Thursday, March 26, 2009

SportVelo ride

This week, an embellishment on last week's Z3 climbing: Z3 with 30 seconds at Z4 every two minutes, to get my body accustomed to being in Z4. A better approach to my noon ride "Z4 and blow" paradigm of a few weeks ago.

Here's the plot. The intervals on the climbs are fairly obvious. The bottom of Alpine is a gradual grade to flat, so for the first 8 minutes of that climb I tried to just keep it Z3, introducing the Z4 component when the climb proper kicked in.

Power over time for the ride.

I focus on on the climbs in the next plot. Here instead of ride time, the x-axis is the time within the interval. I did a fairly good job, it seems, of boosting the power up into Z4 during the final 30 seconds of each. There's no smoothing on these values, and point-to-point powertap samples jump around a lot due to differences in pedal stroke phase.

Power over interval time for the major climbs.

At Old La Honda Road, Coach Dan recommended doing that climb big gear, low cadence (high torque). Since low cadence Z4 is a bit much, I decided to do the 90 second Z3 phases in a slightly oversized gear, then shift down for the Z4 30 second phases, which I targeted at a more optimal cadence. On Alpine, I just rode a comfortable cadence in each zone. The powertap estimates cadence based on the periodicity of its torque signal, so I can plot torque versus power during these intervals.

Power versus cadence during the major climbs.

I can see that I tended to climb within a band from 60 to 80 rpm, but during the big-gear climbing on Old La Honda, I was in a band from 40 to 60 rpm. This resulted in higher force on the pedals during the Z3 segments than during the Z4 segments, despite the lower power.

Overall, a very solid workout. It always feels virtuous and productive to do something structured, rather than just go out and thrash myself in a chaos of masochism. Training is a balance between stimulating physiological adaptation and avoiding long-term fatigue. By carefully rationing the intensity, long-term progress should be improved, even if the short-term training stimulus might be a bit less.

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