America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Does Normalized CP60 = Functional Threshold?

Saturday I rode for four hours- the first and last hour were by myself, the middle two hours were with Gewilli and Chris Burke. On the surface, the ride does not indicate anything impressive. Average speed of 16.8 mph and average watts of 171. It is easy to achieve these numbers on flat roads, by myself. But the Variability Index (VI) is 1.28 which indicates a lot of climbing. The TSS for the entire ride is 300 which is the highest I have done in one day, YTD. The data which matters the most to me though, is the small inset showing the CP60 (peak 60 minutes of average watts). The average is 191 watts, but the normalized average is 250, which is the current FT setting I'm using is WKO Peaks software. We were not going at race pace or turning ourselves inside out completely (for the most part), but we were not exactly slacking either.
FT means different things to different people. I use the number as a target during my longer intervals (those of 15-20 minute duration). Some workouts require me to go "FT+10%" and knowing this number comes in handy. But as a trusted source points out, my heart rate indicates that the FT I am currently using indoors may be too high. Some of this is because of the fatigue of a long day at work, some of it is because of overheating while indoors, or lack of a fresh supply of oxygen (I'm in a basement with no windows) and some of it is 'cardiac drift'.. I'm not completely convinced yet that I should aim lower during these workouts, but I'm thinking about it. The "VI" of a windtraner workout is typically exactly "1.0", which means that it's a constant steady grind- nothing like a ride in the rolling hills. If my Peak Normalized CP60 is achieved on a ride with lots of big hills, then translating that to a windtrainer workout needs to be given some consideration. At the end of the day, what needs to be evaluated is whether using a slightly lower [FT] target is going to force the same level of adaptation as a slightly higher one. Two back to back 15 minute FT intervals are supposed to be hard. The 2nd interval is supposed to show a little bit of weakness relative to the 1st one. I look at it this way.. training should be harder than racing. If I'm trying to condition myself to be a successful contributor to a breakaway that forms with 5 laps to go in a crit, it makes no sense to do a 15 minute interval at anything less than FT [or more]. If I'm trying to condition myself for a 10k time trial, it makes no sense to do a 15 minute interval at anything less than FT [or more]. One thing is for sure though.. using only a HRM can lead you into the weeds relative to the effort you're putting into an interval. The information is important, but by itself it can mislead.
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NBX tracks

We live only a mile from Goddard Park. All the ruts from our cross wheels are still there, four months later. We ride there together. This is the last weekend where cars are blocked from entering the inner part of the park. The gates open April 1st and we'll have to ride somewhere else.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Success breeds success

I'm fatigued. Tuesday night I did a very hard workout. Wednesday night I completed my income tax returns. I was up until 1:00 but it had to get done. Now I just have to file it.. So no workout Wednesday at all- that sucks.. So tired. It was another long day Thursday. I fretted a bit about the workout that needed to get done, and it wasn't until 9:30 pm that I could finally claim some time to myself and head to the basement. Intervals lasting more than 15 minutes are a real challenge for me- I either have ADD or my legs are built for all-or-nothing contractions, not these carefully metered, just below threshold efforts- which drive me completely insane- and this weakness which I'm working on also explains why I often get into the winning break but fall apart when it matters most. Here's the workout:
20:00 WU
5:00 FT
5:00 RI
15:00 FT
10:00 RI
15:00 FT
10:00 CD
It's true that I set my computer to display average watts and I try to hold a certain target wattage for the duration. The first 5 min are a shock to the system, really intended to get your juices flowing for the real efforts. The 1st 15 minute effort blows, but it blows mainly because all I can think is "I can't do this again!".. I get through it no problem, and my heart rate tops out at about 174. Surprisingly, after 10 minutes of recovery I'm rearing to go again! Of course 60 seconds into it I'm thinking twice.. I'm resisting the urge to look at the time elapsed. I'm counting the letters on a cardboard box, over and over again. I'm closing my eyes. I'm trying to apply force to the upstroke to balance leg fatigue. I'm looking at the time every 20 seconds and I can't stop imagining how good it will feel to stop. In the end, my heart rate is 183 and I average only 7 watts less than the 1st 15 minute effort. Wiped.. I am actually light-headed after I stop.. Like I could black out and fall to the floor, but the feeling passes.. And after 1 minute my pulse is down to 158. After 2 min its down to 130. It sounds cliche but success in training translates into success in racing. So why not be happy about pushing through a hard workout which you typically suck at? If I can do it in the basement, I can also do it on the road. So you see, we're training body and mind here, as it should be. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

