A Chill Wind Blows – December (and 2017 overview)

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Much of December was taken up with Sweet Spot Base 2, which means long turbo sessions at various intervals in the “sweet spot” – somewhere around 88-94% of FTP.  I say somewhere because a) everybody has different physiology and b) there is no such thing as exact levels or zones as it is really a continuum.  Anyway, what is true is that the sweet spot intervals are meant to be tough but manageable with relatively short recovery intervals between them, and the training effect comes from an accumulation of fatigue.  By the end of the 5 week period it was pretty hard going and I was ready for a recovery week just in time for Christmas.

In between I managed to squeeze in some outdoor rides as well as my daily commute to work – and I hit a personal goal of doing every single commute in 2017 in shorts!  I did think one day that riding to work with the temperature on my computer showing -4C was bad enough, but the very next day it dropped to -6C.  Did I mention the shorts!  In conditions like that the commute isn’t so bad as it uses very busy arterial routes into Manchester and therefore they are well gritted.  It’s a different story at weekends though and the risk of black ice has forced me to stay indoors and ride the turbo.  It’s something I don’t mind for training during the week but it’s a bit soul destroying having to do it at weekend, rather than be out in the fresh air.

The downside of having a recovery week just before Christmas was not just the opportunity to gain weight (I ate a ridiculous amount of the wrong food) but also the fact that the Sustained Power Build phase of training would start immediately after Christmas – with the opening FTP test on Boxing Day!  The test felt really tough and it showed a very slight improvement (2W) over the previous one; albeit not quite as high as at this time last year.  However, I am using both a different test protocol and a different power meter this year so there will be differences.  Last year I used the 8 minute protocol, this year 20 minute.  Last year I used Garmin Vector pedal power meter readings, this year Tacx Neo’s reading from the hub.  In theory, drivetrain losses (the difference between power at the pedal and power transferred to the hub) should mean my readings this year are 2-3 % lower anyway – so as long as I am improving relatively this year I’m happy.

In December I managed 410 miles outdoors with 26,995ft ascent at around 15.8mph average, which used up around 14,997kcals. I spent 33 hours exactly on the turbo using a further 24,217kcals, which just about covers Christmas Day! Total for the month was 3,437 TSS

My summary for 2017 is in the infographic above – I used canva to create it which is pretty cool.

I wish you all the best for 2018.  Happy New Year! 

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