Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Ride

Garmin Connect Ride Data
Ride Summary:
Distance: 58.52 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,929 ft
Time: 03:43:25
Avg Speed: 15.8 mph
Max Speed: 35.4 mph

The Group: Derek, Mike and me

The Ride: We thought we would have a few more riders joining us today, but it was just the three of us as Derek led us out again on a very pleasant route to Adairsville and Kingston. The route had a mixture of flat fun sections, rollers and a short climb on Boyd Mountain Road. On the fun sections we each did our turn in the front for the pulls and on the climbs we were more at conversation pace. It was a really nice day out on the bike. I would not mind doing this everyday, but I suppose going back to work tomorrow will just have me anticipating next weekend's ride even more.

 The Weather: Started with dark cloudy skies, air was calm, high humidity, later in the ride the sun came out some and heated up things, rain did not hit until the drive home.

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: (2) 24 oz. bottle of water with glutamine, BCAA's, maltodextrin and Hammer Heed, (1) fruit bar, (2) Hammer gel, 32 oz. bottle of Powerade

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Powertap Hub Test

May 30, 2010 Effort
Course: Silver Comet Recreational Path
Start Location: 0 mile marker
Weather: Overcast, slight rain for a few minutes at mile 7, slight head winds on the return
Note: With traffic interference I had a harder time keeping the pace up to match the 2009 effort.

Garmin Connect Data Link

Powertap Data
 (Click image to enlarge - Data smoothing factor 20:00)

Entire workout (55 watts): <-Something is wrong compared to data for the 2009 effort
    Duration:      2:04:07 (2:06:42)
    Work:          400 kJ
    TSS:           30.8 (intensity factor 0.39)
    Norm Power:    82
    VI:            1.49
    Distance:      36.467 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    535    55     watts
    Speed:           0    28.5    17.9     mph
    Pace             2:06    0:00    3:21     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    230    22     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    795    66     lb-in

September 13, 2009 Effort

Course: Silver Comet Recreational Path
Start Location: 0 mile marker
Weather: Overcast and sparse light rain

Garmin Connect Data Link

(Click image to enlarge - Data smoothing factor 20:00)
Powertap Data
Entire workout (163 watts):
    Duration:      2:03:35 (2:08:45)
    Work:          1194 kJ
    TSS:           148.3 (intensity factor 0.855)
    Norm Power:    179
    VI:            1.1
    Pw:HR:          n/a
    Pa:HR:          n/a
    Distance:      37.994 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    626    163     watts
    Cadence:         29    222    72     rpm
    Speed:           2.2    27.8    18.7     mph
    Pace             2:10    26:49    3:13     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    320    58     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    949    199     lb-in

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Country Side Tour

Garmin Connect Ride Data
Ride Summary:
Distance: 52.63 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,622 ft
Time: 03:10:36
Avg Speed: 16.6 mph
Max Speed: 38.2 mph

The Group: Derek, Mike, Peter, Jack, Edgar and me

The Ride: Derek led us out this morning just after 8 am with no real plans and we did not need plans. We had bikes and there were plenty of paved roads ahead so that was the game plan - get on the bikes and ride. The pace was comfortable and with me spending 7 days at the beach last week slacking and doing little I sure needed a calmer ride. I could certainly tell that I had lost some conditioning and then there is Edgar "The Beast" Lebron putting on a blistering pace and tormenting us. He had a really good day and when one is feeling good one must open the engine and let it run. It was good to see Edgar having a great day.

Another one having a great day of performance was a Border Collie type of dog with a very high VO2max. This dog was the craftiest I have seen in a while with a great amount of speed and a look on his face like he was willing to nip an ankle. Fortunately our endurance was a bit better, but he was almost successful in taking a couple of us down. I am sure he has something to boast this evening with the neighborhood dogs.

The pace was spirited at times, but we also had good stretches of conversation paced riding. That was a nice change from the usual hammer fest that can happen in group rides. Derek took us on the flatter roads and even winging it with the route he did a great job leading the way. We did a store stop at mile 20 something and decided to tack on a few more miles since the weather looked like it was going to stay clear for us.

