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“8 Days in California” has begun: overview, and Stage 1 recap

Monday, May 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Yesterday was the first stage of TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” challenge. As most of you know, I’m participating in this 8-stage race simulation, and so over the next week my blogs will be focused on this event as I work my way through each of the difficult stages.

My gym yesterday morning: ready for the first stage of the "8 Days In California" challenge.

My gym yesterday morning: ready for the first stage of the “8 Days In California” challenge.

The opening stage was a monster workout. Before I get into that, though, I want to talk a little about the race itself, and the cool backstory that TrainerRoad has created.

Stage description: The opening stage of 8DC builds toward a long, Alpe d’Huez-like climb meaning there are numerous switchbacks on a long, sustained climb with difficult but not extreme grades. Following a long, fast descent, the race is likely to come down to a field sprint. There’s one intermediate sprint and a single KOM on the finishing climb.

Stage strategy: Shepherd our climber to the foot of the final climb. We’ll then try to protect our climber as far up the climb as possible, but if the big guns start firing, our climber is likely to be solo, without the support of the team.

Looking at the stage’s workout graph, I knew this was going to be a beast of a ride.

I have to hand it to TrainerRoad: they have done a remarkable job with this event. As I rode, the software kept me fully engaged in the race by providing continuous information on what was going on around me. I never felt like I was just “doing a workout”. Top-notch effort, TrainerRoad.

The first stage was a tough one. The thick horizontal line in the graph below (click to enlarge) represents my Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is currently 270. As you can see, a large portion of this 119 minute stage was spent riding above my threshold, which is… uncomfortable.

8DC Stage I: My workout graph

8DC Stage I: My workout graph


I spent 23.1% of the time in the Threshold power zone (uncomfortable), 15.3% in the VO2 MAX power zone (painful) and 3.6% of the time in the Anaerobic Capacity power zone (please kill me).

Note: For more information on power-based training, please check out my article, “Coggan’s Power-Based Training“.

Yesterday’s workout produced a new 60 minute wattage personal record (on the trainer) of 255 watts. I’ve done close to 100 workouts on TrainerRoad (including several Sufferfest workouts); most of those workouts have been extremely tough, so the new 60 minute wattage PR shows that yesterday’s stage was probably the toughest of them all. It definitely hurt.

Here’s the entire stage with all my workout data.

At 113 minutes today’s stage is a little shorter than yesterday’s stage, but the Intensity Factor for Stage 2 is higher than Stage 1. Enterpainment at its best. 🙂

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