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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm just starting the Time Crunched Cyclist program, and figured I'd bore you all with a thread documenting my progress, and hopefully, some results. Please feel free to post any questions, comments, suggestions, or ignore it completely.

Background: I'm 6'-3", 42 years old, and have been riding road and MTBs on and off, but fairly consistently, for the last seven or eight years. I did race some crits from about '90-93 in the DC area; typically mid-field Cat 3, got burned out, but now live in one of the perfect cycling areas (Columbia River Gorge). I've really gotten back into road riding this season, and dropped from the upper 190s to 180 lb, currently, which of course has helped my climbing tremendously.

All our riding here is hilly, windy, or hilly and windy. We have an excellent Saturday morning group training ride, so one of my goals is to be near the front of that, and also climb well enough to be somewhat competitive in Masters 40+ road races. I haven't raced in 17 years, but I plan to do cross, starting September 18th. The Oregon State road race champs is this weekend, and I'm considering doing that, as sort of a baseline test. I haven't ever used a structured training program, but wanted to give the TCCP a shot. I've been riding 8-12 hours most weeks during the summer, but that's more than I can do in the spring and fall, as the days get shorter. With the good base I have now, I decided to try the Experienced Competitor program, but I'll give myself the option of backing off to the New Competitor program, if I can't handle the training load.

Hopefully some of you with better things to do have signed off, already.

The first step in the program is to do the CTS Field Test, consisting of a 13-minute warm-up protocol, and two 8-minute max efforts with 10 minutes between. I found a consistent hill of 4.1% avg grade, which I rode twice (Splits 2 and 4), with an average HR of 168 each time, which will be used to determine my training zones for the rest of the program. Unfortunately, I did not have a working power meter at that time.
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/42368604
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
TCCP Week 1

I've now completed the first two workouts in Week 1. Monday was an 82-minute Endurance Miles (EM) ride on one of our standard short loops (23 miles with 1,900' of climbing). I now have a borrowed PowerTap wired hub, which I hope will allow me to track my progress a little better. For EM I'm not supposed to go over about 155 BPM, and on the one 10-minute climb (Split 5), I averaged 150 BPM and 299W. Ride total was 1090kJ.
http://connect.garmin.com/splits/42942639

Tuesday was the first 3x10 minute SteadyState (SS) interval workout. I picked about the flattest local roads I could find, and did each effort slightly uphill and into the wind. My SS HR is 155-158, and I averaged 318-322W for each effort. I found the first one mentally quite difficult, but the next two not quite so bad. The power meter display was all over the place, so I couldn't pace myself off of that, but the PowerAgent plot (attached) shows that I started a little hard (over 350W, trying to get my HR up quickly), then held a pretty steady output (considering the rolling hills, and turns I had to make). I should be able to adjust the PT display update/averaging rate to make it more useable for Thursdays ride, which will be the same workout.
http://connect.garmin.com/splits/43074010

If I assume that 320W was in the middle of my SS range, or 88% of what my CTS Field Test power would be, that would work out to 364W for the Field Test, or 4.44W/kg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
rubbersoul said:
Interesting. Don't forget to write your blog using the scientific principle!
Well, I'm an engineer, so I like to geek out with the data, at least until I get bored with it. I don't limit myself to any particular rules, though.
 

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Can these workouts be done on a stationary trainer to, more or less, the same effect? I've been trying to find a good training plan for the winter that won't interfere with school.
 

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oroy38 said:
Can these workouts be done on a stationary trainer to, more or less, the same effect? I've been trying to find a good training plan for the winter that won't interfere with school.
Yes, just make sure you have a fan blowing on you. You will get quite hot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Would you really prefer that over my random, rambling, writing style? I'll see what I can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
This is the start of Week 8 for me, so I've finished the last build week. I chose the Experienced Competitor program, which might've been a bit optimistic, because I failed to complete all of the three or two-minute intervals in a couple of the hardest weeks (3 and 7). One problem is probably that I cheat on the weekends and ride (or race) longer, so I'm not well enough rested for the short but difficult weekday evening workouts. It's also very difficult mentally to complete those efforts when riding by yourself, but I guess that's part of the training. The program was a significant drop in volume and increase in intensity for me.

I haven't done the Field Test again, since the beginning, and when I do that on the same course in a couple more weeks I'll have a pretty good idea how much faster I can climb the same hill. I did borrow (and then buy) a PowerTap during the first week, so I've been using that, which is extremely helpful for pacing intervals (or hill-climbs, TTs, etc.), and quanitifying your fitness.

I have had a number of PRs on climbs in the last few weeks, and I estimate that my FTP has increased from about 300 to 320W, over a 5% improvement. Combined with losing some weight, I've gotten a ton faster compared to my local riding buddies that are not doing a structured program. So, I'd say it's worked very well. It's hard to say if it's worked optimally, any canned program isn't going to be perfect for everyone.

I might try it again next spring, but I plan to do the Mt. Hood stage race in June, and I don't think it's the best program for longer races, or consecutive days of racing.
 

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oroy38 said:
Can these workouts be done on a stationary trainer to, more or less, the same effect? I've been trying to find a good training plan for the winter that won't interfere with school.
Actually, they're ideal on an indoor trainer with a power meter. You can maintain exactly the effort prescribed for exactly the right time intervals without traffic or time to get to or from where you normally ride (e.g for those that live in urban areas). As short as many of the rides are, I think they're perfect for indoor training. Been thinking of making a homemade DVD using TdF, Giro etc footage and dropping the timers and required wattage for the various intervals.
 

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I did the TCTP and it worked out really good for me. I rode stronger than ever this season. The one thing I noticed is that you gotta believe in the fitness gains. My first race at the end of week eight I was still holding back for fear of not being able to finish. The next I let it all hang out and I was at the front of the pack. Next season I will do the Experienced Competitor and see how that goes.
 

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This is really encouraging. This winter (e.g., january or so) I'm going to give either the 'new century' program or 'new competitor' program a whirl on the trainer and see what happens using a combination of HR and power converted to speed on the KK road machine. It'll be my first structured interval biking program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It should work well. For rides where I've used the power meter, I have good correlation between HR and Normalized Power. So, when I don't have the meter, on the cross or MTB, I can still estimate TSS, etc.
 

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I have been thinking of doing this program. BMX, did you find your fitness "crashed" after 12-14 weeks like the book suggests?
 

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OK-that's one of those terms that I've seen thrown around a lot. I take it that the term appears in Training and Racing with a Power Meter?
 
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