At mile 38 Jack split off from us and went on back using the marked route and we headed out for some more miles. At mile 40 we hit a few hills that split me from the group as my legs were getting too fatigued to keep up with the guys. Derek dropped back and rode in with me on the remaining miles. It is frustrating that I lost that much conditioning in one week, but still nice to be out on the bike with friends and start rebuilding again.

The Weather: Early morning the skies were cloudy and looking like rain, the air was breezy, but as time went on we had partly cloudy skies and 80 degree temperatures. 

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: (1) 24 oz. bottle of water with glutamine and Hammer Heed, (1) Cliff bar, (1) Hammer gel

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Powertap Torque Test - Rough Initial Test

I have wondered all season why my data has looked a bit off. Since I am fairly new to using a power meter I slowly learning the finer details. Unfortunately if the following test is correct my power meter is about 22% in error and so is about 4 months of my collected data in WKO. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to "zero" the cpu before each ride and then to do a periodic torque test similar to the one below to see if the power meter is still in calibration. Mind you that all scales or means of measurements need to be checked on occasion to verify the accuracy. Otherwise it is a rather useless tool of measurement.

The following was just a rough experiment as a preliminary test. I will follow up with a more refined test at my gym using a little better scale and a measured olympic 45 pound plate.

I filled a bucket with tile grout with a weight of 53.0 pounds
Spin the wheel to wake up the CPU
Using the mode button set to the watts line on top
Using the select button hold it until you see the "watts" text flash
At "0" hit the select button to zero the cpu
With the bike stand lifted up and stick to hold the wheel from spinning
With a level I checked the crank arm for level position
Press the select button until the "watts" begins to flash
Hang the measured weight on the pedals / crank arm
Torque is at 130 on the 34 ring and 17 cog

Switch to another gear and repeat the process

Torque is at 179 on the 34 ring and 22 cog

Measured Weight: 53.0 lbs
Crank Length: 170
Crank Ring: 34

Measured torque  =  (weight in lbs)  ×  (crank length in mm)  ×  (1 in/25.4 mm)  ×  (cog teeth/chainring teeth).
Measured Torque for 17 Cog = 177.36
CPU Displayed Torque for 17 Cog = 130
26% diffference

Measured Torque for 22 Cog = 229.53
CPU Displayed Torque for 22 Cog = 179
22% difference

UPDATE June 11, 2010:

After sending in my wheel to Saris last Friday I received it exactly a week later so that is a pretty good turnaround for service. Especially since most of that time the wheel was in transit.

I tried the same rough test noted above and here are the results.
Of course this is a very rough test, but something I just wanted to do as a quick check.

Measured Torque for 22 Cog = 229.53
CPU Displayed Torque for 22 Cog = 224
2% difference

UPDATE April 28, 2011:
Spreadsheet Tool

Saturday, May 8, 2010

2010 Up The Creek Without a Pedal - Metric

(Birthday Girls - Diane and Jamie)

(Edgar and David - Post Ride)

(Diane, Rod and Edgar - Pre Ride)

The Group: A lot of our brewery group plus a bunch more that ride with us occasionally. I would guess more than 30 at the start.

The Ride Organizers & Helpers: A big thank you to all those who worked the event. Of the organized rides that I choose to do this is my second favorite ride based on how the event is put together. It is almost right up there with 3 State 3 Mountain as far as how well it is put together. I am very grateful to all those who make the event so nice.

The Ride: After doing 3 State 3 Mountain Century last weekend I was not sure if my legs had recouperated from the intense cramps I had endured during that event. I curbed my training this week with hopes that I could not only do the century, but hang in the pack at least a little longer this year. 

Great job to the gang for completing the century in 4:55 hours with a 19.9 mph average.

