Wednesday, December 31, 2008

5K TT - 17 second improvement

I decided to do my run testing a week early as I'll be heading out of town when my training plan calls for the test. My warm-up consisted of a 1.5 mile jog over to a local city park that has a dirt track that is rarely, if ever used as I thought this would be a great venue for doing these monthly tests.

I started out a pace that I thought I could hold the entire 5K. After 1.5 miles, I realized I was wrong. I ran the first mile in 6:38, second in 7:09, third in 7:13, and the final 0.10 in 6:36 for a grand total of 21:40. Nothing like a positive split!! Not bad considering I haven't done any speed work and I shaved 17 seconds off my 5K time I did in a race a little over a month ago. My vDot climbed 0.4 to 45.4 but still not where I want to be which is under 20'. Hopefully the next 16 weeks will get me closer to my goal - just in time for short course racing!

Next month I'll go out a little more conservative - 7' first mile and then try to drop 10 seconds on each of the remaining miles.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Time for some altitude training

Heading to Park City, UT in a few days to partake in the dry, white powder and hopefully boost my RBC's. Nothing like a little legal PED (performance enhancing drug) to get the 2009 season started off in the right direction!

Signed up with Endurance Nation

I decided to sign up with Endurance Nation for the 2009 season and have purchased my annual training plan for Ironman 70.3 Augusta. I decided to go the "self-coached" route next year as I'm planning for only 1 peak versus two this year and I'm sticking to triathlons in 2009 whereas I was doing road races, crits, and time trials in 2008. EN has been very prompt and "on the ball" with regards to sending you the plans, collateral training material, etc within minutes of sending payment. In addition, I received an answer to a question I posted on the forum in less than an hour.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shaving legs = Start of new season

It's official, my training for the 2009 season has started with the "trimming of the tree" I mean shaving of the legs. Once my season is over, I typically take a few weeks or months off from shaving the legs. I guess it signals my body that it's rest time and time to load up on empty carbs, saturated fat and hydrogenated oils.

Last year this time I was putting in 14 to 17 hour weeks on the bike to get ready for the bike racing season in April / May. In hindsight this was a big mistake as I was flying in April /May and dead in July /August. My season was over before it really got started. Switching to Tri's for 2009 - Sprint and long course - will be quite a bit different for me and doing a gradual build makes sense as my A race - Ironman 70.3 Augusta is in September.

I've been running and cycling several days a week with the majority of my bike work being at SST - getting the biggest return for the time put in. Still undecided about a training plan. Looking at Endurance Nation as I'm a power meter user and really like their approach of using the "out season" or off season to build speed on the bike and run. The race isn't won in the water so spending 5 days a week perfecting my swim stroke doesn't make sense to me. The only triathlon I did in 2008 had me coming out of the water 18th in my group and I only spent 5 days training for the swim 30 days before the event. I can hold my own and will get faster just by spending time on the discipline.

Tentative race schedule for 2009:

5/3/09 - Lake Murray Triathlon

6/20/09 - Tri the Midlands Triathlon

9/6/09 - Hartsville YMCA International Triathlon

9/27/09 - Ironman 70.3 Augusta

I'm sure I'll add a few 10K races throughout the year and will modify the schedule accordingly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting back on the bike

I decided after the SC State Road Race that this race would be my last bicycle only race for quite some time as I'm transitioning to triathlons full time for 2009. My A race will be the 1st Annual Ironman 70.3 Augusta on September 27th, 2009 and will add a few sprint distance events throughout the year.

I've been running for the past 2 months while taking time off of the bike. Pretty much Zone 2 and on average about 18 miles/wk. I downloaded a metronome mp3 for my Ipod and have been running consistently at 180bpm and just upped the cadence to 185. I decided to enter the 14th Annual Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup 5K mainly because the start is about 2.5 miles away from my house and I needed some speed work.

I started out a little hot - 5:42 pace for the first 1/2 mile and decided I better ease up and actually slowed down a little too much going into mile 2. I made the turn and realized that everyone in front of me with the exception of one guy was doing the 10K. At mile 2 I turned around and didn't see anyone so I knew I was safe but also realized I wasn't in any shape to catch the person in the lead. I finished 2nd overall with a 21:57 and 1st in my AG - 35-39. The guy that beat me was actually a teenager - 14 to be exact and he ran a 19:21. I had plenty in the tank and probably should've pushed it but couldn't find the motivation knowing that I couldn't catch the guy in front and there wasn't any concern about being caught. Probably will run in the 1st Annual Fitness Zone Jingle Bell 5K on 12/13 and with better pacing I should be able to go mid 20's.

Started back on the bike this week and estimated that I probably lost about 20W or less at FTP. I plan on doing about 4 hours/wk on the bike (T, TH, SAT) with all the work being 2-3 x 8' to 10' minute intervals at 95 - 100% of FTP. I will throw in some 85% of FTP on my long day (SAT) after my MS intervals are done. Mondays and Fridays will be off for now and my running schedule will be as follows:

30 minute brick on Tuesday - Z1 with 3 x 30" strides
45 minute run on Wednesday - Tempo with 3 x 1 miles at Z4 with 4 minutes in between
30 minute brick on Saturday staring in Z2 and finishing in Z3
60 - 90 minute run on Sunday with 15' Z1, then 4 x 30" strides. MS will be 3 x 1 mile at Z3 with 4 minutes recovery in between.

Should be fun and will start my annual plan in January.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bronze Medal CAT 4 - SC State Road Race Champs

The race was uneventful and rather slow at times - almost felt like a CAT 5 race. Race was 45 miles or 3, 15 mile loops. One attempted break but lasted all of 5 minutes before me and the eventual winner reeled them in.

A little change over last in that they opened the road up at the final 100m versus 200m. Just picture 50+ CAT 4 riders all trying to fit in one lane for 900m. Better yet, try putting 2lbs in a 1lb bag and you'll get the picture. At 500m, the first wreck happened about 10yards behind and the second wreck happened at 250m again, 10 yards behind me. I estimate the wrecks wiped out about 25 racers. At one point, I saw a bike less rider go airborne out of my peripheral vision and the bike must have been 10+ feet in the air. I've seen my share of wrecks but these two were pretty ugly and nothing like hearing grown men scream like little girls!

