Major satisfaction with minor achievements

I like to have one major goal for each riding reason, such as Quadzilla this year and the Endless Mountains 1240k in 2009.  But there are always numerous smaller goals in the back of my mind, personal bests that I think I could better.  I reached a couple of those milestones the past week or so.

A week ago Saturday, the day before Hillier than Thou, I set out on a 15-mile tuneup ride.  What the heck, I figured.  I’ll just swing around to Beekman Road and try for that elusive one-minute wattage record.  Beekman has a climb of about a third of a mile that takes about a minute to finish at 22 mph.

My TrainingPeaks software tracks best efforts for four timeframes.  There are peak wattages for five seconds (sprint pace), one minute (bridge pace), five minutes (power climb pace), and 20 minutes (time-trial pace).  My best until Saturday at one minute was 497 watts set in May 2008.  I was chasing Mike P. up Beekman.  Nearly all of my best wattage numbers involve group rides.  In fact, all of my previous one-minute records had been with a group.

This time I approached the small creek at the bottom of the climb in my top gear, standing and mashing on the pedals.  I tend to let up a bit as the climb flattens near the top.  This lowers my power numbers enough to fall short of my best reading.  This time I stayed standing and continued to mash hard nearly all the way up.  When I finished, I figured it was a good effort, maybe better than this year’s best of 479 watts up the hill in the park in Jamesburg.  To my surprise, when I downloaded the data, I found my one-minute peak was 512 watts.  I did a fist pump.  All right, I can’t be getting old that quickly.

Yesterday we were in Massachusetts visiting my mother.  The bike stayed home.  As I have done the past several years when visiting my mother, I decided to run the 10k course I set up for myself from the hotel.  It’s an out and back course with a few small hills.  Two years ago, I finished the course for the first time, clocking 57 minutes.  I had never run 10k non-stop in my life.  Last year I finished the same course in 55:42.  This year I finished in 53:32.  Not bad considering that I run just once a week on the treadmill for about a mile and a quarter.

I have to be careful about running on hard pavement.  I’ve had leg problems in the past.  But I get an enormous kick out of being 53 and running farther than I did in high school.  It’s a small achievement, but a highly satisfying one.

WEEK 5 hrs 37  min
GOAL 7 hrs

My last race/goal is complete and so I am into my off-season/transition period, with target weeks of seven hours.  I will spend at least two 45-minute sessions on the weights and two 40-minute time-trial sessions on the spinner each week, plus at least one longer weekend ride.


3 comments to Major satisfaction with minor achievements

  1. Doug
    October 1st, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Jud, you should try Golden Cheetah for power analysis too (it’s open source so you can try it at no cost). Instead of just 4 arbitrary time points, it builds your whole power-time curve and computes your critical power using your best efforts, even at intermediate time points. Then you can compare each ride to your best efforts and see over what time frames your power was better or worse.

    So, from the Golden Cheetah software, I can see my best 1 minute power was 640W on 9/16. I did a similar thing, attacking a hill in my neighborhood on a short local ride just to see what I could do for one minute. But I can also see that this was also my best effort from 0:47 - 1:07, with corresponding powers of 680W - 612W. I can also see that from 1:08 - 2:51 I did better on another run the following day when I worked on slightly longer efforts. That ride would not register on training peaks because the peaks fall between 1 and 5 minutes, but I can see it was a better all around effort than the one minute ride.

    Maybe this is TMI, but I think it’s kind of neat. I usually can’t wait to download my GPS and see how the latest ride compares to my personal bests.

  2. jud
    October 3rd, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Hello Doug,

    Training peaks has a continuous power curve also, as well as the ability to compare different time periods via graphs.

    BTW, your one-minute power is obviously way ahead of mine.


  3. Doug
    October 4th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Well, my absolute power may be higher, but I weigh at least 50% more than you, so my power to weight ratio is quite a bit less. That’s why I can’t climb with you, but you can’t descend with me!

    I only played with Training Peaks for the 30 day demo, so I guess I missed that feature. Maybe I’ll install it on another machine and compare.

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