At the beginning of April 2022, we brought you the Cycling Weekly Big Fitness Project team of amateur cyclists – Danny Lloyd, Steve Faulkner and Julia Barty – as they embarked on six months of training, racing, time trialing and riding a Gran Fondo. It’s time for the penultimate update…
Danny Lloyd: “We feed on data, we fast to burn fat!”
August has always been a challenging month, and it sure was a carnage! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad, but the training was harder than ever. The month started with a family vacation at Center Parks in the Lake District, and taking my bike meant I had some good rides. Since then, though, my schedule has been insane: At the time of writing, I was having the potential of 14 seizures over a 16-day period! Adapting my sleep patterns between night and day shifts as I try to intercept in difficult interval sessions…well, you can imagine. This hectic period was predictable, and with my coach Jack Reese, we factored in the disruptions in my schedule. Another two weeks and then I’ll be able to see the wood for the trees.
The big improvement in my training this month was the incorporation of a shiny new data set resulting from metabolic testing with Greg Morgan at Doctor Sprocket in Wallasey (doctorprocket.com). Using Pnoe breath analysis equipment, the tests produced a very detailed report with lots of helpful takeaways. The first thing reported was an abnormal and very ineffective respiratory pattern, which is probably the result of an old neck injury. Knowing that means I can now start working on it with the Breathe app.
Through metabolic tests, I now know exactly how many calories I need – 2,359kcal plus any energy I burn with exercise and activity – which gives me an astonishing level of nutritional accuracy. Then, exercise tests determined the heart rate and strength numbers for my training zones, and revealed that Zone 2 starts out with less force than I had assumed. I also revealed that the transition from fat burning to carbs happens in Central Zone 2, which is a relatively poor area – I need to work on burning fat by doing quick rounds.
Armed with these new insights into my physiology and performance, I’m excited to put the theory into practice – my next test is a local tri/quad cat race on September 18th. Now I just need my work schedule to loosen up!
Passenger Profile: Danny Lloyd
Birthplace: Runcorn, Cheshire
Occupation: Oil refinery operator
Riding for: Frodsham Wheelers CC
Current FTP: 288W | 3.6 W/kg
Twitter: Tweet embed
Instagram: Daniel 13
Results Sheet for August: 1. Participate in the first cash race. Achieve? No – back-to-back shifts of work have left me extremely exhausted. 2. Take a metabolic test and re-evaluate my training zones. Achieve? Yes – heaps of helpful ideas, which prompted me to work on my breathing and adjust my training zones
Project objectives (March-October): transforming the body of a goalkeeper into the body of a cyclist; Complete the Fred Wheaton Challenge in under 8 hours (May 8); Qualify for the Gran Fondo World Championship by taking the top 20% in the Cambridge Tour (12 June); Ride as hard as you can on the Etape du Tour (July 10); Complete my first cash race; Breaking 24 minutes in my local TT 10 miles on my road bike; Increased power by 20 minutes to more than 4 W/kg
Julia Barty: The third cat dream hits the second Covid reality
I don’t have the luckiest of years. The first part of the racing season crashed when I contracted Covid-19 in March, and now it has happened again – I was infected a second time at the end of July. Although I had hoped for a quick recovery that would allow me to be back in racing in a couple of weeks, it wasn’t the case. The virus hit me hard: I developed a high fever and again needed antibiotics to clear my chest infection. the curse.
So my apologies, dear reader, but most of August I spent in recovery, which means I’m a lot less than I would have hoped. In fact, I was hoping August would be a busy month for racing and I would get enough points to get my Cat-three racing license. The reality was much calmer, as I was constrained by work, rest and leisurely walks to catch up with friends. All is not lost however, because now I am finally back on my bike and there should be enough racing opportunities over the next few weeks to earn the four points I need before the end of this fitness project.
