Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dirty Dawg Course info

See here for detailed course info.

Also Chris at took some GPS tracks of his pre-ride out there. It might be slightly different than the official course but you get the picture.

GPS Track
Elevation Track

I was out there yesterday. Sweet course. Rough, lots of embedded rocks. It's not a well ridden track so there are lots of leaves, easy to go off course. Greath rhythm course. Power ON the whole way.

If it gets wet it will be tough, got to stay loose, keep the head up. The PINK trail is fun fun fun.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

patiently waiting for the wave to roll in

Dirty Dawg mountain bike race coming upon us April 1. How in the world did it get to be April sooo fast? It seems like just a little while ago when the off season started.

As always, I'm starting to get nervous. Fear and lack of confidence are part of my preparation. Though all indications based on current training are saying that things are going well. Stronger than last year (relative to myself of course).

Today was some 2on 1 off-2 sets of 8. Started the 1 set off at a higher power than I'd been doing the 2min ones a few months ago. Did the first set, but started to bog the second set.

Right now the legs feel sore. Yes there is a race coming up but it is important to remember that I'm also training for the race on the 15th and the ones in May, June, etc... The soreness isn't anything to worry about (I hope), but it makes me nervous nonetheless. I'm trying to set up a small peak for Sunday. My legs always feel a little wierd right around now. But I'm hoping by Saturday that the peak will start forming and be ready to go on Sunday.

I don't surf or anything, but it's sort of akin to waiting for this wave to roll in. And when you hit it right, you're riding it high and strong.

Trying to get my head screwed on straight for the race. Get focused. Firm up the game plan.

-Get to my sustainable pace asap.
-hold it steady. stay FOCUSED. NO pre-writing BLOG entries while racing.
-go into red as needed for tech sections
-drink 1small bottle/hr
-get the Sportlegs in at the right time intervals
-Stay in my sweet spot and ride my own race for the first 1.5 laps.
-Last 1/2 lap call on teachings of my personal life coach and finish strong murmuring and babbling under my breath with that funny look on my face that looks like a smile but is really a sick stomach feeling.

I also purchased some Motivation in a Box (rocky triple pack I II III) to be opened up the night before

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Good article on eating for rides

Velo News article

She is one of my gurus. And this is all in her book. Special note on the 1hr before. For me under 50g messes me up bigtime. 70g plus is required for me to not bonk inititally.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

training summary

4 sets of 8x0:20 on 0:20 off

burning legs. Only concerned about getting cadence up to 120-130 and holding it there for the duration. Also concerned about smoothing out pedal stroke. Not concerned about actual pwr output which was pitiful anyway.

These hurt and are uncomfortable and I used to avoid these. However now I know how important they are. Great tool for conserving momentum through technical sections.

early morning up/down Old Farm. Just coffee then hit the bike. energy drink on ride.

I know I'm in a lot better shape than several years ago because I can actually do this trail in an 'easy' mode. In the past there was never any easy because just getting up would kill me.

However just this year I've got the base fitness to go up it in a controlled manner with only a few excursions into red line territory. The great thing is that by holding things in check there is enough turbo available to clean it more easily.

Got home, quick shower and eat, then commuted into work on bike.

Textbook bonk creation. After eating at home, I got really bonked/dizzy on the way into work. Took about 1/2hr to clear up.

Something is wierd with my position on the bikes. After the long ride on Sunday my triceps were very fatigued. I presume from spending so much time in the drops. Today on the dually off road, there was no tricep pressure/fatigue. But in the commute in on the hardtail my arms were feeling that tired fatigued feeling.

Either something is messed up on my hardtail setup (saddle tilt or drop to bar). Or I also think that when riding offroad, you are so much more dynamic that you don't build up the kind of cummulative fatigue in the triceps like you do on the road bike or riding the mtn bike on the road.

Note- put race wheels on which have almost new tread on them. Wow. tread makes such a difference in handling!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

nutrition notes

250-280g/carb 3hr before

2 Ensures
2 waffles+syrup
Vanilla Yogurt+grape nuts trail mix

3.5hr road ride.
stomach hurt little early on.

Too much e-drink at first.

on ride
-2large bottle drink
-1.5 boiled potatoes

store at 2hrs
mid sized gatorade
nutter butters
Brown sugar pop tarts
bottle of water

Ixnay on the pot-A-toe. Cooked too long, too starchy. Salted night before but not enough. Pop tart worked good. Not too sweet, a little crumby but 68g/package
Nutter butters good too

With solid food, need more plain water. E-drink fine by itself. but when switching to solid food need to switch to plain water.

