I stare out the window, fixated by the snowy twin peaks to the west that seemingly rise out of the highway in Denver. They are small in the distance, yet they radiate a aura of majestic size. I remember coming down this road last spring nervously listening to Andy while anticipating a important event that I had little control of, "Testing". Six months later the word held anticipation, not nervousness for me. I was emboldened by a season of systematic scientific training, and intent on showing the improvement I felt in my body.
We rolled up to the large, modern looking building and found a place to park. As we walked through the spinning doors, Dad made a joke about me not knowing how to operate them last year. Andy and I laughed, as we sat down in the lobby waiting for Inigo. He walked out into the lobby and greeted us. He looked exactly the same as I had remembered. A quiet man with a firm handshake, twinkly eyes, and a Basque accent..
We walked into his office and I stared at the incredible memorabilia on the walls from athletes he had worked with. Yellow jerseys, National Champion jerseys, and a Garmin jersey signed by all the team members and a large "thanks for all the help Inigo!". I go change into my kit. Inigo then measures my height, my body fat percentage, and weighs me. In the protocol Inigo uses, I am on a cycle ergometer set up to fit like my normal bike, wearing a mask measuring ventilation and oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air to determine my VO2 max (which is reached when oxygen consumption remains at steady state despite an increase in workload).
Inigo then sets the resistance on the bike to one watt per kilogram that I weigh. I pedal that at 90 rpm for 5 minutes, then Inigo measures the amount of lactate in my blood. He then ramps it up to 1.5 watts per kilograms, I ride that for 5 minutes, and he measures my lactate again.This process is repeated until I reach my lactate threshold. This gives me my watts per kilogram (A.K.A, power to weight ratio). But more importantly, Inigo looks at my lactate accumulation and how my heart rate corresponds, then uses that information to set my heart rate zones based on lactate accumulation. He also puts a mask on that measures my Vo2 max. It does this by measuring ventilation and oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air.
Upon completing the test, I go shower while Inigo calculates my data. Once I'm done, we convene to discuss my results. While reviewing the data Inigo explains the changes we are seeing and complements me on my progress. The results from this session showed me just how important testing is, as my training zones had changed significantly from six months earlier.