Saturday, April 30, 2016

email blast to my client athletes

Dear Athletes,
I've had some great emails, phone conversations and in-person meetings with many of you lately. It's really great to get feedback on how all of the training we did over the fall and winter are paying off in the spring. I love hearing from riders who said that rather than letting other riders set the pace that they decided to be the one leading the break and taking that chance. We all agreed that its better to give it a shot rather than sit back and wonder what could have been. Even if it doesn't pan out, and it did for several riders, its better to test our limits. My coach once told me that until I absolutely can't finish a time trial that I don't know how hard I can ride. We save those efforts for training but we do do them. 

I know that we all have that self-doubt whether it's facing the intervals on the schedule, joining in that super hilly century, running a marathon, etc. but always know that you've trained well for your event. Be confident in that knowledge! Tell yourself that at the start line. You're ready and you're going to have fun. Be calm. Breathe steady. Put your energy where its needs to go whether into the pedals, into the pavement, or into the water. Enjoy how great it is to be fit. I guarantee that as soon as your finished that you'll be wishing you were back out on the course. Use that momentum to get ready for the next event. 

This is also a the time look at what did go well and what areas we should focus on going forward. I still analyze every time trial I ride to see if I went off too fast, if my cadence was too high or low, did I have too much left at the end, how did my position feel, did I hydrate enough before and during, was my bike working properly, could I get more aerodynamic without sacrificing power, and on and on. And, thats after 20 years of riding 400+ time trials. Try to take note after your event of anything that you think we should improve on and we'll take that into account going forward. In spite of all of the analysis I do of my own performance I do for the most part race totally focused on speed and power. Those two things bring the results I'm after. I try my best to disregard the pain. Thats always going to be there....hopefully we just get faster. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

10 x 1 minute power intervals

There's a 90% chance of rain here tomorrow and not much better on Sunday so I did the 10x1's today given it's in the 60's and sunny. I used the crit course and held 520, 505, 503, 510, 498, 509, 501, 498, 508 and 501. Average for all was 505, NP for the 40 minute ride was 342 and interestingly NP for the 20 minutes of the minute on/off was right at 400. That makes me wonder if I can't pull out a few more watts at the time trial over 22 minutes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

10 x 30 seconds

I used the same course as on Monday, Ault Park crit course in reverseI put more emphasis on the power than the cadence although cadence was ok: 584/101, 597/99, 609/101, 583/102, 608/98, 592/103, 599/102, 596/101, 594/96, 611/94. Feeling good about the start of the local time trials next week. I did find out that the USAC state tt is on July 17, right in the middle of my two week vacation. First time in 20 years I'll miss that one.

Monday, April 25, 2016

10 x 30 second efforts

I did these today as opposed to Tuesday. I took yesterday off and will be off on Tuesday due to some meetings, and today was fantastic outside....puffy clouds, blue sky, a little breeze. I used the crit course and started each effort with some downhill momentum. Here is the power/cadence with the idea being to drive up the rpm's: 607/111, 611/107, 565/111, 559/114, 592/112, 607/110, 565/114, 560/116, 595/113 and 585/110. I also threw in a few 15 seconds efforts just trying to see how high I could get my cadence. I hit 155 and averaged in the 130's. I listened in on a USAC talk from the 2014 cycling summit and this coach talked about his track riders hitting 220-240. Thats intense.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Did the 100 miler out to Ripley Oh and back. Great ride along the Ohio River. Added bonus as Point Pleasant Oh was celebrating the 194th birthday of President US Grant.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Repeat of Mondays efforts

I did Saturdays workout today. Here is the rundown: 30 seconds at 118/305, 30 at 331/125, 2 minutes tempo at 328/95, 30 seconds at 443/121 and 30 at 384/119. The 5x 4 minutes, on the climb near my house, were 390/09, 389/94, 386/93, 383/92 and 378/90. Not too bad on the cadence considering the slope on Heekin Avenue to Ault Park. Ended on the slope to the crit start line. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Psychology of a doper cheater

Monday, April 18, 2016

Todays Efforts

Did this effort today as I had plenty of time. Here is the lowdown:

30 seconds high cadence at 115, 316
30 seconds high cadence at 114, 387
2 minutes at tempo at 329, 89
30 seconds high cadence at 109 rpm, 405
30 seconds high cadence at 121, 405 watts
4 minutes time trial at 372, 92
4 minutes time trial 372, 92
4 minutes time trial 373, 93
4 minutes time trial 373, 89
8 minutes between each on those for total recovery
Overall a good workout. Speed on the 4 minute efforts in windless conditions was also pretty good.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

