Tuesday was a wimpy start. I was up at 5am to get two 15 minute steady states (SS) in before leaving for work in Colorado Springs. But after 35 minutes of hard warmup it was obvious that I didn't have the power. Part of the reason is that I slept bad last night. But probably more important is that Larry has not been following his nutritionist.
Wednesday was a training-day opposite. Tuesday I simply could not generate the power long enough—not even close to long enough—to hit my SS targets. But Wednesday was a different story and I knew from the moment I started pedaling I would have a good ride.
The difference is rest and nutrition. While I am no expert on either (but I have coaches that are) I have learned a lot over the last eighteen months.
Just a word on rest which is itself a long topic. I measure my heart rate (HR) every morning before I get up. That is a great indicator for me of how my training will go that day. Tuesday morning my HR was 57. That is very high for me. Wednesday it was 49 which is right for Colorado. My HR is always a little higher in Colorado than in Memphis. That is a big difference when you are riding hard. Consider that I expect my HR to average for a SS about 165. If my HR is running 8 beats higher than normal then I am hitting 173 and that is red line, above lactic threshold and not sustainable. That is exactly what was happening Tuesday but Wednesday I did the two fifteen minute (2X15) SS with an average HR of 161. Perfect. Of course HR is an indicator. More some future time.
The real topic to introduce is the role of nutrition. I never really understood the relationship between eating and energy output until I started cycling. Like everyone else I ate because I was hungry or just because of the habit. But weight, power, and nutrition are fundamental to cycling.
Let me introduce the topic on nutrition off bike. On bike nutrition is also a big topic.
The basic equation of cycling is weight in kilograms divided by power in watts (kg/watts). So cyclists are always concerned about their weight (and some even do something about it) because the more you weigh the more you have to carry up these mountains. So the amount of calories you eat has a lot to do with what you weigh. No news there. But body weight isn’t a huge issue in cycling unless you are racing. You can grind up a mountain if you have enough power it is just that the lighter person will get to the top faster given the same power.
But producing power is highly dependent on proper training and nutrition. Proper training is needed to build power (my shorthand for power training is how much pain can I take and how long can I take it). That is for another day but steady state and tempo intervals are key.
Proper nutrition every day is essential to achieving the training goals to increase power. And I need to lose weight as well because there is an incentive to go faster on the C-2-C (e.g. more rest time). But the balance is tricky. If you diet too hard you can’t produce the power. Enter Alicia whom I have never met but visualize as a stick figure that binges on carrots. She developed a plan for me that when I follow, as I did Tuesday, produce notable increases in power Wednesday.
That plan, again by the numbers, starts with my basic metabolic rate of 2280 calories a day. She wants to restrict my weight loss to a pound a week (haven’t had any problem with exceeding that goal) so the target is set at 1780. To that I add the number of calories burned in training. That comes from the PowerTap on my bike. So this mornings ride burned 733 calories giving me a target today of 2513.
But what I eat is very important. To produce power on the bike is really only a function of carbohydrates. So my calories are supposed to be 22% fats, 65% carbohydrates, and 13% protein. 22% fat is extremely hard to hit. To monitor this I record everything I eat including the calories and grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. I have built a spreadsheet that keeps track of everything entered and compare it to target.
Here is an example day. Fat, carbs and pro are in grams.
Cal Fat Carb Pro
Butter 2 pats 72 8 0 0
Kashi waffles 170 3 33 8
Syrup 100 0 25 0 4
Starbucks LF BB CC 320 6 54
Miracle Whip 40 3 2 0
Turkey sandwich 260 3 24 22
potato chips 160 10 14 2
Soup 120 0 28 4
Gatorade qt 200 0 56 0
Enchilada 330 8 53 9
Vitamin water 125 0 32 0
Apple 116 0 31 1
This is what the calculation of the daily targets would be based on the adjusted calorie target.
2528 515 21 59 32 18 70 10
Where the entries are total calories, calories remaining, grams of fat remaining, grams of carbohydrates remaining, grams of protein remaining, fat percentage, carbohydrates percentage and protein percentage.
So, to tie this all together for the day. Eating properly is necessary to produce the power needed to train properly. Tuesday was following the Memorial Day weekend and I ate a few too many cheeseburgers and other forbidden foods.