Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Peak Power Output Test

I've been pondering my fitness levels (or lack thereof) for awhile. There hasn't seemed to be much movement either way, and having struggled for years with the winter drain, I wanted something different. While browsing the Bicycling magazine I ran across this article, the T-Max interval.

Anyone who knows me, or has ridden with me, knows that the hills are my nemesis and I have been pondering what to do about it. The T-Max interval seems like it could help in my search for a breakthrough.

Two years ago my wife gave me a Real Axiom Power Trainer. Mine is similar to the one in the link but without the "real" which means it doesn't have the nice scrolling/syncronized pictures of the course. It can be programmed to simulate any terrain that you want to ride, from flat to bruttaly steep. Most importantly it reads out in WATTS.

During the previous 2 winters I was not serious about fitness maintenance or actual improvement, which I wanted to change this year, so I have decided to actually use this machine and see what it will do for me. Am I serious? Time will tell. I never have been before.

Sunday I had a good base ride on the road, and the last 2 mornings I put in some base training on the trainer. As I woke up this morning I decided it was time to do the ramp test to see what my PPO (Peak Power Output) was.

I set my course up to do a 10 mile ride up a 0.5% grade, enough to give my legs something to bite into but not too much so I could cool down after the test. The test is a stepped power ramp starting at 100 watts, and stepping up 30 watts every minute until your legs turn to jelly and you fall off your trainer puking your guts out. I started the course and warmed up for 5 minutes at 50 watts, just turning the cranks over easily. After 5 minutes I bumped the power up to 100 and then began the progression, 30 watts increase every minute, trying dissociation at the higher output levels to keep going. I made it through 11 minutes but could not surge again, which give me a PPO of 400 watts. I may not have gone hard enough because I didn't puke or fall off the machine. I think I was pretty close to my max though, my heart rate peaked at 193 which I have seen before during some hi-intensity efforts. Overall I was satisfied with the effort.

Although I now have my PPO, the test is not over yet. I will do another easy ride tomorrow, 10 miles at 200 watts Here is the spreadsheet of my test

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