Sunday, June 26, 2011


I got an email from a member (Sterneco) of one of my cycling groups on (shameless plug for a website I actually use and enjoy alert) MyCyclingLog. He reminded me about about some training rides for the upcoming Tour of Tanglewood. It's kind of a cool thing where a group of local bike shops take turns sponsoring a training ride for the big charity event in mid September based out of their shop and,  if Saturday was anything to go buy, is both a great opportunity for shops to give back and get customers into their store. This week's ride started as Ken's Bike Shop and took me on a 45K lollipop route (stats here). By my estimation there were over 100 riders of varying abilities at this event. Everyone from hard core to casual day trippers. Totally cool experience.

As the ride started I was a little unsure how hard core everything would be so I decided to hang back. I pulled out as part of the final 1/3 of a very very large pack. As I'm getting going along Polo road, less than 1K into the ride,  I'm realizing gaps are already starting to form and I'm not in the best group for me. So, I start moving up and crossing gaps. Moving into a faster group. Then the next fastest group and so on. I think I went through 5 or 6 differentials. Some folks crossed the gaps with me and found the group that best suited them,  others just watched me go.

Eventually, I worked my way up to the tip of the spear, taking advantage of every hill and every descent (the one benefit of having extra mass). I settled in about 6th wheel. Fifth wheel was a guy riding a full on timetrial bike that apparently had not been tuned since he got the thing. The gears were clicking and clacking, grinding and rubbing the majority of the ride. Riders on the front (at least three of which I later learned from Sterenco/Steven, raced on a semi-regular basis) pulled off and slotted in 4th wheel. Right in front of this guy.

At the time I was feelng a little conflicted. One the one hand, I wasn't getting the chance to move up and put in a pull. One the other, I was pretty close to my limit and having to pull might very well have resulted in my being spit out the back. Eventually things mixed and I became 3rd wheel. As the woman pulled off, Mr. TT did not simply keep pace, he flew off the front. And since I was second wheel I started to follow but quickly made a few tactical desicions.

This guy was traveling way faster than we were moments ago. We were traveling up hill. If I hit the gas I was going to blow up.  If I just kept to the same speed or a bit faster Mr. TT would slowly pull away or he would look back and realize he wasn't actually pulling, sit up and come back to us. Also, to be honest, I was a little peeved at the guy. Why was he sitting in earlier and then screaming off the front like that? I was not willing to follow this guy, plus I don't think I could have kept up with him even if I wanted to (Ettiquette and ability colliding apparently).

As it worked out, he did not sit up. He kept pulling away. Then the big boys/girls decided to chase. They, being much better than myself, came around me and quickly shut down the gap. I was dropped like I didn't exist. That acceleration resulted not only in him being caught and dropped very shortly after being caught and one other faded off the back as a result of that little acceleration.

After a brief recovery, I got into TT mode and slowly worked my way back. AS I was riding I watched as first one rider got back on, then Mr TT. i was getting closer. I got within ~100m but finally had to sit up. As luck would have it, right around the corner was the rest stop. Sweet.

It was here that I meet Steven. Very cool guy. Laid back, and had a bit of a laconic, insightful style about him. He reminded me of Dave Zabriske actually. He was very funny and easy to chat with . Had a really good time going back and forth on how the ride was going (see above for me :) ) I even got a chance to chat to Mr. TT.

Of course by this time my slight pettiness has faded and I was merely happy to have made it to the rest point, so I was retelling him what was happening behind him while I was sucking his dust, from the perspective of someone who was unable to keep up (completely true and without malice).

After the rest stop, most of the group I was riding with went for another loop or two around he lollipop. But, knowing I was cooked after Friday, I got into a group heading back to Ken's and did quite well. No real pressure on any of the small hills and actually came to the front on one. Just doing my own thing and trying to get to the top with a good speed and good aerobic reserve. 

Ended with another 30+ kph ride. 30+ is becoming a bit more regular I'm pleased to say.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back to Back Cat 3's

Finally, real climbing training. After a week off the bike, seemingly to recover from jet lag or over excitement from an awesome vacation, I finally climbed hanging rock on Friday, something I've been trying to get to since February.

Knowing how I think, I started at the top so the only way to get home was to climb up. The first time down was a little nerve wracking and I did so with a little trepidation.  When I drove the car to the top, the road seemed a lot steeper and longer than Cat 3's I rode last year (3.5K @ an average of 4.4% and 5.3K @ 3.8%). As I descended my adrenaline was surging a little and my legs felt a little wobbly and weak as I thought about the climb back up.

When I arrived at the bottom I had to call Janine to put her mind at ease and let her know I safely descended. Unfortunately, cell coverage around hanging rock is horrendous and I could not get a signal. To try and find one, I went up a little hill, called and headed back to the start of the climb. On my way down this little hill, I realized just how steep the road was and was amazed at how unconcerned I was coming up. I guess I was worrying about the real climb so much I wasn't paying attention.

First climb: The first time up, I did one thing right. I made sure I did not start out too hot. However, I think I paid too much attention to my Garmin. I kept looking at my HR, % grade and cadence. It almost got myself into some mental trouble. There are were sections of 15-16% half way up where I considered quitting. I pushed through these bits and when the climb levelled out to a mere 7% it was almost like I was descenting. Pure luxury when it came. The last section to the top got steep again but the peak was in sight and nothing was going to stop my first successful ascent. It was a tough climb and I felt so spent and was breathing so hard I almost stopped after a single climb. The whole thing took 18.5 minutes to travel 3K

After a few minutes recovery at the top I couldn't let myself to only one climb. I had driven an hour to get to this thing and one ascent would have felt a tad pathetic. Besides, my recovery was quite quick and I figured I had at least one more in me. Even if it was slower. I knew the climb a little better and I should really take advantage of that while it was still fresh in my mind.

The descent was faster this time (about 6 minutes) and I was more confident (though the road still appeared awfully steep).

Climb two: On the second repeat the early slope seemed a little easier. Maybe it was familiar. Maybe it was an illusion. But it was enough to make me feel good about my decision to do it a second time. That feeling did not last long. When I got to the first steep section, it was tough but not unbearable. I was still flying high off my mental euphoria. I started to think could make it up faster. I thought I made it through the toughst section relatively unscathed. I was wrong. The hardest was still ahead of me.

As the climb leveled off to a leisurely 7% I picked up the pace and settled into a steady breathing and pedaling rhythm. Almost enjoying the climb. As the hill hit me, I again thought about quitting. Seriously. Very nearly got off the bike. I was down to 1 pedal stoke, one wobble to the left, one pedal stroke, one wobble to the right. One wobble to the left, one to the right. But I kept going. My breathing was fast, steady and hard, bordering on laboured. The problem though seemed to be in the legs. I was expecting to have lactic acid burn but that was not what I experienced. I just did not seem to have the strength to push the legs over the top of each stoke. The legs felt wobbly and weak, not burning. Once I traverse that little piece of personal hell, the rest of the climb was none eventful. Even the final section at the top was not as bad as that moment 500m earlier.

In the end I made it up twice. The second in 20.5 minutes. I figure I'll use that as a gauge. In the future I will repeat the climb until I take more than 20 minutes to get up. There was no way I would have been able to make another ascent. When I got to the summit the second time I was completely spent. My legs were weak. My breathing was ragged. My arms were cooked. I even felt a little light headed for a few minutes after I got to the top.

A good day. Compared to my previous cat 3's I went about 1/3 faster. Today somewhere between 9 and 10 kph while last year I was between 5 and 7 kph. It's true what Lemond said. It doesn't get easier. It just gets faster.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cracked 30K @30kph solo barrier

Hit the LaSalle course hard Wednesday. The traffic, construction, pedestrians, and lift bridge lifting made for an extremely challenging ride above and beyond the actual cycling effort I put in. I actually had to skid to a halt when some woman casually walked out in front of me while a roller blader came from the opposite direction all while I'm yelling "On your Left! On your left!", like some kind of fog horn.

Despite these difficulties I put in a personal best on this course. 30+K @ 30.5 kph! Fastest ever on a 30K route. The first 10K  was just under 30kph as I warmed up but the last 20 averaged above 30kph. Had a few brief rough moments in the last 10K as the legs started complaining about the lactic acid buildup but I managed the discomfort by thinking about how they felt yesterday and this was nothing in comparison. It got me an extra 3-4K before I had to slow and drop my HR to 88% for a minute or two. (I like the overlay of HR/cadence/speed feature on ridewith gps so to see it all together head here.)

BooYah! Rest day tomorrow is well earned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

4 cat 4's

OK. Time for some real climbing training. Let's start out on a Cat 4 and work up.

Fortunately, Burlington is at the bottom of the Niagara escarpment and a local road to the top is a cat 4. A nice 3k gradual climb. Since this was the first time up the climb I got into the small ring early and spun up in the mid 80 rpm. Not knowing what to expect, I wanted to be conservative and make sure I had some reserve. That was prescient. The first 10% grade hit about halfway up but the final 400m maxed out @ 21+% according to ridewithgps.  I really had push to avoid coming to a complete stand still. Gasping for air, legs screaming, arms barely able to move the bike back and forth, I crest the hill. And this is a Cat 4??!!

The reward was worth it though. You hit the top and it immediately goes flat and then a descent down the escarpment back to the start of the climb. I was able to hit almost 63 kph on the way down on a very cracked, patched, potholed road.

I ended up completing 4 loops. The first two loops took about 22.5 minutes, the 3rd almost 24 minutes. The third time up I thought about calling it a day but I recovered well on the downhill and did one more in a little over 23. A comeback on the last lap. I was expecting each lap to be slower but I really hit the steep part of the hill hard and screamed down the descent to makeup almost a minute over lap 3.

At the end of the day my entire body knew I had ridden a hill or two. While the average speed was not that impressive (~25 kph), my goal was to consistently ride the hill, which I think I was relatively successful at. The fact that I did the hill 4x was also satisfying. Probably took the climbs a little too easy but that just means room for improvment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shakedown cruise

Yesterday was the first day back after the Euro trip so I just wanted to get out and shake out the legs and see how much fitness I was able to maintain.

