Saturday, February 27, 2010

Brewery to Crane Eater Road

Garmin Connect

Monday when I looked ahead at the weekend forecast it was at least sunny, but the temps were in the high 20's at the start time and then edged up to at least the low 30's as we closed in on the weekend. I was thinking that I might be the only one riding, but I prepared anyway and sent out the group email. The first email to return to me was encouraging. It was Nancy who replied, "I am ready to ride!" Exclamation point noted. Then Neal, but then that was it except for some injury notifications. I thought it would be just three or four, but to my surprise 15 were lined up this morning and ready to go. What a blessing and to boot Don "Chick Edmonston had a idea for a route change and the group was ready to go. I am very glad we went with Don's route. Flat and fast and a few more miles suits me just fine.

The Group: We had about 15 today. The regulars were me, Derek, Tim, Alan, Nancy, Neal, Bill, Mike, Keith, Claire and Don leading us out on a great route. We also had the Freehome girls with us. Penny, Shelley and Elizabeth. I hope I got your names right ;) Not sure of the guy in the grey Assos gear and the Scott bike, but he is welcome back anytime.

The Ride: Since the route change was on the spot only a couple had the cue sheet so I asked if we could ride in a manner that the group would stay together. Even at faster speeds and at times we were stretched out a little, the group did stay together. As usual after the store stop the pace picked up a little. I was a bit guilty this time as well. Tim, Nancy, Mike and Alan were also up there. My legs just felt exceptional today and I had the engine ready to go. It is days like today when it becomes difficult to show some restraint and yet when Alan made a point of the front few to stop at the church I was happy to go along with that advice.

The group split at this point with some of the guys going back on the marked route and a few of headed back toward the town of White and Old Tennessee Highway. I noticed that Penny, Shelley and Elizabeth were back off the group just a little so I dropped back to ride with them for the remaining miles. I did not mind though since it was a very pleasant day to be out and I already had some good intense training through the week. Just getting a few extra miles with new cycling friends is always a pleasure.

Route Description: flat to small rolling hills. (this is my new favorite route)

Weather: Sunny, breezy air, low humidity, start in the low 30 degree (F) and warmed up to the high 40's

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: (2)24oz. bottles with Maltodextrin/10grams Glutamine and BCAA's, (1)Cliff Bar, (1) Accel gels, (1)Post Ride 30gram whey protein drink

Power Data:
My power data looks low, but it is not indicative how my legs were feeling today. Training is starting to take effect.

Entire workout (110 watts):
Duration: 3:51:52 (4:14:54)
Work: 1503 kJ
TSS: 207.5 (intensity factor 0.74)
Norm Power: 155
Distance: 61.6 mi
Min / Max / Avg
Power: 0 / 814 / 110 watts
Cadence: 29 / 244 / 77 rpm
Speed: 2.2 / 35.4 / 16.2 mph
Pace 1:42 / 26:49 / 3:42 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 / 368 / 50 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 / 1036 / 125 lb-in

Lighten the Load

If you ask or say this phrase in context of cycling, many cyclist seem to first focus their thoughts on the bike and I have to admit that I went through that phase myself down to having titanium bolts and carbon bottle cages. My current primary bike is a LOOK 585 and with everything including the heavier Power Tap hub (except full bottles) the bike weighs less than 16 pounds. However, I have this bike for other reasons and not just based on what it weights. What is the difference between having a 30 gram carbon bottle cage and a 40 gram plastic cage? Put one in the right hand and one in the left hand and see if you can tell the difference of 5 grams. But if you can stand to lose 5, 10 or more pounds now we are talking about a real loss in weight. Put ten pounds of rock in a pack and carry it around and you instantly realize the difference. Now imagine if you have that on a hundred mile bike ride with consecutive hour long climbs and think how much better it would be to lighten the load.

