Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time for Some Rest

So it's been a long 3 weeks of cycling, 16 to 18.50 hours per week have been spent pedaling away in order to get ready for the death march on July 11th. The progression resulted in two centuries this past week, 330 miles, 18.50 hours and now I'm officially tired. This week will be spent resting, although I didn't really plan it that way. I did have a little bit more intensity in the program for the week but the weather and my legs have made me change my mind and now I'll spin it out this week to allow the legs to recover. I'll still be doing about 16-17 hours but it will all be slow, recovery pace efforts to allow my body to recover a bit. If I'm feeling good then I'll try an effort or two at the end of the week but I was supposed to do the UW-Whitewater RR this weekend along with the Omro RR so those might be the only efforts that I do this week, it's probably best to wait until then. If I'm still not feeling good at all and my HR is suppressed like it was on my ride yesterday then I may skip one of the races this weekend and just take a day to do another training ride. I had trouble getting past 172 bpm on my ride yesterday and that is about 20 beats off my normal max, so I know my body is saying, whoa, cut me some slack. I always listen. Another indicator is my resting HR today is 54, that's high. Lately it's been in the low 40s to 45 on any given day, I've checked it 3 times today and it's been 54 twice and 55 once, so again, I'm listening. Obviously heart rate isn't always the best indicator, power is better, but I don't have a power meter of any sort, so I have to go by HR, and in my opinion power is only good on the bike, off the bike you obviously can't deny what your resting HR tells you, and of course other indicators like general leg soreness and fatigue are big determining factors as well. On the bike there are things like caffeine intake, hydration, temperature and humidity, wind, and stress that can affect HR, but your power should remain the same more or less when those factors come in to play. Power numbers will fluctuate when you are overtrained or sick, that is when it's good to have a power meter, overtraining will show in the numbers on the bike, which unfortunately is what I can't tell right now. Yeah, maybe something yesterday affected my HR and my power was the same as always but I'm just going by feel and I don't think that I had the same power as last week. I guess I better start saving for a power meter next year, it'd be a good item to add to my training repertoire, especially if I start coaching next year. Anyways, tonight it's supposed to rain at about 6:30ish, the plan is to go home, ride around my neighborhood or within 10 minutes of my house anyways, until it starts raining, and then head home. Hopefully I can get in an hour at least, 90 minutes would be better though, but I'll take what I can get. Tomorrow is supposed to bring some rain as well but I'm hoping for a break to get out for 2.5 hours or so after work, even if I have to do the neighborhood thing again, I'll do whatever it takes to get outside. Thursday and Friday will be more of the same duration but thankfully it's going to be nice and sunny so I'll be hitting some remote destinations outside of my immediate area, probably up to Dousman and back on Thursday and probably a big Waukesha loop on Friday. Saturday and Sunday as I mentioned might be race days, I'm hoping I feel good enough although I'll go in to both races with almost no race training at all for the year. I've done two days of hill repeats, other than that it's been all endurance rides and tempo work. If they were completely flat I'd have no problem, the race flyer for Whitewater says one "dominant hill" though so that doesn't bode well for me. I'm willing to give it a go, it's only 40 miles, maybe I'll get really lucky and be at 100% and that will be about 60% of everyone else, but it might just keep me in the peloton. Well, that's it for now I guess, more to follow ahead of the race weekend, I'll let you know how I'm feeling and hopefully I'll be doing two races. Until next time.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hills, Hills, Hell

