I recently broke my collarbone in a very dumb non-racing accident. I started training again a few days later with my handlebars flipped around so I could ride upright using one hand.
Endurance, tempo, short SST, and short VO2 intervals were hard but doable.
But threshold workouts? Fuggedaboutit! I would typically make it less than halfway throughout a workout while popping a few times even during the first interval.
I chalked it up to the effects of a broken bone, despite the fact that I had completed SST and VO2 max workouts the week before. Perhaps trying to watch Netflix required too much mental energy for doing threshold intervals, which I have never been very good at to begin with?
Then I tried to do two hours of endurance, thinking it would a grind, but doable. I barely made it through an hour. Weird, I shouldn’t have had too much trouble doing these numbers all day on the road.
I didn’t burn as many calories as I would have liked, so later that day I got back on and loaded a 60 minute free ride just to burn some calories while watching Stranger Things.
Riding with one hand can be kind of tiring, so I would switch between riding with no hands, riding with my hand on the turned-around drops, and riding a bit with my hands on the bar tops, which is now the lowest position I can use.
Imagine my confusion when, just after I switched from riding sitting upright to riding with a hand on the bar top with the same level of effort, I saw my power go from about 175 watts to around 230 watts.
I then went to the slightly more upright “city bike” position on my upturned drops. 200 watts. Hmm.
Then back up to sitting up. Power slowly dropped back down to 180 or so watts.
Ooooooooh. That’s why everything seemed so much harder, and why I couldn’t make it through threshold workouts!
I knew position could effect power, but I had never imagined it could have such a massive effect with even such relatively small changes in position.
Now I wonder whether I can’t gain 10-20 watts on my FTP just by optimizing my position, and whether I am losing 10 watts by climbing on the bars instead of the drops. Or is it just a matter of having the most power in whatever position you train in?
Position seems to have a bigger effect on power than a broken collarbone. Haha.