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By: Zdenko Kahlina
Seven Deadly Sins of cycling… How Sinful are you?
How many of the seven deadly sins of cycling do you break? Are you an Angel or the Devil on wheels? Have you ever been guilty of any of these? Rank yourself and share your result with us! Take the test now to see where you fit in.
1. Forgetting To Wear Your Helmet
Safety First! A bike helmet is going to save your melon. It is not going to prevent you from getting a concussion, but it will lessen the degree of injury. Brain damage is not cool.
2. Not Waving to Your Fellow Cyclist
Are you not friendly? Are you not enjoying yourself? What is the matter with you? The only valid excuse is if you are an amputee. Too many times I have ridden by cyclists giving a nice friendly wave to receive nothing in return but the look of bewilderment… as if there was something wrong with me! Wave to your fellow cyclist and at least pretend that you care.
3. Coveting Thy Neighbours Bike
Be happy with your ride! 0.01 grams lighter is not going to change you into Eddy Merckx. Work on improving the engine, not the bike. And always remember, you’re doing it to improve your health…
Upgradeitis is a disease that is easily contracted by cyclists and hard to treat. Once the disease has been contracted it is nearly impossible to cure. All the new “better, lighter and faster” parts are coming out and they are going to decrease your time by 0.7 seconds for every hour of riding… better get one of those overly priced uncomfortable pure carbon saddles with no butt padding… on second thought… make it two?!?!
5. Forgetting the Tubes
Did you leave your extra tubes at home? Hope you brought your phone!
6. The Wheel Sucker
Don’t be that guy… you know… that guy that sits at the back of the pack wheel sucking… or just plain sucking… not taking his turn at a pull even though he has lots of energy. Don’t be that guy. Follow this link and read about group ride etiquette.
Cycling to lose weight? Just because you went for a ride does not entitle you to six beer, a burger, fries and a side of onion rings! mmm onion rings… Ever heard of a salad with chicken?
The Sinful Chart:
0 to 1 – Angel
2 – Saint
3 to 4 – Menace on wheels
5 to 6 – Speed Demon
7 – The Devil on Wheels
I’d suggest the Seven Deadly Sins also include the following methods:
By conducting a Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) test, using the test protocol on Ric Stern’s website. FTP typically falls within the range of 72%-77% of MAP. An example of a MAP test can be viewed here.
Shorter Time Trials
By conducting a time trial effort of sufficient duration (say at least 20-min), with FTP typically falling into a range of percentages for TTs of this duration e.g.:
- FTP = 93% +/- 3% of 20-minute maximal average power
- FTP = 94% +/- 3% of 16km (10-mile) TT avg power
Of course everyone is different and some may fall outside of these ranges.
There really is no reason to nail it down to the nearest watt. Setting FTP to the nearest 5 watts is sufficient. I only change the FTP setting if there is hard evidence of a change of at least 5-10W. Of course, getting the number right does depend on ensuring that a rider’s power meter is correctly calibrated and any zero offsets needed are done. Strange numbers are usually strange for a good reason.
Remember, these are all just ways of estimating FTP and some are better than others at nailing down the number (and for many, some are more practical to perform than others). The final two methods for example, would typically get you to within a few percent either side and can then be cross referenced with another method.
It all depends on a rider’s circumstances. Not everyone is in the position to do a ~1 hour time trial with sufficient regularity.
What do I use?
For the purposes of tracking aerobic fitness changes, and the setting of training levels, then performing a Maximal Aerobic Power test, combined with one of the other tests for FTP (usually a 16km or 40km time trial), is the method that I typically use with my coaching clients. Having this combination is particularly useful when assessing the training priorities for an athlete.
Of course, you can always track fitness and base training levels on a mean maximal power for a duration of less than 1 hour (e.g. a 20-minute test, or as has been suggested, 2 x 8-minute test efforts). However, by doing so you start to introduce the influence ofanaerobic energy production into the test result, which means you may not be entirely sure which component of your fitness is changing, and hence be uncertain as to what type of training is needed in order to progress further.
So which sin will you choose?
This isn’t the end of it of course. There are still a multitude of factors to consider, such as the impact of the following on FTP:
- Environmental effects
- Point of training cycle
- Chronic Training Loads
- Training Stress Balance
- Hills vs Flat terrain
- Different trainer types
- Different bikes and rider positions
I’ll save that for another post…..
Have a good and healthy season.
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