Thursday, December 31, 2009

Polar B-b-b-bear.

Another side trip from the rigors of structured training tomorrow:  The Polar Bear Metric Century.  Jill and I have made a mini-habit of doing something outside / interesting / athletic on or around the turn of a new year.  Last year, we bundled up (but froze anyway) for a midnight run at Tanglewood Park.  This was a great way to ring in the new year in 2009, and I think we'll do it again in the future...just not this year!

Jill is planning a run for tomorrow as she readies for her first half-marathon on Jan 9, 2010.  This will be good for both of us as the event is at Disney World in Orlando!  I need to find my SPF70...

As for me, I'll be pedaling in the cold tomorrow to benefit Cancer Services.  Cancer Services offers a host of beneficial progams for individuals or families coping with a cancer diagnosis or loss of a loved one to cancer.  In addition to the good cause, it's supposed to be a challenging route.  I think I've done most of this route - but only in pieces as parts of other rides.  You can be sure the pace will go from friendly (if it ever is so) to raucous when the boys and girls start smelling the barn on Shallowford Rd.

Pics and stats to follow tomorrow.  Here's the profile:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Excitement and realizations.

The excitement part is fairly understandable:  a scenic, classic-style cycling race in the Battenkill river valley of New York.  A side-trip to see Jill's little sis in NYC.  A road trip with my wife!

The realizations come in small (or large) doses of experiences not usually encountered in daily life:  wind whipping past your ears for 90 minutes without a pause; a dog darting out from a hedgerow and aiming for your front wheel; a feeling from your legs signaling that they may simply rebel, detatch, and leave you stranded with the aforementioned dog.

Here are the stats from today:

Time:  1:47.28
Dist:    35.00mi
Avg:    19.3mph

I am still not at goal for mph, but I am already feeling that this will come.  Riding solo today was a very good thing for several reasons, but the main benefits center on concentration and power.  With no one to ride behind and my speedometer staring me in the face, I had nowhere to hide.  This is critical as part of a training regimen.  How could one ever expect to ride away from a small group of competitors if your only practice is 'sitting in' and talking away...

Next up....Polar Bear Metric Century on Friday?  We'll see.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One of my favorite things... a night ride with the crew.  Kristin, Barry, Chancey, Sirena and I met up dans la nuit and lit the candles.  We probably had 10,000 candlepower or so out there - no way cars could miss us.  Oddly enough, with a group of illuminati this size we cause cars to slow, peer at our blinkies, and ease past with plenty of room.

This kind of training is more for the soul, and less for the flesh; the kind of 90-minute, compartmentalized episode that lives on as a singular event in one's memory - not faded in with the rest of a day.  Yes, these evenings with the CLM are special.

The crew lighting it up down Polo Rd.  The Spaniard leads.

We paused for a quick pic:  Proof and props.

Tomorrow:  35 miles awaits...

It's not all suffering...

Jill's training plan is full of flexibility, and a little fun now and then is a good thing.  Tonight, the CLM will invite a few guest riders and hit the streets of W-S for a night ride.  These are invariably fun with a slower pace, lots of chatter about the cold, and phantom potholes.   Here's a shot from our last foray...

The fun of this ride is how I'll get amped for tomorrow's 35 mile training ride.  Again, the goal is 20mph avg and the weather will be, uh, crummy.  

Thanks to all the followers of the are a pleasant surprise.

Monday, December 28, 2009


As Jill notes below, today was to be a 30 mile ride with a goal of 20 mph avg.  It is generally accepted that in the scheme of training accuracy:  rate of speed < heart rate < power (watts).  This simply means that using mph is less reliable in terms of accurately measuring the load of a workout.  For example, if I start at Point A 4000 feet above sealevel and end at Point B 2000 feet above sealevel, chances are I will not have worked as hard as I would doing the same course in reverse. In all likelihood my average mph would be higher A-->B than B-->A but I would probably have done more work B-->A.  All of this is simply to say (as you'll see below) that I didn't reach my mph goal and am feeling kinda lame.  So, now that I have dispensed with excuses...

Whit and D-Max (Duane) joined me today for a 30 mile loop.  I actually rode from the old Paceline shop to Lewisville for a warm-up then hooked up with the guys at the Lewisville square.  Our plan was to ride the Wyo Rd. loop then tack on a few extra miles via Fish Brandon to Old Stage.  This loop includes Powerline Hill and of course, Turbo Hill, so it wasn't quite the 'flat to rolling' course Jill called for. 

