America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Saturday, March 29, 2008

3+ hours.. again

I don't think I've ridden as many 3+ hour rides in the past three years, as I have in these past three months. Weird.. Today was no exception. Yeah it took some willpower to get out there today- the cold temp and wind was not attractive- but the sunny weather made it bearable. I often do a huge 60 mile loop on such days- that is, on the days when I don't quite have my heart into freezing my kahunas off for three hours. When you pick a big route, there's no way weenie out of it. Today I decided to play it close to home, so I guess in the back of my mind, I trusted myself to do exactly what I'm supposed to do: 3-1/2 hours of hilly endurance- riding FT on all the climbs. I did a familiar ride which criss crosses all over the climbs of Coventry and Scituate and ends with a high speed descent into Cranston and back into West Warwick on the bike path.
I did the ride a little differently today: insead of displaying avg watts, I wanted to see current watts- how else will I meter my FT efforts on the climbs? Long story short, without seeing the average watts, I dug a little too deep in between climbing, and ended up with an average power for the 3+ hours, of 212 (normalized about 240). Meaningless to you, I know.. until I tell you that my zone 3 tempo range begins at 204.. so this was no endurance ride. I don't usually pay much attention to average speeds, but today's was a little over 18 mph, so I noticed.. Adaptation! Who's happier than me? Of course the legs are a little bit thrashed, so I'll feel this tomorrow at Wells Ave. Thanks.

Friday, March 28, 2008

He's going the distance.. he's going for speed..

Funny song.. Long week, but it went by fast! Here we are on Friday.. and with rain threatening all week, it's a surprise that I managed to commute to work by bike every singe day (including today!) I am very happy about that. Happiness for me usually involves doing things I don't feel like doing, but which I know I must do.. Discipline. Keeping promises to myself. 
All tricked out in my new bike uniforms, I feel pretty good. The whole team looks great. Looking good is a part of feeling good, no denying that.. or at least that the reverse is true.
Selling kid's bikes! We're going to grow this business if it kills us. Lots of incredible ideas and plans have been developing behind the scenes between dear wife and I. The "blogsite was updated recently, mainly to announce the arrival of new colors of the LikeaBike Jumper- red, white and blue. See for yourself. We sold a few bikes this past week and that's always great. I love it when the Crackberry goes off to announce that someone bought a bike out of our inventory from our Ebay store. Lately, with the dollar so weak, most bikes are being sold to outside of the US.. Fine and dandy. I shipped a bike to Canada yesterday.
Training program has been different this week- primarily because it was all performed outside for a change! I was apprehensive at first, because of the cold and wind, which I hate. Suffering through intervals is bad enough without fighting the cold and wind and traffic.. Plus with my newly rated Functional Threshold Power, I was worried that I was going to blow my wad and ride to failure on Tues and Thurs. Turns out I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. On Tuesday I trounced through my three ten minute intervals at FTP (271 with 10 min recovery in between) - actually I held back a few watts on the first two and then nailed it on the third one. Then last night a series of ten FT+10% (300w) intervals 1 min on 1 min off, followed by three more 3 min intervals at FT+5% (285w), 3 min recovery in between. This looks to be the first week in 2008 where I break 200 miles. The bike commuting helps. The pounds will now really begin to melt away! Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New FTP established

These e-mails sure put a spring in my step!:
From: "Todd Scheske"
To: "'Murat Altinbasak'"
Subject: RE: charts Sat Sun
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 08:13:03 -0400

Look at your MMP chart with NP and then look at what the 1:00 NP is.  271.  I notice that you like to grab the "peak 60 minutes", but that isn't necessarily and often is NOT the CP60 you want.  The peak 60 minutes is the best ave watts for an hour.
I also noticed that you coasted 18% of the time in the race – so it looks like you were not out there just pulling the field around.  And no surprise then that you got something in the end too.

