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VO2 Max Testing!

It really does seem that my vacation days are cursed lately! First day of vacation, and the roads are snow/slush covered again and I am sick, again! I have the week off, and as of Thursday started to feel a bit sick (sore throat, etc.) It didn’t seem to get much worse until, of course, today, my first day of vacation. Today, I am full-blown sick and have no energy to do anything, including write :( It seems like I’ve been sick more this year than in the past three combined! Despite not feeling like writing, I feel I must report on what I did on Saturday…

Mid-last week I was browsing the classifieds at TriRudy (which aren’t Tri-specific of course) and found an add looking for guinea pigs for a uOttawa study. The offer was a free VO2Max test. If the results of the VO2Max test indicate that you meet their testing criteria, you are required to return for two sessions to study sweat rates and body temperatures during exercise. You get the VO2Max test as a reward for ‘donating your body to science.’ Of course this caught my attention, as the free test was interesting, and I am always interested in this type of study, so figured it was time I helped out! I emailed to express interest, and by Saturday morning was on a bike ready for the test!

For those that have never done a VO2Max test (I had not) here’s a run-down of what it was like.

I arrived and met the organizer, Chris. He had me get changed and weighed me in, before hopping on a stationary recumbent bike. I had a large silicone-type breathing apparatus stuck in my mouth, and my nose plugged so I was forced to breathe through my mouth only. I started pedaling, and was told to keep my cadence at 80. The display on the computer in front of me showed the current cadence and wattage. Wattage started at 100W, and Chris incremented it by 20W every minute. Naturally, this was very easy to start – 80RPM and 100W; no big deal. At the 300W mark, things still felt fairly good.. not exactly ‘easy’ but a nice solid effort I felt I could maintain for quite some time. I set a mental goal to try to get to 400W as a minimum, which, I reasoned, was only 5 more minutes of work! However, the move from 320W to 340W immediately felt ‘hard’ very quickly, and it suddenly took some effort to maintain 80RPM. 360W was very challenging, and I began to doubt my goal of 400W. As soon as Chris bumped the power up to 380W, I cracked. I could barely turn the pedals! Test over! Amazing how quickly I went from a sustainable, hard effort (320W), to barely being able to move the pedals!

That’s all for this story, for now. I met the criteria for the testing, which means I will be returning twice more to do some more testing and measuring of sweat rates. After that, I’ll get the results from the VO2Max test. (Chris has them now, but apparently they keep them secret to ensure people com back for their study!) I’m curious to see what the numbers will look like! I’m hoping high 60’s, low 70’s? Somehow I doubt I’ll be in the range of Lance, Miguel, or anyone named Bjørn.

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