Just when I thought we had returned to routine, we’re back to CMCO again. After all my efforts to return to pre-MCO fitness, am I’m going to lose it all again? It feels like taking two steps forward, three steps back.
I’ve been thinking about what I can do this time around to preserve my fitness. I have been toying with the idea of getting a spin bike for home and doing online classes but my one stumbling factor is the bike. In these times of uncertainty, I’m struggling to justify the expense. Even if I could do that, where would I put it so I wouldn’t trip over it, and it wouldn’t annoy everyone else in our little apartment?
#FMR has a Tacx machine that he uses for his road-bike training and when he can’t go out to ride. Since we have almost the same leg length, I thought maybe I could use it. Perhaps I could even do an online spin class on it…
…or maybe not. After getting on it and feeling how wobbly everything is, I’m afraid I’ll break something. Spin moves aren’t exactly gentle and I’m the original bull in a China shop. I can’t even stand in the saddle without feeling like I’m going to wreck it. While I’m sure it can take more than that, I’m still reluctant to test the limits. It’s going to be a costly fix if something gives way. Plus the time out of the saddle will really put #FMR out.
I decided to stick to the safer option and follow the Tacx training program instead. Day 1 was a test ride – an easy 5km trail with no incline. It was surprisingly quite enjoyable. If I could hook up the view onto a bigger screen, I could almost imagine myself out there, pedaling in the sunshine. They even programmed the feel of the road into the system. When I rode over the bridge, I could feel the pedals vibrating as if I was really riding over a bumpy surface.
CMCO Day 2 – the FTP Test
The Tacx app has a lot workouts and rides, but I thought I should do the tests first. They have two – the Ramp Test and the FTP Test. I don’t really know what an FTP test is or what it measures, so I looked it up.
FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power. Measured in watts, FTP is the average power that a rider can produce over the course of an hour.
If you’re training for an event, you can measure FTP every four weeks to track progress. If the number goes up without your weight also increasing, you should have become fitter.
The ideal situation is that FTP has gone up, weight has gone down and heart rate to produce the same power is lower – but unless you’re starting from a fairly low level of fitness it would be incredibly hard to manage all three.Cycling Weekly
I did the FTP for baseline results but based on a comment from Bike Radar Forum, I might not have done it right. According to Kayakerchris: “the final 5 minutes should be at maximum HR and at the time you finish you should be just about fainting in the saddle and your better half should have dialled the first two 9s. Then swear you will never do it ever again. Tomorrow put it in your diary for 8 weeks time”. That was definitely not me. It wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t dying.
If I looked at the session as a workout, 45 minutes is about the duration of my spin classes. 385 calories is about the equivalent burn from a fairly intense class.
My heart rate was not excessively high – 170 bpm for me is still fairly light. 180 is when I start to feel a little breathless. I spent most of the workout in Zone 3 and didn’t even reach Zone 5. I confess I’m not great at pushing myself. If I don’t have someone to give me a kick in the behind, I lose my momentum. It is quite evident when you compare my workout profiles from when I’m in class vs when I go solo.
I’m not really sure what to make of these results. From what I’ve read and understood (correct me if I’m wrong), it’s a good endurance check, but not for speed. That may be all I’m after since the goal is not to lose my stamina. Let’s try this again at the end of the CMCO and see what happens.
Tomorrow: Ramp Test.