From: Murat Altinbasak
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2008 8:02 AM
To: Todd Scheske
Subject: RE: charts Sat Sun
Please tell me where you see such a nice FTP..
I look at CP60 for yesterday- it's 220 I think. Normalized CP60 is 258 or 264. (I'm at work- going by memory)
Do you see something which I don't see?
I mean.. you made my day, really.. I'm psyched.. but I need to buy into it a little more.
Help me understand!

Nice ride and now you have a GOOD measure of your CP60.  I bumped your FTP to 271 starting Saturday based on Sunday's race numbers.
-----Original Message-----
From: Murat Altinbasak
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 2:27 PM
To: Todd Scheske
Subject: charts Sat Sun
Raced today up at Wells. Huge field!
Lucky break of 12 got away early and lapped the field.
I took 8th in the final field sprint, which included the guys in the break. Felt good, just some soreness and acidity left over from yesterday. Getting better at accelerating.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Week No 4: Wells Avenue No 2

The Reader's Digest version goes like this:
Well attended race included Brendan and Murat of the Millwork One Racing team. Someone sat up and deliberately let a gap open early on, 12 guys rode away unfettered never to be seen again.. until they lapped/re-joined us about 50 minutes later.. Sickening. Brendan and Murat spent untold laps at the front pulling/chasing/fighting to close said gap, along with other frustrated guys like Matt K., Kyle G., Eric M.. Final sprint included everyone and their brother with two watts left to rub together. Yours Truly is 8th in the field sprint.. meaning I wasted at least five of those who were in the break.. probably more. Brendan hot on my heels and looking as solid as ever after a tough day of racing Saturday at Charge Pond. In our new uniforms we looked pretty slick too. Power Meter numbers tell a promising story- my form today is very close towhat it was in July 2007, based upon today's CP20 and CP60 values. Yesterday's ride was 270 TSS- so the legs were pretty thrashed even before racing started today. Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tour of Turkey boosted by five ProTour teams

by Jean-François Quénet

While cycling in the sport's traditional European countries has been complicated this year by political battles, there are big ambitions for the sport in new areas of development. The Presidential Tour of Turkey is one race which has gained more attention with an upgrade to the 2.1 category, luring five ProTour teams for its 44th edition from April 13 to 20. The event was won last year by Bulgarian Ivailo Gabrovski when it was still a 2.2 race.
The Tour of Turkey will feature 25 teams, among them five ProTour teams: Milram, Lampre, Saunier Duval, Silence-Lotto and Astana. The Kazakh team is expected to line up Andreas Klöden, Vladimir Gusev and Tomas Vaitkus. The biggest name on the start list should be Alessandro Petacchi who used to take part – and win most of the stages – in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt but the historical German race is cancelled this year due to a lack of funds.
The Presidential Tour of Turkey will start on the same day as Paris-Roubaix with a 79km criterium in Istanbul. The riders will then fly to Izmir and ride along the Mediterranean coastal side to Alanya. An extremely scenic route will welcome to the stars of cycling.
The participants:
ProTour Teams: Milram (Ger), Lampre (Ita), Saunier Duval (Spa), Silence-Lotto (Bel), Astana (Lux)
Professional Continental teams: Benfica (Por), Karpin-Galicia (Spa), Mitsubishi-Jartazi (Est), Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni (Ven), CSF Group-Navigare (Ita), NGC Medical (Swi), PSK Whirlpool (Cze)
Continental teams: Bourgas (Bul), Team Ista (Ger), Cosmote Kastro (Gre), Atlas-Römers (Swi), Liberty Seguros (Por), Tyrol-Team Radland (Aut), Sparta Praha (Cze), Partizan (Ser), Stegcomputer-CKT (Swi); 4 national teams: Netherlands, Ireland, Turkey, Brisa
The route.
April 13: Criterium Istanbul, 79.2km.
April 14: Izmir-Kusadasi, 132.7km
April 15: Kusadasi-Bodrum, 165.9km
April 16: Bodrum-Marmaris, 166.8km
April 17: Marmaris-Oludeniz, 177.7km
April 18: Kalkan-Finike, 100.1km
April 19: Finike-Antalya, 115.8km
April 20: Antalya-Alanya, 136.6km
Looks like Murat's hopes are dashed! In years past, the overall purse was only about 15,000 Euros. This year, it's ten fold.. and has attracted the ProTour teams to prove it. I've chatted with Joe Papp who won stages there a few years ago.. I reached out to him because I wanted to make a good call about trying to get my ass in there. He said it would be the hardest thing I've ever done but that I'd regret it forever if I didn't try. I agreed.. but that was before I discovered that the 44th edition would include real pro teams. It used to be a bunch of Eastern European and Middle Eastern teams that I believe I could survive racing with..I've raced with the elites and National Team members in Turkey before- kicked all their asses back in 1989 when I was a junior in fact.. Not anymore! They've evolved into quite a force.. or at least they better have if they want to make the time cuts.. Maybe I should just go to Turkey in June for Masters Nationals where I actually have a realistic chance at the podium.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Word of the Day: "Expeleration"

