Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Late Summer Let Down?

I've had a few of the riders I'm working with question their lower power or lack of enthusiasm over the last few weeks of riding and training. I've felt the same way. Riding the Tuesday evening time trial the last few weeks has been pretty unmotivating. My times have been about average for the season (22:24-22:11 for 10.25 miles) but I have to admit that while warming up that I just don't care much about riding fast. My training intervals, lots of descending steady states (20 minutes, then 15, then 10 and 10) have been good (around 320-325 watts) but just not very exciting. So, whats up? For me, and I think for others as well, its a matter of having already gone past our peak events for the year (state time trial; state senior Olympics) and our mind and body responding to the many weeks and months of intense training by kind of backing off. I don't think its harmful to keep training through this unless you see a big drop in performance. Last night at the time trial my mind was elsewhere but my legs were still good for an average of 27.45 mph. If I had a week where I really dropped off, like a minute slower, I'd probably call it a season. I kind of like knowing that even on an off night I can just muscle my way to a good ride. With that in mind what else is on the calendar? Another 4 Tuesday evening time trials, another one or two Blue Streak Time trials and then the start of the indoor series in November. I'm sure we'll take some easy weeks in that time before the indoor series but we'll also keep some intensity going. I know I'll be motivated for the indoor series but in the meantime a little time off for the mind and the legs is ok. The intense training of the winter months will be here soon enough. Backing off and feeling a little tired now is perfectly fine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Training Update

It's late in the season and there are about 8-10 more time trials with the local Tuesday event running through September, a couple of more Blue Streaks in Dayton and maybe another regional tt. The weekly training calendar is still filled with intervals. The last couple of weeks we were doing over/unders. Basically these were 4 minutes at 320-330 and then 2 minutes at 360-370 totally 36 minutes. Had a slight break after each 12 minute effort. This past week and this week are all about descending steady states. We'll ride 20 minute, then 15 then 10 at 320-330. The time between is 7 and 5 minutes roughly. So why keep hammering now? Why not. As long as you're not burned out physically or mentally this training is just building for the future in addition to keeping you sharp in the present. We'll slow down in October and November but the indoor tt's start in mid November so we'll keep some intensity on the calendar. I do think master age athletes may tolerate this better. Maybe its because we would dread rebuilding all of that power since it won't come back quite as easily as someone in their 20's or 30's. Or maybe we just realize that as we get older that its great to still be riding strong and why not enjoy it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Comments 4

Some other items from the book by Allen/Cheung book. Re: Non-circular chainrings: No long-term studies have been done to determine their effectiveness Non-aligned crank arms: There are a few options including crank arms that change length during the pedal stroke, off-center attachment at the bottom bracket (essentially the same as non-circular chainrings), and cranks not affixed at the usual 180 degrees. Without getting into the varying ventilatory thresholds associated with each when compared to power output it is safe to say that there is increased torque, faster 1k tt times, better distribution of force over the pedal stroke, etc. It was noted that the benefits of using these types of cranks can be quickly lost (2 weeks) when going back to standard cranks. the adaptation tine can also be significant. In the end there is support for the potential of improved pedal dynamics with these. Cadence: Is there a recommended cadence that we should use? Cadence is in the end a very individual preference. It is pretty easy to test to find optimal cadence. A 20 minute test at a cadence that you feel is optimal when compared to a cadence 10 below and 10 above when looking at average power and average HR will likely lead to some conclusions. You may find better power with little change in HR in one of the trials. I've found that the cadence that I hold in a 10 mile tt, about 105-107, produces my best power (360-365) than a lower cadence of 95-100 or over 110. For those riding road races or crits it may be that a lower cadence earlier in the event would allow more power at the higher cadence for later efforts.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Random Comments 3: Warming Up

Another topic in the Allen/Cheung book is proper warmup. The warmup before your event should raise your body temperature for a variety of benefits including elevating the viscosity and flexibility of your muscles and joints to simply preparing our bodys for the removal of heat that will occur during the upcoming exercise. The warmup will also activate our nervous system in preparation for the event, increase blood flow and get our minds ready. But, how much warmup is enough and how much is too much? Here are some things to take into account. Temperature: On a really hot day too much time warming up can be detrimental. If you're already losing bodyweight by sweating you may start the race already unable to produce your best power. Then again, on a cold day, not enough warmup may leave you feeling tight at the start. There is also the problem of having too much or not enough clothing on the cold days. With either extreme some experimentation and lots of experience come into play. For our early season time trials, like this past March when the starting temperature was 32-35 degrees, there wasn't enough I could do to get warm. I rode about an hour and felt fine until we stopped to get in line. I put on a jacket since the cold air was reacting in an unpleasant way with my now hot skin. I couldn't race with the jacket without risking overheating in the chest area. Of course, hands and feet were freezing. Finding that balance in cold weather is tough. On really hot days like the state time trial when the temperatures were above 100 and road temps at 112 the warm up was minimal, like 15-20 minutes. There wasn't any issue in getting our muscles ready. If anything, it was the mind warmup that suffered. Heading out in that heat wasn't any fun. On a typical Tuesday evening at the local time trial I'll ride 10 miles at endurance to tempo pace, maybe some steady state. About 10 minutes before I'll go off I'll do 3-5 45-60 second all out efforts. I usually find a flat section of road and try to ramp it up to 34-35 mph, take 60 seconds off and repeat. I used to do much more at steady state and tt pace but have backed off that over the last couple of years with no effect on my results. If anything, I'm a little faster. Length of the event: I've read that track riders will warmup for an hour or two for very short events like the kilo's. Not sure if thats true but I did warmup for about 45-50 minutes for the 5k Ohio Senior Game race and found that the few minutes standing in line (probably 5-7 minutes) really took away some of the benefits of the warmup. For something that short I wanted to ideally roll right up to the line and go. If you're only going to be on the course for 6-7 minutes standing around for the same amount of time of more beforehand isn't helping. There is no building into the event; you basically go off at 95% and take it to 98-100%. For longer events like 40k's, I'll ride for 30-45 minutes with the same intervals noted above. Standing in line isn't as much a concern since I'll be on the course for 55 minutes give or take. There is time to build up speed and then settle in. Here are some of the conclusions from the book: moderate warmups are usually as beneficial as a very intense warmup for short events like the sprints/kilo, the primary benefit is increase in muscle temperature for imtermediate to longer events, the primary benefit is raising oxygen uptake

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cheating Master Age Rider

This is a link to a guy who was nailed after riding a Grand Fondo in New York. I'd be willing to bet that there is a lot more of this going on than we imagine. I'm not sure what drives someone to cheat in amateur cycling. They need one more set of race sponsor provided socks? A $10 preem? Another imitation gold/silver/bronze medal? Loser!!

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