Wow, an outdoors ride

14 March 2012

So, I ventured out on the road this morning.

Riding on a road is a different beast altogether. You’d have thought that with the constant pedalling an indoor bike brings, you’d be in fairly good shape for an outdoor ride. At least, I would have thought. I had rivers of sweat running down my spine after three miles!!! Ok, that was probably down to my choice of layers; I think I have forgotten how to dress for the outdoors. It was 51F when I left and 48F when I came back. I was surprised in the drop of temperature, especially as the sun had risen, but I did come to a cold patch on Vets Highway.

I threw on both front lights, the dynamo and the Nite Rider, and the last two remaining back lights. I need to purchase a couple more now, one bust! Hey, did you know Nite Rider has closed down for business. I don’t think their lights for bicycles have closed but the division that made diving lights. I had one of their lights for diving and it was like a beacon but I think I shorted in on one dive trip and it never worked after that. I have a bigger beacon now which lights up a football field!! But I digress.

I filled up a water bottle, threw on the frame bag and set off. I should have brought a Gu. I really ought to have. Anyway, I didn’t and I barely took a sip of water. Cadence, I think, was high and that’s probably the side effect of doing the Hill Speed workouts. I headed off down Smithtown Blvd, then on to Portion Road and then on to Patchogue Rd (Ave?). It was nice to see a newly painted bike lane on Patchogue Rd. It goes all the way down to the LIE. When I say “new”, it’s probably been there for months!

Riding along Vets Highway, I saw the landfill. Is this new? I recall seeing it when driving in the car with Alma and we weren’t too sure if was new or not but riding the bike and taking some time going past it, it definitely seemed like it had not been there before. I have cycled up that road many times and don’t recall seeing it. Must ask Becky tomorrow.

As I reached Connetquot River State Park (where we hiked on Saturday), I suddenly felt chilled. It is the faster section of the ride with a slight downhill, but I immediately thought, west wind!! The leaves weren’t even moving, ha! I was glad of the layers then. Coming back along Townline (opposite direction) it again felt like a head wind but again the leaves weren’t moving. Probably just a drop in temperature.

Anyway, I got back and felt pleased I had done the ride. No real drawbacks from having done the CTS yesterday. I’ll be back out again tomorrow though this getting up in the dark is getting old fast!

Clocks going forward is bad for morning training

13 March 2012

With the clocks going forward this weekend, I now have to set the alarm in the mornings so I can get up in time to do an hour+ training session before getting ready for work. Fortunately I work from home so at least I don’t have a commute to take into consideration.

I missed getting up yesterday in time as I wanted to do the CTS Monday leaving Wed-Sat cycling outdoors. So I slept till after 7am and this is too late for me to train as I like at least an hour before I have to log on. I put the alarm on for 6am. With Alma gone for the week, it was okay to have an alarm that early. It was pitch black when I awoke. It so reminded me of getting up early for wreck diving. I do not like getting up when it is dark outside. It feels wrong. It didn’t start getting light until 6:40am. So now I am thinking, outdoor cycling is going to suck on the mornings during the week. Maybe I will just stick with the indoor bike and do CTS sessions!

This morning’s session went really well. Another Climbing Speed. These are the toughest of the three part climbing series. I never did get around to trying it last year and now I am wishing I did. Not that I suffered for the lack of that training as I was positively bouncing up the hills in last year’s PBP, except the night finish in Montagne on the return leg!! Last week I was doing gears #9 and #6 for the second set of Under/Overs. This time, I went for a #9 and #5 split. Even though I managed to get through the one minute at #5, the next minute back on #9 suffered as a result. I returned back to the #9 and #6 split. I felt strong throughout the session and think I now need to look at making the gears harder somewhere. So training seems to be going well.

These Speed workouts

8 March 2012

They are definitely the toughest workouts I have done. I go through almost 2 bottles of liquid and then I am following that up with a recovery drink today, just because I have yoga tonight. Today I didn’t feel like tweeting much between intervals which is saying something; I wanted to concentrate on recovering for the next set of intervals. The recovery spins went really quick today.

For the second set of Unders & Overs, I went with gear 6. On Tuesday, I felt #7 was a little too easy and 6 was a much better gear to use. I could possibly switch to gear 5 but we shall see how that goes. I think the next step will be to switch to gear 8 for the Unders.

