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Old 01-20-07, 09:03 PM   #1
bdcheung
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Training with Power

Aight, got the Powetap all installed and working properly. I suppose first things first: I need to figure out my FTP right? How do I go about doing that?

Also, I purchased and downloaded CyclingPeaks, and while the graphs are super pretty and snazzy, I have no idea what to make of the data.

Help a dazed and confused first-time-training-with-power-rider out!
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Old 01-20-07, 09:13 PM   #2
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FTP is your one hour power. Simplest method to find it would be to go balls to the wall for an hour. There is also a formula you can use to derive your FTP from your 20 or 30 minute power, but someone else will have to chime in with it. It's something like .94 I think, but don't quote me.

If you haven't already, you should get a copy of Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan's "Training and Racing with a Powermeter." Essential reading.

I'm in the same boat as you. I just took the plunge into training with power. Though for me, I'll be using an Ergomo Pro. At first I was hesitant, as it seems the least chosen option, but it seems like most of the kinks have been worked out.
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Old 01-20-07, 09:49 PM   #3
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There are a number of ways to do this. I will discuss several options, but I am sure others will chime in with more exacting info. Pretty much everything is assumed to be done after a decent warm up.

First, if you know what your LT heart rate was, ride steadily at or near this value and boom LT power is in front of you. If you know your tempo HR (usually about 10BPM below LTHR, you can estimate by upping the power number by 10%.

If you don't know anything about your heart rate, then you can do some fun tests. Try a 30 minute TT (no stop signs or extended downhills) and take the last 20 minutes of that. The average power over that last twenty will approximate your LT.

You can try a progressive submax test. After warm up start out at what you feel to be about 50 or 60% of your max wattage. It should feel easy. Then, every two minutes ride a little harder increasing the wattage about 20 watts every two minutes. This is easiest on a trainer. When you focus on your breathing, there will be a point that you start to breathe heavily. This is your ventilatory threshold. It often corresponds to your Lactate threshold. If you continued with the test, you would likely only be able to go 2 to 4 minutes after this.

Another option. Ride lots. After getting a fair amount of power data, most of it will lie below your LT threshold. Where you see a huge drop off in amount of time at a certain power, you have a good approximation.

If you get a lot of power data you can also approximate with a 20 minute normalized power. It is very close actually.

IF you can't do any of these, take your best guess to start. Find one of the power charts that equate W/kg to a "Cat" level. If you raced cat 5, finished decently, then try plugging in one of those numbers. You will quickly determine if it is too easy or too hard and can tweak it over the course of a few weeks.

Remember that your LT will change over the season as fitness progresses. It is not a fixed number, so plan on changing it and your training zones often. Good luck.
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Old 01-20-07, 09:50 PM   #4
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Local Barnes and Noble didn't have the book, I'll hit up the Borders tomorrow.

Thanks for the great post, DrWJ. I'll do 30 minutes at max effort tomorrow on the trainer and see what I come up with. I plan on re-testing my FTP every 4-6 weeks over the course of the season and, once I get that damned book, I'll read it cover to cover!
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Old 01-21-07, 01:11 AM   #5
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You'll probably be very lucky to find the book in your LB(ook)S. Probably an Amazon.com buy.

You can also get a good estimate of your FTP by doing a MAP test and using a value of about 75% your MAP. FTP is essential in the Coggan system for determining TSS values and applying them later to your Performance Management Chart. Check out Ric Stern's web site for more on MAP testing (cyclecoach.com) - note that an indoor trainer is required for MAP testing.

I'd recommend just going out and riding for a couple weeks just like you have been before doing any functional testing. It's important to get a feel for what different wattages "feel" like to you. Regardless of what method you use to test your FTP, you'll need to have a pacing strategy for the test. It will be hard to know how much harder/easier to go for the duration of a test if you aren't familiar with the PE of the wattage numbers.

It's hard not to fight the "what can I do" phase once you get the power meter, but any test of your functional threshold or max aerobic power needs to be planned for if you want the best results - which means a good taper week, building up to it just like you would a race day.
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Old 01-21-07, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdcheung
Local Barnes and Noble didn't have the book, I'll hit up the Borders tomorrow.

Thanks for the great post, DrWJ. I'll do 30 minutes at max effort tomorrow on the trainer and see what I come up with. I plan on re-testing my FTP every 4-6 weeks over the course of the season and, once I get that damned book, I'll read it cover to cover!
Yep, do that! I just want to agree with everything written here so far. I found the book very helpful [and interesting]. There's quite a lot to know.

-Bullseye
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Old 01-21-07, 05:00 PM   #7
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While you're waiting for your book, this might be fun to read:

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/pdf/power_v1.pdf

Very basic, but interesting...
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Old 01-21-07, 05:06 PM   #8
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Try here, also:

https://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/

...and from the ERGOMO website:

http://www.bicyclepowermeters.com/Er...ng_English.pdf which was written by Coggan and Allen.