I was pretty much at my limit and crossed the line sitting up. I finished 12th overall and 3rd from SC. This will be my last race of the season as I need a break and I need to get back to work.

Thanks to my coach Dave Morris for all of his help, guidance, and of course training plans!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Not much going on

My role at work has changed slightly due to the recent acquisition and therefore, my open schedule just closed with a lot of new travel that will disrupt my training for the SC State Road Race. I should be in good form at the end of August but not like I was in April and May.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Compete in Triathlon - Check!

I have an unofficial list of things to do before I die and competing in a triathlon was one. I decided back in late April to enter the Tri the Midlands triathlon and made a promise to myself that I would limit the training days to 5 each for the other 2 disciplines - swimming and running. Reason being, I have limited access to a swimming pool and the only time I'm running is if I'm being chased. I held true to my word and swam 5X but only 4X - 1X running a full 5K.

With this being my first triathlon, I entered the Novice category and we had a total field of 42. Of the 3 disciplines, the swim would be my biggest challenge. 500M isn't far but when you only trained 5X and couldn't string more than 75M of freestyle together at one time, I knew I was in for a long swim. I made a Novice mistake by lining up in the middle and being a left hand breather, I should've started on the inside or outside. For this course, the outside would've been preferred as it would've been the shortest line to the first bouy. I'm always amazed how body fat keeps people afloat and allows the heavier people to outswim the skinny ones.

The official time with the long run T1 was 13:52 and I was 18th out of 42 coming out of the water.

Next up, the 12 mile bike leg. I knew I had alot of ground to make up as I was in the water way too long. The new Scott Plasma was amazing but I wish I had more than a week to get acclimated to the bike and position. I started out a little conservative as I had no idea what to expect coming off the bike and running a few miles. On the flats I was able to maintain speeds of 26 - 27 mph and had no problems powering over the rollers. I was a little frustrated at the local police as I had to come to almost a complete stop at one of the intersections as a person they flagged through stopped in the middle of the intersection to take a picture of the cyclists and the cop just stood there and waved at the person taking the picture. On the final right turn before heading back into Lake Carolina the same cop allowed a car to turn right in front of a group of 3 riders and the car was in no hurry to pull away and all three of us had to brake and lost all momentum coming out of the turn. Once in the neighborhood, the number of riders tripled and people were not staying to the right and the faster riders had to weave in and out, trying not to lose too much time.

T1 was 1:19 and now that I've done a tri, I know how to shave some seconds in this area. I completed the bike in 31:16 and finished 1st out of 42 and 20th out of 240. T2 was 57 seconds.

The legs felt OK off the bike and they finally came around in mile 2. I wasn't anticipating the course being as hilly as it was and the 4 days I trained for the run were on a flat course. The walking trail was a little awkward to run on but once I got over the last hill and onto the flat towards the finish, I opened it up and pretty much sprinted to the finish line. My time for the 5K was 23:45 which was 8th in my group.

Total Time: 1:11:08, 2nd place Novice division, 70th place overall. Congratulations to Nick, my Harrell's teammate who finished 1st in the 30-34 division and 8th overall.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Scott Plasma Pro is finally here!

I got fitted for my Scott Plasma Pro today and headed out for a 90 minute ride after lunch. My position isn't as low as anticipated (tension in shoulder due to reaching) but I think I'm aero enough. My personal opinion is that people are riding bikes in positions that may be aerodynamic but uncomfortable as all get out. After 90 minutes on the bike, no soreness or stiffness in my back or neck.

Wow! This bike wants to go fast. With the stock Cosmic Elite on the front and my Mavic OP rim with PowerTap SL on the rear, I was riding along at speeds of 25+ with little effort. The aero benefit of this bike allows you to go faster on fewer watts. What a beautiful thing.

One area of concern is my heart rate. Once in the aero bars, my heart rate shoots up to 160+ with moderate effort. I might need to open up my chest by moving my bars out just a little bit to see if this helps. Then again, it could be my lack of hydration before heading out for a ride in 92+F weather.

Can't wait to see how my Zip 404's and Giro Advantage 2 helmet help me beat the clock next Saturday. I'm out of pocket a few days but will post some pictures later in the week. By the way, the JTek ShiftMate worked great. My Campy wheel is working fine with a Shimano chain and rear derailleur.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Put a fork in me, I'm done!

I was planning on heading out at 6:30AM for a 3 hour ride but was informed by my children that their cheerleading camp performance was at 11:15AM. It was doable but I'm married to a night owl and getting her moving in the morning is tough, so I help out by getting the kids fed, watered, and supervise the teeth brushing while she showers and gets dressed. If everything goes as planned, they head out at 8:45AM for a 9:00AM camp. Not enough time for me to get my ride in.

The performance was over by 12:00 noon and on the way home, I checked the outside air temperature and it said 99F!!! My ride was not going to fun. I'd been hydrating all morning and added a little extra salt to my bottles and checked my weight and hydration on my scale before heading out. 157.2 lbs and a hydration level of 61.2% which is above where I normally am for this time of the day.

I headed out and decided to do the flat to rolling route to minimize fatigue from hills and immediately noticed a significant headwind. Nothing like a hot headwind to zap your energy. I felt sluggish after about 45 minutes into the ride and decided to pull over at a convenience store and get a cold bottle of water and something to eat. This did help and I made it a point to stop every 30 minutes thereafter just to get out of the sun.

I didn't quite make the goal of 3 hours but ended up with 2:30. My weight dropped to 154 and my hydration level actually increased to 62.4%. I checked when I got home and they showed the high for this afternoon to be 101F with 15 mph gusts. You've got to love the summer time in the South!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sunday's workout

The plan called for intervals consisting of 4X9 on 5 off. During the 9 "on", I alternated between 260W and 300W each minute. Pretty good workout and ended up with a TSS of 85 for a little over an hour.

