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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bit of a cockup

Bit of a cockup Sunday.

The weather was mid to high 50s so I planned on doing a road ride. Had a crazy busy morning and my body screamed Nap!  So, I did the workout indoors. But, I incorrectly entered it into the Garmin. The workout called for 2x 10 min intervals with 5 min RI. During the interval, I was supposed to alternate 2 minutes @ 60rpm then 2 min @ 100rpm. But what I actually entered  was (2 min@ 60 rpm then 2 min @ 100rpm) x 5, RI, repeat.

Luckily I realized after I had repeated the 100rpm for the 3rd time that something was note right (maybe it was the agony). Decided to lapout of the 5 min rest interval and the second 20 minute interval and get straight to the cool down.

In the end, I did the 20 minutes of alternating 60/100 every 2 minutes, just all in one go rather than split into two. Phew.

Distance: 17.56 km
Speed: 24.01 kmh
Cadence: 82 rpm
AVG HR: 162 bpm
Weight: 204.8 lbs

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some promising early observations

Good solid effort on the road Saturday. During the 2x 15 min intervals. I got about 7K in on each 15 min effort using the sections of the route with the most climbing. Of the 385 meters of climbing, ~220 was done during the intervals.

I had difficulty maintaining the cadence zone given the terrain and bike handling was sketchy with my constant shifting. I'm thinking it might be better to find gearing that approximates the desired cadence for the route profile and go with that rather than struggling to maintain a particular cadence. As long as I keep the HR in the right zone I should still be accomplising the desired task.

The other cool thing about the ride was that I did this route at a pace that I had not reached until the end of June last year. The average speed included the intervals, the ~20 minutes of gentle warmup riding and ~20 minutes of easy easy gear cool down. I'm really interested in how I'll do when I get to give it full gas.

Lastly, some notices for charity, and other event, rides are starting to roll in to the LBS. I think I'll check/adjust my training schedule to achieve one of my peaks sometime during the 6 week TT series being put on by MOB this year. A TT should be good personal best type competition in a context of a realistic race event (i.e., fans cheering, crossing a line, cow bells etc.) that should be a fun introduction to bike racing without making myself feel bad.

Distance: 32.23 km

Speed: 26.51 kmh

Cadence: 87 rpm

AVG HR: 160 bpm

Weight: 205.6 lbs

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Please. Save yourself! I'm done for.

Tough endurance ride after a tough Mock night Wednesday. About 15 minutes in I got a little light headed and I knew it was going to be hard from that moment on. Bore down, gritted my teeth and suffered through it. Did the 45 minute ride in 39-19, 90-95rpm, 78-80 %max HR.

My legs are weak. My hamstrings are very tight and sore. My quads are thinking of leaving me. Mentally, I'm loving this. Physically, I'm a litle tired. Thankfully Friday is a rest day!!

Distance: 24.84 km

Speed: 22.93 kmh

Cadence: 92 rpm

AVG HR: 151 bpm

Weight: 205.6 lbs


Sorry for the delayed posting. This was a brutal week on many fronts but I survived to make another post.

Another typically brutal mob turbo workout on Wednesday. Getting better at judging the gear to effort required on the TT duration and rpm calls. Did better on the sit/stand interval in terms of recovering from standing and the ILT's were done @ a higher gear for the first time.

The workout had a new element tonight. Five 1 minute intervals of 45" at a given rpm then a 15" sprint. Tough. My cadence fell below the suggested rpm after each sprint but was able to recover to the rpm by the time I got to the next sprint.

OW! I was exhausted at the end of this nasty little event. Everyweek I curse the guys @ Mock for their brutality. Then I experience some improvement and I praise them. Then I come back for more. I'm pretty sure this is some type of pathology. I'm just not sure what type.

Distance: 25.22 km

Speed: 22.31 kmh

Cadence: 79 rpm

AVG HR: 165 bpm

Weight: 204 lbs

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Problems, Propitiousness, and a Push

Tough 2x 15min @ 55-60 rpm intervals today. It didn't help that I pressed the wrong button on my garmin and blew workout. It happened right at the start of the first 15 min interval so that one ended up being a few minutes longer.I had to cycle through, restart and get to about the same spot again.

Well, this was a chance to test out something I thought about yesterday on changing how I planned my workoutouts on the road. I needed to figure out if the data from the first part plus what I was doing while I got things setup again plus starting in the middle of a second attempt would all be recorded in a single session. Good news. It worked fine.

