into the less so category. Indeed, a couple of trips down to the village of Huez at switchback 7 had my NP of 260 w

25 kilometers to go ...

When you ascend the Col du Telegraph there's still another 25 kilometers before the top of the Col du Galibier ... 25 kilos to go Well they're building a flamme-rouge outside Alpe D'Huez I've got 25 kilos to go And the whole town's waitin' just to hear me yell I've got 24 kilos to go Well they gave me some beans for my last meal I've got 23 kilos to go But nobody asked me how I feel I've got 22 kilos to go Well I went past a duffer and his whole dern bunch with 21 kilos to go And I sent for the mayor but he's out to lunch I've got 20 more kilos to go Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die got 19 kilos to go So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye got 18 kilos to go Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul with 13 kilos to go And he's talking bout' bonkin' but I'm so cold I've 12 more kilos to go Now they're detecting' the chip and it chills my spine 11 more kilos to go And my gears and my c

Pacing and Nutrition

I never cease to be amazed at how really simple questions can become almost impossible to answer when it comes to exercise physiology. I'm just an IT spod who has a passion for training and riding my bike. But, having bonked really badly on Etape 07 (or possibly underestimated the effect of altitude) I am determined to get it right for La Marmotte this year. The chart above is intended to show the percentage of fuel that is derived from muscle glycogen versus fatty acids (etc) at differing exercise intensities. Basically, at higher intensities the energy derived from glycogen becomes greater and will need to be replaced on the go. By contrast, the energy derived from fatty acids will not. Tipping Points and Sailing Close to the wind Based upon the assumption that (a) I will carbo load before La Marmotte and will have approximately 1000 cals worth of glycogen sitting in my legs and (b) I will take on 400cals of glycogen per hour then the following table tells me how many hours I

PMC for May

I've managed to stabilise at a CTL and ATL of 95. Feeling strong. Had a taper for the fred Whitton which gave me a dip and them pretty much rode every day. Instead of taking a full rest day I rode noodly rides with my wife Sam. Very civilised and legs feel better for it.

Shredding to 77kg by July 5th

OK, so I'm still 81kg and probably in the 20% bodyfat range and shredding is something bodybuilders will do before a big event to get down to 2% but I'm calling it shredding :-) No more refined sugar products or 'treats' till I start La Marmotte. Ideally I'd like to be at 75kg for the event but lets face it anywhere around 77kg would be fantastic. If only I didn't like biscuits and chocolate quite so much ....................... its just for 6 weeks.... its just for 6 weeks .... its just for 6 weeks ....... if I tell myself that enough maybe it'll help me get past those cravings. Saturday 23rd May - 81.9 kg Well during the week I watched 10 things you need to know about losing weight . And I put some of it into practice; I didn't have anything between meals (ok, I had a fruesli bar on Friday afternoon because I was really hungry), I had more protein than usual for breakfast (couple of poached eggs and toast), but having soup for lunch was the clinche

Google Earth a tool for cyclists!

So, right now it is raining. hard. But the weather forecast says sunny intervals. Mmmm. If I fire up google earth and hone in onto Cranleigh then select radar and cloud I am greeted with the image above. The HIRAD radar data gets refreshed every twenty minutes or so. Now the wind is coming at 22mph from the SSW according to metcheck and the bbc weather sites. So that band of rain from east anglia to hayling island is moving fast to the northeast. From that, my dear Watson I can conclude that we have one more heavy shower to endure and then we should have a rain free afternoon. LETS SEE IF I'M RIGHT SHALL WE? edit: Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. The radar is only over land masses. Once the first lot of heavy cloud cover had passed another one appeared and then another. Kind of makes the radar useless if you are near the coast.

