Posts Tagged ‘hill climbs’

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.

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!!

Climbing the mountains on Long Island, NY

27 July 2011

As those of you who know Long Island, it is quite a vertically challenged land mass. There are not that many places where you can get some proper hill climbing training other than going round and around the same hill climb in Port Jefferson or other places. So, I have turned to an indoor bike and the Carmichael Training System (CTS). I purchased the three climbing DVDs: Climbing Strength, Climbing Power and Climbing Speed.

I started off training with Climbing Strength. It consists of a ten minute warm up and then four sets of intervals. The intervals themselves are made up with three one minute spins with a gradually increasing cadence for all three and then a 30 second stand up spin in a lower gear. This three and a half minutes is repeated before a six minute recovery takes you to the next interval. An eight minute warm down flushes the lactic acid from your legs before you eventually climb off the bike.

I have been doing this for a couple of months now and have felt the benefits when I did the brevets this year. As the season gets older, I have felt stronger and stronger. I am putting this down to the CTS training.

Last week, I took it up a notch. I switched to Climbing Power. This is a tougher training session. It consists of a ten minute warm up, and then six intervals of two minutes each with a two minute recovery separating each interval. After the sixth interval, we get a six minute recovery and then it is four sprinting intervals. The sprinting interval is made up of a two minute spin followed by a 30 second all out sprint. Two minute recoveries separate these intervals.

Doing a two minute interval instead of the ever changing cadence after one minute really pushes you. By the time I got to the second minute of the third and fourth sprinting intervals, I had to drop two gears to keep the cadence level up. I was struggling. Yesterday, I repeated the session. However, I was better prepared, as I knew what was coming, and I did not need to change gear by the time I reached the last two intervals. It had gone much better than I had expected. So much so, I decided that I would repeat it again this morning. They suggest that experienced cyclists can do two sessions in a row before taking a break whereas novice cyclists should do one session then take a day off for recovery. I have classified myself as a novice and have not done two sessions in a row. But now because today’s went much better than yesterday’s, I think I may have been taking things too easy and should have been doing two days in a row all along.

Soooo, this is my hill climbing training. I am sure that this will stand me in good stead come the PBP which is almost three weeks away. I highly recommend this form of training if you cannot see a good mountain outside your front yard or even when the weather is bad outside. I will be doing this mainly throughout the winter when I cannot get outside.

Princeton 300k – a reflection

18 May 2011

As you may have read, the preparation for this ride had not been great. I ended up with poison ivy rashes on my face and neck which meant I couldn’t put on my helmet without it generating pain. I was so miserable I didn’t even want to get on to the indoor bike. Anywhere else, it would have been fine but this was the first time I have had it on my noggin. However, I have been doing CTS training which resulted in me feeling stronger throughout this ride.

We were able to do the bike inspection the evening before the ride. I don’t know how many riders did this but I got up 15 minutes later than what I normally would have done. Not that it really made any difference in that respect, I never sleep well before the ride. I am always afraid I won’t hear the alarm. The start was taking place from the parking lot outside the Westin at 4am. There was promise of some rain so I wore my rain jacket. I thought rain pants would have been over the top and I was happy enough with just the bib.

Once we were off, we were soon split into two leading groups. Normally I would have raced to reach the leading group but this time I was content to stay with the second group. The first section of the route was not hilly so we were able to make some good ground. After some miles, as we turned a corner, we could see the tail lights of the leading group. Soon, we had caught up with them and we now one big group again. This was a surprise.

For the first controle, it was at some diners/deli. We had made good time and I was not particularly hungry. I had a delicious juice drink though and did visit the boys’ room. When I came out, a fair number of people seemed to have left. Rick and Dawn were just getting ready to leave so I jumped on my bike and joined their group. It was not long after that we started climbing. We had a wonderful fast descent to Califon but at the bottom Rick announced that we would have to climb the same road back up later in the day. Ugh!!

We soon started climbing and to my surpriseI left Rick and Dawn behind. They had kindly waited to escorted me back on last year’s 400k so I knew they were quicker and I had naturally assumed they would have been quicker up the hills. As it was, I stayed ahead and would next see them at the manned controle in Blairstown.

Quite often we come across many dead animals on the road. Deers I have seen aplenty but this was the first time I had seen a dead horse. I was passing by an equestrian and saw a horse lying on the ground. Then I noticed the three other horses, one in the same paddock and two in an adjacent paddock. They were all facing the horse on the ground and keeping perfectly still. It was sad and it was moving the way the horses seemed to be standing there out of respect for their fellow horse.

The next dead thing I saw on the road was not so moving, a vulture was tucking into a rabbit. I was quite surprised at the way it was standing on the road, unmoved by cars. However, it did fly off once we approached.

By this time, I was kind of cycling with two other riders. They would race ahead of me on the hills, both having gears much lower than mine and I would catch up again on the descents. The first serious climb was Ryan Road. It took me totally by surprise and my legs nearly stalled. I muscled my way up in the lowest gear and was pleased it eased off a little. That was the steepest climb though for sure not the longest. We shortly came to our first information controle. This was the most northerly part of the ride but for sure not the half way point. At least we would be getting closer to the finish geographically, if not in actuality.