For the past two Saturdays, I've trained indoors to avoid the terrible climate outside. This means that an otherwise three hour endurance ride has to be modified for indoor duration and intensity. So what I do is repeat Tuesday night's workout and add 30 minutes of zone 2 to the end. Tuesday's program goes like this:
20 minute warm up
3 minutes FT+10% (for me this is about 270 watts, right now)
3 minutes Recovery
Repeat 2 more times
10 minute Recovery
3 minutes FT+10%
Repeat 1 more time
5 minutes recovery
Let me give you a visual of the meat and potatoes of this workout:

I applied 30 second smoothing so the data isn't so choppy. Please bear in mind that during the intervals, my PT display is set to show average watts, so I don't know when I've spiked or dropped wattage, I'm just aiming to manipulate the average as I go. Also notice the heart rate and how it increases during the interval, peaking at the last second. Not for nothing, but I believe that trying to do this workout with a HRM would attain a much different result in output- not necessarily a bad thing- just different. But that's coming from an admitted sufferer of OCD.. which will explain my infatuation with power data.. Anywho.. As you can see, I'm already tired going into this session. Each interval starts out strong and there's some weakness in the middle and then a strong finish at the end. It so happens that this past weekend was the final two days of a pretty stressful 4 week build, which the chart at the top will attest to.

Long story short, this means that I was not prepared to be a strong contender at either Bethel last Sunday, or at Ninigret yesterday. Fresh legs were needed, and mine were over-cooked. What I seem to have built up over the past 2000+ miles which began on Nov 18th is: cruising speed. Yesterday I can go at a pretty good clip and make average Joe suffer and wince in my wake- so long as the tempo didn't change.. but as soon as someone jumped and the speed of the pack went up 5 mph in an instant, I experienced something I will call "Expeleration™".. which is defined as "an acceleration which causes one to have sensations of riding their bike in reverse and getting spit out the back of a pack of bike racers." So yes, much like it happened at Bethel last Sunday, a certain expeleration™ in minute 10 of Ninigret required me to sit up and question whether I should regret not suffering through the episode or whether I was wise to catch my breath and try again. I soft pedaled to the start finish and cut across the course, taking what amounted to a half lap breather. From then on though, it was game-on. I rode with some [former] AFD and NBX folks- 6 or 7 of us total, and we did a nice rotation for the remaining 40 minutes of our race. I tended to take my pull from the fifth left hander out in back, all the way to the finish. Felt strong. People remarked to me that I was strong, but "what happened in the beginning there?" Seemed to me that Jim Peters, Mike M of AFD (riding a pristine 90's CONCORDE made rom STEEL) and myself did the lion's share of work while others skipped pulls repeatedly. In the end, we were lapped of course.. and I even sprinted for the line just because I felt like sprinting.. and almost took the "field sprint" if you can call it that- the field was shattered all over the course- with no telling who was in what position or who was lapped 3 times.. anyway, one guy came around me at the end.. but it felt good to finally accelerate on my own terms, at my own personal zone 5b.. Afterwards, team mate Brendan and I did a 60 minute tour of Charlestown, rode the old Bob Beal course in reverse.. after that my OCD kicked in again and I resolved to complete 3 full hours of riding so I did another 15 laps on the Ninigret couse by myself, which was more meditative than beneficial to my form.. Brendan was in the lead break for the first 15 minutes of racing and I was so happy to see him up there with Amos and Adam S and other big engines. He had to ease off later on but did a fine job of finishing somewhere in the top 6-8 guys. Bravo.
Today marks the beginning of a rest week- just a few active recovery zone 1/2 rides until Saturday- when a Field Test is scheduled to check my FT level. Weather permitting, this will be done on the road, as it should be. Future 08 training will be mostly outside, so establishing the new FT outside is kind of important.
Thanks for reading. Please spare me the "I-am-a-purist-and-ride-by-feel-and-you-suck-because-you're-a-slave-to-an-overpriced-toy" rhetoric. I don't need it. I don't appreciate it. Tongue-in-cheek one-liners are okay..

