Friday, November 13, 2009

Training - Dieting and w/kg

I woke up a bit hyper today, and in one of those early morning semi-conscious chats, told the missus that I'm glad I'm not a pro. The conversation that I had in my head went something like this, in a meeting with the team director (I was a pro in this little diddy).

Jonathan Vaughters motions for me to sit down.

"Congratulations on the contract. I hope that you're happy here, and I'm glad that you re-signed with us. So, SDC, let's go over your plans for next year."

"Okay, JV." (We're talking in initials here because it's cool. Or kewl. Or k00l.)

"This season you rode pretty well, but you lacked some durability in the Classics. When the pace got hot, especially in the slight rises, you looked to be in difficulty. Would you agree?"


"So I've talked to AL (Allen Lim) and them and we've figured out how to rectify this weakness."


"Yeah, we figure that at 82 kg, you're a bit heavy, and at 243 watts for 20 minutes, you're a bit lacking in the aerobic area. To get a more optimal power to weight ratio, Allen said you need to do two things. First, he thinks you can bump up that 243 to at least 270, since you tested at 263 earlier this year. 290 or even 300 would be great."


"Allen also said you need to lose, oh, like 30 kg. At 52 kg, you'd have a decent 5.2 w/kg ratio at 270 watts, and 5.76 w/kg at 300 watts. What do you think?"

JV smiles, sits back, and clasps his hands, peering at me through his glasses.

I frantically do some math in my head.

"Um, 52 kg is 114 pounds. I'm 180 right now. I haven't weighed 114 since I was in college."

"Well, yeah, there is the matter of losing those 66 pounds. But, hey, what's 66 pounds? It's only a month of catfood for 7 cats. It's 10 gallons of gasoline. Four bikes. But, look, ultimately it's just weight. Anyway, that's what you need to do. You can talk to AL about diet and such. I'll see you in a month."

Big grin from JV.

With that I got up to feed the cats. It's a bit more complicated than just tossing food into a bowl. See, Lilly has to eat special food, but she gets upset if she eats alone, so one of us has to watch them eat, then put away all the food when they're done. Cats, in case you didn't know, are like humans - they eat ravenously for a bit, walk away, let things settle, then come back for seconds.

Anyway, as much as I wanted to talk about JV and stuff, I had to get up and let the kitties eat. The whole process takes about half an hour, so I sat and pondered things while the kitties munched away. Then I could weigh in and eat.

I admit that I used to hope and wish and dream that I'd be a pro. Grinding out the pace on the cobbles, in the rain, mud, cold, hanging on as opportunists took their chances. Team gear, all matching, no worries on what to wear - all your gear would look the same.

Then the reality of earning, say, $21k as a former Amateur World Champion (like Greg Lemond) started to sink in. At a much later Fitchburg, I learned that some of the guys on a national class team, including a former Lemond teammate, made as little as $7000 a year.

Heck, I made more than that at the bike shop!

Anyway, I dropped that pro dream a long time ago.

And now, with my current diet, I realized how lucky I am that I have no genetic gift for aerobic sports.

Last night, on the trainer, I started doing some calculations.

At 82 kg, and about 243 watts (last current 20 min max), I made about 3.05 w/kg. If you subtract 10% for actual threshold (versus max sustainable work level), I'm at 2.7 ish w/kg.

This, in case you didn't know, is pretty terrible. Check it out - it would fall under the 20 minute mark, by the way.

Yep, you have to scroll down to about the bottom of the Cat 4s to find my massive 3.05 w/kg. You have to go to "Untrained" to find my approximate FTP of 2.7 w/kg.

Then, because I was listening to music on a laptop while on the trainer, I opened up the calculator and started figuring out what my weight loss could do to my w/kg ratios.

I plugged in my current weight - 76.6 kg - my 243 watt effort nets me 3.17 w/kg.

At my goal weight - 70 kg or 154 lbs - the same 243 watts gets me 3.47 w/kg, or just into the bottom of the Cat 3s.

If I can do 270 watts (7 over my record), and go to 68 kg (just a touch under 150 lbs), I'd be just below the 4 w/kg line, sitting at 3.97 w/kg.

That, my friends, would creep me into Cat 2 territory.

As a bonus, although my jump may not change that much, I should be able to improve my paper numbers from about 17 w/kg to about 20-22 w/kg. Likewise, I hope to get my sprint proper (10 seconds) from 12-13 w/kg to 14-15 w/kg, whether by increasing power, decreasing weight, or both.

I'll see how it goes. First the weight, then the power.


Anonymous said...

I think you're being too hard on yourself here -- you're probably right that you'd have an easier time staying with the pack if your 20-minute power were higher, but 20-minute power is hardly relevant to your race results. Your 5-second power is huge, and for a sprinter, more relevant. Therefore, JV might ask you to up your 20-minute power a little, but I think he'd probably also throw a team of domestiques and leadout guys your way to help you out. :)

slowroadie said...

Lose a little weight because you'll be healthier and you'll feel better. Being faster on a bike is secondary. You already know how to win.

Aki said...

Anon - that would ruin my conversation with JV :) But, as pointed out by others, FTP gets you to the end of the race, peak power wins it.

Tyrade - I hope I feel better. Right now I feel better but I think it's more a "hey, look what I accomplished". I think of a friend who lost a lot of weight over the last 3-4 years and ultimately upgraded to Cat 1. He was always a decent Cat 2, but to see him hang in there at the Vegas Pro-1 crit, holy smolies. Anyway, he's so lean, so light, and yet so strong still. I don't know if I'll get to any place like that, but I'll just keep working on diet and see what happens.