Tag Archives: vo2 max

VO2-to-the-max summary. Warning: Bike geekiness ahead!

Vo2 Max Lab

I finally got the last bit of data on the V02 max study I participated in at TCU (which BTW is one of the most read posts on this blog).

Highest VO2 during the test: 65.2 ml/kg/min

Highest avg. watts for the ~40 minute TT:  302

I no longer train with power, so I can’t tell you exactly what my lactate threshold wattage is right now. However, the TT course for the TCU study was pretty hilly, so I’m assuming my normalized power would have been around 320 watts. So I’d guess that my threshold is hovering around 300-305 watts.  However, my average HR for that effort was only 173 bpm, so I probably left some in the tank. But wait! There’s more . . .

The study also checked blood lactate levels and according to those tests my threshold is north of 320 watts at a HR of 180 bpm.  This is pretty consistent with what I saw in my first 40K TT this summer (my HR for the hour effort was 175 bpm).

Pro Cyclist Bradley Wiggins

Pro Cyclist Bradley Wiggins

I would also like to squash any doping rumors (no one that’s raced with me would accuse me of blood doping, but it sounds impressive).  My hematocrit levels are ~48%, which is well below the UCI’s 50% threshold of suspicion (but 300 basis points above Tour de France 4th place finisher, Olympic gold medalist and Garmin-TT-monster Bradley Wiggins).

So what does all of this mean . . . nothing really, but participating in the study was a fun experience:

  • The grad students in the lab were great to hang out with (even if they were obsessed with what I had on my iPod for the tests).
  • I got info that would normally costs hundreds to have done privately.
  • I’m going to be a little more aggressive with my TT/threshold pace with the confidence that my body can handle it; however, the idea of riding an hour TT at 180 bpm doesn’t sound like fun.

Maybe I can put some of this info to good use inflecting some torture this weekend at our annual ThinkCash PainTrain Cycling Camp.

VO2-to-the-Max Part 2: First test of university trial

Velotron bike and testing equipment

Velotron bike and testing equipment


I qualified to take part in a study at TCU that is measuring the impact of sprint intervals on endurance performance in trained cyclists. To qualify for the study I needed a VO2 max of at least 55 ml/kg/min. – I got a 61.2.

So yesterday was my first official “test” as part of the study. I performed the same VO2 max test I did last time; however, this time I would have a catheter in my arm and they would do blood draws every 2-3 minutes to measure my pH and lactate levels. I asked what the highest VO2 max they had so far:

“You’re up there. I think our top participant had a 62.2”

That gave my competitive nature something to shoot for. Someone once told me if there are 2 or more bikes on the road – then you have a race. It’s true – every “ride” has several mini-races or competitions . . . competitive spirit just takes over.

This test started pretty good since I was now a little more comfortable with the mask and breathing piece. When I got to the point where I blew-up last time (390 watts) I forced myself to keep pushing just a little longer. The results turned out pretty good – I scored a 64.7 ml/kg/min.  I haven’t been able to race this season due to family and work conflicts, so it felt good to get the competitive juices flowing (even if it was against an imaginay opponent on a stationary bike). Funny, I always find that I’m most “at peace” when I have healthy competitive challenges/goals at work and physically/athletically.

That’s a 55lb. flywheel in back, and about as close as you can get to the true feel of cycling

That’s a 55lb. flywheel in back, and about as close as you can get to the true feel of cycling

Tonight I go back for the 2nd day of my first test block. Tonight’s test will be a 25K time trial on the Velotron stationary bike. I’ll be really interested to see where my numbers come out (specifically threshold power in watts) since I sold my PowerTap a couple months ago and haven’t performed a threshold test in 2009.