Wednesday, September 28, 2011


One must wonder why a person does this to themselves. Hours of toil. Efforts so hard they approach self immolation. Physical stress that not only tires, but physically alters my heartrate long after the bout. But even that doesn't compare to the mental stress of mainining intensity and concentration for such long periods. After a full day... it leaves me totally spent. Exhausted. Wasted. Irritable. I approach anti-social status. I just want to go to sleep. Just as well. It leaves one with no time for other pursuits. No time for family. No time or energy for friends. It's all consuming. I constantly think about quitting. Forever. And doing something completely different.

Why would someone do this to themselves?

I find myself asking this question a lot. I consistantly answer it with "I shouldn't be, I should be out on my bike." Wait, what? Oh, sorry. No, I wasn't writing about training above. I was describing my high-stressor job. Unacceptable. No idea what will happen yet, but, one thing is certain. Changes are coming.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Huff and Puff

About an hour of tempo, with five (5x) 5'minute intervals at 100-120%FTP are on the docket for tonight. Designed to work the lungs as well as the legs. I roll out with a veeery easy warmup. Easy to neglect a good warmup. But I find that as fatigue accumulates, it takes longer to warm up. Oddly, if I cut the warm up short, it actually takes longer before I feel good. Fifteen minutes of high cadence, low power and I'm prepped.

Thirty minutes of tempo and I hit the work intervals with gusto. The first minute or two are easy, and I go at the top of the target range. Then... the lactate sets in... hard. The previous days' fatigue is making an appearance. This is common after a few days of riding. Intervals start easier, but holding them gets harder. The fitness gains lie in holding them as they get harder. As a friend says "80% of the gain is in the last 20% of the ride." I do my best. By the last interval power has dropped off, and I'm knocking on the bottom of my target range. Doable. But just barely. As intervals should be done.

Tomorrow is an easy one, on dirt, before some recovery on Friday. First fall race is here next week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Boring Ride

Plan: 2:hours endurance pace.

I roll out to do my "In the loop, loop". It's roughly the West End Bicycles shop ride route with some modificaiton. It's a nice day. The ride is completely unremarkable. Other than I forgot my front light. River Oaks is daaark at night. Just causes me to take a bit more care. And absolutely do not depend on cross traffic stopping.

Careful nutrition has paid off. Despite calorie deficits. Didn't bonk yesterday or today. It's all about the afternoon snack! PB&J scarfed down between afternoon meetings was the snack of choice today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heat's Back.

Today's plan: 4x 7'min at 110-120%FTP with 3-5'min between.

Triple digits today. Heat index is 105°F as I roll out. Twenty+ knot wind as well. It helps with the heat some. As I ride to the Froot Loop I'm feeling weaker than expected. Maybe not unexpected. It's the heat, right? As I get closer... it's clear it's not the heat. I'm in a full blown BONK! Weak. Lightheaded. Nauseous. Shakey. Headachey. Immediately I hit the gas station. Potato chips, half of a coke, nutter butters, and aboot 15'minutes in the shade. I'm better. Not sure if I can do this today, but might as well try, right?

I barely make my power target on the first interval. Barely. It's clear... I'm not meeting my target today. That's OK. I do the best I can. I manage to keep 90%FTP or so. Not what I want, but time is more important than intensity at this point. Back to the house for some reflection on this one...

BONKs! are always a serious training mistake. I'm relieved in a way. My body is letting me know it's running at a calorie deficit. I'm not over-eating. I'm under-eating. I'm trying to do that, as I'm trying to drop a few pounds. BUT... if I don't get through my workouts... it's not worth it. Getting the training in carries much bigger benefits than losing a few pounds. It's a fine line.

Today... my food timing needed to be better. The idea is to run a deficit over the entire day, but... during training time. Skipping my afternoon snack did me in today. Will do better tomorrow...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Leaks, Roots, Dust, Batteries

Three hours on trail at endurance to tempo pace.

Simple plan that turned more complex.

Some background. I recently developed a loud skreeeeetch on the front brake along with a loss of braking power. I swapped the brake pads front-to-back and the noise transferred with it. My suspicion was that somewhere along the way I contaminated the pads. Then this thread showed up with reports of leaking hoses on M985 XTR brakes. I carefully checked, but saw no leak. Until today.