Rites of Passage

I've been riding on the road seriously for a few years now. When I got my first road bike in 2003 I wasn't very clued up. I rode it and enjoyed it, but didn't really know too much about bikes, cycling history and culture and training. I realised recently that I've been through quite a rite of passage from newbie to well, experienced cyclist. Ok, so I can't tell you much about campagnolo bottom brackets but I can (and have) maintained or repaired or replaced every part of my dura ace equipped bike. There are a few behaviours I have picked up along the way that are widely viewed as roadie-neurosies. Not because I knew about them and wanted to fit it, more that they developed independently over time, here are a few; No saddle bag . I carry everything in my middle back pocket that would be in  my saddle bag. This is to keep my bike light and manoueverable, especially when out the saddle. Mega-Clean drivechain . My chain, chainrings and casette are indeed cleaner than

Reflection Point

The chart above is what I call my poppy field. The yellow bars (or stalks) represent the average and normalised powers for each workout whilst the red and gray dots represent the average heart rate and intensity factors for each workout. As you can see my intensity factor has tailed off slightly along with my heart rate, that really reflects the gradual increase in volume. I'm still not convinced that daily workouts are the best way forward. I have a feeling that increased intensity and more frequent rest days are a much better way to organise your training. But then I keep thinking about TITS and would rather not risk 'innovating'. BTW, TITS means time in the saddle :-) The distributution chart below shows, in absolute terms, the amount of time I have spent this season in each zone. I'm quite pleased with the mix, especially the AC and VM. This really reflects the fact that I live in a hilly area more than anything else. I have not included time spent freewheeling fo

PMC for April

Well, aside from the Crash in the middle of the month its been a good month. Plenty of hard efforts and the Majorca trip was great. I did an FTP test a couple of weeks after the crash and wasn't back to full fitness but still held an FTP of 285w. I reckon I'm higher now and will do a test after the Fred Whitton Challenge which is next weekend. My all-time best 5,20 and 60 minute powers in 2007 came a week after the FWC. Only 9 weeks to La Marmotte, gulp.

Anatomy of a Crash (Part Two - The Injuries)

What a fine figure of a man. So this was taken about 5 miuntes ago, today on Monday. Its a mirror reflection, so that is my right leg not my left leg. As you can see things don't look too bad. A lot of bruising on my upper thigh, my ankle is still swollen but a lot of range in movement means I'm off out on my bike when I finish this post. Last Tuesday, the day of the crash, I looked around the internet to try and get some feeling for how serious my injuries were and how long I'd be off the bike. I didn't really find anything useful. Most of the pages were about sports induced injuries rather than from falling off a bike and largely they put the fear of god into me. Talk of 6 weeks here and season ending there made me quite miserable. So, here is a brief breakdown of the last six days and how I've gone from feeling really low and assuming La Marmotte was written off to today, 6 days later, where I'm wondering how hard I should go in the hills this afternoon! T

Anatomy of a Crash (Part One - The Crash)

I crashed on Tuesday. I hurt myself quite badly. My rear derrailleur is knackered, the hanger is bent out of shape, my bar tape is ripped and my right brake lever is scuffed. My elbow, upper-hip/thigh and ankle are severely scraped and, now, heavily bruised. So, what the hell happenned? One of the great things about all the gadgetry I have is the ability to review and analyse the data afterwards and I must admit it has been fascinating. As fortune would have it, I descended this point at very high speed on Sunday, in glorious sunshine. So I have data to compare with my crash data. On Sunday I approached this bend at 47km/h and went round, freewheeling (and leaning hard) and as I went round my speed dropped to 39km/h without me applying the brakes. I can tell you now that I was right on it because the guy trying to keep up with me behind was (as I later discovered) a german domestic pro who, in his words, thought I had 'good speed!!' (with a thumbs up gesture). On Tuesday, t

Majorca here I come ...

Looking forward to testing my legs with some beautiful mountainous climbs, Col de Soller a mini Alpe d'Huez and Col de Calobra known as The Snake but the trip to Cap de Formentor (above) will be more a test of my fear of heights ... gulp.

