Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kilo What?

Training is going well. I'm back on a program and so far so good. Yesterday was a solid but not super hard roll in the park - an hour at 200 watts, which clearly means my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is now higher than 200 watts!

I'll have a better idea of that this coming week as I am scheduled to do a 16km time trial test run and also a Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) test. That should be fun!

Today I ventured back out to the Dunc Gray Velodrome. This was the first chance I've had to test out my experimental "bushing" for my cycling cleat. I had previously mentioned how I found the bike behaves a bit strangely when doing out of the saddle accelerations, as there was no lateral ankle roll anymore on the left side since there is no ankle, just a straight pylon attached to the cleat and pedal.

So I thought about what I could do and had a few ideas but first I wanted to test the theory to see if some polyurethane under the cleat would do the trick by allowing a bit of sideways flexion.

So while looking for suppliers of polyurethane I also decided to have a closer look at one of my other ideas - to use something like a skateboard truck, which I thought would replicate the ankle flexion quite nicely. So off I go the skateboard shop to have a look...

While there and looking at the trucks on display, I told the shop assistant what I was trying to do and had brought my cycling leg attachment with me. He said, hang on - I might have something for you - and showed me this (the black thing with the H cut out of it):

It is a polyurethane spacer which goes between the skateboard truck and the board - used to provide a little vibration damping and protection for the wooden board from the metal truck. It looked about the right size and hardness, so I took a couple with me to try it out. It has a nice flex to it:

I drilled extra holes and then simply placed it between the cleat and the metal adapter plate, like so:

Not worried about cutting it down to size at this stage (since I didn't know if it was going to work or not) I decided to give it a go and see what would happen. Well today I rode it at the track and after about 30-minutes of rolling around, I decided to do some standing starts.

It worked really well. Once up to speed, the bike was giving me the ability to rock it side to side in a more natural manner without the sensation that I might pull my "foot" out of the pedal.

So after a few of those, I started to get adventurous and rolled around mid track, waiting for some others doing acceleration/speed work. As they passed under me I would get out of the saddle and accelerate down the banking, chase and pass them on the finish line if I could (which I did).

So finally, I decided it was time to get right up the banking and do a sprint effort a la the ubiquitous 200 metre flying time trial. So I rolled around the top and gave it a crack, doing a 3/4 lap effort. I had to sit in saddle a bit earlier than I would normally like but that was OK.

I hit a top speed of 55 kph. OK, so it's not that fast but 55 is OK for now (I was using an 80" gear (49x16) for those that like to know those things and had a max cadence of 142 rpm).

One other thing. On my second standing start of the day, I noticed I had a peak power of 980 watts, so I thought, hmmm, what chance of cracking the kilowatt mark today? So on my third effort I gave it a go.

1053W (5-sec MMP 1020W). :D

Mission accomplished.


Tommi said...

You´re probably sick n´tired of hearing this, but you´re an inspiration. It makes me terribly glad read about your progress.

Keep those cranks turnin´!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered adding a strap to assist in pedal security? Although I have never pulled my foot, I can feel a much improved transfer of power.

Alex Simmons said...

Hi Stuart

Good to hear from you. I used to use trackie pedals and straps for years before going back to strapless once I'd made the decision to focus on enduro events. I always liked them.

Pedal security on my normal foot is OK, it was the prosthetic side that felt like it might go as there was no lateral give whatsoever and I don't think a strap would change that. However the urethane spacer has really helped to reduce that sensation and so I'll persist with that for now.

If I did go with a strap, I'd need a separate bike leg attachment for the track and road (I'd need to set up something for the strap to hold onto since there is no foot, just a pylon), and at the moment that's not practical for me. But I have the idea in my bag of tricks, should I need to use it!

There's a solution for everthing, I just keep experimenting and learn from the experience of other amputee cyclists who have been excellent in sharing their knowledge.

Cheers - hope to see you in Sydney in a month's time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex, just wondering after looking at your prostetic wether you had to move the cleat on your other leg as it looks as though you have it attached to what would be your heal ?

Alex Simmons said...

Hi Neil

The cleat on my right foot is still in the same place it was before. But you are right in that the prosthetic cleat is effectively under where my ankle would be, if it were still there.

While that might at first seem a bit weird, remember that I can also make the prosthetic leg as long as I like, which evens up the lever length difference.