Bought or Earned?

The best part of the ride – The view from Lookout Mountain towards Denver, CO… Also not so exciting to think that I would had to ride 18 miles back through Colfax Ave to get home!

Two week sfter not touching my bike since I got off it after winning the team pursuit at elite track nationals, I decided that it was time to get my winter training rolling. Monday was just a short 10min spin on the rollers… I had planned to do a MAP test but soon realized that there wasn’t enough resistance to complete that. Abort mission! One hurdle that I have where I’m living (despite Colorado being a hotbed for cycling) is that the nearest climb I can use for a 20min FTP test is about 19 miles west at Lookout Mountain near Golden. On Tuesday after work I decided to head out west to try and do a test and see where my fitness is at.

The ride from Lowry where I live out to Lookout Mountain is quite a bit shittier than I expected. I’ve ridden some shitty places but the route I took (E. Alameda > Cherry Creek > Colfax > 6th) sucked balls to say the least. For one, riding 20 miles in a straight line while feeling like I was never getting closer to the mountains I could see ahead of me wasn’t the most exciting thing ever. I estimated that I’d make it out there in under an hour, but thanks to the gradual climb all the way out there combined with 100+ traffic lights and a few stops to check google maps to make sure I was heading the right direction, it took over an hour.

Finally I made it to the climb that I got my ass kicked on pretty badly the weekend for elite track nats. That was far from a happy day finishing 30th our of 31 in a race that I’d normally destroy. I passed a couple guys and gave a nod / wave as I rode by, then got down to business with my FTP test. I figured I might be at a low 300watts, so minus 5% or so for the elevation, 285w was the target in the beginning with the plan that I’d push more if I felt better. 5mins into the effort and 285w was a chore… One of the guys that I passed decided he was going to catch me, ride my wheel, the proceeded to have a conversationwith me. First mistake I made was wearing my national champ jersey from 2009… “Did you earn that or buy it?” was the first question our of his mouth. WTF. I played nice and talked a bit but having someone trying to yack away with you when you rode 18 shitty miles to do the test that you’re currently goosing is definitely an 11 on the 1-10 scale of irritating. I hit stop on the SRM for the interval, cruised for 10sec, then decided to keep plugging away. I started a new interval, but after 5min at little over 200w it was obvious something wasn’t right so I pulled the rip cord. The last FTP test I did was at about 345w, so even with the effects of altitude, a 300w should not be hard to achieve. Struggling to do a ride close to 285w is definitely not my usual self.

There could be lots of reasons… Hydration, Iron levels etc. so the first step I’ll take is getting some blood work done this week. At the least, that will eliminate or confirm what is causing my lack of watts. After 2-months living at 5400ft I should be acclimated!