YTD Performance Management Charts- a comparison

One thing that immediately stands out about the winter of 2009 is that I did seven consecutive weekends of 3-4+ hour rides, and then took a big break. What happened is that we went to San Diego for a one week getaway. We went to Legoland, Wild Animal Kingdom, we drove up and over the mountains to Borrego Springs, we saw two stages of the Tour of California.. While we were there we went to the Carlsbad YMCA for swimming and Spinning classes.. So I got a much needed break after so much volume in Jan/Feb. Things resumed as before in March..
In 2010 things are a little bit different. I have been stingier with my weekends, relative to doing back to back long rides.. then I get severely ill right after my trip to NYC for the Toy Fair. This knocked me on my ass until early March, when food poisoning put me behind some more as well. Now I am playing a slow and steady game of catch-up.. and as of this date, I seem to have a level of CTL (chronic training load) which is par with 2009.
As I explained to Solobreak recently, my training volume is still only about 75-80 hours for the year.. maybe 90 hours by the end of March.. so endurance fitness is not exactly where I want it to be. It's not in the toilet, but it needs work. Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Racing does not necessarily equal correct training

..especially if you are driving one hour each way and you're behind the curve relative to base endurance. Anyway, I'll bet a lot of us cracked 200 miles for the first time this week. I couldn't have done it if I went to Wells Ave.. I needed to control my intensity and do a proper amount of volume, so instead I got a little bit extra sleep and rolled off at about 9:00, intentionally late for the pick-up race at Ninigret, but headed there nonetheless. A nice tailwind the whole way south on Route 2 is indicated by the speeds on the chart below. After tooling around for a few laps at Ninigret (there were about 20-25 guys there going pretty damn hard for March- I put in a couple of nice efforts as well).. I knew it was time to go. We had a birthday party to reach at 2:00 pm and I had a two hour date with a strong headwind. Even so, average speed was respectable, for one traveling solo with fenders and heavy wheels.. My weight is down to 166 (after the ride yesterday I was 164). I think the double 90 minute rides during the week are going to pay big dividends. I never got under 170 last season (except after a 4 hr ride), and here it's only March. There's a lot of portion control going on as well, it's not just training volume. To all of you who like to take jabs at my weight (you would think I was 5'-0" tall if you didnt know better) when I am down to 158 pounds in June and riding you off my wheel, you can go suck it. Here's the ubiquitious data which you come here to see:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Victory! I made it to mid-life

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
>Theodore Roosevelt

It's the last day which I can ever really call myself 38, and tomorrow is the 1st day of my 40th year.. so where did 39 go?

Thinking about the next three months of warming weather, I got excited about the possibility of doing three round trips per week, to work and back (Tues/Wed/Thurs) and doing one way trips Monday and Friday. Weather permitting, this is a total of 208 miles, and this doesn't include the weekend. Of course this doesnt account for the occasional Wednesday night Ninigret race- how would I make that happen? Probably by driving home Wednesday nights and driving to work Thursday mornings. Or I can skip Ninigret and do my own thing, or go to Wompatuck.. Last spring Tobi S. came over to me after Ninigret one night and pointed at my saddle, "How's that working out for you?" I wasn't sure what he meant at first. Oh yeah.. my saddle's nose is pointed down a few degrees. "I haven't changed it in years, and my junk doesn't get numb anymore." The other day I foolishly messed with my saddle, setting it more (but not quite) level and raising it a few millimeters. On the increased height, I have no issues. I think it was the correct turn of the dial.. but leveling off the saddle was a mistake. After 20 minutes I am so completely numb that I can be castrated and not ever know it. Stick to what you know.. Looking at the shoes I'm now wearing.. it's hard to believe I've been wearing them since July 2005?? I guess that's the best possible advertising that DMT can ever hope to have, because 5 years of riding [for me] is about 25,000 miles.. If I could find some new old stock I'd buy them again, but the stuff on the market now is so featherlight.. (I like the Mavics and the Sidi Ergo2s) that these are tank-like in comparison. I get to drive to Fairfield CT tomorrow for a mandatory Pre-bid meeting.. at 2:30.. not exactly where I want to be on a Friday afternoon on my birthday. I'm expecting to make the trip to Wells Ave on Sunday to see if these guns can still go fast after such a long winter. Maybe I'll ride there and back, or go early and do a team ride in the area beforehand. I was a hit last night on the ride home with my green arm warmers. People like that you make an effort. and I'm about as Irish as a sishkebab. Had the shirt too, at work. Sadly, it never occurred to me that I should imbibe some beer or spirits. We didn't have any at the house anyway.. and it's not usually something I crave.. drinking that is.. One thing about commuting by bike- it sure is easy to forget that your wallet is still in your backpack and discover it after a 1/2 hour drive to Officemax where you went to buy a new toner cartridge for your laser printer last night. Yeah that was me.. but I was with my boy and so it doesn't matter. He was totally FLYING at Goddard Park the other day. Dropped mommy and I like two sacks of potatoes. Rick Newhouse Crit has a kid's race.. maybe we should go to Ninigret and practice a few laps. I don't want him to pull a 'Murat' and take himself out in that first sharp corner. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can't wait..

