Today I went out for a 90 minutes training ride the Mont Royal, a mountain that sits right in the heart of Montreal. Coach Tim had put 4 Climbing Repeats (CR) of 6 minutes on the program. CRs are uphill efforts at a power level which is right below the lactate threshold (LT) – or for me, the average power in watts for a 7 minutes all out uphill effort. The last calculated LT for me was 332 watts. This exercise helps my body get better at buffering lactic acid around my LT level and is a great workout for climbers.

After warming up on the course that the international stars will race on in September I headed over the the hill for my CRs. After the first effort I knew right away that I was fitter than back in June and way fitter than back in March. How did I know? The numbers don’t lie.

I looked at the average power for the first 6 minutes effort and it showed 317 watts (it ended up being exactly 320 watts for 6 minutes once properly analyzed at home) and it felt extremely easy. I knew the last CRs on this climb in June averaged less than 317 watts and felt difficult hence the improved fitness. And WAY more important, today’s numbers were much better than in July 2009 – more on what I mean by that and on periodization soon.

Here’s the comparative data for the same type of effort on the same course. It is fairly revealing:

1) March 17, 2010

Effort 1:              304 watts         174 HR           83 RPM

Effort 2:              304 watts          177 HR           85 RPM

2) June 3, 2010

Effort 1:              308 watts         175 HR           88 RPM

Effort 2:              311 watts          177 HR           84 RPM

3) July 25, 2010

Effort 1:              320 watts         173 HR           94 RPM

Effort 2:              321 watts          175 HR           92 RPM

Heart rate down, power up. I guess my coach is doing a great job.

The only drawback is that coach Tim will notice that I have improve and will ask me to do a field test to find out exactly how much I have improved – and those hurt a lot…….