Monday, February 01, 2010

Gam Jams CT Throwdown Preparation

Do we have a course profile for the GamJams Computrainer TT Throwdown? Should be a fun time! Post a link if you have one. Sign up if you are not signed up yet!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Engaged & Training Camp

Laura and I are engaged! We're pumped probably looking at a Fall 2010 wedding. Both of our families are excited. Unfortunately, we are not spending Christmas together. Laura is on the train back to Wrightstown PA, and I'm already in San Diego. I brought my bike out here, so I'm having a little mini training camp.

Not sure if I can really call it training camp, since it is just a Christmas Break, but I'm out in San Diego for around 10 days. Its really nice to get away from the horribly cold temps of the mid-Atlantic and to ride in shorts and a jersey. I swear, that factor alone adds 30 watts.

The last month has been spotty with training. When I have been able to ride, I've ridden hard, so I still am pretty fit. This camp is mostly to work on my base. The key measure of base for me right now is the amount of time I've spent at over 300 watts in the last 28 days. That number plummetted to under 8 hours prior to day. I've got it back up to over 9 now, and I would love to see if I can get in the upper teens by the end of the camp.

Today was 75 minutes of tempo and a steady effort...VI of 1.01. The route was hilly, so it made it more difficult to keep the steady effort, but I was pleased with where my fitness is at this point. Uphill, downhill, steady watts.

I'm toying with doing some early season stage races. I'm looking really hard at the Tour of the Bahamas and the Valley of the Sun Stage Race. Both are time based GC, and I think I could get from 3--->2 at Bahamas, and Valley of the Sun would suit me very well in the TT for the Cat 2 race. Just sayin'...

Fitness is good right now, nutrition is pretty solid, and this training camp should help quite a bit to continue the focus into 2010.

2010 is going to be a great year. I'm getting married, so it doesn't get better than that. Work is looking pretty solid, as we laid a good foundation in 2009, and bike racing should go pretty well. Big focus on the bike will be working hard for the team, getting the 1 upgrade, and crushing the TT at Elite Nats.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Off Season

I'm sitting here in Tucson, and I'm bikeless. I wanted to bring my bike out here, but it was going to cost me $150 each way to take my bike and all of the associated essential items such as shoes, shorts, helmet, pump, etc. Compound that with the fact a bunch of relatives had their luggage lost, I decided to go with a carry-on bag and a laptop bag.

So this week is my off-season. Chuck gave me good advise a month ago: train through the fall/winter, and take forced rest as it comes. So my forced rest and off-season is a six day span in November.

The hardest part is that I am in Tucson. I'm looking out the window at the Catalina Mountain Range, where Mt. Lemmon is located. Its really hard to have the day off and to look at mountains while being bikeless. It is absolutely beautiful out here.

So Monday AM is the official start to the 2010 season. It will be fun!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Whoopie Cusion

Limited bike related content! Saturday was Halloween, and after limping home from the 7AM and 10AM rides I had to come up with a costume.

Laura and I headed out in search of Halloween costumes, and we ended up at Party City (I think thats what its called). It was a total madhouse. After inquiring about 5 different non-distinguishing costumes and being told they were all sold out, I decided to take a risk.

Me: Can you just give me an adult, male costume without a mask?

Employee: Uhhh...yeah (laughing) about this whoopie cushion costume.

So Saturday night I was a whoopie cushion. I blew up some balloons and put those inside the costume to ensure I appeared as an inflated whoopie cushion.

I would show a picture, but our friend Ann can't find her download cable. Its too bad, mostly because Laura looked quite cute as a corrections officer.

Imagine this photo, except with me, and with 10 balloons inside, AND with Laura next to me.

Exciting stuff!

I ate so much candy. I think I put on 3 pounds this past weekend!
PS--the 7 AM and 10 AM rides are fun.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Re-Evaluating "Base"

There are few things in cycling which people get more passionate about than how to perform base training. I've only been cycling for a little while, but I swam for 18 years before that. That background helped to form my opinion. In the fall--at the start of the season--we really put in lots of volume, and much of that volume was done at a tempo/threshold type of effort. We never showed up at the pool and cruised around at a HR of 110 BPM. might know where I am headed...

Why do so many people insist upon cruising around at absurdly slow speeds in order to establish their "base"? Doesn't this just de-train people and lead them towards becoming out of shape? What is the purpose? How does it develop tools which will be used on race day? What foundation is it establishing?

I believe "base training" in cycling has its origins in what some professional racers do for a period of time during the off-season. If you race 9 months per year, say 100-200 times, your body is going to need some time to just cruise along nice and easy before you get back into the swing of things. If you did the "Race to the Sun" and you also peaked for the UCI World Champs, then you probably raced something absurd like 10,000 km. You need to cruise around nice and easy for a while.