12 second efforts

The first half of the ride was in Tennessee riding around Cades Cove twice and the second half at home on the trainer. I did about 14 of the 12 second efforts. Power averages were.. 572, 671, 677, 694, 746, 731, 613, 675, 675, 638, 658, 663, 789 and 655. Tried to use some of the hills although the steeper they were the lower the power as I usually ran out of gear.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ramsey Cascade Hike

I did a late day one hour ride at recovery pace (right around 160 watts....with the climbs its tough to keep it much lower) but did a nice 4.5 hour hike in the morning to Ramsey Cascade. Its one of my favorite hikes in the park.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Clingman's Dome

I did the 53 mile round trip to Clingmans Dome with a couple of 20 minute tempo efforts on the way up at around 290. Kind of cool at the top (45) but back up to 65 at the chalet. The ride up has about 5000' of elevation gain. I wish I had kept track over the years how many times I've done this ride. I was up to 75 maybe 5 or 6 years ago so it's well over 100 at this point. 

From RoadBikeRider, Gabe Mirkin, MD: Fasting and Training

A new study from France shows that night-time fasting after intense workouts on alternate days helps athletes exercise longer and faster (Med Sci Sports Exerc, April 2016;48(4):663-72).
This is an impeccable study in which 21 trained competitive endurance athletes were randomly divided into two groups and all followed the same training program. They all ate the same foods and the same total amount of carbohydrates per day. The only difference between the two groups was the times of day that they ate their carbohydrates.
The test group ate a low-carbohydrate dinner after their intense afternoon workout and then fasted for 13 hours before their morning recovery workout, then ate larger amounts of carbohydrates after their recovery workouts. The control group ate their meals as they wished, with no fasting requirement.
After just three weeks of the carbohydrate-fasting regimen, the test group was able to pedal at greater than 120 cadence for a longer time (more than 60 seconds), and run 10 kilometers (6.25 miles) faster. Neither group lost a significant amount of weight, but the fasting group lost 8 percent of their body fat, compared to the control group who lost only 2.5 percent. (8% of their body fat, not their body weight). This is very important because when you lose body fat, you lose fat in your liver so you are able to store more sugar there.

Storing Sugar for Speed and Endurance

Your muscles use primarily sugar and fat for energy. You have a virtually unlimited amount of fat in your body but only enough sugar to last 70 minutes during intense exercise. 
  • When your muscles start to run out of stored sugar, they hurt and burn, and you become short of breath and have to slow down. Runners call this "hitting the wall." 
  • Your liver is the only other place where you store significant amounts of sugar. When your liver starts to run low on sugar, your blood sugar starts to drop and you feel exhausted and can even pass out. Cyclists call this "bonking."
  • Anything that helps your liver store more sugar helps you to exercise more intensely for longer periods of time. Losing body fat takes fat out of your liver, which allows your liver to store more sugar, thus giving you greater speed and endurance. 

How Your Body Stores Sugar in Your Muscles

You get all of your sugar from carbohydrates that are made up of sugars in singles, doubles and long chains. The most carbohydrate you can take in to increase stored muscle sugar is 90 grams per day. You cannot increase sugar stores in muscles beyond that by eating more carbohydrates, because all extra sugar is converted to fat, which increases weight and just slows you down (Am J Clin Nutr. 1981; 34: 1831-6 and J Appl Physiol. 2005; 95:983-990).
The extra carbohydrates that were converted to fat end up in your liver. Extra fat in your liver reduces the amount of sugar that your liver can store, so you tire earlier. That is why "carbohydrate loading" has been abandoned by all knowledgeable athletes.
Various ways have been tried to increase the body's ability to store sugar:
  1. Low carbohydrate/high fat diets
  2. Training without taking in carbohydrates
  3. Withholding carbohydrates after you finish intense exercising (delayed recovery)
  4. Training twice a day to leave little time for refueling between sessions
  5. Training at reduced intensity after an overnight fast
Training when muscles are low in stored sugar teaches them to burn more fat and delays using up their meager stored sugar supplies, but this method interferes with workouts. Nobody has really shown that options 1 and 2 are effective because they interfere with how fast you move during intense training, which is more important than anything else. All athletes hate the early exhaustion and tiredness they feel when they train when their muscles are low on sugar. 
Success with option #5, overnight fasting, was first reported seven years ago when it was shown to improve endurance in cyclists (J Strength Cond Res. Mar 2009;23(2):560-70). The results from this new study are even more convincing. They suggest that athletes should eat their carbohydrates during the day and then restrict carbohydrate intake after their intense training session in the afternoon and before they go to bed at night. These athletes did their usual morning recovery workout at very low-intensity to promote muscle adaptation for metabolizing more fat.
I hope that the researchers will test their theory for 3-month, 6-month or longer periods to see if the benefits accumulate. Meanwhile, I recommend that you try their program yourself.

