Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I've got the Power, and some other toys

Over Thanksgivingukkah, I received exactly what I wanted for gifts this year.  That’s a first in itself because I’m so hard to shop for and I usually buy things I want myself which makes it difficult for others to buy me presents. Since I didn’t received any birthday presents from my family this year, they told me they would double up and get me exactly what I wanted.  My in-laws also helped and gave me some money towards the gifts of my choice as well.

With that, I am finally now in the age of Power.  As in a power meter for my bike.  Not just any power meter, but the brand spanking new Garmin Vectors.  It’s way too early to review them, but my initial impression is I love training with power.  I don’t have the exact knowledge about everything pertaining to how to train with power, but so far I’m liking what I see. 

I’m not a numbers guy like most other athletes where they do a workout and analyze it and then figure out shortcomings and work on them.  But I am a numbers guy in the sense that I need to train with numbers.  For example, I want to know my cadence, speed, and now power with every ride, just like I want to know my pace when I run. It's a goal.  I want to hit my goal numbers so I need to have all the data I can.  Even though I upload all of my workout data to Garmin Connect, I don’t sit there daily and look at it.  But during an actual workout, I definitely need to see some numbers and work through them at that particular time.  I think this will help me in both my training and my racing.   I look to hit a certain wattage for the workout and make sure I stay there for that specific interval.  I race by feel, but I train by numbers so I want to make sure that I know the numbers well enough when I'm training that when I'm on course for an actual race, I can feel the hard work that I've put in and know how my body will respond.
Another amazing gift I got was the Wahoo Kickr.  This is basically the best rated indoor cycling trainer on the market.  I was so excited to get this for many reasons.  First off, it controls my power for me on any individual ride.  All I have to do is plug in my course, and the Kickr does all the work for me, well except for the actual cycling part. Unfortunately, I still have to do that. But it controls the resistance for me and I don't even have to shift gears.  The other great part is I don't burn through tires because I take my back wheel off and use their own cassette.  This is great since I don't have to worry about tires wearing down, putting my bike back on the trainer, and anything else.  The only thing I have to do when I want to ride outside is take my bike off the Kickr and put my rear wheel on.  It's not the easiest thing in the world to do with my Flo wheels and dialing in the brakes, but it's a lot easier to do this once than having to put training wheels on, change them out, change the tires, etc. 
I've been working with the TrainerRoad program with the Kickr and it's awesome.  I took my FTP test and know my specific wattage that I need to be at and what my body can handle for an extended period of time pushing it to the limits.  I actually think my FTP is low since I wasn't sure how to test with the first time I used power so on my actual workouts, I've been bumping up my FTP threshold to work out harder. 
So far, I'm very impressed with all my new toys.  I think training with all of them will help me work on some of the weaknesses that I have and make me a stronger racer.  Since I've never worked with power, I know it's going to take a while to get used to it and know what certain numbers mean, how I can use them, and how to take advantage of all this new data.  But I'm excited, and whenever we get new toys, we tend to play with them a lot which is exactly what I've been doing over the past few weeks. 

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