To keep it simple, I did the LaSalle park route (using instead of garmin becuase garmin site is down - I'll upload the data to garmin later for a lap breakdown and more accurate cadence/speed profiles).

Update: Garmin version of ride

It was all about being steady. The first 10K were done in ~21.5 minutes and included my having to navigate construction, stop signs, rolling little bumps and traffic before I got to the bike path proper. The next 10K were completely on the bike path. Flat, not busy, and a tailwind. Did that in ~18.5 minutes. Last 10K was the first 10K in reverse and did that in 21.5 minutes as well. Had a headwind so I kept the cadence and allowed my HR to creep up from 80% MHR to 86-88%.

Actually, the last 10k wasn't quite the exact reverse. The course is 32+K so the last 2+K  are on a different lap and finished on the biggest bump. Had about 400m of 4% grade so I hit it hard, kept the cadence at 90 and ramped my MHR up to 185 bpm.

Looks like I'm ready for some real work.... Today I climb the Niagara escarpment in 3k, 4%, cat 4, repeat increments. ROWR!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What a difference 21 months makes

Got to ride the Confederation park- La Salle park ride again for the first time in 18 months or so. Brought the bike to Canada so I could ride while we are here.

After 2 heavy power days at home, followed by two days travelling,  my legs were feeling a little stiff so I went on one last ride before I head to Europe for a river cruise vacation and shake out the legs. Did an ~90 rpm cadence endurance pace ride. The best time I had on this ride was Aug 15, 2009 when I really pushed hard to get to 29.24 kmh. Today was not a hard day. Just about 84% MHR and I came in @ 29.54 kmh. A better time and less effort. 

It started a little rocky but once I warmed up I had a nice ride. The weather was in the mid 50's and a titch breezy but nothing that would knock you sideways like the wind was yesterday.

Now I have to try and find a way to build on this, or at least prevent a backslide while I'm away. Hopefully there is a good stationary bike I can use on the ship.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Locked up

Did 20k to finish off May's distance goal of 700k on Monday and did another heavy power day. The best way I can describe the suffering and pain I voluntarily inflicted on myself is to say I went into the hurt locker, slammed the door shut and bolted the door behind me. At one point, I literally had to consciously tell my legs to move.

They were so locked up with lactic acid and sending signals of agony to my brain that I had to consciously concentrate and focus on first my left leg then my right to get each to move. If I wasn't thinking about the leg it was dead weight and did no work. A painful, flaccid piece of useless meat and bone. My brain simply refused to send a signal to that body part.  There was no reflex or momentum or automaticity. Man my legs hurt.

Great ride!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Training harder to stop the drop

Legs felt pretty good Sunday after Saturday's recovery ride. As I got going I thought I remembered that I had 44k to go to complete my 700k monthly distance goal but could not decide whether to do 30, 40 or 50k. I could finish the goal and have Monday to finish packing for Europe or I could do two shorter rides. I initially decided to do 30 but when the turn came and went and I had not turned off. The weather was beautiful and the ride so pleasant that I guess my unconscious took control.

40K is was. As I was getting close to the end, since I was so close to finishing the goal I changed my ride again and decided to add the short sharp climbs I've put into my 20k ride to bump up the distance. As I approached the final turn it looked like I was still short of 45k so I adjusted again and went up Burke Mill/Griffith instead. I got home, satisfied that Monday was going to be a rest day. But, when I entered the ride, it turned out that I was still 3k short. GAH! Oh well, the weather is going to be great Monday as well so if I have to go on another short 20k ride to top off the goal so be it. It's a tough life but I'm willing to take one for the team :).

The ride itself was another strength training ride with heavy pressure on the legs and low cadence. After Tom posted on facebook that he had started training for July in earnest it upped my motivation. He was going to improve a lot in the next few weeks and if I was going to keep up, given I'm still slower, I need to improve more and faster to minimize the gap betwen our abilities and stay with him as long as possible this July. I know I'll be dropped but hopefully it wilI be later than last year and we'll be going faster as well.

Thanks Tom for that little extra motivation to improve so we can ride together longer this July. It is going to be fun!


Saturday, May 28, 2011


 I never expected to call a 40k ride epic, but this was EPIC!

Planned to head out for a low cadence, high lactic acid 70k sufferfest to really rip my legs up some more after last night's ride. The first 10k were warmup and took a short respite at one of the many local church picnic shelters due to a brief heavy down pour. This should have been a clue but I was feeling cocky becuase I got maybe one drop of rain on me. I could read the weather and I was certain it was going to clear.

After the warmup, I headed for a 65 rpm cadence and really kept the pressure on the legs. It was a nasty, quad burning, leg searing agonyfest. You know, fun. Just what I wanted. My legs were screaming and I just just ignored them. "You shall do MY bidding!", I mentally commanded.

Hey. Was the sky getting darker?

Just before I finished 20k the skies opened and came down so hard I could barely see a few meters in front of me. I had to stop and turn on the blinky back and front light to make sure cars could see me in the dusk-like conditions (@ 4pm). I had incorrectly decided to wear the sunglass lenses instead of my clear lenses, so I was riding in dusk conditions with dark sunglasses that i could not take off since I was wearing contact lenses. If any significant amount of water got into my eye, my contacts start to float and potentially pop out (not a good thing if you have difficulty seeing the big E on an eye chart and are 20k from home in a raging deluge). I'm also betting the lenses, while technically hydrophobic, were not tested under conditions like these. It was next to impossible to get a clear view of the road just a few feet ahead on me. The drops of rain that adhered to the lense created a kaleidoscopic of light as cars drove by in each direction.

The rain was coming down so hard when a drop hit my teeth it actually hurt. That's hard rain my friends. Hard rain.

After a few minutes it cleared up and I actually considered going the full 70k again but decided against it. Very fortunate. It began to sprinkle, then rain, then downpour then deluge again. I think I went the last 10+k in a deluge so heavy cars were pulling over to the side on the road. I got so wet that when I got inside and dried off I was still wet. Yep. That's wet. W. E. T. wet.

That was one crazy-ass bike ride!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spanked 2x

Mother of pearl! We did the long Bowman gray route tonight (stats in the link). Did the first 10 K in 17:16, the second 10K in 18:10 and the 3rd 10K in 18:21. That comes out as 33.48 km/h for the first 30K.

Then I cracked and got dropped the first time. Did the next 10K on my own in 18:57, which I'm pretty satisfied with, and got picked up by the next group some time after that. I was able to hang on with them until we started up turbohill. There I got dropped the second time (in the same spot as last week), on the steeper section.

Despite being spanked twice, I was not DFL though. 5 more came in after me.

The whole 58K was done at an average 31.23 kmh.



Monday, May 23, 2011

Helping a friend

Saturday's Salem Lake ride was a bit of a recovery ride and a bit of a summer long quest to help Eric do the Salem Lake route in less than one hour. Last week it took us 1 hour 6 minutes. This week, 1 hour 5 minutes. It looks like we are on our way. 


Friday, May 20, 2011


It was just a matter of time, but I finally achieved DFL staus.

After yesterday's long ride I wanted to go out and really push my legs, with every expectation of being dropped. I was not disappointed.

I got dropped (from the lead wheel only at least) on the hill to the regroup point. I almost got dropped after I did a pull to the base of a climb (but was not). I dropped to last spot (but still had contact) on a hill where I could not shift into the small ring. Finally, I and was really dropped on turbo hill. Dropped like a piece of hook hitting a loop (as I imagine those in the velcro industry saying).

I planned on shifting to the small ring when the going got a little tough to reduce the lactic acid buildup; ride a higher cadence but push the HR up a little instead. I thought I selected the right spot but boy was I wrong! The change was startling. One moment I was near the front feeling the burn and in less than 10 seconds I was off the back, never to join the group again. Did the last 6K alone, but I did not let up. I kept the cadence high and effort under control.

The few judgement errors and the mechanical contributed to the lack of climbing success but I also some cognitive success.  I was very conscious of what I was trying to do and why. Next time I will tweak things and try again.

Not disappointed in the least.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


First the details.

Goal today was to go 70K and hit each hill with 90+ cadence for it's duration. Had a little trouble early on but by 20K I was in a rhythm and did pretty well. Granted I had to get into the small ring and down to the 25 cog but I did sustain ~90 rpm on 95% of the hills. While I figure out the next month of training I figured getting on some 4-6% hills and maintaining 90 rpm would be important this summer so could do no harm. Legs are feeling Lactic good, although I am a litle concerned about my out of the saddle endurance and will probably have to work that into any training over the next month.

Then the impressions.

For whatever reason, today was attack dog day. No fewer than 4 dogs decided I looked appetizing. The first two were a little sad really. Short fat pudgy dogs with a lot more bark than bite. However, they did cross the road and chase be for a few meters. I did not even speed up in response. The third was almost an after thought by the pathetic beast. I was past his position and he gave a half hearted bark and run but nothing serious.

It was the last one that gave me serious pause. On the new section on road, I passed a house where a very large dog gave me a baleful look and decided I was not doing something right. He was large, well muscled and salivating. I'm certain he was salivating. He lunged across the road and took up position to my right rear wheel and loped along. His empty, souless stare pierced my psyche like a dagger. He was hungry and wanted a cyclist. His gaping maw opened. Saliva flowed in long sticky tendrils from the tips of his stained sharp teeth back along his snout, leaving silvery trails of anticipatory digestive death.

I immediately hit a higher gear and up my cadence. My heart is starting to get the rush being pushed out by my adrenal glands. I surge forward and look back.

He was still there. It did not same to phase him. His spine flexing like some giant spring, moving closer. Next gear. He's still there and gaining! Holy Fuck! This was getting serious. I hit the next gear and get out of the saddle. I really start hitting the pedals as I head down hill. This hound from Hell is loping along with a crazy glistening grin. He surges forward for the kill like some lion pouncing on the back of a baby gazelle. But, as he came for my calf I shifted up twice more and really used that adrenaline rush to punch it to the next level. If I was going down, this devil spawn was going to have to work for it.

As I looked behind me, this hound of the baskerville slowly dropped back and slowed, turning back to his territorial boundaries. I was safe.