Right as I rollout a quick glance and I see a teeny drop right at the hose crimp on the banjo fitting. I press on. Shortly before arriving at the trail... the PowerTap goes wonky. Dead batteries. Bummer. I wanted to really keep a consistant effort level today. I press on. The trail is in really bad shape. The drought's effects are showing up as stress on the trails. There are parts of the trail that have lowered six inches over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the roots have not dropped.


The dirt is... like baby powder, only finer. Moon dust. The stress on the trails is really showing. The fact that these are the only trails in a city of two million people doesn't help. And the crowd is thick today. I meet an oncoming rider about every 100 yards it seems. There is just no rhythm or flow today.

All together it's a frustrating day. But I do my best. And I get about two-and-a-half hours of riding in. While I don't think my effort is that good... the fatigue I feel later suggests otherwise. This is why I like the PT. It keeps me honest.

The day ends with some maintenence items to be done and some rest for tomorrow.

Friday, September 9, 2011


POD. Approx 1:hour ride not exceeding reocvery power level. Keep cadence high today. Light, but fast pedal stroks. Concentrate on keeping cadence greater than 90RPM.

With tight and somewhat sore legs from yesterday's ride, going for another ride today seems counterintuitive. But following up a hard ride with an easy ride really speeds the recovery, releases the soreness, and helps flexibiliity.

Rolling out... keeping the low power goal -easy. Keeping the cadence up -hard. I do my best. Sure enough as the ride continues, the cadence comes easier. The legs start to come alive again. Before I know it, it's time to go home. Short ride. But not before swining by Freebirds for a monster burrito. Yum.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Today... the plan is a 2:hour Tempo paced ride. I'm feeling pretty frisky today. I think I'll pin it to the top of the Tempo power range. As the ride proceeds... indeed I'm keeping this ride pinned. I constantly nibble at the bottom of the threshold zone. The legs feel greeeeeeat. The lungs are clear, and the heart rate seems pretty normal (not sky high like yesterday).

Today's ride is under an unusual atmosphere. Tons of nearby wild fires. Blowing smoke abounds. The sky is gray, but not with clouds. Can't really smell the smoke. But... from time to time invisible particulates waft into my eyes. It makes them tear up. Burns. But it isn't gritty like when sand blows at the beach. The ambient light is sooper warm. A photographers dream. In fact, I saw two out shooting architecture photos. This is a rare event, to have rich light like this. So rare, I paused to take a few snaps with the P&S myself...






...would have like to taken some better set up shots with the DSLR.

Some time on the foam roller completes the day's training.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Fresh Start

I lost my computer. Left it in my suitcase. Sitting on the street. Where I placed it while I loaded my bike in the rack. I drove off without putting it in the truck. Also in suitcase... my thumbdrive with all of my training data. Four years worth. Because of the likelihood of losing a thumbdrive... I *did* keep a back up of the information on it. On the laptop. That was in the suitcase.

So... I've been busy rebuilding my training spreadsheet. My training log has evolved over the years. It is designed to minimize the time spent typing in stuff. I'd rather do other things than type stuff in to a computer. I like the presentation of the data. It's simple. And mostly graphical. Because I'd rather ride my bike rather than pour over numbers. I was tempted to chunk it. I use WKO+. But several times I've discovered trends, or patterns, or diagnosed training mistakes with it more easily than I ever could with WKO+ or Training Peaks. So reconstruct... I shall. And make a few improvements along the way.

Back to regular business... the weather is also off to a fresh start. After weeks of record heat... we are challenging overnight low... yes low... temperature records. As I set out on my ride tonight... I'm feeling... different. Not run down. Not beat up. It's a mere 88°F. It feels wonderful.

Nothing special tonight. Just a simple 4x 5'min set at 90-110%FTP. Not sure why but my heartrate is sooper high tonight. I hit my (theoretical age-based) maximum tonight. The intervals don't feel that hard. It may be dehydration. I didn't drink much water today. The air is dry too. We'll see what happens over the next few days...

Today's trace.. isn't a 'pretty' as those done on rollers...


... but a heck of a lot more fun!