Sunday, January 26, 2014


On Saturday afternoon I went out for a nice endurance ride. 97km at a relaxing pace. I guesstimate NP at 200. Although there was quite some wind it did feel OK. Although FTP has decreased I do feel some adaptation to the 100km rides so that's OK and something to hold on to.
This week I am mainly going to focus my indoor Kurt rides on SSTs, that is at 90% of FTP for a little under 1 hour. It doesn't get my ceiling (VO2max) up, but I am just trying to sustain what I have now. Hopefully it gives a good feeling to build further upon the coming weeks.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Confronting, but it's OK

“We suggest to set your FTP to 298. Do you want to change your current FTP of 315 to 298?” These were approximately the words which I saw on my TrainerRoad screen after the 2x8 minute FTP test (basically the Carmichael protocol). Although it’s not a nice message it is reality at the moment. Last weeks training was terrible due to mentioned reasons (see previous posts). And I guess I just have to accept reality to adjust training levels as to be able to start building again instead of trying to pursue a level which I cannot maintain of even upgrade at the moment. I think it’s a good thing to adjust FTP and thus training levels down. Below you can see the Golden Cheetah graph.


In the first 8 minute effort I started too optimistic as you can see. I could only maintain the 362 watts for a short period of time and after that I just struggled to not go down too fast. This is a typical example of bad pacing. On average those 8 minutes came down to 336 watts (I did more in my last FTP test of 20 minutes a while ago…..). So knowing I blew up the first interval I tried to maintain 330 watts in the second interval. That you could say was a reasonable good example of pacing because I ended up with 329 . You can see HR data went a bit wrong in the second interval. Maybe I should get a new battery form my HR strap, I don’t know.

As said it’s confronting, but at the same time it’s reality, but I do put some hope out of it. As one of the wattage group members (Beth Leasure-Hudson) wrote:

“If you've decided to utilize and invest in a powermeter, then ignoring all of its information seems wasteful to me. FTP is not a datapoint for bragging rights. It is a datapoint that can yield very useful information about progression/regression, magnitude of change, and in conjunction with other datapoints, much more. Getting your baseline number may seem discouraging in the moment, but could be very encouraging over time. One thing that distinguishes very elite performers is the ability to objectify performance, and its measures such as FTP, and utilize the information to make effective changes. Get the datapoint and utilize it. Your feelings about the datapoint - good/bad/indifferent - can be controlled for your benefit, including as a motivation for improvement.”

Out of competition

On Wednesday I tried TR Cardinal. 3 10 minute intervals slightly below FTP. It went very bad. I just can't do a proper workout at a reasonable intensity without too much body fluids and too much fatigue coming too quickly. 

Yesterday I went to the doctor. It comes down to that my airway is oversensitive because of constantly picking up coughs, colds, and all sort of other bacteria which the kids bring home. So I got some stuff which should surpress and relieve that. It's three days using Azitromycine (antibiotics) and for a longer period Pulmicort 200 (corticosteroids).  No, it's not the dog, it's not for my horse, and my meat wasn't contaminated sir.....

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cyclo-X tickets

After placement of the results of the powermeter survey the pageviews went up quite a lot. Thanks for reading my blog guys!
Last week was in the light of my everylasting cough, for which I will go and see the doctor Wednesday, a relaxing one again. On Wednesday I spent one hour on the Kurt for a one hour TR ride with an NP of 255 (TSS, 66). On Friday I went outside to get a ticket for the World Championship cyclocross in Hoogerheide (first weekend in February). People were very busy setting up tents for the sponsors, VIPs, and other people who want to drink and have the general fat stuff like sausages, hamburgers, etc (you probably know the smell and what it does to your stomach when you race and pass along those tents.....).
My guestimated NP was 230 watt for 1h.42 (TSS, 91). On Sunday I wanted to do a 100km ride, but it turned out to be a 127km ride because I got lost in the polders of Zeeland.......guestimated NP 210 with a TSS of 183 (4.07h ride). Last 30km I got hungry and when that happens AND you have wind in front you know it's not a nice feeling.....So, I just got off the Kurt (Monday) for a one hour recovery ride with NP of 215w and TSS of 47.
This week Tour of Sufferlandria is going to start, but my head says 'no', but my heart says 'yes'. Let's see what the doctor will say on Wednesday.......:(

