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Renewed Motivation and VO2Max Part II

After my last post, you may have noticed I was a bit down, both mentally and physically. I took the entire week off, and only rode the bike to work (2km each way.) No road rides, no TT rides, no MTB rides, no ‘cross rides. It actually felt good! No stress, no physical pain, just relaxing time to recover. I did feel a bit guilty skipping our usual Wednesday night group ride, but a combination of the possible thunderstorms, and a nice excuse to head to Ottawa made the decision a bit easier!  As if it knew I was burnt out, life provided me with some nice motivation to get me going again.  (I’ll share the three best with you below!) By Monday night, I was ready to roll, and actually felt surprisingly good once I got going–able to put in a couple of long hard pulls!

So… just what appeals to my cycling-exhausted brain during a week of recovery? The first piece was this video that Rick forwarded. It got me out of the ‘fixed on cycling’ mindset, and reminded me how much I love winter and the joys of having distinct seasons. Now, instead of being saddened by the increasing darkness, I can celebrate the approach of this:

Beautiful! As a sidenote: Rick, I think I need some more skate-ski lessons ;)

The second piece of motivation was this article that popped up in my feed reader. It was very timely, and worth a read. The beauty of this article is it applies to many areas of life; you probably have something of your own that this speaks to.

The third inspirational tidbit came from none other than Danny MacAskill. This man defies all description, and you need to watch this video even if you don’t like bikes. For me, a switch from road riding and a reminder of just how fun/beautiful riding a bike can be is just what I needed!

On Monday, I received an email asking if I could redo my VO2Max test on Tuesday. I immediately confirmed that I could take the afternoon off work, and agreed to be ready for the test at 1:30. Similar to last time (see my posts about the initial test here and here) I headed off to the Thermal Ergonomics Lab at uOttawa. After the last test on a recumbent bike, I was hoping to re-do the test on an upright bike, and with a bit more fitness.  Apparently, test results tend to be ~5% higher on the upright bike.

The test went the same as last time, starting at 100watts, and increasing 20 watts every minute until failure. I was feeling quite strong, and motivated to push through the 400 watt barrier that was my limit last time. When I hit 380watts  (my failure point previously)  I was in a significant amount of pain, but able to continue. 400? Same thing. 420? Whoa.. this is getting hard folks! As soon as the power bumped up to 440, I was done. I made it maybe 15 seconds before collapsing in a sweaty mess. I was pretty happy with this, going from 380 to 420 as a max over the last test.

After a cooldown and some water, I had a look at the results. My max VO2 L/Min was 4.559, which works out to: 67.2 mL/kg/min. Wait. What? Last time, I came in at 71.7! Well, apparently there were some ‘anomalies’ which may be a result of calibration errors in my last test. Weird, and a bit disappointing. However, these values look a bit more ‘likely’ and are still pretty good! I had hoped to better the previous results, but I guess I can’t complain too much with the new values either!

Some of the numbers:

  • max VO2 L/Min: 4.559, which works out to: 67.2 mL/kg/min
  • max wattage (at failure point): 440w
  • max volume of CO2: 4.873 L/min
  • max breaths per minute: 63
  • max heart rate: 193 bpm

Looking at these numbers, it appears that my lactate threshold is around the 340 or 360 watt mark, which corresponds with a heart rate of about 172-179. Very interesting; it’s quite similar to the last test, and also very similar to my average heart rate in a Time Trial situation (which seems to be very steady at 178, 178, & 179 for the last three TTs I have done.) This makes me quite happy, as it means I’m not slacking off as much as I thought I was in the TTs–I’m holding my average HR right at the upper limit of my lactate threshold. It would be nice to be able to do it a bit ‘steadier’ instead of overshooting and then recovering, so perhaps I should pay more attention to my HR as I’m racing. Food for thought for next time!

That’s all for now! I may play with some graphs and numbers a bit further. If I do, it’ll be a separate post!

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