America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hill repeats..

I will be on route 12 in Scituate shortly, burying myself as I repeatedly go up a certain one mile climb and coast down the other side. Bury, rest, repeat. 2-1/2 minutes at zone 5a, plus 30 seconds at zone 5b..
According to an old friend and mentor:
"Races are won by those who are most willing to suffer".

Monday, April 28, 2008

With a vengeance.. how I skipped today's ride. Ugh I don't even want to see the bike for a few days. I say that now but.. hill repeats await me tomorrow afternoon.
I have some new friends!: the infamous "third testicle" is paying a visit, and he's camped not far from the base of Mount EverAssed- a now dormant but very painful volcano on my crotch.. Man alive that hurts!- especially in the first 10-20 minutes of a ride.. I'm tempted to puncture it and maybe get some relief by spilling whatever the hell is inside.. The left calf has a knot in it which feels like a knife is being twisted in there.. It's always something. On the bright side, my knees are now rock solid and pain free..

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's glandular..

I am still in the 173-ish range (surprised?) depending on time of day.. and I hereby resolve to drop at least 4 kilos in time for the Hartford Crit on the 25th of May.. Don't want to look like pear shaped fat-ass when I don my brand new Millwork One skinsuit, do I?? Well.. that and I don't want to suffer so badly when I'm trying to climb. To help me lose the weight, I'm keeping a ten pound dumb-bell on the kitchen counter- a contant reminder of exactly what ten pounds means. These road races have me a little bit down in the dumps. Okay so I fell apart on the climb at Sturbridge.. not on the rollers or flats.. no need to beat myself up about it.. but it was more mental than anything else. I have this bad habit of withdrawing myself from a race long before the body has reached it's limits. If I anticipate severe difficulty (inexperience at road races pre-disposes me to expect the worst), even miles before reaching a climb, a switch has already been flipped in my mind, and it's telling me it's not worth killing myself in a race where I have no chance of placing. I'd rather lick my wounds, do some more proper training and rest and try again later, than slug it out in the red zone for 1-2 hours, hanging on by a thread and holding down/tasting my vomit. I don't race well unless my head is into it. My head doesn't get into it unless I visualize myself in the top ten. If I don't visualize myself in the top ten, I have a hard time justifying the suffering. It stops being fun. There needs to be hope. Is this such a bad habit? I'm not so sure. In my profession, I have this knack for sniffing out and avoiding un-necessary work. It keeps me ahead of the curve. At Sturbridge I could have done a better job of grabbing a wheel and sticking to it all the way up that first climb.. but by the time that I popped I had no gas left to match anyone else's pace. I was on my own. When I got to the finish at the end of lap one, Sandy asked if I was gonna finish. "Yes I am!" was followed by a lot of "am I really?" echoing in my mind.. Thoughts of a long drive home and getting no training and being $40 poorer kept me churning the pedals to the very end, regardless of how many minutes I was down.. How much of a difference would ten pounds have made? Go lift a full gallon container of milk and you tell me! It's only 8 pounds... I should not expect myself to be an excellent climber or road racer- I never have been!- and I'm not going to magically become excellent at climbing and road racing just because I have a large amount of base miles and hours. So when's the next criterium? I'll drive to New Jersey if I have to!.. As for the GVCC Classic of two weekends ago, I'm over it. Once I took a look at the results, I realized that over 1/2 of the field was DNF.. so I'm not so special after all. Now quit looking at my gut! I had just inhaled.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yes Sturbridge..

Latest Performance Management Chart, showing November 18th thru today..
A great day for a bike race! Today it was less important where I finished, and more important that I just plain finish. Many are telling me that I might be overtrained, over-reached or whatever.. but I think it has more to do with me simply disliking road races. Today I was determined to try and finish with the main field.. so determined in fact that when a team mate flatted, I excused myself from waiting for him and helping him catch back up to the field. I won't forgive myself for that lapse in judgment, but at least I resolved to finish the race, and I did. Not sure how far down I was, but the 45+ field caught and passed me (Yes I hung there with them for a few miles, but I just wasn't inspired enough to turn myself inside out trying to hang onto the back of their main field- I ended up favoring my own pace over theirs..) Not long after that, I joined up with 3 or 4 others and we worked to limit the damage together.. Last time up the climb was such a relief.. though when I was at the base, the 35s who had already finished were already headed back down the hill.. Yeah I almost called it a day- many times- during lap no 2.. but having a few people to trade pulls with on lap 3 made the decision to finish the race, much easier. I know I came in close to DFL, but not quite. When's the next effing criterium please?
Below, my charts of recent weeks and all months beginning with May 2007- when I first put the Powertap into service.. May 12th to be exact. Could I be over trained? I have 7315 miles since last May 12. I have 3357 miles since November 18 (the day I started training again for 2008), and I have 2662 miles since January 1st.
Millwork One Racing's Matt Kressy made us proud again today with a top ten finish in today's stacked 35+ road race!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Time to just "Let go"

I really need to stop fretting about road races, about getting dropped, about being over-trained, about being a poor climber.. and just do as Tyler Durden says: Let the chips fall where they may.. Wish me luck.

