Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Adding Some Intensity

As I said earlier today, Base period 2 started this week. Tonight I got my first taste of a hard tempo ride on rollers. The first few minutes hurt, but after that I settled into a rhythm, and really enjoyed the work. I guess that's why they call it tempo work. I did 2x20 minutes with a 5 minute recovery in between. Technically tempo should be done without recovery, but that will come later.

Base Period 2

In addition to some new weightlifting, this week starts the beginning of my Base period 2. That means adding some additional on-the-bike workouts like tempo (zone 3 for 20-60 minute periods with no recovery time), hilly endurance (seated climbing with cadence above 60 rpm in zone 5a or 5b), and form sprints (short sprints where you only pay attention to form, not speed). All this is in addition to continuing with the spin-ups, single leg work, and fixed gear endurance rides (ummmm - fixie rides).

Regular readers will remember that I've also been trying to work on my core strength, and I can start to tell a difference. I think I've got a six pack now, its just covered with a layer of R-40 insulation.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Power Endurance

I started the power endurance phase of my weightlifting program last night. This is a phase that I skipped last year. The intent of the power endurance phase is to build muscle that excels at short, fast efforts such as sprints and short power climbs. This is done by doing squats, legs presses, step ups etc. Instead of doing the power portion of the lift in the normal way (slow and steady), you do it quickly with enough weight to get through 8-15 reps. I did three sets of each, plus some of my normal lifting. It’s good to break out of my previous weight lifting routine, but I’m a little sore today. I must be doing something right

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tough Guy Points

I went on a ride this morning with Cory, Alex, and Emily this morning. It was a little brisk (0 and a 10 mph WNW wind) when I headed out for Ada Hayden. I've learned to dress for it, so I didn't suffer too much. I met the others at the park.
Alex reinforces his shoe layer:

Emily on her sweet Salsa Dos Niner:

We briefly talked of gravel, but decided that an urban assault was more befitting of the conditions, and did an urban loop. At the end of the loop Emily and Alex wisely decided that they'd had enough for the day. Since Cory and I had no exposed skin, we decided to press on. But first we stopped to take pictures of our snotcicles.
Cory prepares his camera:

Me in all of my condensation glory:

It's not really snot, just condensation off the face mask. It was so cold today that it froze before it could drip off.
We rode back to Ada Hayden, where I figured we would go our separate ways. Cory had other ideas. Cory decided to ride home via my house (about 6 miles of gravel in the wrong direction). We pushed a little harder on the way to my house. It felt good. I even stayed with Cory on one of the big hills - that never happens. I got in 2 1/2 hours of riding today. It was a balmy 4 degrees when I got home.

I think I've finally got my winter wardrobe dialed-in. Today I wore:
  1. Feet - Pedro's wool socks under insulated ski socks under shoes, under Pearl Izumi booties. I also used a chemical foot warmer between sock layers. My feet were never cold.

  2. Legs - Pearl Izumi fleece tights under Team 14 bib shorts with full length Pearl Izumi fleece leg warmers over the tights. My legs were only chilly above the leg warmers.

  3. Core - DuoFold base layer under Team 14 jersey, which was under a Team 14 winter jacket. My water bottle was carried in a jersey pocket under the winter jacket. It stayed unfrozen all day. It was still warm after 2 hours.

  4. Arms. DuoFold base layer under Pearl Izumi arm warmers, under Team 14 winter jacket.

  5. Hands - Marmott ski gloves. This layer was lacking. I think I need mittens for this level of cold. With the wind I was ok, but against the wind my fingers got a little numb.

  6. Head/Face - OutdoorResearch Gorilla balaclava and some old ski goggles. The balaclava rocks! My face was never cold. It holds so much heat that I've learned I can't wear it with sunglasses because they just fog up. I wore some old ski goggles that I had laying around, but they suck. I've got to get some Oakleys.
I was surprisingly comfy. There, that's my answer to "How can you ride a bike in this kind of weather?" Go ride your bike!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Unsafe at Any Speed

Apparently the New Jersey legislature has run out of real problems, because they've moved on to this.