However, I was not able to stick with the gang. Right out of the parking lot at the start all those spots that cramped severely last week were already starting to feel a little funky. I stayed at the back of the group as the pace was fairly brisk. As the road slope began to increase at mile 14 on Everett Springs and Pocket road, my legs and calves were really starting to fire off little spasms in those same spots. Me and six others were separated from the group during this climb and as we pull into the 30 mile sag stop the front group were already ready to leave. I was already thinking that discretion / valor quote along with live to fight another day and that bailing on the 100 mile option and go with the 60 mile option. No doubt that my decision was the right choice for today. 

At the 30 mile sag stop the group left so quickly that they left a few behind. Edgar and some others were still there, but he and Tim went on to do the 100 miles. As I was still standing at the sag stop preparing to leave I see Edgar coming back to make the turn for the 60 mile option. He was thinking I was ahead of him and spent his remaining miles chasing after me, but I was not in front of him. Well at least he got in a strong ride chasing after me.:-)

The route had a change because of some erosion and bad road conditions. I was riding alone for a number of miles and actually enjoying it to be honest. My pace continued to be strong, but since I was riding solo I was better able to monitor the stress load in order to reduce cramping. At the ~48 mile sag stop I saw Scott, JD and some other guys that asked if I wanted to ride with them, but I wasn't quite ready. I left the sag stop solo at a comfortable pace. A few more miles down the road and at the crest of a small climb, seven strong looking cyclists come by me at a fast pace. I quickly jumped on the back of that group and much to my surprise my legs were tolerating the stress load. The road gradient was low rolling hills and I was able to hang with their quick pace until near the end. While in that group I sped past Scott and the other guys. I bailed from the fast guys and joined in the remaining miles with Scott, who also put on a brisk pace all the way back to the mall parking lot where I see Edgar waiting at the truck and for him to tell me that he had been chasing after a ghost.

Anyway nothing great to boast today, but I am really happy to be writing this out and not feeling completely trashed. Time to let the legs heal from those cramps last week and then start training hard again for the rest of the season.

Happy Birthday to Jamie and Diane!!! 
Maybe next year will be the year I can hang with them on this ride.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

2010 3 State 3 Mountain Century

(video and photos by Gary Quellet -

2010 100 Mile Route Information & Downloads
Mapmyride Link

The Group: We had a good showing from our local rides go up to do this ride. There were too many to list each name. The amazing thing is how long our group stayed together through most of the ride. I was the one that dropped out about mile 82 from really bad cramps in both legs so I did not finish with the group, but at least I did finish.

The Ride Organizers & Helpers: To me what is impressive about this ride is not only the route, but the amount of help at every point for the number of cyclists. From the start location at the stadium providing a good facility, to the amount of police who work at about every intersection in town along the route and even out in remote areas. The sag stops are well stocked and have a lot of helpers and are located in ideal places. No wonder this ride has a lot of cyclists attending each year. Big salute and appreciation to all of those who helped make the ride more pleasurable. I also liked some of the minor route changes this year.

The Ride: I will be honest that I was concerned that I had done enough training this year in preparation. I know I could have used more and do feel like I was behind schedule. Today my goal was to conserve as much energy as possible so I am not surprised by the power output numbers being low. Heading out of Chattanooga with hundreds of cyclists grouped around you makes it a bit unnerving, but our group stayed in tact and within view going up Suck Mountain. Climbing Suck Mountain felt easy, but it comes early in the ride and the gradient is not too bad. For me it can be an easy lure to put out more effort to hang with those hammering up the hill, but I just stayed focused on the power meter and kept it lower effort. This was the first year that I was able to descend on dry roads, but still did so with caution, whereas, many were having fun letting it rip down the twisty fast downhill.

The stretch between Suck Mountain and Sand Mountain seemed to go fairly fast for me this year. Our group worked well together in a pace line formation and the speeds were fairly quick. Climbing Sand Mountain took a bit more effort to climb, but still was not too bad once I was in my own zone, which was slower than my group. I was the last one up by a couple of minutes. On the top of Sand Mountain there is not really a descent for a while and not much of one when you get to that point. One can keep a fairly fast pace riding on the top of Sand Mountain plateau.

