Saturday, April 30, 2011

Burnt Mountain - 55

RideWithGPS Ride Data
Ride Summary (totals):
Distance: 55 mi
Moving Time: 04:14:18
Avg Moving Speed: 12.9 mph
Max Speed: 36.2 mph

Group: Jamie, Peter, Neal, Glenn, Edgar, Jack, Rod and me

Goal: Survive

The Ride:
It is hard to believe this is my first 2011 visit to my nemesis, Burnt Mountain. I was glad to join this small group, but I was also dealing with a back injury earlier in the week that kept me from training and wondering if I should be doing any climbing today. Glad I went even though I was a bit sluggish and apprehensive climbing. Toward the last miles the sharp pain in my hip area seemed to dissipate. I think I may able to get back to a normal training week.

Best I could tell everyone did fine. With the exception of Edgar and me, the rest of the gang took a diversion at the summit of Burnt Mountain to tackle the climb on Sunrise. I have yet to go on that road, I think it is one of Neal's favorite places to suffer based on how much he mentions the name. I suppose I will have to give it a go soon. Short and steep is all I know at this point.

For most of the ride it was just Edgar and me cycling together like the old days when he got me started and addicted to cycling. Neither one of us are model climbers, but at least we did make it over and back and even went ahead and came back via Talking Rock to throw in another 3 mile climb and a few big rollers. We did see Elizabeth, Joe and Nancy out training together and were on a rapid descent down the east side of Burnt Mountain.

Not long after we changed and put away the bikes the rest of the gang arrived with smiles. Must have been a good day of cycling for them as well.

Next weekend is 3 State 3 Mountain. I hope I am ready. I hope my hip continues to heal otherwise it may the metric route for me. bummer

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: ~52 oz.of water with Hammer Heed, BCAA (1) Hammer gel (1) Cliff Bars (1) 40 gram Whey protein post ride recovery drink .

The Weather: Sunny Start @ 50 degrees, Sunny End @ 78 degrees

Bike: LOOK 585, Garmin 705, Powertap wired

Power Summary: (Based on Coogan's Levels)
Summary Table of Minutes of Duration in Each Training Zone
  Level   Minutes       TSS
      1      9.56      2.76
      2     70.94     40.79
      3     94.50    103.09
      4     73.21     92.54

      5      0.00      0.00
      6      3.86     12.83
      7      2.56      9.41

Overall Power Data:
Entire workout (115 watts):
    Duration:      4:16:38 (5:04:44)
    Work:          1762 kJ
    TSS:           247.8 (intensity factor 0.768)
    Norm Power:    158
    VI:            1.37
    Distance:      55.377 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    477    115     watts
    Speed:           0    38.3    12.9     mph
    Pace             1:34    0:00    4:38     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    46    9     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    585    152     lb-in

Monday, April 25, 2011

Showers Pass - Double Century Review

Showers Pass - Double Century 

I have purchased a few lightweight jackets over the years and now with this new purchase I can give away one or two of my older cycling jackets that are not much more than a wind shield. I will also be honest that once the weather gets up into the 70's I will not typically wear or carry a jacket. I have ridden in pouring down summer rain and my experience, though not the superior wet riding experience of the Pacific northwestern cyclists, I would rather get wet and then let the fast drying technical qualities of the shorts and jersey dry out if the sun comes out. Plus I am usually soaked in sweat anyway. I kind of like the cooling rain in the summer unless it is pelting me hard like getting hit by a paintball and then it is nice to have something on.

I chose the Showers Pass jacket for a couple reasons. The first was I was in need of a decent general use rain jacket and the second is that I do not have a dedicated cycling rain jacket. All my current cycling jackets are nothing more than windshields. My favorite lightweight is the Sugoi Helium since I can pack it down and barely notice it in my back pocket. So right off the bat I estimated that if the Showers Pass jacket had any good attributes of a rain jacket it was not going to pack down that tight with the taped seams and thicker material. I folded the Double Century jacket as tight as I could and no doubt it will fit into the rear jersey pocket, but there will be part of it exposed. But I was expecting this to happen for a dedicated rain jacket.

Within a few minutes of ordering the jacket directly from Showers Pass, I received notifications that the ordered was accepted and about an hour later another noting that the package was processed and being shipped. The package arrived today via USPS Priority Mail since I chose the least expensive method. Actually it was free shipping at the time I placed my order. So the company had a fast turnaround and provided a tracking number, which actually worked this time. I suppose USPS has tracking working now or else I just never had good luck with their tracking feature.

