The Weighting Is the Hardest Part

The ability to sustain 6.7 watts of power for each kilogram of body weight: That's what Lance Armstrong's training guru, Dr. Michele Ferrari, said The Great Man was aiming for in his training leading up to the Tour de France in 2004, when Daniel Coyle tagged along and then wrote a book called Lance Armstrong's War.

I have no idea how many watts/kg I'll need to sustain to have the kind of ride I seek at Ironman Coeur d'Alene; that's not really the point. The point is that cycling in the end is about power and mass (yeah, aerodynamics and some other stuff, too, but we're keeping it simple here), so I need to think about how I can improve that ratio—whatever it "needs" to be—for IMCDA.

I weigh 79 kg (about 174 lbs.) and can sustain maybe 235 watts. Now, the watts figure will go up. Five or six rides a week for the next four months makes that a virtual certainty. But there's that other side of the equation—that big other side, known as my ass.

Actually, by everyday measure, my weight is perfectly fine. It's pretty stable; in pounds, the first two numbers are almost always a 1 and then a 7. I am a bit heavy for my height, strictly speaking, but I'm thickly muscled, especially in the legs, and only by the standards of endurance athletics would I be considered flabby. But of course, endurance athletics is what we're talking about here. The goal here is not to be "healthy"; the goal is to be fast.

So: An obvious route to fast(er) for me is Highway 160. As in, 160 pounds. Getting my weight down to that level, alone, at my current output, would boost my watt/kg by 7 percent.

I'd like to have my CDA weight established by June 1, three weeks before the race. That gives me February, March, April and May to do the job. OK, let's give me a break. Let's make the goal 162 pounds—a reduction of 12 pounds, which divides out to three pounds per month. How hard can that be? Brutally, horribly, ridiculously hard, I'm sure.

[Today: 75 minutes on the bike in the morning, steady, high-cadence, climbing watts, good ride; then at least 1,500 yards in the pool, feeling much more comfortable than last week.]

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