London to Paris

Me and the missus are signed up for the BHF London 2 Paris ride in September. Should be fun riding with 'er indoors. Its a 3 day thing with a total of 280 miles. Its relatively flat and from what I gather relatively slow too. It should keep me on the straight and narrow post La Marmotte too. Should be a blast!

PMC for March

Building over March from 85 to 95 CTL which came largely from a slight increase in frequency, volume and intensity. still only doing between 8-12 hrs per week. April kicks off with a week in Majorca which should give me a boost - both mentally and physically. Its been a great 8 months with a few issues to deal with but largely a positive experience and have developed a great level of fitness to build upon in the next 3 months leading up to La Marmotte. Now is the time to put the foot on the gas and not get complacent, who knows what can be achieved ...

Thanks Ergvideo!

Over 1,000 miles this season on the Computrainer.   (That's a whole lot of sweating)

CTL Target

It would seem that a CTL >100 is widely viewed as a target for peaking. Given my sustainable ramp rate, the fact that I'm already at 95 CTL, I am planning on an increase in volume through April, May and June AND I'm off to Majorca for 7 days of quality training I think a 120 target for Marmotte is LOW! :-) Heck, I even took an extra rest day today and CTL is still 93.


Is that the first shoot of spring? Is my anaerobic capacity coming out to blossom? :-)

Mean Maximal All-time vs This Season

Anaerobic Capacity is a mixed bag this season compared to all time, whilst most of the other zones are all as good as if not better than ever. This seasons training regime is definitely working better than any training I've ever done before.  PS: The dotted line is this season

FTP Target - >310 <320

Tested today at 285w (NP ~290, AP 280). Looking at linear and log trend looks like a stretch of 320w for Marmotte and a possible of 310w. Mad. Mad. Mad. Only time will tell, but my new approach of higher intensity training and no L2 seems to be paying off in terms of FTP. Given I also set a fast time for the ToSH with no long rides suggests that L2 is highly over-rated.

Big Milestone Today

Nuff Said. Did an eyeballs out FTP test on a majorly breezy day. The wind helped to neutralize the terrain and made it hard work in every direction. The only dips in power were unavoidable due to turns, lights or steep descents. FTP Test results of NP 292 and AP 281.

PMC For February

Wow is it that time already? Well a good month with build starting over the last couple of weeks. I've taken a few impromptu rest days for fun and work. Trying to keep a balance and make sure I don't burn out. Indeed, the ride today was going to be a 4 hr stint in the hills, but after 3 hrs I was cold and wanted to go home, so I did. I know that tomorrow I'll be itching to get out for a couple of hours anyway and this way I'll be less fatigued. At least thats the theory! I checked my FTP and its still 275. CTL now at 95 but I suspect I'll maintain it at abut that over the month and not go higher. Funny - a workout of an hour or less feels really short these days and almost not worth getting dressed up for :-)

Tour of the Surrey Hills Route

As a Google Earth (KML) or a Garmin Training Centre (TCX) file can be downloaded here .  Please note:  this is NOT the official route since (a) I start half way round in Cranleigh and do the first half AFTER the second half and (b) I skip the staples lane climb, which is a habit I should break! 

Lent Food Diary

Not religious, except about weight loss. So I'm giving up Chocolate, Sweets, Biscuits and Cake for Lent, which runs from today 'Ash Wednesday' through to Good Friday. That's 40 days and 40 nights of hell! So to keep a tab on it all I'm keeping a food diary right here on this blog entry. Should make for a scintilating read (not!). No comments on how crap my diet is. I know I should eat more fruit and veg. I know caffeine is bad for me. I know that I should vary my diet more. :-) Ash Wednesday 25th February 8am Cup of Filter Coffee, 1 sugar 8am Round of Toast and Butter 8am Bran Flakes, Natural yoghurt, berry compote, skimmed milk 9am Tea, 2 sugars 10am Starbucks Coffee, 2 sweeteners 1pm Sandwich: Bacon, Avacodo and Chicken on Farmhouse Granary 1pm Can of San Pellegrino Fizzy Orange 3pm Cup of tea, 2 sugars 4pm cup of tea, 2 sugars 8pm DISASTER! dropped pesto and pasta on floor - v. small portion consumed 8pm couple of jacob's crackers with a bit of cheese 9pm