Topica has a "Wattage" email discussion forum that is currently an archive. It has lots of info there, but if you want to join the current Wattage group that moved from Topica, you can sign up for it in Google. Coggan reads/posts there regularly.

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Old 01-21-07, 05:10 PM   #9
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As an FYI, the terms FTP and LT are not interchangeable. Your FTP wattage will almost always be higher than your LT wattage.

FTP is defined as your highest average power for one hour. Going balls out for one hour is quite uncomfortable, however, so many people will take 0.95 of their best 20 minute power. The key is not the raw number so much as your progress during the season.

--Steve
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Old 01-21-07, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdcheung
Local Barnes and Noble didn't have the book, I'll hit up the Borders tomorrow.
Borders does carry the book, at least in NYC (they seem to carry the entire VeloPress catalog, actually, even fairly obscure things). DC is probably similar.
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Old 01-21-07, 05:49 PM   #11
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Wow, this is really intense... I'm digging through the Power411 article and am learning about data I never even considered!

One question though: After I download the data from the Powertap, should I hold down both buttons and "clear" it?
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Old 01-21-07, 06:51 PM   #12
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One question though: After I download the data from the Powertap, should I hold down both buttons and "clear" it?
Yes.
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Old 01-21-07, 06:53 PM   #13
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kk. Holy Jesus, I can't wait to start getting some serious data from this thing!
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Old 01-21-07, 07:53 PM   #14
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Does it tell you that it's snowing outside?
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Old 01-21-07, 08:31 PM   #15
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Yeah, because the display stops working. My University team went out for a long ride Saturday and by the time we reached the end of MacArthur, none of us could talk b/c our faces were frozen.

Then, later, I was pulling up to a stop sign and got rear-ended by one of my TEAMMATES. Her front wheel rammed into my RD, totally ****ing up the rear hanger and RD, making my bike unrideable. Flagged down a passing car, got back to the shop that sponsors us, and got everything fixed. Her entire front wheel had to get replaced.

Moral of the story: PAY ATTENTION!
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Old 01-21-07, 08:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdcheung
Yeah, because the display stops working. My University team went out for a long ride Saturday and by the time we reached the end of MacArthur, none of us could talk b/c our faces were frozen.

Then, later, I was pulling up to a stop sign and got rear-ended by one of my TEAMMATES. Her front wheel rammed into my RD, totally ****ing up the rear hanger and RD, making my bike unrideable. Flagged down a passing car, got back to the shop that sponsors us, and got everything fixed. Her entire front wheel had to get replaced.

Moral of the story: PAY ATTENTION!
Dude, that sucks.

The Route 1 TT got rained out last week, so it went on today. Bummer was that I was out of town, and when I got home the snow started. Ugh. I decided to do the CTS Time Trial DVD instead... good workout.

There's a Felt dealer in my neck of the woods that might have your RD hanger in stock if you can't find one. I can check for you if you need me to.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:08 PM   #17
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We got the whole bike fixed an hour after the crash... benefit of being sponsored by a shop but thanks! We need to get out and ride some time when the weather improves, it's been a while
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Old 01-21-07, 09:12 PM   #18
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We got the whole bike fixed an hour after the crash... benefit of being sponsored by a shop but thanks! We need to get out and ride some time when the weather improves, it's been a while
We'll have some Route 1 guys out at the 8:30 Bicycle Place ride (come prepared to suffer a bit) on Sunday... we use it as a chance to work on some team strategy, etc... I'm usually doing longer base rides (zone 2-3 type stuff) on Saturdays, so drop me a line.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdcheung
Yeah, because the display stops working. My University team went out for a long ride Saturday and by the time we reached the end of MacArthur, none of us could talk b/c our faces were frozen.

Then, later, I was pulling up to a stop sign and got rear-ended by one of my TEAMMATES. Her front wheel rammed into my RD, totally ****ing up the rear hanger and RD, making my bike unrideable. Flagged down a passing car, got back to the shop that sponsors us, and got everything fixed. Her entire front wheel had to get replaced.

Moral of the story: PAY ATTENTION!
well if it makes you feel any better, this GW girl fell over in front of me as we were starting out from a stop in the JHU race last year. I ran my front wheel into her ribcage and managed not to fall by unclipping my foot and stepping down on her back wheel. I wonder if it was the same girl, all I remember was that she was asian.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdcheung
Yeah, because the display stops working. My University team went out for a long ride Saturday and by the time we reached the end of MacArthur, none of us could talk b/c our faces were frozen.

Then, later, I was pulling up to a stop sign and got rear-ended by one of my TEAMMATES. Her front wheel rammed into my RD, totally ****ing up the rear hanger and RD, making my bike unrideable. Flagged down a passing car, got back to the shop that sponsors us, and got everything fixed. Her entire front wheel had to get replaced.