I just realised that my first brevet is 3 weeks from Sunday which means I need to get outside on the bike. From next week, I’ll be doing outside work. I think I shall keep this training session for Mondays, have one day recovery, and then outside on Wed – Sat. Sundays are for hiking. I have yet to decide on the routes for next week. Maybe the Nichols Road one with the sprint under LIE.

Ok, time for showering…

Tough, tough workout

6 March 2012

Ok, I was expecting worse. I really was. It was a tough workout but I was expecting worse. They reckon 1-2 of these workouts per week, 2 being the ideal number, which just goes to show.

After the usual 10 minute warm up, there are two 8-minute segments. The first one consists of 8 x 1-minute intervals all at a cadence of 90-95 and power output at 100%+ of field test effort. The gearing is different with the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th interval requiring a harder gear but keeping the same cadence. Eight minutes at this cadence pushes you. Well, it pushed me. A three minute recovery spin followed by another 8 minute segment. The difference between the first and second segment is that the even minutes on the second segment are at a cadence of 75-80 so to allow for that, and keep the same power output, the gear gets even harder. For these two segments, I used gearing of 9 and 8 for the first segment and 9 and 7 for the second one. I think I could possibly push those but I wanted to see how I got through the whole session.

A nice five minute recovery spin followed then on to the really intense intervals. Two sets consisting of one two minute segment, one 1:45 minute segment and one 90 second segment. The recovery segments match the intervals in time so they get shorter. These intervals are at maximum effort. A four minute recovery separates the two sets.

In the Climbing Power intervals, the second set are two minutes intervals with a 30 second push so those are more intense than these ones. BUT, these ones follow two 8 minute segments which push you more than the first set of intervals on the Power ones. That’s the big difference.

I was pleased to get through it but I really think I can do it with harder gears. I certainly will not be doing a second session tomorrow!

Built for Speed

5 March 2012

Ok, I was really curious and we all know what happened to THAT cat! This morning I decided to have a quick preview of the Climbing Speed DVD. Rather than just put it on and see what they threw at me, I wanted information up front. I am going to attempt it tomorrow.

It looks tough. It looks really tough. May not have the energy to tweet!

There are two 8 minute segments after the warm up and they do not have any recovery times built in, or at least, the recovery section is not as demanding as the highest power. Four minutes separates the two segments. Then another break and the some progressive downhill accelerations. Downhill! That means fast stuff and on an indoor bike, downhill means pedalling, no freewheeling.

In a perverse way, I am looking forward to it but I am not sure if I’ll be able to do two days i a row. I have yet to figure out which gears I will be using so the first session tomorrow may see me chopping and changing a lot initially.

Wish me well.

Hill acceleration training

29 February 2012

This week I have switched to the Climbing Power workouts in the Carmichael Training Climbing Series. I remember this findly from last year. The workouts are really intense but provide great rewards. I attributed the dropping of a couple of cyclists on one of the hills in last year’s PBP to this training. They were drafting behind me and not willing to share the lead so on the next climb I pushed. These intervals are high intensity for two minutes and after one minute I heard them break as I continued the maximum effort on the second minute. Such sweet pleasure.

Anyway, yesterday, I ran out of steam on the 4th hill acceleration interval. With 15 seconds left of the workout, apart from the 8 minute recovery spin, I ran out of steam. It was all I could do to keep pedalling. Back to back sessions are only recommended for experience cyclists. I consider myself experienced, a bit, so wanted to see how I could do today. I like setting myself little goals like this. Today I was determined not to run out of steam.

By the 5th and 6th intervals of the first set, I was beginning to feel the effort. A five minute recovery spin did not bring my heart rate back down to below 109 which it was yesterday. The first hill acceleration was toughened out and I did not make a full recovery. Was even worse than yesterday. This workout is designed not to allow full recovery between intervals. The second and third intervals went by and I was really feeling drained. The 4th, the last, one came and I was bound and determined not to run out of steam. I kept pushing myself and managed the final 30 seconds without running out of steam. My heart rate was in the high 170s.

It had been tough but I really liked it. Day off tomorrow!

Back to back, they faced each other

14 February 2012

Relax, there were no drawing of swords in the CTS training this week!