In the future I think I'll also modify the road workouts by requiring my to tap the lap button to start the segment rather than having it atart automatically. That should give me a little more control over when and where I do things.
On the plus side I did the first 15 minute interval in 53-15, which I think is a first. I was really focussed on keeping the upper body still and relaxed. The legs did not like that one bit. I also noticed that when I started to tense up the HR started to creep up but when I relaxed and got a smooth cadence going again it dropped back a bit (~2%). The rest interval was done @ 100 rpm and my HR above 80%. On the second interval I didn't think the legs would let me do the same gearing so I backed off one and did it in 53-17. I could feel my form slipping at the 5 minute mark but could not get my legs to smooth out my stroke. I actually think that is a good thing since I feel I was really pushing my LT effort and while I was able to complete the interval, it was not pretty. But, it was the longest one I've ever done (and consciously tracked). The form will come as I get more accustomed to the longer efforts.

Distance: 20.35 km

Speed: 20.67 kmh

Cadence: 76 rpm

AVG HR: 161 bpm

Weight: 205.6 lbs

Monday, February 7, 2011

A day I shall call "awesome"

There are so many things to log in today's ride I don't know where to start. First, on the purely performance side of things, I finally broke the curse of February. As of today I've ridden further than I did the previous 2 Febs. combined (0 km in 2009, and 98 km in 2010). It's only Feb. 7th and I'm still motivated.

Second, I almost equalled my best time for this loop even though I did it in reverse and spend a good 2 minutes doing little slow circles idling at the bottom of a hill waiting for my interval on the garmin to begin @ the 10 minute mark. If I had gone straight at the course I'm sure I would have crushed the time.

Third, I did this loop in reverse in the hopes that the first "big" hill would last the required 10 minutes. It did not. I actually had a hard time keeping the cadence low enough while getting the HR into the desired zone on the "big hill' . This hill that used to scare me so much I started going the opposite way to avoid going up so early is now a pimple. Holy cow! This training stuff really works!!!I was not winded at the top. I was not dying. I actually was a little pissed it wasn't long enough and had to get into harder gears as I screamed over the flat to the next short hill.


One the learning how to train on the road side of the ledger, given the local terrain around here I'm going to have to adjust how I plan my workouts on the road. It just does not easily lend itself to RI's of long high cadences and the hills are too short for any sustained effort longer than 4-5 minutes (at least the first 2 hills going in either direction, maybe further out I'll find some). I'm having to elevate my cadence on the descents to keep my HR in the desired zone. I'm going to have to do a little testing with the garmin to see if I can find a solution that works a little better. Forceably spinning high cadences on ascents with I should be on a rest interval and bringing the HR down strained my right knee a little today I think (heat pack here I come).

I'm tickled with today's ride though! Felt very fast and it was over too soon.

Distance: 19.02 km

Speed:  26.26 kmh

Cadence:  76 rpm

AVG HR:  165 bpm

Weight:  207 lbs

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mixing it up to keep it fresh

Another slight modification from the F7(x4) workout. To get more practice climbing out of the saddle then sitting and continuing a hard effort, I modified where the standing element occurs in the interval. Now, each 4 minute interval starts with 2 minutes sitting @65-75rpm,  53-17, 1 minute standing in 53-14, followed by 1 minute sitting in 53-15 then the 2 minute RI.  Repeating this 4 times.

It went faster than I realized.  As I was getting through what I thought was the third interval I was thinking that the next one is going to be really really tough... then I looked down and it was cool down time.

I went above 90% HR for the last 2 intervals during the standing phase but only by 1-2%. I was trying to start the standing part @ about 86% max HR since the data shows that my HR increases 4% each minute while standing (surprisingly consistently) but later interval I started @ 88%. Very happy with this workout. Had to push the burn out of my mind and keep it out while keeping the cadence smooth and pedal in circles when it got harder in the second minute of the interval and keep the breathing under control, juggling these three elements relatively successfully for the first time.

Distance: 17.09 km

Speed:  23.85 kmh

Cadence:  78 rpm

AVG HR:  150 bpm

Weight:  209.4 lbs - don't believe it. I forgot to do this at my regular time and it was therefore under non standardized conditons.

February Weight Goal: 205 lbs

Saturday, February 5, 2011


A fairly nondescript day on Thursday.

