Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First 2 x 20's of 09

After one day off from riding, this morning I did my first true threshold workout of the year; 2 x 20 minutes on the trainer. My legs didn't feel recovered, so it was a struggle from the start. I did #1 in 311 watts, but woke up a bit in the 2nd interval and hit 314 watts. Now I'm going to take two more easy days to be more race ready this weekend. I've done so much training over the last six weeks to raise my CTL above 90, but I haven't yet been able to realize any gains in FTP. I'm hoping that some recovery time will get me on track.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Long Recovery Ride

It was cold and windy today, but since I'm not working on Mondays I went out for a ride. I was tired from the last couple of days, so I kept the pace easy. I hovered around 200 watts or so most of the time. I did zero hard efforts. My 1 minute max power was only 254 watts and that was climbing a steep hill with 2 miles to go. For comparison, I recently did a 3 hour ride at 255 watts average. I felt pretty good, but even at this easy pace, I was tiring in the last half hour. My average heart rate was only 119 with a max of 139. I can hit high 190's, so by that measure I didn't work hard today.

I've decided that I'm done building my CTL for now, and I'm going to transition into some higher intensity, lower volume work. CTL is 92.1 today with TSB of -28.8. The next two weekends I'm going to do some RR's that I'd like to do well in. Then there is a weekend with 2 crits here in town.

Sunday Solo Ride

Sunday morning I opted for a solo distance ride instead of another race up in Greenville. I've been building over the last 5 weeks and I was happy to ease into racing by doing only one race this weekend.

I started off by riding over to Blockbuster to return a DVD. About 10 minutes after that stop I flatted on Summit Parkway. After changing the tube I continued along at warm-up pace. After maybe an hour of ride time, I finally ramped up the pace and rode mostly tempo for the final 2 hours. It was real windy out there, but I adjusted by using the little ring a lot. Psychologically, its hard to go 12 mph for a stretch into the wind, but it's easier to accept the slower pace than fight it.

One crappy thing happened on the ride. I managed to return without a ziploc bag containing my driver's license, credit card, and $10, which was stuffed into a jersey pocket. I was carrying a lot of stuff in my pockets, including a Cliff bar that I removed several times to take bites from. Somewhere on the 58 mile loop, that important bag most have flown out. I realized this many hours after returning. Today I rode 49 of those miles looking for the bag, but didn't see it. Credit card is already cancelled, so my only real loss is $10 cash and $10 to get a reissued license. I've been riding since I bought my first real road bike in 1986, and this is the first time I've lost anything of significance on a ride.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Donaldson Center RR

Today marked the start of the 09 racing season. I raced a 57 mile pro/1/2 road race in Greenville, SC for my new team, Palmetto Velo. LL and I started the race with a huge field of probably over 100. The course was about 7 miles, and we did 8 laps. The first half of the race was pretty hard and all breaks were quickly brought back in. I spent most of the time stuck in the middle of the group trying to move up. I got all the way to the front once for about 3 seconds.

In the second half of the race a large break got up the road and our pace slowed. The first half was about 90% or 283 watts NP, which was pretty tough, but the second half of the race was much easier at about 79% (248 watts NP). I spent the last couple of laps stuck in the back half of the group. Inside the last 500 meters I steered around a crash and finished safely.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Trainer Ride

This morning I did about 42 minutes at 286 watts, with a short break at the 20 minute mark. Then after resting for 3 minutes it was time for the hard part of the workout; 3 sets of 4 x 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. I was able to hold about 450 - 46o watts for these efforts. Watching highlights of the past 3 stages of the ToC helped with the motivation.

Tomorrow I'll do an easy ride on the road and then it's race day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Boring Trainer Ride

I've been able to ride outside a lot more this winter than in previous years, but I still log my share of trainer hours. This morning was a pre-dawn ride down in the basement. At least it was raining, so I don't feel like I missed out from not riding outside. My legs still felt like crap from back to back long rides on Sunday and Monday. The goal for this week is to accumulate another 700+ TSS points, while still being fresh enough to race on Saturday, so the trick is to train, but somehow gain strength as the week goes on. Today I rode for 1 hour at 90% of FTP. It wasn't comfortable, but I actually feel better now than I did yesterday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another Big Ride

I climbed back into the saddle and headed out early this afternoon to join LL and Ward for a ride out to Lake Wateree. I was thinking I would be out for about 3 hours, but due to some on the fly re-routing, we ended up adding about 15 miles to the regular lake loop. We found some great back roads with zero traffic, but my body struggled to handle the extra distance.

I've had some days lately where I expected to be tired but ended up having a great ride. Today was not one of those days. I was every bit as tired as you would expect to be after riding hard four of the last five days and having a TSB of -34.

For all of my suffering today, I did reach a pre-season goal by pushing my CTL to 90.2. ATL is 131 and TSB will be -41 tomorrow and I'm not riding at all.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Hard Group Ride

I drove into town today to ride with the group leaving from Outspokin. Several of us are prepping to race next weekend, so we split off from the main group after leaving the fort and heading down Percival. From that point we hammered along for the next 25 miles until the store stop in Eastover at just under 24 mph, on a route that included plenty of hills and some good wind. For that 1:03 portion I was at 90%, or 284 watts NP. At the end of that section Rich went by me in the sprint on Chaingang.

There were some tired legs in the group after the stop and we backed off for a while. Then I had my peak 5 minutes leading us up Horrel Hill at 323 watts. The light caught us, so we got about 1 minute to completely rest after that.