More intervals on Wednesday and a long ride for Thursday before taking 2 days off to start the 4X10 on 5 off on Sunday.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Scott Plasma Pro

After 2, top 15 finishes in flat, fast, and what seemed to me to be dangerous crits, I decided to limit my crit racing moving forward to 2 starting in 2009. The crits I've chosen are relatively "safe" and include some rollers that will cause some separation and again make things safer. At almost 40 with 2 kids and being the sole bread winner, I can't afford a broken collar bone or anything else moving forward. Call me a whimp but I say I'm pretty darn smart!

So what's my focus for 2009 and beyond? Road races and time trials. I think my road racing will benefit significantly from time trialling and throwing in the occasional sprint triathlon such as Tri the Midlands on 6/21, I will benefit from having a TT specific bike and gearing my training towards these events. If everything goes well, I may enter the SC State TT Championships in October.

I'm staying with my team's (Harrell's Bicycle World) bike sponsor - Scott and will take delivery of my Scott Plasma Pro next week. I was a little bummed because I'm a Campy guy and all of my wheels are Campy and I was already thinking that at a minimum, I would need to change the free hub on my Zipp 404 tubular (not the one with the PowerTap SL hub) from Campy to ShimaNO and ride using PE or heart rate. That was the plan up until I found the ShiftMate from Jtek Engineering.

ShiftMate allows you to mix ShimaNO and Campy components such as in my case, a Campy cassette with a ShimaNO derailleur and shifter and have it shift as if it were a complete drivetrain. In addition, I can use index shifting instead of friction. This little device installs just behind the barrel adjuster going into the rear derailleur. This little piece of heaven is only $35, significantly less than new free hubs, cassettes, etc.

Updates - recent purchase

Well I sold my bike on eBay for significantly more than I anticipated. The guy who purchased it is from CA and actually bought it for his son who will not actually grow into the bike for another 6 - 12 months. Nothing like spending $3,000 for a 2 year old bike that doesn't currently fit and for what I assume is a teenager. I guess the old saying is correct, "fools and their money are soon parted."

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I cut my 4 hour ride short today by an hour as I just couldn't produce the power and I felt wiped out. From Sunday to today, I racked up a TSS of 759. Keep in mind that my average weekly TSS since 3/1 has been 397.

Next week is a transition week where Supercompensation occurs and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Monday, May 19, 2008


2006 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL Size 54

** Does not include Campy Bora wheels - see description

* Campagnolo Record Carbon Rear Derailleur
* Campagnolo Record Carbon Compact Front Derailleur
* Campagnolo Record Carbon Compact Crankset – 172.5mm with 50/34 chain rings
* Campagnolo Record Carbon Ergopower shifters
* Campagnolo Record Ultra Narrow chain
* Zero Gravity Ti brake calipers
* Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbon Flow Saddle – white
* Ritchey WCS Carbon seatpost
* Ritchey WCS 4Axis Aluminum stem 110mm
* Ritchey WCS Aluminum anatomic bars
* (2) Arundel Dave-O Matte Carbon bottle cages
* Look Keo Carbon Ti pedals
* Campagnolo Eurus clincher wheel set
* Campagnolo Chorus steel 11-23 cassette
* Campagnolo skewers
* Continental GP4000 clincher tires
* Approximate weight – 15lbs


Plan for today called for a 4 hour "easy" ride. Not sure what easy means but with 20+ mph winds on and off for 4 hours, I was pretty spent when I got home and it didn't feel like an easy ride. I guess I'm still feeling the effects of yesterday's ride which consisted of:

4 x 8 on 6 off alternating each minute of work or on time between 260W and 300W.

Time to rebuild the right Campy Ergoshifter as the shifting is no longer crisp, I'm missing gears, and out of the saddle efforts is causing the chain to move down a cog. Once I get the bike fixed and cleaned up, I'm putting her up for sale in order to get a TT bike.

The numbers for today were:

75.63 miles
TSS: 188.7 (.678)
NP: 190W
AVP: 171W

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Shoes - Shimano SH-R300

My Specialized BG Carbon shoes were showing some signs of wear - BOA tensioning system loosening up during races - so I decided to indulge myself with a pair of Shimano SH-R300 custom fit shoes. These shoes are amazing and they are extremely comfortable, supportive, and transfer all power to the pedals. I left the insoles in the oven for a minute too long and they shrunk, and they are now useless. I removed the insoles from my Specialized and finished the molding process. The insoles that came with the shoes have a built-in odor eating protection and air holes that match the vents in the bottom of the shoe. I will probably order another pair of insoles in the event my feet need a little more ventilation when the temperature reaches 100F.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

5th place - Georgia Cup Series 7 Road Race

Saturday almost didn't happen. With 5 minutes to spare, my wife dropped me off on a street corner and I rode a few hundred feet to where the Cat 4/5 35+ riders were assembling for the start of the race. I felt awful having just finished a big meal 60 minutes prior to being dropped off and not being warmed up properly. The official mentioned that we would be neutral for 5 miles in order to get the peloton out of town. What a relief. My frustrated look turned into a smile. Nothing like a neutral roll out to get the juices flowing!

The race was pretty uneventful. Typical race where the peloton brakes going down hill and kills it going up. Don't quite understand the logic but it seems to be all the rage these days. The 5 mile run in to the finish was crazy. Riders were passing on the right in the area that is considered the entrance to a neighborhood. I disagree with the tactic and it borderlines on unethical/illegal. There were two significant hills in the last 1.5 miles that really separated the group. Fortunately, I positioned myself on the right side about 15th back with 10 miles to go and had a clear path over the hills as the weaker riders starting falling off.

At the 1K sign about 3/4 up the last hill, I looked down at my speedometer and we were doing 26mph. This wasn't a roller and it threw me off guard a little. As we crested the hill and safely made it through a major 4-way intersection, the road opened up as we were at the 200m sign but for some reason I just sat on and pedaled as fast as I could. I have no idea why I didn't shift to a smaller gear and jump out of the saddle and go for the win but I didn't. I crossed the finish line in 5th doing 41mph.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Making your own Sports Drink

As with everything these days, the cost of sports drinks continues to rise. In doing quite a bit of research on the subject, I determined that the best overall drink in my opinion was eLoad or EFS by First Endurance. Reason being they are both made with dextrose aka glucose and requires no additional process to convert the sugar to energy. EFS is loaded with BCAA and quite unnecessary for an on the bike drink and thus the reason why it's $1.60 per bottle.

