Recently I saw on socials that my friend John Wattam had started doing some VO2 and lactate testing for some of his clients in his paincave. As it had been six years (really how has it been that long????) since my last bike lactate test, I thought I would enquire with John over his availability to complete a test for me.
I was on leave from work for a week taking some enforced leave (thanks pandemic) so we sorted a time for me to go to his one Monday.
It’s the first time I have visited John’s infamous pain cave which has been visited by lots of his clients including Mark Diakese (UFC fighter) and Danny Mitchell (ex UFC fighter). I was intrigued to see how much fitness I had managed to accumulate while doing most (95%) of my riding indoors on Zwift thanks to the pandemic we are currently in.
As soon as I knocked on the door I was greeted by John in a face mask and gloves. Fair play for the measures he has put in play in the current environment. I felt so safe.
After walking to the pain cave, we set up Gwen on John’s Kickr and set to work.
I knew the procedure.
Warm up, then he would take a lactate reading from my blood. Then every 3 minutes the effort would go up and he would take another reading. Each time he took a lactate reading he would ask where I was on the Borg scale of RPE.
I set off on the first interval at 140W and felt fine. 3 minutes later and I still felt fine at 160W. This continued until 200W when things started to get a little more trying. Not hurting but this was the first time my RPE increased. His daughter Sian (who is a PT I know) even stuck her head in to say hi.
This continued on with resistance going up 20W every 3 minutes
By 260W I was starting to suffer, my legs were starting to tighten. According to a recent Zwift race my FTP is somewhere around here. The worst part was that I couldn’t get cool. Thanks to the current rules John was unable to turn a fan in case it spread any germs. So I had to put up with being warm.
After another 3 minutes he ratcheted up the resistance to 280W, my legs were screaming now. I tried to block out the stop signals from my brain. After three minutes he took another reading and increased resistance to 300W. I set off wanting to complete this interval but after about 90 seconds the stop signals from my brain won out. My legs were goosed. My heart had more to give but my legs just gave in.
After he had put my numbers into the computer programme I was quietly surprised with the results. My new lactate threshold was 231W and 150bpm (compared with 222W and 159bpm form 2014). Given where I thought my fitness was this was a massive relief. It turns out you can build some decent fitness on Zwift in a global pandemic.
If you want to know how much John charges for these services then get in touch with him. Who knows if you mention my name he may even give you a discount off them.