Friday, January 17, 2014

Results of Powermeter survey

Because I was interested in some aspects of training and racing with a powermeter I made a small questionnaire in Survey Monkey. It’s a freemium survey site. Free are 10 questions and max 100 respondents. After a reminder I decided to collect the data (that is I typed all the answers in Excel (you can get a datadump from Survey Monkey, but you have to pay for that and I was not willing to do that;).
OK. How did I get the sample? Basically I posted the request to fill in the survey on some Dutch forum sites. One was Fiets which is a Dutch cycling magazine, but which has a forum on various topics like Food and Training, Equipment, you name it. Another one was (various news topics on cycling) and on (a cyclosportive (forum) site also. I finally –after a few weeks- also posted it on a Belgian site (also cyclosportive related), but I only got a few responses from there. So you can say the sample consists of ‘engaged’ cyclists, that is, they look –maybe post- on forums.
I was hoping to get 100 respondents, but after a reminder on the forums and 4 weeks after placement I just decided to get the data and analyse it. After monitoring the results I had seen that things tend to be rather stable and on the whole did go in a certain direction without an exact number. The sample in total consisted of 43 respondents. So take that into account when seeing some percentages below (1 difference is 2,3%).

Sample characteristics
Since I only had a limited amount of questions I could as I decided to ask as little background as possible. 57% of respondents were under 35 yrs old, rest above.

As could be expected the majority of respondents were ‘quite fanatic’ in a sense that they are related to riding races (in cats) or trying to be competitive in cyclosportives (to obtain highest rank as possible). The ‘None’ applicable were I think riding mountainbikes or triathletes, I am not sure.

The sample consisted of 25 (58%) of people who didn’t own a powermeter and 18 (42%) who did.
No powermeter

Of the people who did not own a powermeter (25 people, 1 person=4%) 24% is not planning to buy one coming year, 44% is thinking about buying one, 24% is probably going to buy one coming year and 8% was at the point of buying one. So the majority had a current interest, but each was at a slightly different stage of consideration.
I had a small battery of statements which you can see below.


92% (Top 2 Box) thinks training with a powermeter will increase their performance. Majority does not really know whether to doubt the quality of lower priced powermeters;60% nor agree / nor disagree. If the price is more attractive they would buy one (96% Top 2 Box). Hiring a powermeter does not seem to be an option, buying seems preferred although there are mixed emotions about hiring before buying (approx. 50/50). Hiring could be a step up before buying.
Powermeter owners

Rider who owned a powermeter (18) owned it (83%) a short time, namely 0-2 years. Powertap (32%) and Power2max (37%) were mostly used. Rest were SRM, Rotor, Quarq/SRAM and I had two persons who (also) ha(s)(d) a PowerCal and 1 Ibike. Given the combination of brands one person had I suspect an importer of the specific brands to be a respondent…………….busted?

82% analyses his/her results several times a week. A few had a coach/someone else to do it. Also here I had a battery of statements.

82% says that training with a powermeter has increased their performance. There also seems some tendency that making a trainingschedule based on power isn’t perceived as easy, although the majority (76% Top 2 Box) says to be familiar with the concepts of training with a powermeter and 76% Top 2 Box is self-learned. They also visit internetsites to read about it (82%) and own one of more books (82%).
In general there seems to be a large part which have the idea they do not get everything out of their powermeter data, they only use a part of the data. They also seem to be willing to invest (a small amount) in a third party to get more out of their data.

76% expects the powermeter market to grow (Top 2 Box) and also the majority (76%) uses heart rate numbers in their analyses next to the power numbers.

Price perception
Non powermeter owners were asked the van Westendorp price Sensitivity meter. You can find more here:
Normally you can identify 4 points were lines intersect:
*  "too cheap" and "expensive" can be considered the lower bound of an acceptable price range (aka point of marginal cheapness or PMC)

* "too expensive" and "cheap" can be considered as the upper bound of an acceptable price range. This is also called the "point of marginal expensiveness" or PME.

* "expensive" line crosses the "cheap" line. This can be  described as the "indifference price point" or IPP.

* "too cheap" and "too expensive" lines represents an "optimal price point" or OPP. Here an equal number of respondents describe the price as exceeding either their upper or lower limits.

Below you can see the graph:


PMC and OPP are both at 500 euro. IPP is at 650 euro and PME very close 700 euro. So instead of 4 different intersections we see only 3. This of course has to do with a relatively small sample, but also because in this case respondents often responded the same price for expensive as too expensive.

The acceptable price range is between the PMC and PME which seems from 500 to 700 euro. Now, are these numbers exact? No of course not, but around 700 euro (to approx. 800) seems an upper limit, whereas somewhat below 500 seems the lower limit. Powertap and Stages are the meters at the moment who are around the upper range in that instance and considering only the price seem to have a strong case. Again I stated it on the Wattage Forum as well, great move of them to sponsor Sky (but, that's off topic here now...)
If you have more respondents you will be able to segment more, but unfortunately I can’t. I do feel however that what was found in this respect does give a good direction.

Well, that’s it. If you have questions, remarks, or whatsoever don’t hesitate to e-mail me or to leave a reply on the blog.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cold, but dry

Cold, but dry. There was a lot less wind compared to the week before and when doing an endurance ride that always feels a bit better. When you know you have to ride relatively slow and when there's a lot of wind you go even slower...although you can go a lot faster, but hey that's endurance. However, the locals did throw a lot of salt on the road. Nice for all the cycling material....just washed it of my X-bike afterwards. I have noticed that I need a new chain. I can almost pull it off the front chainring. Not good ;)
After the ride (approx 3 hours) I had 97 km (guesstimated TSS 138). That was OK and it felt OK as well. Not very tired and that was the goal for today. Taking into account my nasty cough I am satisfied although sometimes I almost threw up because of the coughing. Maybe do a check later this week at the doctor's.
Below you see my PMC from last 3 months. After a good start TSS slightly goes down. Several causes: a few days on small holiday, X-mas time, small ilness and a bad cough / cold which still holds. In October TSS was 1343, November 1310 and December 1215. CTL is on the whole rather stable around let's say 40. When am I going to ramp it up? Maybe end of January a bit because of the Tour of Sufferlandria, but I still have to decide on that coming weeks. I haven't planned that one and I am still getting my head around whether I should do it or not. It will probably be just a small peak because sustainable growth will be start around end of February / beginning of March. O well, next Tuesday a new TR ride. Donner, because I will go back a week in schedule.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It doesn't go away

Last week has again been a bad week. My throat still hurts, or better said I have a really bad cough. I cough a lot and I get really tired from it. On Tuesday I tried to do Marion which were 3x12 min threshold power intervals at 95-99% FTP. I did them at 310 watt, 300 watt and the last one I did not feel good for the mentioned reason so the last one was endurance pace at 220 watt.
On Thurday I wanted to put out some intervals which are no problem normally, but now I just suffered. The first two went OK (320 watt), but the third I cracked so I decided to do the last interval submaximal (300 watt) which is OK. I just don't have power, that nasty cough just takes all the energy out of me. So on Saturday (today) I decided to do nothing and go for a long endurance ride tomorrow. Next week I will be starting with my training program again a week before I got the problems. I must not overdo it now otherwise I will have problems later on. I wanted to show a few screenshots of Golden Cheetah 3.0 which I have been using a few weeks (still have to download some more data to it), but unfortunately I need to install some other stuff on my other notebook so I can actually save a picture.......
To keep my moral I bought some new shoes though ;)

O. I have done a small survey on power meters here in the Netherlands. I will be analysing the results from that coming week. I will publish the results on my blog.

Small book review; the Time Crunched Cyclist

Last weeks I (or better said months) I took the time to read The Time Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael. Who? The guy who has been training Lance Armstrong for ages. That's the guy.

Why did I buy the book? Just because I was curious about the training method he proposes for someone who hasn't got a lot of time to train because -of the more important things in life like- family, work, social activities, etc. , but still want to improve in a time effective way. Although I still read some on the internet about his approach I still wanted to have the book.

Well. What's it about?

If you want to improve with little training time it's fairly simple. If it doesn't come from the time factor of training it has to come out of the intensity. Pro's have time to create a strong aerobic base by doing hours and hours of riding. We (most of you probably) don't have so much time. Carmicheals plan is for people who have approx 6 hours a week available to ride. He also states that of you have more than 10 hours a week he would advocate more of the traditional endurance training model. This program is more of an ''on/off' and would not be even be appropriate if you go over 10-12 hours a week because there isn't enough time to recover.

The program takes 11 weeks and around week 8 you will get to your peakperformance. More experienced rider will see a decrease in performance after week 11. After week 3 there is some recovery week.

He immediately states that there is a drawback from the program that it won't really work for efforts longer than 3 hours. So if you want to do a cyclosportive of let's say the Marmotte caliber and want to ride a fast time this is not really the program to do because you will be sitting on your bike at least 9 hours (for the average rider that is) and you will need to do more long rides. Although he does make the suggestion that for these longers rides you can also use the program but then with lower intensities (that might be OK to finish but not for a fast time). Also the program leads to time crunched fitness that is you won't be able to hold your peak for very long nor will you be able to do more of this program than 9-10 weeks.