I've been using the recipe below for over 6 months and give it "two thumbs up" for taste, convenience, and cost savings. The recipe is almost identical to that of eLoad Heat Endurance.

My recipe is based on using NOW Foods brand dextrose as ratios I’ve listed below are based on their dextrose that weighs 4g per 1.25 tsp.

For 20 oz
bottle mix the following for a 6.9% carb solution: (cost is approximately $0.43 / 20 oz bottle which includes postage for dextrose)

  • 13 tsp or 4 tbs +1 tsp of dextrose
  • Just under ¼ tsp of salt (590mg)
  • 1/16 tsp of NuSalt (162mg of potassium chloride)
  • ¼ tsp to ½ tsp of Kool-Aid powder – the amount is dependent upon how strong of a taste you require/desire

For 24 oz bottle mix the following for a 6.6% carb solution: (cost is approximately $0.48 / 24 oz bottle which includes postage for dextrose)

  • 15 tsp or 5 tbs of dextrose
  • ¼ tsp of salt (590mg)
  • 1/16 tsp of NuSalt (162mg of potassium chloride)
  • ½ tsp+ of Kool-Aid powder – the amount is dependent upon how strong of a taste you require/desire

Prior to switching, I was using First Endurance EFS and eLoad Heat Endurance and the cost per 24oz bottle was $1.60 and $1.39 respectively. Think of it this way, at 5000 miles per year, you are probably consuming a bottle every 20 miles or 250 bottles over the 5000 miles. At $1.60/bottle x 250 bottles, you are spending $400 on sports drink. Based on the recipe above and assuming you find the dextrose local and don’t have to pay shipping, you are spending $0.34/bottle x 250 = $85 or a savings of $315 that you can put towards carbon wheels!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

New 5 sec power personal best

I headed out on Sunday afternoon at around 1:30PM with the temperature hovering around 82F. A perfect day to be on the bike with a slight breeze and low humidity. The plan called for 3.5 hours of hard riding so I headed to the lake which means plenty of hills. With this being the 3rd day of long sustained efforts, I decided to wake up the legs with a short sprint and see what I had left after having ridden 2.5 hours. I was quite surprised as I haven't been doing any sprint work and my legs were pretty tired plus I didn't go all out, but my 5 second wattage set a new personal best at 1144W.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and resulted in the following #'s:

Duration: 3:09:40 (3:14:50)
Work: 2150 kJ
TSS: 189.5 (intensity factor 0.776)
Norm Power: 217
VI: 1.15
Pw:HR: 9.29%
Pa:HR: 1.95%
Distance: 61.108 mi

Min Max Avg

Power: 0 1168 190 watts
Heart Rate: 83 160 138 bpm
Cadence: 29 141 90 rpm
Speed: 2.3 38.8 19.4 mph

More 4x8's

Plan for Saturday was 4X8' on @ 285W with 5 minutes between intervals as follows:

0 -1 minute: easy
1 - 2 minute: 385W
2 - 3 minutes: easy
3 - 4 minutes: 385W
4 - 5 minutes: easy

Feeling some residual fatigue from my hour ride the day before, I bagged the 385W intervals after the set of 8' in favor of easy riding. I dropped the wattage back on my final set of 8' in order to complete the 2 hard intervals.

1st 8' interval: 284W avg
2nd 8' interval: 278W avg
3rd 8' interval: 281W avg
4th 8' interval: 272W avg

Zone 2 for 1 hour

Friday called for an hour ride in Zone 2 or a power range of 213-238W. My legs started out a little heavy and it took about 15 minutes to get into a breathing rhythm but I managed 244W NP and 239W AVG power for hour. Average speed was 21.7 and distance traveled was 21.704 miles.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Transition week

My plan usually consists of 3 weeks on, with the third week in the block being the longest/most difficult of the block. The 4th week isn't a true rest week but one where the volume is reduced but the intensity is still up. The 4th week in the block is when supercompensation takes place.

I'm currently in the 4th week of the block and will start adding about 4 - 6 hours of additional time per week starting this Saturday. 3 months of indoor trainer work has me ready to get outside, especially now that the temps are hitting in the low to mid 80's.

Workout today called for 5X1 on 2 off at SMSP wattage or above 380W.

Say hello to the new Cat 4....

I completed my 10th race a few weeks ago and was waiting to upgrade after the state criterium championships. Now that the race is behind me, I decided to submit my upgrade request which was accepted with no problem. I'll be competing in several Georgia Cup races in May and June and they run a combined 4/5 race which means being listed as a Cat 4 will help me towards my Cat 3 upgrade should I place in the top 3.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tempo with a little LT thrown in

My next race will be May 10th at the Series 7 road race in Cumming, GA. This will be sort of a homecoming as we used to live in Cumming, GA for about 8 years prior to moving back to SC and my parents and brother still live in the area at Big Canoe, GA.

Nothing special about the road race but after doing 2 months of short intervals, I need some time in the saddle in order to stay in the pack and hopefully contend for the sprint at the finish.

The plan called for a 2 hour hard road ride with at least 30 minutes of MSP/SMSP thrown in. Just to clarify, SMSP is basically L5-L6 and MSP is L4. I decided to do all MSP as my criterium racing schedule is pretty much over.

I'm not sure if it was being outside on the road or just trying to get the ride in before the rain, but my average speed for the 1.75 hour ride was 20.6 mph, a little higher than anticipated. I cut the ride short by about 15 minutes as the rain started picking up and I had some family obligations that I needed to get ready for.

Pretty good ride with about 40 minutes of L4 work and the rest tempo.

