Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some Inspiration Heading into the New Year

At the upcoming Queen City Wheels banquet in late January we'll be handing out the awards for the various age and gender brackets for our Cleves Time Trial Series from 2011 in addition to recognizing the 50 plus members our our youth racing team, the Lionhearts, and the many accomplishments of the other men and women who race for the club. We had over 110 in attendance last year and we may hit 150 or more this year. It's a fun evening and a great opportunity to celebrate cycling in Cincinnati.

At the banquets we'll also be presenting a special time trial award to my friend Mike Keiser. For several years in the mid 2000's I trained with Mike twice a week at the Cincinnati Sports Club with personal trainer Paul Bodenbach. Mike was the national triathlon champion at Lake Placid in the 60-64 bracket, won the Eagle Man triathlon and placed in the top ten in Hawaii. He was in amazing physical condition, a great person to hang around and an inspiration to want to keep training and competing as I get older.

About 4 or 5 years ago Mike was hit by a car and spent many weeks in a coma and months at Drake Hospital recovering from severe brain injury. This past season Mike came out to the Cleves Time Trial on his recumbent tricycle and rode the course. We're going to present the Comeback Rider of the Year award at the banquet. As I said in the weekly report from Cleves I thought that Mike's ride was the best of the year and maybe the best of all-time. It had nothing to do with speed or power but it was all about determination. Mike has had to re-learn many of the daily tasks that we take for granted but he's still a competitor and an inspiration.

While at the club this past Wednesday I had a member ask me to come look at someone training in the pool. He was telling me that I had probably never seen anything like this before. When I looked through the window I knew the person in the pool he was referring to. His name is John Fogarty. John grew up in Cincinnati, graduated from XU is 1983 and now lives in Rhode Island. I think is now the administrator of a large hospital. He still has many relatives in the area so he stops back during the holidays.

In the early 1980's John had a landscape business in the Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout area. While clearing a view for some clients John lost an arm and leg when a large branch fell on him pining him in the tree. A local tree service assisted the paramedics in freeing John from the tree. He was maybe 20 years old at the time. Needless to say John overcame many obstacles and seeing him swimming laps is impressive.

The next you wonder if you really feel like training just remember how fortunate you are to be able to run, bike, swim, play golf, hike, take an aerobics class, etc.

Friday, December 16, 2011


This week in addition to the Indoor Time Trial last Sunday my coach had on my schedule some power profile tests yesterday and field tests tomorrow.The power profile test consisted of two 10 second efforts to test maximum power and then one 60 second all out effort and a 5 minute all out effort to test sustained power. While we're not really concerned with my 10 second sprinting power since I don't need that skill it is interesting to compare it to the chart that shows what a typical cat 1-5 and professional level riders would hold. The one minute and five minute effortss along with the field test (2 x 8 minutes)are beneficial to my training. We'll do these three to four times per year to measure progress in terms of average power along cadence and heart rate averages and maximums. We'll make adjustments to my training zones as needed. For those interested in power on the bike and looking for some comparison my 10 second efforts averaged in the mid 600's and hit about 800 at their peak. A really great sprinter is going to be around 1500 or higher. My one minute was 560 and my five minute was 390. My field tests are usually around 360-380.

The Indoor Time trial is another great way to test your fitness on the bike. We use the same course every month and since we're riding inside the conditions don't change. Compared to November's effort my watts were down just 1 watt to 382 from 383 and my time just a few seconds slower to 14:57. Given the difficult training of the last several weeks (lots of power intervals) I wasn't too surprised not to see improvement. My fastest effort last year was in February.

My advice for those not using a coach would be to have something in your training that you can use test your fitness. If you ride, maybe you use the same hill to test your time to the top or a mile stretch of road that you can use to time yourself. If you run, you could every so often do a mile on the indoor track at the club (a controlled environment, great for testing) or a mile course outside. For those just concerned with basic fitness you could use your vertical jump height as a measure of power in your lower body, number of pushups (or dips or chinups) for upper body strength. Having some way(s) to test your progress can make your training have more purpose and keep you motivated.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Start of Winter Training

I'm glad that I took advantage of the day after Thanksgiving (sunny, high in the upper 50's to low 60's) to get in another 100 mile ride. I'll continue to get plenty of miles in over the next three months but too many of them will be on the trainer inside. It's boring but also the most important training of the year. i'll post updates on what I'm doing and why over the winter.

For the last few weeks my coach from Carmichael Training Systems, lets just call her Julia (after all, that is her name), has been assigning plenty of Power Intervals. These are 2 or 3 minute efforts at a cadence of 100 or even 110+ and the biggest power I can hold. The time between is the same as the time of the interval. We do from 6 to 9 intervals, usually two days in a row. Heart rate is usually reaching into zone 5 by the end of the interval. These are also called VO2 max intervals for that very reason. You're training your body to ride at your absolute maximum. This will be beneficial for other training later in the winter, the indoor time trial series I ride during the winter months, and for all events in 2012.

It always helps to ask yourself if you're competition is training this hard. Probably not, which is another reason to keep these on the calendar. As miserable as they can be I actually prefer them to hammering the really long steady state or time trial efforts when I'm riding inside. Must be an issue with keeping focused for those multiple 20 minute efforts.

The most recent edition of Tri-Athlete magazine has a brief article on strength training by Joanna Zeiger, Olympian, tri-athlete and Phd. She strongly suggests that master age athletes strength train 3-4 times per week in the winter and twice per week during the season. She recommends that your workout include explosive training (plyometrics--ask those attending my Indoor Endurance class about these--loads of fun!) and resistance training. Studies have shown improvement in sprint and endurance power, improved efficiency and increased time to exhaustion for running and cycling, and also an increase in VO2 max (your ability to use oxygen). If done properly, you wont bulk up! You will switch fat for lean muscle. Remember also that it's about lower reps, maybe 8-12, two to three sets, using a weight that is about 80% of your one rep maximum.

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