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Must be nice.. debate a topic without an opponent.. When I'm at work, I can't get into Blogger to reply to comments on anyone's blog- I can only do this from home. So I then need to resort to using my own blog as a venue, just to get a word in. To answer the latest comments:
1. You're putting words in my mouth. I do not dismiss the effectiveness of training without a power meter. As you point out, I myself did it for 20 years. FOR ME, it's a lot more fun to use one!.. and effective too!, especially when training time is limited and you want/need to optimize your workouts for maximum benefit. I do not train hard because it's fun and enjoyable. That's why I race (for fun). Successful training makes racing a lot more fun.. Do the math.  
2. When I took my first 20 minute TT (as part of my first Field Test) I did not even know what the numbers meant, or how to record intervals or how to even view the average power on the readout. It was the first day I ever used the thing and I just let it run like a flight data recorder while I did the best 20 minutes I possibly could.
3. I have never aspired to be a runner or a skier.
4. I do not belilttle those who train without a power meter. If I come off that way, it's just reciprocation 'in-kind' of the attitude towards power meters, which prevails.
5. There's no shame in being dropped by you, SB. PT or organic training.. no shame. 
And Ge: Not all 3 minute intervals are alike. Needless to say, you can take FT and add/subtract whatever percentage is necessary to get the desired stress/workout.
"Pain is pain. Suffer for three minutes." says a lot about your approach to training!  
It might be fine and dandy for you to just hit the broad side of a barn.. for me personally, I want to hit a much smaller target because I'm looking for a very specific result from the training.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Franz Wright's words of wisdom

"Letter" January 1998

I am not acquainted with anyone there,
if they spoke to me
I would not know what to do.
But so far nobody has, I know
I certainly wouldn't.
I don't participate, I'm not allowed;
I just listen, and every morning
have a moment of such happiness, I breathe
and breathe until the terror returns. About the time
when they are supposed to greet one another
two people actually look into each other's eyes
and hold hands a moment, but
the church is so big and the few who are there
are seated far apart. So this presents no real problem.
I keep my eyes fixed on the great naked corpse, the vertical corpse
who is said to be love
and who spoke the world
into being, before coming here
to be tortured and executed by it.
I don't know what I am doing there. I do notice the more I lose touch
with what I previously saw as my life
the more real my spot in the dark winter pew becomesâ€"it is infinite. What we experience
as space, the sky
that is, the sun, the stars
is intimate and rather small by comparison.
When I step outside the ugliness is so shattering
it has become dear to me, like a retarded
child, precious to me.
If only I could tell someone.
The humiliation I go through
when I think of my past
can only be described as grace.
We are created by being destroyed.

