Friday, 3 January 2014

Bike Lactate Test

After the success that was my running lactate threshold test in mid November.

I decided my biking could benefit from the same procedure. I didn't want to end up training with junk miles and what can I say I'm a sucker for data.

I contacted Blizard Physio and arranged the appointment for while I was still on leave from work.

I knew the format for the test and despite this was even more scared this time round. Why was I scared? Well before my run lactate I knew I was not a great runner but I thought I was a half decent cyclist and this would confirm if this was the case.

So I drove over to Blizard Physio HQ and met Kevin Dawson who would be undertaking my test.

This is Kevin Dawson the 11 time British Best All Rounder cyclist,  Kevin Dawson who finished 5th at Outlaw in 2013 (whilst setting the quickest bike split by 9 minutes), Kevin Dawson who is a member of the WR holding RAAM team.

To be fair the bloke is a cycling legend and do you know something he's a belting bloke as well. We hit  it off straighaway. He made me feel at ease immediately.

This is what I love about Blizard Physio. The people who do the testing have a wealth of knowledge in their field from competing at the top for several years.

Kevin set my bike up on a Cateye Cyclosimulator and fitted a power meter to my bike. Kevin then got me to warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace. After that he asked me what pace I thought we should start at. He queried 19mph but as my warm up had been circa 20mph I suggested this as the starting point.

So I pedalled along keeping the speed as close as I could to 20mph. After 3 minutes it was time to give some blood so the lactate content could be measured.

Kevin was keeping record of my HR, cadence, RPE and power output at regular intervals.

The RPE scale
This procedure was repeated at 21mph, 22mph, 23mph, 24mph, 25mph and 26mph with my blood being examined every 3 minutes. Kevin made me feel at ease and the banter took my mind of the work that I was putting in.

After the interval at 26mph all the required data had been collected and this portion of the test was completed.

Now for the really hard part of the test. What is my body capable of? I didn't perform this part of the test during my running lactate.

This part of the test involved 1 minutes intervals with the speed increasing by 1mph after each minute.

Kevin recorded my HR, cadence, RPE and power output at each one minute interval.

I'm not going to lie and pretend that this part of the test was fun because it bloody destroyed me but I cycled for one minute intervals at 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30mph and then stopped. My maximum average power output for one interval was 307 watts.

After I stopped I was broken, sweating from head to foot with a severe case of jelly legs but after 4-5 minutes of easy spinning I was back to normal. I went to shower while Kevin prepared my results and report.

Kevin prepared my report which gave me 7 levels for HR on the bike. Kevin explained that it would be more beneficial if I could train with a power meter as you are either in the correct power range or not whereas training to HR can be affected by many different factors (temperature, hydration levels, etc…)

The 7 levels I have been given can be seen below. Given I don't have a power meter I will be using these HR zones in my bike training from now on. Kevin also prepared me a sample two week plan which I can combine with the rest of my training plan to get me to the start line in Austria. I will combine both of these plans to come up with my own plan. Part Kevin Dawson / part Don Fink.

The surprising thing about the test was how close my threshold power output of 211 watts was to the theoretical threshold power output of 205 watts as estimated by Trainer Road during my 8 minute test the other week. As long as I kept my power output below 211 watts I could keep that output up for an hour which is equivalent to an Olympic distance triathlon.

Kevin then said he was impressed with my power outputs given I have only ridden my bike 22 times since Outlaw in July 2013 and said with the right training I could add 50 watts to my threshold power output.

To put this into context some pros at Kona in 2013 rode the bike course while outputting 285 watts and I could theoretically output 260 watts.

Wowsers. I always knew I felt more at home on the bike then when running.

Now for the flip side most pros at Kona weigh 11 - 12 stone whereas my weight today was 15 stone 10 pounds. Their power to weight ratios are significantly better then mine

If we take a pro weighing 12 stone (76kg) outputting 285 watts their ratio would be 3.75w/kg.

If we take me outputting 260 watts my ratio at my current weight would be 2.62 w/kg. As you can see this differs greatly from that of a pro. But if I lost 1 stone 10 pounds (which I think is achievable) my ratio would be 2.95 w/kg.

So the key to improving my bike splits lies in losing weight.

Kevin commented that my power output was significantly higher than that of some international age groupers which he was impressed with especially given the lack of bike riding I have done.

Kevin summed up my report by writing the following

"Good bike test Michael, for the amount of training you have put in recently on the bike it's a really good test. Switching the emphasis from the run to the bike will hopefully improve both disciplines

2014 starts today"

So guess what 2014 does start today with the aim being lose weight, more hours on the bike and concentrate on increasing run distance and keep going to the track sessions.

Bring it on.

This is the year where I see what this body of mine is capable of.

Thanks to everyone at Blizard for their help in helping me "be all that I can be"

Thanks for reading,


Edit 5/1/13

I thought it prudent to update my spreadsheet which details my HR zones following my bike lactate test and in a word I am floored by the differences which exist between my theoretical HR zones (using the 220 minus age method) and my actual scientifically proven HR zones.

My running HR zones are significantly higher than the theoretical running HR zones whereas my cycling HR zones are significantly lower then the theoretical cycling HR zones. I guess this proves I am more of a cyclist than a runner.

1 comment:

  1. Girls believe that they will turn into the female Incredible Hulk if they start training. This is a concern that many women that are curious about triathlon strength training have, so don't feel really bad. You're probably thinking, "Well it's pretty hard to drop a few pounds anyhow, why would I want to spend time getting bigger looking? Triathlons are bicycling, swimming, and running. How are bicep curls and push-ups going to help use train for a triathlon?"

    triathlon training for beginners