As we approached the 80 mile mark we knew that hardest climb of the day was getting near. There is a short steep climb before you get there, which will give you an idea of how your legs are going feel climbing Burkhalter Gap. This short climb certainly had me coming out of the saddle using a compact chain ring and a 28 cog. I stopped at the sag stop at the base of this last mountain climb with the group, but did not refill the bottles. I had just enough fluid in my bottles to make this short steep climb.

And there it was. Burkhalter Gap Road is a couple miles long at about 10 to 13% gradient. It is unlike the other twisty type climbs. This road takes a direct path uphill. The road is straight and it is deceptive in appearance. It does not look as steep as it is, but when you look ahead you see many cyclists pedaling really slow with a lot of effort in their legs. Your eyesight of the road has you thinking it should not be this hard and your legs may be asking why it is that hard. There were a few that were climbing as if it were easy, but not many in my view. I could have gone harder myself, but I knew the wall was coming in that last 500 yards so I tried my best to keep my heart rate as low as possible, but the nature of the climb and the effort to keep the bike upright will still tax the heart. I could feel a tremendous amount of heat coming off my upper body and off my head. The sweat was streaming and not dripping at this point as the climb just does not seem to end. That two miles of seems like it will never end, but when the road hooks hard to the right there is the wall and it turns upward to over 20% for a duration. I was worn out before I got to the wall and when I made the turn to the right I simply could not imagine finishing the climb. Mentally and physically I was cooked, but I just kept saying, "determination" to myself to defeat the negative thoughts. I gave everything I had to keep the bike moving forward and made it all the way and into the the sag stop. I stood up and then collapsed on the my top tube of my bike feeling tremendously exhausted, shaky, and overheated. It took me a few minute to regain my composure so that I could refill my bottles and get back with my group, who all looked fresh and ready to finish the last 20 miles. Gary told me that he had some muscular and knee issues on the climb as well, but he finished strong.

Leaving the sag stop after the climb there is another big rolling hill ahead and as we were climbing I could feel spasms starting to fire in various areas of my legs and then they all went toward the summit of this roller. Both legs were cramping from the top down to the calves. All I could do is sit down on the top tube and not move. I looked back at the sag stop and wonder if I should turn back because I knew there were rolling hills ahead, but I also knew that I would be very disappointed to go that far and fail with just a few more miles ahead. After a period of time the cramps started to reduce and I was able to get the bike going again using a small gear and try to lightly spin out the remaining cramps. As I went my legs were starting to recover and I was downing as much water as possible. I hooked up with a guy from Florida walking his bike up a roller as he had experienced some cramping. I rode the remaining miles with him and one of his buddies. Scott and James I believe were their names. Finally we reached the downhill of Look Out Mountain and that was an enjoyable descent into Chattanooga. The remaining miles were on the city streets were partitioned off with the orange cones and police at the intersections controlling traffic for the returning cyclists. That part is a sweet feeling because you know at that point it is about over and you have made it.

Even though I conserved a lot of energy before Burkhalter, I still was more tired than I  had expected. My group seemed to do very well and for some of them it was their first time. They all did very well and it was a great day for our group. The storms held off this year and we all had a great day despite me having some issues at the end. I must recover because next weekend I have Up the Creek Without a Pedal century, which is more flat and can be very fast.

The Climbs:
Suck Creek Mountain - Starts near mile 11.2 and ends near mile 16.6. It is approximately 5 miles long at 4 to 6%
Sand Mountain - Starts near mile 52.6 and ends near mile 55.9. It is approximately 3.3 miles long at 6 to 7%
Burkhalter Gap Road (Lookout Mountain) - Starts near mile 81.6 and ends near 84.4. It is approximately 2.3 mile long at 10% and about 1700 yards at ~20%+.

Other significant bumps in the road occur between mile 44 to 45 and from mile 78 to 79.

Ride Data (My Powertap hub was not working correctly)
    Duration:      6:50:09 (7:45:56)
    Work:          2111 kJ
    Distance:      99.9 mi

(Mike & Gary)
(me & Keith)

(Diane, Peter & Jamie)

(Jamie, Nancy & Diane)
(Cristi, Edgar,Debbie & Jack)