Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hard But Good Commute Today

My commute is just 25.7 kms of rolling terrain between Capitol Hill & Redmond. On fast days I can cover it in about an hour, like today for instance:

Entire workout (215 watts):
Duration: 1:01:55
Work: 814 kJ
TSS: 91.4 (intensity factor 0.941) (IF=1.0 is the equivalent of a 1 hour time trial at your threshold)
Norm Power: 268
VI: 1.22
Distance: 25.492 km
Elevation Gain: 557 m
Elevation Loss: 553 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 992 219 watts
Cadence: 15 142 75 rpm
Speed: 0 72.9 26.3 kph
Altitude: 2 118 51 m
Crank Torque: 0 201.6 28.7 N-m

Interestingly, I did this commute faster yesterday (e.g. higher avg speed, less overall time) but with a lower average power. Just goes to show that average speed alone isn't the best indicator of a workout, even for the same ride. (The main difference between these two rides were timing of stoplights, rather, getting a lot of reds today)

Today I just tried to concentrate on keeping my power output near my threshold of 285 watts. The thing is, it's really easy to attack a climb at 400-500w (well, not easy, but doable anyway), but then I'm cooked on the downhill and can barely put out 100w.

But by pacing like this, I was able to hold 250+ watts on some of the downhills, which I normally can't/dont' do. (And for what it's worth, it's generally more challenging to hold your threshold power on downhills)

Here's the power distribution from the commute, with a few notes:

It's hard to gauge your FTP (Functional Threshold Power, the theorhetical amount of power you can sustain for one hour) doing mostly solo rides or the big endurance rides us randos do. Which is why it takes a hard ride like this to get a better idea of where your FTP is.

And here's the graph of the overall ride (yellow=power, orange=elevation):

When I get some time I'd like to post an analysis of the 300k from a few weeks ago. In a way, this power data is kind of a like a flight data recorder. Data is just plain fun, what can I say?

PS: for the power junkies out there, I know you're missing one piece of info you probably want in order to calculate my w/kg. That would be my weight, which is as of this week 68.4 kg (~151 lbs). That's down from 160 lbs a few months ago!


George said...

Mattm- You have some good numbers! We weigh the same and I know how hard it is for me to maintain them. Your normalized power (268w) was almost 4 w/kg on your commute? 25km is about 15 miles but still that's some serious commuting power output for a Rando LOL!

Anonymous said...

The only data I have is that I weigh 1.65 times what you do.


matt m said...

George: Thanks man! The last few months of using the powertap (moreso, the semi-structured training I've been doing with it) have paid off somewhat.

The biggest change in my "training" has been to add actual hard rides of a shorter length. (I used to just do 50 miles at a medium pace all the time; now it's ~25 or less as hard as I can go, more or less).

Btw that was my highest one-hour NP so far! And I'm thinking if I throw in about 50 other cyclists around me to compete with, I can probably push it up even further.(plus I wouldn't have an Ortleib backpack on!)

Clifton: I can't think of a witty reply... so I guess you're (at least) 1.65 times funnier than me too! =]

Mark Vande Kamp said...

Hi Matt -- I'm the guy who was on the Goodrich on the 300k a couple weeks ago. I know that you're posting stuff about training (that may not apply in other situations), but it's important to note that equal power output up and down the hills is not the fastest way to cover ground. Power applied when going slow (i.e., uphill) has a much greater effect on elapsed time than power applied when going fast. I bet you already know this, but I thought I'd throw it in for the record. On the other hand, big forays into anaerobia on the climbs can spend all your fun tickets in a hurry. Finding the right balance is part of the fun in riding.

matt m said...

Hi Mark,

Yes I remember riding with you guys - that is until the pace was too much for me and I had to bow out of your fast group! Congrats on your sub-12 hour 300k finish time, that's impressive. (Granted, I think all brevet finishes are impressive, but some more than others)

You are correct about the downhill power being inefficient, and I've also read that in Jan's Bicycle Quarterly magazine.

In this case I was going for a higher overall average wattage (and in turn a harder workout), hence trying to keep the power on the downhills.

But in terms of efficiency, yeah it's not a good approach! On brevets I definitely ride differently.

See you on the road!

George said...

Mattm- this is an interesting discussion. Here is how little pea brain works. I know I'm having a good day on the bike when I've had good numbers on the roller/climb AND I can power over the top, walk down the cassette, get that big ring and power down the other side on 6% grades or less. So whether its efficient or not is not important to me. What is important is pyschologically I feel good and I have destroyed the morale of the guy who was sucking my wheel up the climb hoping I'd back off the power when I crested. Instead I stay on the power and gap him even more. Additionally, I am a very skilled and fearless descender so I continue to gap him. Boo-ya!

Robert H said...


drbianchi said...

Hey Matt. First off good luck on the Fleche. I'm in for next year. So, here's my take on your numbers. I know CAT 3's that don't time trail with those numbers. That some impressive totals for 25km. I'll be talking to my team manager about getting you out to some races.