Is My Power Meter Broken?

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Hey Gang,

Things have been going well… One of the top teams in the CRCA, Blue Ribbon-Translations, asked me to race the CRCA events with them… Team is stacked with talent in EE alum Mark Alden (who won a stack of epic road races last year), Thomas Pennell, former EE athlete Jon Raheb, sprinter Xavier Melendez, Paul Levis (who’s grown into an excellent time trialist)… Out of all the teams in CRCA (CRCA is one of the reasons why local racing is so very competitive and cut-throat intense — NOT an insult, lol), I believe Blue Ribbon finished 1st or 2nd atop the overall standings — a MEAN feat!

So I was very grateful when the team asked me to join… I feel like a rookie again, all amped for this season… I took the second half of 2008 off, just needed a break and wanted to focus 100% on coaching, and didn’t start riding again until MAR 2009, then obliterated by a motorcycle (a MOTORCYCLE, lol) in APR 2009… Long road back, but I’ve worked very hard and feel like I’m in a good position right now…

The CRCA schedule is enticing for me (1) the racing starts early. As a coach, I feel one of my greatest strengths is I’m a realist. I will tell you how it is, sugarcoating nothing. I am rusty. I haven’t been in a peloton in close to 2 years (did maybe 4 races in 2008). The engine hasn’t yet been revved or tested… So, the races start the first week of MAR, and I’m eager to hop in there, see where I’m at, re-sharpen the pack skills.

(2) The racing is EARLY in the day. The Central Park races, which is an excellent course for a time trialist, go off at 6:30… So for one, I’ll get back into the routine of getting up early for early events, something that also takes time to acclimate to, and then I’ll also have those Saturdays to do spring and summer rides with Elite Endurance clients, something I’ve been doing more and more of and absolutely love 🙂

With my type-A personality, I LOVE planning the schedule, almost get a rush from organizing everything and seeing what works, what doesn’t. I have a full roster of athletes right now, and some think it can be an easy job, checking e-mails, out riding all day — WRONG. I treat every athlete as if they’re me, meticulously going over every workout, making sure we plan perfectly. Takes lotsa time. I actually go over my own training last, and I’ve been so absorbed that I actually screwed up my ATP in JAN. Oops. But when you’re the lowest priority, it’ll happen! But everything’s on track again now…

So the races start early MAR, and then we have Grant’s Tomb (as a time trialist, I’ve always fared relatively well in crits — I think the higher cadence certainly helps)… I hope to get a few sanctioned races in my legs before Sandy Hook on the 3rd of April. Goal is to prepare 100% for the time trials, and use the races just as training and help round me out a bit…

One thing I will admit is I’m a pure team player. Sure, I can sit in and try to get 5th in a sprint, but I get MUCH more satisfaction from helping a team WIN. As a time trialist, I don’t have violent Vo2 Max power, don’t have screaming anaerobic threshold speed, but I do everything fairly well. I can set Tempo, can power a break, can chase back a break, can sit on the front, chase everything, set up a lead-out… I think my greatest strength is I recover fast, so I can be active all race. I won’t be the guy to make the defining attack because of my power curve, but I’m always there, always in the mix. And I LOVE being hyper-active throughout a race, better for me physically (makes for a productive workout) and better for my team. When you have 6, 7 strong guys willing to lay it down for the team, the team will always take 1st or dominate the podium. ALWAYS. In 2007, when NEH really worked as one unit, we won almost every race we entered, won the Garden State Cup hands down, and being part of that dynamic was an AWESOME feeling…

So I look forward to getting back to that this year. As a brutally honest person, one thing I will admit is the LT power is not there yet… Because of the lay-off, I extended the build this year, starting earlier with Foundation work, then starting earlier with gradual Build work, and the aerobic numbers have been great. However, the threshold work is lagging, kinda expected. This is only natural, as I’m pretty much two years away from the sport, but it is what it is — I don’t expect any miracles. No matter how hard you work, you can’t make up for lost time… I can’t expect 2010 Ken to match the 2008 Ken of APR MAY JUN. NOT gonna happen.

Looking into my crystal ball right now, I can see myself struggling mightily at Sandy Hook, MAYBE taking a top-10… April probably will not be a great month for me. In May, I’ve had two VICIOUS runs at Somerset, and although I’d love to go back there and represent, I’ll probably finish outside the top-5 as I won’t have that pop in my legs like previous years… Thus far, I’ve been doing tons, tons, tons of high-tempo, subthreshold, and now LT work, and I’m setting myself up for true longer steady-state efforts: I plan to do all the Kingwood 36ks, plan to do some of the PA 40ks, and I’m predicting I’ll find the legs mid-May, trying to set up a true peak ride for States, perhaps can finally rub shoulders with the area’s top dogs. We shall see…

In previous years, the power is down 25-30w compared to where it usually is. Then again, I’m on a new bike and I’m 5-6 pounds lighter… The 2010 Build is also much more gradual than it’s been in the past, and I’m really hoping to keep my eyes on the goal and NOT deviate, something so many riders (myself included) can easily do…

Training since late-JAN has been relatively simple: UltraTempo, SubThreshold, and LT work on the trainer, all of it done on the Transition and PowerCrank bike. I stopped lifting weights the second week in FEB. Debated going longer, but I realize it’s now time to concentrate on the bike 100% — the knee is good. I have never been stronger on the PowerCranks ((*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*), I am almost stronger on PowerCranks than I am on regular cranks!), and this is reassuring to me, hoping this wicked PowerCrank base will REALLY help as I turn the screw come spring-time…

But right now, I’m ALL DIESEL. Sandy Hook and Readington are NOT that far away (less than 7 weeks), and I just can’t realistically see myself putting in a top performance. It is what it is. Knowing this going in, you can’t be shocked by the results.

For all you riders out there, I HIGHLY recommend watching Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger, arguably one of the best documentaries ever made. Such an astute portrait of psychological warfare, but also a glimpse into the private world of one of the most dominant alpha-males of our time. In one classic scene, Arnold’s lifting partner is squatting, ready to drop dead.

Arnold says, “One more.” The guy does one more. “One more.” The guy is ready to drop dead. “C’mon, let’s get serious now.” Somehow, unbelievably the guy squats once more.

“You do one more, no matter what,” Arnold says flatly, and this guy, somefrickinghow, quivering like crazy, squats down, ready to fold, his back rocking, then slowly creeps back up, his head ready to explode, lays the bar on the rack, and drops heavily to the ground.

I always remember that when I’m out there doing specific intervals. Control what you can control. No matter if it’s Tempo or anaerobic threshold, you push that interval to the max. Being average is easy. Do what the others won’t.

“C’mon, let’s get serious now. One more. You do one more, no matter what.”

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Friday, February 12th, 2010 | | |