Friday, December 29, 2006


Strength period only has two days per week. I've started to get on the bike in between those days. Yesterday John and I did the Flatwoods loop. Flat is not correct. There's some steep grunts on this ride.

My legs are screaming. The biggest limiter is the lower back. It's fatigued from the lifting. It's quite apparent to me how important the lower back is to cycling. It's the keystone for power transfer. With it fatigued I can just feel or actually not feel the power getting put down. The legs just can't tick over when the grade increases.

The good thing is that I'm strengthening the lower back a lot during this time and just have to accept that right now it will feel fatigued on rides. About 1.5hrs into a road ride it starts to ache.

My head was aching the rest of the day and into the night. Must have a sinus infection as the congestion I've been experiencing has been going on for a few weeks now with no sign of getting better.

Today Scott joined us. He didn't hear the part about it being easy. We rolled down one of my favorite rides in the area. The Tabor to Gravel Hill to Harding loop. It's got some rollers in it but not too bad. Coming back on Harding it is just a screamfest. This road just begs to be ridden hard.

At the county sign just before Gravel Hill I tried to sprint for it. Scott's sort of new to the area and wasn't really aware of the sign. You know it's a bad sprint when someone is on your wheel the whole time and then after your sprint they ask, Oh was that a sign to sprint for.

Scott got on the front on the way back on Harding and just dieseled it. It was interesting to watch his technique when hitting some small rollers. It looked like he'd keep the same gear or even drop to a lower gear and stand just slightly, sort of like squatting over the bike. And then increase cadence. Very similar to what I do in mountain biking when hitting a technical section. Momentum is conserved and you can roll right up and over.

Things were going well until we hit this short climb. It's a climb that is always a gauge for me. If I can roll up it w/o losing momentum I'm on. If I have to drop to an easier gear I'm not.

At the bottom of the climb Scott pulls off for me to take the lead. I can feel my head getting dizzy, and my back aching. And murmur to no one in particular that I'm going to pop. And then I just imploded.

John smelled the blood and shot off with Scott in tow. By the time I got to the top I could see them all the way down at the bottom. It's a privilege to watch John get better and better every year. Though it's starting to hurt now.

Going up Harding was survival mode. And actually felt the twinges of leg cramps.

At the top
Scott: Are you guys riding tomorrow?
Me:Awww, nooo I wasn't planing on it.
John: Not really, I'm fried.

Without missing a beat
Scott: so is anyone riding tomorrow?

Ok twist my arm.

It's not the time of year to go too hard. And I'm wise enough to take it easy and will. But before tomorrow's ride I'm taking Sport Legs.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Strength training burnout

I'm starting to burn out on the strength training. This year the repeat of the hypertrophy/strength cycles isn't working out as well as last year.

My heart isn't into it. I'm cutting some sets short and just want to be done. There's been too many small breaks caused by Christmas and work commitments and it's dragging the lifting out longer than I'd hoped.

The weather has been mild and I feel like I'm losing out on some good riding days and that winter is going to hit hard just when it's time to get on the bike.

2wks Hyp
2Wks strength
2wks Hyp
2Wks strength (with some rides thrown on on off days)
2Wks power

Too much this time around
Next year I might go back to
3wks hyp
2wks strength
2wks power

or maybe
2wks hyp
2wks strength
1wk hyp
2wks strength (starting to ride)
2wks power

shock therapy

Visitng my parents.

Just lifting a little,no aerobic activity. LOTS and lots of food with lots of bad choices around. At least this year I didn't eat an entire candy jar of peanut butter cups.

Haven't had hardly any sweets at all. But I did have some. And I sort of feel like Bart Simpson when he keeps sticking his finger in a light socket and getting shocked.

I had some chocolate cake for my neices birthday (xmas eve baby). Tiny small piece of cake. 1/2 hr later my stomach feels bloated.

Today, just had 3 small cookies..Zap. Stomach feels a little bloated.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More musings on nutrition / reactive hypoglycemia

Haven't been riding too much but have been lifting in the morning. Most times I've been feeling really lightheaded while lifting.

I know that small amounts of carbohydrates trigger a reactive hypoglycemic affect in me which leads to the bonked feeling. I've tried to have a solid meal with more than 70g of carb for breakfast. This has included oatmeal, yogurt/grapenuts, etc. The problem is that I eat and then go to the gym within 1/2 hr.