Tour of the Surrey Hills

I had some residual fatigue from the double commute I did on Friday but managed pretty well. It was a little windy but in gusts rather than a constant breeze. I nearly came a cropper with side winds, glad I didn't have deep section wheels. The ride was a milestone for me, a route I've ridden extensively in the past and very demanding with plenty of steep climbs from 10% through to 18% and 21%. I was worried I would fatigue since the majority of my riding has been in the 2hr ballpark, but I was absolutely fine. A ride time of 4:15 is up there with some 0f my better times, 4hr being my PB. So I've drawn a line in the sand. And more importantly I'm not scared of the ride anymore and so will be incorporating it into my weekend long ride from now on. Roll on the spring!

Four more milestones

Good weekend for some new milestones :- First (windy) Tour of the Surrey Hills of the season 4:15 NP239 AP205 Hit 3064 miles for the season, 887 of which were on the turbo Build Phase has started in my periodosed plans CTL hits 90 (temporarily) as a result of todays hard effort FTP is 275w and looking suspiciously in need of another test :-)

Apple Suck

I despair. If its not bad enough that Apple wanted my credit card details within 20 seconds of me installing itunes, that the ipod is not user maintainable, that they believe in closed proprietary and downright monopolistic practices ... my second, replacement for a broken, ipod has now gone fubar within 7 days. Update : see dopisp f or a way of using Windows Media Player with an Ipod and uninstall  itunes forever. Ipods are supposed to be a  portable music player -- why do they break if you don't treat them like a fucking faberge egg? I've come to the conclusion that the typical Apple iWhore only fits one profile and that ain't me, typically they; iMagpie - Cannot see beyond shiny iMage not Substance - aspire to a consumerist ideal or lifestyle Low iQ - have too much disposable income -or- a lower than average intelligence iDoWhatYouLetMe - don't object to having their behaviours controlled by an organisation Lastly, I'd guess a large number of them also are; i

FTP Target - >290 and <320

Since getting back on the bike in August I've been tracking my FTP in wko+. Mostly by using a full bore 40k ride as my benchmark, a ride I call the "Billingshurst Loop". When I started in August it took me 1:27, my latest best is 1:15.  I use the NP for this ride because it is a little lumpy (which is unavoidable where I live). The results tend to stack up very, very well with 20min turbo tests as well. Whilst my target for FTP is basically "as high as I can get it" I still like to set targets and track progress towards them. Hence the graph. The linear and curved trend lines are based upon the data collected. I tend to believe that future progress will not be as dramatic as past progress so believe the end FTP of 290 is a reasonable target. However, the linear target of 320 is not impossible. I'd be delighted with anything approaching 300w, and unlike in 2007, this time I know EXACTLY how many watts I do day to day. In 2007 I hit an FTP of 294w for an out

PMC for January

Big time recovery from a nasty dose of flu after christmas and managed to sustain a CTL of about 80. My progress is a bit hampered by a lack of hilly outdoor riding for a variety of reasons, but largely work or weather. Happy with CTL but IF is dropping off as frequency is increasing in workouts. Not at all sure this is a good approach at all. You'll notice the 4 on 1 off went to 3 on 1 off. I like to get plenty of rest! Empty legs make for a junk workout anyway. To be fair, mostly it was enforced by life rather than me slacking :-)

6 month periodisation ... what did it look like?