Looking back upon the past couple of seasons.. I find that the only road races I completed are two Bob Beal Road Races and one Topsfield Circuit Race where I surprisingly scored a decent finish in a large Pro-Am field. And to think! I had no power mater back in 2006. I just had good form on a good day, mixed with a lot of determination and a little bit of luck.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


As much as I want to race and have a grand old time.. I have to remind myself that I am not known for being an excellent road racer. I actually do a poor job of being pack fodder lately! I raced in Rochester Sunday, GVCC Classic Pro-1-2-3.. When I felt highly uncomfortable during te neutral opening miles, I knew I was in for a joyless day. Racing commenced on a right hand turn and everyone took off with guns blazing.. that is, all 25 of us. I later discover that that very first acceleration took me to 1120 watts.. WTF are we doing over 1000 watts in the opening kilometer of a 70 mile road race?? Give me a break! Twenty or so minutes later, I was riding all by myself.. hating road races, swearing to stick only to crits and getting a nice sunburn in the process.. From there, I met up with my kid brother- told him to drive himself home and that I was gonna salvage my day with a good 3 hour ride. What a death march! I could barely hold zone 1-2 and I was feeling very much like I had just started in this sport- weak and untrained.
Monday I did a one hour recovery ride- still in Rochester- and covered a lot of the old roads I trained on as a junior back in the late eighties. It is absolutely astonishing how much farmland has been transformed into suburban communities of 2500 square foot homes! Disgusting. Food prices got you down? Eat your house!
Tuesday we were back in town (drove back Monday night) so I rode to work easy, rode home easy- still feeling like 1/2 a man.. (skipped the hill repeats I was supposed to do!) Wednesday I repeated the same- 12.5 mile easy ride to work, repeat on the ride home. Legs still feel like mush and tank feeling empty.. Today I ride to work and start feeling a touch better.. strength coming back.. hey I think I can do my scheduled intervals tonight! And so I did. Nailed every single one of them without a single watt of slippage in the numbers, all the way to the end. Hard CP6 intervals in zone 5b.. each of the three sets topped off with a 30 second CP1 effort.
Sturbridge (?) Do I dare? Here's the thing.. I'll hate myself more if I don't bother to try, than if I try and fail. Besides, four of my newest team mates are going to be there.. and one of them needs apparel from me. I think it's a no-brainer.. but in the back of my mind I'll be having recurring thoughts of sprinting at 1100 watts in the GVCC Classic just to keep up with the field! That really sucked balls. An off day in a small and stacked Pro-Am field. Recipe for disaster.. Saturday- having team mates will help. I'll grab the wheel of Ralf or Adam or Kyle and just fixate on it I guess. Maybe form will be there for a change! Maybe letting the spring unwind a little bit these past few days will do the trick. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rick Newhouse Criterium

I'm dead tired after a seven hour drive back from Rochester, so I may cut this short..
Saturday I raced the 35+ at Ninigret and was having a pretty good day.. until I discovered that the weird bouncy feeling in the rear tire which began 1/2 way through the race, was in fact a slow leak.. I must have looked pretty silly looking down at my tire after every corner. The same thing happened at Attleboro last year, and it turned out to NOT be a flat- just some slippiness in the corners.. so I shrugged it off as the same issue- after all these were brand spankin new Conti 4000S tires! With two laps to go I finally saw the tire for what it really was- 40 psi of soft mushy rubber. With my team mate Adam Sternfield up the road with Team Benidorm rider Wade, I was hoping I could just coast across the line and to hell with sprinting for 7th.. but then when they were overtaken with 1/2 lap left to go, I resolved to finish this thing without disgracing myself. So when a right handed surge erupted in the final bend, I followed it as best I could, put my head down and sprinted in the saddle- to take 6th in the field sprint (10th overall, 4 escaped early) A disappointment that they changed the prize list to 8 deep instead of 10.. Oh well! Such is bike racing..

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Week of unrest (?)

