Saturday, September 29, 2012

72 hours in Tennessee

I spent the last three days in Tennessee with a friend and client of Cincicyclingcoach. We left Cincinnati around 11am on Wednesday and arrived in Gatlinburg around 4. We were o nthe bikes by 5 for a 90 minute 25 mile ride with a couple thousand feet of climbing. On Thursday we left around 9:30 on a 100 mile, 10,000' of climbing ride that took us from Gatlinburg (1400') to Newfound Gap (5050') to Cherokee, NC (1600'), back to Newfound Gap and then to Clingmans Dome (6300'), back to Sugarland with a trip through Elkmont and then back to the chalet. We were on the bikes for just under 6.5 hours. On Friday we rode the Foot Hills Parkway from Townsend to US 129 where we rode the infamous Dragons Tail to Deals Gap. We took the same route back for about 65 miles and another 6500' of climbing. Today we hiked 9 miles around the Cades Cove Loop before heading back to Ohio. My faebook page has pictures of all the rides and the hike.

Tips on Losing Weight from Chris Carmichael.

The following is from Chris Carmichael, owner Carmichael Training Systems: So, what’s it going to take for you to drop 10 pounds? Well, since we’re being direct today: You’re going to need to be okay with being hungry. You’re going to need to eat less during the day and during your workouts. Initially that means you’re going to feel hungry, because you’re used to eating more. People sometimes focus too much on the composition of meals when they are looking to lose weight (more protein, less starch, more leafy greens, fewer grains, etc.). When I look at dietary recalls for moderately- to highly-fit amateur athletes, for the most part you’re already eating a well-balanced diet with whole foods. You’re just eating too much of it. And then adding unnecessary junk (quart-sized, with whip, pumpkin spice latte, anyone?) on top of it. You’re going to need to say no. Decide on a timeframe and start cutting items out of your diet. When I want to lose weight I cut out alcohol, dairy, meat, and dessert. I find that these changes help me refocus my eating decisions and reinforce good habits. I get away from mindlessly throwing cheese or butter on things. When I’m traveling, I find that meat is frequently accompanied by high-fat, high-calorie side dishes and sauces. Sticking with the vegetable and fish sections of the menu is often an easy way to find lower-calorie options. These don’t need to be permanent changes, but when you add them back into your meals you should do it sparingly and with consideration for your new, lower daily caloric intake. You’re going to need to be patient. Since most of you can’t increase your training hours/mileage/yardage because of your busy lifestyle, you can’t just train the weight off. You have to reduce your caloric intake while slightly to moderately increasing caloric expenditure. It’s not a recipe for dramatically fast weight loss, but 1-2 pounds a week is absolutely attainable and sustainable. You’re talking 5-10 weeks of focusing on weight loss and establishing high-quality, lower-calorie eating habits (so you maintain the weight loss). No more giving up after 3 weeks. All right, I’ll get off my soapbox now. I know you’ve worked extremely hard to make gains in fitness and performance this year, and I hear from athletes every day who have made huge transformations. I also know that setbacks happen, and that training is never a steadily upward trajectory. One of the things I tell my coaches, however, is that you’re doing an athlete a disservice when you sugarcoat reality and tell them only what they want to hear. We have to be the ones to tell you what your spouse, your coworkers, your training partners, and certainly your competitors won’t. Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012


I held a clinic last night on how to ride the individual time trial. One of the topics that we spend some time on is cadence. I don't recommend a certain cadence that would work for everyone but I do recommend finding a cadence that works (i.e., you can sustain and generate the most power from) and be sure that you don;t vary much from that during the event. Many riders will admit to not shifting as often as they should even though they have bar end shifters which allow them to maintain their aero position while shifting. many also admit to hammer up the hills (i.e., spiking power and HR) and then not riding as hard downhill. My recommendation is to always shoot for steady power and a steady cadence whether on the flats, going up or going down hill. Its hard to do going down since you really have to push that gear to get the power up but it can be done. Its easier to do going up but the key is to not go too high on the power and have the right gears that allow you to maintain the cadence. Trust me, you will go faster if you do this. I've also seen this issue with casual riders. They have a triple and yet they suffer on climbs in the big or middle chain ring. Spinning up a hill in a high cadence is just as fast if not faster than trying to push a high gear. Plus it leave plenty of power for the rest of the ride. My typical cadence in a time trial is about 100 to 107. My field tests are usually in that range also. It just seems to the range that allows me to hold the best power. I didn't pick that pace as much as find it from training and racing and looking at the data where my results were optimal. You should do the same. Feel free to comment on any of these posts. I'm getting about 10-15 views per day.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cycling Past 50