Don't be too fooled by the charts - volume has been increasing over the 6 months so in real terms I am spending more time in AC this month than the chart suggests ... however ... High-intensity work in Jan has been low. This is largely due to spending so much time on the trainer because the weather has been so poor. Itching to hit the hills and stuck inside. Interestingly my weight has dropped after quite a plateau whilst gains in FTP and max power has levelled. To the hills tonto....... away!

Computrainer vs SRM ... take 3

I'll let it lie eventually.... Used same protocol as previous day 20 mins, 110 psi, 2.7lbs after warmup. Then did a 2 hour tempo ride and Computrainer gives AP of 209 whilst SRM gives an AP of 196. Not good enough. I have checked tire pressure after the workout and it was still 110 psi. I set the zero offset of the SRM at the start and end and they were almost identical. I will try again with a higher press-on pressure of 3lbs to see if that makes a difference... My dilema is which number to use and how much faith I have in previous CT numbers... annoying. Data files are here if you're interested.

SRM vs Computrainer ... again

A bit more conclusive this time, I was very careful to warm up the CT thoroughly, with 15 mins of effort from 100w through to 5 mins at 260w. Tire pressure was 110psi and cadence was maintained at around 94 and speed around 25mph. As you can see the SRM and CT tracked very closely indeed - the SRM gave average power for the hour at 221w whilst the CT had 217w. Thats pretty darned close and drivetrain power loss can account for the difference.  Trouble is the calibration I performed last time was 20 mins at 160w and should have been good enough. I'll be using the SRM from now on to capture power data whilst on the CT since it is not so sensitive to calibration. If you want them the data files are here .

Quadrant Analysis

I'm not going to pretend that I understand it all, but I've done a quadrant analysis of 3 recent 2 hour long spirited or hard tempo rides.    Outside Ergvideo and Highly Variable Power on Computrainer Constant Power on Computrainer You can draw your own conclusions, if any. I'mnot really sure why my cadence was so high with the ergvideo, maybe I'll work that out one day. Alex Simmons provides expert musings on this over on his blog , I just copied him :-)


I took the plunge and shelled out for some Ergvideos to go with my computrainer. They duly arrived about a week later, which is pretty good given they came all the way from Canada. I didn't even have to pay import duty ... which makes a change cause every other frickin cup or t-shirt I've ever ordered from overseas has usually cost me. I guess the fact that its a slim letter sized package helped to sneak it past the beady eyes of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise leeches. Anyhoo, since you licence them to a specific computer I chose to get the whole shebang setup on the media center PC we have in the main room. That way I get the oomph of the multi-core CPU and the wow factor of the surround sound and big TV. But I can't take it on the road, I can only ergvideo at home ... I concluded that was fair enough, DVDs and video podcasts are fine for sessions run from the laptop. Installation Since the HTPC is running Vista and I had be

5 day week

As is common practice last season I had a rest day once a week - that's 6 days on 1 day off. I did find that when I was forced to take extra rest days (kids, work etc) I often got unexpected performance imrovements, but not always. This season I have long resolved to take more rest days and to eat more. Last time I was so obsessesed with weight loss I forgot to feed the adaptations. So, since August, I have taken a 50/50 split between workouts and rest days (not neccessarily 1 on 1 off, but consecutive workout days are followed more or less by the same number of rest days). I have also eaten whatver I fancied. I don't drink so that isn't a problem for me. As a result, over the last 4 months or so I have made great progress in most of my critical powers. I've only lost a modest amount of weight but have enjoyed being able to ride harder when I do train, and boy have I been riding hard! BUT As I get stronger the 50/50 split feels too much, I am often raring to go but w

New Year Resolutions

Well, training is in full swing and thoroughly enjoying it. Not so much New Year Resolutions but some basic rules for making the training work ... No more than 2 consecutive rest days - noodle on an AR ride if motivation is low Eat no more and no less than 3 meals a day Bed before 10.30pm if you can Got a whole host of other crap about nutrition and workout plan but frankly I know I can't keep to that for the long term.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!