Three hour ride after work today- rode home in the moonlight.. Who does three hour rides during a "rest week"?
Did 57 miles in 3:09:20.. same exact route as I did a couple Saturdays ago.
Was supposed to be a zone 2 leg opener, and it was.. Only 180w averaged.. but how on earth did I take a minute off of a previous time which required 211 watts? Was it the excess apparel? Extra bottle? Wind? Extra food I was carrying? Colder temp? Shoe covers? I don't know! but today's 30 watt drop SHOULD have given a time that was SLOWER, not faster. Maybe I just need to zero the torque or something.. Regardless- I took it real easy tonight- no mistake about that! In the small ring for most of the ride! Got out of the saddle for every little rise.. Never put myself in difficulty.. Maybe it's the new Continental 4000S tires I mounted last week? Seriously, this is weird. I guess training in nice weather requires less power.. Either that or my PT is an unreliable POS.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tour of Turkey: Pettachi Wins Stage 2!

Money can't buy you love! The Tour of Turkey evolved in the span of one year, from having a 15,000 Euro purse to having a 150,000 Euro purse.. attracting all kinds of ProTour guns to the start of the opening criterium in Istanbul on Sunday. To wit, Mr Pettachi himself won yesterday's stage.. Too bad that Velo News couldn't be bothered to even register a blip on their radar. Really a sad shame. It kind of reinforces my belief that to many, it's not bike racing unless it is a WASP doing the pedaling/promoting. Forgive my cynicism, but it is apathy such as this which prevents the development of bike racing programs in the Middle East from taking root and growing. Such a waste that 150,000 Euros will be handed over to riders from Europe while the Turkish National Team suffers from a lack of equipment, bikes, apparel, HRMs and all of the other things we take for granted.
Please visit the official site of the International Presidency Tour of Turkey:
In all of the years I've been following it, this is the classiest and most professional production ever seen. There are photos, results, course maps, profiles, the works.. No offense folks, but it's a heck of a lot more interesting that the number of people who signed up for the 'epic' Battenkill road race!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

So much to report..

..but I must be brief. I tried to race the Chris Hinds Pro-1-2-3 on Saturday, and for whatever reason I completely and suddenly fell apart in the 30th minute. Fine and dandy. I knew I wouldn't be in race form anyway.. Save it for the 35+ later on.. Well the 35+ was called after Lap No 1 due to lightning.. We had to wait 10 minutes to restart, where it was announced that we would be racing another 35 minutes, barring any more lightning.. Then it began to rain really hard.. I toughed it out to the end, and chewed through the handlebars to try to get a top ten finish.. but fell short by a couple of places. 12th. Oh well- no regrets and no reason to fret.. I am flush with TSS from the past 4 weeks and due for serious rest this next week.
Ventured north to Wells Ave this morning and found the fields combined with 5 minutes before start! I've never pinned a number on so fast. Warm up? Pfffft. I was one the bike in no time, hammering like crazy from the get-go. Well, with an unadvantageous start, I missed the three man break which went from the gun and were never caught (this is a recurring theme at Wells lately..) So it was a race of riding around the blockers and trying to gain time on the escapees.. Who were they? I don't know but I salute their resolve, strength and success. You'll see them top three in the Wells results soon. As for me, I took a $5 prime (2nd in the two place prime actually) and then with a couple of laps to go, my new team mates did a fantastic job of setting the table for me to take the field sprint. 4th at Wells Ave for me.. very cool. Ralf and Kyle know what to do.. and they do it very well. I'm honored that they put faith in me and I'm happy that I didn't let them down. I'll be looking for chances to repay the favor. Thanks for reading. More later, maybe.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Performance Management Chart

Here it is: The Holy Grail of Peaks WKO+ Software.
The pink line indicates ATL- Acute Training Load. This is the rolling average of TSS for the past 7 days. (default is 7 days- can be changed to a different duration)
The blue line is the CTL- Chronic Training Load. This is the rolling average of TSS for the past 42 days. (again- default setting is 42 days- can be user controlled too)
The golden bars represent TSB- Training Stress Balance. It is also referred to as "form". When ATL and CTL are down and criss crossing each other on the chart, notice that form goes up. When the golden bars are at their peak, those are good days to be competing in important races. From the look of my chart, I will pretty much serve as pack fodder at Chris Hinds this weekend.. or maybe I'll be a force to be dealt with- I'm unpredictable.. and I'm feeling fatigued right now and in theory I won't be ripping anyone's legs off until I have a solid week of restful active recovery behind me.. which won't be until the weekend of 4/19..
FYI, this chart is dated from the time I started training for 2008- November 18th 2007. Since that first day, I've done 2858 miles in 172 hours, and the Powertap odometer reads 6500 miles since I first used it on May 12th of 2007. That toal doesn't include any of the fixed gear or off roading I did earlier in the winter. Thanks for reading.