Yeah, I did hill work last night and it was hell, but a self-induced hell that I'm glad that I put myself through. Let's just say that I didn't lay the smack down, or open up a can of whoop-ass on the hills, but I can tell that I've certainly improved in the last month or so as my speed and RPE have gone up and down respectively on the same hills. I started out with about a 20 minute warmup to one of my favorite hills, a kilometer long jaunt that starts at about 6%, ramps up a little to 8%, back down to 6% for a short period and then hits 12% at the top for about 50 meters. I did 5 repeats up the hill with a short break between each rep, and alternated doing some high and low cadence work the first 4 times. On the last rep I went up it at max speed and kept sprinting over the top as hard as I could until I blew up. This is the FIRST time this year that I've done any race-specific training, yeah I know, it's July next week, but hey, I'm off to a late start this year. Anyways, after that I rode for another 15 minutes or so to my next hill, a half-mile long hill that starts at 10%, and levels off to about 4% before going up to 8% at the top. This isn't a hill that's all that difficult, it's about 4% for most of it's duration except for right at the beginning and the end. The reason I use this hill is for big ring hill work, basically building muscular strength and also to work on standing during climbs. I alternated repeats on this hill using the big ring doing the climb standing and then sitting, it's very taxing on the muscles but will really pay off after a good recovery. After finishing my repeats I decided that I had been out in the heat too long, especially given the effort that I had expended, so I turned around and headed home. My ride time was 2.5 hours, which considering the heat, and the work I just did, was more than good enough for me. I went through 3 full waterbottles, one of which was stuffed in my jersey pocket which made it nice and warm next to my body. That was tough to get down but I still needed it so the bottle was definitely emptied. A quick cold shower and then a trip to Chipotle completed the evening. I was very happy to finally get to open the throttle a bit on the engine as I've been doing nothing but just "riding" for the last couple of months, now it's time to start to get some real work in, but not necessarily for the upcoming races, but more for the Race the Lake event in August and to build up for next year when I hope to take on a full race season again. The plan is to do the UW-Whitewater RR next Saturday and the Omro RR next Sunday, and I'm not expecting anything other than to hope to stay with the pack for the duration of each race. Finishing would make me happy, placing really doesn't matter in those races. I may do the Holy Hill race on July 17th as well, which is part of Superweek, but I'm not sure yet, we'll see how these first two races go. I'm not fond of the Superweek organization for their crit courses, but the Holy Hill course goes back to a time before the current promoter so I'm not all that averse to doing that race. We'll see.
Tonight is actually a day off although I may throw in a short 1 hour ride, my mom and stepdad are coming up for dinner tonight, so that is on the agenda instead of a ride. Tomorrow is a vacation day so I'll be doing a longer ride on what is normally a rest day or recovery ride day for me. Something in the range of 3 to 3.5 hours is on the schedule right away in the morning. Saturday is the Lake Country Classic Century and then the evening will be spent watching the Downer Ave. race, part of the Tour of America's Dairyland. I'm looking forward to the consumption of a few beers and of course the famous Cafe Hollander frites. Until next time, happy riding.........

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another One Down

Sunday wasn't just any other day, it was my 3rd century of the year, 4th if you count that I also did a 94.6 (95) miler, yeah it's 5.4 miles short, but that's close enough for me. My next one will be Saturday at the Lake Country Classic in Oconomowoc with my friend and co-worker Dave, but I digress, back to my Sunday ride. I knew it was going to be a difficult ride with the heat and humidity, especially after I did a 3 hour ride on Saturday and was suffering a bit even though I was riding at 9:00a.m.. Sunday would be basically the same but twice as long so hydration was key and I probably drank about 12 bottles worth of water and PowerBar Refuel drink mix. I started out at 8:00 at Big Foot Beach State Park in Lake Geneva with my dad and his friend Dorothee whom had ridden up from his house in Bohner's Lake about 12 miles away. We did the lake loop up to the observatory, and along the way hit a nice long hill that maxed out at 16%, the burn was on at that point but the legs were just getting opened up as we were about 6 or 7 miles in. From there we went through some countryside outside of Lake Geneva to the Alpine Valley area and hit another hard climb on Bowers Rd. that was probably about 4/10ths of a mile long and maxed out at 17%. There was a Phish concert going on but luckily for us all the Phish-heads were just getting up and weren't on the road yet, too much later and we would have been in the middle of a pretty big traffic jam on Hwy D. At this point I was sweating buckets and we were only 25 miles in, and I knew that I'd probably run out of water before getting to New Berlin to refuel at the 65 mile mark. We kept on rolling along until we hit the Honey Creek area where we went up another 16% max hill and my dad and Dorothee decided that they were turning off to head home. They had 40 miles in and it was still about 20 miles back to my dad's house for them, so I thanked them for hanging with me for a while and we went our separate ways. I kept going along until I got to the Lake Beulah area, then Big Bend, and finally through Muskego before I hit my refueling stop at home. I had 65 miles in and had some ground to make up as riding with my dad and Dorothee had my average speed at this point at around 17.1, which is fine because the enjoyment of riding with them was worth the slower speed, but I had already improved on that after I left them as my average was 16.6 at the 40 mile mark. I probably did 18ish the next 25 miles after I left them which was mainly due to a headwind on the trip to my house. After 10 minutes, 2 or 3 bottles worth of ice water and some Clif Bars, I was heading back on the 46 mile trip to Lake Geneva. I had a nice tailwind, was cruising along at about 20mph and soaking up the sun until I hit the 85-90 mile mark when I started having some pain in my big toes, mainly when I stood up on hills. I had to go up Lyons Rd. and then South Rd., two long, fairly steep hills and the feet were starting to become bothersome so I sat more than I normally would when I climb. After getting over those two hills though I had a fairly flat route the rest of the way and motored along in to Lake Geneva. The only small problem was running out of water again at about 98 miles, so the last 13 were without water, but at that point I didn't care as I knew there was salvation in the form of Burger King after the ride. I got back in to Lake Geneva and was happy to be done with another century in the books, and thankfully I had brought the cooler with me and was even happier to have some ice water to drink to cool down. I was beet red and even just sitting at my car I was still sweating profusely for another 10 minutes or so before the spigot finally turned off. I left the park, drove right over to Burger King, ordered a Whopper value meal and wolfed that down pretty quickly. Yeah, not great after ride food, but it sure tasted good and it definitely replaced some of the calories I lost. According to my Garmin I burned approximately 7,000 calories over the duration of the ride. They use a formula of height, weight, distance, elevation, average speed and HR to determine the caloric expenditure, and I think based on other formulas I've seen, the number that it puts out is fairly exact. That's it for the ride, a great course, a nice warm day with not too much wind, and I felt great afterwards, no soreness at all Sunday night or yesterday. I'm ready to get back on the bike tonight and I'll just do about 2 hours today to get the blood going again, and we have a heat advisory in effect with temps over 90 and humidity in the 80% range so it's probably best to take it easy anyways. Tomorrow and Thursday will be 50 mile rides after work and then Friday I have a vacation day so I'll be doing about 3 hours on the bike and getting some yard work done as well. Saturday is another century and I'm not sure what Sunday holds yet, probably just another 3 hours or so. Well, that's it for now, until next time, happy riding!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Damn, tough day. 111 miles, 6 hours in the saddle, and the heat, humidity and hills were tough. I was sucking wind up some of the hills out by Alpine and the heat and humidity had me looking like a water spigot. I've been trying to rehydrate tonight, and I think I've done all I can do, I still have a bit of a heat headache, but hopefully once I fall asleep in about 5 minutes it will go away. More details tomorrow, time for bed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let's Try That Again