Definitely need some protection next time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I came 6th on a 100k ride.....

Roade my first metric century Saturday and came in sixth today.... sixth last. Possibly the happiest result I've ever had. Quite a turn around from March (both in attitude and performance).

Starting the ride was me and 50 close strangers. We got off to a really fast start. Really fast. The first 10K were done in 16.5 minutes. I started near the front and within 6k I was dropped by the front group, and the second group, Settled in with a third group of 3 other danglers and got into a paceline. I was able to hold that group to the 10k mark. Then dropped again.

I was going to have to just ride my own pace. I had a goal of finishing 100k in under 4 hours and pushing myself into the red this early was not the way to accomplish this. I passed the first rest stop (the one for the 20 mile out and back ride) and kept going. Passed through the first big town and saw my first straggler having a drink @ a gas station. I'm no longer last.

Came to a fork in the road that is not marked and got a little lost. I was not sure which way to go, but a little kid pointed out that another group is coming up, so I settled in with them for a while. Completed a short climb fairly well but the lead guy did not let up and I eventually blew up and fell out of this group as well, just as we hit the second rest stop. I decide to stop and fill up on water and have a snack and watch a few riders riding the 1/2 century ride come through, and even a few peel off and get onto the 100 route. Hmm, perhaps I was never last.

A few others stopped for drinks but I got back on the road. Eating a gel every 10k and staying hydrated, ticking off the 10k laps. Up ahead I see a flashing light. A rider. A rabbit. A goal. I picked up my pace just slightly and try to determine if I'm closing he gap whenever I catch a glimpse of him as on the winding, tree lined, beautifully smooth farm roads. Yep, I appeared to be gaining. It took me about 20k but I closed the gap and got onto his wheel. After a brief rest I did a pull and we traded off a time or two.

I pulled to the front as we crossed the river and headed up the the "big climb" which was used as a KOM point on the ride. I did not hit it hard, just steady but I still pulled away. As I crested the hill I looked back to see if I should wait and continue to work together, but he was too far back so I just got on with it.

Pulled into the the final rest stop to refill the bottles and have a snack just as two others were leaving. I considered not stopping and following their wheel but I needed the water so decided against it. While refilling, the guy I had worked with came in and one other. I appeared to be third last now.

Back on the road. The stop was probably less than 3-4 minutes but my legs had already started seizing up! Crazy. The k continued to tick away. I was into the final 30k. Then 20k, I turn onto the road I've ridden with the Tuesday/Thursday night rides and pass another rider who had stopped for a nature break. I'm fourth last.

10k to go. I cross the river one last time and head up turbo hill. 10k of uphill riding. Maybe it was the snacks I had earlier, maybe it was the rush of knowing was going to complete my first 100k of the year, but for whatever reason my legs felt really strong and I switched into "diesel mode" and started powering over the road.

Up ahead another rider. I claw my way up to him and pass him without slowing or sitting on. More power riding, another rider ahead. I pull up to him and pass.

Just 2000 meters left. Powering home, I finish really strong, and check my time.

I crushed the day. 40 minutes faster! I averaged 28.8kph over 100k! This was faster than my 50 mile ride from Wednesday! What an awesome day. 

Distance: 102.39 km
Speed:  28.76 kmh
Cadence:  86 rpm
AVG HR:  155/185 bpm
Weight:  205 lbs

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1/2 century

Sorry for the short hiatus. It was crunch time at work. Creating exams, grading assignments, exams and essays, and finalizing  grades. So crazy busy I only got out on the bike a few times in the last week and a half and I certainly did not have time to put it all into words.

Words actually became the bane of my existance. Staring at poorly formed sentences, spelling mistakes, atrocious grammar and incomprehensible paragraphs, the very thought putting my own thoughts to a page turned my stomach. But, after a few days of recovery, I'm back and one of the first things I wanted to do to celebrate the end of semester was to get in my delayed 1/2 century. I had planned on doing it in March but things didn't turn out that way and April was chaotic, so I did not get a chance then either. 

Had a few worried thoughts the night before but I figured I would just ride endurance pace and not worry about the time and everything would be fine. So, off I went. Keeping the cadence in the high 80's and the HR @ around 80% max, allowing it to go higher on the hills, I set off. It went off without incident. Except one. Everytime I finished 10K, the times were 22 minutes, 23 minutes, with the occasional 20 minute lap. "Surely this is too fast", I thought. This is similar to a 50K or 60K pace. A little slower than my normal 20-22 minutes for 10K but still pretty fast. But the HR was in the right zone, and the legs were ticking over nicely, so I just carried on. Finished the 87K in 3 hours 10 minutes. The last time I did this route, it took me 3 hours 39 minutes! I would say that yesterday was slightly better.


Distance: 87.21 km
Speed:  27.42 kmh
Cadence:  85 rpm
AVG HR:  157 bpm
Weight:  202.2 lbs

Friday, April 29, 2011

Breaking the barrier

This was the group ride I was expecting the first time I went out.

From the start, I was feeling the pressure. My legs were not feeling strong all week so I made the decision before the ride to not do a pull and just practice sitting in the peleton. That turned out to be a very good decision. Everytime I looked down at the cyclometer (different from Wednesday's and actually worked), we seemed to be travelling at 35+ kph. On the way to the regrouping point we crossed the Yadkin river and headed up the other side. The last time this hill was easy. Not last night. I was under pressure. Not enough to cause me to drop back or standup but I definitely felt the effort.

The route was very similar to last time, but a little shorter (55K vs 62K) so the route was more familiar and I had a sense of how much effort I was acually putting in. While I kept the cadence high and had no difficulty keeping anyone's wheel, my HR felt higher than I would have liked. 

When we returned to the Yadkin river and started up what riders call "turbohill" the "racing" began. It started ok but the pressure never letup. I got closer and closer to the redline but was holding my own. As the hill continued, it became more difficult holding the wheel. Then the pace picked up again. I simply could not lift mine.

Suddenly I was off the back. We were about 5-7 K from the end and I knew my way back so there was a very brief thought of just sitting up and cruising in. But then I thought, "Why not try what I did last night and settle into a sustainable steady rhythm"? The group was going faster than me but they also contantly changed speed so it was not unrealistic to think I could maybe get back on. As the meters passed beneath my wheels I saw more and more riders fall off the back in front of me. Now I had some rabbits. These riders were not sitting up, so I really had to keeping working, focusing on my form, a steady cadence, and regular breathing. I slowly reeled one back and closed within a few meters of another before the finish and everyone sat up and soft pedalled back the final 1 K.

This is what I was expecting to happen last time so I wasn't disappointed. However, satisfaction with my performance quickly turn to joy when I checked the cyclometer. My average speed was 33+ kph! In old school money, I crossed that psychological 20 mph barrier. This was my fastest ride ever and on a 55K ride!

So, while I was on the rivet from the moment I started turbohill, the fact that I kept up as long as I did was damn impressive for me.

Distance: 55.81 km
Speed:  33.15 kmh (20.6 mph!)
Cadence: 79 rpm
AVG HR:  ?? bpm
Weight:  202.6 lbs

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Data scarcity: Part II

Wednesday's ride data is brought to you by "NoData ". When you want to be completely in the dark about your ride, rely on "NoData " to give you exactly what you want. It appears that the connection between the cyclometer and the front wheel sensor has broken. Shortly into the ride I realized I was just getting cadence. No speed, time, or distance. Nothing. Grr. I hate it when I rely on tech and it fails.

To compensate, I took a quick look at my phone for "start time" and again at the end for a best estimate. I had the route distance from several weeks ago so I could get a pretty good estimate. This would have been fine except at the end of Lap 2 someone got a flat and so we took an unkown amount of time to get him back on the road. So, today's numbers are clearly an under estimate of my speed.

We had a much smaller starting group (~6) but we picked up several riders on the road so we had 10-14 at various points on the ride. Further,  tonight was not a "recovery" ride. It was windy, we had regular showers with big heavy raindrops and I had an elevated HR rate for a good part of each "easy" loop. I made a point of not taking a pull after I brought everyone from Hampton road to the first turn  (~3.5 K) and even then it was an effort to sit in.

On the last loop a rider went off the front as we came off the dip and no one caught her. I started 3 or 4 back and there were gaps between all of us but I was able to bridge up to number 2 and after a short downhill, powered past when the grade went positive again. I settled into a rhythm to try and bridge. I knew it was not going to be easy, but I tried to find a pace fast enough to bridge but not completely blowup. I pulled back some distance but eventually went into the red so I dialed it back a notch and accepted I would not catch her. On the positive side though, I did not blowup and continued pushing a hard steady tempo @ ~90rpm, just at a slightly lower effort. While she continued pulling away, it was not as fast as I expected so I was satisfied with that last effort.

On the way back to the shop I asked her how hard she was going, girding myself for something like, "Oh, it was a recovery ride, so only 80%". But she said she was going all out and hit 45 kph at some point so I must have been doing something similar, maybe 2-3 kph slower.

Really miss my Garmin :(.

Distance: 41.3 km
Speed:  27.23 kmh
Cadence:  ?? rpm
AVG HR:  ?? bpm
Weight:  201.8 lbs

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An opportunity disguised as a problem

Sunday was the first day on the road without the garmin. I planned on a long ride but, while it was sunny and warm, it was too windy to be very fun for long. So, just went for 30K and tried to get a feel for what efforts felt like when I did not have my HR available. The transition back was more difficult than I imagined. I overcooked early hills but by the end I got a better feel for how I had to dose my effort.

I figure about the time I've successfully transitioned back to riding without HR data should be about when I get the garmin returned. But, my first ride back I will hide the HR data and ride like "normal" to examine the HR data later. I'll test of my effort judging ability. An opportunity disguised as a problem.

Distance: 32.12 km
Speed:  26.15 kmh
Cadence:  82 rpm
AVG HR:  ?? bpm
Weight:  202.4 lbs

Monday, April 25, 2011

Data Scarcity

Data is going to be a little sparse the next few weeks. Sent off the garmin for warranty repair and it's going to take 10-14 days to get her back. It's surprising to me how dependent I've become on my HR reading to gauge my effort. It should be an interesting problem and opportunity to transition back to riding without it and see how I do.

