Week #2 of my Performance Cycle class and I introduced the concept of using your stage average watts as a “riding buddy” today + had a nice email when I got home.
Thank you so much for the great class this morning. I took a picture of my results when I was finished. My avg watts was 148, not 212. I have no clue where I got that number. 😉
I also took your advice and upgraded my membership, so if it's ok with you, I would like to take advantage of the class next Sunday as well. Do I need to come early to be tested or will this take place during your class?
My goal is to get strong and gain endurance. I have an Ironman in 2014 that I would love to CRUSH! 😉
Thanks again for the great morning!!
Tina (Smiley, Orange Shoes girl)
This gal is an animal – the 212 watts she refers to was her average for both of the 10 climbs we did, with only a minute of recovery in between them. Here's the picture she took.
Now to the Riding Buddy
Pictured on the right is a Garmin 810 cycling computer. Beyond measuring and displaying all the typical stuff; RPM, MPH, Distance, Time elapse, etc… these computers allow you to race against a Virtual Partner, which is yourself previously riding over a known course. Racing against yourself is a fascinating concept which allows you to compare today vs last week or last year. Are you getting stronger/faster/fitter? Yes? No?
After all, it's just you, who you're really racing against.
I use the stage average timer in class as a sort of Riding Buddy, comparing a specific intervals against earlier efforts. Asking; are you keeping up? Yes? No?
Today's class followed Spinervals Competition 41.0 – Ascending Mountains in Leadville, CO
Class length 75 minutes + Cool Down
Spotify Playlist 12-29 Performance Cycle class
Warm Up – 10 minutes. 5 minutes of gradual increases in wattage. During the second 5 mins. we’re finding the wattage where everyone is first noticing a change in breathing; VT1 / Aerobic Threshold = the top of the Recover Zone shown above. This establishes a rough understanding of a base wattage that we use throughout the rest of class.
3 x 30 sec. Hard / 30 sec. Easy – Openers to AT/LT. I cue these by first having everyone find the amount of load @ 70 RPM that has them feeling they should (not just could) come out of the saddle. The 30 sec. Hard is then simply accelerating to 90+ RPM which results in some pretty impressive power numbers. The 30 sec. Easy is back to 70 RPM – many will stand during the Easy portion.
3 minutes rest – I encourage riders to focus on their recovery. Once they feel calm in their breathing, bring back the Base level work wattage.
5 min. Short Hill – Here's were we do our 5 min. “Best Effort” to establish a benchmark PTP Personal Threshold Power (top of the Perform Zone) or ride at 110% of FTP if known. It’s very helpful to riders to have that understanding of their personal upper wattage number. The “Best Effort” Threshold # + the Base Threshold # we found earlier form the three Power working zones I use in class.
– 1 min. build at preferred cadence (suggested as 85-95 rpm) – press the Stage Button to reset the averages.
– 5 min. “Best Effort” This should hurt, but be do-able. I ask everyone to observe their average at the end and then…
2 minutes rest
3 x 5 min. Medium Hill @ 1 min Rest – Now that everyone knows how hard they can go for 5 minutes, we worked at ~90% of PTP on each of the three, five minute climbs. The recoveries and transitions back to climbing are simplified by leaving resistance where it is and do what I call Walking. Have everyone stand and pedal slowly “walk” for a minute. Load should be too high for seated soft-pedaling. Then accelerating up to preferred cadence brings everyone back to ~90% of PTP.
3 minutes rest
2 x 10 min. Long Hill @ 2.5 min. Rest – the songs I used were a little short so I had everyone up to RPM/Watts before starting the songs and hitting the Stage button to establish averages. I prefaced the first climb with; “As Endurance Athletes, you recognize that you get stronger as the class goes on.” Here's where I got a few smiles and hoots… “so my expectation is that you can all climb this at your PTP (5 min. Best Effort wattage)” and we did 🙂 The Spinervals profile calls for near constant changes in gears and cadence, which is easy to do on a bicycle… not so easy on an Indoor Cycle. So instead we made 3-4 changes in load/RPM + alternated in & out of the saddle.
Here's where I was cuing everyone to focus on their Riding Buddy. No matter the change, it is imperative that you keep your instantaneous watts at or above the average, so you keep up with your Riding Buddy.
5 minutes at Base wattage @ 90RPM – which becomes a recovery > step down in intensity while we stay aerobic.
I'm very excited to be able to teach these Performance Cycle classes – they fit me and my personality perfectly and we have an excellent group of athletes to ride with.
Next Sunday 1/5 is the official kickoff of the winter training program > FTP assessment day. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to ride with us.
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.