When you’re choosing your CicloZone workout, alongside class title, instructor and class type, you may have noticed a COL percentage rating in the headings.
‘Le Col’ is French for ‘mountain pass’ – and the name given to a sign that states a hill climb’s name and altitude, as spotted (and ‘bagged’) by many a road cyclist. But the CicloZone workout COL % is different, providing an ‘at a glance’ guide as to how difficult the class is.
To fully understand the COL% system, we firstly have to understand exactly what functional threshold power (FTP) is.
Your body produces power for everyday life from three energy systems: your aerobic; your lactate; and your anaerobic. The efficiency of these energy systems determines how much power your body can produce, and how long they can produce it for.
This combination of the amount of power and how long you can maintain it for is optimised at a point called your functional threshold power level (FTP).
The official test for this is a 60-minute effort at the maximum average power your body can produce. The power level you are able to maintain provides a metric data point that is a direct reflection of the efficiency and competency of your energy systems.
This efficiency and competency of your energy systems can be improved by using intelligent power-training profiles that stimulate your energy systems at varied intensities and lengths of time at those intensities.
Within these variations we have to look at two elements: the rate of contraction of the muscle; and the intensity of contraction of the muscle. These, in turn, train your speed endurance and strength endurance elements of the power spectrum. On a bike, this is achieved by varying the cadence at which we achieve those intensities.
The COL% rating given to each CicloZone class is actually a rating of intensity that takes into consideration all the elements mentioned above using a special algorithm. What we are actually calculating is the maximum percentage of your functional threshold power level you should be able to maintain for that class.
If you can push a higher percentage than the given COL%, this indicates that your FTP as tested is too low. We would then recommend you take another FTP test to create a more realistic FTP figure for you.
If you are struggling to reach the level of COL% in your first class, it probably means you have chosen a class with a COL% that is too high.
The CicloZone platform offers classes ranging from 65% up to 82%.
If you are failing to to reach the COL% in the lower range, that would indicate that your FTP is too high and you need to retake your test to achieve a more realistic figure.
In short, the COL% is your personal training profile guide, based on your own performance. At the moment we can use it manually but it will be automated very soon, allowing the app to recommend classes for you, based on your personalisd ride data and COL% performance.
Enjoy the ride!