I've done it, and I've seem some of you doing it. Somehow we survived.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Early Season Training Intensity

I've been a little concerned about my training intensity. In Friel's book, he says to keep the training intensity low (zone 1-2) during the early base training periods. I get a little concerned because I've stepped outside of those guidelines a few times. Occasions like this, and this come to mind. I don't lay awake at night worrying about it, but I've given it some thought.

In my soul, I'm a lazy person. Avoiding training intensity is in my genetic makeup. Generally speaking, over-training is not something that I need to be very concerned about.

I was wasting a little time on MTBR tonight, and stumbled across an article by Friel regarding early season training intensity:

"Over the years my approach to building aerobic fitness has changed. I used to believe that long, slow distance (LSD) was the most important type of training for aerobic system development. But in the last few years, experimentation with the athletes I coach has led me to believe this is not enough. By itself LSD will not fully develop the aerobic system. A bit higher intensity is needed."

Apparently Friel's views on early season training intensity have changed. It appears that the occasional bout of intensity in the early season is OK. Now I need to find something else to obsess about. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Advantages of Being Old

Today starts another rest week for me. I can hear it now, "What, another rest week?!?". I'm on Freil's senior plan. Us old guys only have to go hard for two weeks, and then we get a rest week. I used Friel's regular schedule at the start of last year (3 weeks on, and one week off). By the end of the third week I was grumpy, cranky, tired, and no fun to be around. Right now, after two hard weeks, I’m a little tired, but otherwise I feel great. If I did one more long week, it might be a different story. That Joe Friel is a pretty smart guy.

On the menu this week is the last of the MS weightlifting, some more core strength work, maybe a Yoga session, a little XC skiing, and I might even ride the bike a few times. Somehow I've got to squeeze that all into a mere 5 1/2 hours of training time. But any bike riding I do will most likely be indoors. Have you looked out the window lately?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Team 14 Ride

This weekend was the Team 14 Group Ride/Team Party. I took part in both events, but took no pictures at the party to protect the innocent.

The ride started out at Brian's place where we had a tire-changing clinic:

How many Team 14 guys does it take to change a tire?

Once we got Sean's tire changed, we were on our way. Thad Neil, Bruce Neil, Sean Meyer, Brian Farrell, Jeff Farrell, and Matt DenHarthog were in attendance. It was a good day (for January), with temps in the 20's, and not much wind. We rode from Brian's place to Booneville.

At Booneville we stopped at the local watering hole, where Thad gave us the low down on the CX Nationals.

After a feew beers, we're back on the road:

I love winter training. It's so laid back.
It was good to hang out with the Team 14 guys again. I am really looking forward to getting this season started. I'm also looking forward to doing some road racing, as that will be new for me. I felt good about the way I rode on Saturday. I felt stronger on the hills. I must be doing something right.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Riding Indoors

I won't be doing the normal gravel ride this weekend, because Team 14 is having a ride and team party in Des Moines this Saturday. It will be great to ride with and hang out with all of the guys again.

Not to much else to report, except that I've been doing a lot of roller riding. It's good for getting base miles in, but man is it boring. At least the rollers are a step less boring than a trainer. The fear of falling helps to keep my attention. I've been doing some spin-ups, some single leg stuff, and some plain old zone 2 endurance riding. I'm doing just enough to get my hours in. Some days I can ride the rollers for hours, and other days, I'm lucky to get 30 monutes in before I throw in the towel.