Today I just had 2 eggs and a small glass of soy milk and coffee. Felt much better at the gym though had some light headedness. The coffee might have something to do with that. See this article

In the mornings, I think it's better for me to have no carbohydrates and then when I start working out, be it cycling or lifting, intake energy drink. And then afterwards to intake a lot of carbs.

For events later in the day or races my pre event meals need at least 3hrs to digest and level out my blood sugar. If I can't eat that far in advance of a ride, maybe it's better to not eat and then to intake energy drink while on the ride. It seems that I fall into this trap of worrying that I need to eat before a ride. But only have an hour. I eat and then get lightheaded and the ride sucks.

Grazing is something that is recommended, but I've found that it can sometimes lead to a perpetual bonked feeling. Each small meal elicits a reactive event. An hour-2hr later when I eat again the same thing happens.

So far sticking to lower Glycemic Index doesn't seem to be solving the problems

Thankfully, my pre-event eating is working out well, and I'm racing without bonking. However it takes a lot of preparation and timing. Most days it's hard to plan properly. But if I want to train well that means I need to plan better.

Monday, December 18, 2006

cold feet

My feet get cold a lot. Part of it is some circulation issues as I get hot foot (tingly) feeling all the time. Part of it is perpetually clammy feet.

I've tried foot powder and antiperspirant for the claminess to no avail.

Orthotics have helped with the hot foot but they still get cold a lot.

If it's under 50 or it's windy, I wear these toe covers:

I've got some Lake waffle stompers that are very heavy. They are warm, but my feet still get cold in them once they have gotten clammy
I have to change my road pedals over to SPuDs to use them though.

With the road I've been trying some different things.
-One size bigger shoe.
-Wool socks. Woollie Bollies are a new favorite that I wear all the time actually. They help some in the cold but not as much as I'd hoped.

-Layering is the defacto standard for dealing with cold weather. Unless you wear shoes that are 3 sizes big it can be hard to layer the feet. So I'm going to layer on the outside of the shoe this time.

-I'm trying this strategy the next really cold day

-Shoe covers: These are the socklike things that you see time trialists wear.

(Longs Cycle has some)
**NOTE** you just cut a slit for your cleat, you don't cut a hole the size of your cleat.

-then a windproof outer cover. Windtex rules.


-And a chemical toe warmer packet in between.

I'm hoping this will get me to the bearable stage in the 25-30s.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An interesting idea for weight control

Josh Horowitz is a cycling coach who posts articles over at Pez Cycling News. This is from an article he wrote on being your own coach. One of the tips he discusses is for losing/maintaining weight while still keeping energy levels up for cycling:

Q #9. I’ve been trying desperately to lose weight, but it’s hard to diet and keep my energy levels up for training. What should I do?

A. Losing weight is a very tough proposition for a cyclist. How do you cut calories while maintaining your energy levels? My philosophy is that rather than cutting calories, you must increase your metabolism so that the more you eat, the more you burn.

Besides eating sensibly (which I am going to assume most of you know how to do), I have picked up a few tricks over the years that seem to work. First, Metabolism is the main thing you are fighting against. Forget counting carbs and calories. The cyclists metabolism often adjusts precisely to match whatever your daily intake is, so if you eat less, it slows down and if you eat more it speeds up (to a lesser extend as we get older). The idea is to trick your metabolism into thinking it is getting more food than it is in order to keep your body from shutting down and going into starvation mode.

My trick is to eat normally all day (especially immediately after a ride) but then eat an early dinner (as early as possible). If possible, substitute the pasta and bread for something like steamed broccoli or asparagus. It’s actually not that bad with a little salt and you’d be surprised how quickly it will fill you up. Don’t worry about the portion size. You’re not going to get fat eating broccoli. Then right before you go to bed make sure to have some sort of low carb protein supplement which you will need to rebuild the muscle that you’ve been tearing down during the day.

Keep in mind this only applies if your morning ride is less than 2 hours long. If you are going to wake up first thing in the morning and do a long ride, you will have to eat a little more the night before.

Finally, always eat a little snack before you go for your morning ride. This will get your metabolism switched on so the engine is running and stays running all morning even though all you are giving it is a measly 100 calorie banana or an apple. I often notice that I will bonk faster on a morning ride after eating a small breakfast than if I had eaten nothing at all due to the fact that my metabolism is running faster than had I eaten nothing at all. Green tea is also a great metabolic booster, especially if you haven’t desensitized yourself to caffeine through years of coffee abuse.

