After I'd finished my Lactate Threshold test and my VO2max test, it was George's turn. Doctor Ross fitted him with the Darth Vader mask and put the backpack on his back. He calibrated George's bike to the power meter on the computrainer, and hooked up the hoses and wires.
I took some shots of George doing his warmup.
Dr Ross started the test. George rode in his big ring in the front for awhile. Right around 200 watts, he switched it to the small ring. I was cheering him on and letting him know how many gears he had left to make it easier. Eventually, a rider doing these tests runs out of gears. Then it's just
"suffer until you can't suffer any longer".
George's breaking point came soon enough. Unlike myself who never actually quit, but simply slowed down more and more until Dr Ross had to stop my test, George rode until he hit the proverbial wall. He stopped when he had nothing left.
We excitedly waited for his results. Both of us were competing with one another. I know this is fruitless, because as a man, he has certain advantages over me. Mainly, he has more fast twitch muscle fibers. He has a bigger heart and larger lungs. His asthma is not as bad as mine. But he hasn't been training like I've been for the last few months. Comparing our results is a little like comparing apples to oranges, but neither of us could rein in our competitive natures.
So, the level of CO2 in George's exhalation indicated that he began to accumulate lactic acid at a heart rate of 150 bpm and at 238 watts. (Mine was 164 bpm and 281 watts.)
The point at which he built up lactic acid faster than he could get rid of it was at a heart rate of 167 bpm and at 294 watts. (Mine was 175 bpm and 362 watts.)
Finally, his VO2max was 59.4 ml/min/kg at 308 watts. (Mine was 53.2 ml/min/kg at 394 watts.)
So, I'm not a doctor, but here's my analysis. Since men have larger hearts and lungs, they can move more blood and supply more oxygen to their muscle cells. This helps them keep a lower heart rate, and reach a higher VO2max (the maximum amount of oxygen that can be used by one's muscles). This may be why George's heart rate at each important phase of exercise was lower than mine. This also might be why George was able to reach a higher VO2max.
George's wattage produced at each workout phase was lower than mine. I attribute that to my training. I ride 6 days per week on a coached training plan, while he rides 2-3 times a week and pushes hard for the fun of it.
So, George's body can use oxygen better than my body can. His musculature make-up allows him to be a more efficient athlete. He is genetically blessed with these traits. But I have strengthened my heart, lungs, and muscles to be able to produce more power than he can. Would l beat him in a race? It depends. If it was a 7 mile race, he crush me. If it was a 14 miles race, he'd beat me, but I'd be gaining on him. If it was a 21 mile race, I'd win. If it was a 28 mile race, I'd wup his butt. But this was true last year, long before I began training with Mike. Maybe I would do a lot better this year.
What if George trained more? He'd no doubt see some amazing gains. But I'm just ending the endurance part of my training. Starting next week, I will begin working on intensity and speed. My power is going to increase substantially.
What does this mean for my race season? I don't know. Just because I test well, I can only hope it will translate to good race results. I was putting out wattages in the 400's when I had Lactate Threshold tests last season. In spite of this, my race results were poor. Are my competitors turning out wattages in the 500's? I'd love to know. Maybe they can simply sustain higher wattage for much longer periods than I can.
I can not wait to see how I do this year. I'm so anxious to make sure that I won't be in the back of the pack again. I want to be securely in the middle, and maybe even hit some higher spots at the right races.
Whatever the case, I know I'm on the right track. Training is going very well, and now I have legitimate numbers to work with. Check back with me tomorrow to read about my live ride with Coach Mike.