I ordered the white jacket since I plan to wear this jacket as a general use rain jacket as well as for cool season rain during cycling training and I imagine this color will be highly visible in rainy conditions.
As far as looks. It looks good to me.

Tucked in jersey pocket
Here are some of the other attibutes.

  • Double layer Artex fabric
  • Waterproof seam taped construction
  • Two way full length waterproof zipper
  • Pit zips and Back vent for flow thru ventilation
  • Reflective trim
  • Cinch cord at the hem
  • Cinch at the cuffs
  • Slightly extended tail
If I were living in the Pacific Northwest I would be able to quickly give you my opinion on the most important feature, the water proof attributes, but I will have to wait now for a raining ride to let you know if how it works as a rain jacket. I will add this most important part of the review as soon as I get a chance.

It was convenient that we did get an afternoon heavy down pour rain shower today so my quick test was to stand out on the deck like a fool testing as a general rain jacket and it passed that simple test. Now to have a 2 hour bone soaking ride in the rain with some generated body heat to see how it feels from both rain protection and from the stand point of not getting overheated. Check back for the update.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brewery To Fort Mountain - 100

For Easter and to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Thank You for what you did for mankind and for me on the Cross
That a sinner such as myself can repent and be redeemed through the blood that You shed

Ride Overview:
Distance: 102.5 mi
Moving Time: 07:00:00 (Yikes!!)
Avg Moving Speed: 14.4 mph
Max Speed: 38.3 mph

Group: Me

Goal: Rack up some decent time in L3, stay aerobic and endure the route
The Ride: I received a report from Gary and the group who all went to train at the gaps today. The report was 90 miles and almost 9,000 feet of climbing. Wow!! Very good for them, but I am very glad that I did not go. I knew that my training this week would take a toll on my performance today and it did. I had some good training through all of last week and only had Friday off from the bike. The intervals on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were exceptional and for that I am very happy.

As for today I still rolled the dice and gave the 100 mile route from the brewery to Fort Mountain a try. Of course it always starts great, but with this out and back route I had the breeze coming from the south in my favor. What a foe on the return as the breeze turned into a sustained wind. On roads that I could typically sustain mid 20 mph speed, I was down to pushing against the wind and barely hitting 14 mph at times. For 45 miles on the return I was in a direct headwind. But it wasn't just facing the headwind alone that was the battle it was coming out to do a century already fatigued from a great week of training.

No doubt I could not have ended well with the group on the gap ride and I am not so sure it was a wise choice for me to make on my route, but for several days I looked at my TSS in WKO+ and thought that I could pull it off. Evidently I did because I am here writing about it, but the data below does not reflect good performance. I suppose I am still very happy with finishing this route solo. I had to face the wind alone and tried my best to minimize any coasting. I also had many miles to reflect on my Lord and Savior for this Easter Weekend. Grateful to my Lord for changing my heart in 1996 and redemption. I suffered the hills and the wind alone today, but that is not important compared to the suffering Christ did on the cross for sinners.

Oh, and as a knuckle head I failed to hit the start button on my Garmin 705 at the start. I had it in map mode the entire ride and that portion works without hitting start so I never realized it was not tracking my ride. But at least I had my Power meter data and some video.

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: ~52 oz.of water with Hammer Heed, BCAA and Glutamine, 32 oz. Gatorade from refills (2) Hammer gel (2) Cliff Bars (1) 40 gram Whey protein post ride recovery drink .

The Weather: Cloudy Start @ 67 degrees, Sunny End @ 82 degrees, steady wind from the south

Bike: LOOK 585, Garmin 705, Powertap wired, Contour GPS camera

Power Summary: (Based on Coogan's Levels)
Summary Table of Minutes of Duration in Each Training Zone
  Level   Minutes       TSS
      1     18.14      7.15
      2    241.31    127.05
      3    163.84    174.39
      4      0.00      0.00
      5      0.00      0.00
      6      0.00      0.00
      7      0.29      0.53

Overall Power Data:
Entire workout (109 watts):
    Duration:      7:08:24 (7:42:19)
    Work:          2775 kJ
    TSS:           292.6 (intensity factor 0.648)
    Norm Power:    133
    VI:            1.22
    Distance:      102.581 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    455    109     watts
    Speed:           0    38.3    14.4     mph
    Pace             1:34    0:00    4:11     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    35    7     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    628    140     lb-in

Training Week Summary
Total Time: 10:34:36
Total Miles: 152 (102 today and 50 training indoors)
Total TSS: 500
Total kj (kilojoules): 4683 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Climbing Training Without Mountains