Saturday's ride was on the Kona 29er with Eric around Salem Lake. The ride itself was fun although the trail as soft from the the rain. We were not screaming around the trail but we did put in a good effort and finished the long trail in under an hour and 10 minutes. Eric said his goal if to complete this loops in under and hour by the end of the summer. That should be a crazy ride.

Distance: 19.29 km
Speed:  22.5 kmh
Cadence:  ?? rpm
AVG HR:  ?? bpm
Weight:  201.2 lbs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cock of the block

Definitely earned myself a rest day Thursday. Wednesday's ride was the 7th in 8 days. After the stellar ride Tuesday, I was expecting the second Clemmons bikeshop group ride to be a little tough. Legs were a little sore from Tuesday but I figured I could do just the 3 regular laps and head back if I wasn't feeling great. The ride ended up being a bit of a surprise.

The big boys were not out on this ride but there were 15-20 riders and I sat in for the first lap until the dip. Coasting down, passing everyone on the way backup (due to my exceptional descending skills, AKA "mass"), I ended up at the front. So I did a pull. Keeping the goal/intention of a recovery/beginner ride in mind I settled in and just did a long steady pace, letting my HR get up to 84-86%. As I pulled off I received, what I consider, my first "deserved" compliment. "Nice pull", said this guy I later came to know as Will. As I faded back, feeling a little glowy.  I thought I did a god job and having someone concur with my assessment made me feel good (hence the use of the word "deserved"). The group was together and everything was cool.

On the second lap, Will did some monster pulls and I got into the mix and we ended up with a group of 4 off the front by the end. But, either due to the lead guy dialling it back or the main peleton ramping it up, we got back together for the third lap and I spent a little time in the middle of the pack.

Surpisingly, not actually that fun. There was a lot more braking, shifting, and other bike related manoevering compared to being at the front. After recovering a little I got off the front again after the dip and we got another group of 5-6 off the front. This was really fun as I did a good pull, faded back and got sucked along like I imagined should happen in a good working group.

On last lap about half the rider headed home and the rest ramped up the speed. We stayed together to the dip and on the final drag we started with 5-6 doing the work off the front. Then 4. Then 3. Will, myself and one other. I did a long pull, then Will came through, again complimenting my pull but then putting me to shame with his effort. I called him a "beast in our midst" as he faded back. The third person did her bit and pulled but she was barely hanging on and pulled off after 20-30 seconds. Kudos for hanging. I have sooooo been there. Absolute respect for the effort.

It was now just me and Will.

I came up and got focused, keeping a steady 90 rpm cadence and letting the HR drift up to 92-93%. I wasn't interested in winning. I just wanted to put everything on the road and see what I could do. As I pulled off, Will again said I put him in a world of hurt and, given what he did last time, was expecting to really suffer. But he just kept the pace and while my HR did not decrease, I did experience some relief and he did not surge away. On my pull we were coming to the end of the lap and I wanted to finish it out. I put my head down, focused on "steady, steady, steady" and went to the end.

As I approached the finish I looked behind me and I had left Will 100m behind. Fucking A! What an awesome feeling. I maxed myself out and came in 1st! Freaking Cock 'o' the Block! It did not matter that the big boys weren't out. I won.

I won?! What a truely extraordinary feeling. I think I had an adrenalin rush for an hour afterwards.

Distance: 40.52 km
Speed:  30.49 kmh
Cadence:  87 rpm
AVG HR:  151 bpm
Weight:  199.4 lbs

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ego Boost

Oh so happy!

I decided to try the 17-20 mph group ride with the PFBC after several weeks of riding the 14-17 mph social ride. My experience last week on the Clemmons bike shop ride was positive enough that I could accept being dropped from this ride if it happened and, if I wanted to improve, I need to ride with this group.

None-the-less I was nervous. This was a 56K ride on roads I've never ridden, in a new group. All day my stomach was in knots. My over active imagination racing through different scenarios and what I would do in each. Forcing myself to remember that it would be OK to be dropped and why. I didn't want to be dropped but I had my mental defenses ready.

It did not start well. The group rolled out @ 6pm sharp and I arrived about 3-4 minutes before 6 so I was still getting my shoes on, garmin on the bike etc. as they rolled. EEK! What if I never get back on? What if I arrive at the regroup spot just as they left and I didn't have time to recover from the hill I was worried about getting over?

Fortunately, two others came back to pick up something they had forgotten so I ended up having someone to pace my up to the group, which was a relief since I had no idea where I was going. We got back on before the river and the climb up the other side was surpisingly easy. I was expecting the pack to explode but I didn't even have to get out of the saddle. I kept good regular cadence in the big ring and was even able to slow up in places to avoid crossing the wheel in front of me.

The regroup was quick and I was still worried about getting dropped somewhere along the ride. I had looked at the profile and there were a few short steep sections and if faded back I might have been left behind. Maybe the easy speed to the regroup point was simply a warmup before really hammering it. So, I rode near the front. It was a group of about 40 riders of all ages, ranging from university students to a grandmother. The roads were flatter than the ones around home so as I got going I was able to relax a little. Confidence started to build that I could keep up and even had a second or two of thinking that this was not difficult enough. Maybe I should try the faster group. I did a few pulls, but each time I pulled off before I went into the red zone since I had no idea how far we were from home and wanted to have something in reserve.

As we headed back, we had to cross a bridge at 40K, but it had been closed and we could not even hike the bikes across. So we had to retrace our steps, back up the hill an add 5K to the ride with even more climbing. The light was starting to fade but we stepped up the pace and I still had no difficulty keeping up. the HR got up there a few times but it was always manageable and I never felt under pressure. I always felt there was room to shift down and spin faster or up and slower depending on whether it was the legs or heart that felt under strain.

We eventually returned to the original river crossing. I knew how to get back but from here but it was 10K of almost contstant uphill after already putting in 50K. Could I do it? The legs were beginning to feel the effort and some sections steeper than others. However, the folks doing the pulling did an awesome job of pace setting and there were even parts where those at the back were calling for the pace to pick up...and I was good with that.

By the end of the ride I was feeling tired but very happy. I never got dropped I climbed fine, I did 2 pulls, came in with the first group, got personal best speed, and longest ride this season (follow the link for stats and details on the funky cool new site I found for tracking rides).

Distance: 61.55 km
Speed:  30.61 kmh
Cadence:  87 rpm
AVG HR:  159 bpm
Weight:  201.2 lbs

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm all a twitter with excitement

Just a short ride to get some distance in the legs and to test what I learned yesterday.

I did the same route as April 11, attacking the hills when the grade became greater than 3% and trying to maintain 60-70 rpm but sitting down when it wasn't and transition back to a higher spin of 80+ rpm. I can't say it was perfect but I did the first 10 K 1.8 kph faster and the second 10 K 1.6 kph faster.

Also, on a mixed note, my Edge 500's locking tabs snapped off yesterday so I had to tape it to the bike until I can find a repair solution. But, I also discovered the can actually give turn by turn directions on the fly (when used with a website that adds the cue sheet info directly into a downloadable file). It works! I'm all a twitter with excitement.

Distance: 20.46 km
Speed:  27.35 kmh
Cadence:  81 rpm
AVG HR:  161 bpm
Weight:  201.8 lbs

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A nice follow up

Personal best average speed on the Centenary Church Loop route today, and pretty dang close to a personal best overall. Two things seemed to fall into place today. One, I found a rhythm that allowed me to keep a steady cadence doing the full stroke while in the saddle without sending my legs into lactic acid overload. Two, I found a rhythm that allowed me to attack the hills, getting out of the saddle when the grade went over 3-4% but not red-lining it. When the grade backed off and I sat back down I still had the strength to straight back into a strong steady cadence. It kept the progress a whole lot steadier.

Distance: 32.67 km
Speed:  29.01 kmh
Cadence:  82 rpm
AVG HR:  147 bpm
Weight:  203.1 lbs

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Full on Cadence

Windy Friday. I don't know how but I seemed to have a head wind both freakin' directions. I must have been in the eye of a storm or something. There was maybe a km or 2 when I had a tail wind.

Set out to do an endurance ride and maintain my cadence for the full duration. With the exception of slowing for intersections and maybe one or two other spots I was successful. I also maintained my spin up the hills and even spent a little practice out of the saddle @ 60-70 rpm. Those were OK but it is clear to me that these hills are way too short to really practice getting into a rhythm and learning how to dose my effort. Hanging rock is a definite must in the not too distant future.

Looking at the last time I rode 50K my average speed was the same which had me a little bummed but then I remembered that I had already ridden 70K in the previous two days while I had ridden just 40K the day before when I rode 50K in March. So I felt a little better.

Distance: 50.13 km
Speed:  27.39 kmh
Cadence:  85 rpm
AVG HR:  166 bpm
Weight:  201.2 lbs

Friday, April 15, 2011

Group Practice

Fun ride tonight. With our glorious leader Bob holding down the back end of the ride for the more leisurely inclined, I had the responsibility of covering the front. I've ridden the route twice now and know the route so when a new rider, keen to going faster, went of the front I jumped across to catch up with him and another new to the route, holding them up at the regrouping spots, and putting in some long pulls when we got going. I figured it was a good opportunity to practice judging how fast those behind me could go without yo-yoing or completely dropping them. Did better than past efforts and it was fun working with people of similar ability. On the last part of the course I got to spend a little time in the 90% MHR range without blowing up and ended up doing an OK pace.

Distance: 30.27 km
Speed:  28.17 kmh
Cadence:  85 rpm
AVG HR:  151 bpm
Weight:  199.8 lbs (second time below 200 this year so pretty happy with that too)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New personal bests

On one of my earlier PFBC rides, people were telling me about the Clemmons Bike shop Wednesday ride. I was told that it was a repeated loop, with each loop being faster than the previous and that you could do as much as you could handle and be done. Sounded like just the thing to gauge of my abilities and to see when I improved. So last night I gave it my first try.

