Winter Training: Oreo Cookies Do Not Mix with the McCarthy Special

Winter Training: Oreo Cookies Do Not Mix with the McCarthy Special

Editor’s note: Dr. Nick Green is writing a series of posts documenting his winter training progress as he works to drop weight, build power, and be ready to take Strava KOM’s when spring rolls around. Browse his past posts here.

Warning – numbers ahead!

Following the ‘joy’ of the fitness testing, I dove into my first structured training ride on Zwift. The ride of the choice was the “McCarthy Special“. If you haven’t checked it out yet, following a ten minute warm up there is a three minute effort at your FTP, followed by three minutes at 112% of FTP and another three at 125% of FTP. These efforts are followed by nine minutes of 63% of FTP before repeating the cycle two more times. For this first attempt, my wattages worked out to 243 watts, 272 watts and 304 watts with the nine minute cool down between efforts being 152 watts.

The first try at this workout went surprisingly well. The first repetition was great, I would even say somewhat easy. Now the second repetition through was decidedly more difficult, with the end of the 304 watt effort being quite challenging. By the end of the third block of efforts, the fan was just not doing enough to keep cool, and the towel was ready for the laundry.

Red Line – Heart rate, Pink Line – Wattage

Interesting for me to see a max heart rate during this ride of 160 bpm… that’s almost max!

The following three days allowed for two more hour long Zwift rides, as well as a 60km solo ride on what has become the last nice outdoor ride of the year.

This was followed up by one of the early lessons I’ve learned on Zwift. Although my coworkers are great cooks, one of them tempted us with several bags of Oreo Cookies. Despite my drive to slim down, cookies have always been a weakness. The lesson learned: never push your body after eating food the quality of an Oreo. By the second repetition I was unable to push through the 304 watt effort, and the third attempt the 304 effort was abandoned after a minute and a half.

At this point in the journey, there really hasn’t been any appreciable increases in performance, although the Critical Power graph keeps getting minor bumps towards higher power output. It’s the Critical Power graph that is quickly becoming my favorite post ride metric, as it shows how hard (or not!) the ride has gone, and if there have been any improvements to performance during the effort. It’s the post ride feedback my analytical mind was missing from stationary training without Zwift.

The next installment will include some attempts to increase maximum wattage, and an attempt to train through the pain of a recurring back injury. Until then… Ride On!

About The Author

Nick Green

Dr. Nick Green is a 44 year old Canadian living in Northern Ontario where snow hits the ground in November and stays until until April. In the summer he splits his time between a road bike and a mountain bike, with several endurance mountain bike events spread over the season.

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