Recently someone from Florida posted a comment stating that she will be doing the 3 State 3 Mountain challenge and was concerned about doing well with the climbing when there are no substantial climbs in Florida for training. But the good news is that based on the metabolic or physiological adaptations chart and through proper training the same conditioning can be achieved on flat roads or training indoors. Sure it doesn’t hurt to have sustained climbs available, but it is not something that would or should keep a flat land cyclist away from a mountain event. I'm not sure who said it but there is a phrase, "a watt is a watt." If the same energy is used the same metabolic adaptations are gained. However, as a person fitness improves a hill provides a good training place because on flat ground more speed is produced, more distance traveled and therefore more uninterrupted roadway is required. Descending sections will make it very difficult keeping the intensity effort in the proper zone.

Based on a lot of research and application, which I will not get into now, it has been established that raising one’s ceiling of functional threshold is key to sustainable power output. It is expanding one’s aerobic capacity and improving endurance. Training with sustained blocks of intervals at 90% to 100% of one’s functional threshold is key to this type of progressive training. Again this type of training can be done on mountain climbs, but it can be done on flat roads or indoors on the trainer. Just about anywhere that sustained blocks of at least 20 minutes or more at 90% to 100% of functional threshold will do.

One thing about training on sustained climbs is that it typically requires a constant effort in order to accelerate the bike forward and keep the bike upright, whereas, on flat terrain one may slack off at times with coasting or go below the training intensity effort because less effort is required to accelerate the bike forward. So in other words to have the same metabolic adaptations training on flat terrain one will want to have constant torque on the pedals to keep power output at the proper level for a sustained period. I like training indoors because the trainer and the e-Motion rollers provides an environment where I can do sustained intense efforts for solid blocks of time without interruption of traffic and other environmental issues. One can train in Florida and get just as good of results by raising that threshold ceiling by finding a good road with little interruptions for periods of 20 minutes or greater. Also doing longer blocks of 60 minutes or more in the sweet spot which will yield good results.

One thing that training on flat ground will not do is prepare a person for the mental aspect of a sustained climb. I am not a good climber at this point. I am still working hard on doing exactly what I am writing here and that is raising my threshold, but I have learned some important things about climbing. Knowing what you are capable of doing or recognizing your fitness level. In my case I know what my functional threshold is and I can use my power meter to gauge my intensity level while climbing. I have learned to block out what others are doing. It seems like a reflexive action to increase effort when you see other riders past you, but stay focused and stay at a level that can be sustained for the duration of the climb by ignoring faster climbers. You will not last long on a sustained climb if your output effort is well above your threshold.

Another issue is weight management on the bike and the body. The bike is less important than the body because more can be removed from the body and by being leaner the watts/kg factor is greatly enhanced. Watts/kg is like saying “pound for pound the strongest guy” and in endurance sport it pays to be lighter even if the sustained wattage is slightly less than someone weighing more. It seems intuitive that dragging a 10 pound stone up a 5 mile hill will be easier than dragging a 30 pound stone up that same hill. So it is with removing excess body weight that will make climbing hills easier.

Lean people like the ectomorph type of body does well in endurance sport because of better heat control. The heat generated from a higher effort or output is controlled better from the dissipation of heat from the skin. A cooler core temperature results in better performance.

In summary:
  • Improve functional threshold by training in sustained blocks of 90% of threshold
  • Improve watts/kg (weight management) decrease body weight
  • Ride within your own fitness level by ignoring faster climbers
  • Be patient because climbing can be a slower more tedious process

Each year there are plenty of Floridians that come up to do either 3 State 3 Mountain or even the more challenging Six Gap ride in North Georgia and many of them do well in the event despite not having a single hill to train on.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Comet - Tempo to Threshold

Goal: Rack up some decent time in L3, SST and L4

The Ride: I missed riding outside yesterday and really did not want to fight the wind so I ended up doing 2 hours 20 minutes on the e-Motion rollers. I was not sure if the effort on the rollers yesterday would impact the effort today. Perhaps it did to some degree, but I felt pretty strong for most of the ride. I started to fade a bit in the last 10 miles or so. Traffic became heavier and it became harder to hold the tempo. I am still content with the training this weekend despite missing the usual group ride.

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: ~36 oz.of water with Hammer Heed, BCAA and Glutamine, (1) Hammer gel (1) 40 gram Whey protein post ride recovery drink .

