Look for commonly asked questions here and if you do not find the answer to your question here, then feel free to "Ask Michael," about cycling training and physiology!

How do I "Ask Michael?"
Post your question by emailing Michael using mike@espcycling.com

What is a "Conconi?"
The "Conconi" assessment was designed by an Italian medical doctor who specialized in exercise physiology. Dr. Conconi prepared a protocol to determine the aerobic threshold for athletes.

Is the "Conconi" assessment the only assessment I can use?
NO! We also offer two other ways for you to determine your training zones. You can use your training maximum heart rate, the highest heart rate you have seen in training for the last two weeks and you can also use your rate of perceived exertion.

How do I select the right assessment?
From the drop down menu on the Assessment page, select the mode you would to use and then you will find the instructions for each of the three modes we offer.

What is the "aerobic threshold?"
The "aerobic threshold" is defined as the point in exercise where the oxygen uptake and consumption has maximized and lactic acid begins to accumulate. Dr. Conconi used what is called an "unsteady-state step test" to determine the aerobic threshold for the athlete. This protocol was further developed and made specific by another Italian medical doctor, Dr. Massimo Testa, who is regarded and one of the foremost authorities in cycling physiology in the world today. Dr. Testa developed the protocol for use on a CompuTrainer, but it can also be used with any fixed trainer that allows the user to select wattages in 5 watt increments.

Why is the Conconi assessment better than a "field test?"
There are many variables that effect the athlete in a field test; road surfaces, wind, outside temperatures and even motivational level. These are but a few of the factors that adversely effect obtaining accurate results. The Conconi assessment removes all of these variables and allows for more accurate and valid cross comparisons from one assessment to another. The Conconi is done indoors, on a trainer, and the environment is always the same which is critical for qualifying the assessments for comparisons.

What are good numbers to look for in my own Conconi results?
The most important numbers for you are your heart rate and watts at threshold. This is the deflection you will see where your heart rate does not increase at the same increasing rate – it "deflects." This represents your aerobic threshold. Then the next most important numbers are the ‘watts per kilo at peak, and "watts per kilo at threshold." Those are below the table of the seven training zones you see listed below the Conconi graph.

What are "watts per kilo?"
If you look down the assessments results page, you will see that there is a table with seven different training zones and below that, two other numbers: watts per kilo at peak, and also watts per kilo at threshold. To put it all in perspective, we know that no one has won the Tour De France with less than 6.8 watts per kilo at threshold. But in more practical terms, a good category "4" racer will be around 4 watts per kilo or more, a good "3" will be 4.7 or more, a good Junior will be 5 or more, a good U-23 rider will be 5 r more, a good master rider anywhere from 4.5 and up. Women tend to run at about .5 watts per kilo less for each category.

Do I need a wattage meter?
No – the program is designed around three parameters: rate of perceived exertion, heart rate and watts. The most important of these id rate of perceived exertion, followed by heart rate. If you do have a wattage meter, then the order of priority for determining the workouts should be rate of perceived exertion, wattage and finally heart rate.

I find that my heart rate, my wattages and my rates of perceived exertion do not match. What should I do?
Follow first rate of perceived exertion, then look at wattage if you have a wattage meter, then heart rate. But use rate of perceived exertion first to assess whether or not you are training at the correct intensity for the given workout.

NOTE: There is a difference of watts between power meters – Some power meters can be around 10 to 20 watts higher from what the test assessment derives – so 250 watts on Computrainer is like 260 to 270 watts on a power meter.

What if I miss a workout?
Missing one workout won’t hurt you, nor will two. Just pick the program back up where you left off. If you miss more than a week, simply go back to the week you missed and start over.

Is there a minimum time commitment to the program?
We ask for 6 months. 30 day notice is REQUIRED to cancel.

Can I pre – pay?
Yes - but there are no discounts for pre-paying.

Can I pay with a check?
Only if you come in in person. We now take credit cards for an additional charge of between 2.7% and 3.7%.

What do I do if I want to end the coaching services?
We ask for a 6 month minimum and REQUIRE a 30 day notice to cancel.

What happens if I paid a deposit for a camp or trip and can not go?
Deposits serve as a way to secure a spot on the trip. Most camps and trips sell out - so it is a first come first served process. The other reason deposits are required are because the price of the camp is based off of the discount for rooms. If there is a cancellation, then the discount is put at risk and that drives the prices up. The deposit serves to absorb any loss in discount. If a medical issue arises and prevents participating then deposits will be returned. If for any other reason, the deposit will not be returned.

Who is Michael Carter?
In addition to a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University Of Colorado, Michael Carter was on the very first U.S. based professional road racing team to ever compete in Europe. That team, “Philadelphia Lazers” was organized in 1984 and sponsored by former Giro D’Italia winner, Gianni Motta. That same year, this American team competed in the 1984 Giro D’Italia. The 1984 Giro set the tone for Michael’s future in cycling and Michael ultimately competed in every grand tour (Tour De France, Giro D’Italia, Vuelta Espagna), as well as represented the U.S. in 5 World Championships, and has many other successes to his credit. (See www.espcycling.com/palmares for more).

Michael Carter

2009 “Radwelt” World Champion - Road and Hill Climb!