Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It works!

I bought these damn things in Nov 2007 and committed to using them exclusively for 3 months. I was excited to try them out but after the first two weeks I was ready to throw my bike away. My training volume dropped drastically and so did my motivation. Luckily I had a couple of training partners that had them on their bike as well….So I pressed on. 4 weeks in I decided to go on a 50+ miler with some guys were on "normal" bikes. That was basically the breakthrough ride. It was painful but I hung on and completed a 3 hour hilly ride on the torture dev… I mean Powercranks. As the weeks went on my body started to adapt to the pedaling motion. After 6 weeks it became natural to pull up and over through the pedal stroke. My cadence increased and I started to see drastic improvements in pedaling economy and overall aerobic fitness. I had virtually eliminated the dead spot at the top of the pedal stroke after 8 weeks. I was now doing 4-5 hour training rides with other people and was able to keep up and in some cases out climb them. I noticed that the pedaling action your body is forced to adapt strengthens muscles that were normally dormant from years of inefficient pedaling. My hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and lower abs were starting to get stronger and were constantly recruited for power during the ride. Gone were the days when only my quads hurt and my lower back felt like it was going to explode.
I stuck to my commitment and rode the Powercranks through February 2008. I saw huge gains and benefits from being on them exclusively for 3 straight months. By the end of 2008 I saw my FTP go from 250 to 296. Im sure Powercranks wasn’t the only factor in the improvement but it definitely laid a solid foundation for the training I had done throughout the 2008 season. Id have to say though that if there is a shortcut to fitness it's 2-3 weeks exclusively on Powercranks after the initial adaptation of 3 months. My fitness started to decline in late August after being off of Powercranks for 4 months. I got back on them and forced myself to ride them exclusively for 2-1/2 weeks. I was putting in 12-15 hours a week with about 16-20k feet of climbing on Powercranks. Late September, I decided to race the Mt Tamalpais Road Race. I pre-rode the race course on Powercranks 2 days before (which in hindsight was not a good idea because of the residual fatigue on race day) and ended up finishing 7th on race day. Not bad for not having raced since mid May of 2008. 2 weeks later I did the Diablo Challenge and finished in 53 min and change. I started in the 2nd wave and won it. Avg power 296 for 53 minutes.
Its 2009 and I havent been as ambitious with my Powercranks time this year. I force myself to train on them at least 2-3 times a week as I build up my base fitness for the 2009 race season. Im "Powercranks fit" enough to do 5+ hour hilly rides but not as PC fit as last year. I incorporate Powercranks in my training program and I can already see gains on a weekly basis.
More to come…..

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