Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Second Coming (back)

Back in November, I wrote about using the Performance Manager to aid the planning and management of the comeback to cycling for my friend Tanya, who had started riding again following her surgery to remove a sizeable bowel cancer (see post here).

At the time, we set our sights on getting Tanya into sufficiently good shape to ride the Alpine Classic Audax event on 27 January 2007.

Well the Alpine has come and gone, so I thought I'd write an update on how things have been going. The day after I wrote the last item, Tanya of course comes out and wins her local crit! Maybe I should have held on for another day.

Just to recap:
4 Jul 06 - Surgery to remove bowel cancer
28 Aug 06 - First ride on bike following surgery
28 Oct 06 - 1st bike race since starting back
25 Nov 06 - Wins local club race!

Tanya's Performance Manager Chart(click/right click to see larger version)

Since the last update, we kept up the endurance focus and began introducing Tempo (Coggan L3 / Stern Z3) level riding. As her training progressed the focus began to shift towards bumping up Tanya's Functional Threshold Power (FTP) with some specific interval style workouts riding at an intensity near her FTP.

Some additional testing including simulated time trials and Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) test demonstrated Tanya's MAP and FTP had improved and her training levels were re-set accordingly.

During this period of training, Tanya had her good days and not so good days. There were a couple of training interruptions, one requiring a hospital visit and others a check with the Doctor. Fortunately, no major issues but they are unpleasant experiences when one still has cancer surgery fresh in the mind. So we had to continue being careful to ensure the progressive load was not overly stressful but sufficient to ensure she would attain the desired physiological adaptations.

Tanya was also busy running her cycle coaching courses, so her training schedule needed to take into account her on-bike work time. At times the day to day workload would be a little inconsistent but by and large, we can see a steady ramp up of Tanya's Chronic Training Load (CTL) the blue line. The Performance Manager was a perfect aid in this respect as it enabled the scheduled training to be adjusted with the ebb and flow of interruptions and work commitments.

Since Tanya was progressing so well, before heading off to Mt Beauty her thoughts began to shift beyond the Alpine, indicating a desire to return to track racing. Indeed her talk included riding the State Masters Track Championships in March and she had already booked her place to go to Melbourne a few weeks after that for the National Masters Track Championships. So we began to incorporate regular track sessions into her programme. She was ready for it. Indeed Tanya was champing at the bit to get back on the track!

I really knew Tanya was going well when she kept "pestering" me about whether she should ride the Individual Pursuit at the States Champs!

The Final Countdown
A few weeks out from the Alpine we gave Tanya a couple of workouts involving longer climbs to help her adapt to the demands she would face at the Alpine and to help her practice pacing her efforts (not to mention the FTP benefit). These were invaluable, as she now knew what to expect on the long climbs.

Tanya's CTL hit a max of 80 TSS/day one week out from the Alpine, enabling us to a back off the training in that last week, raising her Training Stress Balance (TSB) into positive territory and seeing Tanya hit the target event with good fitness and freshness.

Since we had Tanya commencing at a CTL of zero on 28 August, that was an overall CTL ramp rate of 4.8 per week.


So how did she do? Well here are her own words:

" "Free to Ride" was painted on the hill and as I climbed I felt incredibly grateful that I could be out there in the scenic alpine region of North East Victoria with 1,980 others climbing up mountains. A trackie riding up mountains!?

My husband loves this event so I have tagged along since 2000 and have chosen the shorter rides to do. This time because of my surgery, it seemed appropriate to make it my fitness goal so I started the ride feeling good about my training leading up to it and for a trackie, I would survive the mountains OK and have fun on the descents! That's exactly what happened.

I had a few comments thrown at me like "You descend like a brick" to when I was being passed on the hill: "What happened to you, you were leading the bunch?" to when I did a 5km turn for all these strong guys who were just sucking wheels: "What a great turn of speed coming into Bright".

I sat on my threshold power up the long hills and did a power PB for a 3-hour ride.

So that is the aerobic stuff out of the way. Onto the track!"

How about the numbers?

Shown below is a picture of Tanya's WKO file for the day (click/right click to see a larger version). Two climbs of 42 minutes and 45 minutes respectively, both ridden at FTP (indicated by the horizontal dashed yellow line).

Overall Tanya's ride scored 258
TSS and was ridden at an Intensity Factor of 0.89, so that's pretty good going for a 3:17 long effort!

After the Alpine, Tanya remained in country Victoria on holiday, riding bikes and returns this week, where training focus will now firmly be with the track in mind. Tanya's favourite events are the 500 metre Time Trial and the sprint derby (she is a multiple State & National Masters Track Champion).

Despite all the aerobic focus up to now, I have a funny feeling she'll do OK.....


Jim Scott said...

Congrats to Tanya for the completion of the goal and for kicking cancer's a**.

Congrats to you, Alex, for helping her with this goal.


Anonymous said...

You are both an inspiration to me as I enter a similar situation to Tanya's