.to try on my new "Wasabi" colored wool arm warmers after work. In the spirit of this Day o' St Patrick.. My company will be offering it's own line of wool arm warmers this fall. How does the idea of a wool base layer that comes with matching arm warmers sound? Think of it as a long sleeve wool base layer with detachable sleeves. We will be the first to offer it as a nice affordable matching kit.. These will be marketed under our new brand: PurWool. (There should be a horizontal dash above the u) thanks for reading.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, March 12, 2010

Food poisoning, but there's good news too

Not the ideal way to lose weight, but I’m down to 165 pounds this morning because of a rancid gyro sandwich I ate for lunch two days ago. Did not sleep a wink the night before, and last night was only marginally better. My guts have been having painful spasms on and off for the last 24 hours. I don’t really know how I managed to ride to work yesterday morning without blacking out and crashing. It was cold, damp and I was going on no sleep. You know, I was suspicious of the sandwich they served me when the meat seemed to be overcooked.. a telling sign that they are not too confidant of it’s freshness or suitability as food. The lack of good places to eat around here (in Cumberland) is really getting on my nerves. Back in the day when I worked at Millwork One, Haruki Japanese restaurant was only 2 minutes away. Now there’s a Chipotle 1 minute away from there too (Garden City).. Here in Cumberland, I don’t know what f people eat. I am not the type who brings lunch from home. I don’t have time for that, though I do try.. but my plate is too full as it is to stop and put leftovers into Tupperware.. oh and to remember to bring the empties home and all that. The weekend appears to be very crappy weather, making it an ideal time to hit the gym and lift some weights, do a spin class, and complete my 2009 tax returns. We are purchasing a home in Warwick and yesterday something happened which makes me feel a lot better about the deal- after 4 months working at this new job, I finally got my first win yesterday. It was a publicly opened filed-sub bid for the laboratory casework contract in a brand new high school in Groton CT. My bid was the low number and not by much, meaning that I didn’t leave a lot of money on the table. It feels pretty damn good to sell ¼ million dollars of product in one fell swoop, and it does a lot to help secure my income and to make the purchase of this new house easier. Another huge win this week: one of our team’s sponsors had reached out to me last fall and offered to write a check for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. I declined and told them they didn’t have to pay us so early- let’s wait until the early spring when racing begins. Over the past few months I was beginning to second guess my approach, but I resolved NOT to call and pester them for the money. My faith and my patience paid off- the check arrived yesterday- enough to pay a large number of entry fees over the next two seasons. Anyway. Here’s a picture of our new place, below. And why not, here’s a picture of our old place too, which is now a rental property (orange shutters). The 3rd floor is available for $700 a month, heat and hot water included. It’s a nice space. I installed figured anigre wall paneling up there which I salvaged from the old Arthur Anderson space in Boston- it was taken over by Standard & Poors and they threw away truckloads of figured anigre paneling and doors. If you recall Arthur Anderson was tied to the whole Enron debacle. Please direct some of your positive energy towards the houses- I could use all the help I can get in keeping one rented and for closing the deal on the other. Those of you who bought some wool apparel from me the other week- I am immensely grateful. Thank you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Four commutes = 106 miles