I ended up not doing my century last weekend, I woke up feeling under the weather and even though I was up at 5:00 in the morning and made breakfast I just could tell that my body was not 100%. I ended up going back to bed and decided to just get some rest, I think it was allergies because I had a sinus headache, my neck ached, and I just felt really fatigued. Anyways, I'll be trying it again now this next Sunday, no reason right now not to do it, it's going to be a beautiful day, actually both days look nice this weekend, I can't wait to get out. I've done two 50 milers this week and a 40 miler, I didn't ride on Tuesday because of the rain but will ride the next 3 days before I take a break on Monday. I'll be doing part of the ride on Sunday with my dad as he and his friend have decided to meet me in Lake Geneva for the first 50 or so miles, so that'll be nice to have the company. This weekend will be good preparation for the next few weeks as I've got the Bay View Bicycle Club Century on Saturday next week, and then the UW-Whitewater WI Cup race on July 3rd, the Omro Wisport race on July 4th, and the Insane Terrain Challenge on July 11th. After that I don't really have anything until the Race the Lake on August 16th, but I'm sure I'll find something before then to do, maybe the Holy Hill Superweek race. I took off work that day just in case as it's on a Friday.
The big thing for all these events is that I have to start kicking up my intensity, I've had a few long rides and have been riding for quite a few weeks now so my base is pretty much complete. I don't expect any results from the races, I just want to complete them to get some of those competitive juices flowing again. I started kicking up the intensity tonight by doing some hill sprints and I felt pretty good doing that, no repeats, but just sprinting up any hill that I came across, I have to start slow. Eventually I'll go up them multiple times, repeats obviously, and then start Steady State intervals and the like.
Well, that's enough for now, I've been up since 4:50, it was an early 6:00a.m. day at work, so it's time to get ready for bed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here Comes The Fun....

