Wednesday Wisdom: Gareth Winter – Building back power-to-weight ratio

The best thing about starting at the bottom is that you can only get better.
Between 2017 and 2020, my ‘power-to-weight ratio’ dropped from 5.07 watts-per-kilo to 3.89w/k. My cycling mindset was off balance (have a read of my previous entry for the full story). Darren Lee (cycling coach and founder of CicloZone) gave me a wake-up call and re-coached me to train with power and data.
The best thing about numbers is that they do not lie. Our brains,  however, are great at lying and justifying poor decisions. I sat on my turbo trainer (I use a Wahoo Kickr Core) and got to work with a clear sense of purpose – slowly build my 20 min FTP back up to 5w/k+. I had a long way to go.
But with a fresh mindset and lots of muscle memory in the legs, progression came easy and fast. My numbers edged up week-on-week. I planned three hard training session into my week, with active recovery rides in between.
I did lots of strength training to rebuild my core and overall athleticism.
January 16th 2020 – 239 watts, 61.4kg (2.89 w/k)
July 9th 2020 – 305 watts, 61.8kg (4.94 w/k)
The feeling of progressoin was keeping me motivated. I fell in love with indoor training and coach-led classes, which are great at motivating you when you need a little extra fire in your belly.
Then I reached the dreaded ‘plateau’ – the point where progress becomes minimal, not maximal. I had reached 4.94 w/k – dangerously close to my target of 5 w/pk.
The plateau is more of a mental wall than a phsyical one. It’s natural for progress to slow but, rather than accepting your ‘ceiling’, you have to look for more improvement areas.
I will share how I broke through the plateau in my next blog entry.