13:30 Harding.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The pitfalls of hyper sports-specificity

The front of my legs are very sore right now. Tender to the touch almost. The only thing I can attribute it to is playing soccer with my son in the back yard the past two nights.

To put this in perspective how pitiful this is, my yard is only about 30 yards long and about 15 yards wide. And I didn't really run more hobbled. And I only messed around a less than 10 minutes each night. My son asks my why I don't run. I blame it on not having shoes with any ankle support.

It's interesting that I train so focused and so specific to cycling that anything outside that narrow window can cause soreness. The muscle contractions in running, especially the stop/go nature of soccer are completely different than cycling. Eccentric vs concentric contractions or something like that. The point is that they are completely counter to each other.

Unfortunately, balance isn't in my mindset. It's a big debate regarding balancing out other activities vs sport specificity. Especially when you have limited training time/energy.

The questions are: What are your goals? And what is the best use of your limited time in order to achieve those goals.

Things like core strengthening, stretching, skills work all fall into this analysis.

I'm kind of short changing long-term health/well being and overall fitness in favor of specific training for racing XC. One good thing is that I lift weights from approximately October-end of December every year. There is still much debate regarding strength training and its efficacy towards cycling fitness. But given my small frame, and lactose intolerance I better not stop this lifting...ever.

My core work has slacked off, and I'll stretch some after but certainly not dilligently.

My wife has a much more balanced fitness plan. She rides, runs, stretches, and does light lifting all year round. Throughout the year some things take precedence based on certain events, but overall it's consistent and balanced.

My goals may change over coming years as I get older and realize the need to live more balanced, but for now it's the hyper focused mindset and the sore legs from hobbling around the back yard.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

No get up and go

Tried to get a last little bit of intensity in to cap off this last block before a rest week.

However the legs just didn't want to get up and go. The plan was to go hard on a stepped hill (Deercroft). Hard on a climbing section then recover on a flat and repeat. But there was just nothing in the legs to go hard with.

The interesting thing was that I felt weakest in my arms and my calves. Two things that usually don't feel super weak typically. My arms just felt like noodles and the calves just felt like they were blocking power output. Weird. It makes me wonder if I was having some nutrtional issues from not eating right earlier in the day.

John had told me about a time he bonked really bad in a race. He'd said that his legs were trained to function somewhat in a bonked state but that his upper body muscles were bonked so bad that he couldn't steer the bike well.

The other thing that continues to surprise me is that steady state felt pretty strong. But trying to bust out of the comfort zone didn't work well. For example, on a long flat section the pedals would just turn and I'd be going a decent clip, or on an extended climb, if I just held things in check I'd move pretty fast.

But trying to stand up and go hard would just shut everything down.

For the 1st I've got to remember to race my strengths. And train my weaknesses.

There's a post at mtbr about how to pace for a race. And I just have to remember to filter out some of this chatter. Cause it's just so individual. This whole, you have to stay with the leaders of the start mentality will just drive me into the ground and cramp me out.

So yeah, probably not going to win by letting the leaders go. But my strongest finish is going to be riding my own pace. Obviously, I'm trying to work on my ability to start strong and stay strong. But not there yet.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Training update


Sat-40mins on trainer with some Zone 2

Sun 2 sets of 5x3on 1 off.
-Tried them at 300W only did a few successfully. Kept at it and usually made it to 2 or 2:30 before failure.
Legs just tired and dead.

As you can see rest is only 1 minute while the interval is 3 minutes. Earlier I'd been doing 3 on 3 off at the same wattage. First we developed the capability to produce higher power for 3 minutes. Now I'm trying to develop the ability to still produce that power but to do it with insufficient rest after each effort. This is the essence of mountain bike racing.

Mon: 1 set of 4 reps of 6 on 4 off
-Dropped down to 280 for this. Doable, 'might' have been able to do 290 but just wanted to succesully complete the whole workout so didn't bump up.

Legs feeling soar but the workout went ok. These workouts are interesting because they lie in the transition between SMSP and MSP. There is a certain wattage where above it I will burn out quickly, and below it I can go signficantly longer. My line in the sand is around 280-290W on the Taxc especially when under fatigue.

Maybe a short/hard one tomorrow or maybe into the rest week.

Then comes another transition point. Moving into the more 'in season' work. Here is where we take all the foundation efforts I've been doing and start tweaking them specifically for mtb racing. Though there is a twist this year. I'm doing the Mountains of Misery century ride with John and my wife. In order to prepare for this some mtb race specific workouts will be replaced by long distance rides with lots of hills.

The durations of the training in the week after the rest week will be curtailed a bit due to the upcoming Dirt Dawg race on April 1.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mountain Lake Dirty Dawg mtb race April 1st

First big race coming up April 1.

