Tuesday, May 24, 2016

True Grit and Power - the Ascent of Everest

My last post described how I had acquired some new toys, chief amongst which was a PowerTap which enabled me to have a stream of new numbers but unfortunately did not guarantee any performance improvement.

Now for those who are interested in such things there is a quantity called FTP, Functional Threshold Power, which is the maximum power level the cyclist can maintain for 60 minutes and is operating at the point of complete exhaustion.

THe data which I have been collecting gave me an FTP of 146 watts, but that was when I was hurrying to the cake shop before it closed.  More serious (? ) riding has elevated this figure first to 170 watts and now 189 watts. I was quite pleased with this improving and basking in self honour.

Then I started talking to my friend Jon Knapp who it seems has an FTP of 350 watts, which put my efforts perfectly back into perspective.

Jon was about to embark on an epic day in the saddle;  42 continuous  repetitions up Star Bank, a 4km climb averaging 10 % so that the total ascent would be the equal of climbing Everest on a bike.

( I mentioned this fact to my wife whose opinion was that Jon must be certifiable  )

The whole exercise took over 13 hours 20 minutes in the saddle and at various parts of the day, sacrificial domestiques were employed to both shelter Jon from the wind and give him a wheel to follow

However, repeated ascents of this monster can start to take a toll on your legs and the domestiques were gradually burnt off,  Andy claiming that he was conned and had only volunteered for the downhill bits

But for most of the day, Jon rode alone with just his screaming leg muscles for company

All top athletes need a motivational coach and a supporter to set an example of good nutritional and fluid intake requirements.  In this case Dad Knapp provided such a presence from his seat outside the Star Pub

The final statistics tell a tale of true grit and power

Total distance covered  248.8 km
Total Ascent                  9214 m
Moving Time               13 hrs 20 mins
Avg Speed  18.7 kph
Avg Power  197 watts

and amazingly his average heart rate was only 130 bpm with a peak of 155 bpm....  never even out of Zone 3, just a typical Tea Shop run in fact!!!

This was truly an amazing effort...CONGRATULATIONS!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Boys Toys...or Essential Purchases

I just love numbers.

Not that I actually take the analysis of my cycling data and then feed it back into a structured training regime..I leave that to the young road and track  warriors.

I just LOVE numbers

So when I had the chance to grab a BARGAIN ( defined as something I don't need at a price I cannot afford to  refuse ) of a Power Meter I was overjoyed ... loads more data.

Just think of the spreadsheets and graphs I would be able to produce AND I would have proof that cycling up hill into a head wind was hard work :-)

And using something called FTP ( whatever that is ) I will be able to digitally prove that I need a rest after a hard ride and so give my wife true explanations about why I am not able to tackle that list of ' household jobs ' she has constructed.

The PowerTap came fitted to a wheel, and so obviously I needed a matching set, and  so I acquired a new wheel set, Pacenti SL23 rims. Following my purchase of HPlus-Son Archtypes for Witchcraft, my Giant Advanced TCR, I really do like the ride that the wider rim gives and so these Pacenti wheels were an obvious necessary purchase

An other advantage of the Pacenti is that they are made to accommodate Tubeless Tyres.  The lanes around where I live are very badly potholed and the surface is forever covered in thorns from the incessant hedge trimming that the farmers carry out. Punctures are a regular occurence and having nearly lost my fingers to frostbite changing a tube whilst out in the wilds of Dalbury recently I decided that a set of Hutchinson Fusion tyres needed to be added to the list.

I believe that this wheelset with the tubeless tyres may be slightly heavier than my previous tubed Archetypes... but perhaps I will have one less flapjack to compensate :-)

Now it is often said that we Old Age Pensioners talk a good ride but rarely actually get on a bike and go for a ride. This is obviously nonsense as the tea shops of Derbyshire and the surrounding counties would not survive without our trade. But just to prove the point I have also bought another bargain from a friend who deemed it surplus to requirements

This camera is really small and I have mounted it underneath my saddle but am still getting to grips on how best to use it but with luck I will be able to record some of our adventures in France later this year when the Cycling Veterans go looking for mountains

But it does work..as shown here when the Derby Mercury Veterans went to Prison