It’s All About Normalized Power

Just finished the first three-week build/intensity period.  Based upon my experience last September, I did three intense workouts per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday/Sunday.  Because I couldn’t find any century or longer group rides, I did about 60 miles each Saturday and Sunday, rather than a 200k one of those days, as I would have preferred.  Each Tuesday night generally was a hard group ride of about 2 hours.  Each Thursday was a one-hour morning workout on the indoor trainer.

Joe Friel recommends what he calls “breakthrough workouts” where periodically you try to exceed previous highs.  I had three of them this week.  On Tuesday night with the Morris Area Free Wheelers I reached a season high of 250watts normalized power for one  hour.  The 250-watt mark in the past has been a good barometer of whether my fitness is good.  The highest reading ever for one-hour was 262 NP in September 2008.  I went on to finish Hillier Than Thou in 6:33 a couple of weeks later, my best time.

Thursday was also a milestone, as I reached 783 kcal on the spinner at the Y.  That’s a new best reading for me.  It translates into 218 watts, according to my power meter, but I don’t go by the exact readings, partly because lack of a breeze makes the workout oppressively hot and probably saps energy and also I don’t know how well calibrated the Y machine is.

Saturday I continued to ride well, though I felt tired.  I rode with the Western Jersey Wheelmen and was climbing well.  I finished 57 miles at 148w absolute, 210 NP and 179 combined.  Sunday I rode with the Cyclepaths 6 a.m. ride, and finished with almost identical numbers on an 80-mile ride: 149, 207 and 178.  My climbing was still good.  I averaged 311w for five minutes up Zion Road, the best five-minute reading this year.  My average speed for the five-minute period was 10.1 mph, which makes it the third fastest climb for me of Zion.  I did 10.6 mph in 2006 and 10.3 in 2008.

Now it’s on to a rest week, followed by two more weeks of intensity.  I’m going to switch the third week of intensity for a rest week, so I can do the PA 200k on July 31st and the NYC 200k on July 18th.  I need some longer rides as I’m getting closer to the event on August 14th.


WEEK: 14 hrs 25 min

GOAL: 12 hrs 30 min

I am now in the fourth week of my build/intensity period, which is a rest week.  My target event, Quadzilla, is August 14th, a little less than 7 weeks away.

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