Thursday's program, Tuesday's feedback

20:00 WU
15 x 30 seconds at CP6 with 30-second spin recoveries. Stop if power drops below CP6 zone. Rolling starts, standing, big gear. Get to top end quickly.
15 min tempo
10 min spin
Sounds simple enough! I love workouts with sub 3:00 minute intervals. 30 seconds? Piece of cake. My normalized FTP of last season was established to be 304 watts by doing a very similar one hour workout.
Here's Tuesday's planned workout, followed by some back and forth with Coach Scheske..
20:00 WU
Do 4 minutes at CP10 (Z5a), with 4 minutes RI x2
3 sets.
5:00 between each set.
15:00 Spin recovery/endurance
Well they are YOUR numbers so it is as hard as YOU go! These workouts are hard no doubt about it.
Yeah weekend looks crap for weather.

From: Murat Altinbasak
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 8:55 AM
To: Todd Scheske
Subject: RE: CP10? Charts Mon Tues

I tought it was a pretty hard workout! 329 is my present CP5- doing it six times in succession and I would have been curled up in the gutter- fetal position- before the end.

I am stronger- I tell myself every day.

The right knee is better too btw.

I'm racing twice Saturday- Pro-Am and 35+. It's looks like it might be cold, wet and miserable- small fields.

Todd Scheske wrote:

From: Murat Altinbasak
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 11:21 PM
To: Todd Scheske
Subject: RE: CP10? Charts Mon Tues

I checked when I got home and CP10 at NP would be 329 watts! I'm glad I didn't know this because I would have surely ridden to failure somewhere during the 2nd interval.
[Scheske] yeah, and that would just mean that you are training hard and getting better…. Going easy is nicer and secures a place at the back of pack or back at the car and home early on a Sunday. ;)
I figured zone 5a would be about 300 watts, so that's what I aimed for, on all six intervals, missing the mark by a little bit, but pretty close. Had to skip the 5 min RI in between sets 2 and 3- I was running out of daylight. You'll find that intervals 5 and 6 were solid though.
[Scheske] don't worry about the number of intervals – do them on target and make them GOOD ones. I'd rather see 4 good intervals than 3 "so-so" ones and 3 lousy ones. (I did not look at the file yet)

I didn't feel 100% tonight. Long days at work with travel up to Boston are wearing me down.
[Scheske] work can be a detractor!
Am I going to have good legs this Saturday at Chris Hinds? I got 20th last year and want to be top five.. Looks like I'm pushing hard on Thursday again, and I already feel tired..
[Scheske] Saturday is not a priority race for you from what I remember, so I don't expect to see you on top form. We are working to build up right now. I'm not saying you won't be top 5 though since you are ahead of fitness from last year – but then again the race depends on who is there!
Monday's chart was copied from Tuesday's ride home, btw. I had forgotten my PT when I went to work with all my gear.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Comparing Apples to Apples

One week ago, I did a solo ride which covered 57 miles in 3:10:40. Yesterday (Saturday 4/5/08), I set out to repeat this same route- one which criss crosses itself many times and keeps me reasonably close to home- one with relentless climbing and rolling hills. I really love this ride because it zig zags across West Warwick, Coventry, Scituate and Craston.. and it's just plain challenging. One day I'll ride it with my Polar S710i and show you the profile.. Okay long story short- I did the ride today in 2:59:55 and averaged 19 miles an hour. That is not all. The really interesting thing about today's ride is that the PowerTap gives an average watt reading of 210 watts today- last week it was 211! How is this possible? How can a ride which is almost 11 minutes faster have average power that is lower? Well for one, the Powertap is known to have a margin of error that is up to 5%.. which is why there's no reason to celebrate when we up our FTP by a few watts. At any rate, the key is in the normalized power! Yes, today's normalized power was about 5 watts higher than last week. What does this mean exactly? I think it means that when I was climbing, I dug deeper and produced more watts- which is easily proven by the 11 minutes I saved completing today's ride. But, for the average watts to be a touch lower, it also means that I required more recovery in between climbs. In the end, today's ride as fully one mile an hour faster than last Saturday- 19 mph. All things considered, I'm happy to see that I had it in me to do that. When I first started out, I did not feel very strong.. but heck if I was any good at training and racing 'by feel' I wouldn't have any need for a power meter, would I?
Now for some very cool charts:

Above is last Saturday, below is yesterday- one week apart, same exact ride. As I suspected, the low end and the top end power ranges (zone 1 active recovery, and zone 5b anaerobic capacity) are both a lot higher in the second ride, the one which was completed in 11 fewer minutes. To wit, the zone 1 changed from 37 minutes to 48 minutes, and the zone 5b changed from 13 minutes to 18 minutes.. Which goes to show you that for every extra 1 minute I spent in zone 5b, I needed an extra 2 minutes in zone 1.