-Franz Wright
..and now.. you know the rest of the story. I listened to Franz read this piece during an interview on NPR one day, and those last few lines made me want to pull over on the side of the road and put my head in my hands and cry. Those last six words continue to ring in my head and there isn't a day which passes that they don't cross my mind or my lips- albeit silently- to myself like a prayer or a national anthem where your voice is silent but your mouth wants people to think otherwise. As with the poisonous chemotherapy which my dear father is enduring these days as he fights the cancers in his body, so too does the phrase apply to the sport I love, in which stressing and breaking down the body systems causes adaptations which make them stronger and better. So I applied these words to my two blogs, and to the new uniforms of my bike racing team- on the back of the collar. It's hard to make out, but you can see it here, bottom center. To listen or read exerpts of the show which I believe I caught on NPR that day.. click here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Yeah I love crunching the numbers..

..but the last thing I will do is tell anyone else how to "get faster" (except for having a PLAN to follow- aim for nothing and you'll hit it every time- there should be a plan, even if it resides only in your head)
To each his own.. I don't do periodic brain dumps here in order to draw criticism to myself or to criticize others. I do what I do.. the way I want to do it, the way in which I most enjoy it and the way which fires me up the most. My way won't work for everyone, or even many, or even a few. It might be completely incompatible with your ideals, beliefs, principles and values. I like sharing my experiences and hearing feedback- that's cool.
I do not pretend to have 'figured it all out'. But I do believe that I'm stressing my systems and forcing them to adapt using proven methods and techniques. Even so, I know that there's a coin flip of a chance between success and failure. I believe in chance and luck and karma and having a bad day and having a great day, and chaos, and having little or no control over things like crashes, Illness, tendonitis, IT bands, Saddle sores, the weather, a flat tire, gravel in a corner..
The one thing I can control is the frequency, duration and intensity of my training, when all of the above is favorable, that is..
If I choose to do a sloppy job of managing the few things I AM able to control, then I have no business being on a podium anywhere, and I have no excuse to piss and moan about missing the podium either.
Ride and train with a purpose. If this is too hard for you, then refrain from professing about how to train.. unless you enjoy indoctrinating an audience on matters which you yourself don't take very seriously. 

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ass was handed to me!

Nothing I could do.. It's the end of my third week into this build period. Been working very hard.. Yesterday's workout was intense.. Today I had to sit up after 7 laps... Took a one lap breather.. Tried again for another 7 or so laps.. Didn't have it.. Not today. The Pro field was inspired today.. 60+ strong and loaded with 20-something horsepower... One more hard week and it's a rest week beginning on 3/10. I look forward to the recovery. I'll be back.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Okay now I'm home.. and I don't feel so bad now that I know that the first ten minutes of the race were harder than the best ten minutes of my best race result of 2007- where I was 12th at New Britain. (Being 12th doesn't sound so great until you consider that I emptied the tank up to the final corner, making it through first, and I held on for dear life while 11 guys managed to pass me on that long sprint- I repeated this in the 30+ race which followed- first through the corner and 12th in the sprint)
At any rate:
Today's first 10 minutes: 228 avg watts, 322 watts normalized
New Britain 35+ 2007: 227 avg watts, 286 watts normalized
So all things considered.. I'm happy about today. I know that I was a little bit shell shocked with the accelerations and a little bit intimidated too, having not really raced since September 16th, where I crashed badly at Bob Beal.. Afterward, I rode down route 53 and 107 and route 7 to get some more saddle time in. Wifey leapfrogged me periodically in the car and then picked me up before we got on the Merrit Parkway.
Before I forget, let me salute my friend Ted S. for doing the 40+ and later also doing the P-1-2-3 with me. He looked as cool as a cucumber and seems poised to have a great year in 2008.