From Trabant to Ferrari – testing

Lack of time for a serious erg session today, but I did have time doing a simple test. As described here, the “Rowing Faster” book has a simple test that intrigued me. It seems like a good way to quickly get a fingerprint of your fitness.

The irony is of course that the time saved by doing this test instead of a training session, is lost in obsession over the analysis.

I quote Greg:

  1.  Set the erg to maximum drag factor.
  2. Setup a way to record the power for each stroke, either take a video of the monitor to review afterward, or use rowPro.
  3. Do a 10 minute steady state warmup
  4. Set the monitor for 1 minute intervals with 1 minute rest.
  5. Paddle through the first minute and the first 50 seconds of the rest.
  6. In the last 10 seconds of the rest, crank up the power so you can hit the beginning of the test period going full blast
  7. Row as hard as you can with good form.  Rate up as much as you like, as long as you are taking full strokes.  Do not pace yourself.  The objective is to pull as many watts as you can on each stroke.
  8. As you continue through the minute, your power output will begin to fade.  This is expected and is precisely what the point of the test is.
  9. After you finish, throw up in a nearby trash can, cool down and then get working on data analysis.

I did a few things different:

  1. After a 10 minute warming up, I programmed this month’s Cross Team Challenge into RowPro. This is a 250m/500m/750m/500m/250m with one minute rests
  2. I did the first 250m at a very sustainable pace
  3. The first minute of the first 500m was my test
  4. Complete CTC at “sustainable pace”

In this way I would get a score in for the CTC, which is always a struggle for me, especially for challenges that do not resemble sound training …

Here is my graph, which unfortunately looks slightly different than the example graph from the book:


Looking at the shape, one may suspect that I should try a stronger fly-and-die approach in this test. I swear I tried to do that. In the first 10 strokes I frantically tried to bring back up the power to those “peak” values, without success. After 60 seconds, I reduced to a “leisurely” 28spm and continued for another 35 seconds to finish the 500m.

So Peak power 611W, average power 469W. 10% drop-off reached after 1 stroke (sic) and 35% drop-off reached after 56 seconds. For a 42 year old LW man, the targets are between 625W and 770W for max power and 490W to 690W for the average power. So I am a few percent under the low end of the range … Clearly in the Trabant category:

Well, it turns out these East German cars cannot be turned into something fast, but with good care and a lot of energy, they can be tough:

Here is the entire score for the CTC:

Workout Summary - Nov 09, 2015
Workout Details