2010 Cima Coppi Tour – First Look @ My Conditioning

With the 2010 Cima Coppi Tour approaching in July I’ve been reflecting back on my conditioning during the 2009 tour and, I’ve decided it’s time to get in shape. In 2009, the Cima Coppi Tour was planned in a much shorter time-frame, and happened earlier in the season – in May – so training was a rush. (Read the archives starting here.) This year, I hope to amend that and build a much greater base foundation as I have an additional two and a half months to work with.

Here is where I am at: I’m a regular Joe, not a pro, and I don’t race or do sustained training. I also, like last year, don’t ride much at all. I work at home and I don’t own a car, so when I do go somewhere, I go by bike. Since January I have been riding my fixed gear about 50-75km a week and at medium intensity. I should say, I have been car-free and riding for about 10 years, play hockey, and usually am able to sustain a base level quite well. I’ve also done a couple of sub-100km rides at higher intensity this winter.

Recently, I was also given the opportunity to participate in a WADA funded trial of the effects of Salbutamol. Salbutamol, is a short-acting adrenergic receptor agonist used to treat asthma. It was a banned substance by WADA and you needed a doctor’s note to use it. There were some ideas of it’s prolonged use being a performance enhancer. So, in order to participate I did a cycling test at the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific under the supervision of their physiotherapist.

The test was an all-out power output pre-screen and I needed to sustain an average 270 watts for about 30 minutes. To put that in km/h terms, it’s approximately a 41km/h rate. Now, I knew this would be difficult considering my being at a base level, and I was forewarned that these tests favor bigger riders with more power, but here are the results…if I remember the numbers correct:

First, I couldn’t do it and I thought I could. I certainly didn’t want to waste anyone’s time and/or suffer on a lab bike, staring at the floor and animated computer rider, for nothing. My power output did not allow me to qualify for the test, which was a disappointment, because I had hoped to get more tests and a little stipend, but alas, no. It probably was a little too ambitious to attempt this in the middle of winter, when I’m not riding, but that was when it was offered to me.

I did a 16km time trial broken into 4 laps. (~26min.)
Lap 1 – 287W
Lap 2 – 268W
Lap 3 – 255W
Lap 4 – 250W

So my average was about 265W, and a mathematically calculated ~ 37km/h. I was told that the machine is slightly harder than a regular bike so the real speed on a totally flat course would be slightly higher. I had imagined, and hoped, that I could have sustained 40-42km/h for 30 minutes.

The good news for me was that I weighed in at 66.1kg (145.73lbs) and a height of 181.0cm (5′ 11.26″). I’m getting shorter, but at least not fatter. My normal riding weight, when in Europe touring, is usually around 63.5kg (140lbs).

I’m happy to see my Watts/kg (265/66.1) is hovering around 4.0W/kg as a base to start the year with. This was a number that I had hoped for, but thought I was going to be fatter and a little more powerful, but no. Likely, given another test, a longer period of time, and a bit more time to get accustomed to the process and the machine I would be more certain of this number. For the sake of argument I’ll assume I’m somewhere around 3.9W/kg or an average of 257W. If I can build some more power, get my conditioning back, and lose those extra 3kg, it may be possible for me to get up around 4.5W/kg (283W/63kg). Still a long shot away from the ‘magic’ 6.8 the pros aim for.

I’ll be posting information on my training for the tour and hopefully I can get into a lab again and test for improvement. Stay tuned!

If you want to read more about Power to Weight ratio (PWR) check here


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