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Training Progress

Saturday morning, my repaired SRM Cannondale Hollowgram power meter crankset went back onto the Moots Vamoots RSL.

Saddle changes

I made a change to my bike setup—

I had been running my Selle Italia seat just 3cm behind the crankarm axle, but 5cm is the legal UCI minimum setback*. Plus I was advised that such a position generates a lot of power (indeed true according to my power meter), but is also liable to overtax my quads. For a two-day race, that is a very serious concern, even setting aside the UCI rules. Also, the Selle Italia seat does not allow very good pelvic rotation so I had angled it down, also a violation of UCI 2012 rules. It’s not likely that these rules would be checked at the Everest Challenge (or minimum weight), but I’d rather be in compliance.

So I made a change: I installed a new Ritchey Logic 30.9mm straight seat post along with a saddle I had used extensively prior to the Selle Italia, the Bontrager Affinity RXL. This saddle is similar to the Specialized Romin (which never agreed with me) in allowing pelvic rotation without blocking / pressuring.

I also moved the seat so that it was at 51mm rear of the crank axle and leveled the Affinity RXL seat also. The net result was a significantly different riding position than prior.

The ride

With any new riding position, the right thing is to give it time for adaptation, and 2cm is no small change. But with three weeks of training time before Taper Week before the Everest Challenge, I took a calculated risk: I went on a 4+ hour and 6500 elevation gain ride at a robust climbing pace; I needed to know *right now* whether this was going to be viable for power, endurance and recovery. Because knowing 2 weeks later was worthless.

And so I was thrilled that I made excellent power up all the climbs, the endurance was not a problem, and even at the end I was making 400 watts up the last steep pitch or so without really noticing: success. Even better, my knees were as good or better than ever. Furthermore, on the ride I consumed only about 16% of expended calories which is unusually low and indicates a high degree of fat burning for energy (otherwise I would have run out of “gas”).

Still better, the next day my recovery ride was about as strong as any normal ride, though with some small areas of mild soreness (expected for the longest ride of the year on a new position). Success.

The daunting aspect

My ascent times when scaled for higher body weight show that power is as high and maybe even higher than last year. But power is neither endurance nor recovery, and I have a narrow window of three weeks of training time before I need to taper a week before the Everest Challenge. And I need to drop 3-4 pounds. Ouch.

And so lots of good news here, tempered with an intimidating does of reality: I won’t have any opportunity to test myself prior to EC (last year I had 4.7 double centuries on the saddle by this time in addition to a much longer training cycle). So the challenge is training hard but not too hard in short period of time. I am very curious to see how it all works out!

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