The Dirty Dawg being held up at the incredible Mountain Lake Resort. This will be race one in the new 5 race series: Series 5

It's been years and years since I've ridden up here. Very fun terrain. More rolling and short/steep. And if memory serves there are some pretty technical sections too.

It's a fun place to hang out. There is the lake, plenty of hiking, a playground for kids, sand. The Sunday Brunch is pretty darn good too.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Murdock Ride

Wednesday was some hills on the road bike at lunch. Yesterday was a kind of ride that I've coined the term Murdock Ride. Meaning, when you know the route you'll think:

Hey man, you're crazier than Murdock

The fool's crazy!
What's all that about? That guy's crazier than Murdock!

Well crazy for us regular folk. Par for the course for a lot of hardcores out there.


Google Map of the route

This kind of ride is designed to simulate the situations that are standard fare in races
-burned legs and hitting a hard section
-half bonked and stuck in technical terrain
-lower back on fire while in the middle of a long climb
-The wish situation
-wishing I'd driven out to the trail head
-wishing I'd brought more food
-wishing I ate more before hand
-wishing I didn't do those hills the day before
-wishing I'd taken sport legs

This route is mentally easier to put yourself into a hurt locker just by virtue of the terrain. You don't have to push yourself because just doing it is enough to make it hard.

4924 ft elevation gain
25.4 miles

-up Old Farm (18:51 full clean)
-Down Side winder to creek
-Up sidewinder
-Down Beast
-Up Beast
-Down Sidewinder
-Poverty Creek to Big Rock
-Gap to 3 way
-To Beauty Parking Lot
-Up Beast
-Down OF

The first part of Old Farm was hit over hard. To force recovery in the middle. This actually made the ride cleanable as there was enough turbo available for each tech section..barely

I hit sidewinder a couple of times today to get more practice on those sidehill type trails. Beast was just a rocket run. Too scary sometimes.

About 2hrs into it way out on the Gap trails the legs started to fade hard and the cobwebs of the bonk were starting. Blinking the eyes quickly shaking the head trying to get rid of the light headed feeling. I'd brought 3 bottles of go juice and 1 Pria bar. Only 1/2 a bottle was left at this point

Skills begin to fade quickly. I grab the brake hard and crawl, hesitate and pretty much flail during times like this.

About this time, I start thinking to myself that I'm a long long ways from home and need to start working my way in that general direction. Driving to the trailhead would have been better than I don't need to worry about if anything were to go wrong (mechanical/flat, etc)

It reminded me of a story from my early days of mountain biking. We were way in BFE on this 4-5hr ride in Northern California. One guy was bonked, had crashed an was just in a bad mood. The other guy-Kurt, a top expert in the area, and one of the inspirations that got me into mountain bike racing, was just talking away..We could go here, or here, or turn here or do this loop which is real cool...on and on....

Every time Kurt opened his mouth the other guy immediately said flatly and forcefully.."Shortest Way home, Kurt.. Shortest way home.."

I was getting a tiny panic attack and diverted course to the Shortest Way Home. Where is Mr. T when you need him.

Shortest way home was back up the Beast. Hike a bike what I'd ridden much of earlier. Thankfully the bonk had subsided a little. Going down Old Farm was very painful on my hands. The last of the go juice was drained and onward home. The last section of road home always irks me. It's just enough climbing to put the nails in the coffin.

Eat. Immediately..Carbs.. Aww man, I'm out of ensure.

Mission accomplished
Mission: Take what puts you at the edge and make it routine.

Bonking, back hurting, hands hurting, legs hurting. All while still 1 hour away from being done

Time to rest. two days off, then one last block of 3 day before another 5-7 day rest period. I'm going to get back on the trainer for some of these workouts. Just to train more of a specific system rather than stressing the entire body so much.

Oh forget to mention that my drivetrain was creaking every pedal stroke like it was going to explode. The whole drivetrain is going to get taken apart and checked. And later that night I just walked by the bike and spun the wheels out of habit and both the front and rear discs were dragging a little. Like Lance man.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The trap of MSP

I've been riding very strong lately. It's a good solid feeling. Good pace on long climbs, good sustained efforts on the flats.

It's a good feeling, and an easy way to fall into complacency. The time is coming to break out of this type of riding and get into very uncomfortable territory.

I need to start getting myself to push harder and outside this envelope of sustainable pace, to blow up and then recover and do it again. It's mentally very very hard for me. Basically it boils down to willfully overcoming your self preservation complex.

Can I step in front of a moving bus? It's one thing on a trainer where you are hyperfocused and the ergo forces your to either turn it or not. On the road or trail it's different. For some people it comes naturally, for the rest of us it has to be coerced and forced out.

