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Assessing Performance Ascending At a Higher Body Weight

As I discussed in Back in the Game, I am intent on dropping weight for the 2013 Everest Challenge, because every pounds counts.

But what if body weight and/or total riding weight varies from a year earlier or some other time to which one wishes to compare: is the time actually better worse?

Obviously the time is what it is, but in assessing fitness on ascents, the power to weight ratio is all but linear for steep ascents. Hence at the same power, five more pounds will necessarily result in a slower time.

Comparing previous years fairly (for raw fitness)

I examined 2011 ascents for July: I was about six pounds lighter and 1.5 minutes slower! So clearly even with the modest training in 2013 I am faster than 2011.

2012 was a very strong year, and here my fastest June/July time was 19:15 at a riding weight of 193.4 pounds: 11 pounds lighter. Which is nearly a ton.

So the question is, was I stronger then or now?

I translate my July 2013 time for weight as (193.4 / 205 ) * 20:39 = 1169 seconds = 19:29, or within 14 seconds. And that 2012 acent was at an average heart rate of 170, a whopping at 11 beats higher in similar temperatures (my notes say “hard but sub max effort”, since that is my max HR within a few beats). So these two are very comparable, but the 2013 effort is at a much lower hear trate.

Hence my time is fractionally slower, but at a heatr rate 11 beats lower.

What this says to me is that my peak power in 2013 for relatively short and hard effors is every bit as good as in 2012. Therefore, the slower ascent time is strictly a matter of excess weight (body fat).

None of this translates to endurance on 6 hour Everest Challenge efforts of course, but it does say that raw power is right where it needs to be. Hence I need to bring my endurance up to a higher level.

Hard but sub-maximal effort up Old La Honda road , 2013-07-06
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