My First Time

Of course, we were all kind of nervous and excited about the first time. How will I be compared to others?  Is it more mental or physical? What will be the outcome?  Will I be considered “good”? How will my technique affect my overall success? How badly will it hurt? I took a deep breath. Just relax and let things happen naturally. 

It all happened last night. For a few months now, we have had our Peloton. It is actually my wife’s bike, but I use it on inclement weather days or when pressed for time. Yesterday, I decided to take my first FTP test. That stands for Functional Power Threshold. Basically, it is a test to determine how much power in watts a rider can sustain in an hour’s time. The reason I have waited for so long is that I do not even have a power meter on any of my bikes, but I plan, during the off season, on using some of the power endurance training that Peloton offers. I do not even project getting a power meter on any of my bikes, mainly for two reasons: expense could be used other places and numbers are a head game to me.

Power training is a rabbit hole subject, but I will give you the why I have gone against putting a  meter on at least one of my bikes. Well, for one, I have actually caught myself, when feeling terrific on a certain day, glancing at my heartrate and doubting that I could sustain that tempo over a long distance training ride when my body was saying I could. The numbers caused me to check up to keep from blowing up later. I have heard it all from everyone about how I am behind the times. My training consists primarily of using heart rate zones.  Yes, I know about their fallibility, but they definitely have a place with mechanic exertion vs. physical exertion. Now please stand back while I contradict myself, because I just finished my first power test for training with power on the Peloton.

So I sat there yesterday, on the bike, spinning up with a fifteen-minute FTP warming class before the actual test. I enjoy classes with Matt Wilpers. He is very knowledgeable and actually rides the whole time he is coaching. [Side note: that is one of my pet peeves about Peloton. There are many “coaches” in the various classes available who like to scream about high cadence, power and effort while standing on the pedals, not pedaling! Side note to the side note: it appears as though many of those “coaches” could use some pedaling.] Anyway, Matt is not one of those. When the FTP test began, I did as Matt instructed and held a cadence and power that he helped me figure out in the warm up. The test worked out in four blocks of five minutes each. I tried to increase my power to test the waters in each block. It hurt. In the end, I had an average power of 262 watts. The bike computer works it out for you and gave me a 249 watt FTP which works out to be a 3.9 watt per kilogram average. I actually think I can do better. There it is . . . my power numbers everyone is blabbing about all of time.

We will see in time just where this goes. It will be interesting to train this off season with power. I know it is still quite a bit in the future, but I like to plan ahead. Who knows? I might take another test before all of this really gets kicked off.

Bon Vélo!

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