Open Range.

The other day Janice emailed me that I was working out in the wrong power ranges for a given workout. Specifically, I was working far too hard. This confused me, as she was the one that established the ranges I was using. Turns out, Training Peaks, the application I use to track workouts, had reset my power numbers to a completely arbitrary set at some point or another, and I never noticed. Since my numbers hadn't changed significantly in the last three years, I was just cruising along and operating in the long-established ranges.
I hadn't done a field test in forever, and the last attempt was pretty much a fatigue-induced failure. Janice went back and looked at a few time trials from this year and gave me a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) number about 40 watts lower than my previous (FTP). This is a significant change, and one I don't think is reflected in other metrics this year.
The problem is that the vast majority of time trials I do these days are part of a stage race, where fatigue from previous stages means I'm not on my game. I don't recover well because I'm old and my two year old kicks me in the kidneys all night long. Try putting peak power out after that ordeal.
The other time trials are usually extremely early in the season, where cold and a limited time on pavement hamper performance. Those may sound like weak excuses, but breathing deeply when your sinuses and lungs are clogged with 3 gallons of phlegm isn't easy.
The last problem with using time trials as a yardstick is that I have a hard time getting all excited about them. TTs are all about embracing the suck, and if your head isn't in the game you won't to well. I used to operate under the delusion that I was good at them, and did relatively well when you factor in my relative fitness at the time. Now that I race against people that have actual talent in the discipline, I no longer operate under such delusions. I know good and well where I fit in the food chain.
To fix the TT issue, I've started doing more work on the time trial bike. That was derailed when I had to send my SRM in for service, but that should be resolved soon. I'm hoping increased comfort and familiarity with the bike will result in faster times, so I don't lose vast chunks of time to the competition.
The power range issue? I'm probably looking at a field test, which is among the least pleasant experiences I can think of. Right up there with a protracted prostate exam in an alley behind an IHOP dumpster.
A lot depends on how well rested and fueled I am. My mental state. What I'm watching. The temperature in the trainer dungeon. Just about anything can make the difference between respectable and complete failure.
That sucks.
I could do a field test in the new ranges Janice laid out for me without excessive difficulty, and it would certainly make my future workouts easier. It would also mean that I'd roll into next season with marginal fitness and leave me with a lot of work to do. I'd rather do the work now in the proper ranges, and that means life is going to suck.
Guess I better get myself over to IHOP.


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