This is hard, especially in the AM. I rode home from work twice this week, and rode to work from home twice this week. If I did the round trip five days a week, it would be 265 miles, and 16 hours of training.. but I doubt this will happen. My goal is to make a minimum of 2 round trips a week (just like this week) and maybe up it to 3 in April and May. When the weather is nice, I can ride the back roads to get home and get some more "alone time" to do intervals or speedwork. This would occur mainly on route 116 as it circles all the way around and down to West Warwick. One thing I'm finding impossible to avoid is for my clothing to get completely drenched with sweat. After disrobing this morning here at the office, my pile of smelly clothing had to weigh about 15 pounds. Yucch.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FOR SALE: EPX Carbon Road Bike with Campy Chorus and Rolf wheels

Murat's back-up road bike is FOR SALE
Very lightly used with minimal wear and tear. First $1250 takes it. Or you can bid on it at EBAY and see where it goes.
The wheels are perfect. The drivetrain is like new. Weighs 17.8 pounds.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The first bike commute of 2010

I ended up leaving the office a little later than I expected, and got home 7:15 ish.. The whole ordeal took 1:30:26 to complete, door to door. The first part of this 26.37 mile journey is on a bike path- a really nice one. Much of it is ridden with water on both sides of you. After about 4 miles this launches you onto route 122 South, where you suddenly become the red-headed step-child of the motoring world. Central Falls is not the ghetto.. unless you live in East Greenwich. Then it's like the Bronx or something worse. Route 122 takes you right into the heart of Providence, where the chances of being smooshed into biker paste is unfortunately high. I must have stopped at every red light in the city. I rode on part of the last held COX Criterium course for a bit and shortly after this, I could finally exhale after getting onto Allens Avenue and passing one of my favorite watering holes. Let's just give it the code name "Desire". Then the ride begins to quiet down.. at least until I reach the airport area- then it gets crazy again. This is going to be an interesting commute- nothing like my old familiar ride into Cranston. Cumberland is a land far far away from E.G., and at 6:00 am I am going to repeat the exercise.. It will be mostly uphill and mostly into the wind. I hope to make it in one piece.

Riding 4+ hours is easy..

..when you're in a big group. Even though the speeds are higher, you are doing less work in a double paceline where you get to pull for 10 minutes every hour or so.. The rest of the time, you're sucking wheel, chit-chatting, eating, drinking, looking around.. the only ones cracking more than 3 watts/kilo are the two guys at the front. With this in mind (and mountains of data to prove it) I embarked on a lonely journey towards the roads that I like the most, out in the reservoir area of Coventry and Scituate. This was going to be a morning of deliberate sensory deprivation and hill climbing. My only friends were my iPod and my ego.
Fifteen minutes into my ride on Division Road, I passed Mr Billy Y.. presumably (and later confirmed) to be on his way to meet the ArcenCiel ride at 8:00.. I sort of hoped he would pull a u-turn and trade pulls with me for 4 hours, but I was also tempted to turn around and head down there with him.. The problem with big group rides are the stops. Not that I mind them so much.. but the quicker you get the four hours over with, the better. In a big group, there is a preliminary stop to wait for everyopne, there are flats, pee breaks, kwik-e-mart breaks, dropped riders (sometimes me!).. all of which can make a 4 hour ride take 5 hours to complete. My plate is full, I can't afford to waste an hour, as much as I love the company I am in, I love my wife more. Anyway, long story short, I pictured a ride in my mind and in spite of repeatedly feeling like I wasn't going to make it, the ride was completed successfully in just over 4 hours. Speed was not impressive and neither was power, but relative to the usual big group ride, I actually clocked more TSS in 4 hours than I would have otherwise done in 5.

Saturday was beautiful and I treated wife and child to some off-roading at Big River for 90 minutes. What could be better? My legs were smoked from Saturday's TSS and I needed to shut it down for a couple of days. I'll admit though, that my OCD got the best of me and after the end of the season finale of Big Love, I went down into the basement for a one hour tempo spin, just to keep the engine primed.
Today I plan to ride home after work, then ride back in tomorrow morning. First bike commute of the year! 27 miles each way. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tour de New York is Coming!