In a race it's actually all too easy to over cook it. I know how how my body works, and my best races are a steady state effort with limited calculated trips into the red zone. Not the way to win, but for now it is the way to get the best results for my important races.

In training, though it's time to push it. It can be scary to knowingly blow up in the middle of a climb. The very real thoughts of am I going to be able to get back home or back to the car crop up.

My training is going to start transitioning to some interval efforts that alternate between SMSP and MSP each minute. These workouts called 'butt kickers' help develop the adaptation for mountain biking to traverse between steady state effort and the red zone inducing grunt climbs, technical sections, and passing efforts.

I'm also going to 'try' to intentionally blow up on climbs, then recover back in the middle and then attack at the top. We'll see how it goes, but that's the plan anyway.

A sick house

It's going on 6+ weeks that someone has been sick here. First my youngest had a cold then I got the cold that turned into a sinus infection.. The youngest had a sinus infection all along, then the oldest got the flu for 1 week+ then the youngest got the flu going on 1 week and his congestion has returned even worse.. Now my wife is getting a cold..

I'm healthy (knock knock on wood)but I'm wary of pushing the training too hard and getting sick all over again. My goal is to do a few good workouts but not create too much cummulative fatigue like at the end of the SMSP phase.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Expect nothing except to be surprised

Today was a little shocking. After the very hard road ride two days ago I thought that it would take a few days before the legs would come around again. The following day, I was hoping for that spring board affect that sometimes follows hard efforts, where you can do two back to back good efforts.

However even though the legs weren't soar when walking up the stairs, the trainer never lies. I was trying to do some 3on 1 off and the power was just not there so stopped the workout after a few reps.

Today, I was just planning on hopping on the mountain bike to reaquaint myself with the nuances of riding offroad, fully expecting to have two blocks of wood for legs.

Lighting strike...Bam. like you read about.

Headed up Old Farm. First time in a long long time. I have to start the stop watch when I get on this trail. Just for a benchmark. You know.

Perfect spin, the kind of pedal stroke where each revolution maintains momentum to the next. I started to check the clock. Looking like a PR.

I was smelling the PR, tasting it, thinking about what I was going to write. Then it sort of fell apart. But still. 12 seconds shy. Just couldn't believe it. Decided to drop down the mountain and take advantage of these legs.

For about 35minutes I was riding with legs to die for. I'll happily endure trainer workouts for months to have these legs again.

But why were they here? After that killer ride a few days ago they should be toast. That's when I started to look back over the last two weeks and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm starting to feel the affects of the rest.

A planned rest week coupled with some additional forced rest days from being sick, coupled with some training that was at a reduced volume. And something that continues to surprise me, is that the legs came on strong regardless of the hard ride two days ago. I've seen this in the past where (for the most part) regardless of the training be it on the couch or a regular week the legs come on strong at a certain time.

Everyone has a certain sweet spot, mine is about 10 days after the end of a hard cycle. Here's what the past few weeks have looked like.
feb-mar cal

5 days of planned rest from Feb 23-27. Got sick on the 24th and took additional rest days 28-March 1.

March 2-3 had some training but at very reduced volume just to ease back into it.
March 7-8 were off days
March 9 was that really hard road ride
March 10 was supposed to be some intervals but bagged them.
March 11 was today.

10 days exactly from March 1st.

I've used this peaking strategy many times in the past. I just wasn't thinking about it this time and it surprised me:

A period of progressive overload followed by 5 day Morris style rest week (easy/off-easy/off-5x1-easy/off-Zone2) and then continue regular training but at slightly reduced volume. 10-12 days after the end of the overload usually I'm riding strong.

Moral. keep a log, look for patterns.

The ride was a great mental boost. The deficiencies were mostly related to lack of snap at technical sections. Pretty soon I'll be introducing back the Leadout intervals that are just so perfect to address this. I was also reminded of the need to not go to the bailout gear with the dually. It seems to bog slightly and it's probably better to stay one gear up and grind a hair rather than go to the bailout.

Additionally, the technical fundamentals (vision, braking, weight balance) all need some serious re-drilling. Also need to build up the callouses on the palms too.

I want to break that PR so bad. The last one was set May 2006. A couple times I got close but never really put it together. That one was set with the Hollowpoint which was a heavier bike. but I think I had my race wheels on where now I have some beefy Deore beat on wheels. One day I'm going to go for it in race trim and see what happens.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

a riding food experiment

For mountain bike races I've been training myself to go with just energy drink. However for long mtb rides and long road rides, solid food is going to be a necessity.