To set the starting value against which to set your training levels (intensities) he proposes the 8 minute test, or as he calls it The CTS Field test (Carmichael Training System). It consists of 2 8 minute all out time trials separated by 10 minutes recovery. An athlete with a good aerobic engine will do the second 8 minute test within 5% of average power of the first 8 minutes. If the two efforts become more equal he claims it is a sign that the training has improved the ability to buffer lactate acid and to process the lactate. The training ranges should be set around the highest average power (or average heart rate) of the two 8 minute all outs. In terms of FTP you should take 90% of this effort. I won't go into the details of the setup of the test but if you do a proper warm up with some fast pedalling, 1 one minute all out, a few more minutes fast pedalling, the first 8 minute effort, 10 minute recovery fast pedalling and again 8 minutes you're basically there. Average cadence, average power, average HR are the things to collect afterwards.

After that he defines 5 zones:

Endurance for basic aerobic development (45-73% of CTS field test power) or (HR 50-91%)
Tempo improved aerobic endurance (80-85%)  or (HR 88-90%)
Steady state for increase power at lactate level (86-90%) or (HR 92-94%)
Climbing repeat for again increase power at lactate level (95-100%) or (HR 95-97%)
Power interval for increased power at VO2max (max effort, min. 101%) or (HR 100-max)

There are a number of programs: Century, Competitor divided by new and experienced. The difference is simple. Competitive is more for races (more maximal training) and Century more submaximal (lactate tolerance). Next to that there is a commuters plan, a cyclocross plan (which he states is the perfect application of the program) and a program for endurance mountainbike races.
In addition there are nutrition tips and about strength training but if you want to have more knowledge on that take an other book(s). In my opinion he could have kept it out of this book.
In all I can say that the book is worth the reading especially for the target group. For people who race a whole season (mainly crit) you can get some relevant info from it but also take into account the limitations (only up to 3hours, quick build up but you loose it quickly). If you want to ride a fast time in a cyclo ride it's also not that usefull I think because end of the day you do need to do some long rides for that. For mountainbike I cannot really judge it because I never do that. If you're looking for a structured slicded and diced training program (i.e. you're not used to make your own plan, or are new to it) it can be of help. I can however imagine that if you're new to training that you have to read some of the chapters twice. If you're more experienced you might get some new workout ideas.
In a while I will be making a new review about the book Racing Weight: How to get lean for peak performance  by Matt Fitzgerald. Let's see if I can get leaner ;)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Return of the dead sheep

Terrible training week. That is, I couldn't do a lot since my throat hurt a lot. Because of that I only felt like I could do something last Friday. I did TR Gray but not at FTP, but at a manageable 240 watt per 20 minute interval. It felt alright. HR was not very high so I got of the bike with a good feeling.
Today I went for a 3 hour ride (3.15h it turned out) and rode 97km. First 55m wind on the front and then 42 from behind. I was just riding along next to a dyke towards a village called Kruiningen and suddenly my eyes fell on 4 little feet sticking up in the air. When I came closer it turned out to be a dead sheep. His friends already left him/her because they were standing 100 meters further away. The thing looked kind of stiff. Probably has been there lying for a while......

Anyway. I had a nice ride. I guesstimate my NP was about 200. O yes. And this time my fat breakfast did work. I ate some yoghurt, 2 baked eggs with cheese and a bottle of whey protein before I went riding. The last hour I got hungry however so I took a banana (I has carbs in it....). The feeling when I got home it one to keep next weeks. Maybe I am still gonna do Tour of Sufferlandria....we'll see.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bad start

Bad start of 2014. I have not been feeling too well last days and today my throat just really hurt. I wanted to do TR Darwin which are 4 10 minute intervals @95-99% FTP. The outcome can be predicted I guess....

When warming up I couldn't breathe properly. It felt like my throat was on fire. So after a minute or so trying to ride at around 300 watts I have it a day and just rode an hour at 200-210 watts so I didn't have to breathe in too deep nor fast and my throat didn't hurt that much. Basically a small fat burning exercise, but there was not much more I could do because of my throat. Hopefully I will soon get better so I can pick up where I left it.......

I also see that my heart rate is doing weird things. That is, the signal or something like that because my heart rate does not crazy (at least that is not what I feel...). Maybe I need a new battery in the strap....