Skip to main content


Back to earth with a bump

Since the beginning of April I have been trying to get back into shape. I started with some unfocused riding, just riding for 40k "easy" tended to hurt. I am terribly out of shape.

More importantly being yet another fat middle aged man on a fancy carbon bike with a power meter is frankly embarrassing. I am quietly ashamed at what I have become. I don't want to ride for fear of my old riding partners seeing this big, fat wobbly 93kg 6ft tall man struggling to maintain 190w on the flat.

Worse, towards the end of every ride I experience all manner of aches and pains in my upper and lower back, my triceps and even my calves. It is depressing. Back in 2007 I weighed 73kg and could  ride the 110km Tour of the Surrey Hills in under 4.5 hrs. Now I couldn't face the first climb.

But I comfort myself with the fact that I am actually doing something about it. Buying new clothes with a larger waistline is not an option. In fact, Andrea Morelli who is Cadel Evans' coach and a long-time supporter of Golden Cheetah sent me some top line Assos bibs and jersey. Trouble is, getting into it I really do look like the only gay in the village.

So, need to get into shape and make that stuff look good on me. In fact, when I hit 80kg I'm going to get myself a tailor-made suit, to reward me and remind me what shape I should be.

Mix it up

So if riding around is no fun then I need to look at other ways to help me get back. My wife Samantha and son Harry have been doing the Surrey Fitness Bootcamp. So I tried it. Holy crap, it hurts. Basically it is 1hr of circuit training. In the first 2 minutes you develop the mother of all oxygen debts and then carry that through for another 58 minutes.

It was wonderful. 1hr of pain worse than any FTP test followed by a virtuous feeling. I like that. So started looking for other things to do.

I used to have a multi-gym at home, but sold it to my Dad when I realised it was just taking up space. But I kept my free weights (a few dumbbells from 5kg through 20kg). So I started to do some every 3 days or so. Mixing up an arms and shoulders day with a chest and back day and finally, I got myself a bar bell and some bumper plates and do an 'legs plus' day which is basically deadlifts, squats, farmers walks and romanian dead-lifts.

I started to feel stronger.

Back to the bike

So, I mix in bike riding with strength and circuits. I am not really any stronger, 190w on the flat is about  all I want to do. But my CV system is tense rather than working overtime and the aches and pains in my back have gone.

I got my C2 rowing machine out again today. I forgot how hard it works the CV system and after 3k was spluttering.

Gonna stick with this conditioning for another 6 weeks, mixing it all up and slowly increase the elevation gain on my rides. I reckon by the summer I might be ready for some base training!

Popular posts from this blog

W'bal its implementation and optimisation

So, the implementation of W'bal in GoldenCheetah has been a bit of a challenge.

The Science I wanted to explain what we've done and how it works in this blog post, but realised that first I need to explain the science behind W'bal, W' and CP.

W' and CP How hard can you go, in watts, for half an hour is going to be very different to how hard you can go for say, 20 seconds. And then thinking about how hard you can go for a very long time will be different again. But when it comes to reviewing and tracking changes in your performance and planning future workouts you quickly realise how useful it is to have a good understanding of your own limits.

In 1965 two scientists Monod and Scherrer presented a ‘Critical Power Model’ where the Critical Power of a muscle is defined as ‘the maximum rate of work that it can keep up for a very long time without fatigue’. They also proposed an ‘energy store’ (later to be termed W’, pronounced double-ewe-prime) that represented a finit…

Polarized Training a Dialectic

Below, in the spirit of the great continental philosophers, is a dialectic that attempts to synthesize the typical arguments that arise when debating a polarized training approach.

It is not intended to serve as an introduction to Polarized training, there are many of those in-print and online. I think that Joe Friel's blog post is a good intro for us amateurs.

For Synthesis Against A Elite athletes have been shown in a number of studies to train in a polarized manner [1][2][3] There is more than one way to skin a cat. Elite athletes adopt plans that include high-volumes of low intensity and low-volumes of high-intensity. Elite athletes have also been shown to train in a pyramidical manner
[13] B Polarized Zones are between LT1/VT1 and LT2/VT2 [1]
LT1/VT1 and LT2/VT2 can be identified using a number of field based approaches [4][5][6][7]

You can follow guidelines on mapping LT1/LT2 to cycling power to make it useful for amateur cyclists. Polarized zones are har…

W'bal optimisation by a mathematician !

So the integral computation for W'bal was expensive.

I tried to optimise from a domain and  programming perspective, where Dave Waterworth, a mathematician found a much more elegant and fast reformulation.

This means W'bal can EASILY be computed as you ride.

To explain the math here are his words;

I posted a comment on you Blog post on optimising the Wbal model. I've done some more thinking and I defn think it can be done without visiting the previous samples as the Skiba formula can be decomposed further, i.e. From your blog I believe the integral part of the equation is:

Basically this takes a weighted sum of preceding W'exp samples where the weight decays at a rate determined by tau, older samples are weighted less than newer ones. We can approximate as a sum provided tau is large compared to Ts (the sample rate):

Basic properties of exponential functions allow the for…