America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Data Round-up: First 90 days

Today marks the 90th day of 2011 and I like to occasionally stop and see where I am relative to previous seasons. Before I get into it, I want to inform all three of you that I know how uncool it is to talk about our watts with others. Let's face it: if I really wanted to be cool I wouldn't have a blog in the first place.. and if you were really cool you wouldn't be here reading this shit.. So first I'll share the awesome flowchart explaining that no matter what you do, talking about your numbers makes you look like a tool. Okay we get it:

With that funny schematic from Velonews behind us, we can move on. Below we can look at a summary of my last six weeks and also my last 12 months of time, distance, TSS, kJ, etc. I think you will find it interesting that I have been training light every other week since returning from Florida. It wasn't a conscious decision or part of a master plan. It is basically what I've felt like doing, dictated partly by life requirements, fatigue levels, the temperature outside, and my motivation. Let's just say it's what felt right. Moving forward, I expect to build in blocks of 2 weeks during April and changing it up to 3 weeks in May. Or not. Life is unpredictable.

The chart below? Boooo-riiiiing. but still one of my favorites. I'm not going to show you the same period one year before. Just take my word for it that I didn't flirt with a CTL of 90 [in 2010] until after the 3rd week of April. CTL is the blue line which indicates "chronic training load"- a running average of the previous 28 days of training. For the data challenged, I'll give one piece of advice about this particular chart- you're not really flying on the bike until after you're deep into 100 CTL for a few weeks. Last season that period was from 8/1 thru 9/30, and I could tell that I was capable of very good things during that time. This year it appears that I'll be into 100 CTL by mid April. Let's hope I don't get sick of riding and take an entire month off the bike as I did in 2010. (See May/June, above) Maybe I'll rest a bit in May (during all those pesky road races with hills)

Lastly but not least, tonight's workout on the Kinetic Road Machine. This is by far my favorite workout. It's an unofficial fitness test, but not the kind that necessarily indicates your Functional Threshold. Sure if I did this set after a hard hour of warm-up or after a 5 minute VOmax interval, then it can be used for FT (by deducting 5% from norm power). But the way I use it, it's more a measure of how much I've adapted since the previous attempts. It's good to see that since my last attempt exactly one month ago on Feb 28, I've added 14w to my CP20 and 14w to my Normalized CP20. I do not expect you to be impressed. As I said, this is just a very good way for one to gauge their progress and determine if the training stress is forcing the good kind of adaptation. Those of you without a power meter can choose a nice 5 mile loop or stretch of road and test your fitness by doing a private TT every 3-4 weeks. Keep track of your times and see your progression. It doesn't have to be done in an "on/off" manner- that's just how I prefer to do it because it imitates criterium racing, which is where I'm interested in being successful. Anyway it goes something like this:
30:00 warm-up (intensity is at your discretion- but I don't recommend Z2 for the whole time)
1:00 FT+30-50% (for me this is a little under 5w/kg)
1:00 recovery z2-z3 (again, for me a little under 3w/kg)
Repeat total of 10 times (20 minutes total)- in the final minute, recover for the first 30 seconds and then uncork everything you have left for the final 30 seconds, then go for 45-50 if you have it in you, all out. Do it to complete failure.
30:00 cool down, z1-2
This workout does a good job of teaching you to handle the stresses thrown at you in the final 20 minutes of a criterium. You can't shut it down in between intervals- you should still be making woman noises during the "recovery" periods. I usually shift between the 53x15 and the 53x19 during this set. Everyone is different. If you drill it too hard in the first few intervals, you will not want to finish and you risk aborting your workout prematurely. Shoot for 10 minutes the first time and build from there. Usually by the end of the 20th minute, my heart rate is into the 190s, but going back and forth between 165 and 180 the rest of the time. Remember: the excuse you hear most often from riders who get dropped in their first few races of the season is "those accelerations killed me". Well here's your chance to avoid that early ride of shame back to the car.. It goes without saying that you need a base of about 1000 miles before doing a workout like this..Have fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Charge Pond and Wells Ave

