Monday, January 31, 2005

Run away, live to fight another day

Had a day off Sunday. Worked around the house, didn't do any riding. I really should have spun for a little while, but got busy w/ other stuff.

2min intervals this morning. I tried them at 310W

From the beginning I knew something wasn't good. Legs were tight. Damn I should have done something easy yesterday.

2min on 2 off x 5, 2 sets with 5 min between sets

First set was ok, not great.

2nd set I died after the 2nd one. Just hit a wall, and could not turn the pedals at that power. Tried the third one at a 300w, but damage was done, so just called it a day.

Any # of reasons why I could't do it:
Power could have been too high
still no recovered from first block of intervals
tired from weekend
coming off no activity day before

These days are bound to happen, but you wouldn't think after only a few days of intervals.

Oh well, call Stuart Smiley up, and get a does of Gosh darn it I am good enough, and try again tomorrow.

On Saturday, I'd done some intervals (7x1min 2 sets) and then later we went to the gym because they had this kids thing for an hour. So I figured I'd stretch and do some abs.

I was so tired. Could hardly do anything.

Wife wanted to walk the track a few times, She walks fast. I hung for one lap then said cya and read a magazine in the lobby

Oh yeah, we are working it now.

It's just growing pains. It takes me a little while to transition into these intervals.

It is interesting that the actual interval time is relatively short, but doing them at a known power setting, I think, gets me to do close to the maximum amount of effort that I could do. It's good for time efficiency.

Friday, January 28, 2005

What's your prediction for the fight, Clubber?.... PAIN!!


First interval day today.

Ohh that hurt.

Friday's a crazy morning. Wife has to work early, I gotta get the older one on the bus and the younger one to preschool. Had to, just had to get my interval workout done this morning. After work is almost always a bust. Too tired from the day, and need to hang out with the kids, and have dinner, etc.

So I was able, with my wife's prodding, get out of bed at 6 and get down into the basement. Put some coffee on, and got the trainer set up, then went and slammed half a cup, then got on for a warmup

10 min warmup, followed by the following session

3 sets of
5 x 1 min on at 320Watts, 1 min off
3min rest between sets

Last year I had done some 1 min intervals at 300w, and had tried a few last week. They felt pretty doable. I decided to try 320W to see if I could do the entire workout at that setting.

First one.

It felt so easy, just cruising along. I had a pretty high cadence 120 or so, too high I think. I was toying with the idea of upping the wattage to 330 or 340, but decided to see if I could do the entire session at this wattage. If so then next time I'd up it.

Man, am I glad I didn't do that

I would set the Tacx ergo to 320 and do the interval, but you can't go to 320 immediatly, you have to go to it 20-30w at a time, otherwise my cadence would bog and it was all over.

To recovery, I'd go to the slope function set on -4 and just soft pedal. I used my timex iron man set on countdown timer for 1 min. I need to bring a clicker or something as it is really easy to forget what interval you are on. Was that 3 or 4? Uh I think it i was 5, time to rest!!

First set went pretty well. It hurt no doubt, second set got much harder, and third set, I barely made it through it. Actually I didn't really finish the last one, but I'll call it mission accomplished anyway.

I definitely work better at higher cadences like 100+. When I dropped below 85 or so, I knew I'd bog and the legs would just shut down.

During the intervals, I discovered the secret to controlling time.
I still need to work on the details, but during the intervals I was able to make time slow to a crawl. I'd be hammering and tried not to look at the countdown timer, but then just had to, and there would be like 25 seconds left, when I thought I'd be done.

And then during the rest periods, a 1 min block would go by like a flash, and the 3 min block just disappeared w/o me noticing. I'm on to something here. I know it. Gonna make me rich.

After the last one I felt like this:

Felt like hurling, just like after those sprint intervals.

Went upstairs and had some soy milk. No way could I have breakfast. Everyone else was still asleep.

Wife overslept, so I helped get the kids ready. I'm sitting at the table still in my cycling clothes, listen to the play by play of what I need to do.

