This was my rest week. Last week I managed 11 hours of quality training. Sunday included my end-of-cycle ‘blowout ride’. For these rides I make sure that I’m reasonably rested so I can ride harder and longer I have so far in the season. Last week this meant taking three days off, and hitting out for 4.5 hours with 90 minutes of tempo, including a 30 minute climb. Unfortunately my PowerTap hub ran out of batteries, so I don’t have any details but I rode strong and finished the ride absolutely wasted. I was able to wake up the head unit and check in on my heart rate to keep myself on target during the ride, however.
My TSB bottomed out at -38, with a ATL peak of 97 TSS/day. I’ll take a moment to mention what these mean. TSB (Training Stress Balance) can most simply be thought of as ‘freshness’. Last season my loads were higher and I bottomed out at -48. My lower hours this year are showing that my overall training load is lower, but that doesn’t necessarily mean my fitness will be lower.
By working with slightly fewer weekly hours, my peaks and valleys will be smoother. My current CTL (Chronic Training Load), or the best measure of overall fitness, is in the mid 50′s. By starting a month earlier this year, I actually have a higher CTL and overall fitness than I did at this time last year.
You can see pretty clearly the more gradual build in CTL (fitness/blue line) in 2012 vs 2011. I’m not exactly sure what CTL peak I’m capable of this year (although it can be calculated by planning all my future workouts with their planned TSS points). Most elite/professional athletes find optimal performance in the 100-150 CTL range. Last year I peaked at about 80 after my podium finish at the Cat 2 Tour of the Gila.
The effect of this year’s CTL has been confirmed by yesterday’s FTP test. Yesterdays data: Weight 161 lbs, CTL 54, Estimated FTP: 330w. Last year Base 2 ended on March 3rd. I weighed 160 lbs, CTL was 58, and FTP 320w. I think I am on the right track, but have a long way to go. I think I can at least maintain my fitness level from last year if I stick to the plan.
I know my competition has been training hard too. Last year James Peterman finished 2nd in the State TT. This weekend is the first serious domestic race of the season, the Stage Race. He won the opening Cat 2 Time Trial with a time that would have put him on the podium in Pro/1! I won’t be making my race debut until the Frostbite TT in three weeks, and only then if I can make a shift trade at work. Either way, the racing season is still a few months away and things are progressing well.