The packaged 'athletic food' like Cliff bars add up in cost and just don't go down too well for me lately. They seem to require a lot of chewing energy and water.. Though I still like Peanut butter powerbars.

I read on a forum somewhere that Team Slipstream has been using boiled potatoes as riding food. The post said something about semi-boiled potatoes. Does anyone know what 'semi-boiling' is? Cause I can't find a good cooking definition.

Regardless what I did was peel some small potatoes and boil them for 20mins-30mins. To where I can poke then with a fork. Then put them in a baggie and salted them.

I quite like it. They are easy to chew, and digest. The taste is not overly sugary and the salt is mmm good when into a ride.

Nutritionally they are on par with most energy bars in terms of carbs.

My wife's work is involved with this Nutrional Database it is probably one of the most extensive food databases in the world. A search of potatoes reveals over 50 choices.

I picked Potatoes, boiled, cooked in skin, flesh, with salt.
About 27g carbs.

The only 'pain' is the peeling and the cooking. I always seem to forget about them boiling on the stove. I think I'll do a bunch at a time and just put them in the fridge.

Refuse: 9% (Skins and eyes)
Scientific Name:
NDB No: 11831 (Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion)

Nutrient Units 1.00 X 1 potato (2-1/2" dia, sphere)
Water g 104.69
Energy kcal 118
Energy kj 496
Protein g 2.54
Total lipid (fat) g 0.14
Ash g 1.25
Carbohydrate, by difference g 27.38
Fiber, total dietary g 2.7
Sugars, total g 1.18
Calcium, Ca mg 7
Iron, Fe mg 0.42
Magnesium, Mg mg 30
Phosphorus, P mg 60
Potassium, K mg 515
Sodium, Na mg 326
Zinc, Zn mg 0.41
Copper, Cu mg 0.256
Manganese, Mn mg 0.188
Fluoride, F mcg 67.2
Selenium, Se mcg 0.4
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 17.7
Thiamin mg 0.144
Riboflavin mg 0.027
Niacin mg 1.957
Pantothenic acid mg 0.707
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.407
Folate, total mcg 14
Folic acid mcg 0
Folate, food mcg 14
Folate, DFE mcg_DFE 14
Vitamin B-12 mcg 0.00
Vitamin B-12, added mcg 0.00
Vitamin A, IU IU 4
Vitamin A, RAE mcg_RAE 0
Retinol mcg 0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 0.07
Vitamin E, added mg 0.00
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) mcg 2.9
Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.035
4:0 g 0.000
6:0 g 0.000
8:0 g 0.000
10:0 g 0.001
12:0 g 0.004
14:0 g 0.001
16:0 g 0.022
18:0 g 0.005
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0.003
16:1 undifferentiated g 0.001
18:1 undifferentiated g 0.001
20:1 g 0.000
22:1 undifferentiated g 0.000
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.058
18:2 undifferentiated g 0.044
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.014
18:4 g 0.000
20:4 undifferentiated g 0.000
20:5 n-3 g 0.000
22:5 n-3 g 0.000
22:6 n-3 g 0.000
Cholesterol mg 0
Amino acids
Tryptophan g 0.039
Threonine g 0.092
Isoleucine g 0.103
Leucine g 0.152
Lysine g 0.155
Methionine g 0.041
Cystine g 0.033
Phenylalanine g 0.113
Tyrosine g 0.094
Valine g 0.143
Arginine g 0.117
Histidine g 0.056
Alanine g 0.078
Aspartic acid g 0.622
Glutamic acid g 0.427
Glycine g 0.076
Proline g 0.091
Serine g 0.110
Alcohol, ethyl g 0.0
Caffeine mg 0
Theobromine mg 0
Carotene, beta mcg 3
Carotene, alpha mcg 0
Cryptoxanthin, beta mcg 0
Lycopene mcg 0
Lutein + zeaxanthin mcg 12

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19 (2006)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Over reaching a little

First long/hard road ride of the season. My fellow Morris convert and MWC FTJ in crime chose a rough course.

My house to Lick Run to the River to the MOM course: Up the backside (Rt 613) then the Clover Hollow Loop (601/602/603/604) then back on 460 home.

A little over 4 hours. This is very hard 4hr ride. There seemed to be a light wind in our faces the whole time too. It was perhaps a little over my head. Probably better to gradually work up to it. Maybe 3hrs one week. and easier 4 the next. etc..But you gotto strike when you can.

Normally, I'd be focusing more on MSP right now and then starting to get into some hard XC riding. However since we'll be doing Mountains of Misery this year I've got this monkey on my back to get in the miles and to get used to the kind of climbs like the 613. My wife has a great training plan for MOM that progressively builds up to an 80mile ride prior to the MOM century.