Blairstown brought breakfast/lunch. I was hoping for an egg salad sandwich but they had none and I opted for a tuna wrap instead. Another fruit juice and as I was eating this, the main pack seemed to arrive. The cafe filled up quickly so it was time to head off. The next big climb was Jenny Jump State Park. We had a secret controle there and Jud gave a description of the remaining big climbs. After another information controles, there would be a long climb (six miles) to Schooleys Mountain. It wasn’t too bad and by now I was blocking out the thought of climbing and just climbing. After that climb, there was only one big climb of the day left, the one we had flew down earlier in the day. Another secret controle before the flat section to Califon and then up the hill and on to the last stop for the day.

Hacklebarney State Park brought a delicious spread of food. I got there in 10th position. Mac and Cheese and sandwiches!! Also a can of V8 went down very well. Soon, the masses arrived. I left the State Park before them but I was expecting to be overtaken as we were now approaching the flat section and groups always go faster than soloists. However, I did push myself for this section. I would not allow myself to slacken off and where normally I would have been okay with meandering along at 12 mph, I pushed to a higher gear and forced myself to keep the pace above 15mph when on the flat. There were many sections where I was over 20mph and that kept the average up for this part.

The heavens did open during the last section. I had been carrying the rain jacket around in my small backpack. It was actually jammed in there and I didn’t want to get it out for a small shower. The rain was actually quite refreshing and I did not feel cold. I was glad I had opted to put on the rear fender. I briefly caught up with Bob Torres at a red light though he was soon off on one of the few small climbs we had. This time I did not catch up with him again. A couple of miles out from the finish, I phoned Alma to say I was nearly “home”. I fully expected to be passed at this point but I would rather have had Alma at the finish than to have secured tenth place and her not being there. As it was, I did not get passed. Alma was there at the finish and I finished in tenth place. My highest position for the year.

All in all, it was not a bad ride and I was quite pleased with my performance especially considering the crappy training I have done this year. Next up is the 400k. I did a fast time last year so will be pleased to come near that again.

A few days to go…

31 August 2010

On Sunday I have the last big ride of the year, the hilly 300k.  The weather looks promising, at least no rain, and hopefully the hurricane will have gone through on Saturday!!

I have not done any hill training but am not feeling apprehensive about it at all.  Maybe I am overestimating my abilities but I have always liked climbing hills and feel as if I have the perseverance within me to climb whatever is put in my way.  This morning I went up Village Lane – that is one of the roads I always go down, fast, and I thought at the weekend it was about time I started going up it.  The bad thing about going up is that it is on the western end of my route and to get back to the route I have to cross major traffic twice.  It is much easier if it is part of a right turn route.  I studied the map last night and found a way I can incorporate the climb up when I noticed another road beyond it that came back down.  That kept the right turns.

I went out this morning, forgetting my sunglasses.  I had all lights on as it was still a little dark.  The climb was a couple of miles into the ride so I was warmed up by the time I reached it.  As I come down the road at 35 mph I always think it is steep but it is not as steep as I imagined it to be.  I was puffing by the time I reached the top but I had been expecting a tougher climb.  Still, I think it is the best work out of the three roads that climb in that direction.  The road back down was straight and fast but because of the straightness, nothing exciting.

The rest of the ride was without incident, for me at least.  I passed an accident where a mini truck and a car had collided, thankfully it wasn’t me.  Tomorrow night I am going out with Suffolk Bicycle Riders Association.  I tried to go out with them two weeks ago but they left the parking lot at 6 on the dot.  I got there at 6:03.  Wish me luck with that!!

Competing in the Tour de France

15 July 2010

Ok, I am not really competing in the Tour de France, just virtually.  MapMyRide are holding a daily competition whereby you can cycle some miles and then see how well you did against the real boys, plus others on the site.  25 points are available for the best virtual winner, 24 points for second and all the way down to 2 points for 24th.  Everyone else gets 1 point just for riding. (more…)

Frenchtown Practice ride

22 March 2010

Before anyone complains, I have forgotten everyone’s names already…  I do remember Jud, Leroy, Laurent and Rick as I knew their names before I even met them.  Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get to remember them soon.

Alma and I travelled down to Frenchtown the night before and stayed at Widow McCrae’s B&B.  I didn’t know until Sunday morning that the place was supposed haunted and could be the reason for the strange dream I had on Friday night.  But that story is for another blog site not one on cycling. 😛  I had brought with me shorts and a short sleeved jersey – it was going to be high temperatures but it was quite cold first thing in the morning.  Alma got ready for running and I headed off.  I was cold cycling down to the starting point.  I had forgotten my gloves but fortunately I phoned the cycle shop in town on the Friday just as they were closing and they said they would stay open for me if I made it down there in the next fifteen minutes.  That was nice of them so they get a big plug and a photo!!  Well done, Cycle Corner!!

Cycle Corner bike shop

Cycle Corner bike shop