The Weather: Sunny, Start @ 73 degrees

Bike: LOOK 585, Garmin 705, Powertap wired

Power Summary: (Based on Coogan's Levels)
Summary Table of Minutes of Duration in Each Training Zone
  Level   Minutes       TSS
      1      0.31      0.00
      2      3.32      2.25
      3    108.13    102.91
      4     61.49     84.56
      5      0.00      0.00
      6      0.00      0.00
      7      1.18      2.11

  Interval Power Data:
  Interval 1:
    Duration:      1:25:02
    Work:          883 kJ
    TSS:           111.1 (intensity factor 0.889)
    Norm Power:    182
    VI:            1.05
    Distance:      26.428 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    506    174     watts
    Speed:           0    23.9    18.7     mph
    Pace             2:31    0:00    3:13     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    23    6     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    777    211     lb-in

Interval 2:
    Duration:      1:30:42 (1:34:35)
    Work:          734 kJ
    TSS:           75.5 (intensity factor 0.717)
    Norm Power:    147
    VI:            1.08
    Distance:      26.64 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    629    137     watts
    Speed:           0    24.1    17.6     mph
    Pace             2:29    0:00    3:24     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    30    5     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    1226    177     lb-in

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011 Rose Pedal - 100

Don't let the video fool you. The video only shows a few stretches of downhill sections. I edited out all the climbs because it makes for boring video.

RidewithGPS Data
Garmin Connect Ride Data
Garmin Ride Summary (totals):
Distance: 100.4 mi
Moving Time: 06:27:13
Avg Moving Speed: 15.6 mph
Max Speed: 43.7 mph

Group: With Neal or Mike Quick most of the miles. Gary, Peter, Kit, Glenn, Edgar, Jack, Claire, Paul and many more were out on the roads with us today.

Goal: Rack up some decent time in L3

The Event: This is the 3rd year for the Rose Pedal fund raising ride for Cystic Fibrosis and for the awareness of this life-threatening disease. As I was walking away from the post ride BBQ meal, very good by the way and was catered by Loose Lips Larry, I hear someone shout, "did you have a good ride?" I walked back to answer the question. It was the event organizer and the answer was, "Yes!" Not only yes but a big yes. There are a lot of things that catch one's attention either negative or positive about a cycling event. I would give every thing about this ride an A+.

They had plenty of volunteers, workers at the sag stops, a policeman or two at key road crossings, well painted markings and signs at quick turns, enough portable potty's to support the amount of riders and decently stocked sag stops. I think what impressed me the most is the route. That is why we are there and what is important to us cyclists isn't it? I can only speak for the 100 mile route and for my training needs the route provided plenty of challenge. The scenery wasn't bad either.

To the event organizers, the sponsors, the workers and volunteers, the motorcycle group that was on the course checking on riders, the catering company I say, "Thank You" for putting on this event. I also pray the Lord will bless the effort this event brings to the cause of Cystic Fibrosis. I also hope more of my cycling friends will be aware of this event next year and will join me. The route is one of the best in my opinion of any organized event that I have been on lately in the Atlanta area.
The Ride: Taxing is the word that keeps coming to my mind when I think of a one word description of the 100 mile route. Fortunately I have been training with longer distance miles lately and was in good enough shape to endure the miles of rolling hills. As one person called it a "lumpy" ride. I usually do not fare well on continuous large rolling hills so I backed down on my intensity and I am glad that I did. Still a very nice route that started from Creekview High School in Cherokee County and made its way up toward Dawsonville, then northwest toward Hwy 136 where we typically do our training at Burnt Mountain and then south back to the school.

We rolled out with the mass start at 8 am and were in the front few, but that did not last long for me as I need to drop back on my intensity. Some of my friends went on and I found myself riding many miles with Mike Quick as Gary and Peter had a bit more lively legs than we did. I was content holding my own pace, which was not near as spirited and is seen in my power data below. We rode on by most of the sag stops, but on one of them we met back up with Neal Bowers and from there the few of us were ready to finish the last fifty or so miles, but it did not take long for Peter and Gary to get out ahead of us again. When we turned ontoYellow Creek Road we had our first long downward trend and were able to cruise at a good speed. Mike split off from us to reduce a few miles and we turned on Nicholson Road at mile 71 where we hit a few stingers (sharper hills). I hit a decent pace to catch up to the back of a small group, but quickly found out I could not hold on their pace as I used up too much trying to get there. Neal caught up with me and the hills continued mile 80 to mile 92 or until we crossed back over Hwy. 20. We were both content just holding a mild pace to the end and content to get off the saddle after a good day of cycling.