It was lots 'o' fun. Definitely going to be doing this on a regular basis. The first 3 loops were easy and each slightly faster than the previous. First loop completed @ 28.4 kmh, the second @ 29.1, and the 3rd @ 29.7. On the last lap the hammerheads went to town and was the whole reason for going. I did not expect to keep up but I would at least know where/when I would get dropped and have a marker for later comparison.

Frankly, I was quite surpised at my performance. The first part of the loop was simply more speed and no problem keeping up. I spent most of my time just monitering those in front so that I could jump across if a split happened. The real push came as we went down the one fast descent and up the other side @ 33.5K. Given my mass, I coasted past pretty much everyone and flew by several others on the way up who were pedalling. I did nothing but navigate around them in a tuck. Once we got to the top it was a long gradual uphill to the end. I began near the front but wasn't sure what the deal was so I just followed the wheel in front. Very shortly though the big boys came through and I jumped onto their wheels.

The speed kept ramping up and up and I was keeping a good steady effort with little difficulty. Then the person in front of me cracked and pulled out. A gap had been forming and he couldn't hold the wheel. This meant I had to close a 2-3 bike length gap to the group travelling @ 40+ kmh. I leaned into it and slowly started to bring it back.

3 lengths. 2 lengths. 1.5 lengths. Definitely feeling the effort. 1.25 lengths. Heart pounding. Can't get closer. But I don't give up. I hold that position until about 800 m from the end and have to pull out. The guy behind goes past and gives an appreciative "Thanks for the awesome pull man" and the original guy off the front fades back to me and this other guy and we wheeled into the finish fast but just not quite as fast as the front group. In retrospect I realized I should have gotten out of the saddle to try to finish off the gap; rookie mistake. We finished that lap @ 34.9 kmh. Here is the link to the details should you be interested.

Given it was my first time on the ride, I'm still recovering from the chest cold and I had no expectation of holding the wheel of any of them, I'm happy with this result. As an added bonus I also acheived a personal best average speed of 29.5 kmh and new max speed of 69.7 kmh . My previous best average was 29.33 kmh and max speed was 68.33 on my own. Looks like the season still holds lots of promise.

As my wife and friend have noted, being dropped that Sunday several weeks ago may have been a gift in disguise. It resulted in my joining PFBC and hence to this ride. Thanks for all the support.

Distance: 41.35 km
Speed:  29.49 kmh
Cadence:  88 rpm
AVG HR:  151 bpm
Weight:  200.4 lbs


Monday, April 11, 2011

Swimming in a sea of mucus

Recoverying from a mild chest cold so I did not ride this weekend but since the weather was so nice and I'm feeling 80% better I figured I was good for a short ride to open the lungs and see what kind of fuild I could hackup.

I toyed with the idea of a longer ride while I was getting into kit but although it was warm, it was also windy.  So, with wind pushing me around and me swimming in a sea of mucus, the prospect of a longer ride quickly receded.

Instead I did a variation of Hope Church Loop. Instead of turning @ clemmonsville road I went straight. The route is normally 18K and I was looking for the magic 20K. I wondered if going straight would get me the extra 2K. It did. As an added bonus, there are several rollers instead of just on big downhill and one long uphill. It gave me more practice spinning up hills. A few were extra steep and I had to get out of the saddle so I also practiced powering over the top on those ones.

Did I mention I'm not fully recovered? Those last few hills put mucus production into overdrive and I think I hacked up a gallon of the sticky gooey mess on more than one occasion.

I anticipate that when it is less windy, and I'm healthier, this is going to be a fun little section.  Since they come at the end of the ride any improvement in endurance and climbing technique should be quickly noticeable.

Distance: 20.44 km
Speed:  25.6 kmh
Cadence:  82 rpm
AVG HR:  166 bpm
Weight:  201.6 lbs

P.S. Went to a funky new type of bike fitting system demo tonight as well. I think I just found my 190 lbs motivator. It was everything a bike geek like me dreams of. computers, numbers, biomechanical reflector stick figures on the computer screen..... oooooo I wants one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My lying legs

Short ride Friday. The forecast called for rain after 3pm (when Janine finished work) so the chance of getting in a longer ride did not look good. So, I opted to shake out the legs and try a few hills on a short 18K loop between the end of class and when I had to pick J up.

The goal was to maintain a 60-70 cadence while out of the saddle, and stay out right over the top. Did that 5x. That turned out to be relatively easy since the hills were short and not too steep, so I had time to work on some other aspects of climbing. I practised moving my center of gravity around to find the place over the bike where maintaining a steady pedaling and breathing rhythmn seemed much easier. When I found it the bike almost seemed to float underneath me. When I got tired toward the top of a hill and leaned forward too much the bike became a beast being dragged through the mud. Quite an experience. When I noticed this I made a conscious effort to move myself back, even though my legs said they wanted to ease up and that they had nothing more to give, and found that they were lying. They did have more and it came from better positioning. 

Distance: 18.76 km
Speed:  27.43 kmh
Cadence:  80 rpm
AVG HR:  160 bpm
Weight:  201.6 lbs

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I don't remember learning

Second time out with PFBC Thursday. I was torn between trying the 17-20 mph group and riding with the social group again. Try something new or build on what I know? Given the rough few days I've been having, I decided to go out with the social group again. A lot of the same people were there with some absences and a few different folk. I'd estimate approximately a 50% turnover from last Thursday.

Just one group this week but it was a consistent group. We were able to keep a very steady pace and had a good paceline going on several occasions. Felt pretty good on the hills and was able to sustain a good steady pace on the front and had no difficulty the pace was being set by other. When I checked the garmin my HR was in the 60-65% range. The pace was also 2 kph faster than last time

I was surprised how much I remembered the route. Given I do not live in this area, every single road and turn is new with the added bonus that the road names are 90% identical to ones I'm familiar with in Winston. How's that for lacking in imagination? Just adds to the challenge I guess.

I remembered all but one turn but forgot the location of the biggest, funnest descent. It was further along the ride than I thought and I rode off the front to practice my descending and climbing out the other side in a place that did not actually have a big descent or hill. Ah well, live and learn.

Distance: 30.17 km
Speed:  25.53 kmh
Cadence:  83 rpm
AVG HR:  144 bpm
Weight:  203.2 lbs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

You know it's windy when...

You accelerate up a 4% grade ... without pedalling.
You pedal squares in 39/25 @ 60 rpm ... downhill.
You're trying to talk to yourself but can't hear what you're saying.
You begin wondering why the guys @ A2WT won't turn off the fan.
You can pass motor vehicles traveling in the same direction
You move sideways instead of forward


Distance: 18.71 km
Speed: 23.87 kmh
Cadence: 80 rpm
AVG HR: 157 bpm
Weight: 200.8 lbs

Monday, April 4, 2011

This is fun?

Another crappy day. No strength in the legs, no motivation. At least I got out on the road though. Finally started feeling beter on the final 2K home. It only took 30K.....

If there is anything positive about the ride was that I was able to spinup the hills with relative ease, even if it was in 39/25-23.

Distance: 31.99 km
Speed:  24.96 kmh
Cadence:  83 rpm
AVG HR:  148 bpm
Weight:  201.6lbs

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stop the training. It's time to enjoy

Felt like crap Saturday. Had no motiation, no stength in my legs and just not very interested riding. I'm feeling a litle burnt out I think. The steady and successful training regimen followed by the ego crushing group ride took away the joy. So, the next few days I'm just going to ride. I'll ride as fast or as slow as I like. I'm not going to train. I'm just going to ride and enjoy biking. It's no good training if it results in my no longer wanting to ride.

So, I went 30K and did not work on any element of riding. Very windy but enjoyable enough.

Distance: 32.46 km
Speed:  24.49 kmh
Cadence:  81 rpm
AVG HR:  147 bpm
Weight:  203.2 lbs

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Massaging the tender male ego

First group ride with Piedmont Flyers Bicycle Club. The club hs a number of different ride groups, based on average speed traveled, ranging from a beginner, social ride that rides 22-27kph, a 27-32kph group, a 32-37kph group and a 37+ kph group. I figured that this would give me something to strive for over the summer: moving up a category. However, given the debacle that was the TMK ride a few weeks ago, and to avoid any  further bruising of my tender ego, I decided my first ride would be with the 22-27kph social ride group. I'm currently on the cusp of the two groups and given my poor climbing ability, and the ride route for the 27-32 group, I was almost certain that I would be dropped early in the ride and I didn't think I could handle that.

I was glad I did. The people were really nice and several invited me to come ride with them on Saturday for a 70-80 K ride which was the distance I've been riding lately so it has a lot to recommend it. My only concern was that it may be too slow for my interests but I would make that decision after the ride and got a feel for how fast these folks were riding.

I ended up in a group that rode toward the faster end of the spectrum and it was really fun. There were four of us and our leader did an awesome job pacing. No yo-yoing up the hills, just a nice steady pace that two of us went in front of on some climbs and tucked in behind on the flats. She also indicated that she had ridden with the next group up and been dropped but was interested in doing again so when I try the other group I'll have a partner of similar ability to commissurate with on the climbs.

There were also lots of conversations about other group rides that I may try a little later. One in particular sounds like fun. It does several laps with each lap being faster than the last but because there are so many riders and it is not far from the beginning of the ride it will not be too demoralizing to get dropped while providing a good incentive to improve and make one more lap on later weeks.

At the end of the ride it looks like the Saturday ride will be too slow for my interests and even the faster group was a little slow for me but on days when I'm just interested in practicing pulling, and other group work this should be a good group to go with. I'm a little nervous about trying the next group up but I just need to suck it up and try and hope there will be someone to ride with when/if I get dropped too badly.

Fun group and ride on nice roads.

Distance: 30 km
Speed:  24.53 kmh
Cadence:  80 rpm
AVG HR:  131 bpm
Weight:  201.8 lbs

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Double Day

To keep eveything balanced on the home front I did not ride yesterday since today I was going for a double ride and spend more than four hours away from my lovely, understanding, patient wife on a preciously short weekend in the middle of a grueling semester.