One my first focus for starting this season is to lean up a bit. Watts per kilogram (W/kg) may be one of the best indicators of cycling performance. In my simplistic view and since I come from a long background in the world of strength and lifting, we often would refer to the strongest lifter as "pound for pound" the strongest. People often get caught up watching the super heavyweights lift the heaviest weight during competition, but the lifting purist knows the truth that the strongest lifter of the meet might well be in one of the lighter weight divisions based on the amount of weight in comparison the person's body weight.

In the world of cycling the same can be true to some as they look at sprinting power output. You look at the maximum wattage of a world class sprinter or someone's power output compared to a field of cyclist during a stage race, but cycling purist that understand will look at power output compared to body weight. It is true that even this, both in lifting and cycling, does not entirely paint the best picture of all athletes in competition, but it does give good insight of the individual's performance ability. There are other factors involved and not just W/kg.

This may also help a person refine training and efficiency. Looking at W/kg in terms of cycling one can try to refine body composition by trying to reduce unnecessary weight and improve performance by improving threshold and in my case my functional threshold to be specific. So the focus is two fold by decreasing body weight and increasing power output.

Seems like a worthy goal right as I look toward my first goal on May 1st at 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge where being lighter (leaner) I will hope to carry less weight up those climbs and with working on my functional threshold I hope to sustain a higher power output on those climbs. I can improve these two items over the next 9 weeks I will hopefully finish the challenge with a faster speed. Sure it is a recreational level event, but the challenge is a personal challenge and I am not content to just finish the ride for that I do not need a lot of training just to finish a century at a relaxed pace. My hope is to finish a little faster each year.

So I start fairly heavy for my size at 5'6" and 170 pounds on a light skeletal frame (small joints). Because I am a former competitive bodybuilder I am carrying a heavy load and much of it is lean mass. Since I am not a cycling competitor I do not intend to get into a catabolic mode of eating into lean muscle, but I do have an opportunity to lean up a bit. This post is written mainly out of accountability. By posting it public I want to meet this goal.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday BBC 31

Garmin Connect Ride Data

The Group:
Me, Mike Quick and Gary Quellet

The Ride: It was a great day meeting Gary and Mike back out at the brewery for another great of riding in the sun. It felt like spring in February. We were able to start in shorts and though I had on a long sleeve base layer that was more for sun protection than warmth. We spent a few minutes contemplating a plan. My hope like usual was a bit more than I am capable. I had hoped to push hard today. Gary mentioned needing more of a recovery pace as a follow up from yesterday's effort. Mike as usual is ready to go along with any of those plans. We were a mile down the road when I noticed, like a bone head, I forgot my water bottles. They decided to wait as I went back for them. It was during that sprint going back when I noticed my legs were also desiring a recovery day. They were a bit more sore than I had thought.

The marked 31 BBC route has a bit more rolling terrain and it is hard to keep a consistent effort on the pedals. Effort on the climbs, but real hard to maintain on the downhills without a really fast speed. I think as the ride went on Gary looked like he had more spirit in his pedals than he first portrayed. There were a number of times he pushed on the hills and took off on the flats. Same with Mike. I had a few moments as well, but my legs were really feeling it. With the power output numbers below look insignificant, but my body sure does not feel like it was easy. I guess I am in worse shape than I thought. I definitely need to get those numbers higher. At least this ride was a step in the right direction. I sure enjoyed being out with Mike and Gary on this ride.

Always blessed to have my cycling buddies.

Route Description: flat to small rolling hills.

Weather: Sunny, calm to breezy, low 60's, low humidity

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: (1 )24oz. bottles with Hammer Heed/10grams Glutamine and BCAA's, (1)Cliff Bar, (1)Post Ride 30gram whey protein drink

Power Data:
Entire workout (103 watts):
Duration: 2:09:18 (2:14:16)
Work: 789 kJ
TSS: 94.1 (intensity factor 0.666)
Norm Power: 140
Distance: 34.378 mi
Min / Max / Avg
Power: 0 / 581 / 103 watts
Cadence: 30 / 244 / 77 rpm
Speed: 0 / 34.4 / 16.1 mph
Pace 1:45 / 0:00 / 3:43 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 / 338 / 48 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 / 1036 / 117 lb-in

