How to set FTP

First, we need to know what FTP is. FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power. This is something that an academic researcher developed in Texas. This was not developed by a pro team’s coach. FTP is the power that you can produce for one hour within an aerobic capacity. You don’t necessarily have the ability to sustain this power for 2 hours. You can produce this power for 1 hour without any interruption.

How do we typically set FTP? We listen to folks with training programs. They have us take a test for 20 minutes and multiple the power by 95%. This does not work. Zwift does the same thing.

Were you riding through a big climb in Zwift and it lasted for 20 minutes? You set a new power record. Your heart rate was 180bpm. Perhaps you only spun the cranks at 55rpm. Was this not anaerobic? Zwift applied the 95 percentage against your new power record and displayed a window. Within the window it stated that your FTP increased. Can we rely upon this display?

Well not quite. Your heart rate was 180. Was this aerobic? No.

The best way to determine your FTP and your actual zones is to complete the 1 hour test. You might want to rest for two days to ensure full recovery prior to completing the FTP test.

warm-up for 20 minutes; ride for 1 hour.

While you are pedaling for the 1 hour, try to reach a heart rate in the 150 to 165 range. Hold your efforts while you maintain this heart beat. Pick flat terrain for this effort. Try to avoid stop lights and other traffic control devices. Pick a route with long sections that do not require stopping.

It takes practice to maintain that smooth pace and produce the power for an hour. If you don’t feel that you succeeded on the first try, then repeat the process on another day.

When you finished pedaling the second section, use the average power of the second section as your FTP.

Pacelining tips

Think of paceline riding as team riding. It requires cooperation and a lot more than just keeping up. It calls for focused attention, taking responsibility and leading. When riding in a paceline observe the following:

  • Ride to the right − pull off to your left.
  • Ride in a straight line following the rider in front of you.  Do not swerve or brake without warning. Pedal through bumps in the road − do not swerve around them. Don’t panic and jam on your brakes − the bike behind will run right up your rear wheel. Feather your brakes to modulate speed.
  • Always Pedal.  No coasting.  Always pedal down hills.
  • Keep your head up and your eyes scanning up the road as much as possible. Do not get hypnotized by the wheel in front of you. Use your peripheral vision to monitor the wheel in front of yours while you watch the road and riders ahead. You can then better see the paceline slowing or accelerating, as well as traffic lights and stop signs and you will be better prepared to react to any situation.
  • Do not overlap the rear wheel of the bike in front of you.  Keep your wheel in line with the rear wheel in front of you.
  • Keep the same distance between you and the rider in front of you.  If it requires more energy momentarily, expend it.  Don’t create a yo-yo.  It makes it much harder for the folks behind you, if you open a gap.
  • When at the front of the group, pedal smoothly at all times, even down hills. You will need to keep pedaling on the down hills so that the bikes in back of you do not have to brake in order to avoid riding up your rear wheel.
  • When at the front you are the eyes of the paceline. Watch for hazards. Ideally you will see a hazard far enough in advance to move the path of the paceline well clear of it. Call out obstacles or holes in the road as well as your intentions to slow or stop. Every rider in the paceline is depending on you − you at the front of the line. Not every single hole warrants a shout. Call out hazards, don’t call out little bumps. Ride through rough spots by rising slightly off your saddle and pedaling through.
  • When at the front of the paceline and it is time to pull off, maintain the same steady pace.  Move to the side.  When clear of the paceline connect to the back of the line.  Pull in behind the last bike.
  • Stay at the front only for as long as you’re directed, shorter if you are feeling tired. When a rider has pulled off and approaches the back of the group the last rider should call “LAST” so the rider coming back won’t have to chase to get back on.
  • When taking the lead in a paceline do not surge or pick up the overall pace. Maintain the same speed as when drafting. As you take over you will naturally have to put out more effort. Learn to finesse your effort in order to maintain a smooth transition as you take over. If you are tired, make your turn at the front as short as possible. No one has to prove anything at the front.
  • A great group works together! We keep the people together.  We ride at 20.25 instead of 21mph, if everyone can hang together.