Bus stop at 7:55am, don't forget snack cooler, backpack, jacket, hat, gloves, lunch drink....

Lukie's clothes are on the dresser, if he wants to wear his plane outfit let him, money is here for charity doantion at his preschool class....

Oh, and read this flyer to Ansel to see if we want to go to this tonight..

and on and on.

And I'm sitting there just saying like a mantra over and over in my head, bus at 7:55, bus at 7:55 don't miss it, preschool by 9..etc.etc.etc.

I was dazed. Good thing I've honed the "yes I am listening" skill to a craft.

Plus my son will NEVER forget how we missed the bus more than a month ago. So if I did it again, I might have to move out.

Tomorrow is another on day, then one off. Looks like next week I get into the 3 day on blocks.

This is what it is all about, baby. Riding outside the comfort zone. It's just like a kick in the pants. and almost fun in that sick way that cyclists thrive on.

I was curious about my power profile, and went to the Power profile spreadsheet that is at:

Power Profiling

and calculated 270Watts / my weight in kg, and found that I was right in the middle of the Very good section for the threshold reading. I'm happy with that.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!

Remember the Jerk, when Steve Martin is jumping up and down when he gets the new phone book.

Well I just got my training plan in the mail from Dave Morris.

I am excited to get into it. I was supposed to do some easy riding with some Muscle Endurance rides yesterday, but crapped out of it. Work has been really hectic and have been outside the last few days. I'm usually a desk jockey and like the outside parts, but they wear me out.

Last night I did something a little different. After I crapped out on riding, instead of surfing the net, or watching a movie, or working on the bike or in the wood shop, I ......went to bed early.

Took some ambien and crashed out at like 9:15.

Wife even came in later and gave me hug/kiss and I in my ultra sleep told her to "BACK UP". Had 0 recollection of doing that.

Kicking myself this morning. Any man who is married with small children knows that you only have a finite amount of times when the wife actually intiates something. And I just burned one of those matches without even knowing it.

But I slept like 10 freaking hours. Got up around 3am but was able to get back to sleep. Kids slept in a little, and BAM... A super sleep.

had some coffee and got on the trainer to do that easy riding + some Muscle Endurance Intervals.

Tomorrow the SMSP intervals start

3 sets of 5x1 with 3 mins between sets.

I think I will try to do them at 320 watts on the Tacx and see how it goes.

Each one is a little goal in itself. Do one, check it off, feel good, rest, do it again.

Check the entire workout off, and feel better.

Monday, January 24, 2005

MSPO test

There is a protocol in Dave Morris' book for estimating your Maximum Sustainable Power Output.

Performed on Tacx Flow trainer, with rear tire at 8 bar and calibration set to 0

MSPO Protocol:
-Start at easy wattage
-Up by 20W every 3 mins
-Until you reach what you think you could maintain for 1hr
-Sustain for 3 more minutes
-Record HR
-Ride for 3 more minutes
-Record HR at end of Min 4, min 5 and min 6

If you HR at Min 6 is more than 8bpm than it was a min 3 then you have probably over shot MSPO.

Try again at lower watt setting.

So I stared at 150W, and then upped it every 3 mins by 20watts.

Around 270 watts, I still felt like I could sustain it for a while. It was sweet. That zone, of where it hurts, but it isn't like you are about to faint and fall over.

I couldn't believe that my HR was around 189-190bpm.

And I pulled out a pen/paper from my jersey pocket every min and recorded the HR

Min 3: 189
Min 4 193
Min 5: 192
Min 6: 192

ave (190)

Watts: 270

After the 6th minute I upped the watts to 290 and it was like hitting a brick wall. didn't even have time for the HR to go up I just couldn't turn the pedals.

I dropped to 280 watts but the damage was done and I couldn't spin up my legs to hold that before cadence just bogged.

I am speculating that 250-260 W is more appropriate for a one hour effort. And that I was just pretty fit and jazzed for that 270 watt.

From years and years ago doing amateur conconi tests and from HR data from races, I could rides in teh high 180s for a while so maybe I am not too far off.

We will see when I try it again in a few weeks.

Workout playlist Standout

On a recurring basis, I'll try and post some songs from my workout playlist that stood out.


Fun, pop-punkish band. You can get an MP3 of the single "Everyone's and Idiot Except You and Me"

Good motivation on the trainer.

Love it when a plan comes together

Remember George Peppard from the A-team.

"I love it when a plan comes together"

Gotta love it when you can live your life philosophy through a 1970's Tv show


I talked to Dave Morris about hiring him for some coaching. I'll be getting what's called a Training Package from him, which is a fairly low level of involvement. Basically prescribing a month plan. And I take it and figure out how to fit it into daily life. Any consultaning etc is extra. The $150/month plan is where he does everything, anything changes, you call him, no limit on consultation, etc.

For right now, what I really need is help tweaking the plan, and things change on a daily basis with my life so I figure I'd have to do some juggling of the plan anyways.

Funny thing, is what I probably need most is just some motivation. And it is comical how paying someone to tell you something you probably already know is incredible motivation

At my level of training/fitness what he is going to do for me is take his plan and tweak it for me and my events. All this info is really in the book, but hearing it from him makes it like it is printed on gold leaf paper and worth of putting on the mantle.

And it MOTIVATES me.

This week, I am doing 2 day blocks of as much trainer time as I can handle followed by Leadout Intervals one day then Muscle Endurance another day.

Starting on the 28th, I'll be starting the SMSP intervals.

I am excited and very apprehensive about them because of the pain. they hurt so bad. but that is what it is all about.

Regardless of the bike, and how much $$ you put into it, or even genetic talent, etc. It really comes down to how well you can live with and thrive in the pain.

And there is no way to deal with the pain unless you train in the pain.

Dean Golich said one time in an article, "If you never go 30mph, you'll never go 30mph".

Things like the intervals with decreasing rest are something that I have known will take me to the next level, but I've never had the guts to try them. So it's is funny, that I need to pay someone money to give me the courage to work harder.

Regardless, I think it is money well spent, because I am going to be better than I ever was, and this sport, this endeavour of mine has caused me as much grief and unhappiness as it has brought me joy. And there is nothing like riding strong to make it more fun.

The mechanics workout

Worked on the car a lot the past few days. Makeing me wish I had a real heater or a heated garage. I had it in my mind that I needed to finish this stuff now so I could move onto other things, so I am working on the car in 25 degrees or cooler. The only saving grace is that it was in a garage.

Got a lot of respect for mechanics. My lower back was killing from leaning into the engine, and my neck is so sore from when working on my back, and my shoulders are sore from turning a wrench in awkward positions, and my back is sore from the wrench turning, pulling and trying to get those damn Spark plug boots off in really awkward places.

The good thing is that I am worthy of watching Spike TV now and I probably saved myself 2-300$ by doing some of this work myself.

Installed rear sway bar
New plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter, changed oil, oil filter, installed new WRX manual pedal set, short throw shifter.

Put on one of those Fumovalve oil drain valves so the next time I change the oil, I just have to flip a little lever and I can even put on a hose to drain it right into the pan.

Off course, with me NOTHING is ever easy. it was such a pain to get the spark plug boots on, and I was scared to death I was going to cross thread a plug in there.

But so far driving to work it was driving SWEET. Makeing me lose some of my desire to get the WRX engine swap in there.

I am going to have someone else install
-Timing belt, oil pump seal, shifter bushing, 4 struts, 4 springs, 4 strut mounts.

Here is a picture of the rear sway bar. It makes the wagon handle incredible.
sway 2
sway 1

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rocking it on the trainer

Well, I knew it, I just knew that we were going to be paying the price for the nice weather. So instead of average temperatures we are down in the well below average. Under 10 degrees when I woke up this morning.

Hell no am I gonna go out there in this. Highs in the low to mid 30s not including windchills.

I was able to motivate to put the road bike on my Tacx Flow Ergo trainer for the first trainer ride of the year. After I got the kids fed and the wife got back from the gym I got ready. It took a LONG time to just get the trainer set up, changed etc...

It was actually pretty fun. Pop in video from the Tour (2003) put on the Ipod and rock out.

I've got a special play list for workouts which only has fast music on it.
Punk, pop punk, ska, alternative rock. etc.

Today I was just tinkering around, did a couple of 1 min intervals at 300W settings that felt pretty easy actually. Last year 300W was my 1min interval setting so I am stoked that it was so doable.

Normally riding indoors is pure hell for me when I am just riding along. When I do very structured interval workouts time goes by much more bearably. The interval time drags and drags, but the recovery time goes 2x as fast so the end result is that time passes by much more easily.

I've got a request into Dave Morris for setting up monthly coaching this year. I'd like his help in laying out the specifics of the intervals (Time on, time off, # of sets, recovery between sets, at what power setting), etc. and I will figure out how to place it day by day.

All in all I think I'm sitting in a decent spot with regards to training. I got some decent rides in for my endurance base, and my legs feel pretty good for this time of year coming off the strength training.

It's always hard to motivate through this time of year.

The plan is going to be 3weeks of SMSP intervals followed by 1 week rest, then 3 weeks of MSP intervals, and 1 week rest. So that puts me into middle of March.

I'll definitely get some MTB rides in during these blocks, and just make them hard rides. One thing I need to do is force myself to ride outside of my comfort zone and really push sections, get out fo the saddle, hurt myself and then recover. That has always been one thing that has held me back, I think.

I'd like to start in -season riding then but he might have me do another block of SMSP intervals.

So I am motivated today, we will see how motivated I am after I really get into these things. Especially with the Block type of structure of 2 and 3 days on.

Came across the web site and Blog for Jeremiah Bishop. Check it out. Local boy (well VA boy) doing good.

Jeremiah Bishop

Monday, January 17, 2005

Hurting lungs

Had a little mini vaca with the family up in Richmond to hook up with my parents. Pretty fun, hotel w/indoor pool which is all the kids care about.

Lots of good food, no exercise.

Got home in time to MTB ride Sun. cold front moved in under 38 or so. Not too cold but my lungs just were having problems. Hard breathing, phlegm building up in lungs. Legs were ok.
Only rode 1hr. It was pretty fun though.

Hell of cold this morning. 10 degrees with windchills in the single digits. Am thinking of starting the indoor work now. Going to take a major mindset shift. You gotta be on your A game to do those indoor intervals.

We'll see.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Party's over

Yesterday was a record high in this part of Virginia. 65+. Got in 2.5hrs on the road bike. Felt really strong. Did a hill climb in at least a full gear higher than I usually do.

Severe cold front moving in to bring lower than normal, so we are going to pay the price for the nice weather we had for the past few weeks.

Yesterday I did a road ride but just felt un motivated and was going real slow with dead legs. No idea why. Maybe being tired, who knows.

My sleep/congestion problems are so on/off right now.

Sleep problems:
-trouble falling and staying asleep
-light sleep waking at every light/noise, movement
-severe nasal congestion waking me up early in the morning

Sleep Specialist Recommendation:
-Ambien 10mg or Ambien 5mg+Melatonin
-1 or 2 sprays of Oxymetazoline at bed ONLY, not during the day

-pretty good
-Oxymetazloline keeps my nose clear through the night and the Ambien 10mg works real well, except I can't take 10mg on back to back days. The 5mg+Melatonin works well to get me to sleep but doesn't keep me asleep as well as the 10mg

The BIG problems is that after the Oxymetazoline wears off the next day, my nose if 80-100% stuffed. I mean can not freaking breathe. If I take Sudafed it is ok, not great but almost bearable, if I don't take it like today, I am screwed.

I also have not had my morning coffee for several days and heard that coffee helps with congestion.

But I am real worried that I am getting rebound congestion from using the Oxymetazoline, even though I am only using it once at night.

I am making an appt with my ENT to talk about options. But today it is bad bad bad. Yesterday wasn't as bad and I didn't take Sudafed, but I did have some tea.

Who knows, but if I could I'd chop my nose off completely today.

I don't know if it is allergues causing the severe congestion or what. We'll see if the cold front moving in helps things at all

Monday, January 10, 2005

Date ride

Got a babysitter on Sat and did a road ride with the wife.

It was bright and sunny, but the wind was howling. For once I started into the wind so the way back wouldn't be so bad.

It was fun. It's interesting that even though we've been married for 8 years, I still can't help but try and show off, like hauling butt up a hill, or pushing a big gear to catch up if I stopped to eat something. Ah the psyche of men.

Sun, I impressed myself to have coffee and get out for a mtn bike ride a the pond before 8am. Under 30degrees out there. Was hoping the ground would be frozen but it was so warm the previous day that it was still a little mucky. I warmed up real fast, and wished I hadn't have worn those big gloves.

Fun ride, trying to push some big gears to keep working on my cycling specific strength. Downhilling is still a joke.

Both rides were under 2hrs. I need to motivate again to get out for some longer periods of time while this nice weather is hanging around.

I even washed my mountain and road bike. Now that has been a long time coming.

Sleep seems to be under control a little.
Either a 10mg of Ambien or 5mg Ambien+3mg Melatonin. Plus a shot of Oxymetatazine (generic Afrin) to keep my sinus cleared so I can breathe.

But oh man, when that nasal spray wears off my sinus/nasal passages are almost 100% blocked. And allergy medication like Singulair doesn't help a whole lot for the inflamed tissue. The nasocort steriod nasal spray doesn't help too much either.

sudafed helps a little but this blockage is freaking terrible. I get out of breath and winded just eating lunch because I can't breathe through my nose when chewing my food.

As much as I hate to think about another surgery the thought of snipping the turbinites as the Allergy/sleep doc mentioned is getting more and more appealing, if this ultra congestion doesn't go away.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

not firing on all pistons

Went for ride b4 work this morning. Didn't feel all there. Several potential reasons.

-coming off 2 days rest, always takes me day or two to get legs back
-had good nights sleep with Ambien, possibly feeling lag of too much sleep
-Had bagel and cereal, no protein for breakfast. I think I'm mildly hypoglycemic so i need some protein to anchor it all down
-possibly still not recovered from that 4hr ride few days ago

whatever, just cut it short and went home, got all year to flog myself. Plus got lots on my mind with work, so its hard to just push that aside when out on a ride.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Appointment with the Sandman

Well the sleep issues are still around, different causes. Lately I've been able to fall asleep ok w/o the insomnia and thinking about things too much. But my sinus/nasal tissue has been swelling up and around 3-4am I wake up totally stuffed up unable to breathe.

Was up this morning at 4am taking some sudafed, which made me light headed, and restless the rest of the morning.

So again, I've been going on chronic lack of sleep.

Thankfully I made an apointment several weeks ago with a local Sleep specialist who is also an allergy doctor.

I did a test to see how much air I was able to take in through my nose. I first scored 70 then retried it and got 120 because I had a better seal on the thing. Nurse says they like to see 200+. And this was with having taken some Sudafed earlier this morning.

After patient history and talking, he came to the conclusion that I probably don't need a sleep study and that I probably don't have sleep apnea, and that we should treat the insomnia first. My dad has chronic snoring and I really worry that he has apnea but he won't do anything about it. The doctor said today that apnea is a major issue in that it has a 1/3 mortality or stroke rate!!

The doc said that OXYMETAZOLINE (Afrin) taken before I go to bed will help with the sinus/nasal congestion. Just as long as I don't take it during the day because then its effectiveness is reduced. You've always heard people talk about this getting addicted to the OTC nasal sprays.

He said that the tissues in my nose swell up because when you go to sleep the fluid from your feet/legs moves towards your head.