Salem Lake

The first ride of the day was with Eric. He's been off the bike for several weeks for health related issues and wanted to get back with some excerise. We met at Salem lake around 11AM and did just the lake circuit. It's the first time I've been around the lake in several weeks and the lake level is down something like 10' as the new dam contruction project gets underway. It was both disturbing and gratifying to see a little of what is/is not on the bottom of this lake. The lake bed has huge thick layers of what looks like petroleum residue in some of the shallow creek inlets and was quite aromatic. On the plus side, I was expecting to see tires, trash, drums etc. but there were none. People really seem to respect the lake, now if only industry could do the same.

We took a brief detour to a part of the greenway that was flooded a few days ago. The creek from the dam was very full and the parks dept. had blocked it off. Good thing too. The level was much higher than the day Mike Furr and Eric got swept downstream and Eric lost his bike. Took it very easy to allow Eric to enjoy the ride and planned a ride up Hanging Rock for next week with him and Janine driving SAG for me.

Road ride

Got kitted up for the road ride with full winter gear, after lunch with Janine, around 2pm. Long tights, base layer, jersey, arm warmers, jacket, thick socks with toe warmer chemical heat packets, long fingered gloves, riding gloves, and skull cap. Still was not enough. By the end of the ride I'm pretty sure my toes were stage 1 frost bite despite the temperature claiming to be low 50's F. Had three goals on this ride. One when not climbing, keep the HR below 82% and cadence above 85rpm. Two, when climbing a hill stay seated and spinup @ 90+ cadence every time. Three, recon a new segment to add to my rides. This would allow me to mix things up a little more regularly so I do not get into a rut of riding the exact same roads in the exact same way to get in a ride of a certain distance. Plus, by adding this new segment I would be able to put 70K ride together. Was actually successful on all three.

The coolest thing about the new segment was that while I went one direction, and there was a lot of up and down, the last part of the new segment was all down hill to the point where I thought that if I came in the other direction I would have my first local categorised climb. Did a quick check on Map My Ride and Happy Day! I've got me a Cat 5 climb. Finally something I can do with out driving some distance to do it. Sure it's just a cat 5 but it is a start.

The legs were really tired after the ride and as I sit here I'm thinking tomorrow I'm going to be very very sore. But I demonstrated to myself that I could get up everything in a high cadence so now it is just a matter of getting faster and maybe alternating sitting and out of the saddle work.

Salem Lake

Distance: 16.9 km
Speed:  22.81 kmh
Cadence:  77 rpm
AVG HR:  131 bpm
Weight:  201.8 lbs

Road Ride

Distance: 55.94 km
Speed:  25.94 kmh
Cadence:  92 rpm
AVG HR:  156 bpm
Weight:  201.8 lbs

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back in (out of) the Saddle

I'm back in the saddle after a few days of licking my wounds. Just did a short 30K, but given the wakeup call on my climbing ability it's time to refocus. I was thinking of training for a time trial for fun later this month because I thought my climbing was a whole lot better that it really was. While better than last year, I am definitely still in the beginner category so if I'm going to get over a cat 2 this summer I need to stay focussed on that goal.

After warming up, I decided any time the grade went above 3% I would get out of the saddle and climb to the top of the hill (even if it went down a little or the grade dipped below 3% I would stay up; to get comfortable with the rhythm of climbing).

While climbing a longer hill, I glanced at my Garmin a few times and noted that my "comfort" cadence was about 50rpm. That kept my breathing regular and my legs at the edge of burning. I could keep going but it tended to be mostly pushing down and moving the bike side to side. Thinking back to Sunday, where I had plenty of time to view the cadence of others from behind, I downshifted and upped the cadence to 60-65. I've always had a mental block with doing this; being worried that I would run out of energy or breath and crack. But, the turbo training this winter has pushed mental block to the side a little, so I gave it a try. I felt like I had more pep in the legs without too much of an increase in effort (still 90+ MHR). By upping the cadence to 60-70 the lactic acid buildup seemed to decrease while only slightly increasing my breathing effort.Not reallt sure how it affect my speed but I'm sure that will come.

Will try to do this more to get used to climbing with a higher cadence

Distance: 32.6 km
Speed: 26.3 kmh
Cadence: 70 rpm
AVG HR: 154 bpm
Weight: 204lbs

Monday, March 21, 2011

The stinging hand of Reality slaps Morale upside the head

Sunday. The PR ride with Team Mountain Khaki. A 128 kilometer ride past the three big climbs on the area: Hanging Rock, Sauratown and Pilot mountain. It was billed as a easy 24-26 kmh ride with SAG support. Going into this ride I had numerous ways I was going to consider this a success.

The Goal(s)

1. Unrealistic super optimistic ride. Ride/stay with the group, climb hanging rock, get dropped then use the cue sheet to get home and pocket my first metric century of the season and my longest ride ever.

2. Super optimistic.  Stay with the group, not do the climb but have them catch up as I carried on to the next climb, and get my metric and longest ride ever.

3. Optimistic. Stay with the group, get my metric and and little more to get my longest ride ever, pile into the SAG for the rest of the ride.

4. Reasonable. Stay with the group until I got my metric, bail and SAG home

5. Bad day. Get dropped but get my metric before bailing and SAGing home

6. Suck. Dropped by the group but at least I did my longest ride this year (63K will do).

Result: Well below Suck.

The Ride

It did not start well. We went up the first short, small hill right by Mock and I was already struggling. O God! What have I done? I've not ridden 3K and I'm in trouble.

But, it looked like it was a warmup issue. I got over the rest of the little hills OK and started feeling better. On the ride to hanging rock I had a few nice conversations with people I've never met, chatted with a few guys from the team and even did a pull on the front, earning my place in the group. After the pull I faded to the back than struggled a little getting back on but recovered nicely. I moved back up through the pack until I was about six back, getting ready to do another pull when we started hitting some hillier sections. One hill after another. No breaks. On the climbs I would drop back but wasn't too worried. I've been training. I just got into my rhythm and climbed at my own pace. Sure I ended at the back but I was pretty satisfied with how I was doing. But they did seem to be going pretty fast......

Then things started to unravel. I was near the back when we hit another hill and I was spit out the back pretty convincingly. Still climbed as best I could. No panic. I had seen earlier where my mass gave me a bit of an advantage on the downhill so I was able to scurry back on. Another hill, off the back. Harder to get on this time. And another, huffing, puffing, focussed but not pulling it back. Had my first real doubts and even thought about bailing.

Up ahead riders began pulling off. Hooray! A pee break! I got back on and now was determined to avoid getting dropped so I engaged in what I heroically call Hushovd climbing (but the rest of the group call SAG climbing). Got off the front on the downhill and have everyone pass me on the way back up. It wasn't pretty but it was effective. I'm pretty tired but feeling OK as we pull in for the first store stop, about 50K into the ride. I downed a few creme filled oatmeal cookies and a gel. About now the group starts to figure out the rest of the ride. We were approaching Hanging Rock. The first "real" climb. It was here that my heart started to sink and serious doubts about the day crept into my mind.

Some were not interested in the climbs so there would be a group that just carried on, the other group that was going to do all 3. My problem was that it was the strong group that wanted to do all three and I was certain I would be dropped and not have a group to fall back to if I attempted Hanging Rock. Plus, I was told the approach to and after Hanging Rock were pretty severe and I was certain I could not Hushovd my way through all of them.

So, I gave up on the idea of doing at least one climb. Time to drop to goal 2 or maybe even 3 or 4. We headed out and as we hit the first hill I hadn't had a chance to get off the front and I dropped off. Then the first of several mishaps. One of my water bottles fell out of my jersey. I had to stop half way up a hill to pick it up. Now, I'm off the back and don't even see the group any more. The SAG pulls up and the thought to bail rears it's ugly head again. Nope, I decided I would just carry on and get ahead of the climbing group and they would joinup with me further down the road. The SAG handed me some cue sheets and continued to follow me. I'm now alone on a road I've never ridden with my own personal SAG.

I came to an intersection that I think is the start of the official hanging rock climb and carry on. On my way downhill, hoping to catch sight of the first group, my Garmin goes flying off! Fuck! More time wasted. It took me and Jenna (you were awesome Sunday BTW, thanks to both you and Megan) from the SAG wagon ~ 5 minutes to find it and get back on the road.

I'm cruising away, having a good time, riding within myself, anticipating the climbing group catching up and getting back into the group. SAG pulled up and said they are going to scout ahead and see how far up the first group was. Cool, I'm fine and off they went. Several minutes later they came back and esstentially put the nail in my coffin. I had made a wrong turn. That intersection was not the climb start but the cut across to the way home. I was now in the middle of nowhere, had no chance of catching on to any group, 56K from home, still reeling from having been spit out the back because of a stupid water bottle and a dropped cyclometer and feeling crappy. It was too much, I bagged and got into the SAG, thereby dropping rapidly from goal 2,3 or 4 to goal 6 and beyond. Epic fail.

To make it a pefect epic fail though required an added bonus. As the SAG, now well behind all groups due to my wrong turn and delays, attempted to catchup to either group, we followed the cue sheet ... which had errors!!! It said to turn right when we should have turned left. That took a while to figure out, wasting more time. Another cue sheet error and another. Each time putting us further and further behind (or was it ahead?). We ended up ahead of all the groups without passing anyone. Bloody perfect end to a perfect day. Yup. Perfect Epic Fail.

Clearly I was not as prepared as I thought. Sure I had ridden 40, 50 and 60 K rides in the last three days so my legs weren't the freshest. And I was off the bike a fair bit in the week and a half since the orginally scheduled ride but even if those things were not true I don't think I would have been able to get beyond Suck. The group went a lot faster than I expected and the roads were a lot hillier than I was prepared for. All in all,  pretty crappy day.

Distance: 56.49 km
Speed: 26.78 kmh
Cadence: 82 rpm
AVG HR: 157 bpm
Weight: 201.2 lbs

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I think I'm ready for tomorrow

Just finished the longest ride so far this year. What I'm calling the Full Reedy-Creek Loop.  I wanted to just go on a longer ride without really pushing or LT, Climbing or TT work. Just ride, enjoy and check my endurance. I kept a nice steady cadence and keep the HR under control, typically ~80%. I went higher a couple of times for fun going over a hill but nothing sustained or impressive. The mental set I had was that I figured if I kept pedalling for most of this ride I should be fine on tomorrow's 120+ km ride. I'm anticipating the speed being a little slower than this ride and being in a group should result in less constant pedalling. I'm feeling confident about tomorrow.