The compact crankset felt good on this climb, easier than in the past. I'd thought I'd blown my time out of the water but in looking at some past logs in March 2005 I'd done it just a minute slower. But after 100 miles on the legs I know that compact (especially with the 34t) is going to be nice.

I always forget that I need to adjust my eating when on long road rides as compared to 2-3hr XC riding/racing. I need a lot, a lot more food when on the road. Provided that a good pre event eating plan has been followed (4-5g carb/kg 3-4hrs before) I can get away with 1 small bottle of energy drink/hour. On shorter road rides performed at high intensity this can work too.

200 grams carbs 4 hrs before the ride, and then on this 4hr road ride I went through 2 large bottle of power bar drink, 2 potatoes, started to bonk, then 1 PBJ, started to bonk again, then at the store got a mid sized Gatorade and small package of doughnuts and was bonking again by the time we got home.

The other thing that surprizes me is how you can be at ready to just explode but then sit in the draft for a little bit and you're all better and ready to rock. On the mountain bike it seems that once I implode that it's much more difficult to recover back. Especially on terrain like we have here. This is why I'm so focused on pacing properly in mtb races and try to be careful to not go so hard that I end up going backwards and never recovering.

What a great ride. It felt good to get one like this under my belt. Hat's off to my friend John who is becoming a monster. We may be only a sample size of 2, but our results based on the time we put in indicate that Morris is the shi*t.

Unfortunately, when I got home both kids were home sick with the Flu. My wife had to go pick them up from school..within a few hours of each other.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Training update

As of this past Saturday I was feeling much better and got back on the bike. The plan as to go easy for 1.5 hrs but that wasn't going to work.

Given the planned rest week and the additional time off from being sick, I just had to let the legs go a little. Combine that with the horrendous wind and the ride was harder than 'planned'

The legs were feeling spetacular and on a very steep extended hill they just flew. I had a compact crankset on there and it took the edge off the hill enough that it was pure power the whole way up.

1.5hrs isn't too much but I was really tired the rest of the day. So I just napped and went to sleep early.

Sunday was some MSP on the trainer. 3x10 planned but I just did 2. I didn't want to push it too much after being sick.

Monday I did some more MSP but outside on some real hills. The legs were definitely starting to fade some. It's funny how they've been rested for more than a week and a half but it takes just two days to fatigue them.

The hills are a great place to do MSP on the 2nd or 3rd day in a block. It's good motivation and a good interval because you gotta make it to the top and you can't cheat as much as on a flat road.

It was hard. There was a headwind, strong headwind, blowing down the road. Usually hills are a good place to go when it's windy but not today. 2x10 min on one hill and then 1x10 on this other very steep hill.

Overall a good workout. But mentally it felt like I was crawling. These 2nd/3rd day consecutive days of training play with your head a little. Because I always compare them to the really good days when the legs are fersh. It's actually rare that you can ride feeling like superman. But it's these rides where you push 2 and 3 days in a row where the best training actually takes place.

Of course, temper these blocks with plenty of rest.

Monday was a more mtb specific workout. 1bys but with 0:45 rest. This is where you start training the body to go hard with insufficient rest. Tough workouts. But it went pretty well.

Day off today, 1hr Zone 2 tomorrow. Then if work opens up, may subsitute a long easy ride in place of an MSP workout.

Overall, I'm feeling ok. The legs are tired but I think they'll bounce back after two days of rest. Mentally, it felt like I went slow on the second day of hillclimbing but I compared my times on one of the climbs to last year. I was 1 minute slower than my best time. But with the headwind and being early in the year that's actually really good.

I'm not as hungry as during the SMSP phase.

A little tired but as usual regular life is in full swing. One kid was sick, second kid is really sick now, working nights a little. Been losing a little sleep, but worse is my wife has been losing more sleep. Word o the wise. If Momma aint happy aint nobody happy.

So I'm not going to really overdo it until things settle down a bit more.

Interesting thoughts on Cleat position

A friend pointed this out to me.

Joe Friel's cleat position experiments

This is pretty wild. I've had some fittings performed by Serotta trained fitters. They like the pedal axle to be under the ball of the foot. I prefer the cleat to be back farther for 2 reasons.

1) it helps relieve pressure off my foot nerves and helps some with my 'hoot foot'
2) moving the cleat to the aft provides a more controlled feeling at the pedal.

However, I've only moved my cleats as far back as the existing holes would allow. What Friel did and the guy he referenced did is move it to the arch. That's a big change.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Health Update

*Warning* Don't read this is you don't want to hear grossed out discussion about sinus issues** Otherwise read on.

