PowerMax workout #3: Thank goodness for sprints

Last week’s PowerMax indoor cycling workout at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine was BRUTAL in the endurance sense, but it inspired me to become a better person (or least a better bike rider). I just got back from another PowerMax love session, and tonight I feel better.

What I did differently
– Showed up hydrated.

– Brought my inhaler, which I needed and used. Last week I got nailed by the asthma hate.

– Lowered and moved the seat back on my cross bike, which made it pedal more like the Mighty Stumpjumper.

– Rode the cross bike for four hours on Saturday. Some downhills, lots of flats, some sweet trails and that nasty climb back to the house. Aimless rides like this meld body and machine.

– Also: On Sunday I rocked a gnarly set of pump intervals. 20 seconds full on, 40 seconds off, for I dunno — maybe 20 reps?

– Monday off. Tonight I “brought my gun.”

The workout
Our substitute teacher, Adam, gave us a vote: 1) time trial, 2) long intervals at LT, 3) short sprints. You know which one I voted for. Justin and I wound up doing rock-paper-scissors, and I won, so we rocked sprints.

In an hour we did about 45 sprints in three blocks.

Block 1: Five 15-second sprints, five 10-second sprints and five 5-second sprints, with 6X rest between efforts. Sprint 15 seconds, rest 90 seconds. Sprint 10 seconds, rest 60 seconds. Sprint 5 seconds, rest 30 seconds. All good.

Easy spinning for a while.

Block 2: The same sprint durations, with 4X rest: 60 seconds, 40 seconds, 20 seconds. The decreasing recovery was becoming … uh … interesting.

Easy spinning for a while.

Block 3: Same sprints, with 2X rest. 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds. By now I was getting almost no recovery.

How it felt
Not horrible. Short sprints like this are mostly neuromuscular training: teaching your muscles to fire hard, fast, NOW! I hit a peak of 953 watts about halfway through. By the time I realized 1,000 watts would be really cool, my snap was elsewhere. I kind of half-assed some of my intervals to keep the quality up, and by the end my best efforts were in the 800s.

The next highest peak power was Instructor Adam with 853 watts. I guess I “won” on peak power, but: The rest of the class was much more consistent. While I bounced from 900 to 100 watts, they were more in the 700 to 200 range, which would be handy, if, say, you wanted to rip out a long ride with good overall speed. If I was the hare, they were another hare, but one with better endurance! There are no tortoises in this class.

Next week we’re back to endurance work. Yikes. But bring it!

Also read

PowerMax workout #2: A big slice of humble pie

The coolest indoor cycling workout ever