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The next step in personal training?, by Chris LeMay
 Article List
• My winter vacation
• Phil Gaimon wins 2008 Mt. Washington Hillclimb
• Biking brothers in law charge around the Whites
• Overendís ready for a Granite State nickname
• Maineís Islesboro is a seaside bicycle adventure
• Quietly cycling Connecticutís northeastís corner
• That "new bike fit"
• Cyclocross - Best way to enjoy it, watch it.
• The next step in personal training?
• What goes up, goes down along Virginiaís Skyline Drive
• Hillclimbs, heaven or hell?
• Acadiaís bikeways beckon
• Where Cycling Is Taken Seriously
• Crusing along Lake Winnipesaukee by bike and boat
• Crank That Kanc
• Wrap, ride and reward
• A Clean Sweep
I started cycling last year (2004) because of persistent climbing and running injuries and the more I rode, the more I enjoyed it. This year I upgraded to a new, lighter bike and things literally took off from there. I could ride much further and faster than with my first bike and watching the Tour de France got me thinking about trying some races. I started reading training books, online articles and asking questions to friends who have competed in the past. A friend sent me a link to a website of a guy who does a variety of physical assessments along with coaching so I checked it out.

The name of the company is called Incline Training ( The owner is Jay Gump and he is located in western Massachusetts. On his site I read a list of the various tests that he performs. All looked interesting, so I decided on the most comprehensive, the Cycling Profile test, and made an appointment. Unfortunately the CO2 sensor was not working when I arrived so Jay suggested I take the Monod Test. The Monod Test assesses your threshold power and anaerobic capacity by riding two time trials on a Computrainer: first a 1 mile trial at a simulated 3% grade, 10 -12 minute active recovery then a 4.40 mile trial with varying grades averaging around 3%.

Once youíre on the bike warming up, Jay explains whatís going and looks at other things like the evenness of your pedal strokes. He made me realize how right leg dominant I am! It is always hard for me to train inside and doing this test by myself made it little difficult to get motivated. However, it being a little damp and drizzly outside, having my iPod and Jay being very upbeat and encouraging made it a little easier to do.

Once warmed up, I stopped pedaling and Jay loaded the first trialÖ 3, 2, 1 and Iím off. I started out fast but tried not to go too so fast I burn out too early, keeping about a 90rpm cadence. At the 1/3 mark, I ratchet it up to a 95 rpm and now the pain begins, legs start burning and breathing starts getting even more labored. 3/4 through and now Iím starting to feel like my legs are going to give out, my lungs feel like they are going to explode but I hang on until the end - finishing at just over 4 minutes. This is about average for someone with my experience, or lack thereof. Now I rest, spinning easily for about 10 ñ 12 minutes to get my legs and lungs back and get prepare myself for the next trial - 4.40 miles at an average 3% grade.
Rider on the trainer being tested.
(photo courtesy Incline Training)
The rest over, the countdown begins and Iím off again for another round of pain and suffering. This time I start a little slower, keeping a 85 ñ 90rpm for the first mile. I slowly bring up the cadence to 90 sustaining it for the next 2 miles. Now Iím really start to feel tired! The burning is causing my legs to fatigue. I think that Iím not going to finish this but I dig in, telling myself just to keep pedaling and finish. 21 minutes later I finish the second trial and Iím totally spent. I spend the next 15 minutes spinning easily to cool down and recover enough to be able to walk out of the office.

Jay downloads the data which includes heart rate, power output, cadence and speed. Then he prepares a chart and graph of both time trials with the average watts and HR, threshold power and HR, and a zone chart from recovery to VO2 Max for power and heart rate. He sat with me and explained what everything meant, pointed out my weak point, which is muscular endurance, and gave me some training tips on how to improve in that area.

The cost of the Monod test is $20.00 with test and data only or $50.00 with test, data and analysis. A full Cycling Profile is $200. No matter if you are a seasoned cyclist, a veteran racer looking to jump to the next category or just new to the sport and interested in competing; I highly recommend a test like this. It will give you a baseline of your fitness and point out what you need to work on to get to where you want to be. Of course that you can, and probably should, repeat the test periodically to track your progress. Another good thing is you can even do this as a group with your friends.
by Chris LeMay

Copyright © 2005, Chris LeMay