So it’s Thursday September 15, 2016. Two weeks from tomorrow Fiona and I fly from Alice Springs, Australia to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and eight days later we compete in the Ironman World Championship for the first time! The season has really come together and our gains are really starting to show! I haven’t seen my parents since Fiona and I got married in June 2014 so it will be great to see Dad & Donna, Mom & Tony, all making the long journey from New Jersey/New York to Kona to join our support crew/cheer squad.
What Dad/Donna will see is someone way stronger than his 10:20 at Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2012 or his 10:40 at Challenge Wanaka in 2013. And Mom/Tony will both see Fiona and myself way stronger than Challenge Atlantic City from 2014. We’re excited to show them what Kona is truly all about and I’m also very excited for my mother in-law to see now 3 of her 4 kids competing in Kona. (Jacinta was there in 2009) but, all 4 are Ironman athletes.
Ok here’s to the point of this post.
Six weeks ago I performed an FTP test 4 days after our first Big Day Out which is essentially 8 hours of race-pace simulation. I improved from 334Watts heading into Ironman Cairns to 348Watts over a 9 week period. I worked hard but couldn’t get the HR to my traditional LTHR which told me that I was leaving power on the table and capable of more. My LTHR on that day was 149. I went out at 347, dropped to 345, and picked it up to 351 in 10 minute intervals.
This time our BDO was on Saturday, so we had an extra day of rest. The training during the week was essentially the same as the last test.
Sunday was completely off, we went for Brunch eating a typical breaky eating meat for the first time since post-Cairns, then we went to the Casino and watched UFC 203 which was awesome with more junk food and beer. Wine and Champagne that night, back to it on Monday.
Mon-Rec Swim 32min 1.5k
Tues – Quality Robbo Swim – 82min, 4.3km. Cycle 30min rec
Wed – 36min 4.6mile easy run, 1hr spin on the trainer easy
Thurs – 6AM Quality Robbo Swim – 87min, 4.8km, then bike to work recovery 55min.
During the day I had a Clif Bar, SIS bar, Oatmeal, carrot/hummus, leftover Lentil/Risotto, and vegan protein shake with Chia/Flax. I did have a Coke to get some sugar and caffeine in me as well. I had a caffeine tablet 30min before, Clif Shot Bloks 15min before and had 1 bottle of Cytomax and 1 bottle of water. The temperature was 75F/23C which was slightly warmer than 6 weeks ago. I wore shorts, a thermal top, and a wind breaker top.
So I didn’t know what I was going to do but I read my blog entry from my last test to get some ideas. The plan was to go out at 370watts for the first 10min, try and maintain in the next 10, and then try and hold on. Last time, I had gone out at what I thought my FTP might be and tried to pick it up throughout. My plan was to also turn right down the S. Stuart Highway instead of turning North to avoid going over the RR tracks, have a slight incline, and ride into the headwind.
I headed out for 5min warm up and then got right into it. I know the road so was pretty much glued to my Garmin without having to look up. I was on 375watts and maintaining but then it started to fall towards the 10min mark just missing my goal at 369watts. My HR really climbed to where I should be at 154/155 but thought it could be 1-2bpm too high.
The next 10min hurt but I was able to minimize major fall-off. My HR was really high and I felt very anaerobic. I watched the 2nd 10min piece fall to 355watts and tried to do the calculation of what a 20min FTP test at 95% would do; nope, 30min it is.
The next 5min things were starting to come undone, I was sitting up for long sections now to activate more of my glutes and use the wind resistance for help. I tried to do a few efforts for focus and finished the next 10min in 349 watts.
By the time I finished I was so anaerobic I had to stop. I went to the side of the road and just sat on the red dirt remembering that the last time I had done this was in Pomonal, Victoria during our IM’WA Training Camp in October 2015. I hadn’t gone this hard since then.
It was a mistake to wear the thermal and wind breaker, I felt like I overheated and sweat a ton, it led to a near bonk by the end of the ride. An increase in power by 2.6% in 6 weeks is quite significant but not surprising. I was better rested and increased my fitness over this time. More importantly, as I was able to increase my HR effort by 2.3% the power followed. I will even extrapolate an implied FTP of 360 based upon a HR 1% higher when I shed more fatigue and increase my form. Now these are big numbers and equivalent or higher than several Professionals. However, they weigh 145-160 pounds and I weigh 178 pounds. So the true metric of comparison puts me on 4.41w/kg for this 30min effort which increases me further into a Category II rider but not yet into a Cat 1 rider and not yet at a professional caliber.
According to Jim Vance, author of Triathlon 2.0, former professional triathlete, and student to Joe Friel, My FTP of 357 is greater than Craig Alexander, Tim Reed, and Tim O’Donnell. Now that’s pretty cool but doesn’t mean shit. Again, THEIR w/kg were 5.19, 5.0, 4.58 at FTP. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I don’t really know, at 7.5% body fat, I don’t have a lot of weight to lose. I’ll just have to get stronger! Reference: https://www.facebook.com/jim.vance/posts/10153867566186031
Additionally, on page 43 of his book he says that an Under 40 qualifier for Kona is 4.0+ w/kg at FTP, yep, I had that but an Elite Contender is 4.8w/k @ ftp and an elite podium contender is 5.0w/kg @ ftp. Nope, not yet.
I headed back into town at Z2 looking for Fiona. I saw her go by and cheered her on. I caught up with her on the road to Santa Theresa and was happy to know she improved her FTP from 221 to 237. It’s not a PB yet but she was sick for a whole week a couple weeks back and she also is not used to the V02 Max/Anaerobic effort. I grabbed some Clif Shot Bloks and a salt tablet from her and then let her drag me into town in her draft.
And to use a the Power Profile Chart from Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan Training and Racing with a Power Meter, Fiona is actually stronger than me at her 3.95w/kg @ FTP. She just edges in front of me but is also a Cat II rider. But in the same analysis using Jim Vance’s book, Fiona is above the 3.9w/kg @ftp which is anUnder 40 qualifier, yep got that. But not too far away from being an Elite competitor at 4.0+. The Podium is 4.25+ and she is stronger than some pros. So yes, Fiona is still more powerful than me. Girls rule in our house and that includes Coach Sydney!
Much thanks to our local sponsors who are helping Fiona, Karen McPherson (who also did her own BDO in Cairns today), and myself in representing Australia with new Tri Kits, Gear, and money to be used to get us to Kona: NT Government, Triathlon Australia NT (Megan Pickering), All Electrical (Duncan Rogers), Elder Real Estate (Joanne Pulsford), Exact Homes (Jack Page), Territory Rural McPherson (Jock McPherson, TMS Mechanical (Lynn and Pete Treis), BIG4 Maconnell Range Caravan Park (Brendan Heenan), Alice Springs Physiotherapy, the Rec Association (Helen Kindness), and support from the Darwin Triathlon Club.
Additionally, thanks to Fiona, Joe Friel for writing Your Best Triathlon, Jim Vance for writing Triathlon 2.0, and Hunter Allen/Andrew Coggan for writing Training and Racing with a Power Meter. You have also all responded to emails and questions over the last several years which has really helped and helps me continue to spread the word about how to properly train! Thank you!