Teammate Kyle Gates took a very respectable 4th place at Saturday's 4th edition of the 2011 Charge Pond Series. It was my first race on the new Fuji and I am loving this bike.. but not the valve extenders.. they gave me fits of rage just before the start of the race Saturday, requiring me to try three different pumps before realizing that the tube was punctured. Per usual, I made it to the race with 20 minutes to get ready, and then I was dealing with this flat tire and shitty valve extenders with 2 minutes to start, smashing my hand into the brand new titanium cassette, bleeding, and I rolled up to the back of the field with less than a minute to spare. Warm up? I took care of that with a one-lap bridge attempt about 4 laps into the race. With 6 to go I bridged across to a couple of juniors and we had a nice gap. Unfortunately I could only pull through one time after bridging and we were caught with 5 to go.. Overall I felt pretty good throughout- not put into too much difficulty except for the times I was off the front. I like the course though- very exciting to race there with the undulations and the narrowness of the roads. Long story short I fought like hell to get myself into the top ten going into the last corner and that's about where I finished- either 9th or 10th. They don't rank you correctly past top 7 though so who knows what the official results will tell us. I could be mistaken about this, but judging from the previous weeks' results.. that was Frank friggin McCormack and one of his SONS driving the front of the race with 1/2 lap to go. How cool would it be if YOUR FATHER could lead you out to a successful win? If I'm correct about this, then well, words can't describe how cool that is to me. I salute them.
Wells Ave? Didn't race there, but wanted to. It ended up that my friend Thad Lavalee won it and our "king of spring" Kyle Gates took 2nd. I slept-in until about 12:30.. and took a day off from training.
What happened at Michael Schott? I have no idea but I'll be looking for results and reports on that one. Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 25, 2011

First ride: FUJI SST 1.0

I took the new road bike out for it's maiden voyage- leaving the carbon wheels on and not even installing any bottle cages. All I added was the mount for the Garmin and headed out for a "quickie" with the new mistress. I didn't feel exceptionally fast on this 32 mile route (did the same route 3/15) because it was 40 degrees out and windy. Well I felt fast heading south and I felt fast when I turned west onto Frenchtown Road, but the rest of the ride felt slow and miserable. One thing I noticed about this bike right off the bat- it loves to corner- practically on auto pilot. All I have to do is think "right" and it goes right. By the end of the ride, I was pretty winded because I kept a pace somewhere in between tempo and LT and what felt like a slow pace actually took 9 minutes off my previous attempt of this route! Yee-haw! Must be kind of like when you're driving a Lexus doing 100 mph and it feels like you're only going 60. This bike is Fa-ast. Thanks for reading.

One troubling thing though- the headset was completely loosened up when I got home. Hopefully I did not ovalize my head tube or ride like that for very long.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pro Cyclists from Iran beating up on Tour de Taiwan

Mehdi Sohrabi (Tabriz Petrochemical Team) outkicked breakaway companion David McCann (Giant Kenda) on the uphill finish to win stage 2. Photo: © Tour de Taiwan

It's the kind of headline which has the ability to make some people roll their eyes, flare their nostrils, maybe even spit on the ground in disgust. You might not want to hear it, but I have a high opinion of Iranian pros, most notably on the Tabriz Petrochemical Team. For many years, guys like Mehdi SOHRABI, Ghader Mizbani and Hossein Askari have been earning results which would turn heads, if only their names were Johnny, or Matthew or Thomas.. I salute these guys for their consistent good results. Bravo. Their team is currently ranked 1st place at the Tour of Taiwan after Stage 5, which is no surprise after their team took the win on Stages 2 and 3.
There is more to pro road cycling than "Avrupa". (that's Turkish for "Europe") Asia is rapidly evolving into a pro racing Mecca, with very well attended national tours in almost every country, even in Turkey.. which brings me to a sore spot.. Turkey has very few "pros" attending these far eastern venues. It's a shame that in Turkey, most people look upon adults who ride bicycles, as imbeciles. Mountain biking is growing like wildfire, but road racing is pretty limited, with maybe 15 or so Federation-sanctioned venues throughout the season. We have that many races in one weekend in the Northeast US alone. Thanks for reading.
Floris Goesinnen (Drapac) solos to victory in stage four. Photo: © Tour de Taiwan

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sister-wife has landed

I can't decide whether to name her Nickie or Margene. Maybe I'll just go with Chloe. Ebru will always be my Barb though..
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Hills in Florida..

.are mostly bridges, like this one spanning the Intercoastal Waterway. I want to get down there again to work on my tan lines, but this time I want to have my new road bike with me! This Fuji order is getting a little long in the tooth, and I'm tired of riding 'ol Bessie- my 22 pound Fuji cross bike- on the road. This SST 1.0 will hopefully be worth the wait!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Long day No 2 ouch

Untitled by hasyunusa at Garmin Connect - Details
The Garmin data is available via the above link. Almost 75 miles. I originally went out intending to go south to Charlestown (just like I wanted to do yesterday), but the winds shifted and picked up speed so I had to go N-NW into the wind to ensure that I didn't fall apart fighting a headwind for 2 hours trying to get home. As it is, I barely made it into the driveway before dark. Way more climbing than I wanted to do, but I took it pretty easy compared to yesterday- hardly ever went over 300 watts- and only on the steep hills where it really can't be avoided. So tomorrow on my birthday I can relax, maybe hit the gym for an hour, maybe take a swim,or go to the bike path with my boy.. but no bike training. My legs are torched after these two key workouts yesterday and today. I've been using Amino Vital BCAAs in pill form and as a drink mix- very happy with the way it is helping me to recover more quickly and do two hard rides like this without ever cramping.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Longer ride today

