Going all out

At this week’s PowerMax indoor training session at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, I showed up humble but ready to use what I have. I used it all.

The workout
As we set up our bikes, Coach Lester Pardoe said, “This one is for Lee.” Yikes. For me, because I’ll like it, or for me, because it’s what I need?

The workout called for a brief spin up, 18 intervals at or near threshold (your maximum sustainable power), then five all-out sprints to put the Cool Whip on the pie.

Based on last week’s time trial results, I set my threshold power at 240 watts and got to work. My threshold power is a source of great humility, and I’m here to improve it.

At least we got to watch Roam.

And special guest …
One thing about Boulder, and the Center in particular, is you never know who you’ll be riding with. I routinely get smashed up Sunshine Canyon Road by members of various pro road teams (don’t worry, I give it back on the downhills).

Wednesday’s pre-Thanksgiving session had a different mix of people, including a strong, energetic woman named Connie. As in Connie Carpenter, wife of Davis Phinney and mom of Taylor Phinney. Pretty much the genetic nexus for American cycling greatness.

It’s actually liberating to know you’re not gonna impress anyone. Just clip in, set your threshold and do your work.

All out
I settled into the warmup at about 100 rpm. The first threshold intervals actually felt good. After last week, I know better than to push too hard. Just do the work that Lester prescribes. That’s also liberating.

As we went along, my legs started feeling heavier, and I started feeling less comfortable. I could feel my “perfect seated attack position” curling into a ball of self pity.

I looked around, and everyone was looking the same. Lester said, “Don’t arch your backs … Push your belly button to your stem … Connie that goes for you too.” We all made our corrections and kept churning along.

After the threshold work, we had about two minutes easy, then it was time to sprint 10 seconds on, 50 seconds off, for 5 reps. I asked Lester whether I should pace myself so I can survive all five sprints, or just go all out.

“All out.”


I spun along all happy, then, when the resistance hit, I stood up and went full bore for all 10 seconds. It was the Coach G BMX start — BAM BAM BAM!

1. 900 watts for the first one. Feeling good, let’s clean up that snap.

2. 951 watts for the second one. 50 seconds went by pretty fast. I want 1,000. Coach G says if you can put down 1,000 watts in a BMX race, that’s pretty solid.

3. 800-something watts. Oh man, this is hard. Whoa: Time to go already?

4. 800-something watts. Legs not doing what I tell them. Lester: “Looks like you’re losing your snap.”

5. 700-something watts. Draped over the bike, heaving and gasping but not pedaling. Not able to pedal.

Lester: “Uh Lee, you should start pedaling as soon as you can.”

Got it. Thanks for the tip Coach.

If results are proportional to effort, I’m gonna be a monster!

Know more. Have more fun!

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