Saturday workout results

The training plan called for 3x8' @ 280-290W with 5 minutes between each interval. The plan for the 5 minutes between each interval looked something like this:

0 -1 minute: easy
1 - 2 minutes: 340 - 365W
2 - 3 minutes: easy
3 - 4 minutes: 340W - 365W
4 - 5 minutes: easy

I performed the first 8 minute interval at an average wattage of 283W with the 2 minutes of SMSP recorded as 344W and 349W respectively. For the 2nd interval, my average wattage was 288W with the 2 minutes of SMSP recorded as 324W and 346W respectively. I could tell I was fading going into the 3rd interval and only produced 269W for the 8 minutes and 335W and 353W for the 2 minutes of SMSP.

Not bad but not where I wanted the numbers to be.

Friday, April 25, 2008

New FTP as of 4/23/08 - 280W or 4W/kg

I haven't done any formal testing since December and really can't see the need to do any now (maybe at the end of the season) and I've decided to bump my FTP from 275W to 280W. I feel as though I'm higher but we'll see how things go and will re-adjust if needed. My last adjustment was 1/20/08 so I think I'm long overdue.

Weighing 70kg, this puts me right at 4W/kg. Not impressive but my goal is to get this to 4.5W/kg through weight loss and an increase of my FTP to at least 300W. Both should be attainable as I've only spent 4 -5.5 hours a week on the bike since 2/1/08 and my weight (body fat) has increased slightly for this time of the year.

New workout for Saturday

The plan for Saturday is to do intervals - 3X8 min @ MSP wattage (280W-300W). Instead of resting for 5 minutes in between intervals, Dave Morris has me doing the following:

0 - 8 minutes @ MSP or 280W-300W
8 - 9 minutes easy
9 - 10 minutes SMSP or 350+W
10 - 11 minutes easy
11 - 12 minutes SMSP or 350+W
12 - 13 minutes easy
13 - 21 minutes @ MSP or 280W - 300W
21 - 22 minutes easy
22 - 23 minutes SMSP or 350+W
23 - 24 minutes easy
24 - 25 minutes SMSP or 350+W
25 - 26 minutes easy
26 - 34 minutes @ MSP or 280W - 300W
34 - 35 minutes easy
35 - 36 minutes SMSP or 350+W
36 - 37 minutes easy
37 - 38 minutes SMSP or 350+W
38 - 39 minutes easy

Sunday calls for a hard 2 hour road ride with 30 minutes of MSP/SMSP intensity. Looks like rain so I guess I'll be doing this inside!

Longer Intervals and Increased Mileage

Tuesday started my transition to longer MSP intervals and more time one the bike. Not much racing going on between now and July so I hope to start a new build phase and be flying by mid-late July for the State Road Race Championships.

Tuesday's workout called for 4 intervals 8 minutes in length with the first 7 minutes being at MSP and the last minute being at SMSP with 4 minutes of rest in between intervals. I decided to start conservatively as I was still feeling sluggish from the weekend and ended up with the following #'s:

Interval 1: 7 minutes @ 288W and 1 minute @ 348W

Interval 2: 7 minutes @ 282W and 1 minute @ 351W

Interval 3: 7 minutes @ 280W and 1 minute @ 340W

Interval 4: 7 minutes @ 282W and 1 minute @ 343W

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mediocre weekend

I ended up with a 15th place finish in the Master's 35+ race on Saturday and 14th in my category race on Sunday. I felt sluggish the whole weekend and having my wife and two children with me in a hotel room probably didn't help. My youngest has been battling a cough for about 2 weeks and she came down with a 102F fever on Sunday night which meant a trip to the doctor on Monday. Turns out that she has pneumonia.

Both courses this weekend didn't favor a climber and the pace was all out from the start. The race on Saturday was located in the ION Community in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Pretty flat course with cobblestone pathways across the roads for pedestrian traffic. Throw in a roundabout and a sharp 90 degree turn with a corner full of cobblestones and it makes for an interesting day of racing.

I got to the starting line after everyone had lined up so I was sitting in 38th position to start and would need a few laps just to get mid-pack. We averaged 25.7mph for the entire 43 minutes and I just couldn't get into a groove or zone.

The race on Sunday was pancake flat with sweeping corners and we averaged 26.1mph for the entire 40 minutes. Even with the official's warnings, we still had 4 wrecks during the race, one that required a stretcher.

I went solo for 1.5 laps but no one followed and I decided to get reabsorbed as I just didn't feel that I had it today. Once reabsorbed, I found myself falling to the back of the pack. With 2 to go, I started making my way up to the front could never get closer than about 20th. We rounded the last 90 degree turn towards the finish line and even though we had a long run in to the finish, being so far back made it difficult to pick my way through the field and I ended up sitting up just before the finish as there was no place for me to go.

Even though I didn't place in the top 5, I did extend my streak and 2008 goal of placing in the top 15 in every race I enter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting ready for the weekend

The Omnium results finally came out for the Rock Hill races and I ended up winning the Omnium with my 4th place in the crit and 2nd place finish in the road race. Hopefully I can match or better these results this weekend at the ION crit and SC State Criterium Championships in Charleston.

My training was slightly interrupted this past week with a business trip to CT and performing 1 minute intervals on a hotel exercise bike is not my idea of fun. I bagged the 15 sec intervals the next day and my coach readjusted my schedule to maximize my training load before this weekend.

I'll be racing with the Masters on Saturday and my category for the championship and hope to come away with some dinner money (family making the trip with me) as well as some hardware on Sunday. My racing schedule will slow down after this weekend with a circuit race and road race May 10th and 11th as part of the Series 7 of the Georgia Cup and will probably fit in 4 more races between May and the SC State Road Race Championships at the end of August.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Some More Hardware - 2nd Place

Today was the Patriot's Trail Road Race and the weather was OK - no rain but a little colder than expected. We had a group of 30 riders in the 35+ race and we did 1 lap or 45 miles. I felt pretty good today and coming off of my 4th place finish in the crit, I felt I had pretty good legs.

The race was uneventful until halfway through, my cable decided to stretch beyond the point that my front derailleur needed to move the chain to the big chainring. Finally, after 10 minutes of spinning in my 36 x 13 on the flats, the chain decided to move over. Good thing we were past all of the climbs and I made sure that my fingers stayed away from the thumb button on my left shifter.

