David Friedt – flight instructor, Masters National Championships podium finisher, and Volunteer Park Criterium organizer – is still racing hard in his 70s. Here is what he’s up to this winter in preparation for next season.
This is described as a Sub-Threshold workout. In training with a power meter, it is possible to target specific power ranges. Sweet Spot is taken from the Functional Threshold of Power number and occurs at 88% to 94% of FTP (functional threshold power). In building or raising the FTP it is important to start from below that number. For my Sweet Spot I use an FTP of 230 watts to calculate a Sweet Spot from 202-216 watts. On a recent ride I did two Sweet Spot workouts. One 12 minutes and the second one at 24 minutes at an average of 205 watts. It is hard to find a place to grind for 20 minutes without interruption.
Two of the best places to do these workouts are on Mercer Island, Jones Road and the Cedar River Trail just past Ron Regis Park. There is one light on the Cedar River Trail at Cedar Grove road, but it is a brief stop.
The advantages of this workout are two. Working just below the FTP and putting the heart rate in zone 3/4. When I did these two intervals my heart rate average was 122 bpm and 128 bpm respectively. Since my maximum heart rate is 168 bpm that puts my effort in zone 3. I am building power just below my Lactate Threshold of 141 bpm. Building power at Lactate Threshold is the goal of training for bike racing.
Here are two workouts I use:
Mercer Island: I ride to the Shore Club on East Mercer Way just south to I-90. I get three one-minute intervals in zone 4 power with high cadence. Then I ride south on East Mercer Way for 15 minutes in Sweet Spot power with a cadence of 90rpm. Back track for recovery for 4 minutes, start another 15 minutes Sweet Spot continuing around the south end of Mercer Island and onto West Mercer Way. For the third interval ride south on West Mercer Way for 15 minutes at Sweet Spot power. Add in 60 minutes of power in zone 2/3 making a complete loop of the island and ending at the Shore Club on East Mercer way.
Since I live on Mercer Island, I ride from my home to the Shore Club to begin this workout to get my warmup and be ready to start the workout.
Jones Road/Cedar River Trail: Do one Sweet Spot interval on Jones Road at 10-12 minutes. It takes 8-10 minutes to ride back to the start for the recovery. Then ride to the trail and do one 20-24 minutes interval between the traffic light on Highway 169 at 154th Place SE and the parking area on the trail in Maple Valley. With a 1-2% grade this is a perfect spot to do a longer Sweet Spot interval. After this longer interval, I will ride Maxwell Road to Cedar Grove Road to Issaquah/Hobart road and return via May Valley to Mercer Island. I try to ride May Valley as an opportunity to work on speed training. With the intervals this ride is about 45 miles and 3:30:00 to complete.
Sweet Spot was introduced to me my Earl Zimmerman, a Cycling Peaks Coach in Redmond. The Allen/Coggan “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” is the best reference for this workout.
Have fun, David