Better late than never they say. It certainly applies to this season's Performance Cycle classes - now we're in full swing after some initial confusion that came from a sudden change on GFDH's.

We kicked off this past Sunday with an assessment to find the wattage numbers we will be using going forward. I like to use very simple terminology that minimises any mathematical computations.

The week before I described how we experimented with pinning down two numbers;

... Instead I base my Life Time Performance Cycle classes on two numbers; PTP (Personal Threshold Power) and JRAP (Just Riding Along Power — AKA > Base Watts > VT1 / First Ventilatory Threshold Power). From these two rider identified threshold wattages, we can construct three meaningful power Zones;

  1. Recover zone — watts below JRAP 
  2. Perform zone — watts between JRAP and PTP
  3. Improve zone — watts above PTP

Today we added one more wattage number - their 20 minute FTP watts. As you can guess, riders should have a lower 20 min average than a 3-4 minute PTP / Best Effort and be above JRAP / Base Watts.

Wait John, you just said you only use the two thresholds in class.

What's the point of adding a third number?

Adding the third point of reference helps you draw a straighter line. At least that's what my high school drafting teacher taught me. It's much easier to draw between two distant points, if you add one in the middle = it helps you understand if you're on the right path between the two known points!

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The process of sustaining a 20 minute effort is helpful to many riders - it validates and reinforces the two threshold numbers and confirms that people are understanding my cuing.

Before/during and after these twenty minute efforts I tell everyone; this effort should fall between the two thresholds. Which you would think I shouldn't even have to mention... until you hear the confusion I heard after the effort was completed:

  • I really surprised myself - my 20 min watts was the same as my 3 minute level!
  • There must be something wrong with me - I couldn't sustain my base watts for the whole ride 🙁 

Teachable moments here

In the first example; my 20 min watts was the same as my 3 minute level! I was able to ask him; "what does that say about your 3 minute effort?" He understood before I completed my sentence; "I'm not working hard enough!" 

The women who told me I couldn't sustain my base watts for the whole ride also had a revelation and asked me; "Do you think I'm working too hard at my base level?"  I didn't even need to answer her.

Do you now see the value of adding that third number?

A continuous state of observation

I asked my class on Sunday; how many of you are on a specific training plan? None. Not a single hand went up. This is very typical for my very diverse group of middle age men and women. Yes most ride outside - but their objectives aren't structured beyond not rolling over and hitting the snooze button. They come to my Performance Cycle class to get a nice combination of intensity and endurance work, in a fun group.

My object in this class is that everyone learn from observing their performance, make adjustments and observe again. Over time they learn exactly where they need be. When it's time to work hard - they WORK HARD and when they should work easy - it really is easy.

Make sense?

Here's my playlist -

I'll get the rest of the profile up later in the week if you want to try this in your class.


Originally posted 2018-01-13 09:00:43.


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