I had an interesting experience in the gym tonight. I was at my usual RPM class and was finding it as tough at always. I was distinctly under the impression that, as time went on, it was suppose to get easier, but tonight I found it as brutal as ever.
I got the class early so, being the brave soul that I am, went right to the back on the class and got on a bike there. As the class filled up a girl took the bike diagonally in front of me which turned it into a really interesting class for me. I know what you must be thinking, that I spent the next 50 minutes watching the girl in front bobbing up and down, but it wasn’t like that. I could see the screen on the front of her bike and spent a lot of time comparing her workout to mine and, as a result, think I got some interesting insights into my cycling. I was about to compare my out to hers.
Now,I am taking the assumption that we are both pretty fit. She probably has a job and doesn’t have as much time ot train as I do and, as I am pretty fit right now and have been getting out a lot, thought it might be a like for like comparison. It was really interesting and a bit of an eye opener comparing our outputs.
Firstly there was a bit of difference in RPM or cadence. While we were sprinting, I could only get up to about 120 at a big push, while she was up are 135-140. Similarly her power output was usually much higher than mine. While I was putting out around 150 watts, she was up nearer 300. The measure of power is off course is a measure of work by time which will will affect by the resistance we both had the bikes set at. However, I did notice that we were using similar resistance settings as well.
Its difficult to know whether our differences in output levels are due to my lack of fitness, or are contributed to by my Cerebral Palsy? I have been training hard lately and feel really fit right now, have been getting out as much as I can over the winter too. I suspect that it is probably a combination of both fitness, and a consequence of my CP. For example, I read that one of the manifestations of CP is a reduced lung capacity. I am very aware that I seem to get out of breath more easily than others.
Having searched the Internet for information of the effects of exercise on CP, I have found next to nothing. There seems to me a real shortage of data and information on it. I am making a big effort to record all my training data in the hope that, as well as comparing it to able-bodied people, I might be able compare my performance to other people with CP and get a more accurate measure of my performance. I hope also that, if there is a shortage of information on CP and fitness, I might be able to start using my data as an example.