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!

1 comment:

  1. For those of us still British that's 155 miles at average of 12 mph. Just about my typical downhill speed!
    Astonishing, give the man a well deserved culpa on me:-)