My good friend Todd Scheske is in the news again. Between being a promoter of races such as the Rochester Twilight Criterium and the Tour de New York and being President of the very prestigious Genesee Valley Cycling Club, Todd helps me to train effectively and to time my peaks correctly. Today’s news article at VeloNews is pretty exciting, and if I’m not mistaken, the Tour de New York will also feature a downtown criterium for women, juniors and masters, with the Pro crit being the Feature Presentation of course. That’s another excuse for me to head out there and spend some time with my younger brother, who is finishing up his degree at Rochester Institute of Technology. As a team affiliated with the GVCC, maybe we can head out there as a Team and kick some tail!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Racing this weekend?

Were it not for losing a week of training with a chest cold and related fatigue, I would be doing back-flips about this weekend’s opener at Charge Pond. Right now, I’m on the fence about it, and would prefer to keep working on endurance with a 4-5 hour ride than drive far away and pay money to enter a one hour drag race where someone is certain to crash, if not from nerves it will be from someone getting their doors blown off and then being unable to properly handle a bike. It is tempting, all the same.. Playing it by ear at this point. I rested yesterday- not even a light spin. I’m listening to my fatigue and it’s saying “whoa, 250 TSS on Sunday and another 72 on Tuesday.. even a light spin tonight will just increase your tiredness..” Well, I feel good today. Coughing is finally under control. Mucus is much reduced, though the occasional nose-blow is colored much like honey mustard salad dressing.. Gross. Anyway, here’s what I did Tuesday night, below. The 2nd interval was supposed to be 15 minutes. I failed- it would have wiped out the rest of the workout. So I compromised and did a 5 minute effort, followed by a 10 minute effort, followed by another 5 min effort. That’s 25 minutes total in the pain cave, not bad for a sick person.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sunday: The Return

Obsessive compulsive types like me go through a living hell when they can’t ride due to illness, due to life requirements, or due to any reason at all really. Your hero took one final day of rest Saturday (but not without doing a one hour indoor spin) and on Sunday morning, he was ready to hit it hard. First off, I felt under-dressed. I blame this on the fact that I perspire profusely when I’m sick, and the extra moisture was giving me the chills.. Also, it was a very damp kind of cold on Sunday morning. I got to the meeting point ½ hour early too, meaning that after riding fairly hard for an hour (to keep warm) I had to spin easily back and forth on route 3 until everyone showed up. I shivered some more and at one point almost swore that I was going home. Two total hours of riding in this miserable cold felt like enough foolishness. As it is, my legs felt completely thrashed and dead to me the whole way there. I knew I was in for some punishment if I stuck around. But I don’t throw a leg out of bed at 6:00 am just to ride for two hours.. So I waited for all attendees and much to my surprise we were honored by the presence of a recently crowned National Champion and World Championship medalist. Those of you who need to know who this is, already know.. Well from what I read relative to the previous weekend, this was going to be another “average 20+ mph-or-die” kind of a ride.. Fine and dandy.. My Blackberry has GPS. I can always shut it down at any time that I need to and find my way home. Things were pretty civil and low-tempo up until we turned right onto route 49. Here, we split into two groups and let a gap open up- to practice pacelining. I wasn’t feeling too stressed until the road turned up and pointed up albeit gradually, for basically the whole way.. My front group was caught and passed after about 10 minutes, and the profile of route 49 is such that after another 5 minutes, your hero fell apart completely and some friends waited up for me and towed my ass back up to the rest of the group, a couple of times.. My lungs and head are so filled with goo and I am hacking so much throughout this ride that my judgment relative to riding is being questioned by others.. and rightly so. After the tempo mellowed again, I took the B-Line home and ended up with 75 miles in about 4:15. Slower than usual, but Sunday rides are hilly, and I’m sick.. The rest of the group apparently did just under 100 miles in just over 5 hours. I expected to be put into difficulty all day. That’s why I did it. And that’s probably why I am tolerated by this great group of guys: because they know that my heart’s into this 110%. At the end of the day, I am satisfied that I did the best I could with the situation I was in, and that puts one hell of a spring in my step today.

Thanks for reading.