If you didn't know I got a pretty good sinus infection starting around last Saturday. Went on Augmentin antibiotics on Monday. From Sat to this past Sat I'd pretty much been out of it and not pleasant to be around.

The combination of sinus pressure and decongestant drugs created that detached out-of-body feeling. I did get on a the trainer a few times and spun around but also did a few short/hard efforts. Though for the most part been out of comission.

On Saturday, exactly 5 days after starting the 10day course of horse pills, I finally felt pretty good and could get off the Sudafed.

I used to get sinus infections regularly until a few years ago when I underwent septoplasty. During the procedure the ENT also drained a sinus that had not been emptying which was probably causing the constant infections. The septoplasty worked ok. Though it wasn't a complete success at undeviating the deviated part. I've still got lots of congestion but for the most part have been sinus infection free.

Until last week. This last run in has got me motivated about being a little more proactive about avoiding another one. I appreciated getting the comments from readers about their remedies. I'm going to try to be dilligent.

Here's the gross parts. Last week I got a Sinus rinse kit and tried it out.

My ENT had mentioned nasal washes years ago but I never followed through. This thing is a simple bottle that you mix in a special saline solution. They also make powered ones that fall underneath the term pulsatile irrigation systems. It's basically a Waterpik with a nose attachement.

The bottle option cost $12.99, the nose hose cost $100. I figured I'd try the 12dollar jobby out first. The big marketing issue on the Grossan is that it supposedly pulses at the same rate as the cilia in the nose.

Anyway, it took about a day to get the nerve up to try it. Basically you bend over the sink and willingly put water up your nose. You squeeze the bottle slowly and the freakest thing happens. Your sinus fill up and then it starts pouring out the other side. It wasn't too bad at all actually. Provided I follow some simple steps
-squeeze gently
-use warmed water
-keep your mouth open and breathe through your mouth
-after doing one side 'lightly' blow the nose. Too hard and you just blow fluid into the ears and they get plugged
-be prepared for some more to drip out over the next 20mins

It's the sh*t. The best part is telling my wife I'm going to be doing it and seeing her get the heeby-geebies.

The feeling is exactly like getting water up your nose when you dive into a pool or do a somersault underwater w/o blowing out your nose. It sure does seem to wash out a lot of mucus and I seem to breathe better afterwards.

I would be intersted in hearing comments from anyone who's had experience with both methods and what they like better.

I'll be going to the ENT later this month to discuss the pulsatil irrigation and am planning on going back on a steriod nasal spray (Nascort) and Singulair. I'd used both in the past but just stopped and tried to go back to them 'as needed' but my research has supported exactly what the ENT told me when I went on them, that their efficacy is based on regular daily use.

Should I catch even the slightest cold, at the first sign of the creeping crud I'll go on Sudafed 24hr straight for at least 3 days.

I'll be finishing out the anti-biotic course and hopefully am back to normal. Ironically, after I went to the doctor we took my son the next day. He'd been as congested as me for even longer but we'd been just getting used to it and didn't make a connection to a sinus infection until mine got bad. He's finally getting better after getting some meds too. Normally we don't get anti-biotics for every little thing. But when you need them, you need them.

Even more racing in Virginia

Cville Racing triple Threat

Camp Hilbert Race Series

There is more racing in VA this year than you can shake a stick it. Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to attend these races. With family, I have to be very picky about the events I go to. It's an all day affair with driving/racing, and actually more like a 2-3 day affair in terms of bike prep and packing and unpacking,etc.

There's nothing like a race for good training. Coaches always say that 'when sufficiently motivated' you can produce good power even on the 2nd/3rd day of a block. There is nothing like a race to create a sufficiently motivating environment.

Hopefully this trend will continue for a while. These smaller races and race series like the Derailler Series are wonderful incubators for creating dedicated racers that once addicted will be forced to race the better part of their lives.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Initial impressions of compact crankset

In an earlier post I have shared my thoughts on possibly going to a compact crankset for our hilly terrain.

I got an ebay Ritchey Pro WCS compact crankset which came with a 34t ring. I also got an additional 36t ring to have two options. The crankset required an Octalink BB and I found a lightly used ultegra.


First impressions/installation issues
The Ritchey WCS pro is one of the best values out there for a compact crankset. Supposedly very stiff, decent weight, and a great price tag. The Ultegra octalink BB, while 'obsoleted' by Shimano has a great track record for durability and function and are still readily available at very reasonable prices.

The crankset is sharp looking. I'd have gotten silver if it was available though. The box came with the self extracting hardware and crank bolts. I am scared of those self extracting things and just use a crank removal tool, but I did put the dust caps in.

I've had some problems keeping the crank bolts staying tight. Either I need some more locite or need to switch to steel crank bolts.

