A question popped into my head after yesterday's trainer ride.
First, a long-winded preamble.
As I pointed out in this question, I usually set the trainer up so that a 5l cask of wine just moves the pedal from horizontal in 'top' (48:14).
In that configuration, my average HR will stay in the 130s at a cadence of 80 in 'top'.
If I ride on the road, my HR seldom gets above 130 except on hills or if I crank up the cadence to 100+ in top (on the flat): I am loath to ride at any decent speed on the road because I am usually surrounded by people of median IQ driving 1500kg+ steel boxes - and I don't trust any of them not to kill me (assuming they're not actually trying to).
Yesterday I didn't have a full cask anywhere (I've been off the grog for six weeks, on a bet), so I just cranked it up until I couldn't move the pedal using my hand when seated next to the trainer.
This provided 'ample' resistance, to say the least: 2 minutes in, my HR was in the 140s although my cadence was only in the low 70s - and not in top gear, either - the average speed for the workout was 22km/hr.
Doing 'sprints' (15sec bursts at a cadence of > 130 in top) was almost the end of me.
Half an hour later, my HRM said I'd exerted ~500kcal over 10.7km, with an average HR of 148 and a peak HR of 166. The kcal count is about right for workouts where I do more sprints, and at a significantly higher average speed (i.e., a distance travelled of ~17km, reflected by an average cadence of 80 in top: cadence maps directly to speed via gear ratio).
So if I expressed this as "what is X in 48:X, to get that distance at a cadence of 80", the answer is "a little over 22". In other words, riding on (roughly) the 4th-highest gear, my HR was 10% higher than it usually is riding at the same cadence in top.
That got me thinking: rather than work out the effort above my 'wine cask' resistance level, I ought to be able to work out the 'effort above flat' implied by the level of resistance I dial in, by
- finding decent-sized bit of car-free flat (say, a 1km loop somewhere);
- going around it at a series of stable cadences (in top) and HRs (say, cadences of 80 and 100; HRs of 120, 130, and 140) each for a few minutes.
For each cadence, I would then know my 'steady state' HR on the flat (it will stabilise after a few minutes); for each HR, I will know what speed/cadence on the flat is consistent with that HR.
So if my HR is, say 10% higher (on average across the workout) than it was on the flat 'benchmark' for the same cadence in the same gear, I would chalk that one up as being '10% above the flat'. (I'm not pretending that's a 10% incline, or even a 10 degree incline; just that it's objectively 10% 'harder').
I realise that over time it would be expected that performance would get better, so there would be a need to periodically re-assess the 'flat' performance.
So finally the question: has this sort of analysis already been done and put up on the web somewhere?
I've googled terms I think might yield results, but haven't found a sausage. It seems to me that performance-metrics boffins would probably have solved this already (assuming it's an issue that has benefit for performance monitoring, which I reckon it does) so my search terms are probably a bit pants.