The wind was really whipping from the west between 10-20mph.  We chose to start into the wind, so that we might have some respite on the return.  This actually happened,  but we all agreed we burned too many matches fighting the wind on Wyo.  By the time we got to Old Stage, the tailwind allowed us to motor above 27-28mph most of the time, with 60% of the effort it took to hold 16-17 mph on Wyo. 

Here are the stats:

Time:   1:37.44
Dist:     31.44mi
Avg:    19.2mph

That said, today's ride hurt quite a bit.  I would say the average RPE is around 16.  The last bit was surely 17.   Two bits of excitement however: 

1).  During one of Whit's monster pulls, he noticed two riders 1/10 mi ahead.  Well, this is like a limping deer to the mountain lion so Whit stomps it.  I, seeing this happen, realize that pain is now unavoidable as Whit ramps it up to 29-30mph on Courtney-Huntsville near Wyo.  Ouch.  We catch the two guys, who predictably jump on and then into our paceline.  After dangling off the back up Turbo Hill, I regrouped, got back on, and then we dropped the two insurgents.  Whew.  I thought it was going to be me for a second there. 

2).  Once back to my truck, I would guess my blood sugar was pretty low as I didn't eat particularly well today.  While mumbling to myself and shoving peanut M&Ms into my mouth, none other than Mark Hekman sneaks up behind me to say hello.  I think he was on a 230 mile training ride or something (I don't really recall the conversation), but he was kind as usual.  Ridiculously, I offered him a ride, but was pleased when he said he needed to add on a City Loop to get the right mileage out of his ride.  Props!

These little guys really saved me at the end of what was supposed to be a not-so-tough start to the training plan.  So much for that. 

Goin' for the 'Kill - Day 1.

Let the pain begin! Today begins Erich's official training plan for the 2010 Tour of the Battenkill. Although I'm not at all a real-life personal trainer, some of my past studies have required the development of training plans for patients or clients. And while my own husband is certainly not a patient (yet!), he kindly asked (several hundred times) for a training schedule for this race, so I finally agreed (in exchange for a side trip to New York City, naturally).

To be honest, we have toyed with making a training regimen in the past. In 2005, Erich asked for a plan to get him ready for the Hanes Park Classic. He spent the entire summer sweating out the long rides and evil intervals I taped to his refrigerator door. He loved it! (No, really, just ask him.) And those who watched that race might remember the crazy (suicidal) attack he launched on the bell lap, only to be overtaken not so far from the finish line. While he wasn't able to take a podium spot in that race, he hasn't really slowed down since. So as the idea of racing the Battenkill really began taking shape, we started discussing a new and improved training plan.

Over the past several weeks, I've researched articles on training for metric centuries and hilly bike races. You really learn so much that way, both about fitness and nutrition. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert...not even an expert wannabe. But it is interesting to me, and it's fun to follow progress. And see actual results. Which you're almost guaranteed to get. If you have a willing athlete. Which I do. So off we go...

Erich's training plan for the Battenkill is already complete...but totally subject to change! While the vast majority of building a training regimen revolves around science, there is, as with most things, a distinct art to it as well. So while he can see each and every planned ride over the next 15 weeks, he and I both understand that adjustments will likely be necessary. A good training plan always needs to account for changes in weather, potential injury, and even Valentine's Day...right? Right?!

So today is Day 1. At first, the idea is for E to get some miles into his legs at a reasonable speed. Baseline endurance will be so important for this race. And then with time, we'll add in some other challenges, mainly to keep things interesting...and to make the Battenkill survivable. That being said, Day 1 calls for a 30 mile training ride with an average speed of 20mph.

As I said earlier, let the pain begin.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I signed up for the 2010 Tour of the Battenkill last week.  The romance of such suffering, in the spirit of a european classics race was too much to resist. 

Over the next 15 weeks or so, I'll follow a prescribed training plan laid out by my lovely wife.  Although practicing clinical medicine now, she has a masters degree in kinesiology buried back in there somewhere.  She likes to bring it out from time to time, and my hair-brained idea to participate in this race was just enough. 

Tomorrow is a 30 mi training ride, nothing too killer.  Hope to bring back some hard data and RPE perspective (look it up) as well.