My lungs still burn every time I ride, but I’m more relaxed this time. Having once recovered from Covid-19, I know what is needed this time – patience and determination. Even if I go back to square one, I know what to do, and provided I stick to the plan, I’ll come back stronger in the end. It’s annoying, but for now I just need to reassure myself, stay mentally strong and start stuffing up again. As fall approaches, I’m looking forward to returning to Zwift Racing, to take the Mad Monday series with my team. In the meantime, I love my new bike [S-Works SL7] And I can’t wait to use it in a race—I’m not giving up on getting that Cat-3 license before the project ends.
Passenger Profile: Julia Barty
Hometown: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Occupation: Operations leadership in technical retail
Ride for: 1904RT; Southborough District Wheelers (second claim)
Current FTP: 197W | 3.2 W/kg
Twitter: Tweet embed
August results sheet: 1. He recovered from Covid-19 and resumed optimal training. Achieve? No – Covid-19 came with a chest infection and recovery took several weeks. 2. Complete as many races as possible to earn BC points. Achieve? No – for the same reason mentioned above, I couldn’t race at all.
Project Objectives (March – October): Compete in as many races as possible; transition to a Cat 3 license; lose 6 kg without losing energy; Perform as hard as you can at Etape Caledonia (15 May), Vätternrundan (18 June) and Etape du Tour (10 July)
Steve Faulkner: “My last chance in less than 20 years!”
You might remember that in last month’s update I was feeling optimistic: I just scored 10 miles of the 20.53 lead in less than ideal conditions, and I came back to believe that, after a few weeks of training, I could hit my goal of going under 20 minutes. Even though life remained hectic with work, life, and family commitments, I still made sure to do the main set sessions, shorter efforts at a higher sprint voltage, and longer reps at the 310W target power. They progressed well, although I was still sober, realizing that my volume – averaging about six hours a week – might not be enough.
I tried making more changes to my riding position, but eventually decided it was too late – I didn’t have time to adjust to it. My current setup should work. And before I knew it, the race was upon me: an open ’10’ race on the K11/T10 course, my last chance to go under 20. There was a stronger breeze than my last outing on this course three weeks ago, and I decided to go conservative. When I got halfway through, the timer was just under 10 minutes and I was keeping my efforts in check. Both rotors crossed in the second leg without incident, I grabbed the little guy and my strength was where it should be – it worked! But with five minutes left, I slipped off my grip – suddenly there was nothing left and my power slowed down by 20-30 watts. I crossed the line at 21.11 – two seconds faster than the last time here but still more than a minute shy of my goal. Mission not accomplished.
In fact, I’m not surprised. Three weeks of training wasn’t enough, and I knew deep down it wouldn’t be. I’m a physiologist and I know you need six to eight weeks of continuous training to make a real difference. I’ve since run the numbers and calculated that in this cycle with my CdA of 0.175, an average of 317 watts will yield 19.58, which is less than 20 of my dreams. The limited training time left me 36 watts, and I have to face the fact, my volume wasn’t enough.
Passenger Profile: Steve Faulkner
Birthplace: Loughborough, Leicestershire
Occupation: Senior Lecturer in Mathematical Engineering and Physiology
Ride for: Colville Wheelers
Current FTP: 295W | 4.1 W/kg (estimated)
Twitter: Tweet embed
Instagram: Stephen Faulkner 1984
Results Sheet for August: 1. Stay focused on excellent training, I do my best with 7 hours a week. Achieve? No – I was able to keep up with the intervals but ate other commits in my volumes. 2. Make a serious second attempt at a distance of less than 20 minutes 10 miles TT. Achieve? Yes – but he missed the mark by 1 minute 12 seconds. 3. Improved front end positioning. Achieve? No – I decided it was too late and stuck with what I know
Project Objectives (March – October): Go under 20 minutes to experience a 10 mile time; regaining my club titles in TT (Coalville Wheelers); Stay focused on TT training, race more TT and improve my cadence
This article was originally published in the September 8, 2022 print edition of Weekly cycling. Subscribe online (Opens in a new tab)Have the magazine delivered straight to your door every week.
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