Heading back through the fort, it seemed like we might just chill, but Tom C attacked a climb and Ward followed. That seemed to touch things off, and the section on Hartsville Guard saw several attacks with Rich winding up on the front at the end.

Then my rear shifter cable broke, and I got to ride the final 25 minutes in the 39x12. We did shut it down from there and I had an AP of 99 watts at a cadence of 64.

This ride was a lot harder than the 204 watt AP, and 20.2 mph would suggest. The overall numbers are skewed by the long warm-up and cool-down. We actually did the 47 mile business portion of the ride at 22.4 mph and my NP was 271 watts.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Solo 3 Hours

I'm really glad I went out and did this hard ride today. My original plan was to do an easy ride today to recover from back to back hard trainer rides, each netting over 100 TSS points. I scrapped my plan when the forecast called for a rainy, cold Saturday. I decided to make Saturday my recovery day instead.

I rolled out this morning under a warm sun with fairly light winds. I expected to be tired, so my only plan was to do 3 hours at whatever pace I could handle. I can usually tell if I have the legs to go hard within the first couple of minutes, and today was no different. I'm going to have to start planning more 3 day blocks because this is the second block in a row where I had the best legs on day 3.

I basically just rode hard non-stop for the whole ride. I never really got tired either. Scary. I rode 79% of the ride in Level 3 (tempo) or higher, with only 7 % in L1. My peak 5 minutes of 304 watts was on a climb at the 2 hour mark, when I was ramping up, just because I wasn't getting tired. This is the 4th week of building for the season, and I think my body is starting to respond favorably.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Morning

Today was the second day of my mid-week two day block. I'm trying get in as much training as possible right now, even when I don't have time to do distance, so I rode 50 minutes of SST at 284 watts with one short break thrown in. I followed that with 3 sets of 4 x 30 sec on, 30 sec off in the 460-470 watt range. My IF for the entire 1:23 was 89%.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Solo 50 Miler

The weather was perfect throughout my now completed three-day endurance block. Today might have been the best. I left my house at 11 am in shorts and short sleeve jersey. It was in the 60's and temps rose above 70, but the bright sun made it feel warmer. I now have tan lines on my legs and arms. Hard to believe that it was 9 degrees here just a few days ago.

My goal for today was to ride L2 for 2.5 hours. I expected to be weary from the last couple of big days, but in the first 5 minutes I could tell that I actually felt better than I did yesterday, so I decided to ramp up the pace to L3 after the first hour. After doing that first hour at 203 watts average, I sped up and did 1.5 hours at 245 watts average. When I finished I wasn't nearly as tired as the two previous days. I hope this means that I will recover quickly so I can ramp up my training even more this coming week.

Team Training Ride

Saturday morning the Palmetto Velo team training ride rolled out from 5 Points with about 15 or so riders under bright blue skies and a temp of 52 degrees. We had some stop and go as we slowly worked our way over to West Columbia, but once we hit open roads we settled into a pretty good pace. It was fast enough that we made a store stop at mile 20 to allow a few stragglers to catch back on.

From there on we rode mostly double paceline, with occasional splits in the group on climbs. We averaged 22.3 mph for the middle 50 miles of the ride, despite the fact that it was windy. The hardest portion of the ride was right before getting back to town. A few attacks and a breakaway with Nick and Lang resulted in a 10 minute period where I had a 312 watt NP at 25 mph. All in all it was a good 3 hours of training. I've done 137 miles over the last 2 days, leaving my TSB at -30.

Friday, February 6, 2009

75 miles on a Friday

I spent Friday afternoon doing a long training ride with Rich and Ward. We rode to Lake Wateree, over to Ridgeway, then west almost to Winnsboro, then through Cedar Creek, back to Blythewood. This is a hilly route and we had a near constant headwind for the second half of the ride, but we still managed to hold an average speed above 20 mph. My NP was 240 watts, which is pretty high for me over such a long period of time. The final 2 hours was actually done at a 250w NP.

I didnt' really set out to push this hard today, but once we got going I just got into a rhythm of taking long pulls at 85 to 90% or so of FTL. I'm getting so used to riding that one pace. Tomorrow is going to be another story though. Its my team's official training ride. It's going to be a large group ride ridden at a pace where we can all stay together. After today's big effort, I might want to sit in and take it easier tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Basement

Here's a shot taken just before this morning's ride. Note the cup of hot coffee on the left edge of the screen and full bottle of Gatorade on the bike. Also note the laptop sitting in front of the bike. Gotta have the little comforts to make riding a trainer tolerable. It was 52 degrees in the basement, but I still needed the fan after about 5 minutes.

Trainer SST

I rode 1:01 at 287 watts (91% of FTP) this morning with a few minutes of warm-up and cool-down thrown in. I felt a little sluggish early, but by the last few minutes I was in a rhythm, and could've done more if I had the time.

I think I'll hold back some tomorrow so I can save some strength for three days of distance starting Friday.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Distance Training

I decided to cap off the weekend with another endurance ride. LL said he was doing 3 hours, so I agreed to do the same. We rode to Lake Wateree and pretty much took it easy, but it was windy and that's a hilly route, so we did have to put some effort into it. We sprinted for the 3 county line signs, and I came up short each time. The first one was very close and I did manage to produce exactly 1100 watts for 5 seconds at 68.6 kg body weight, which is my best 5 seconds in a long time.

On paper this doesn't look like that tough of a ride, but after 151 miles and over 5000kJ in two days, I was exhausted.