It was slightly difficult to get the crankset seated on to the ocatlink spines but it finally installed properly. There is some chainring wobble inherent in the crank arms. This made adjusting the front derailleur more diffcult and I'm just accepting it.

My existing front derailleur was an old Campy Chorus. It had some serious play in it. I just could not get the thing to shift up to the big ring very well at all. I figured that it was just worn out. Since I needed a new one anyway I figured I'd go with one of those compact specific front derailleurs and found an FSA C-16.

God what a POS. Stay away. It did nothing to improve the shifting up to the big ring. I returned it for a Campy Record and after much tweaking I got it working pretty well. It's still not the quickest or smoothest going up to the big ring, but it's not bad.

From my forum searches it seems that if you want the best shifting it's better to stay with components from the same manufacturer. Shimano cranksets/front derailleur combinations 'seemed' to have the best shifting performance from the forum chatter. If you go Campy, the campy compact front derailleurs seem to only work with Campy compact cranksets. And Sram works with Sram. Regular campy and shimano front der. seem to work with other 3rd party cranksets and my current experience supports this. Even though the 34/50 combo falls outside the specs of a regular campy front der max capacity.

riding experience
It's a pretty big jump from a 50t to a 34t. Consequently, when you shift from the 50t to the 34t you need to also grab several gears in the back to keep from spinning out.

I've got a 27t in the back. And even with all the steep hills around here the 34t might be a tad overkill. However, I am going to save it for this. In fact the Mountains of Misery is the whole reason I've been focusing on this issue. It is 102 or 103 miles and the last 3-4 miles are up a Cat 0-Cat1 climb.

Shifting from the 50t to the 34t is fine and didn't have any issues with dropping a chain. If I did have any issues, I was going to get a Jump stop to mitigate chain drops. I got one for my wife who was plagued with chain drops and she hasn't had any issues so far.

I then put a 36T ring on there. The change in gearing when downshifting from the 50t to the 36t isn't as jarring as with the 34t and I don't have to grab as many gears. Shifting doesn't seem to be any better than with the stock 34t.

The climbing performance is excellent on some of the steep hills around here. Testing it out on a few of the grinders around here has confirmed my speculation that I'll climb faster with this lower gearing.
Provided that I've got the power to back it up. With strong legs, a good turnover can't be maintained. However w/o power to back it up, the lower gearing is almost a liability because it provides a lower geared bailout which is juust plain slower.

This is just like Lance. It's not that he spins fast. It's that he's got big power output and spinning fast.

The crankset allows me to find a gearing that supports a good pedal turnover. With my 39t/27 sometimes I just couldn't get a good enough turnover, and my spin would turn to the mash. While the mash might be good training sometimes it certainly is not fast for me.

It's not that it's super low gearing like a triple would provide. Super low gearing is not faster either. The 36t just takes enough of the edge off off the hill so I can get that more perfect spin. It still hurts to go hard. In fact it hurts more than the mashing because my HR doesn't seem to get that high at lower cadences. But it sure seems faster.

The 50t also allows me to stay in the big ring longer on some rollers that I might have had to downshift on. I really haven't had a chance to test it out on Harding Road or some of the other rolling routes around here, but so far I like it.

The one downside, as predicted, is long extended downhills. The lower top end means that I spin out and my downhill speed is limited.

I haven't really had the crankset on for very long but my initial impressions are good. The 34t is hanging on the wall and will go on a few weeks before MOM. I'll use it to spin 'slowly' up everything and save the legs for the backside of Mountain lake.

Initial impressions indicate that for terrain like we have out here, a 36t/50t with a 27t in the rear looks to be a great compromise. But regardless of 39t, 36t or 34t with weak/burned out legs is still the same thing.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Not really back on the horse..more like side saddle

I'm not really back on the training program yet. Still not feeling well enough to push too hard.

But I had to do something to get the legs checked out and just get that gosh darn it you're good enough pat on the back that the legs haven't atrophied away. Today called for some 4on 2 off intervals: 4 sets of 2 reps

I just warmed up and then 2 reps and got off. Just enough to get the legs going.

I'm just going to take it easy the next 3 days and do a few short efforts to keep from wasting away. The excercise does help loosen my congestion some. Unfortunately, I am not clearing out my sinuses very well and need to explore some of the alternatives that readers have left comments on.

It's kind of a bummer. Things were going so well and the wind just gets taken out of the sails. But it's probably a blessing in disguise. It's a long season and there will be time to rebuild. Too much enthusiasm can lead to quick burnout so hopefully this unplanned break will result in renewed focus.

Oh well, it happens. In the words of that (in)famous ear-biting boxer: "Everyone has plan until they get hit"