Labor Day Weekend in review

We will have to move to fall/winter operating hours, soon.  It has starting to be nippy in the mornings.  The traffic patterns have also been changing. Starting next week the Coastal Loop will have a semi-permanent detour.  The bridge in Cohasset over Atlantic avenue will be closed until June of 2018.

As I write this Coach Tony is in second place on the weekly leaderboard. Can he take the top mileage spot?

Let’s have a celebratory dinner for a great season at Plaza  Aztec in Hingham on September 23.  Please RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/501042453583222.

We had a good ride on Saturday.  Sunday has been annulled due to the rain.  Ian lead the A group.  Mike lead the Mellow Group.  See you next weekend.

Bill

Halifax 08.23.17
Halifax 08.23.17

The season’s penultimate Halifax ride was last night.  Next week, we will ride for the last time of the season.  Meet at Cape Cod Pizza in Halifax at 7:30 for a post ride dinner!

Bill

Mt Wachusett 2017

20170716_125058~2Some of us rode a century on Sunday because Tracy rode 400mi during the week. We tried to catch up.  We went to the CRW century.  This century is very affordable($20/person) and well run.  We stayed ahead of Eric, the sweeper.

We added a few miles.  We started slow to warm up.  We hit a few of the hills before Mt. Wachusett.  Those hills were harder than the “climb.”  There was 10% grade on the main road to the visitor center.  The “climb” did not start until the visitor center.  Liz chose to do a repeat on the 10% section.  Why not?!?

The debate over the total elevation gain continues.  One bike computer obtained 6,600 feet of elevation gain over 105 mles.

Riders include Vito, Liz, Linda, Wes, Bill, and April from Team Kermit.

Vito was wearing the Triple Bypass kit, which you earn after riding over three mountains in Colorado in the same day in 2016.  The 2017 event was cancelled due to wildfires.

On top of Wachusett
On top of Wachusett

Recap

We had a good start to the weekend. Lots of people worked hard to improve their time on the 50mi. We did a new route for 50mi that featured Hull gut. Riders for the 50 include Eric (the Diesel), Eugene, Tracy, Liz, Linda, John, and Maria. Craig cheered for us as we attacked the Box in Scituate. He was headed to the beach.

On the 50mi we went out to the end of the Hull peninsula and saw Hull Gut. We could see Boston Light(oldest lighthouse in the USA) plus the Boston skyline. The town actually paved Fitzgerald bypass, which was a welcome relief. They painted new bike lanes in the area of Spinnaker island on Nantasket Ave.

Always avoid the bike line on Nantasket ave after the Cumberland Farms as the road approaches George Washington Blvd. The Bike Lane does not go all the way to the intersection. Cars will inappropriately merge through the end of the bike lane and hit you. The highest rate of incidences in Hull is AT the end of the bike lane and GW Blvd and Rockland St/Rt 228.

Riders for the mellow 30mi include Dana, Darlene, Mike, Mike, Judy, Glen, Martta, & Jack. The 30 mi group stopped for coffee at the Coffee Corner in Scituate.

What a week in the end! Coach Tony thought that he was going to be ahead on the total miles for the week.  Aaron had him beat some more miles so, Coach Tony, went out for a few miles.
However, when I looked at the chart, he was only #2. At 8:10PM on Sunday I noticed that he was back on the top.

Liz is in top for the longest ride of the week with almost 75 miles.
Great elevation gains for the week. John Eagan is almost 1

What a week! Coach Tony thought that he was going to be ahead. Aaron had him beat some more miles so, Coach Tony, went out for a few miles.
However, when I looked at the chart, he was only #2. At 8:10PM I noticed that he was back on the top.

Liz is in top for the longest ride of the week with almost 75 miles.
Great elevation gains for the week. John Eagan is almost 10,000 ft for the week. Ian had a lot of elevation gain this week with an attack on #Wawa and lots of gain in his daily commuting.