I took the first steps in being a bike racer again this weekend, with a nice solid ride out through Voorhesville and Altamont Friday after my last law school exam (forever!). Saturday Gavin and I hit the road for an hour and a half to spin the legs; with two good days under my belt and the legs loosened up it was time for some testing.
I rolled up to the office campus this morning and went about the standard threshold power test I’ve used the last couple years, which is a simple 20 minute tt effort. You can write a dissertation on how to determine FTP. I’ve found the most realistic thing to do is just go blow the door out for an extended time and see what the average is. 20 minutes works well because its not so long that you’re wasted for a while after, and its long enough that you get a useful number. This is pretty unscientific sounding, but when I go back and look at data from races and hard group rides, and combined that with the more elaborate Koncoi style test, the numbers tend to reflect what you get out of a 20 minute tt effort.
So the interesting part – my average 20 minute wattage was 285. That’s not super great, but its about where I started last year. The thing is the start last year was in January, not May, so this will take some effort to get up to speed. By this time last year I was testing around 305 watts. That 20 watt difference is highly notable, but more problematic is weight. I’m about 8 kg heavier than I was this time last year, so the weight increase plus the drop in wattage means I’m not going nearly as fast. But I could have told you that without a power meter.
Right now my FTP watts per kilogram is sitting at a relatively uncompetitive 3.23w/kg. Last year at this time it was 3.8w/kg. That may not seem like a big deal, but its the difference from going up the hill fast, and going out the back fast. Now we’ll see how long it takes to get the watts back up. The plan is to do intervals this week and next, get some sort of race intensity at the smack down rides, and then make my legitimate return to racing at the State Championship Crit in Saratoga May 31. We’ll see what happens….