With about 500M to go, a guy dropped his chain for the second time in the race, and the pack went in all directions. This allowed one guy to get away unnoticed as we later found out. At 200m, we had the full road and I took full advantage of it. I sprinted past 10 riders and ended up taking 2nd by a few bike lengths. With second in the road race and 4th in the crit, I managed to take 1st in the Omnium as well. All in all, a pretty good weekend, and I owe it to my coach - Dave Morris, my new steed, and the racing smarts I've acquired over the past year.

Next up are two crits in Charleston on the 19th and 20th with the 20th being the SC State Crit Championships. If this weekend is any indication I should be in top form by the 20th.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Old Town Criterium - 4th Place

The weather cooperated somewhat for my race but the roads were saturated which made an already technical course as it pertains to the last two turns before the finish even more difficult. I decided to swap out the trusty Continental GP4000's for a new set of Vittoria Open Corsa's and this proved to be a mistake.

The field had about 30 riders for the 15 lap race and things started out rather slow for crits. The pace did pick up for the first prime and then leveled off for the rest of the race. A guy attacked just as we crossed the start/finish after the second prime and he ended up staying away for the remainder of the race. He benefited from having 4 other teammates in the race that slowed the pace and blocked.

With less than a 1/4 mile to go, I attacked up the right side and passed 10 riders just before a hard 90 degree right turn. I took the corner at 30mph on wet pavement and my rear tire started to slide. I managed to right the ship only to have it do it again on the last right turn towards the up hill finish line. These two slides cost me my gap and as I started sprinting for the line (in too high of a gear I might add), I got passed by two riders less than 20' before the finish line. 2nd place was mine to lose and I did it with the help of Vittoria and the burn in my quads!!

45 mile road race tomorrow starting from historic Brattonsville, the site where the movie The Patriot was filmed.

Monday, March 31, 2008

5 minute intervals

Plan called for 3 sets of 3 @ 5 minutes on 1 minute off with 4 minutes rest between sets. I started out a little too high on my first set of 3 intervals and I decided to dial back the second set of 3 by about 15W. On the third set, I decided to bring the intensity back up but shorten each interval by 1 minute as I still had some residual fatigue from my 3 hour ride on Saturday. The shortened rest period between the intervals - 1 minute is a killer but it definitely pays dividends on race day!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

3 hours never felt so good

Training plan called for 3 hours with at least 40 minutes of threshold and VO2 work mixed in. The ride today was my longest since my first race of the season on March 1st. I was getting a little concerned that my backside might be getting soft with only interval rides lasting no longer than 75 minutes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Threshold work

I set the trainer up on the back porch this morning and banged out 3 @ 12 minutes on 5 minutes off at 292W, 291W, and 285W. I changed my pacing on the third interval and just couldn't get the wattage up to the 290W target.

I changed my handle bars (moved to Deda Newton shallow drop) and saddle (Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow) on my training bike in order to match the configuration on my race day bike. The saddle is amazingly comfortable but one negative is the limited fore/aft adjustment due to the carbon rails. I probably need to switch to a zero setback seat post and this should get me closer to my normal riding position.

I've started noticing some play in my right Ergo shifter and this is causing me issues when moving up the cassette. The additional play in the paddle is acting more like a trim device than a shifter. Looks as though I'm due for an overhaul on the shifter as it is over 2 years old and 15K+ miles.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Outside Trainer Rides From Here On Out

Yesterday was a tough day. The plan called for 3 sets of 4 @ 3 on 1 off with 4 minutes rest between sets. I attempted these late in the day which was a mistake and my plan was to do these inside on my trainer. I turned the A/C on low and added a second fan but even with these additions/changes, I barely made it through the first set. The temperature was so high in my office that I bagged the trainer and headed outdoors. Even though the temp outside was 78F, it was significantly cooler and I was able to finish the remaining sets.

Today, I set the trainer up on my back covered porch and turned on the ceiling fans as well as my Vornado fan. The outside temp was ideal - 50F and what a difference it made. I was able to complete the workout - 2 sets of 10 @ 1 on 30 secs off without any heat related problems. From here on out, I plan to do my trainer workouts in the morning and on the back porch.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Enough Carbs

As I mentioned previously, my weight has increased by 2 lbs since switching coaches/training philosophies as my time on the bike has been cut in half. After I realized I gained 2lbs, I stopped weighing myself daily and made a conscious effort to cut back on my food intake.

Today, after an AR ride, I decided to get on the scale and I was surprised by what it said. Not only did I lose the 2lbs that I gained but I also lost an additional 2lbs. My energy level as of late and my performance on Saturday can now be traced back to me limiting my food intake. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

At my weight - 152lbs, I should be consuming between 6 to 10 grams of carbs per kilo of body weight per day or around 415g - 691g. In addition, I should include the following supplementation:

  • 5g of carbs per kilo of body weight 3-4 hours before competitive events or long training rides.
  • 40 to 60 grams of carbs (20 to 30 ounces) per hour during exercise
  • 1.25g per kilo of body weight immediately following and 1g per kilo of body weight every 2 hours for 6 hours after exercising for an hour or more (meals are included in this amount).
I can tell you as of late, that I've only been consuming around 400g per day even when working out and this is obviously not enough to keep the engine fueled.

Better start loading up now as I have 3 days of hard intervals starting on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another round of MSP intervals

Today was absolutely beautiful - 73F and I decided to head outside for a set of MSP intervals. I decided to do these on Lockhart Rd which is pretty flat with a slight incline and in hindsight, I wish I would've done these on the hill again. Lockhart is a pretty open road and you usually have a headwind going out. The headwind today was a little more than I bargained for and it made it tough to maintain the wattage without going too hard.

The plan called for 3 @ 8 on 4 off with a target wattage of 300W. First interval was at 302W, the second at 294W (I reversed directions at the 4 minute mark), and the third was at 301W.