Observe your energy levels on your rides. If you do this right, it should not affect your workouts. If you do it wrong, you will start to notice a lack of energy and decreased workouts. If that happens, just up your calorie intake a bit before your ride. Also, always bring a gel when you ride since while you’re doing this there will always be the possibility of bonking.

Of note is his observation of bonking faster after eating a small meal vs not eating anything at all. I experience this a lot. But for me I think it's reactive hypoglycemia and not so much that my metabolism is switched on. Not good for an interval workout or mountain bike ride or hard group ride, but for an aerobic road ride maybe ok.

Also of note is the sensible eating. While it's hard, the easiest ticket to losing weight is to cut out the crap. fries, chips, candy, soda, beer, icecream. I feel sort of fortunate that my tastebuds got reporgrammed cause it is not nearly as hard as I expected to have cut out the sugary sweets.

nails in the coffin

If yesterday's ride was hard today's ride put the nails into the coffin. Scott, John and I did a road ride. I'd forgotten how hard road rides can be. Scott's a 20year veteran of road riding and he just drilled it. I wished I'd popped some sportlegs.

The route had lots of small/steep hills and one extended climb. My legs were just in agony the whole time. I'm amazed at the difference between road riding and mountain biking and how important economy of motion is.

I've got more than 17 years of mountain biking under my belt. In that time you learn how to move on a bike and how to work with the trail to be efficient. All these tricks serve to develop your economy on the bike. It seems that road riding is no different. As the snot is dripping from my nose and I'm trying to just hold a wheel while my pedaling feels like a square, my overanalyzing mind is trying to figure out why in the blink of an eye Scott is 5 bike lengths ahead of me. No standing, no sprinting, he's just gone. And why is that when I'm pulling that he is never a few inches off my wheel, regardless of my fitness.

I think it's a combo of two things. One is that there is a different economy of motion on the road bike compared to the mountain bike. The other thing is that good road riders are always pedaling. There is always power being applied to the wheels. On the mountain bike, there are hundereds of built in recovery spots where you can't pedal due to descending, cornering, rocks, etc. I believe that I'm used to not pedaling for small amounts of time. On the road ride today, I'd catch myself not pedaling when I should be. This seemd to correspond to the times when Scott would be teleported several bike lengths ahead.

The constant leg burn is something you don't see as much in mountain biking. Also my lower back and neck hurts more road riding because you're upper body is more static.

This past year I've put more time into the mountain bike. Being overly concerned that I'd lose my skills. Yesterday's ride proved to me that you don't need to ride off road every day to maintain your skills. It's more important to know the fundamentals and focus on them. The road riding I've done has been more base intensity or climbing by myself . Very few hard group road rides. It's been interesting to note the difference in my mountain biking ability to my road riding ability at high intensity.

I'm just a lot better on the mountain bike. Hence the comfort zone tends to be on the mountain bike. I think it's really time to leave the comfort zone a little. My speculation is that road riding is more complimentary of mountain biking than mountain biking is of road riding.

It's going to take some effort to overcome my trepidation of big group rides. But the benefit of getting drilled into the ground weekly will pay off big at the mountain bike races.

Today's efforts were out of the norm for this time of year. It's a special exception but I'm sort of looking forward to doing it again when the time right.

Drill that BB

Why am I going to take a drill to my frame and put a hole in the bottom bracket?

This is why

I was blown away with how much water was in there. And this is from not too many wet/rainy rides or washings.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Whew. Fried legs, smokers hack. bonked, lower back screaming, dehydrated. all good.

I've been in that phase where the less you ride the harder it is to actually motivate to get out an ride. Work is really hectic and I'm just trying to follow the strength training plan and get to the next phase.

The ride last Friday was so bad that I was resigned to feeling that rides during this time of year aren't that good and I was just going to go lift cause that was what was on the plan. Thankfully John emailed saying that he was getting out on a mtb ride. Scott is also back in town from China so I called to see if he want to get out too.

We've had this ungodly warm weather, but it was a little chilly this morning. Totally way overdressed. We climbed Old Farm and roasted. Middle ring the whole way. It's actually easier than when going for time, because the big gear keeps the heartrate and breathing down except for the real technical sections.