A 30 min endurance session with max HR @ 80%. Gearing 39-19, cadence 90. A little smaller gearing than laast time I did this session but last time I did not have the MOB workout the day before.

While riding, I was ruminating on Wednesday's workout. I'm either going a little too easy or it's time to up the gearing difficulty. My HR was under control. When I was spinning out @ 135 rpm the HR was 96%. That makes sense. When I was doing the TT interval, the HR settled in @ 93%. That makes sense. Each of these efforts were doable but were also capped by my desire to keep the burn in my legs to a minimum.

I've experienced a lot of the good burn lately and I'm realizing that I can handle it for longer than I though I could. For example, on the TT interval the burn plateaued @ the 2 minute mark but I was able to sustain and even raise the cadence on the last minute with no increase in HR or discomfort.

I think I'll start paying more attention to this in the future and play around with it.

Distance: 19.07 km

Speed:  22.88 kmh

Cadence:  93 rpm

AVG HR:  153 bpm

Weight:  203.6 lbs

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I've exceeded my jnd

Noticable improvement over last week's MOB workout. I'm getting dialed in to where my efforts and gearing should be to accomplish each element and still get through the entire workout. I was tired at the end but not completely exhausted. There were some elements I will increase the difficulty on next time, others went more smoothly, and some were still difficult but noticeabely improved.

I was successful on the 5x30sec increase, 5x30sec decrease progressions. Last week I went through the progressions but was not able to hold the rpm. This week I started in 39-25 and kept the 100rpm throughout. Next week I'll maybe try starting on 39-23 or 39-21.

The scary monster that is the 10min sitting/standing progression intervals went better as well. First, I found the right gearing (in terms of being able follow the instructions of down 2, up 1) by starting in 53-21. The other improvment  was my ability able to hold the starting sitting 85 rpm goal and the standing cadence goal (my form is definitely improving, had good form for the first 2 standing intervals - very little weight on the handlebars and smooth(er) cadence without blowing my HR through the roof). Then things got rough. I could shift down 2 and stand for the minute as the gearing got harder, but the sitting and shifting up one was killing me. The workout called for 75-80 rpm and I was doing 40-50.

I kept grinding it out, focusing on the completing the progression rather than worrying about cadence, that will come. As we came out of the hole for the last 2 minutes (up 2, then up 1) I was able to dig deep and finished the final minute at the suggested 75 rpm. So I completed successfully, and started and finished in the right cadence. Now to start working on the recovery from standing elements and get those sitting cadences up.

Finally, ILT's were better this week. quite smooth and consistent and mostly held the 50 rpm. I'll try to bring it closer to the mid 50's next time then try increasing from 39-25 to 39-23.

Distance: 24.43 km

Speed:  20.66 kmh

Cadence:  79 rpm

AVG HR:  164 bpm

Weight:  205.0 lbs

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You don't frighten me english pig dog!

Decided to make my first substitution today. The workout recommended by the primary book I'm using called for 20 minutes @ LT but I decided I would get just as much bang for my buck, it not more, by doing 4x5min with 2 min RI's. While not a sustained 20 minutes, what I liked about this was the information I could gleen from repeatedly starting below 80% and finishing around 93%. I could find the right gearing that allow me to do this (53-17 it appears) and pay attention to how I was feeling each time I started getting toward the top end of the range.

But, another/real reason I wanted to do the 4x5's is because I suck at pedaling out of the saddle. Back in the summer I would get out of the saddle for what seemed like a minute, but was actually 15-20 seconds, at a time before it felt like my legs were going to drop off and my lungs explode. I started to do something about that late last year in anticipation of the hell that was to be MOB Wednesday night workouts. I was right about the hell that is MOB and the earlier work did help. I was able to stand for longer but it still hurt like hell. I knew I needed more work. The MOB nights are getting more difficult and I do not want to be left behind.

The 4x5's had me sitting for 4 minutes then shift to one gear harder and stand for 1 minute. It went really well. I actually felt ok standing. The first two times I was able to have very little weight on the handlebars. The next two were not as good but I certainly was not leaning on them for absolute and utter support like I was two weeks ago. Sure it was just 1 minute at a time but I can easily use this to build on. Standing and climbing is not as frightening as it used to be. Bring on the 'morrow MOB! You don't frighten me english pig dog! Go and boil your ...... you know the rest.

Distance: 17.05 km

Speed:  21.77 kmh

Cadence:  77 rpm

AVG HR:  159 bpm

Weight:  205.6 lbs