April 2020

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Five For Twenty Project

Goals are important, I’m sure I’ve said it to every rider I’ve ever coached. Personally though, I’ve lacked any definitive ones save “riding my bike” since I crashed Nov 9th and spent 6 or 7 weeks off the bike. Ok, that’s maybe a bit of an overstatement…Initially my goal was to be riding by January first. Made that. Next up was to climb Montbello road, then to climb it under 40min, both of which I’ve done.

Today I tackled my 3rd ever Alpe du Zwift climb. As I rode I watched Vegan Cyclists’ video on climbing Mauna Kea and it helped drive me up the AdZ a bit harder. Part way up I decided to invent the Five for Twenty Challenge – 5.0W/Kg for 20min. I gotta say, this one is a stretch goal for me, since the advent of power meters I’ve not been at 5W/Kg that I know of. I’m almost always at 75Kg’ish, so I know it’s about 375W effort for 20min. My power file ‘best’ is 361W for 20min, though I’ve gone better. How do I know?

1.26 IF! Guess my FTP was set a bit low!

This is my 20min file where I hit the 361W/364Wnorm. It was on Montebello and I know where I ended up (hey, good excuse to pop a favorite pic in!). I was doing an intentional 20min and hit the button just before the crux what I call the upper switchback at 3.4miles. Of course I didn’t have my Strava enabled head unit on at the time, just an old school power tap head unit.

20min was just below the first white stake – both times!

The “better” effort was a few years later in prep for the Taiwan KOM. The Low Key Hill Climb series was set to climb Montebello, so I figured I’d give it a whirl – I’d never broken 30min for the full climb and REALLY wanted to! I rolled to the “start” area, waited for probably 10-15min (guess they take the “low key” part seriously) when myself and another guy decided we didn’t have time to wait around so we’d just go for it. He was a big guy – and super strong! We traded efforts on the way up notching a 2nd best ever climb to the school at 13:44 along the way! That continued the rest of the way up the climb -me mostly hanging on for dear life in the last 8min or so. In the end he beat me by maybe 100yds. I did a 31:51, seems so very far from 29:59 cause I went hard!

I know it was my highest power output b/c I hit 20min point at almost exactly the same point (see below) but I was lighter, closer to 160lbs at that time. Higher faster and lighter means better W/Kg right? Taking the 361W effort at the lighter weight of 73.6Kg jumps (haha, “jumps”) me to 4.90 W/Kg. Again, so close and yet so far!

I don’t have a formal plan yet, but I do like the idea…especially as a 50 year old! It also gives me pause to wonder how much I squandered my youth! In college I tested at 74ml/Kg/min – a pretty decent number, but I didn’t ever really follow a highly structured training plan…just sorta rode hard. I won’t go down the “what if” road too far, but it does provide a bit of fodder for the imagination and motivation for my old body!