Remax Town & Country Road Race - New London, NC

I decided late Friday afternoon that I would race in the annual Out Like A Lion Road Race in New London, NC after checking, as earlier in the week they were predicting torrential downpours for Saturday but they were now predicting some afternoon rain only. I left the house at around 5:00AM and drove the 2 hours to New London for a race that started at 8:05AM. I packed a half gallon of water, a recovery drink, a bottle for the race and some food to eat on the way up. As I approached Monroe, NC, the fog was pretty thick and it made the 2 lane country roads difficult to navigate.

I made it to staging area at 7:00AM and started setting up the trainer, etc before heading over to registration. By the time I got back to the car, I had about 25 minutes to warm-up. 10 minutes into my warm-up, Rick from Giordana-Clif Bar stopped and said the first race would be delayed at least 30 minutes due to the heavy fog. 30 minutes turned into over 2 hours. Not anticipating the delay, I ran out of food and water and didn't pack any gels or bars. Shortly after 10:15AM we assembled for the race of which was shortened by 1 lap due to the delay.

Last season, I played catch-up for half the race due to a poor starting position and vowed that I would start every race this year on the front row. So far so good as I've managed front row positions in my first 2 races. With the race being shortened by 1 lap, the pace was pretty high from the beginning. Me and 4 others set the tempo from the start and 5 minutes in, I knew that I would pretty much be a non-factor in the race today. My legs were heavy and I felt slow and uncomfortable on the bike. Maybe it was the less than optimal pre-race dinner or the 4 hours of sleep combined with a 2 hour drive and then 2 hours of waiting.

On one of the hills, the lead pack accelerated and the guy in front jumped out of his saddle and his rear end went crazy. I was seated and accelerating with the pack and my front tire got a little ahead of the guy's rear and our wheels touched. My handlebars went right and the end jammed into the left side of my right knee cap, tearing a hole in my knee warmers. I knew I was going down but managed to stay up and went off the right side of the road into the grass and came back on only losing 6 positions. My knee was throbbing but I was able to pedal without any problem. I decided that I would stay hidden for the second lap and hopefully, stay out of any further trouble.

We started the race with 36 riders and at some point, we split the pack into two groups - 20 and 16. The wind was going from right to left so everyone was jockeying for position on the left side. I managed to get in a line just to the right of the centerline and managed to stay in the position with 2.5 miles to go. As soon as we rounded the last turn, the pack starting breaking up due to the acceleration and I found myself picking off riders and making my way up the middle and was in position 8 when a hole on the right side opened up and Rick started saying - Go Scott Go! I decided to jump and me and 2 others got separation but after 30 seconds, I was on the verge of popping and I decided to sit-up and wait. At this point I was done. I could see the finish line tent and all I wanted to do was hang on. We topped the hill and everyone took off. People started flying by me and I couldn't do anything about it and I managed to hold on for 15th place. The result is better than I expected especially after several attacks (one right at the end), the handlebar jamming into my knee cap, and almost wrecking.

In reading the Time Factory Development Team blog, the Pro 1,2 race was shortened from 10 laps to 2 and they raced in a downpour with quarter sized hail. Glad I got it over with earlier and only had to contend with a little drizzle.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

MSP Intervals

I've been looking forward to this phase of my training plan as I enjoy the longer (8-20 minute) efforts at threshold or max sustainable power over the shorter 1-4 minute intervals. My volume should increase in the phase as well and as I previously mentioned, I hope the increased volume will regulate my weight once again.

Today the plan called for 3 x 8 minutes on 4 minutes off at a target wattage of around 300W. I decided to do these on a 2.5 mile climb and it worked out well as I was able to keep the wattage up and the cadence at around 95rpm+. The elevation change over the 2.5 miles is approximately 210'. For the first interval I averaged 305W with an average speed of 18.8mph, 304W at 18.8mph for interval 2 and 300W at 18mph for interval 3.

My last ride on the road was 3/1 so I decided to get in another hour at tempo in order to get some more miles in my legs. 3 straight weeks of 1-6 minute intervals can make your body forget what it's like to be in the saddle for 5 to 6 hours at a time.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Supercompensation - When the body is subjected to overload, it undergoes physiological changes that improve its ability to perform work. The result of supercompensation is known as Training Effect.

I'm nearing the end of a transition week between SMSP - Supermaxium sustainable power intervals and MSP - maximum sustainable power intervals. 3 weeks ago when I moved into the SMSP phase, I was targeting 385W for 1 minute intervals (2 sets of 5 x 1 on 1 off) and was having difficulty at times holding this wattage or something close to 350W. On Saturday, I busted out 5 x 1 on 2 off on the trainer with an average wattage of 415W and had plenty in the tank for an additional set or another 10W per interval. Was it the extra minute of rest or supercompensation that had me doing these intervals at a much higher intensity?

The MSP intervals will range in duration from 8 to 30 minutes with an intensity in high Zone 4 or 100 to 105% of FTP or as Dave Morris calls it MSPO - Max sustainable power output. Work to rest ratio is about 2:1. According to Morris, these MSP workouts promote many of the same effects as longer endurance rides, only to a much greater degree. In addition, the pathways that produce and consume lactic acid are utilized more extensively. Faster-twitch muscle fibers are more involved during MSP intervals and become more aerobically trained.

In looking at my PMC above, it is obvious that I experienced a one-time event, in this case switching coaches. What's more amazing is the amount of time I've spent with a positive TSB and how my fitness level and strength continue to improve. One side effect that I need to get a handle on is a slight weight gain due to the reduction in miles/time spent on the bike. 2-3lbs in 1.5 months doesn't seem like much but I can't afford for this trend to continue, especially when my goal weight is 150lbs and I'm currently at 156lbs.

Monday, March 3, 2008

First Race of the 2008 Season

My racing season started on 3/1 with a 30 mile road race as week #2 of the Greenville Spring Race Series. The course was the same as the SC State Road Race which meant not long enough or not enough climbs to really separate the field. A friend of mine who races for Red Top Cycling / Team Cycle Therapy out of Georgia joined me in the race and it's always nice to know that you have a familiar wheel even if you're racing alone.

The field started with 50 racers and after the first roller - less than 3 miles in - 6 people got popped off the back and abandoned. Me and my friend were at the front setting the pace on this hill and I can't believe we dropped 6 doing a pace of 17mph. By the time we passed the finish to start the last lap, the pack had split into 2 groups with 20 in the lead pack and 24 in the main. Not sure of the gap but I believe it was several minutes.