Another chart:

This one is called the Mean Maximal Power Curve. It plots a multitude of durations against the corresponding maximum number of watts I did. Here, I've plotted both last Saturday's ride (in yellow) and yesterday's ride (dashed). It's hard to tell by looking so let me give you the wattage differences (last week vs this week) for CP1 (340:381), CP2 (307:324), CP5 (280:272), CP10 (255:246), CP20 (237:234), CP30 (same) and CP60 (same). Here again, we can see that I drilled it harder on the climbs- none of which were over a mile- most were 1/4 to 1/2 mile rollers. Here's what I get out of this (and it really comes as no surprise): I perform better when there is a lot of variability. I can wind it up into zone 5 -repeatedly- and recover from it quickly. which also explains why I suffer and perform poorly in situations where a steady zone 4 grind is required. I do a lousy job of "time trialing" and a lousy job of being in a break, especially on a flat course. I'm working on this weakness, of course, and that means I need to get into as many breaks as possible. I need to tough it out to the end just once and break the spell.

Another interesting nugget: Last week's CP60 occured between 90 and 150 minutes. Yesterday, it was minute 1 thru 60 of my ride. Both averaged 226 watts, but normalized watts (243:252) and cadence (86:90) were higher in the 2nd ride's CP60.

Lastly, overall average cadence of both rides was exactly the same: 87. That's not something I plan, it just happens.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mean Maximal Power Curve

The above chart graphs two sets of data. On the bottom: duration. On the left: Maximal Power. This represents the best level of sustained power, ever, for the corresponding duration. The reason there are two graphs is because one of them represents my 2007 season (in dashed lines) and the other represents 2008 year to date. The very best data comes from racing of course, and since racing thus far has been limited, there is a large disparity, especially in the durations under 5 minutes. In Peaks software, if I drag the cursor over the graph, it gives the peak watts for that duration, along with the date when it was achieved. I've given an example up there. Pretty slick if you ask me..

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

HRM [can] = Under-training

The great thing about commuting (and my boss is perfectly aware of this): It makes me jump out of bed earlier (with vigor and vim) and I actually arrive at the office earlier than when I drive in, and more awake too.
The no so great thing (in my boss' eyes) is that I tend to leave the office a little earlier too, on those day that I ride home. It's hard to resist.. I want to leave right now and it's only 4:37..
Gonna make it a nice 90 minute endurance ride. I did miserable FTP intervals of 10 and 20 minutes last night..indoors.. especially hard because we just recently upped my FTP by many many watts. See that's the great thing about training with a power meter! You are required to adjust your intensity periodically. As much as I respect the HRM, you can't do that without a power meter and without Peaks software. If I used a HRM, I'd be at the same "LT" threshhold heart rate all season, even after the legs have adapted and gotten stronger and zones have shifted. For example, back in January, my tempo zone was 175 to 210 watts. Today, it's 205 to 245. Big difference. How hard would I be pushing myself after this much adaptation, if I followed my HRM?  
If you're not careful, using only a HRM can mean you are under-training. Not pushing hard enough, not stressing systems enough (especially after a steep curve of adaptation).. next thing you know, you're performance is flat-lining. Thoughts? Discuss.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I'm going 1 million miles an hour at work lately and I need to just stop for a moment and remind myself that I'm human.. A few deep breaths.. A pause for reflection.. Lots of FTP work awaits me tonight on the trainer. I can't wait.. Outside would have been swell, but look out there- it's warm but raining sideways! As predicted, I really felt the stress of Saturday's ride at Wells Ave on Sunday. A break of six formed and held a 20-30 second gap on us until the end. I contributed to the chase most every lap but blockers were doing a very good job.. We had them in our sights the whole time! Frustrating that I didn't have it in me to just bridge across solo. Saturday took a lot out of me though.. Found myself third across the line in the field sprint. Great to see team mates Joe B. and Michael S. there by my side. Good times were had by all.