Knowing you limits is important, and science is knowledge. Ah. Science. The lab, the pipets, the reports. I love it.
I went into Endurance PTC yesterday to succumb myself to a round of physiological assessments. Charlie, my coach, is the founder of this company and he was ready to get some data from me. You guessed it, the gas mask, nose plug, blood lactate, and a whole house of pain. I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into, but before I knew it, I was hooked up to the Parvo Systems metabolic cart and my every breath was analyzed as was my blood lactate concentration. They measured my body profile, economy, blood lactate, gas exchange, and VO2max. After just 1.5 hours on the bike, I was spent. Completely cooked.
Since I worked for EPTC the last two years in the lab, it was interesting becoming the client in this situation. I tried to block my knowledge of the testing procedures and just try to naturally perform. Easier said then done. I tried not to analyze the lactate meter and become consumed by the raising level in lactate concentration. I guess once a scientist always a scientist. In the end, when the watts keep increasing, and your heart is through the roof, and your legs fill with heavy matter, the thinking ends and soon the ability to turn the pedals does as well. The joys of testing. But the best part is going over the results, the data, and the anaysis. Science is so fascinating. With my background in biochemistry, it is hard to reign in the inner nerd as the plots and graphs are revealed. Not only can this physiological testing help my training, but also it can explain race results and potential.
Not to get carried away with the science or the numbers of the assessments, I left EPTC with more knowledge about where I am, and a good approach on where I need to be. I had no idea where I would be… I had assumed I had gotten stronger, since the last time I tested in January, but after 6 weeks of racing and very little training, I had no idea what everything would look like… I was pleased to be where I am finalizing this season, and also encouraged to add a little more pain to the repertoire for my training into 2010.
However, even with the conclusive data of science, it is not the end all be all. It is a great, even irreplaceable addition to my training, but in the end of the day, it is up to the athlete to gain the mental strength, the emotional capacity, and the tolerance threshold to succeed. I am very fortunate to have access to physiological testing, and that my coach utilizes this resource. I am a complete nerd when it comes to the science behind cycling, but do not get wrapped up into the details while I am performing. During races, it is just me and my bike, and a whole world of hurt.
Science is knowledge, but it isn’t the secret key to bike racing, but it is sure beneficial for that SRM during training….
Where did I ride today? No where, I trained. I did intervals upon intervals, but it was great to be out there working with a plan. Now to download the file and analyze… I am not a nerd, at all. Right.