Since most of us are still looking to improve from one season to the next, it seems we should focus on continuing to make improvements/gains. That doesn't mean we need to kill ourselves with race intervals each workout, but it is imperative to still go at least moderately hard. I rode 100 miles once--just to say I did it--but I don't feel the need to do it again.

I think the real reason most people do these coffee rides in the winter is they are afraid to truly work on their base, their foundation. The foundation of our sport is our tempo and threshold fitness. 28 hour training weeks won't do it. Tons of threshold/tempo work will take your base fitness to the next level. Its amazing how well you can fine-tune a strong base fitness.

Want to be ready to crush it come spring? Work on your FTP. Many people don't do 2x20s, at least not regularly. They are essential, and they are hard if one is not used to performing them.

I built fitness this year with 2x20s. I love em. I need a mental break from structured 2x20s all the time; however, I still want to further fine tune my base for next year. Base training for me (at least on weekends) means 90-150 minute intervals at high tempo to low-threshold range in WKO+. 120 minutes at 300+ watts is certainly better in terms of base training than just cruising along at 200 for 4-5 hours. During the week, and on crummy weather days, its still 20s on the rollers or fun at Hains.

I guess being new to the sport means I don't accept the norm as gospel truth. Maybe I will fall apart on my bike at 2:01 into Jeff Cup, but I sure wouldn't want to try to get in the break after cuising around at 200 watts for miles on end with weight lifting holding me up.

What does base mean to you? If you lift weights in the fall/winter, how often do you perform 2x20:00? If you didn't lift, could you get an extra tempo workout in each week? What do you during your base?

Up next...quantifying your base/foundation...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

20K in 25:05

Closed out my season with a low-key 20K TT back in San Diego. I grew up out there, and it was great to see my parents. They haven't been able to see me compete in anything in quite some time, so I think they really had fun watching.

I won the Cat 1/2/3 race going away, which is great. I ended up officially in 25:10; however, my computer said 25:05, so that is what I'm going with. The starter got distracted prior to my countdown, and he sent me off late. It didn't matter though, and I certainly wasn't going to be "that guy" who disputes 5 irrelevant seconds.

I hit the taper perfectly. I felt really fresh; however, I almost ruined the whole thing in the first 5 minutes, when I came out of the gate way too hard. I ride with power, so I knew it was too much, but I really couldn't back off. First 5 minutes were 387 watts, the next 15 were only 350, then the final 5 were 368. Overall was 360 for 25:05. I think one of the best preparation training sessions for going out too hard in the TT was a Tuesday noon ride a few weeks ago with Chuck Hutch, thanks Chuck!

Position is really good right now, CDA is approximately .217, and that is without ever going to the tunnel. Although I do lose 25-30 watts from my road position. I need to work on flexibility, I think. I trained smart this year: 8 hours per week average for the last 6 months. Pete Cannell coached me last year, and I basically followed/executed his training methodology this season on my own, thanks Pete! He really knows his stuff.

If I didn't mess up the pacing, I think I could have gone sub-25, which would have been sweet.

I'm thinking big for next year. Not taking 5 months off the bike like I did from Nov '08 through March '09. I might start with VOS Stage Race out in AZ. Its a time based GC, so that is good for me.

Its getting chilly outside, so its time to bring it back indoors. Lots of emotion rollers training with workouts of 45-75 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fat Policeman: "You Cyclists are Arrogant"

Last night was an easy/recovery cruise ride. The weather was great, and it was a fun night/afternoon to be on the bike. Despite the great weather, not many non-cyclists were down at Hains Point.

I rode with Mike Streans for a bit, nice guy. We discussed many things, ranging from politics, to bike training, and to cycling genetic abilities. Fun stuff. He peeled off to ride with a very nice lady in an NCVC kit.

At that point, I saw Matias. We cruised around discussing cycling, triathlon, and world domination. At one point, Matias said something I couldn't quite make out. It turns out he said "Police".

Despite not heeding his warning, I still slowed to single digit speed. There wasn't a car in sight. I rolled. I hear the roar of a moto engine, and realize what I have done. We rolled through one of the dreaded stop signs right in front of a fat policeman.

He rolls up next to us yelling, "You cyclists are arrogant!" I thought I was going to get a ticket. That would have been my first ticket ever! My 12+ year streak of ticketless driving (riding too?) was about to end.

Fortunately, he must have been headed back to the Global HQ for the Park Police, and his shift was ending. He rode off after repeating his "You cyclists are arrogant" statement three times. He must have been late for dinner.

I have nothing against policemen. By and large, they are great. I know there are some officers of the law in the peloton. But there really is no need to harass some cyclists who are out having a good time on a nice night. There weren't any other vehicles around. He was just on a power-trip. Hopefully he doesn't treat tourists that way too.