Cycling Power Challenges

Cycling Power Challenge
06 Nov

Training Data and Test Results

My Google tracking spreadsheet is embedded below - click on the links at the bottom to view various test results. You can view the spreadsheet directly here.

Detailed heart rate data can be viewed for each workout by clicking on the Garmin links in the spreadsheet. Alternatively, view my Garmin profile here.

About the Challenge


I'm find spin classes to be an awesome way to build CV fitness. The only downside to spin is that it's not progressive - it's difficult to ensure that you're working hard enough to improve fitness levels. That's where my Power Cycling Challenge comes in!

  • I'll be using Spin classes to do the bulk of my training for this challenge; that always gets more out of you than you can manage on your own. I've got a couple of awesome instructors in mind, and the group environment helps immensely.
  • Currently I'm planning to do two Spin classes a week - the two instructors complement each other well. I will go flat out in these classes, keeping resistance high and staying in the red zone for most of the 35 - 45 min class.
  • I will do a test once  a week; either 1 min, 5 mins or 20 mins. So some weeks this will be more taxing than others. However, it will always be all out effort.
  • To complement this, and to work at the other end of the effort spectrum,  I'll do a Long Slow Distance (LSD) workout of 90 minutes. This will help improve my aerobic engine and strengthen the parasympathetic nervous system. I probably won't do this on a bike.
  • The idea is to work at the two ends - long and easy; short and hard; long and hard - no half arsed efforts that tire me out without adding anything of value.This is of course subject to change - I'll adapt as I find out what works well for me.

Click on the tabs above to find out more about how I'll track heart rate and power output. 

Heart Rate

One approach I use to keep my effort levels up is to wear a heart rate monitor and try and get average and maximum heart rate higher at every session. I also track recovery by seeing how long it takes for my heart rate to return to normal after a class.

My Garmin lets me compare heart rate from one spin session to the next.

This solves part of the problem; yet heart rate monitoring only tells you how hard you're working (and whether or not recovery is improving) - not how much work you're doing.


The Cycling Power Challenge is a way to track my actual cycling performance.  I do my training in spin classes - the instructors and group environment get more out of me than I'd manage on my own. Periodically, I test myself on a Watt Bike and compare my results to published standards (I added a few categories to the bottom to provide some more progressions in the early stages):



How to take the test:

  1. Choose your own resistance and speed - the goal is to get the watts as high as possible.
  2. Cycle as hard and fast as possible for the required time - 1 minute; 5 minute; 20 minutes.
  3. Divide your total watts by your weight in KG to get your power to weight ration (watts per KG)
  4. Look up your result on the table above. For example, if your test result for the 20 minute test is 2.01 you fall under 'Fast non-Racer' category.

Challenge Data

Start Date:
Monday, 6th November 2017

End Date:


  • Increase muscle mass in legs.
  • Improve Watts Per KG in 1, 5 and 20 minute test.

Heart Rate Info:

My maximum heart rate has been recorded at 187 whilst running and 177 on a bike.  Although I haven't done much running in the last two years I used to consistently see 187 bpm towards the end of a 5k race. Apparently it's normal for cycling max HR to be approx. 10 bpm lower than running max. The usual practice is to use a max HR appropriate to the activity. Therefore, I am using a Max HR of 177 to calculate percentages of max, training zones etc.

The 220 minus age formula is out by over 20 bpm; additionally, I haven't observed the predicted drop of 1 bpm for each year of age. It seems to stay consistent from year to year.

Tested Max HR when running = 187

Tested Max HR when cycling = 179

1 minute Watts / KG = 

5 minute Watts / KG = 

20 minute Watts / KG = 

Left thigh measurement (cm) = 50cm

Right thigh measurement (cm) = 46.5cm

Left thigh skinfold (mm) = 20mm

Right thigh skinfold (mm) = 20mm

Weight = 59.7kg

Personal Bests

Highest HR Achieved During Spin Class:

179 BPM (March 2016) 

Highest AVERAGE HR Achieved During Spin Class:

167 BPM (March 2016) (2015)

1 Minute Power to Weight Ratio PB:

4.26 - Jackal (March 2016 @ 68kg)

5 Minute Power to Weight Ratio PB:

2.36 - Nearly Ready to Race (March 2016 @ 68kg)

20 Minute Power to Weight Ratio PB:

2.09 - Fast Non Racer (March 2016 @ 68kg)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *