Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Getting back on the horse

I'm starting to feel better. At least I'm not cold all the time and don't have that sickly feeling. Although there is still quite a bit of sinus congestion and crap up there.

It's time to move forward into the MSP phase of training. In general, I'll be doing some MSP intervals in the 8-17minute range. Also thrown in there are some SMSP intervals with half the rest as normal. For example, 3 min on: 1off as oppsed to 3on 3 off like I was doing in the SMSP phase.

The MSP is an interesting phase. It's the place where I'm trying to develop my sustainable power. Which is the pace at which I'd time trial at or do a long sustained climb. Dave's philosophy is that this metric is one of the most indicative factors for cycling success.

Obviously there are technical skills, tactics, sprinting ability, the ability to recover from hard efforts, etc... that are all in the mix. But for the most part having a high sustainable power is a key to getting faster. Especially for new/developing riders.

Somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes is where things seem to transition from SMSP to MSP. I might be able to do 4 minute intervals at 290W, but then I'll be able to do 8, 9, 10, 12minutes at 280W.

Lots of MSP also creates a little staleness in the legs. That sort of flat feeling. So it's important to throw in some shorter hard efforts and some race like riding. Which I'll do in another 2 weeks or so.

There is this line in the sand defined by MSP. Stay behind it and you can go a long time, cross it and pay the price. One of the keys specific to mountain bike racing is the ability to cross the line for short periods of time and then recover back to sustainable pace.

Yesterday I hopped on the road bike for 1hr. Took it very easy, but had to go a little harder on the hills and the wind. These efforts made me really winded which is a little disconcerting. I always feel a little gyped coming off a rest week. You expect that you can fly, but it always takes a week or so to get the legs back underneath me.

And obviously, I'm taking it easier while recovering from the sinus infection.

Today I opted to try out some MSP just to see how it feels. My plan was calling for 3x10minutes on 5 off. However, I thought it more prudent to try 8minutes and just see what would happen. The most dangerous part is remembering which side of the towel I blew my nose into and which side to wipe the sweat off with.

Testing the waters..First one was at 260W which was doable but slightly painful in the legs.

I've also been recalibrating the Tacx after one interval as it seems to need more time to settle. Then did another one at 270W.

The third one I did at 280W. This is was the sweet spot. That perfect feeling of cycling nirvana. Right on the razor's edge of tolerance. Breathing is labored, the burning in the legs slowly builds, but you can hold it for longer periods of time.

This feeling is basically my goal in life, as I know when I can hold it that it's going to be a good day.

These types of intervals train your mind as much as your body. They take a lot of focus just like racing does. I can't tell you how many times I've been racing and start to daydream or lose concentration an start to go slower w/o realizing it. Once I catch myself and refocus my speed increases dramatically. In a group ride it's a litle easier to focus because you'll lose a wheel and get dropped right quick. But when riding alone it's easy to get out of the zone.

Watching the timer or daydreaming is the kiss of death. One the road or trail you just end of going slower. But on the ergo trainer which outputs consistent power you just start to bog down.

Note on cadence. I do these somewhere between 70rpm and 100rpm. Though usually not below 80rpm. But I tend to climb with higher cadence anyway. Now that my gearing is slighly lower with the compact crankset I don't think I've got a tall enough gear to go at 70rpm. My SMSP intervals usually done 80-110+.

When I got done, I felt ok. A little light headed and my hands were shaking. It didn't seem to be a bonk shake. I'm thinking that in another 3-5 days I'll be back to normal and I'll just take the next few days by feel.


At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strenuous activity is not productive with a sinus infection.

Antibiotics alone won't get rid of it; you've got to let it drain. Take an Afrin bottle, pop the cap and fill with half Afrin, half nasal saline solution; then use as indicated on the bottle. The lower concentration of Afrin reduces the "Afrin bebound" and the saline keeps you from drying out.

I hope you keep up the blog; good luck!

At 2:00 PM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

I'm really scared off Oxymetazoline (afrin). I had such horrible rebound congestion that it gives me the shakes to think about it.

half/half like you suggest may be an option, but I'm scared that my reaction will lots of rebound.

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've overdone it on Afrin, too. I'm a scuba diver, not much of a mountainbiker, so my rebound was likely at least as bad as yours.

The half/half as I suggested was recommended to me by my allergy doctor. One squirt in each nostril works great for me with almost no rebound.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Bruce Brown said...

I'm the former "anonymous" poster who mentioned to you last Saturday that it sounded like a sinus infection. I'm no longer "anonymous" as I Googled up.

I'd say give the antibiotics a chance to run their course. I've dealt with these suckers for many years and as an opera singer - I always try to do it without any ill effects on the voice. Rather than that Afrin, I have always had good success with a drug called Entex LA. Did the ENT recommend anything to help flush it out? Anyway, best of luck healing up. Those sinus infections take a few weeks to clear up and get you back to 100% normal. I hate 'em.

I enjoy your blog and have learned a lot from your posts. I just finished my SMSP phase and feel pretty pooped from it all.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(quote)Did the ENT recommend anything to help flush it out? (/quote)

I assume your asking me (the other 'anon')

Yes. A waterPik with a nasal attachment. I call it a "nose hose". Two minutes of moderate discomfort, but 23:58 hours of bliss.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

Can't get into see the ENT until end of March!. Got augmenten from family doc. Tried to get profen but pharmacy doesn't carry it anymore. So I'm using Mucinex-D.

Are you using the Grossan Injector? It seems to be the only game in town.

I'm going to talk to the ENT about it. I haven't been to see him in over a year, and I want to re-evaluate stratagies. Vaguely remember him talking about it.

I had been on Nasocort but used it once in a while and now realize that it is supposed to be used daily for best results.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Bruce Brown said...

Can't get into see the ENT until end of March!. Got augmenten from family doc.

Dang! Tis the season, I guess. You might be completely healed by then. Sinus infections usually last from 3 - 8 weeks depending on the severity.

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous niroa said...

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