Why Wahoo?

We are lucky at Watts Up to have a studio equipped exclusively with Wahoo Kickrs. We have have been long time users of Wahoo Kickrs at home and when it came to reviewing and selecting a Trainer for Watts Up it was a no brainer that we would fill the studio with Kickrs. The reasons for our decisions are below:

  • As Coaches there are two levers we can pull when creating a training ride; duration and intensity. When in Erg mode the resistance (or intensity) created by the Kickr is the specified number of watts that are needed for the interval be it an Endurance, Tempo, Sweet Spot or VO2 Max interval. No more no less.
  • The flip side to this is that the recovery intervals are done right. There is no over riding them. Recovery is important as it sets you up for success for the next interval.
  • Using a software platform we can control each Kickr based on the individual riders capability/FTP. Of the top shelf trainers, suitable for studio use, there is only one other that that offers this feature and it was an unknown to us.
  • In addition to the above the fact that the resistance is individualized and based upon the riders ability/fitness level ensures that they are training in the correct Training Zone(s) and utilizing the correct energy system.
  • The Kickr has been around since 2014. By comparison to its nearest technically similar rivals it’s a gran-daddy. Each iteration has improved on it’s prior version. The newer versions now allow for disc brakes, thru-axles and the Wahoo Climb

Becca blogged about this 2 years ago from a user’s perspective. You can read more about her experience here.

We are sure once you have tried a Kickr you’ll agree with our choice!

We saved one for you…

Six Stocking Stuffers!

Here are some ideas for Stocking Stuffers that you can get the cyclist (or yourself) and have delivered in time for the Big Day!

Dummy Hub, we talked about this in a prior post about washing your bike! There are several options including those from Pedros, Feedback Sports and Park Tools to name a few. We like the Park Tools version, its nice and simple and comes in a handy-dandy storage tube.

Warmers; only if you can live without having matching kit…trust me the struggle is real here! But if you can you check out the dreamy soft offerings from Snek. Merino wool is natural and warm in the cold and wet! They come in classic black, have a old school look and will be the envy of your buddies!

A Phone Case, ditch the the ZipLoc bag. You just spent $1000 on a phone, treat it with a little more respect than a 10c baggie! There are several options and sizes. We use the Club case from Waterfield. Room for you phone and some emergency spares. It’s fits nicely into a jersey pocket and keeps everything safe and sound!

Jersey Pump, go environmentally friendly and carry a pump. If you haven’t felt the cold jet of Co2 on your fingers as you try to get it into your tube you will at some point! You’re then left wondering how you’re going to get home! Today’s pumps weight the same as two CO2 cartridges and the head unit. Lyzene’s Pressure Drive fits easily in your pocket and gets you back on the road nice and quick!

DRL – Daytime Running Lights, perfect for this time of year but also valid on any ride. Having some running lights will help you be seen by other road users and that’s never a bad thing. There are plenty to choose from but remember buy cheap usually ends up being buy twice. Bontager’s Ion FlareSee Sense’s Ace and Garmin’s Varia are all worthy contenders. If you really want to level up have a look at the Cycliq Fly 6 and Fly 12 Cycliq offer a Team Deal if you can gather enough interest!

Finally a grab bag of consumables…stuff wears out. This time of year is perfect for replacing some of them, think of it as replacing your smoke detector battery before you get that annoying “beep beep”…usually at 2:00am! These things include; shoe cleats, brake blocks, tires and batteries; HR straps are usually the first to go!

So there you go, some last minute ideas for you or your cyclist!

FTP…. Only Half the Story!

Cycling it littered with TLAs (3 letter acronyms), of them all FTP is the one that draws cyclists and triathletes focus the most; to improve, to passively love and hate, to pretend to ignore and to generally obsess over! As a reminder FTP or Functional Threshold Power is defined by Andy Coggan as;

“FTP is the highest power that a rider can maintain in a quasi-steady state without fatiguing for approximately one hour. When power exceeds FTP, fatigue will occur much sooner, whereas power just below FTP can be maintained considerably longer”.

A more holistic acronym to pay attention to is W/Kg (watts / kilograms). Put simply W/Kg is you Power to Weight Ratio.

The benefits of reviewing this metric allow you to identify strengths and weaknesses across your Power Profile. Typically, your W/Kg are calculated for the following durations; 20 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute and 5 seconds.  A hill climber or triathlete would have more focus on their longer durations vs. a track or crit racer whose focus would be on the shorter durations. Knowing these numbers provides an important insight into your data which you can relate to your cycling discipline and future events.  