I have to say, I was also surprised at my average speed. I was not thinking about speed at all today. It was about steadiness. So having this speed is pretty satisfying for this time of the year.

On a secondary note, I noticed on my cycling log (where I record the full data/details of these rides) that in Feb. I rode 406.01 km in 18:02h. So far this month, I've done 401.61 km in 15:27:34h. That quite a few hours less. Sweet.

Distance: 61.82 km
Speed: 27.89 kmh
Cadence: 82 rpm
AVG HR: 157 bpm
Weight: 202.4 lbs

Friday, March 18, 2011

Exactly the same, but different

Another mixed training day. Did some climbing out of the saddle intervals and a TT interval but both types were different than yesterday.

On the climbing I did not go as long but I did get into the 94+% range sooner and stayed there longer. Also did fewer on them.

During the TT interval, I focused on my positioning while keeping my effort steady and less on going fast aspect. Did a kind of ladder where I spent 2.5 min in a road bike TT position (sort of a forearms on the tops of the bars as the hands wrap around the horns of the brake hoods idea), 2.5 min recovery, 2 min TT position, 2 min recovery, 1.5 min TT position, 1.5 RI, 1 min TT, 1 min RI, then 30 sec TT. The triceps are surprisingly sore after that. Also used my forearms to push the bike around on the climbs so the upper body got a bit of a workout today as well.

Tomorrow I'll put in a straight endurance ride to get some miles in before the group ride Sunday that was delayed due to weather 2 weeks ago.

Distance: 50.04 km
Speed: 27.44 kmh
Cadence: ?? rpm lost the cadence magnet. Will replace it for next ride
AVG HR: 164 bpm
Weight: 202.2 lbs

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Slowly figuring out how to follow a training plan when my local road topography does not suit what the workout calls for as I transition from training indoors to getting back on the road. Warmed up for 10K then climbed from the river to Hampton Road out of the saddle the whole time in about 6 minutes. Starting to feel the climbing vibe. Got into a steady pedaling and breathing rhythmn and it felt quite comfortable. Took a brief 2 minute RI then into the drops for a high 80, low 90% MHR TT effort on the flats.

The climb, RI and TT effort combined together for 10K, which came in just over 19 minutes. Had a little recovery then when I hit the next hill, got out of the saddle for the whole thing again. Even on the flatter or slight down hill sections. It was about here that I started to see how I could follow my training plan by slightly modifying what the book called for to fit the roads I ride. I figure that I could get my climbing training in by getting out of the saddle whenever there was a hill. Get on a hill, get out of the saddle in the big ring, recover on the downhill then back out of the saddle. I may not have a 10 minute climb close by but I do have several 3+ minute climbs and several other 2+ minute climbs with very little RI in between.

I think I had several instances when I was "Dancing on the pedals" too. :) Felt pretty good about the 28+ kmh average speed today as well.

Distance: 42.02 km
Speed: 28.75 kmh
Cadence: 74 rpm
AVG HR: 160 bpm
Weight: 203.0 lbs

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

100K in two days

Went for another 50K Sunday. Decided to put in a more steady effort and it went well. A bit more endurance pace today. Less slowing down and speeding up. Had a good leg feel and good climbing rhythm.

Distance: 50.04 km
Speed: 26.98 kmh
Cadence: 82 rpm
AVG HR: 164 bpm
Weight: 203 lbs

Monday, March 14, 2011

In the immortal words of someone I once read

I read somewhere that the most important way to improve how well you do on a bike is ride with a purpose, make a plan and stick with that plan. The next most important way to improve it to be willing to change that plan as circumstances and your body dictate. Well, that's what I did last week. My body said stop, relax and go no where. I was, it appears, a little burned out so I missed a week of riding. Wanted to just get on the bike and enjoy the ride (which is a legit purpose btw). Monday I will adjust the training schedule, step back a week or so and start building again but this weekend I just wanted to ride. I went as hard or as easy as I felt like going. Did a few efforts but nothing sustained. Little rough at the start but seemed pretty comfortable sustaining a mid 80 cadence. Same for Sunday I think. FIrst 50K (Reedy Creek Loop) ride of the year so that's something.

Distance: 50.03 km
Speed: 27.31 kmh
Cadence: 84 rpm
AVG HR: 162 bpm
Weight: 204.4 lbs

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Repeats. I repeat, repeats.

Tried my first repeats today. The training session called for a steady grade that would take 6 minutes to complete. I found a section on Cooper road that started at the river and went up fairly steadily. Nothing too steep and only one real decrease in elevation (and that was not for very long so I was able to push a bigger gear to keep the effort constant without too much difficulty).

I wasn't sure the section would be suitable. So, as a backup, I planned to just do my best on the 30K Centanary Church Loop. Fortunately I did not quite finish the climb in 6 minutes. So as I improve I can continue to use this section until I find something even better or steeper as the season progresses.

The intervals themselves were tough but a whole lot better than Tuesday's effort. I ramped up the HR over the first minute until I got to 91-95% and had a cadence in the 80-95 rpm range.  I was able to hold that effort withour the legs filling with LA. Finished the ascent and returned to the bottom with a brief slowing of cadence to catch my breath then an easy 100-110 cadence to clear the legs. Second time up it took a little longer to get to the desired HR. It was like I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do all three and was holding back or something. But, I gritted my teeth and forced myself to a faster cadence to get into the range. It looks like on this grade, getting into a faster cadence keeps my legs alive and pushes my HR up. Good to know.

On the final interval, my legs were getting tired and it was even more difficult getting my HR up. It took almost 2 minutes before I got there. I was able to get over by a bit of luck in that the stretch of road just edged up a little bit more, such that I could hold the cadence and push harder.

These intervals were very satisfying. While my HR was in the zone my breathing was heavy but regular, unlike when I was trying to do this on the flats in a heavy gear. I did not feel like my legs were going to drop off or that I would pass out from a lack of oxygen. So, the big revelation for the day is the effort of 91% MHR is different from 91% MHR on the flats. Oh, and that apples are different from oranges.

Distance: 39.22 km
Speed: 25.94 kmh
Cadence: 84 rpm
AVG HR: 154 bpm
Weight: 200 lbs

Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Letter Day

Did an endurance ride to finish off a hard but rewarding week

What a day yesterday!

1. Had my weight drop below clydesdale class for the first time in over 3 years.

2. Got permission from the wife to ride on a training ride with Winston-Salem's newest US Pro cycling team: Team Mountain Khakis.  Me and, it appears, 16+ others will ride with the team on a long (no drop) training ride and possibly get in some categorized climbing this Sunday.

3. Did an endurance ride to finish off a hard but rewarding week

Rode Centenary Church loop for the endurance ride to finish the training week. A well deserved rest day Friday. My legs were sore but less than last night so I'm taking that as a good sign. Workout called for 45 minutes between 74 and 81% MHR. Did that pretty well, typically just popping over at the crests of hills and under at the bottoms. Did better at keeping cadence in the 90+ range as well. However, my rhythm seems a little off the last few days. The smoothness that I was developing in the first mesocycle seems rocky. I'm hoping the recovery week plus the really hard efforts I put in this week are making my quads much stronger than the hamstrings. I'll watch this and see if it starts to smooth out next week. 

I was super stoked the entire day. I bounced around like some sort of giddy school girl. Maybe it as because I saw my toes for the first time in a long time :).

Distance: 32.1 km
Speed: 24.88 kmh
Cadence: 85 rpm
AVG HR: 149 bpm
Weight: 199.6 lbs

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The end of 2011 turbonights

Last night of Wednesday night turbo sessions @ MOB. Perfect attendance and I achieved noticeable improvement on two counts. First, I was better than last year in that I was actually able to complete all elements, in some form, of each session this year. Even as the sessions got more difficult I was able to keep up. Second, specific skills I will need in July are coming around. For example, I'm now capable of standing out of the saddle for 5 minute stretches and pushing through some psychological barriers that kept me from moving to a new stage of improvement. Yeah me.

The last night had a ladder of TT's. 3, 2, 1, 2, 3 minute TT efforts. Did 53-17 on the way down and 53-19/21 on the way backup. Also did a 5 minute standing ladder with 15 second sprints every minute. My quads were screaming for mercy after the efforts Sunday and yesterday but I did it. It wasn't pretty and won't say my form was very nice but I did do it. Next,  a 5 minute sitting ladder starting @ 100 rpm down to 80 and backup with 10 second sprints every 50 seconds. Did not do this in the big ring and I think it saved my ass. 2 minute ILTs on each leg with no RI and finished off with a spinup. Rocked it on the last 15 seconds to honor the coach. Yeah Mock Orange Bikes! You gave me a great start to the season.

Distance: 23.43 km
Speed: 20.54 kmh
Cadence: 78 rpm
AVG HR: 157 bpm
Weight: 201.8 lbs

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lessons the road has taught me

First legit hill training day. Did all 3x10 intervals. 8 min @ 91-94% MHR and then all out for 2 minutes @ 95+%. Didn't quite do it perfectly but at least I gave it my all (I'll post the link after the Garmin site is back from maintainence).

Couple of observations for next time:

The first interval had actual hills so it was tough in the sense that getting into that range it taxing but not the effort itself.

The second interval started on the flats so I tried to ramp my HR up over the course of ~1 minute by pushing a bigger gear and lowering the cadence. That just lead to LA build up and sapped my ability to push my HR higher. I did get into the range but my breathing was really laboured. It was quite uncomfortable. Next time I to these workouts I'll try easier gearing with higher cadences to push the HR and make it more of an aerobic effort rather than anerobic. However, there were moments, once I got up to a faster cadence, when I got into a zone where the breathing was hard but regular and seemed sustainable. I'll try to find that zone again next time.