Perhaps my description of endless or relentless hills does not make this ride sound enticing, but I really enjoyed this course. It was challenging, scenic and rewarding. Great ride and as far as I am concerned, Good training today to get my legs and my mind ready for 3 State 3 Mountain coming up in a few weeks.

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: ~52 oz.of water with Hammer Heed, BCAA and Glutamine, 52 oz. Gatorade from refills (3) Hammer gel (1) Cliff Bars, also Fig Newtons at the sag stop (1) 40 gram Whey protein post ride recovery drink .

The Weather: Cloudy Start @ 67 degrees, Sunny End @ 88 degrees, wind gusts later in the day

Bike: LOOK 585, Garmin 705, Powertap wired, Contour GPS camera

Power Summary: (Based on Coogan's Levels)
Summary Table of Minutes of Duration in Each Training Zone
  Level   Minutes       TSS
      1     41.20     17.15
      2    178.61    110.70
      3    164.64    189.82
      4      0.00      0.00
      5      0.00      0.00
      6      0.00      0.00
      7      2.73      6.84

Overall Power Data:
Entire workout (110 watts):
    Duration:      6:32:01 (6:57:37)
    Work:          2548 kJ
    TSS:           324 (intensity factor 0.714)
    Norm Power:    150
    VI:            1.37
    Distance:      100.556 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    687    110     watts
    Speed:           0    44.1    15.4     mph
    Pace             1:22    0:00    3:54     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    45    6     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    1059    129     lb-in

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Miles With Friends And Then More Miles

Ride With GPS Data
Garmin Connect Ride Data
Garmin Ride Summary (totals):
Distance: 91.2 mi
Moving Time: 05:36:18
Avg Moving Speed: 16.3 mph
Max Speed: 40.5 mph

Group: Gary, Derek, Edgar, Jack and me 

Goal: Rack up some decent time in L3

The Ride: We had a lot of people out of town, some were sick and some need to have some more specific training goals our normal group was spread out. The five of us rolled out just after eight this morning with a crisp cold feeling to the air. The forecast was claiming 20 mph winds with gusts up to 30 mph, but it seemed calm as we headed north toward Trimble Hollow Road.

It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to ride with Edgar and Jack so I was really enjoying their presence and being able to chat or do some stirring of the pot as the two of them joked about dropping one another in a sprint. Good fun as we chatted during the warm up over a number of miles. Our pace was very enjoyable and was truly a conversation pace as they are sometimes called.

Once we were on Trimble Hollow the pace picked up substantially. No more talking as it was a full on pace down this fun road with a downward twisty trend. We did a short store stop in Adairsville and then back out on the road. The next fun road is Wayside and it is another low rolling road that one can carry a fair amount of speed and yet still have enough on it that it makes for a good training road. My watts were up as we hammered this for a number of miles.

Even though there is not a lot of elevation gain on this route it still has quite a few stingers (larger hills) than can cause one some grief, but in a good way. We held a calmer pace through the larger rolling hills, which worked out great because when we were at the intersection to the finish I felt as I had enough left in my legs to tack on a few more miles.

Derek and I rolled on and Gary went ahead of us to finish with 75 miles. I ended up taking the BBC marked 31 route and finished with 91 miles and I felt good enough that I know I could have done another 9, but did not see any real reason. If the weather is decent and the Lord allows, I plan on doing the Rose Pedal Century next weekend as a training ride.

Nutrition Intake During and after the Course: ~52 oz.of water with Maltodextrin,Hammer Heed, BCAA and Glutamine, (2) Hammer gel (2) Cliff Bars (1) 40 gram Whey protein post ride recovery drink .

The Weather: Sunny, Start @ 41 degrees, End @ 69 degrees, wind gusts up to 20 mph

Bike: LOOK 585, Garmin 705, Powertap wired

Power Summary: (Based on Coogan's Levels)
Summary Table of Minutes of Duration in Each Training Zone
  Level   Minutes       TSS
      1      7.94      1.70
      2    163.57     93.99
      3    158.13    185.69
      4      0.00      0.00
      5      0.00      0.00
      6      0.00      0.00
      7      6.05     26.92    (always a fun little sprint here and there when Edgar is with us)

Overall Power Data:
Entire workout (117 watts):
    Duration:      5:40:11 (6:12:14)
    Work:          2355 kJ
    TSS:           308.5 (intensity factor 0.748)
    Norm Power:    157
    VI:            1.34
    Distance:      91.22 mi
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    724    117     watts
    Speed:           0    40.9    16.1     mph
    Pace             1:28    0:00    3:44     min/mi
    Hub Torque:      0    38    6     lb-in
    Crank Torque:    0    867    135     lb-in