Moral of the story: PAY ATTENTION!
Was she at least hot? Because that would, ya know, at least make it a little bit easier to handle.
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Old 01-22-07, 08:59 AM   #21
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She's cute. and Phat, I know exactly who you're talking about. i'll have to use that story as blackmail.
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Old 01-22-07, 09:25 AM   #22
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A slightly less painful way to determine your FTP is 2, 3 mile TT's with 10 minutes rest in between. Take 92% of your average power and thats your FTP.

Also after you've entered a number of rides in cycling peaks, Look at your power distribution, the point at whch it drops of significantly is a pretty good approximation of your FTP.
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Old 01-22-07, 09:36 AM   #23
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merlin: just to make sure I'm understanding correctly, you said 2x3mi TT with a 10min rest inbetween?
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Old 01-22-07, 09:53 AM   #24
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^^^^^

Yes. That's the CTS Formula. Idea is that most folks can do about 110% of their 1 hour power for 7-8 minutes.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:12 AM   #25
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This is the protocol from the ERGOMO PDF file that I posted a link to earlier, How to Train and Race with a Power Meter Guide - Understanding Cycling's latest tool



By Hunter Allen




and Dr. Andrew R. Coggan PhD



Excepted from the book, How to Train and Race with a Power Meter, published
by Velo Press 2006. Available on www.velogear.com in January 2006

Quote:
The Threshold Test: The purpose of this initial test is that you average the highest
watts that you can for that entire time period. When you get to the effort, make sure to
pace yourself so that you do not ‘blow up’ prematurely. Start out with a 20 minute warmup,
which is just riding along at a moderate pace, about 65% of your max heart rate(HR)
or what would be called your endurance pace. Again, be sure to do the same warm-up
and intensity in your warm-up each time you do the test. Then do (3) fast pedaling efforts
at 100rpm for one minute each with one minute of easy recovery pedaling between
each, in order to further prepare the muscles for the effort. After these, then ride easy for
5 minutes easy at 65% of Max HR. Then the true test begins:

5 minutes all out. Punch it and hold it! Make sure that you start at a high pace,
but not soo high that you die at the end. You should have a little in reserve to kick
it to the finish line in the last minute.The goal of this first one is two-fold, one to
‘open’ up the legs for the next efforts and two, to get a glimpse at your ability to
produce watts in what is called Vo2 Max power or level 5, which we’ll discuss a
bit later in this chapter. By doing this initial 5 minute effort, it helps to get rid of
your initial ‘freshness’ at the beginning of your ride and then when you do your
next effort, you are able to produce what is more likely to be truly representative
of your FTP.

Then 10 minutes easy at endurance pace-65% of Max HR.

Then do a 20 minute time trial. Try to do this on a road that is fairly flat and
allows you to put out a strong steady effort for the entire 20 minutes. Do not start
out too hard! That’s a common mistake, so make sure that you get up to speed
and then try to hold that speed as best you can. If you have never done one of
these efforts before, I would suggest trying this on a steady climb or into a slight
headwind, where you are forced to do it at a maximum effort for the entire 20
minutes.

Pedal easy for about 10-15minutes at your endurance pace or 65% of Max
HR.

Finish the Ride and cool down for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Again to reiterate, your goal in the 20 minute test is to produce the most average watts
over the entire 20 minute period. It's not a good test, if you go out too hard and then just
explode and then not be able to produce a your true ‘maximal steady state’ power. It is
always better to start out in the first 2 minutes a little under what you believe to be your
FTP and then build up along the way and then really be riding at your maximum in the
last 3 minutes.

Once this test is over and you have downloaded the data, you will need to figure out
what your average power was for the entire 20 minute effort. Then you will take this
number and subtract 5% from it, and the resultant number will be your functional
threshold wattage value(hold onto this number as we will come back to it later in this
chapter). So, for example, if you average 300watts for the 20 minute time trial, then
300x .05= 15, and 300-15=285watts which is your functional threshold power(FTP).
The reason that we are subtracting 5% of the watts from your 20 minute test is that FTP
is defined as the highest average wattage or power that you can maintain for 60
minutes. Because most athletes have a hard time focusing for 60minutes on a maximal
effort and those that can, learn very quickly that a 60 minutes time trial is not that much
fun, we have decided that testing at 20 minutes is more realistic in terms of getting
athletes to do more regular and higher quality tests. Since 20 minutes is a shorter time
period, it incorporates more of what is called the anaerobic capacity system and this
‘skews’ the wattage data about 5% higher than what you will probably be able to do for
60 minutes.

Since one goal of any training program is to increase power at threshold(FTP), how
often threshold power will change significantly will depend in part on an individual's
training history and habits - for example, someone who is just beginning in and/or
returning to cycling may see large and rapid changes in their threshold power, whereas
an experienced rider who has been training for many years and/or an athlete who
maintains a high level of conditioning year round will probably experience much less
variation. In general, however, assessing functional threshold power at least 4 times per
year (e.g., near the start of training as a baseline, partway through the pre-competition
period to track improvement, and during the season to determine peak fitness achieved,
and finally after your peak fitness is over to determine how far you have ‘fallen’) is
probably sufficient.
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