Wattage Sale: 15% Off

I had previously posted about putting up 270 watts on two separate, hard rides.  I had, in those posts, expressed some skepticism about that number, and was wondering how it was what it was, from an objective, new, calibrated power meter.  Because of my nagging doubts, I completely reset my Garmin, and did a full new programming and update on it.  Calibration numbers on the Quarq changed a bit, but not by that terribly much.

Power numbers changed by a lot.  Instead of 270 watts, I’m now consistently generating right at 230 watts, on ~2 hour rides.  On Monday, I did powerline sprintervals (sprint for the distance between 1 set of powerpoles, then ride easy for 1 set, sprint for 2, ride for 2, sprint for 3, ride for 3, etc., up to 8 sets…then work back down to 1, then repeat), and put up higher numbers, but I only rode for about 80 minutes.  Tuesday was a gravel ride on the Vaya, so no power meter.

On Wednesday, I did a ~36 mile ride, with about half of it being a group ride.  Average speed was right on the button at 21.0, with some consistent wind out of the northeast…and average wattage over the whole ride was 229 watts.  (And yes, I have set the Garmin to include 0 watts readings in the average).

In other news, I’m presently down to 142 pounds, or 64 kg.  That means 3.6 watts/kg, which still puts me in Cat 3, which is higher than I think I should be…especially as I get dropped with some regularity.  So here’s my thinking…I’m guessing that the guys I’m riding with are probably ‘only’ putting out a few watts more than me–maybe 240-250.  That’s a difference, but not huge.  My watt/kg numbers are likely higher than theirs, because of my freakishly light weight, but it’s not determinative of speed, here in flat Illinois.  So my watt/kg numbers are skewed because I’m a twig, and I get dropped because my overall wattage isn’t high enough.

On that note, on the Wednesday ride, I did get dropped.  It was interesting–my lungs were fine, my heart was fine, my head was fine.  My legs were surprisingly good…I wasn’t in pain, I wasn’t cramping…I felt fine.  There was a relatively minor acceleration of the group, I was near the back, and I simply ran out of strength to turn the pedals harder or faster.  It was pure, simple, lack of muscular strength.  Super weird.  The experience makes me think that I’m probably riding closer to my wattage output margins than perhaps the regular rider is.  I handled getting dropped poorly–I finished the ride strong, but had to take a 20 minute break before I could socialize normally.  I was quite frustrated.  Not mad, just frustrated.

After my last health rant, I received a number of encouraging contacts from people who indicated that they were experiencing health issues and trying to be ‘good’ cyclists, and that was encouraging.  For myself, I’m getting poked, prodded, blood-sampled, biopsied, and otherwise examined with regularity since my last blood test.  It’s amazing the things that doctors are interested in checking…on Thursday, I spent my day spitting 3ml of saliva into little vials every 2 hours, and then freezing them.  Let me tell you…3ml of saliva is a lot of saliva.

In any event, the wattage mystery of 2012 has been resolved (still not sure of the cause, but it’s fixed), and the riding goes on.

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