Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adventures with power meters

On Thursday the weather turned cooler and I decided to ride my rollers instead. Now that I have taken the official training with power class, I decided it was a good time to start doing things by the book. Not that it is that much different from what I have been doing -mainly the terminology is-, but now at least I can talk the talk and walk the walk.

The goal was to establish my Functional Threshold Power or FTP. FTP is the power a person can put out for an extended period of time. There are several ways to determine FTP but a 20 minute test is one of the more practical and attractive ways to do so. I decided to try to do "a 2X20" interval set, which would not only give me my FTP but also tell me how fit I am.

My 2X20 did not work out as expected. The first interval was fine, but I had to abandon the second one after 10 minutes. Still I was able to read out an FTP of 305W.  Yesterday I took the day off and today the weather is even worse so I decided I would ride my rollers again. Why not try a 2X20 again?

Today I rode a 2X20 at 315W without any problem. It wasn't easy -and it shouldn't be- but I was able to do it. My FTP score today is 320W, which much better and more in line with my expectations of where I am at. In case you wonder about this sudden surge in power, here are three reasons why this result is not an outlier.

The first is that I was better rested. That is also why I was able to complete the set.  The second is that the garage -where my setup is- was a whole lot cooler today than on Thursday. That certainly matters and I could tell from the absence of a puddle on the floor that the temperature made a significant difference compared to Thursday. The third reason is that I sat up a whole lot more today and I do have more power in a more upright position compared to a deep aero.

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