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.