Sunday, March 29, 2009

Silver Comet Sunday

Because of the weather we missed our Saturday group ride with storms rolling through and on the backside of the front was much cooler wind and high humidity making it a day that indoor training sounds better.

Nevertheless, Edgar and I set out for an hour out and an hour back despite the weather. We also had an opportunity to hook up with Derek as he begins to train again after knee surgery. Edgar is also on the comeback trail and is just now starting to ramp up his training again, but I have to say that he was quite impressive.

A little back story about Edgar. He is my friend that got me addicted to cycling back in 2004 and as a newbie cyclist I struggled to hang with Edgar on the flat Silver Comet trail. Skip ahead a few years later and I still enjoy training on the Comet when I am not with my cycling group. It makes for a good recovery ride after an intense group ride on Saturday's, but since we missed yesterday I had to push the pace a bit harder than a recovery ride. Well to be honest I never really do a recovery ride on the Comet because there is always "rabbits to chase" as Edgar has taught me.

Back to the ride today. Right out of the gate I put on a tougher pace not knowing if that would be too much for Edgar since he has been off the bike for a little while, but based on what I experienced today trying to keep up with Edgar it was like old times, but better. At least now the two of us can work well together pushing the pace and later in the summer some of those snobby racer boys on the Comet may have a little more trouble holding our wheel. Even in the headwinds we were holding in the 20's and on the way back we were holding the mid 20's for long stretches.

As far as what the power meter data was able to inform me after the ride was that this effort on a flat asphalt path was every bit as much as a spirited group ride on our regular hilly roads. Before I left the parking lot I knew I was going to be excited about seeing the data. Being able to get back to the place I started cycling and be riding with Edgar, who got me hooked on cycling and to be able to work with Edgar to swap the pull just makes it another memorable training moment with my friend. Cold feet thawing out under the truck heater on the drive home, but the joy of knowing the elements couldn't hold our pace back today. Now that was much better than sitting in the comfort of home on the boring bike trainer watching the minutes tick.

Well Done, Edgar!!! Great Effort!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Riverstone Parkway Hill Repeats

On Tuesday I talked Edgar in joining me on a session of hill repeats on Riverstone Parkway in Canton. Until now I have been doing mostly indoor training during the weekday, but this was my first time in a long time to slip out of work at 5 pm.

I believe I am in a bit of a training slump at the moment, but to get outside for a change was refreshing and it was good to have my good friend along for the 45 minute training session.

Hopefully I can work consistently on this and show some improvement later in the summer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jasper Burnt Mountain 57 Mile Route

Yesterday I faced my arch nemesis, Burnt Mountain, for the first time of 2009 with 8 of my cycling friends. The participants on this rather cool and very breezy (understatement at times) morning were Nancy, Gary, Mike, Rick, Peter, Keith Kudlac, Keith Bolton, Jack and me.

It was a rough day for me as it always seems to be when Burnt Mountain is concerned. Most of my crashes have been when doing this route and one was pretty severe. Today was no exception with some issues. Right off the start as I was leading the group out I got into a rough section of pavement and my bike got all squirrely on me and I got very close to crashing, but was able get stopped in time.

Climbing the west side of the mountain wasn't too bad even though I was at the back. My goal was just to keep an eye on the power meter and keep my wattage in a certain range for this time of the season. Half way up the climb we all got hit by some very heavy headwinds that just made it just that much harder. Winds that would make one cringe even on flat roads much less a nine mile climb. On the way down the east side I was extra cautious and was the last down, but I found out that I am still really struggling to regain some confidence on descending, which honestly makes things worse. It is also an uncomfortable time with being cold in the start and then getting over heated later from being overdressed. I am looking forward to the warmer weather and I am sure most of my friends are as well.

From Steve Tate Road until we got to Afton we were in some stinging rollers that just kept taking little bits out of us. I knew by then that this was not a good day for me. I started thinking about how much overtime I have been working that is hurting my training time. I was actually training more hours back in January than now and the decrease time in the saddle is now starting to show on the rides. I can't complain about work with the economy like it is so we deal with what we are given and keep moving forward.

We stopped again at a little church on Juno Road and the point where Rick Neilson needed to head back so he broke off the group and we kept pushing forward. Earlier my Garmin 705 stops showing the route, but we have done this route enough times that we could just keep going by memory.
Darn gadgets!!!

Climbing the east side of Burnt Mountain is where I encountered some odd troubles so I fell way off the back of the group. I stopped to take off my vest to help stay a little cooler on the climb and I also unzipped my jersey. When I did this the headphone cord dropped and guess where it went? Straight into the spoke of my front wheel. I had to stop again to get that cord unraveled and it was trashed.
Darn gadgets!!!