The cold and snow have forced me inside. I'll ride in cold, and I'll ride in the dark, but I really don't want to ride in the cold and the dark. Even on a cold day, sunshine just makes me feel better. Oh, well. The days are getting longer. It's staying light until almost 6:00. It won't be too long before I can ride after work in the daylight.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Day Off

No, not a day off from training, but a day off from work. Like my Grandpa used to say, I feed at the public trough (I'm a government employee). I'm using the time off to do some more work on core strength, and to do some weightlifting. Christy has also promised to give me another Yoga lesson (I especially like the Corpse pose - I could do that for a long time). She has a few poses that will help to correct the muscular imbalances created by cycling.

Given that we have about 6 inches of fresh, powdery snow, I am also going to dust off my cross county skis. We don't get ski-able snow very often, and it gets tracked up pretty quickly, so it's best to take advantage of it while I can.

Speaking of cross training, last night I played volleyball for the first time in about 12 years. I used to play quite a bit (3-4 nights a week in the winter). The team I'm on is made up of the same people that I used to play with 12 years ago. We all quit playing at about the same time, so we were all equally rusty. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the fundamentals came back to me. My timing still needs a little work, but I'll get there.

Volleyball is a great cardio workout, and the constant jumping is great for the legs. My main goal for the season (8 weeks) is to stay off the floor, and to stay healthy. So far, so good, although my hitting shoulder is a little sore today.

On the weight front, I tipped scales at 194 this morning. That's the same weight I was at on December 18th. I feel like I'm getting somewhere, but the scale doesn’t show it. 15 more pounds. That’s all I want. Where ever I am at the end of March is where I will stay for the season. Running a calorie deficit and racing don't mix. Either way, I'll be glad when it's over. I'm getting sick of steamed broccoli.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Finding My Limits

I went out for a 2.5 hour ride with Cory this morning. It was around 8 degrees when I started at 8 o'clock, and wasn't much warmer when I got done. Add an inch of snow and some wind to the mix, and you've got the makings for a fun day.

The conditions were right at the limits of my equipment, and my tolerance for cold. Riding into town wasn't too bad, but riding home into the wind was a real bitch. It hurt. But I got through it with all my digits intact. We did some urban riding around campus, bike paths, side streets, etc. until the snow started to make things a little slick.

If you believe the forecast, we've got more of the same (snow, cold, and wind) on the way. Even though it hurt, today's ride was probably the last chance for a while. I'm glad I got out while I could. There will be plenty of time for rollers later.

In other news, I'm been re-reading my Friels, and laying out a schedule for next season. I'm trying to tailor each day's schedule to the period (base 1, build 2, etc). I didn't get that specific last year (my first year of real training). I'm trying to put it all into a spreadsheet that I can use to schedule training and track progress. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 12, 2007

No Brains, No Headaches

Apparently and I have no brains, because Cory and I are going out for a small ride tomorrow morning. The conditions will be clear and cold (10 degrees), but nearly windless (less than 5 mph). It will be no match for last weekend, but should be good for a few tough guy points.

We may do some gravel, or we may do some town stuff. I'll be riding my fixie, so that will determine my pace (not fast), and my hill tolerance (not much).

We'll be meeting on Satuday, at 8:30 am it the North Ada Hayden parking lot. We'll probably ride for an hour or two. All are invited. Call 515-290-7789 with questions. If you also have no brains, come out and ride with us, but dress warm.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Adding Some Structure

Not much new to report today. I was going to do a 20 minute spin on the rollers before hitting the weights. 55 minutes later, I'm thinking this is kinda fun, in a evil way. Nothing too intense, just a couple of spin-ups. But, I've got a plan, and I 've got to stick to it. So, I got off the rollers and hit the weights for another hour. It's all good.

After this weekend's abuse, the legs felt surprisingly peppy. I was expecting a case of DLS (Dead Leg Syndrome). I took yesterday off, and I felt pretty good today.

In other news, I got my copy of Friel's book back from Cory. It's time to add some structure to my training, and Friel is the guy to do it. Besides, Cory has his own copy now.

If Cory adds some structure to his training, look out!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Death in the Family

There was a death in the family today. That death was mine. I died in a convenience store in Ogden at about 2:00 this afternoon.

