Now what? Saturday was my final official Time-Crunched Cyclist Plan workout. Well, the first thing for me to do is to look back on the affect the plan has had on my cycling.
The first obvious thing to me is that the plan rescued my cycling. This is attributed directly to the point that the plan is for the “Time-Crunched” cyclist. At a time when I felt I wouldn’t be able to ride my bicycle at the same level of years past, this plan gave me something to test. Perhaps it wouldn’t deliver. Perhaps it would. However, for at least 12 weeks, it gave me something to motivate me to go forward.
Regardless of how the plan might have improved my power, it was worth it. It got me through a time when I was thinking about hanging up the bike and got me back into the saddle. It didn’t take too long after that to have the thrill and love of the ride to return. To compound things the plan helped keep the training from becoming a burden and thus taking away what it gave.
But what about that power? Has the plan lived up to what Chris Carmichael says it can do? Well, I can share with you some initial anecdotal evidence of its success. I hope that within a week, I will be able to share more specific data that compares where I was at the start of the plan with where I am now and farther in the past.
On my last workout, I finished in shock and not sure I could really accept the data I was seeing. If it is accurate then there is no doubt that the plan has delivered, and I’ll be using it again. Here’s hoping that it is!
My plan called for an Over/Under workout. This is a part of the plan where the rider is to complete a SteadyState Interval at 254 to 266 watts (this is the Under portion). Then you do a ClimbingRepeat Interval at 288 to 296 watts (this is the Over portion). Finally, you finish things off with another SteadyState Interval.
I headed for the CVS side of Paris Mountain. This would be a challenge to keep the wattage low enough. I gingerly started the climb trying to keep the average at a manageable 270 watts. After 13 minutes, I pressed the lap button with an average of 277 watts. It is safe to say that it was pretty easy.
Returning to base of the mountain, I decided to extend the ClimbingRepeat Interval to go to the top of the mountain. If I was lucky, I might land a PR on the climb. That would put me at the top in about 15 minutes.
I decided to set 320 watts as my targeted average. No matter how I felt, I would keep it under control. Granted, that was well above the prescribed wattage target. However, I have been exceeding that direction for the entire time I’ve been using the plan.
Fifteen minutes and thirty-eight seconds later I reached the top. It was my fastest climb since I’ve made attempts on time. Not only that, it moved me up into the fourth fastest time on the Strava leader board. Beyond that? I reached the top with more left in the tank. That was after climbing for 15 minutes at 350 watts.
As I was finishing the climb, I heard Matt Jaeggli call my name on the tower road above me. I rode up and we spent a bit of time talking. It gave me an opportunity to recover farther. As we talked, I mentioned that I doubted I would make an attempt on the Furman side anytime soon.
We rode to the bottom and I turned right toward Travelers Rest and Matt turned left back toward Greenville. However, it wasn’t but a few yards from the turn that I felt the temptation to attempt another climb. I was feeling so very good, I thought I might as well go ahead and turn my final SteadyState Interval into a ClimbingRepeat.
My approach was to go up the Furman side the way I did the CVS side. I had climbed the CVS side at 350 watts. I would do the same here on the Furman side. Even at times when I felt I could push it, I would keep the wattage under control. Then, I would attack on The Wall with what I had left.
As I started spinning up the climb, I was amazed at how I was feeling. I kept glancing down and seeing the wattage staying above 300 watts. To my knowledge, it never dipped below that threshold. I can’t remember the time I’ve done that before.
I refused to look at the time. I just kept checking the power. Then I reached The Wall. I waited until my traditional starting point for the attack and then went at it. I was able to drive to the KOM line with power. Again, that is something I have not been able to do in many months.
I finished the climb in a time of 12:23 — 2 seconds slower than my PR for 2012 (which, by the way, I managed to reach on the previous Thursday). My average power was 380 watts. It was impossible to compare my wattage results this time with my PR because I did not use my power meter on the PR attempt.
Returning home, I had time to think about my experience of the day. I was left wondering if my power meter was off. I had reason to wonder because I had just had the chain rings replaced and this was the first climbing attempt since the replacement. What if the Quarq CinQo was knocked off its calibration when the chain ring it was integrated into was replaced?
The counter argument was the fact that my perceived exertion was surprisingly low for the efforts. I’m not saying the final climb was easy, but I kept looking down and feeling shocked that I was getting the wattage I was with the exertion I felt. However, a time of 12:23 was hard to argue. A Personal Record at a managed perceived exertion gave a bit of credence to numbers.
So, what to think… I think I am going to have to do a power test. That will give me something concrete to evaluate. If it is an unreasonable increase in power, then I’ll know the power meter is off. If it is a reasonable increase in power, then I’ll have reason to believe that the Time-Crunched Cyclist Plan is something I’ll be using again.