Sunday, 26 February 2012

PTW 2-up '25' - preview

Just two weeks to go before Team Grumpy's first outing for the 2012 season.  Grumpy Bob and the Team Manager will be visiting South Wales to regroup with 'Grumpy' Art Vanderlay and ride the now traditional season opener, the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25'.

This year's event seems to be a week later than usual, though whether that will bring balmier conditions remains to be seen.  In previous events, the riders have contended with snow, hail, rain and cold.  But not all together.  The course is about 50% dual carriageway, with the rest being undulating single carriageway: hopefully the road surface will have been attended to since the 2011 event, when there were potholes galore. And roadwork traffic lights.

Team Grumpy have got a decent track record in this event, but recent years have seen a dip in form due to defects in training due to pressure of work and/or illness.  It remains to be seen how well Team Grumpy has survived the winter training regime... It is worth noting that riding the PTW event with a cold was the source of Team Grumpy rule #5: "Never train or race with a bad cough - it will destroy your entire season".

Grumpy Bob is pretty optimistic about the likely TG form.  However, he is aware that there are two weeks to go in which some mishap might arise.  Probably the toughest aspect will be restraining 'Grumpy' Art's tendency to conduct pre-event equipment modification.  In the past, we have seen his cassette come to pieces (at the bottom of Neath Bank in the days when the PTW 2-up used the 'cheaty course'), or indexing failure (just about every 2-up), or alarming bottom bracket clanking (e.g. the 2011 Duo), loosening chainset (e.g. the 2010 Duo).

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Have I been training too hard?

For the last two seasons I have been using a training system based on power. This has tended to be characterised by short but very intense sessions, due to my lack of available time. Well, the racing results have been rather poor and whilst the cause of this is unclear I decided to turn back the clock and return to a training system that appeared to deliver better results. This system was based on Heart Rate monitoring.

This winter I have, therefore, gone back to using HR to guide my training sessions. But I have kept the power measurement too and I have noticed that the sessions I am doing - whilst hitting the right HR levels - are in fact being done at relatively lower power levels. This has led me to re-evaluate what I have been doing for the previous two seasons and, therefore, yesterday I completed a FTP test based on Hunter & Coggan's method. This produced a FTP level that was significantly lower than I expected, leading me to wonder if have spent two years flogging myself near to death and never reaching my race potential.

Is there a lesson here? Probably, yes, and that perhaps measuring BOTH power and HR and understanding how they relate to each other is a far more sensible way to organise one's training.