Tabata Protocol for Skiing Endurance

freeheelI’m going skiing the second week of February and I’m feeling a little soft around the midsection and really out of shape. I’ve decided to use the Tabata Protocol adopted by the Japanese speed skating team to increase my anaerobic capacity and aerobic fitness.

I wrote an article a while back that outlined everything you need to know. The basic premise is all out sprinting for 20 seconds with a 10 second recovery phase and repeat for 8 sets or 4 minutes.

Seems simple but its not. A Men’s Health article on Tabata says, “So why isn’t everyone doing Tabata workouts? Well, most people would vomit—or come close to it—if they actually tried the routine that was used in the study. That’s not good.”


Another Long Ride

I went for a ride last night and cranked out almost 40 miles at 14.5 mph

The elevation chart looks like a mountain stage from the Tour.

35 Mile Sunday Road Bike Ride

On Saturday I went on a 15 mile bike ride that included one to many stops for cocktails. I ran into my parents at Pi, a local pizza place, and had a few slices of their Chicago style pizza. It was delicious. I figured it was Saturday and I could make it a cheat day. Afterwards I went out and had some more cocktails and woke up craving McDonald’s. I succumbed to that urge and topped it off with some FroYo.

So when my cycling buddies and I ended up ten miles south of the city on a beautiful night we decided to extend our route and ended up cranking out 34.66 miles. Check the first ten laps, we were hauling ass. We slowed down a little after we determined we were in it for the long haul.

Here’s what my trusty Gamin 405cx captured…

Power and Efficiency on a Bicycle (1449.28 MPG)


I had an interesting conversation over lunch about exercise efficiency. It all started as I was explaining how I hate running. Then we started talking about how running used far more energy than cycling and one thing led to another. Anyway, I brought up the fact that a bicycle is one of the most energy efficient forms of transportation and quoted my usual random figure about the miles per gallon equivalent of bicycles and cars.

I have always been unsure of the exact MPG equivalents so I looked it up and found the above equation on Wikipedia.

Go ahead and read everything at the link for a full explanation but I’ve quoted the variables I’ll use here:

Where P is in watts, g is Earth’s gravity, Vg is ground speed (m/s), m is bike/rider mass in kg, s is the grade (m/m), and Va is the rider’s speed through the air (m/s). K1 is a lumped constant for all frictional losses (tires, bearings, chain), and is generally reported with a value of 0.0053. K2 is a lumped constant for aerodynamic drag and is generally reported with a value of 0.185 kg/m.

I’m also going to use the same values for Vg (ground speed) and Va (air speed) and assume there is no wind just to simplify it a bit.

I weigh 210 pounds or 95.25 kilograms, I can peddle at 15 miles per hour or 24.14 kilometers per hour which is about 6.7 meters per second. So here we go with the math:

P = (9.8 x 95.25 x 6.7 x 0.0053) + (0.185 x 6.73)


P = 89.54 watts

Simple, at 15mph on a flat road without any wind I am generating 89.54 watts of power. If we go back to the Wikipedia article for some numbers we can assume that the human body converts food calories to energy with about 24% efficiency or every kilojoule of energy to the peddles requires about 1 kcal of food.

Human Efficiency  = 89.54 x .24


Human Efficiency  = 372.08

Assuming the loss in efficiency  I’m using 373.08 watts of food energy to get 89.54 watts to the peddles. Next we’ll convert watts to kilocalories per hour by multiplying by 0.86 to convert it to food energy. (A kilocalorie is the equivalent to 1 calorie of food.)

Calories per hour = 373.08 x 0.86


Calories per hour = 320.85

So i’m using about 320.85 calories per hour to travel by bicycle on a windless flat road. Now lets get to the final answer. We’ll use 31,000 kcalories of energy per gallon of gas and do some simple division.

Calories Per Mile = 320.85 / 15

which is 21.39

Mile Per Gallon = 31,000 /  21.39


1 449.28 MPG


In a nutshell, I’m getting 1,449.28 mpg when I’m peddling the bicycle around. I’m glad I finally calculated all that and know the answer.

…and back to the original discussion on why running sucks, it uses nearly three times as much energy to travel the same distance:

On firm, flat, ground, a 70 kg person requires about 30 watts to walk at 5 km/h. That same person on a bicycle, on the same ground, with the same power output, can average 15 km/h, so energy expenditure in terms of kcal/(kg·km) is roughly one-third as much. Generally used figures are

  • 1.62 kJ/(km∙kg) or 0.28 kcal/(mi∙lb) for cycling,
  • 3.78 kJ/(km∙kg) or 0.653 kcal/(mi∙lb) for walking/running,
  • 16.96 kJ/(km∙kg) or 2.93 kcal/(mi∙lb) for swimming.

You can do you’re own math with that information. I still hate running.

60 to 30 by 30

Its been a long, long time since my last post.   I’ve gained 20 plus pounds.  And that’s not just because I fell and broke my coccyx.  Nope.  That happened in November and now its March.  I’ll tell you a little secret: I’ve gained weight because I haven’t had any exercise and I’m eating more.  Whats worse, I’m eating all that bad stuff like sugar and carbs.

So, here we are.  I’ll be 30 years old in 60 days.  I’m sort of OK with that, but I’d be much happier if I was 30 and a lot lighter.  I’m actually going to officially try for 30 pounds by 30 — I like the ring of it.   60 days to 30 pounds down by my 30th birthday.  And truth be told I need to lose about 75 pounds.  For all you 2 pound a week folks, I realize I’ve waited until just 2 months before the big date.  The math on that is 3.75 pounds per week.  I know its a little extreme – but hey!  Lets try our best and see where we end up.  If I hit 20 pounds I’m still winning!

I’m starting off today by going to spinning.  Its an old favorite of mine, and its a great one for burning calories.  I think whilst at the gym (for the first time since the summer) I’ll also do a few reps for my arms.

In terms of diet, I’ll be following the beloved Atkins.  I’ve also been reading the 4 hour body.  I think the trade there is bacon for beans, but I do like the one day a week cheat so I may lean more towards that.

Wish me luck.  I’ll keep you posted!

16.9857 is Pretty Close to 17mph

It started out as a leisurely ride to Wydown and Hanley… Then I was in a particularly good mood so I stopped by to say hello at Portabella. I had a two cocktails and shot the shit for a spell.

They offered to call a cab at the bar and I replied, “bah, it’s to perfect a night for that.”

…and I could have gone faster if I didn’t care about pot holes, tires and wheels.

(Ignore those numbers and average the final laps to get 16.9857mph. hehe)

Long Ride – With a Couple Street Festivals for Fun

The trusty Garmin was fully charged for today’s ride.

I stopped by the pool to meet Laura for a bit. I somehow resisted the urge to jump in. I don’t understand how the tri guys can jump on a bike with soaking wet shorts.

After stopping by the pool I headed down Wydown to the Starbucks and had some tea. On the way back I caught up to the SLU cycling team (stuck at a stop light) and got dropped pretty quickly.

I swung by Laura’s house and we rode over to the Festival of Nations at Tower Grove Park. We didn’t feel like we’d had enough festivities so we cruised over to LouFest at Forest Park. Unfortunately, it was $35 to get in so we had a cocktail at The Boathouse instead.

I rode with Laura back to her house and the Garmin started to complain about its battery so I cranked home pretty fast. I rode 27.7 miles in all and the last 3 where at about 15mph. A pretty good day. Taking a few breaks for tea, kabobs and the like is kind of nice. I imagine if I were super motivated I could ride 30 miles non-stop but why suffer when I’m just out for a good time.