Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Using A Power Meter: Power Curve.

In my effort to combat the effects of arthritis I had managed to overcome the knee pain hurdle by slowly increasing my cycling distance and intensity. I also had a cortisone injection !

Having made some good gains cycling outdoors I could see myself losing this initial fitness during the winter so bought a turbo trainer and joined Trainer Road. Full details of this are HERE.

The decision to buy a power meter was made easier with the introduction of the Stages Power Meter, why ? Price. I did consider the Powertap G3 hub, but the hassle of having to get it built into my wheel put me off, it would have meant a week of missed training with me driving to our NOT LOCAL bike shop.

So now I've used power for training, what next.

The other thing Trainer Road does with my data is that it builds up a power curve. It uses the power I am able to produce over given time periods.

It builds a graph with this data. All the above data has been gathered during my training sessions which have been Sweetspot Intermediate Base 1. I won't show you the program, you'll have to join Trainer Road.

I also use Strava, and the premium version will also build a power curve for you. I upload my Trainer Road workouts to Strava but I can also include my outdoor rides.

Today I went out and did a 30 second all out sprint, and then a 5 minute paced effort, they were both on uphill Strava segments.


You can see three of my attempts on this segment. Position 3 and 2 were last year when I had started building my strength outdoors. In October I beat my September result by pushing the lap button and trying to beat my previous speed.
I achieved my fastest time yesterday by pushing the lap button and simply looking at the Watts I was producing. Time and speed were not an issue, I knew it would be 5 or so minutes and what wattage I hoped to produce.

Overall on the segment this gave me a pretty good result.

I did well, segment wise and I also gleaned valuable power information. I actually paced the 5 minute effort, based on recent efforts so that I didn't blow up halfway into the 5 minutes.

I now know that I should be able to maintain 267 watts over 5 minutes.

The Strava curve also gives you Watts/Kg.

Now for comparison. My 4 w/Kg would make me CAT4. The pro riders are pushing out 6-7 w/Kg !

So to stand a chance I would have to increase my 5 minute power from 267 watts to 462 watts !!

After my training is done I'm going to be doing an FTP test, more about that later.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Do I Eat ?

I got back into cycling at the end of last year. Read the full story about my arthritis HERE and the motivational tools and training aids HERE

There is still a missing parameter in the fitness and health equation, my diet.

The word diet has all sorts of connotations and people have tried to get around this by saying, this is not a diet is a lifestyle ! Well, this is just the stuff I eat after a lot of research, several attempts at similar eating regimes and a little give and take I arrived at this.

It is to a large extent Low Carb High Fat. Yes, I'm a cyclist and I'm saying LCHF ! Also see bottom of page for info.

That may sound crazy, Carbs are your easy fuel, to cycle you need to eat as much as possible right ? Well not really. Take a look at what I have eaten over the past few days. Now I don't usually track my food all the time, However I was away from home last week and ate the food in the Hotel so I'm just checking I'm back on track again.

Normal day with no planned workout would be something like this:

The food tracker is Fatsecret and I have set a RDI of 2200 calories. You can see the small amount of carbs consumed and fat eaten in it's place. What about the Protein I hear you ask ?

Well a recent article in Cycling Fitness by an Olympic Nutritionist suggests that over 35 years of age should consume 2g of Protein per Kg of body weight. (Dr Sharon Madigan )
At 66kg - 67 Kg that's 132g. Having eaten that regularly over the last few months I'm pretty sure that most over 35's are NOT getting enough !
Anyway, onto a workout day. This was a 60 minute turbo session workout around the Sweetspot, see my Trainer Road blog.

Aye the good old Weetabix for breakfast, two hours before the training session, also there's the PhD ISO 7 drink post workout. I never even managed to get near the set RDI. I'm actually just eating to hunger, as I said I don't usually even track what I eat. Last Fridays 2225 calories may have been related to the fact that I ate quite a lot of carbs at the Hotel the day before. I have discovered that when you eat carbs it actually makes you hungrier throughout the day and the next day !

Tuesday and we are having a day off again. Few carbs and lots of lovely fat.

So what's eating all that fat done to my body and my fitness ? Well I have beaten all my Strava segment times from the past few years so I'm a lot fitter and have MORE muscle mass.

My cycling performance has increased. Here are my results for a local hill climb.

I had been back cycling since August and only started my exercise and diet program at the end of October. I thought my September time was fast and that I would not easily beat it !

As for my weight and body fat, well here is the graph. I was 71Kg in October 2013 and 22.1% body fat.

Today I'm 66.4Kg and 18.4% body fat, the main thing is I feel great aswell ! Another great benefit is NO heartburn/indigestion. Over a year ago I was taking Ibuprofen and Paracetemol for my knee pain. I stopped because of an upset stomach but the indigestion continued all year until I started my new way of eating !

When I first started doing this along with cycling I had a lot more carbs before, during and after excercise. I have been cutting this back recently with no negative effects. As I continue to experiment I will take food or a gel out with me just in case I need it :)

I would just like to say a big thanks to Andreas Eenfeldt   
It's nice to see some sense in a sea of diet confusion and stupidity !

If you want an excellent example of a self inflicted scientific study with proper control and all the data ( even more than me ) have a look at this. Peter Attia, experiment.

Another cycling and triathlon specific story can be found here Bob Seebohar

Get fit and lose weight, there's no excuse. LCHF !

Monday, March 03, 2014

Stages Power Problems Timeline.

This is a more concise version of events for those who don't want all the data, tests and pictures.

Full Report Here.

 8th February. Used for indoor turbo trainer sessions. First battery lasted 7 hours. Replacement battery lasted around 5.5 hours.

With the third battery I did tests to make sure the ANT+ and Bluetooth were 'going to sleep' when the unit was not in use and concluded that they were, so something else is draining the battery.

 22nd February. Meanwhile I had contacted stages Technical on  and later posted a link to my blog report on their facebook page.

 25th Feb. Stages' Evan Gaspar replies after reading my blog and says he will send out a new unit.

6th March Email from Saddleback saying my new Power Meter has been sent out.

11 March New Power Meter arrives, fitted in minutes. I will leave the battery in. Have an indoor session tomorrow and an outdoor on the 13th.

18 March After a week and several rides and workouts I used the Stages App to check the device and the battery was still showing full :) Happy days.