This is the face of death (notice that I've lost control of my bodily functions).

But let me start from the beginning. Squirrel showed up at my place at 9:00 sharp for OP’s Trans-Iowa Training Ride (no acronyms please, were trying to keep our PG-13 rating).

No, I'm not doing Trans-Iowa, I just hang out with some nut jobs that don't know when to stop riding their bikes. Speaking of bikes, this is Squirrel's sweet looking Schwin Traveller.

After some BS and coffee we headed for Paul’s place in Gilbert. We got there a little early.

Instead of standing around, we headed to Ames on the gravel. When got to the backside of Ada Hayden, we turned around and headed back to Paul’s. That part of the ride was very pleasant. The pace was good, the gravel was great, and the wind was mild. It wouldn’t last.

At Paul’s we hung around for a few minutes, then we were off.

I was on the TriCross, Squirrel on his Schwin Traveler SS, Cory on his Cannondale SS, Alex was on his Surly CrossCheck, and OP was on his IBEX hardtail.

Apparently the moron disease is contagious, because OP forgot his helmet. Unlike me, he noticed, and we went back for it.

Once again, the pace was good, the company was great, but the wind had stiffened bit. Even then, riding into the teeth of the wind was doable. After going west for a few miles, we turned south. That was great. There was just enough tailwind to give a guy hope. The good feelings would not last, and we turned west on a particularly brutal leg of the ride. I slugged it out, but it took a toll.
We finally got to the Ledges for a rejuvenating rest break, where Greg Moore joined us on a single speed. At the rest stop I ate some, I drank some, and I felt a lot better.

The ride through the lower Ledges canyon was especially cool.

Then we started the first of our big climbs. It’s well documented that I suck at climbing. I was the last man up on the climbs, by not by as much as I would have guessed. I’m still slow, but I'm getting better. On the second climb, I used Steve Lauber’s technique. Break away on the descent, and give it back on the climb. It worked, but I’ve never worked harder to maintain 20 mph on a Des Moines river descent (the descent was into the wind – now a very stiff wind).

Back on the gravel, another stiff climb, out into the wind, and I’m off the back. I’m really feeling the pain now. It’s not a sweet kind of pain that you get on a climb. It was more like a sour kind of pain that really hurts. The time spent in zone 4-5 was really taking a toll. The guys waited for my at a turn (still into the wind), and we slogged into Ogden. We were struggling to make 10 mph. We stopped at the aforementioned convenience store on Ogden where I was hoping for the same kind of amazing rejuvenation as the rest stop in the Ledges. When I got off the bike, I felt dizzy, had tunnel vision, and staggered into the store. I looked like death (see "face of death" above).

I figured I’d eat something, I’d drink something, and I’d feel better. Boy was I wrong. I was too zapped to even choke down a gatorade. I felt like yakking. When the other guys started gearing up, I announced that I could not go on, and was calling in the Life Flight (Christy). I got several surprised/concerned looks, and a slightly relieved look from Squirrel, who said he would stick with me (what a guy).

The remaining nutjobs took off. Squirrel and I hung out in Ogden waiting for Christy.
Squirrel has a moment of silence in memory of the dearly departed.

On the way home, we tried to follow some the remaining route so that we could do some heckling/rider support. We drove through Fraser and the YMCA camp at 3:30. We never did see them. I wonder if they are still out there?

While climbing the YMCA hill (in the warmth of my truck) a furry rodent ran out in front of the truck. I hit the brakes. Christy's reaction was "Don't brake for squirrels!". After a a whimper from the back seat, and a quick apology, all was well.
What did I learn from this?

1) Squirrel is a great guy to hang out with. I should do this whenever I can.
2) I’m really glad I didn’t take either the Steamroller fixie or the SS Rig.
3) These guys are all really strong. I am weak. But I’m working on it.
4) Spend more time riding in the wind. The hills didn’t bother me near as much as the wind. Apparently that’s one more thing that I suck at.
5) Never, never, never, never (I mean never) consider doing TransIowa. I’ve fantasized about endurance racing from time to time. Based on today’s results, I’m not built for that.
For what it's worth, here is my elevation/HR profile. I spent WAY too much time in zone 4-5.