Went down beast. Love love that trail. Then some Gap stuff and up sidewinder.

Climbing the fire rode of sidewinder, Scott put his roadie riding into play and just hossed it. I'm trying to learn from his style of never letting go of a wheel and just stared at his wheel the whole way up riding the edge of the redline. He's so smart and crafty. He lets up just a hair at the top of a rise to bait me to pass him, which I always do, and then he jumps on my wheel and waits and takes it to me because I over did it on the pass.

I'm almost on my hands and knees wanting to puke. Thinking to myself that this isn't the time of year to be going so hard. But it was nice to actually be able to even attempt it. In past years riding during this time has been terrible. Cardio usually has failed me. So I'm pleasantly surprised that I was actually able to ride well.

Climbed to the middle than rode down to help someone with a flat,back up than down OF and another flat towards the top. Went back up to help out and that did me in.

Amazed at how big a gear I ran all day. The legs fried towards the end but I thought they'd fail sooner. The FS rides better under a bigger gear. It doesn't bob as much. My bike doesn't bob much to begin with either but it felt stiffer under a bigger gear.

Handling was good. Even though I haven't been doing any skill work. Sometimes taking a total break from something helps. Though core skills like vision and braking need work.

Nutrition is one of the keys for me. Ate smart this morning. Last Friday nutrition had killed me.

Riding with certain people brings out the best in you. Fitness wise and handling wise. The opposite can be true with other types of people.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

hy-puke-trophy part II

I started me second round of hypertrophy today. The weights are higher than the first round because I reset my maxs.

By the end of the 2nd week of strength I'm supposed to be doing
2reps of squat at 200lbs
2 reps of leg press at 515lbs
(**yes I've read MTB strength coach's treatise against leg press**)
2reps of 105 on the Hamstring curl
2reps at 165 stiff legged dead lift (which really isn't that much)

But this hypertrophy phase messes me up.
6 sets 10-12 reps upping weight every other set. UGH
4 workouts a week

2 weeks of this
2 weeks of strength- which will include some rides
then 2 weeks of power which includes some longer rides/ sprints

Then into endurance.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Winter clothing reviews and thoughts

Reposting some reviews of winter stuff.

Foxwear Evap winter Jacket

Base Layer shootout
*I've decided that s3 works best when used with a jersey or light vest. When used with a windblock jacket it gets clammy. The Craft pro dri is my favorite all around base. It wicks away moisture, is warm, but doesn't have that clammy or chilly feel like other base layers

The winter gloves I've got suck. Goretex gloves, but the thumb is all leather. Bulky as all get out. My hands are cold, or sweat too much. Other options:

PI-Amfib Glove
Lake MX Zero
Craft Siberian

For anything over 40
Windproof shell layered with liner gloves works well

My wife just got some Pi Gavia gloves. They look like they'd be warm but she went running in some 25-30 degree weather and they didn't do jack.


Perf Triflex look to be the best value for a cold weather tight

Layering leg warmers with a tight buys you at another 10 degrees of warmth

-Windproof booties

Layer with a light shoe cover

Put a chemical heat pack in between them.

wool socks

It doesn't really matter. My feet will be cold no matter what. The best I can do is just do everything I can to just make it bearable.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Too cold to be fun

The shop sponsored a mtb ride with Trek Pro Sue Haywood yesterday afternoon at 3pm. The stars weren't aligning for this ride. Work was slammed all day. didn't have lunch till 2: Chinese food==> reactive hypoglycemia. Rush rush rush to just get out there.

I got there late in my work coveralls and several layers. I hate being the one that slows down the group from getting going. So while everyone was freezing their butt off I shed the clothes and changed as fast as I could.

It was cold. Mid-upper 20s with high winds. The sun was starting to go down so there was no warmth coming from the sun. I've always felt that it is too easy to over dress for mtb riding especially on the terrain we have here. Typically, I'm cold at the start and then usually cursing for all the layers I've got on.

NOT this time. It was cold from the get go and cold all the way through. Feet and hands were blocks. My feet had been sweaty and clammy when I started but I didn't take the time to change into dryer socks before the ride. Mistake. There was this weird disconnected feeling for me. The timing was off so the bike didn't seem to move right when I want it to. Braking in thick gloves was slowed. My head was light bonky feeling. It felt like I could have easily rode right into a tree.

