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Racer Sportif Testing With Power

Call today to ensure your time: 905.815.2100
Cost: $150.00 What to bring: Bike, riding shoes, shorts, jersey, water bottle and a towel.

Test Outline

Each test will follow with:

Training zone

  1. To asses training and recovery needs.
  2. Analysis of fitness strengths and weaknesses
  3. One on one consultation with Dr. Stephen Cheung
  4. Training and Racing with Power

The 8 minute test that we conduct is 1 hour in duration, and consists of 1/2 hr warm-up, followed by a couple of 8-minute time trials spaced with 10 minutes rest in-between. These 8 minute intervals are used to assess Functional Threshold Power (FTP) & Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR)

In our experience we have found this assessment protocol, a highly accurate and consistent means of establishing and evaluating possible changes in fitness. These short 8 minute efforts attempt to measure power at VO2max and can serve as a measure of your optimal aerobic power output as well as a measure of FTP (max power output for 1 hr)

During the test, there should be a high level of consistency between efforts, so it is highly suggested that you pace yourself while still striving to perform your best. We also recommend that during the first 8 minute effort that you erase the thought in your mind that you will have to repeat the same effort 10 minutes following the first effort. Between each interval if there is a substantial power output margin, as an example, greater than 5%, could indicate poor aerobic fitness due to the inability to recover quickly between maximal efforts.

After the test in complete, we will have each subject fill out a questionnaire that can help figure out what each rider is seeking in terms of their goals and therefore what kind of training they should be doing. From this, we can develop "semi-templates" that can help to get you started on building a training plan

There is no doubt that the advent of power meters has revolutionized the way we train as cyclists. Why do we like power so much as a metric of training, fitness, and performance? First, when you break down the various data channels, power is ultimately the stress that you are imposing on the body. All the other channels are the strain resulting from that stress. For example, 250 watts always means that the body is generating 250 joules of mechanical energy every second. Therefore, the meaning of watts remains constant and completely independent of terrain, weather, fatigue, hydration status, or anything else. So 250 watts may result in different speeds, heart rates, cadence, or subjective sensations depending on many variables. But the power itself does not change, so it forms an excellent anchor on which to base your analysis of the other data channels.

Another advantage of using power as a fitness index is that you cannot fool yourself when you break things down to power. In simplistic terms, wattage is how hard you are pedalling multiplied by how fast you are pedalling, or torque multiplied by cadence. Ultimately, the only way to produce more wattage is to pedal harder (use a bigger gear), pedal faster, or both! This goal is literally the crux of training and much of racing—to enable yourself to lay out more watts than your competitors can or be able to ride for longer at the same wattage than you could previously.

Think of a time trial. Assuming that the weather and your aerodynamic economy do not change, the only way to improve your time is to generate a higher wattage than you did before. Now consider a road race. Take away tactics and strategy, and at some point your success comes down to whether you can generate sufficient power to make the move that you want to make. If you can’t, then you’ve let a gap open, missed the winning breakaway, or lost out in the sprint. You can try to rationalize your failure with various excuses, but at the end of the day it comes down to laying out the watts when needed.

Testing with Power

Whether you own a power meter or not, regular indoor testing is the ideal tool to gauge your fitness along with understanding your strengths and limiters as a cyclist. We can do tests outdoors, but their reliability is greatly affected by the weather, wind, traffic, and your choice of roads. That makes indoor testing, using an established protocol, a great way to ensure consistency over the course of a test, throughout a season, and indeed over several seasons.

Over the off-season, the prime consideration for cyclists of any discipline – short of possibly match sprinting on the track – should be to maximize their aerobic capacity, or to “build your engine.” Without that aerobic capacity, you will not get as much benefit from race-specific intervals later on in the season. Simply put, your aerobic capacity is your foundation as an endurance athlete, and the stronger you make it, the stronger you can build your overall fitness.

There are many different power tests, but we recommend a test protocol of 2x8 min all-out efforts.

Why do we recommend this protocol?  

These are long enough to really test your aerobic capacity to give a good estimation of your Functional Threshold Power, or the power that you can sustain for 60 min.

  1. At the same, they’re short enough that they’re not as mentally taxing as 20 min or longer efforts, especially when done indoors.
  2. Doing the repeated efforts provides insight into your ability to recover, which is another key attribute of great riders.  
  3. Based on your performance on these tests, we can give you guidance into your current abilities as a cyclist, and estimate zones for training using power and/or heart rate. Repeated testing can provide you with a gauge of fitness over the winter months.