Friday, January 05, 2007

More Travel Gravel

We are still on for a 60+ mile gravel ride for this Sunday. Everyone is welcome. The current nutjob - err rider list is Cory, Other Paul, Greg Moore, Matt, Squirrel, and me. The more, the merrier. We will be leaving from OPs house at 10:00. Squirrel will be coming by my house around 9:00, and we will be riding to OP's from my place. Everyone is welcome to join in. If you are interested, give me a buzz at 515-290-7789.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Travel Gravel

Looks like there is a 60+ mile gravel ride in the planning stages for this Sunday. Everyone is welcome. The current nutjob - err rider list is Cory, Other Paul, Greg Moore, Matt, and me. The more, the merrier. Let us know if you are coming, as important details (like when we are leaving, and from where) are still being hammered out.

I promise to wear a helmet this time.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I've Changed

As I sit here digesting my supper of steamed broccoli (it's hard to gain weight eating broccoli, unless it's coated in ranch dressing), I think to myself "Self, you've changed". Changed for the better, I think, but I've definitely changed.

Today I ate an apple, a banana, a handful of nuts, a half order of veggie lo mein for lunch (yum!), and the previously mentioned steamed broccoli for supper.

Three years ago, I would have eaten smothered hash browns for breakfast, chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and cream gravy for lunch, and pork chops with french fries for dinner. I get a little queasy just thinking about it now. It's a wonder I didn't weigh 300 pounds.

Don't misunderstand. I still enjoy the occasional piece of slightly grilled red meat, I just don't enjoy it as much as I used to. One of the more interesting things about changing my ways - I really don't miss the old ways that much.

I still enjoy eating, I just like different foods. I really, really (I'm mean really) enjoyed the veggie lo mein I had for lunch today. I liked it as much as any steak I've ever eaten. It was that good.

These days, there's no way that I could eat (or even order) french fries, but I still steal a couple from Keaton's plate when I get the chance. The funny thing is, the fries don't taste that good anymore. Instead, I find myself stealing the broccoli from his plate, and I enjoy it way more than the stolen fries. No, I'm not kidding. That really happens.

Since it's a rest week, I got a massage today. Ummm - massage. I'm still feeling relaxed.

Off Topic
And, since it's a rest week in the off-season, we'll go way off-topic here. I was reading a comment on Cory's blog from Greg Moore, who was discussing a ride to Templeton, IA to get a bottle of the "best rye whiskey on the market". I thought back to my college days. A friend of mine drank Rittenhouse Rye. I remember it being very smooth.

That post must have planted a seed. While at the local grocery store tonight, what should appear in my cart but a bottle of Templeton Rye (it's a rest week - what the hell).

I looked the bottle over when I got home. I've heard of boutique distillers, but this is what I call small:

Batch number one? Barrel number 27? Now that's small.

If you like sippin' whiskey, give this a try. I won't bore you with the whole Templeton Rye story. But if, after a glass or two, a vision of Al Capone appears, don't be surprised.

Like Kerkove says, "Train hard, rest harder". I think I've got the resting part down.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Haircut

Happy Haircut/Happy New Year!

For the New Year I gave myself a new haircut. Christy says it looks like a prison haircut.

Imagine Bruce Willis in "Twelve Monkeys":

I'm tryng to dedicate myself to the sport. The legs are next. Christy is a little freaked out .

I've reached the end of a base period. and am going to use it to rest. I'm also going to use it to build up my core strength (which is lacking). Christy has several tools (a Bosu and few resist-a-balls) that I can use to help. They also help with balance. I would really like to improve my core strength this season.

I'll bet the haircut will help. I'm feeling faster already.