This morning, I got up and dressed for another CTS. The first Gu I opened up reflected the ambient temperature of the garage and it was thick in nature. Normally the Gu is more gooey. I eat two packets of Gu; one before the ride and another at the mid-point between the second and third intervals. I also have a Gu energy drink – one packet dissolved in water. I have thought about increasing the calorie intake for the days I do a CTS but I am seeing if I can get by with just these extra 300 calories. It still makes my total calories for the day around 1300.

It took a while for the Cycleops computer to pick up the bike. Without any recognition by the computer, I cannot control the resistance of the bike. It took some frustrating minutes to get this finally to pick up. Not sure what is going on with that. I checked for a firmware upgrade afterwards but it is up to date. Hmmm.

So I finally got going and I have to say that I felt comfortable on the bike once the intervals began. During the warm up I had felt a little heavy legged but that disappeared as soon as they were warm. I was pleased that the second consecutive day was not miserable. There is a difference between last year’s sessions and this. I had the slope at 1.5% then, I only have it at 1.0% currently. I will need to change that up to 1.5% when I next do my CTS on Thursday.

Overall, felt really good and think I should have no problems with the 3 State 3 Mountain challenge.

3 State 3 Mountain ride

13 February 2012

This year I shall be doing the 3 State 3 Mountain bike ride with some fellow cycling enthusiasts from Florida. It is an event I am looking forward to even though it is only a 100 miles!! The 3 mountains get steeper and finishes with an 18-20% climb. They fail to mention the distance at that grade so I guess I need to up the CTs training as I get nearer the date. It is the first week of May and begins in Chattanooga, TN. I think it is ten years since I have been to Chattanooga so I hope I remember the way!!

Training coming along nicely

13 February 2012

Still stuck on the 160 lb mark – it feels like I am further away from the goal of 154 lbs. I have not been sticking to the diet rigidly so that may have something to do with it. I was shopping in Trader Joe’s today and I badly wanted to grab a wedge of brie. As it turned out, I didn’t and stuck to just buying vegetables and meat.

This morning I had another CTS session. Last week I did base miles for three of the mornings. It seemed to have made a difference as the CTS session this morning felt less difficult. I am not going to put it was easier as none of them are easy but I had no need to change to an easier gear for the third and fourth intervals. I stayed in the same gears for all four intervals. That’s an improvement! Normally after a CTS session I am peckish all day but today I have resisted the urge and have stuck to the diet other than the carb loading around the time of exercising.

I shall be doing another CTS session in the morning. This will be the big test to see if I have the energy levels for two in a row. I was doing it at the height of my training last year and if I can do it this early into the year, it would be awesome.

CTS field test – who opened the gate?

26 January 2012

Still on the diet and still only 161 pounds I dusted down the old Cycleops and prepared to do the CTS field test for the year. Bearing in mind, cycling has been extremely limited since the PBP, training for the year has commenced.

I had a Gu before starting the warm up which consisted of ten minutes easy pedalling and then high tempo and easy pedalling one minute/ 2 minute intervals. After the warm up comes 8 minutes of sustained pedalling trying to maximise power output but keeping cadence above 90 rpm. I started off in gear 8 but in under a minute I realised I was not going to sustain that pace and dropped a gear to 9. Again, rpm started dropping so a changed down gears one more notch to 10. I kept at this level but my power dropped. I stayed around the 90 rpm with the occasional dip below followed by a concerted effort to climb back up. The 8 minutes couldn’t finish soon enough.

Then ten minutes of easy pedalling enjoying another Gu in the middle of it. After the ten minutes were up, another power interval of 8 minutes. I started at gear 9 but could not sustain that beyond 3 minutes and I dropped to level 10. I kept that for the remainder of the interval but it was tough. I dug deep but I could feel the energy draining. I was running on empty for a lot of the interval. Finally it came to an end and I finished up with 15 minutes of easy pedalling.

I had been expecting it to be tough but not that tough. When I downloaded the data to the Mac, I found the last CTS field test I did and saw that my average power had dropped by 29 watts. Interestingly, my average heart rate was the same. This means my CTS sessions will be less demanding initially but I shall be aiming to do another field test in 4 weeks. I think I have one month of the diet left and hopefully I’ll have lost the seven expected pounds so I can weigh in a 154 lbs. I am currently at my lowest weight for a long, long time but it feels like the 160 barrier has been threatening to be broken since before Xmas. Too many days off since then requires a concerted effort to reach my weight goal.

Not sure when my next ride will be. I think tomorrow will be too soon so perhaps Saturday morning.