Rich is a beast. He is a 60 year old grandfather, that regularly wipes the floor with men less than half his age. He has championships in multiple disciplines for the 50+ and 60+ age groups, and he regularly places top 10 in cat 3 races. Don’t underestimate this unassuming man, with gray hair and the midwest accent, because if he doesn’t ride away from you on the hill, he’s likely to fly past you in the sprint.
I first met rich when I was guiding cycling tours in Italy with Granfondo Cycling Tours. Rich came to a raining camp I did in San Diego in 2006 and asked me to coach him soon after. Over that period of time, we have seen Rich just get stronger and stronger, as his years of training for racing build upon each other so that he enters each season with a foundation more solid than the last.
We know that Rich keeps getting stronger by his races results, but we also know that rich keeps getting stronger by the objective measurement of his power meter. Rich trains and Races with a power tap, so we always know where Rich is in his training, exactly where he is compared to last year, and how to micro adjust his training. Below is a graph that shows how Rich’s Power at all levels increased in 2010 compared to 2009. The y axis is power output, and the x axis is time. The software picks out his best efforts from 2 seconds, all the way out to several hours. The solid line shows the 209 season, where Rich still had an excellent power to weight for a masters racer. But fro 2010 we were able to boost his neuromuscular ( sprint ) power, as well as his aerobic or threshold power.
We where able to do this through carefully focusing on his training plan, and using his power meter to carefully dose his workout intensity and durations to get the ideal amount of training stress, rest, and a maximal training response. The chart below shows Rich’s Trainining for 2010. The blue line is Rich’s “chronic training load” or CTL. Chronic essentially means long term, so the line is a reflection of Rich’s training stress over the last 6 weeks. You can see how this line starts fairly low in January and goes up through the summer as we increase training load and prepare for key events. The pink line is Rich’s “acute training load” or ATL. Acute means short term, so this line is a reflection of how much training Rich has done in the last week. You can see that this line is a bit more jagged as we increase Rich’s training load and then give him a rest. So, CTL is a function of what you have been doing over the last 6 weeks, and ATL is a function of what you have been doing recently. You can see how ATL effects CTL. When ATL is high, CTL will be sloping upwards. When ATL is low, CTL will begin to flatten out and slope downwards. The yellow line in this chart is “Training Stress Balance” or TSB, basically CTL minus ATL, or what you have been doing, minus what you are doing now. Why is this important? Because being race ready typically means you want fitness + freshness. The fitness is mostly a function of your CTL ( what you have been doing the last 6 weeks), and the freshness is a function of your ATL( what you have been doing in the last 3 days to a week). You want the yellow line, or the TSB to be positive on your big race day, but you also want your blue line to still be relatively high. You can see how this is exactly what we did with Rich. We increased his training load from January through the late springs and his CTL went up. He then did Joe Martin Stage race in early May followed by a reduced training load and a vacation to get a physical and mental break, and you can see how his acute training load went down and his CTL flattened out. After vacation we brought training load up again, and then reduced ATL for Rich to have a positive TSB in mid July for the State Championships, and then brought the training load up and back down again in August for Masters’s National Champioships. Rich was highly fit for both of these races and got excellent results in both.
Rich works hard, and he has a wonderful family that supports his training and comes to watch him race. He also trains and races with a power meter so that his workouts and seasons can be fined to for success. The opportunity work with Rich over several years has allowed me as a coach to learn more about him, about how he responds, and what kind of workouts he enjoys. But the power meter has the added advntage of giving us unbiased, truly objective information that we can use to fine tune his plan. If you would like one of the Crank Cycling Coaches to work with you and develop a plan (power based or not) use the “contact” us form at the bottom right of the page, and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.