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Things First

(Mike Rhue with some pre-ride bike prep)

(Bill Adkins, Gary Quellet and Diane Rhue)

Garmin Connect Ride Data

Okay, enough whining and moaning about how I was sick a few weeks ago and it took me a long time to get over and even worse my conditioning fell off bad, but now things are starting to get back into the groove. Today was ultra sweet with about 18 riders in the group and best was how bright the sun was beaming. Sure it was a bit cold when I first arrived at the brewery just after 9 am, but that sun was quickly warming up the environment as other cyclists started to pull into the parking lot. I could hear the chatter all around me as they asked each other what kind of clothing to start the ride. Jackets? Vests? Once the peeps got their preferred gear in order we set out.

The Group: We had about 18 or so. The regulars were me, Derek, Tim, Alan, Edgar, Gary, Bill, Peter, Diane, Mike, Jeff, Margaret and David Marion was back with us. A few that ride with us occasionally were Claire, Keith, Tom, Kim and I am not sure of the other guy's name.

The Ride: So why the title first things first? A number of us are lagging behind and have been cooped up either on the indoor trainer or not doing much at all so the first thing we need to do as we prepare for the season is just get some flat to mild rolling hills at a moderate pace. I wanted to keep my intensity down on this ride so I can train on Sunday and I was able to accomplish this in today's group ride.

About mile 20 David and Edgar split off from the group, but from there the group stayed together until we got to Slate Mine Road that has three gravel sections. Rolling through this rough section three of us flatted and we finally asked the group to go on with out us. A little ways in front of us Tom and Keith were waiting for me, Bill and the new guy. From what I was told the group began to break apart and get stretched out in those last miles with various speeds, but I was content hanging back with these guys and more so ending my ride with Bill Adkins at a comfortable pace.

Certainly this was a good day to be out and take our first step forward. The next steps will get incrementally tougher as we begin to add miles and a bit more intensity, but I sure hope we take small steps because it seems that I will need them. Always blessed to have my cycling buddies.

Route Description: flat to small rolling hills.

Weather: Sunny, calm air, start in the low 40 degree (F) and warmed up to the high 50's

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: (1 1/2)24oz. bottles with Hammer Heed/10grams Glutamine and BCAA's, (1)Cliff Bar, (1) Accel gels, (1)Post Ride 30gram whey protein drink

Power Data:
Entire workout (109 watts):
Duration: 3:03:54 (3:49:25)
Work: 1184 kJ
TSS: 122.3 (intensity factor 0.635)
Norm Power: 146
Distance: 51.524 mi
Min / Max / Avg
Power: 0 / 676 / 109 watts
Cadence: 31 / 244 / 79 rpm
Speed: 0 / 33.3 / 17.0 mph
Pace 1:48 / 0:00 / 3:32 min/mi
Hub Torque: 0 / 325 / 47 lb-in
Crank Torque: 0 / 776 / 120 lb-in

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bring Back The Power

Finally the pendulum seems to be swinging back to the positive. Despite this winter being a miserable one in the sense that I had to get over the flu the week after Christmas and then by doctor's orders I did not exercise at all for a couple of weeks. After that I started back with light efforts and my legs felt blocked up (very sluggish), but I got a common cold so I again took it easy for a few days just to make sure I did not get a more serious illness and to give my body more time to heal.

For the past couple of weeks I have been doing short duration low L2 type training indoors and had one outdoor ride (see previous blog entry) that was a struggle.

This week I started picking up the intensity and with each session my legs are starting to feel a little better and I am sustaining better wattage, but I still have quite a bit more to get back to pre-illness condition. However, I feel like I am ready to get out and do my first FT (functional threshold) test for this season as soon as we get some half decent weather.

At the moment I am training twice a day with lower intensities and soon I will ready to start hitting the upper L3 and L4 intervals. Hopefully I will start next week training 2 x 20 minute intervals @ 85% of FT and I am pretty excited about being able to start the sufferfest.