By the time I did the climb, descended and got back to the parking area everyone had changed their clothing as if they had been there for quite a while.

Today I feel very rundown, sore and as if I am fighting an illness. With the sick people in my office and the work stress I have had lately maybe my poor performance was due to this. This past week with my indoor training was also lackluster so today I think I may do a short recovery spin on the trainer and take a short walk with Cindi at the park.

What was cool was that Keith Bolton and Nancy Alexander had their first time on Burnt Mountain and seemed to do quite well.

Burnt Mountain continues to be my arch nemesis, but I will keep coming back until it no longer is.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

1 Hour And Then 2

Looking at the forecast of 100% chance of rain and wind early this morning and chatting with some of the guys it was time to make the call and cancel the hope of meeting at the brewery for a ride. I sure hated not being able to ride with the gang today, but it was time to get it started and give it go.

My plan was to get in at least a solid hour on the trainer, which is barely tolerable to most and to me, but then as I think about 3 State 3 Mountain coming up in 7 weeks and only 6 weeks left to train I was a bit more motivated to put in the second hour. It was just me, the bike trainer, a stupid movie playing on TV and my trusty ipod shuffle with my training play list lined up. Oh and most important a high speed fan to help keep me from overheating.

This image reflects Interval 1 effort

After warming up my focus and effort was pretty good and my goal was to stay close to training in the sweet spot. Despite the fan there was a nice pool building below on the rubber mat, my breathing was labored, but my legs felt pretty good.

This image reflect Interval 2 effort

After a 5 minute rest the second interval was a bit more tough to keep a mental focus and the physical effort began to taper. Since I was not using a carbohydrate replacement while training my tank was about empty toward the end, but it was the mental focus that was the biggest struggle.

The next images reflect the overall training event with part of the play list.

(click images to enlarge)

I would have rather been out on the road with my friends today.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Recovery at the Comet

I got an email from Gary this morning telling about soreness in his legs and mine were as well. With Cindi's blessing I headed out to the Silver Comet for an hour out, rest a few minutes and an hour back. For early March the weather was great, but a bit breezy on the way out. Bad thing is I forgot to load my PowerTap computer and had to do the ride based on perception and a watch. This may have been a good thing since I was trying to do a recovery ride. I just kept my heart rate comfortable and the pedal strokes as consistent as possible based on foot traffic and intersection stops. On the way back I momentarily lost my senses when 3 riders came by me at a good speed. I tagged on to the pace line and when we got to a slight incline they slowed down a little so I went to the front and put on a solid pace. This went on for a few miles and I noticed my heart rate rising so I gave the signal that I was pulling off. I kept a good pace the remaining miles and by the end the soreness in my legs were pretty much gone. Success!!

The only data that I have is that I did the first 15 miles in 54 minutes with a head wind and about 48 minutes for the returning 15 miles in 48 minutes. That roughly equates to 17.6 mph average. Not too bad considering I was doing a recovery ride by perception.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Journey to McGill Mountain Road

Mapmyride Route

Ride Photos by Quellet Cycling

Quellet Cycling
Where do I start with this blog entry? As usual it starts with rallying some riders for Saturday and I dug up a 54 mile route starting from the brewery that I had only done once. I adjusted that route and stretched it out to a 60 mile route and emailed the gang and it looked like I had some interested in the route as something a little different from the roads we have grown accustomed to lately. There were three groups of cyclists (mainly NARC members) and 9 decided to join me on this misty morning start (that wasn't in the forecast). The participants today were me, David, Jack, Gary Mike, Peter, Neil, Rod, Keith and Carole (who was new to our group, but she is a seasoned cyclist)

I can boast about the route because I did not create it to start with, but it did turn out to have a nice variety of terrain as we start to ramp up training for 3 State 3 Mountain. We had flatter roads with fast pace lines and at one point near the half way mark we were close to a 19 mph average without really hammering hard. We had a longer easy climb up Rock Fence Road and on the second half we encountered McGill Mountain Road, which had some short steep sections mixed in the climb. Once we were past that area the route still had some stingers of rolling hills that just kept lowering that average speed. Yet we kept moving along at a good pace with the sun beaming down and a smile on our faces for another awesome day on the North Georgia back roads. The group was great and I felt no stress as some tried to pin the "ride leader" label on me. I was content to roll along at what ever pace I felt and the group was right there and sometimes I was quite comfortable sitting toward the back cruising with my buddies.

The only disappointment of the day was that my Garmin 305 kept turning off while I was trying to lead this ride. Fortunately Gary had the route loaded, but still a bummer because I wanted to track the data of this route and the elevation gain.