Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The pollen-infused Zwift-assisted FTP test

My poor, dear, neglected blog....I hate when I don't have/make the time/energy to write. Part of this is due to some fatigue and room spins over the past week from the "pollen tusnami." It's been awful. I laid down on a bench at the gym Saturday to do some dumbbell presses and had to hold on for the bonus "spinning teacup" ride.

Added to my pollen fog is the general end-of-school-year chaos like OH, they are telling us today you HAVE to have black pants and shoes and a white shirt for the concert TOMORROW. Let's go find those shoes for your size 14 feet right now! Never a dull moment around here.

Not feeling great means training happens, but it's not been stellar, and motivation has been loooowww. I had my third FTP test on the bike today and held exactly ONE more watt for the 20 minute interval than I did around 6 weeks ago. ONE. Honestly, I was pretty happy to not show a decline. For consistency I've done all these on the trainer, but with such nice weather, I opted for the front porch. There was no way I was going to stay inside - pollen or not.

I rode the FTP "pain train" on the newest Zwift Island course for the first time. I find it funny that you can pull up this imaginary route on Google maps (via Strava):

So apparently I was cycling on an island far off the coast of Australia. It looked an awful lot like Blacksburg, Virginia though from my vantage point on the front porch.

There is something really nice about feeling like I am working hard in the company of other cyclists, even if they are all remote to me and seen only virtually, and earning points and things along the way! The Zwift Beta is now open to all without an invitation and if you have a power meter or "smart" bike trainer I would really recommend you explore it. It's very fun (aside from FTP tests) and currently still free!

I'm starting to see the mental pattern in my 20 min FTP test:
  • 0-3:00: wow, I'm crushing it
  • 3:00 - 4:59: don't look at the time, it'll pass faster that way
  • 5:00: how is this not 10 minutes? how is that only 5? how is that only 25%?
  • 5:01-12:00: oh geez this is humbling. damage control.
  • 12:01-12:16: why am I doing this? can I please just stop now? OK, I'm backing off for 15 seconds.
  • 12:17-15:59: hang in there, just hang in there
  • 16:00: this is doable, I can get through four minutes
  • 18:30: how is this not 20 minutes yet?
  • 20: thankyouthankyouthankyou wonderful timer
I'm glad I did this ride on Zwift Island and I liked the jersey I "wore" for it. You get to customize your rider, and the more points you get the more options you have for your jersey, wheels, bike, etc. This jersey sort of had that comic book "POW BAM" feel.

As I finished up my ride, I grabbed a pic of these giant sculptures along the new course.

When I was done, I waited for the Zwift Island Sherpas to come and put my toys away, hand me a drink with an umbrella, and serve dinner to the family, but they never did. That's definitely a feature that Zwift needs to add. I would pay for that upgrade.

Today is a day off. I hope my pollen fog is lifting. Back at it Thursday!