The weather turned out great but very windy and by race time it was about 55F. I decided to go with a short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, knee warmers, shoe covers, and regular gloves. Half way through the race, I had to pull down the arm warmers and unzip the jersey as the temperature had risen to about 65F.

As I mentioned, the wind was pretty strong and squelched any solo attempts. In fact, I attempted a solo break about 4 miles from the end of the first lap and got about a 50m separation but shortly realized that I couldn't maintain the pace with the headwind for another 19 miles. I sat up and waited for the group and decided to stay hidden for the rest of the race. My buddy stayed up front for almost the entire race and was spent for the sprint finish.

With about 3 miles to go, the course starts a gradual descent with a small hill at about 1.5 miles from the finish. Once you crest the hill, you make a left hand turn and have about 3/4 of mile to an uphill (gradual incline) finish. I was in about 12th position when we started the descent and when we hit the hill, I attempted a move up the right hand gutter but was blocked shortly after my move and I stayed in this blocked position up until we made the left hand turn to the finish line. A guy from Low Country Volkswagen out of Charleston jumped and I got his wheel only to hear the motorcycle ref yell - "Center Line Rule Is Still In Effect!" at which point I moved right and once again got blocked in. I finally got a hole at about 200M from the finish at which point the sprint had already started. I was able to pick off 5 riders - including my buddy, and finished just out of the top 10 with 11th place. My buddy finished 14th - Congrats Jeff!

All in all, it was a great race and I'm pleased with my results and fitness, especially at this point in the season. Positioning cost me a podium finish or at least a top 5 but to echo the words from my coach - Dave Morris, this race was not about results, but about getting in a decent workout and brushing up on bike handling skills. The podium finishes will come later in the season.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tough 2nd Set of Intervals

The plan for today was (2) sets of 5 @ 2 on 2 off with 5 min rest between sets. Target wattage for the 2 minutes on was 345W with a range of 325W - 355W. The first 4 intervals were OK with an average wattage of around 340W and the fifth was done at around 335W. The legs and hips were getting tight and I really wasn't looking forward to the second set.

I decided to drop the wattage back to 335W and it must be a mental thing, as once you dial the intensity back, it was hard to even keep the wattage above 300W. I finished the first 3 at around 335W, the fourth I stopped after 90 seconds with a wattage of 315W and the fifth I finished at 320W. Not happy with the second set but I'm glad I completed it.

Tomorrow calls for 1 set of 10 @ 1 min on 1 min off in a range of 366W - 400W. 5 minute rest then lead-out intervals - (4) sets 8 x 15 sec on 15 sec off with 1 min between sets. I really need to focus on starting out at or just below the bottom half of the range or I won't be able to complete the set.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spending some CTL

Moving into SMSP or V02 work when training in block form causes you to give up some CTL or chronic traning load - what you've done over the previous 42 days. CTL can be viewed as how long you can go hard. Up until February 1, my focus has been building CTL with the idea that as I move into racing season, I would start the backward slide until I started another build to peak later in the season. The plan prior to switching coaches was to build the CTL to over 100 by April as this would bring into racing season with great form and fitness. My goal now is not to focus on CTL but rather raise my MSP - Maximum sustainable power as high as possible as he with the highest power output wins the race. Just ask Fabian Cancellara with his 620+ W average power for the TOC Prologue.

My volume has been cut in half but the intensity has been raised by 30+%. This week, my workouts consist of:

Monday - 2 sets of 4 @ 3 min on 3 min off with 5 min rest between sets. Target power for the 3 minutes should be 315W or higher.

Tuesday - 2 sets of 5 @ 2 min on 2 min off with 5 min rest between sets. Target power for the 2 minutes should be 345W or higher.

Wednesday - 10 @ 1 min on 1 min off at 385W with 5 min rest before starting lead out intervals of 4 sets of 8 @ 15 sec on 15 sec off with 1 min rest between sets.

Off Thursday and Friday with a 1 hour Zone 2 ride on Saturday. The 3 day V02 block starts all over again on Sunday.

First race is March 1st - 30 mile road race that will be won on the last climb prior to heading down the back stretch towards the finish line. All of this V02 work has me thinking about going out on a solo flyer or possibly take the approach of non stop attacks. Not looking for hardware or race results but seeing how I stack up against others and if my form is progressing as planned.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

White is the new black

Took delivery of the new Harrell's Bicycle World team bike and it is pretty sweet. The team currently rides Scott CR1 SL's but decided to upgrade to the Scott Addict R4. I chose to stay with the full Campagnolo Record Carbon Group and as well as Zero Gravity Ti brakes but moved away from the anatomic bend handle bars in favor of the traditional bend. I chose the Deda Newton shallow drop bars and stayed with the Ritchey WCS 4Axis aluminum stem. Instead of the Specialized Toupe saddle, I decided to give the Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbon Flow saddle a try and first impressions have me thinking this will be a keeper and will replace the Toupe on my trainer/back-up bike. With the Zipp 404 tubulars, the complete bike weighs 14.4lbs. I just knew the bike was going to come in under 14lbs but oh well.

First ride impressions - WOW!!! I love the look of the bike. The Tarmac SL is half the stiffness and twice as harsh compared to this bike. It is quiet, comfortable, and every bit of power is transferred to the road. Might be the placebo effect but I felt as though I was riding 1 - 1.5mph faster and could ride in the drops for hours at a time. With the shallow drop bars, the reach is shorter and therefore, I had to move to a 120mm stem. I think I need to remove a spacer or two as the bars are definitely higher due to the additional 10mm in length. I'll give it a week or two and see if I'm producing the same or higher power and make a decision at that point.

As far as training goes, I'm almost through with the lead-out intervals and will start the V02 work at the end of the week. My first training race is 3 weeks away so I think I'll be in decent shape. CTL should be in the 70's by the first race. No taper as my focus is to be in form for April and again at the end of August - SC Crit Championship in April and SC RR Championship in August.