By Russ Bartholet

Russ Inside
With a little over three weeks worth of illness and only three rides during that time it is good to be back on the road to recovery. Anyone that has tried to ride when sick knows how difficult and frustrating it can be. Looking back I can now see when I started to get sick. My average power on my normal loop was low, and my heart rate was noticeably higher. I just could not sustain a consistent power output for any length of time. At first I thought I was in a little fitness slump and if I just pushed through my legs would come around. It did not happen.

When I get sick my blood glucose numbers are usually elevated. The blood glucose test is a finger stick blood test that tells a person what their blood sugar is. With higher blood sugars and no change in my diet I know that I am usually fighting an infection of some sort. So after a round of antibiotics and nearly two weeks off of the bike I have started to come around and my power is close to where I was before the sickness forced a short "vacation" from riding.

Getting Started Again
One of the biggest advantages that I have found with the Power Tap is the ability to pace my efforts. Riding based on watts allows me to know how much work I am doing, and if I am going too hard or not hard enough. This has really helped this last week to build up my efforts and to keep me from going too hard too soon.

The plan for the first week back on the bike was to ride at a consistent intensity and build up my time. The first few days were tough and my legs took a bit of convincing to go out the next day. Trying to keep my watts in the lower register for the whole ride was tough, but I needed to rebuild what I lost over the three weeks of sickness and not go too hard too soon.

Russ Outside
Calories Burned
One of my main goals is to try to figure out how I can keep my blood sugar up while I ride. Exercise and insulin are the two ways for a diabetic to burn blood sugar. Riding at a higher intensity burns more sugar than riding at a lower intensity. With the calories burned function on the PowerTap I know how hard I am working. By testing my blood sugar at set intervals during a ride, I have been able to determine, on average, how much sugar I have burned and what I need to eat to maintain my energy.

Endurance

Over the last few months while using the PowerTap SL and doing similar workouts each week, I have been able to identify how my body reacts to different intensities. The other night I went out for an endurance ride and wanted to test my theory of eating and fueling based on my calories burned. This way I would not have to stop and test my blood every 45". After a 15" warm up I planned to stay in my endurance zone for the length of the ride. No intervals, no threshold-zone riding, and no coasting on the downhill. I was aiming for a consistent, sustained effort.
Everything went according to plan. I refueled based on my calories burned and watched my watts to make sure I did not go too hard or slack off on the downhill. Riding with the PowerTap SL is a great tool that allows me to know just how much fuel I have burned and what I need to eat to maintain my energy.

Intervals
I have been told that if I want to get faster, I need to do intervals. There are many different ways to go about building speed and burning fat. Typically, as you burn fat you also get faster. Intervals help build explosive speed, stamina, and strengthen. This is a common workout for me to do on my Cyclops Fluid Trainer. It breaks up the time spent riding by making me watch the clock and keep my average watts in the prescribed range. In a little over an hour on the trainer I have put in solid workout.
After a 15" warm up I start out in the lower end of my endurance zone, and maintain this wattage for the entire workout. Every five minutes I give a 10-15 second effort in the 350-400 watts range. This is seated while trying to spin at a high cadence. It has been a very effective way for me to drop weight and build up leg strength. Plus, these intervals make the time on the trainer go by pretty fast.

Graph


Results
In the short amount of time that I have been using the PowerTap SL 2.4 I have seen some great results. My time spent riding has been much more focused and I have found that I have been riding more. By following a plan and not just going out to hammer for an hour or two a few times during the week has allowed me to ride more and not get burned out after a few weeks.

The Power Agent software is a great tool to chart what you have done and record the progress. It has been a motivation to get up and ride before work, or get on the trainer before going to bed knowing that I need to download the ride to track my progress. Accountability is a great motivator.

With the many different books and software programs that provide guidance and help to formulate a training plan a power meter is a wonderful piece of equipment for anyone looking to improve their fitness.

Racers are called on to prove their fitness during races. Club riders are challenged during the Wednesday Night Worlds or the Saturday morning group rides. Very few people have 3-4 hours a day to ride and a PowerTap allows anyone to maximize the time that is available. My recovery rides have been slower and my hard interval rides have been harder. I have lost weight during this time trying to identify how my diabetes reacts to different intensities. I attribute the weight loss to consistent riding and making the time tat I do have available count. Wattage is a simple and even way to determine how much energy you are putting out. Riding daily and following my PowerTap has better controlled my diabetes. The PowerTap system is easy to use and very straightforward-Money well spent.