Untitled by hasyunusa at Garmin Connect - Details
I'm really liking the Garmin Connect site and all the information you are able to share with friends, so easily. The elevation, course profile, the mapping.. I'm very pleased with it.
Today I resolved to do a challenging ride, but not until about 20 minutes into it. Originally I was going to keep on flatter roads down south towards Charlestown and back, but I decided that I had the legs for a harder effort so I kept local and hit some of the hills in my area. The map tells it all! This is a nice 64 mile route which I am expecting to repeat in the future, hopefully with friends. It's hard to do these longer rides by yourself all the time. I wore a composite kit today- bottom was ArcenCiel (I sponsor them) and the top was the old Millwork One jersey. I went with a merino wool base layer of course and a vest over my long sleeve jersey. This weather is deceiving and can easily make you sick- better to slightly over-dress and ventilate when it gets hot. My toes were a bit chilled by the end of the ride- I wore lycra shoe covers- but mainly for protecting my nice new white DMT from dirt. lycra doesn't insulate too well. Saw some people out on the roads which is rare in RI, especially when you're "casually employed" as I am and go out riding around noon.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the data.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday's short ride

Untitled by hasyunusa at Garmin Connect - Details
So as promised here's the data from yesterday's ride. Colder outside than it looked before Ileft- I had thoughts of pulling a u-turn and going home during the first 5 minutes, but I warmed up quickly. This is a route which I often do when time is short. 32 miles that keep me relatively close to home and offer a lot of opportunities to take a longer route if the mood strikes. Lots of nasty pavement to deal with, especially along Frenchtown Road after crossing route 2. The cruising portion of the ride begins right after getting onto Division Street towards Route 3. My suspicion was confirmed relative to zeroes on the power meter. Apparently the Garmin display shows an average which excludes zeroes/coasting, but that doesn't mean it's not recording them. It's only when you upload to Training Peaks WKO v3.0 that the zeroes are put into play. For example, the Garmin display indicates that this ride averaged 221 watts, but WKO says that it was really only 207. Not a problem for me really, just good to know. I heard that there can be issues with the Garmins relative to calculating Normalized Power, but I don't see any problems. I did a workout on Monday night which included a 20 minute block of VOmax intervals 1 minute on, 1 minute off, and the avg watts were 242 and the normalized avg was 275. This agrees with previous editions of this same workout, which is one of my favorites. Its kind of like a criterium where you're attacking or chasing for one minute every lap, sitting in for minute in between efforts. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garmin 500 thoughts

I've been using the Garmin 500 with a Powertap Pro wheel for the past four days and so far I'm pleased. I just completed a 100 minute ride and the data on the screen is encouraging, but I'm suspicious that it's not recording zeroes into the average watts. When I'm coasting downhill, which is rare, the average watts stays put instead of decreasing. More later when I add a link to my workout.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Hilly ride Saturday

Untitled by hasyunusa at Garmin Connect - Details
I believe the above link will show you all of the excessive details of my bike ride on Saturday with the Refunds Now group, which includes the infamous Gewilli. I usually take a nice steady cruise with the RI elders on Saturdays but I was looking for a change of scenery and faces. My plan was to ride to the start of the ride but since I couldn't find my booties I lost all kinds of time and ended up driving to Providence at the last minute. Good group of 10 or so guys, some of which can climb hills a lot better'n me, which I can live with, no worries. I may have had the heaviest bike and wheels of us all- my front wheel weighs 950 grams, the bike is probably 22 or so. Gewilli on the other hand was riding helium filled Z101s. I cringed every time we hit a patch of bad surface, which is hard to miss in RI- our roads SUCK. The ride is advertised as being aggressive and hilly and I thought I was game for it but I should have known better. Holding down puke as I fight to the top of every climb is not something I really want to do until April.. I needed to be home at noon.. so after we turned onto yet another mysterious and hilly side road off of route 44, I started to back-pedal thinking about when I'd be getting back to the car. Also, my legs felt kind of thrashed and I wanted to just shut it down. I took a u-turn, waved goodbye to the group and headed back to route 44 and straight into town and to my car in Federal Hill. Home at noon, as promised. A solid 60 miles and about 300 TSS. Sunday I had dead legs and didn't even feel like doing an hour on the trainer, though I managed 20 minutes.
This morning I was at the spinal doctor's office. The mystery of why I have stabbing pains in my lower back whenever I do cross has been solved- I have a couple of torn and bulging disks at L4-L5. It has been eating into my rest because I awaken 4-5 times every night from the pain and need to change position often. This all started right after the 2009 Concord Criterium when we took a trip up to Storyland and I went on all the rides with my son. It fucked my back up pretty good. The damage was probably already there from years of carpentry and cabinet-making in the shop during my twenties, but those amusement rides suddenly amplified the pain ten-fold. Someone once told me that back pain is an indication of general weakness.. well that may be true but ruptured disks will hurt no matter how strong you are. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do NOT wish me a happy birthday..