The wind just blasted against your face. Faces were turning reddish blue/purple that coordinated with the Trek Red jersey.

Downhill was surreal. The trees went by in a blur, the balaclava I had on muted the wind and the trail sounds. The body wasn't responding quite as fast as it should. So every corner was wrong, and brakes were grabbed at the wrong time.

It's amazing also how the fitness changes through the year. This time of year it's actually a surprise that I can turn a pedal. My heart was racing and my lungs were gasping. The group mentatlity was fast today. One just to stay warm and two because there's a pro around.

But it's not the time of year to be fast. Thought it still a mind trick to be huffing and puffing and not going anywhere fast.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I've been riding a little bit lately. Hour here hour there, road or mountain. One thing I noticed is that my lower back is quite fatigued after just a short time on the bike.

Obviously the squats, deadlifts, core work have been keeping my lower back busy. It's interesting how something that is located above the legs can have such a huge impact on the transfer of power to the pedals. The lower back is like a conduit for power transfer.

When riding during these months, it's so easy to compare performance to just a few short months ago. Especially if you ever ride with someone who keeps similar fitness year round as compared to someone like myself who is very periodized.

I just have to remember to keep the eye on the prize. Late April, May, June..September. It's going to be a better year than last year. I know it. Which was better than the year before which was better than the year before. I know I'm not that fast compared to a lot of people. But what's important is that I'm faster than I was.

The weight room work is going well. This first Strength phase has felt too easy. But I've noticed that I'm eating a ton. And am pretty tired. I've put on a few pounds but only just recently. I've been having fun with upper body stuff and core things. I really should follow a well designed core plan such as Core Performance but I'm, just randomly doing stuff. He's got a new Core Performance for Endurance sports coming out at the end of the month that I might check out.

I've been doing dips, pullups, reverse rows. Some woodchops

And some fun balance oriented stuff like this. I'm going to thy these next.

I just can't stand any type of crunch movement anymore.

My eating has been on track since August. My stomach just can't handle much refined sugar. Except for energy drink (Gatorade, Power bar drink) that I have during riding and working out there hasn't been much sugar. I'm actually really dependent on energy drink especially mountain biking. It just seems to provide me a constant intake of carbs that keeps my blood sugar more stable. For some reason on the mtb I bonk much easier if I only eat solid food. On the road bike I can handle more solid food.

I haven't been able to finish a whole beer since before August. It's weird I know.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dave Morris' Performance Cycling

I was recommending Dave Morris's book to some people that emailed about my training and it appears to be unavailable at Amazon or BN.

Amazon has like 4 copies listed as new/used that range in price form $65 to $202.

I emailed Dave to ask what's up. He hasn't talked to the publisher but he speculates it's out of print. He suggested contacting the publisher -Ragged Mountain Press and asking them to start printing it again.

He said that the only place he's seen any has been at some local REI stores.

Honestly, if someone offered my $100 for my copy I don't think I'd sell it. I'd be devastated if I lost mine. I reread it about twice a year. Each time I'll skim some sections and read others more closely. Every time I come away with some additional nuggets of wisdom. Little concepts sink in. It's dog eared and has notes/highlights all over it.

Last night I was rereading the first chapters on physiology. It's all basic stuff I'm sure. But I get a lot out of reading these sections. It helps me connect the training I'm doing to what's going on in my body. The sections on muscles and strength training renforces what I'm doing right now.

He has a short section on eating prior to a race. It's only a few paragraphs. But it helped catalyze my quest for perfecting my pre-race eating that has helped me immensly.

Some people read the book and bitch because they don't come away with an entire canned training plan. What you get from it is a framework that requires some self knowldge and some definite individualization. There are some key concepts that are different that the other training programs (Friel, etc.) that are out there. Honestly, I tried Friel's book, and made it about 1.5 months into the program. But I've been on Dave's plan for three years now. Each to their own of course, but I think it is a great alternative to 'traditional' cycling training plans.

There's just something about his plan that gels with my mindset and my life. The periodization and the macro/micro blocks seem easier to fit into the hectic world of Married with Children and Full Time Job. I've talked to several other people who also find that it works well for those with time constraints.

I sure hope they start publishing the book again. It never seemed to have been marketed at all upon its initial release.