Mid-season layoff mystery

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by kmavm, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    Friends,

    I've been away from the bike between June 15th and the 25th. I had an opportunity to do a backpacking trip in Colorado that I simply couldn't pass up. The trip was just lovely, and it was more than worth sacrificing some bike fitness for it.

    However, I may have made some fitness gains, and I don't understand how this can be. I've yet to do a full-on FT test, but I feel outrageously "frisky", and my training partners are making jokes about me disappearing to the mountains to load up on EPO. More objectively, my 1 min power is way, WAY up. My previous best 1min MMP was 430W, and that was rested, fed, hydrated, super-motivated, etc. On my second day back on the bike, I put down a 1 minute 500W effort under way less optimal conditions, and it didn't feel completely maximal (i.e., I wasn't puking/falling off the bike at the end).

    What gives? I would think that this sort of L6/AWC fitness would be the first to detrain. I wasn't doing much specific L6 work at all before the trip. Where did this AWC improvement (and apparent, though as yet unconfirmed, FT improvement) come from? Was I chronically overreached before my trip? Am I responding to altitude (went from sea level to 10 days between 8000 and 11000 ft)? Was the backpacking "activity" enough to make the trip more of a taper than a true lay-off (typically I was hiking at a L1-L2 RPE for 3-6 hours a day)?

    I look forward to seeing what happened to my FT. I'll try the 0.95 * 20min test later this week (yes, I know it's fraught with problems, but it's what I've used in the past).
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Depending on your volume/intensity prior to your trip, you may be experiencing the tapering effect, with the detraining effect yet to come. I find that when I am putting in lots of volume and intensity (e.g., 15+ hrs/wk of volume and 6+ hrs/wk at L4+) that my power goes up for at least a week when I cut back on my volume (even when I don't ride at all for a week). I have always attributed this to the tapering effect (as distinguished from an overtraining effect). Basically, I was riding in a perpetual state of (at least some) fatigue before. Which is fine with me, so long as the fatigue doesn't get in the way of progress. I actually like seeing my numbers increase when I am fatigued because I know it's real.
     
  3. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    "Chronically overreaching" may be the answer. The rest may not have been as good as a true taper, but worked pretty well, apparently.

    From reading the little teases left around here and on the wattage list about the training manager, "form" seems to simply boil down to a combination of long term training and short term freshness.
     
  4. giantdrag

    giantdrag New Member

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    Interesting you should be experiencing this as I am having a similar experience although mine is somewhat planned. I dont have any power values to compare yet as I havent actually got fully into power traing other than on my imagic (which im not riding much at the moment, biut did loads in winter and spring).

    This is the second year running that I have had a lay off in June and nearly for the entire month. Last June/July after several weeks of just racing Wednesday and a few Sundays, with very low intensity spin rides in between, I finally broke the hour for a 25 miler here on the "hilly isle of wight" a few weeks later i was down in the low 59,s and almost into the 21's for a 10 mile TT, and all that with not a lot of training. Added to this I went to the Isle of Wight rock festival and the Glastonbury Festival and drank a lot of beer, just to wind down!This year I have done exactly the same thing but this time I have made massive improvements in just three weeks. It was all I could do to get under the hour at end of May, two weeks ago I diod a 58.06 for a 25 and last night annihalated my 25 time and did a 57.47, spinning at times a 55x11 at 75-80 rpm without much problem on the flat.

    I put this down to having probably, as you mentioned, overreached in the months before, but at the same time having done so major power workouts and cyclo cross during the winter. The moment I started to rest and taper I make these big improvements and at the mment it doesnt look like stopping there. The question is, when do I start to pick it up again, the cross season is still three months away and I dont want to burn out.

    I guess it just shows the importance of rest before and after an event and at the right stage of a long season.
     
  5. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    I know the source of your apparent boost in performance ability, but for once I'm going to keep the secret to myself. ;)

    BTW, I predict that your 20 min TT power won't be significantly higher (and might be lower) than before your trip.
     
  6. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    Creatine charged? What else would cause 1 min to peak while 20 min suffers? (If Andy's suggestion bears fruit).

    What about your HR values? You may see those go through the roof in the first week back. That usually happens when you're well rested.

    You might not say you were overtrained before, but just experiencing sufficient training load. I think too many people mix up overtraining with cumulative fatigue.
     
  7. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    The phrase that I came up with to help explain the Training Manager idea was "form equals fitness plus freshness". However, I'd say that stands true regardless of whether you buy into the concepts behind that tool or not.
     
  8. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Absolutely. I just think it's super cool that "form," which is usually given mythical, blessed properties by cyclists (and athletes in general, I guess) can boil down to a mathematical model.
     
  9. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Hmmm.... I wonder if it has anything to do with the altitude tent which Andy has taken barbs for using at Nationals in the past.... ;)
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Cool. Mysteries. Secrets. Cue the music, this is getting good.:cool:
     
  11. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Yeah, instead of a mythical property, it's been boiled down to a mythical mathematical model.... :p
     
  12. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    (overlay movie preview voice)

    "In the most exciting new drama of the summer....

    one cyclist baffles his riding partners with new-found anaerobic capabilities

    with awesome attacks, stunning leadouts, and more dramatic field sprints than ever before, you can't afford to miss...


    What Happened in Colorado

    coming soon to a group ride near you...."
     
  13. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    And just watch, by the time it's ready for release to the masses, what will happen? AC will get paid off by a Grand Tour contender to keep the software private.:D
     
  14. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Are you kidding? I get the impression that it's hard enough to get veteran racers and coaches to believe a power meter, let alone some computer program, to tell them when they're doing things right. :p
     
  15. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Obviously, so do I.
     
  16. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    To quote Mulder from the X Files:

    "The truth is out there."*

    *Although you do have to know where to look for it, and to recognize it when you see it.
     
  17. BlueJersey

    BlueJersey New Member

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    Maybe his vo2max power went up????

     
  18. jbvcoaching

    jbvcoaching New Member

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    Sure it's hard, but we're gonna give it a try anyway.
    http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=3647

    Dates should also be coming up in OH, CO, and possibly Dallas this fall.
     
  19. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and claim that 70W over 1min is a real, no-scare-quotes, "boost", not merely an "apparent boost." Granted, that boost may have come at the expense of some other performance parameter. Time will tell.

    Ahh, but you've just destroyed the integrity of the experiment by telling me that! Placebo effect, and all. Unless, of course, you anticipate that my 20 min power will be higher, and you're only telling me it won't be higher to help neutralize any psychological boost... ;)
     
  20. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Actually, I'm not sure why I even put the word "apparent" into that sentence...I guess just out of habit, because I do believe that your 1 min power went up 70 W (having experienced essentially the same thing myself on several occasions...to the point that I was able to predict a priori to someone that I'd be able to significantly exceed my normal 1 min best of ~540 W when I next gave it a shot).

    Actually, the reason I made that prediction is because the factors that determine performance over 1 min and over 20 min are largely (albeit not entirely) different. IOW, I wasn't implying any sort of placebo effect.
     
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