The weekend is finally here and I can't wait to get out of work in exactly 55 minutes so that I can get on the bike. The clouds are starting to move in but the temps are still in the uppers 60s I think so that is good enough for my ride tonight. The rain is supposed to start moving in at about 10 or 11 o'clock, I'm pretty sure I'll be done riding by then, and maybe even in bed. That would be weak I know, but it's been a long week and I'm tired. The forecast shows the rain stopping mid-afternoon tomorrow but it appears that it will remain cloudy the rest of the day for the most part. Again, that's good enough for a ride for me. Sunday is looking great, sunny and low 70s, just perfect.
Tonight the plan is to hit the road for about 50 miles, I want to do some hillwork and I've got a good course picked out with 3 good hills of about .4 to .5 miles long, so maybe 2 to 3 minute climbs. It'll be another late dinner after that at 9:00 and then I'll spend the rest of the night in front of the stupid box until I fall asleep.
Tomorrow as I mentioned will be raining in the morning but after that the plan is to ride from New Berlin to Dousman, check out the Bike Doctor shop, and then turn around and head home. Should be about 3 hours, no frills, just a nice, fairly flat ride.
Sunday is the "queen" stage of the weekend as they say in stage races, 111.50 miles from Lake Geneva to Alpine to New Berlin and back, should be about 6 to 6.5 hours and lots of climbing. I'm using it to prepare for a couple of races in the next 3 weeks and also to prep for the Insane Terrain Challenge on July 11th. That ride will still be about 11 miles longer and will have about 8,000 feet more of climbing than my ride Sunday.
I'm definitely getting better, I'm feeling stronger, I'm not shifting down to my small ring for every little roller, I've lost another pound this week, it's a small victory but good enough. My average speed for every ride is going up, my average HR is going down and my resting HR has dropped about 9 bpm in the last month. Recuperation is getting quicker as well and the soreness that was present after every ride is not there except after the hillier routes that I pick. I'm still working on the hills obviously.
Well, that's it for now, good riding to everyone this weekend, enjoy it!

Monday, June 08, 2009


It was just an "ehhhh" weekend, nothing special, nothing disastrous though either. Friday I got out and did a 50 mile ride after work even though I got out of here late due to a last minute conference call, I didn't start my ride until 6:00. I went at a hard Tempo pace so I had no problem getting done before dark, it was a good ride and it was very helpful in relieving some of the stress that I built up during the workday. Saturday I had a graduation party to attend in Lake Geneva at noon, so I had to be out the door by 11:00-11:15ish, and the morning weather wasn't exactly all that great. Temps in the upper 40s, and clouds greeted me as I woke up and my intention was to get in a 2 to 2.5 hour ride before I had to leave. I couldn't get myself going knowing that it was cold and the house just seemed more appealing so I only ended up riding for 1.5 hours. I thought maybe I'd get a ride in after the party but when we returned home at 4:00 all I could do was think of a nice nap as it was still cold and cloudy and I ended up sleeping until 5:30ish. The nap was great though, no complaints there. I rested up Saturday night and knew that the forecast was iffy for Sunday so I really wasn't sure what kind of ride I'd get in and the plan was to wing it after I woke up. Basically Sunday started with some clouds and cooler temps again, the radar showed on and off showers with some clearing during the day. Eventually it cleared up about 2:00 so I jumped out for a 2.5 hour ride, and I finally did some hill work, and the verdict is in, I still suck at hills. I'm still at a hefty 194 pounds, although I've lost body fat, for some reason I just can't seem to shed the weight even though I'm eating well, maybe it's just all muscle? Hmmm. I doubt it, but I'll just keep working on my diet, keep getting the hours in on the bike, and eventually the fat will melt away.
This week the plan is to just ride as much as possible, although my boss is gone for the next week and a half so a couple of late days may creep in to the schedule and derail some training, I really hope not, my stress level is high enough already. The forecast looks great after today so the weather will not be a deterrent, and even the weekend looks good so far, I'll keep my fingers crossed. That's it for now, happy riding......

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Not So Bad After All.....

So I thought the high today of a balmy 59 degrees with 15mph winds would make for a miserable ride tonight. I was wrong, it was great. I put on the normal shorts and jersey, but also threw on knee warmers, arm warmers and a vest and that was more than enough. The sun was shining, well, for part of my ride at least, and the wind had died down by the time I started riding at 5:45. I took it fairly easy but still rolled along at an 18mph average and my average heart rate was 13 bpm lower with a .5 mph jump in my average speed than the last time I did this particular course 3-4 weeks ago. Training adaptation at its best. All in all I got in 50 miles after work tonight, it definitely was dark when I got done so thankfully I had my taillight blinking away and my headlight system going, no one could miss me (thankfully). The only bad part of such a long ride on a work night is finishing dinner at 9:30, now I'll probably stay up until 11:00ish so that I don't go to bed with too much in my stomach. I'm trying to cut down on weight so I didn't eat too much anyways, just some chicken with bread, a salad, and a glass of milk. I'll do the rest of my refueling throughout the day tomorrow to make sure I'm fueled up and ready to go for tomorrow night's ride.
Well, that's it for now, it was a great ride on a night that I wasn't really thrilled about, but it turned out for the better. I can't imagine what I'm going to say after tomorrow's ride when it's actually supposed to be in the 70s!! Whoohoo.