On the last interval I had the will to get over 95% but not the ability (probably from trying to turn over too large of a gear earlier). As much as I tried I could not get my HR above 94% on the all out 2 minute segment. The fact that I wanted to get higher also gave me confidence that I can do these efforts. I just need to get the feel for it. Doing these intervals on the road are really different than doing them on the trainer (Duh..) and I'll have to make adjustments as I move toward more outdoor riding with the coming of spring.

Not a perfect day but I did it and I see places where I can improve as well as how I might get there. Cautiously optimistic that I will get better as this type of effort.

Distance: 43.34 km
Speed:  26.97 kmh
Cadence: 79 rpm
AVG HR: 163 bpm
Weight: 203.0 lbs

Sunday, February 27, 2011

10 K baseline TT

Beautiful day for a 10K TT. Warmed up for ~13.5 K (the distance from home to the start). I feel really good about my TT effort (see the data by following the link. The TT is 13.2K to 23.2K. It's fairly obvious if you look for a sudden drop in speed then up to 38 kph). I did not start out too hot. I slowly ramped up to 88-90% and held it quite well. On the flats I was averaging 38 kph (except for 1K around 3K into the TT). It started to get really hard around the last 2.5 K, when I had the descent to the river then all uphill to the end. But even that I think I did well. I hit the hill @ ~93% and went all out, bringing the HR up to 98% just as I hit the top.

I'm pretty pleased with the route itself as well. Mostly flat to slight down hill until the last 2K when I'm likely to be tired and I have to climb one last hill and drive home to the line.

If there was one area for improvement it was the finish. I almost ran out of gas as I got over the top and then the Garmin started beeping to indicate the approach of 10K. I had never used the "ride until a certain distance is covered" feature before and I got confused.  I eased up too early before I realised my mistake and hit it for the last 10m or so.

Over all, a good baseline of 34 kph for 10K

The rest of the ride was just cruising home and getting some practice climbing the hills out of the saddle. Noticed some weaknesses that I will start to work on this mesocycle.

Distance: 43.07 km
Speed: 27.76 kmh
Cadence: 62 rpm
AVG HR: 164 bpm
Weight: 205 lbs

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not quite what I planned

Well that was quite the recovery week. Scheduled 3 rides and missed all of them due to having to take the bike in for maintainence, the MOB turbo night being cancelled and having to take the bike back in for maintainence (right shifter finally needs replacing so I'm upgrading from Mirage components to the new Veloce's. Ah well, if it had to happen, this was the week.

First day of the next mesocyle started today. It called for 3x10 minutes on a steady uphill @ 91-95% Max Hr @ 80-95rpm.

For the first day back I maybe took on too much. I wanted to recon the TT route while doing the workout. Unfortunately, I watched the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this morning and was rushing to put together the workout for this afternoon. I slammed the workout together too quickly and forgot to make it road friendly. It kept making annoying beeps which lead me, for the first 15 minutes before I realized what I was doing, to keep shifting to try and keep the rpm's and HR's in range. It made the whole thing very ragged and clunky and contributed to my decision to only do 2 of the intervals.

The intervals themselves were very revealing. I started the first one way too heavy. I went from 68% to 90% in less than a minute and it really hurt. My legs burned and had no strength, I lacked rhythm and my breathing was heavy, and laboured. An unpleasant experience all 'round. The warmup + the 10 minute interval got me from the start of the TT to the turn around point of the out and back course.

Turning around I did the 5 minute RI and started the second inteval almost at the low point and heading up. A great place to start. This time I ramped up the HR over 2.5 minutes and had a much better time. I was breathing hard but I was smoother and felt like I could hold the effort. Had a little hesitation @ the 7 minute mark but the pain was nothing I haven't felt before and just rode through it. Finished at the TT start location. Soft pedaled for 5 minutes up the road a bit to cool down and decided to forgo the 3rd 10 minute interval and call it a successful first day back in the saddle.

Tomorrow I do a planned TT test so will try to get into a smoother rhythm.

Distance: 16.39 km
Speed: 28.07 kmh
Cadence: 84 rpm
AVG HR: 164 bpm
Weight: 206 lbs

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Recovery rides the way they were meant to be

Recovery Week.

The joys of getting on a bike and not really having a specific goal were experienced Saturday. The schedule called for easy 15 minutes in the 72-81% range day. So instead of following the letter of the law I followed the spirit and went for a quick easy spin around salem lake with Eric. Nothing strenuous, just relaxed. I hit the last hill with a medium effort just to feel like I accomplished something.

Distance: 21.02 km
Speed: 19.35 kmh
Cadence: 80 rpm
AVG HR:  129 bpm
Weight: 204.4lbs

Friday, February 18, 2011

Toto?! Where are you Toto?!

Finally got on the road Thursday. The weather has been fantastic all week but this was the first time I was able to get out on the road. Thursday's workout call for a 45 minute endurance ride @ 72-81% max HR so I warmed up 20 minutes until I got to the base of the first real hill and hit start. I popped over 81% a few times but not by much and usually near the top of a hill. Things settled down once I got onto the flats with one exception. The wind. It was breezy when I started but it really picked up while I was out. Flags went horizontal. I was buffeted occassionally but the trees and hills mostly sheltered me until I got to the flats. I came around this one corner and was hit by a wall 'o' wind so strong I almost stopped dead. It roared around me so loudly I could not hear the crazy laugh that burped from my mouth. My spped dropped to almost nothing and I had to shift to the easiest gear just to keep upright. Crazy funny experience. As I rode and changed direction, getting pushed all over the road, I was reminded of my ride on the outer banks last fall. That was easy compared to this. I kept wishing I was in an echelon to see how that worked. Fun times though.

On a performance note. I rode the 40K loop rather than the 30K loop yesterday because I wanted to check out a how elements of the workout would sync up with the different features of the loop. But more importantly, I wanted to finish the workout before I climbed Fraternity Church hill. The last "big" hill before I get home. I really wanted to open it up and see if I could detect any improvements from the training.

WOW! Did I ever! I climbed the thing standing up, in 53-15 and never got over 92%. I felt like I was flying over this thing, all the while wondering why I thought this was a difficult hill. I had a look back at other rides were I felt I did well (personal bests etc.) and did some comparisons. At my peak fitness last summer I rode a 50K loop and and did the hill in 3:15. I did it yesterday in 3 flat! Well, maybe I was more fatigued due to the the extra 10K. So I compared my best time on the 20K loop from late October. That was 4:31. I check it against my personal best time on the 30K loop from August, 3:40. I checked it against the personal best time on the exact same route of 40K, 3:59. Any way I looked at it, this was great time up this hill. Freaking Awesome!

This was a great end to a really tough training week. Looking forward to my first active recovery week, starting Saturday.

Distance: 42.02 km
Speed: 27.21 kmh
Cadence: 87 rpm
AVG HR: 153 bpm
Weight: 202.8 lbs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Embrace the Pain

Wednesday I embraced the pain. The last few session have been hard and my motivation has been flagging andWednesday was shapping up to the toughest yet. My legs were dead and sore and I was expecting the the workout to be even harder than last week. But, I decided I was going to embrace the pain. As tired as I was, I was not going to let it rule this session. I was going to push hard and break through the pain. I was going to take a Jens Voigt attitude and tell my legs to "Shut Up!". On my way to Mock I cranked Overseer, psyching myself up by listening to the heavy big beats (and frankly getting my face into a good grimace of pain for practice) before the session. As much pain as I was going to experience, it was not going to break me. I was going to embrace it. I was going to revel in it. I was going to crush my pain. AARRGGHHH! 

The boys at Mock did not dissapoint. 4x 2 min overgeared TT @80 rpm, followed by 2x 4min TT@ 90rpm, followed by 5 minutes standing (starting in 53-13, sprinting 10 sec each minute then shifting to a harder gear then backup to 53-13), followed by 5 minutes sitting overgeared (sprintiing 15 seconds every minute) and finishing with 2min ILTs  on each leg.

Joe told us to really hit the second 4 minute interval hard as that was the one that would pay off the most. So I gave it. Focused on two of my goals this year, visualising myself TTing @ 34 kph and/or climbing up and over that cat 2 mountain. I really left nothing on the table and felt good about it. Then he said, "The next interval is really hard too...". I hung my head, dug in and gave it my best shot as well. The climbing out of the saddle was not agonizing but the sprint was, shall I say, lacklustre. But I did give whatever I had and that was an important accomplisnment for this night of embracing the pain.

Oddly, this mantra worked. I'm feeling really good about the workout and I think I learned something new about my abilities tonight. For instance, the climbing out of the saddle interval was actually tolerable and not nearly as dfficult as it was the first time I did it this year. Hmmmmmm.

Distance: 19.62 km
Speed: 17.56 kmh
Cadence: 74 rpm
AVG HR: 160 bpm
Weight: 203 lbs [and dropping :) ]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bit of a rough patch

Going through a bit of a rough motivation patch right now. It was very tough to convince myself I should to Tuesday's session. I'm feeling tired, and a little mentally drained. Tuesday called for another tough 2x15 minutes intervals at high rpms at LT. I did the session though and now I'm glad I did. Afterwards I was reading my workout guide and it said to expect this at about this time. Next week is recovery week. This weeks sessions are a peak week of a mesocycle on top of a peak workout from the microcycle. I should be feeling all this if I'm doing my training correctly. So..... yeah???

Did 90rpm in 53-21 for the first 15 minute interval. It was difficult at first but eased as I got into the rhythm. Things got rough during minutes 10-13 but the final 2 minutes were sufferable since I had the RI coming. The second 15 minute interval was done in 53-23 @ 85-87rpm. Went over the 90% max HR once but eased off the cadence and everything was fine.

I really had to focus on my rhythm to get me through the second set. When I relaxed and pushed with the legs rather than the lowerback it seemed easier. Which is what I needed. This 15 minutes lasted forever! My legs ached, and my breathing ragged but I still got into a smooth cadence every now and then, which kept me going.

Tough day physically and mentally. Glad I did it rather than skip today like I wanted.

Distance: 22.80 km
Speed: 23.8 kph
Cadence: 86 rpm
Average HR: 163 bpm
Weight: 204.6 lbs