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TrainerRoad’s 2014 “8 Days in California”: Stage 2 recap

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Yesterday I completed the second stage of TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” challenge. This stage was the Individual Time Trial (ITT), and it was a toughie…

Stage 2 description: An almost prologue-esque ITT on a mostly flat, out and back course marks stage two of 8DC. After a quick warmup, the relatively simple and brief course profile will allow for two race-start intervals at 130% FTP followed by 11-minutes at 103% FTP. Don’t go out too hard!

My post-stage comments: This stage was the Individual Time Trial (ITT). After a 30 minute warm-up, the actual 22-minute out-and-back TT started. Riding more than 20 minutes at a supra-threshold power output level is always a painful experience, but this is particularly true when riding alone on a stationary trainer. When I reached the turnaround point (halfway), my heart rate was at 180 BPM. I knew that sustaining that level of effort for another 11 minutes was going to be as much as a mental battle as a physical one, so I settled in and tried to ignore the pain. The TT effort was divided into the initial 1-minute surges at the beginning and at the turnaround point, and four 5-minute timed sections. I actually rode the second half of this stage stronger than the first half: average watts for the first two 5-minute segments was 298 and 297, and average watts for the final two 5-minute segments was 302 and 321 (target for all of these was 294 watts). Solid effort today, which netted new 10-minute, 15-minute, 20-minute and 30-minute power output personal records.

I spent 19.4% of the stage in the Threshold power zone, 18.6% in the VO2 MAX power zone and 4.2% of the time in the Anaerobic Capacity power zone.

This time trial basically amounted to a 20-minute Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test: averaging the four timed 5-minute TT segments (20 back-to-back minutes in total) and then multiplying the result by 0.95 is the same as the standardized “20 minute” FTP test.

Here are my results:

((298 + 297 + 302 + 321) / 4) * 0.95 = 289

The training programs I’ve done always start with the standardized “8 minute” FTP test, which is simply another method of determining FTP. In theory either of these two FTP tests would produce the same result. I re-tested my FTP less than a month ago with the Stages Cycling power meter (you can read all about that FTP test here if you like), and the result was 288.

Yesterday’s time trial was the first time I’ve done the 20 minute test and, as you just read, the result was pretty much identical (289 watts) to what I got from the 8-minute test (288 watts). Good to know.

On the heart rate side of things, I spent 12.1% of this stage (00:07:10) in the the Threshold zone (155-171 BPM), and 36.4% (00:21:28) in the VO2 MAX zone (171+ BPM).

Yes, this stage hurt.

My Normalized Power (NP) output for this stage was 257 watts, and my Training Stress Score (TSS) was 79. You can check out the entire stage with all my workout data here.

Here is my 2014 8DC Stage 2 workout graph (click to enlarge):

2014 8DC Stage 2: My workout graph

2014 8DC Stage 2: My workout graph


Stage 2 chewed up and spit out more hopefuls from the back of the peloton: of 1,735 cyclists who started the 8DC, 989 have now been eliminated. There are 746 riders remaining in the challenge as we line up for the start of third stage.

At 95 minutes in length, today’s stage is the longest stage of this year’s 8DC. Stage 3 includes big climbs, several opportunities to earn sprint points and what promises to be a soul-crushing mountaintop finish. This is going to be a tough one.

John Stone Fitness Comments

6 Responses to “TrainerRoad’s 2014 “8 Days in California”: Stage 2 recap”
    • Not directly. The stages are all totally different this year, plus my FTP is higher, plus I’m using the Stages Cycling power meter instead of TrainerRoad’s VirtualPower.

      So while I can’t directly compare, there’s no question that the workouts this year are scaled to a higher difficulty level (because of my FTP and the power source I’m using now), and that I’m a stronger cyclist now compared to last year. But, as Greg LeMond so perfectly put it, “It never gets easier, you just go faster.”

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    • Just make sure you have all your equipment set to go before joining TrainerRoad, and then you’ll have a full month to try it out with no risk (they will refund your money if you are not satisfied for any reason). Enjoy!

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