He also prescribed Ambien 5 or 10mg a night to be taken with Melatonin (3mg). First try 5mg Ambien with 3mg Melatonin and see how that goes. His feeling is that Ambien is not addictive and can be used long term. And that is is a very important medication because it allows you to sleep and also get deep REM sleep which is where growth hormone is released. Which is what you need to recover from exercise.

I've had problems taking 10mg two days in a row. So hopefully the 5mg with the melatonin will help.

Surgery could be pursued to cut the turbinites that would help limit the congestion but he suggested not to do that unless I absolutely can't stand it anymore.

We talked a little about the allergies. Basically every year for the next 20 years it is going to get worse because the pollen counts are going to go up until there is no more land for them to grow on. He also saw my allergy test from a few years ago. Basically I am allergice to god and country. It was one of the worst tests he has seen.

Regardless it is nice to have a longerterm prescription for the ambien. Before when I just had the 1 month I was hoarding it and only using it when absolutely necessary.

I'll keep posting how it goes.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

4hrs going strong

Took some vaca time off work yesterday, and was in the saddle for 4 hrs. It's all relative and for me that is the longest in the saddle since last year.

Wonderful day. Almost spring. In January!!

Riding strong, even at 3hrs into it. Must be because I STUFFED MY FACE. This time instead of just riding on gels. I had lunch, then started riding, and had one energy bar, one gel, one bottle of Hammer HEED, then stopped at the store and got a can of Coke, some peanut M&Ms, and two Payday Bars.

Just call me Mr. Nutrition.

But hey I made it back to work w/o bonking, and was able to ride through the ever present head wind.

First inclination is to curse the headwind, then it becomes your friend, your training partner to push you harder. We'll see how much of a 'friend' it has been come April.

Wife calls on the cell phone. Where have you been all day! BUSTED.

My Hokies lost the Sugar Bowl. Not for lack of trying. I am such a fair weather fan. I was so tired, and went to bed after they missed a field goal and it as 16-0. Wake up to read in the paper that the final was 16-13. Gotta give em some credit to come back like that.

Oh well. Cable is getting cancelled today. Not that there is anythng good on. Mostly crap, but I will miss the Orange County Chopper crew, and the car shows and the other crap reality shows.

Day off the bike today, and then try to get some more long rides in before the weather heads south.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A new year and warm weather in January

A rare day to have 60s in January in SW Virginia.

Earlier this week was hectic at work, so no riding. Took Thursday off and went to Carvin's Cove with a friend.

It was very nice to ride someplace new. Usually I ride the same local trails except for the 4 or so races I go to.
This place has some fun trails. ground was soft and sucked a lot of energy out, but still a blast. We went down this one side hill trail that was deep with leaves. We couldn't see where any of the dropoffs were or the front wheel eating holes. Just hang on for dear life and can't slow down too much w/the rear brakes because then the rear wheel just slides. My technical skills were actually ok. If I can just build upon them from here I'll be happy.

I felt really strong.

Next day did a road ride I had never done before. I thought it would take 2.5 to 3 hrs. 3.5 hrs later I am crawling home. Wife was pissed I was so late, I was bonking, kids were crazy. It was a scene. slammed some Endurox and took a quick shower, then immediately took the little one to the playground. I am all bundled up trying to not get chilled, trying to sit on the bench and vege, and not 2 seconds there, he is on the swing..PUSH ME..!!!

Ah so much for recovering as hard as you train. Had to take some coffee to stay up for new years.

Took next day totally off, let the wife do her thing riding, then shopping while I put the roof rack on the subaru.

I sold the truck last week. Then next day get 3 calls for it. Oh well, it was a painless sale and I got what I asked for, so can't get better than that.

Today I did 3reps of 10mins of Muscle Endurance intervals. high res, low cadence. It didn't really hurt too bad.

This week rain is moving in, so if tomorrow is dry I will take some vacation time and get a long ride in before the rain and work build up again.

Soon, the intervals in the basement will start.
Happy New Year