I finally did it! Made it to morning spins. It was cold but sunny so it took a while for my fingers to warm up. Once we got going the cold was no longer a problem. Three quick laps were done and unfortunately they weren’t without incident. I got caught up in a crash just as the first lap started. My front brifter is in bits, the one I replaced last October. I’m not sure what to do now… replace it or just scrap it.
On the basis of my performance in Kinnekulle, I made up a workout last night: Murder Fives.
The goal was to be over threshold by as much as possible, for as long as possible in five minutes. The first one was 400w+ with small rest periods between. The second I set a floor of 90& FTP and did many jumps up to 350w+ as I could, trying never to drop down below 90% on the rests. The 3rd and 4th were an attempt to repeat the first and second.
These hurt but I feel I recovered quite quickly afterwards. Next indoor target is to get my five minute power to 350w… I CAN DO IT!
The 350w challenge.
Race number one of the year – a cold and hilly Kinnekulleloppet.
First race of the year is always shadowed with doubt but this being my first time doing such a hilly race that cloud of doubt was thicker than usual.
* Did I do enough during the winter?
* Can I make it over that hill?
* How cold is 2 Celsius when you are racing hard?
To ease some of the doubts we took a drive around the course upon arrival…
Doubts were replaced my mild panic. my three questions above changed to:
* Why am I here?
* Really! Why am I here?
* Why did I buy a new bike?
The hill looked brutal and the remainder of the course didn’t look too easy either.
Back home we mostly ate, talked a bit and I tried my best to look calm. Had a nice sleep and the alarm clock woke us to a nice welcoming 2 degrees.
Ate breakfast, got dressed and then up to the start area – easy so for, though things were getting real very fast and it was no time before we all stood at the start line… ready for the off.
The start is a great road, no turns to speak of, a lovely fast downhill. Having not been in a group for seven months I was a little tense in my arms – my handling was a bit skittish for a while but before long I was into the grove and enjoying the riding. While constantly rolling, there was really nothing very difficult on the first 26km of the lap; It was great to be riding in a bunch again. I played very little part in the race except for doing some blocking with Robert and Magnus for Martin’s multiple attempts at getting away. About 20km into the lap a strong break seemed to form up the road which Magnus jumped up to – once again Robert and I were up front slowing things down a little trying to allow the break to get a better gap. That was about the entirety of my team involvement… then comes the hill… then it’s pretty much all about survival for me. The first steep kick I felt very good. Had you asked me there and then I would have said I was not much over threshold … happy, comfortable, confident even. Then the next kick up came and I was not feeling so good… I had to dig deep to hold on but managed to do so. The third, final and steepest kick came and I had to do a big surge to stay on … unfortunately that surge was the last of my gunpowder as they started to drift away I had nothing more to give and as a result, by the time I came to the top I was about 20-30m behind the group. I Didn’t panic, worked well with Olof Ivarsson (Upsala CK) and we caught back on before the bottom of the hill.
Lap two was uneventful. The group took it very easy most of the way and I focused on staying at zero watts as often as possible. For me, it was all about saving myself for the second time up the hill.
I wasn’t positioned so well at the start but held the group for the first section – quite easily too. This time I struggled on the second kick and ultimately lost the group just before the end of the second section. I burnt too many matches, spent way too many time above 400w earlier on and had nothing left for the second half of the climb. There gap started to grow and grow as Henrik Karström (Åhus CK) held a steady but firm pace up the remainder of the climb.
Unfortunately, the gap was so big that we didn’t catch the bunch by the time we hit the bottom of the hill…There was Henrik Karström (Åhus CK), Fredrik Nilsson (Oskarshamns CK) with I working well togethe. We swept up quite a few riders along the way, in the end we were a pretty good group:
Fredrik Nilsson – Oskarshamns CK
Olof Ivarsson – Upsala CK
Dante Fjordefalk – #STHLMESS Corelli CK
Robin Niller – Stockholm CK
Karl Börjesson – Ryska Posten SK
Niklas Westlund – CK Wänershof
Calle Johansson – Hjo VK
Mjorten Knutseck – ¤STHLMESS Corelli CK
Per Johansson – Norbergs CK
Henrik Karström – Åhus CK
And me – HRT
After chasing hard we finally could see the group and just as we approached the final climb we were pretty much back on. Then we turned the corner up the hill and BOOM! It all breaks apart again and my matches long since burnt. I dug as deep as I could but this time would be my slowest up the hill and I had almost no kick left in the end.
First race done. I know where I am now and think I know what needs to be done. The season continues.
Last night I went out on the racer to do some FTP intervals. The plan was five times FRA lap with the recovery to be done on the main road between the start and finish. I hoped that I would be able to hold FTP for the duration of each interval – something I’ve been failing at up to now.
It was difficult and I certainly faded but I’m happy with the performance:
Time Dist Kj Pav HR Cad km/h TSS NP W/kg IF
07:04 4.566 119 281 161 89 38.8 12 276 4.45 1.019
06:58 4.550 119 284 165 89 39.2 13 284 4.51 1.047
07:04 4.560 119 281 165 87 38.7 12 277 4.46 1.023
07:07 4.535 118 277 163 83 38.2 12 274 4.40 1.012
07:07 4.534 118 276 163 84 38.2 12 275 4.38 1.016
Next step is 3 x 10:00 at FTP. That’ll have to wait until after Kinnekulleloppet: the first race of the season.
I’ll type up my race plans and predictions later…
I’ve been on the racer five times so far this year
Thursday: Fast spin with the club.
Sunday: Solo – North of Stockholm. 77km. 31,6km/h av.
Tuesday: Pre-Breakfast. 46km. 30,5km/h
Saturday: Solo . North of Stockholm. 77km. 32,6km/h
Monday: Solo. Färingsö. 78km. 32,1km/h
Because of the weather, I’ve also been inside a couple of times too.
But what I’m worried about is my inability to put out the same power on the road as I am in the rollers. On the rollers I can put out 297w for 20 minutes. On the road, so far at least, I get pain when I approach FTP. Yesterday I did an hour at an average of 220W (NP 231W) and it was by no means easy. I was pretty tired afterwards and found it difficult to hold an average of 200w on the way home.
Not time to panic but time to address the problem at least.
I will keep the long rides going but also need to build up ‘outside tolerance’ for FTP and above powers. Start by finding an 8 minute stretch of road close to home and doing hard repeats at FTP and above.
I also need to start addressing my sprint. I’m currently 300w off my best last year.
Pushed the top end tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve done that and race season is soon upon me. Knivsta GP is the first race and tonight was an attempt at that race not being a total shock to the system. Summary of the fine tuning for the next two weeks: FTP push and Vo2 shock sessions when possible. Start race season with a lifetime best FTP and some Vo2 tolerance.
A few ups and downs during the off season, bit It’s clear from above that all metrics are showing an upward trend.
Last week’s FTP test put me at an FTP of 281w – that’s up from last year’s all time best of 263w. Training has not felt very good for a few weeks and I didn’t expect to get such an improvement… now that I have that , I see a new possibility for a goal… A pure numbers goal but nonetheless a target: 5w/kg for a 20 minute test.
There’ll be two parts to hitting that goal. Firstly, I’m going to have to drop a kg and get to 62kg. Then I need to do a 20 minute effort of 306w. Well within the realms of possibility.