Now that I'm 50 I've been doing a little more reading on what to expect over the next 10 to 20 years with my training and racing. At this point I'm actually riding stronger than I ever have short of those PR times at the Tuesday time trial. I did actually set a PR last year on the Blue Streak course and my average times at the local course are about the best I've ever held. My wattage zones also have gone up a little each year instead down. I'm sure I'll be doing another field test (2x8 minutes) this winter. Last time we did this I held about 370 watts on each. Ideally this will stay the same or even go up a little. One of the keys to staying fit and fast as we age is consistency in our training. This means riding over the winter, whether inside on the trainer or outside in nasty weather. The indoor training in a controlled environment can be some of the best training we do. Another key would be setting goals. Even if you don't compete, you can set goals for climbing your favorite hill, riding a century, accumulating miles for a week or month or year, etc. Use the SMART objectives as noted on my website. There is no doubt that regular and well planned exercise (ie, vary the intensity, take the recovery days, etc)will slow the aging process, keep our muscles and bones healthy, keep our nervous system functining at the highest levels possible, and reduce the chances of any of a number of conditions like diabetes, stroke, stress, etc.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How Intervals Help

This might seem too obvious but it doe help to every once in a while the a look at why interval training helps us ride, run and/or swim longer and faster. Long Efforts, endurance pace: the big benefit here is muscle capillarization. We're expanded exiting and creating new capillary beds. More blood to the muscles means more oxygen also. these efforts also reduce muscle glycogen causing us to burn fat. Our muscles want to use glycogen so the body reacts to this by storing more glycogen thereby increasing endurance for future events. Your longest effort shouldn't account for more than a third of your total training time per week. LT Threshold Efforts: Increasing your threshold (whether you call it the lactate or acidosis) will allow you to run, bike or swim faster. The ability to perform right at the edge of going anaerobic (remember, we're never 100% in aerobic or anaerobic) is the key to going faster. We do essentially train our bodies to ride beyond the threshold HR. Those who can go beyond for longer efforts are using a bigger % of their engine and that is always good. These efforts may be 10-20 minutes in length and have 3-5 in a set. VO2 Max Efforts: Vo2 is the maximum rate that our muscles consume oxygen. Its the aerobic ceiling with your LT being the % of that ceiling that you can hold without giving in to the acidosis. You can improve this by increasing weekly training time as this will increase our muscles ability to use oxygen (our metabolic rate) but Vo2 intervals would be in that 1-5 minute range with 2-3 being the most common. Increase the size of your engine, even a little, and you have more to work with in all of your long and short events. Anaerobic capacity: The short efforts, 10-60 seconds, will increase muscle glycolic activity so that we can generate more ATP for faster muscle contraction and also improve that acidosis buffer. Once agin, if we think of aerobic and anaerobic efforts as being dimmer switches and not on/off switches we realize that we do use anaerobic glycolysis in all of our events at some point. Training this system will help when we need call on this. Think of that sprint to the finish in a time trial, climbing a hill in a road race, sprinting for the preem in a crit, etc. Your training should include all of these throughout the year depending on your events.

Friday, September 7, 2012

over 4000 page views

Just noticed the counter showed almost 4100 page views in the last 18 months--thanks for looking!

It Isn't About Age

This link will take you to a short article with some amazing photo's of an young athlete, typical sedentary senior and a senior athlete. The bone structure of the senior and younger athlete are amazingly similar. Studies also show that the chemicals released by our bodes during very intense exercise, like zone 5, help keep us looking younger.

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