From a coaching perspective W/Kg lets coaches compare riders with different body compositions. For example:

Rider 1 who is 120lb with an FTP of 175 has a W/Kg 3.14
Rider 2 who is 175lb with an FTP of 260 has a W/Kg 3.38
Rider 3 who is 220lb with an FTP of 325 FTP W/Kg W/Kg 3.25

There are only three ways in which you can change in your W/kg:

  1. An increase in power output with a constant weight
  2. A decrease in weight with a constant power output
  3. An increase in power output and a decreased weight

There is a priority, depending on the athlete, on which way is the best way. At face value the low hanging fruit is to lose weight however particularly lean athletes should be cautioned as a loss in weight can also result in a loss in power. An alternative is to improve muscular strength, not through more cycling, but by focused gym/weight work  

An increase in lean muscle and reduction in body fat will improve your strength to weight ratio. A tertiary benefit is the increase in water retention. Muscles retain 7X the volume of water compared to fat. This is a huge number when you factor in that a 3% loss in weight due to dehydration can have an 8% loss in performance! If you have ever weighed yourself before a long ride and then weighed yourself when you have finished, you may have seen that number change significantly.

To continue with our rider examples

Rider 1 who is 120lb would drop to 116.4lbs a 3.6lb loss
Rider 2 who is 175lb would drop to 119.7lbs a 5.3lb loss
Rider 3 who is 220lb would drop to 213.4lbs a 6.6lb loss

This is something that is easily done on a 3-4 hour ride in June and is why Tour de France riders get through two bidons an hour!

These change in your body’s composition also has additional cellular adaptations. As you improve your Power Profile through sprints, intervals, hill repeats and strength training you’re also changing the way your body consumes oxygen and processes lactate.  Your uptake of oxygen also known as VO2Max increases as you build strength and aerobic capacity. This increase lets you hold a VO2 effort for longer…or put another way, go harder for longer! Now you see why we sprinkle in those 125 and 150% FTP efforts!

So you may ask how does this translate to the road…literally? Well, if your focus is on flat Time Trials, then FTP should be your metric of choice.  If you are riding anything that goes up or down using W/Kg allows you to highlight your strengths and identify your weaknesses over a complete Power Profile vs. a static pin on the Profile and lets you compare yourself to others on an apples to apples basis

FTP is really on part of the equation and only tells half the story. Using W/kg normalizes different athletes’ sizes and strengths. It provides an outline of the athlete, a charcoal sketch if you like…

Looks a bit sketchy!

If you’re looking for more detail with color, texture and depth that really creates a complete picture then W/Kg should be your metric of choice!

The full picture!

Hello Off Season!

With Ironman Arizona and Cozumel behind us you have probably started your off season.

The weather on Thanksgiving and the following weeks and weekends in Westlake Village and surround seems determined to reinforce that!

While typically it seems a bit of an anathema, when you look out the window and see clear blue skies and dry roads, such as we (usually) have in Southern California! Having an off season is important. We are firm believers that you need to have some downtime. Adaptation and improvement are not linear and mentally and physically you need to switch off. Having an off season allows you to:

  • Reflect; how did things go on the last race, the season or year?
  • Recharge; your batteries both mentally and physically
  • Regenerate; spend some time fixing that nagging niggle
  • Restock; spend some time with the family and add some deposits into the goodwill bank
  • Road Map; what’s next? Plan out your next season!

How long does an off season last, well that depends on you, if you have been putting in 15 hour training weeks you may want to take a month off. If your training is significantly less a smaller amount of time may be needed. It’s important to listen to your mind and body. If you’re raring to go, you’re probably good to go. Whereas, and we all do, have days when we really don’t feel like it and they are becoming the norm then you’re probably not ready. The truth probably is somewhere in between!

However, while the sharpest of knives goes dull at some point you don’t want to neglect things completely. You can easily find your trying to ramp up too quickly when you start again or not having enough runway for your next event. As you can see it’s a fine balance!

One thing to bear in mind is that the off season is exactly that a season and like all seasons they change. But what should off season look like? There are plenty of schools of thought and suggestions on this, but here are three we like;

  1. 3 Steps to Starting your Off-Season Training
  2. Two Concepts to Guide Your Off-season Training
  3. Off Season Maintenance

One thing that they all agree on (and so do we) is that it’s not a good idea to go “cold Turkey”…well apart from, perhaps, the day after Thanksgiving!

Our suggestion is to reduce your overall volume but retain some intensity. Several workouts that address Zone 2/Endurance and one hard Zone 3/Tempo with a little Zone 4/Threshold work during the week will keep you ticking over until you start training in earnest.  

2020’s Season will come around fast once we get through the Holidays. Here are a few events you may have on your radar…the furthest of which is distant 26 weeks away and the closest a short 62 days!

  • 0-70 days
    • The Rock Cobbler
  • 71-100 days
    • The Desert Tri
    • The Solvang Century
    • Redlands Strada Rossa
    • Malibu Gran Fondo
  • 101-130 days
    • Oceanside 70.3
    • The Mulholland Challenge
  • 130 – 160 days
    • Belgian Waffle Ride
  • 160-190 days
    • Orange County Tri

Whatever your plans for 2020 we hope we see you soon!