..on Facebook. I no longer have an account there. My account was hacked by some piece of shit thug overseas.. and if you engage them, they will pretend to be me and they have the skill and technique to hack you too. There are Hacking forums loaded with the simple instructions of how to do it. Mostly a bunch of pimply teenagers I suppose- they talk about how cool and easy it is to steal someone's account "just to fuck with them". So please do yourself a favor and leave birthday wishes here, if you're so inclined.. My 40th is on March 19th, same as Bruce Willis and Spike Lee.. Then again, traffic to my blogs is kind of light lately so I'm not getting my hopes up. More than anything, I wish that people would take enough of an interest to pick up the fucking phone and call eachother. Fuck blogs and facebook and email and texting. No one talks on the phone anymore, and you can forget about getting together in person. Everyone is engorged with being popular and getting LIKEd on Facebook instead of "being" liked as a real person. Getting LIKEd is something people do TO you, sort of like getting punched or kissed. Being liked is what I would prefer to be, wouldn't you? It's pathetic how we've let technology erase our social skills and replace them with "social networking". Now that I'm out of FB it's painfully evident how many true friends are out there, and it isn't many.. it's few.. but a few good friends is all you need. Having a mutual friend with a total stranger has been sold to us as a good-enough reason to become friends with total strangers who, at the end of the day, don't give a squirt of piss about you. Stop buying that tripe and call your friends once a week instead of peeping tom on them every fucking minute of the day and masquerading it as friendship.
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Brian Piccolo Park Velodrome

Here's another pic from Florida, after racing two criteriums on the 1/2 mile Ninigret-looking course right next to the velodrome. The locals turn out with their families and make a day of the crit racing here. Just like a picnic at Colt Park. Good energy.. Of course it's 85 degrees out so they could all be human flesh-eating pygmies for all I care. I heart Florida.
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I must say it's nice to see the spike in traffic since I quit Facebook. This was shot while training on Florida. Bike is rented.
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Click title for a funny Craigslist ad. Good stuff.
NSA = No sissies allowed.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Year to Date Report

Well folks my Powertap wheels are gone- sold on Ebay tonight. It's not that I don't want power data anymore, it's because I don't want any unsightly wires making my new Fuji SST 1.0 look bad.. So I'm now in the hunt for a decent wireless powertap wheel with ANT+. If you know anyone selling, hit me up.

Today marks the 65th day of 2011 and I wondered how it stacks up against the same period of the previous three years. Here it is:
So what have YOU done this winter?? The above doesn't even include December btw..
I was tempted to race at the Plainville opener on Saturday but my new road bike is still en route on a slow boat from China, literally. Having sold my LOOK to a lad in Japan and all of it's parts all over the USA, I am relegated to using my Fuji cross bike- the one I picked up used for $800 about 5 years ago.. I can't wait to feel how different it is to go from a 22 pound cross bike to a 15 pound road bike. Exciting times. The other problem is that I slept-in until 12 noon on Saturday- an indication that dragging myself to a stressful race was not going to bear much fruit..

My new DMT Speedplay-specific DMT shoes fit like a glove- actually they have some room in the front so that I can wriggle my toes. Such an improvement over my previous shoes- they had become too tight and too narrow for my evolving feet.. My wind trainer is toast too- the crank no longer does anything to clamp the rear wheel and there is a gouged out section of the aluminum drum, pictured below. Doesn't all that bad ass rubber dust impress you? I tried doing the roller the other day and they are pitiful, really. I bought these McClains in 1992 and the bearing are kaput, the frame is twisted, and they scream like a banshee with no resistance. Well the good news is that my birthday is coming up and the big 4-0 will be complete.. so it's okay to splurge on a few necessities and just play the 40th birthday card every time my wife reaches for her baseball bat.. I've been eying those Lemond trainers but they obviously dont work with a Powertap and their proprietary power meter add-on hasn't been widely promoted so there is nothing there to impress me.. If only I had Quarq or SRM.. Funny- the broken Ergomo Pro bottom bracket is now on Ebay and people are bidding on the thing- for parts. Now I must find a new Powertap wheel- one that will look good on the new Fuji. And I need a new trainer. It's really my favorite way to warm-up at a crit.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Update brewing

Hopefully I can put up some cool YTD data tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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