See If This Study's Regimen Makes You a Better Athlete

Most top athletes train twice a day. They know that you have to damage your muscles to make them stronger. They take a very hard workout to damage their muscles in the afternoon on one day and follow that with three less-intense recovery workouts. So they take one hard workout every other day. The other three workouts are to help your muscles recover from their intense alternate-day workout.
Restricting carbohydrates after your alternate-day intense workout, followed by an overnight fast, and then exercising muscles with low levels of stored sugar teaches your muscles to preserve their stored sugar by burning more fat and less sugar. This makes you faster and stronger and gives you greater endurance.
Obviously, the vast majority of us are not "top athletes," and few of us have the time the pros do to work out twice a day. So in the following workout regimen, if you can only work out once a day, just cut out one of the prescribed recovery workouts per day.)
On the day of your intense workout:
  • Eat a normal breakfast and do an easy workout in the morning. (Cut this workout if you're only able to do one workout a day.)
  • Eat a normal lunch.
  • Before your intense workout, eat extra fruits, vegetables, cereals, whole grains, seeds and some refined carbohydrates in bakery products and pastas. 
  • Take your hard work out in the afternoon or early evening.
  • After your hard work out, eat a supper that is very low in carbohydrates. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as foods made with flour (bakery products and pastas) and all sugar-added foods. Your meal should be based on vegetables and can include various sources of protein and fat. After supper, no snacks or any other sources of calories for 13 hours. Drink water or other non-calorie fluids as desired.
The day after your intense workout:
  • Before your morning recovery workout, drink only water, black coffee or tea (no cream or sugar) and, if your muscles feel heavy and tired, you can eat a single fruit such as an orange. Do not drink fruit juice. 
  • After your recovery workout, eat your usual meal for lunch that can include plenty of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
  • After your afternoon recovery workout, eat your usual dinner. (Cut this workout if you're only able to do one workout a day.)

What You Should Learn from This Study

An overnight carbohydrate fast after your alternate-day intense workout keeps your muscles low in their stored sugar. Then exercising muscles depleted of their stored sugar teaches your muscles to burn more fat and less sugar, so you keep sugar in your muscles longer, and that makes you faster and stronger and gives you greater endurance. 
An overnight carbohydrate fast after your alternate-day intense workout keeps your muscles low in their stored sugar. Then exercising muscles depleted of their stored sugar teaches your muscles to burn more fat and less sugar, so you keep sugar in your muscles longer, and that makes you faster and stronger and gives you greater endurance.
If you are training for competition, you will be best on two-a-day workouts with only one intense workout every other day. The other three workouts are to help your muscles recover from their intense alternate-day workout.
However, if you're pressed for time and can only do one workout a day, the key is to work out intensely once every two days, eat a low-carb dinner, then fast, and follow that the next day with a recovery workout.

Schedule of two-day cycles for 1-a-day and 2-a-day workouts:

For Athletes Working Out 2x a Day
Day 1
Normal breakfast
Morning easy workout
Normal lunch
Afternoon Intense hard workout
Very-low-carbohydrate Supper
No food after that
Day 2
A single fruit for breakfast
Morning easy recovery workout
Normal lunch
Easy afternoon workout
Normal supper
For Athletes Working out Once a Day
For Athletes Working Out 1x a Day
Day 1
Normal breakfast
Normal lunch
Afternoon Intense hard workout
Very-low-carbohydrate Supper
No food after that
Day 2
A single fruit for breakfast
Morning easy recovery workout
Can snack on fruit after workout
Normal lunch
Normal supper

My Recommendation

If you decide to try this regimen (either the 1x- or 2x-a-day approach), I recommend doing three of the 2-day cycles per week, followed the next day by a long, moderately paced depletion ride. On the day you do the long depletion ride, follow your normal diet.
Repeat the regimen for three weeks.
The study only reported the findings after three weeks, so nobody knows if the benefits continue with further cycles. I would recommend following it for three weeks only, and then gauging your progress.

Gabe Mirkin, M.D., is a sports medicine doctor and fitness guru. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin has run more than 40 marathons and is now a serious tandem bike rider with his wife, Diana. His website is Click to read Gabe's full bio.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

First Blue Streak Time Trial

Other than it being too cold (48-52), I feel good about this effort. Average power for the entire 10 miles was 362, cadence at 87, max watts 815, 4.7 watts/kg avg. The first half was 354/89 and the second half was 369/87. I really think that once things warm up that I'll be holding some big power this year, and going faster than 26.2. I think this is as high a power as I held last year on any of the 10 mile tt's, and I know I have more.

Friday, April 8, 2016

USAC comments on increased testing of amateurs for PED's

from todays USAC RaceClean email

Last month, you cited anonymous survey data as one of the reasons you believe doping is a problem in amateur cycling - could you provide more information? 
First off, survey data is just one portion of the evidence that led us to believe doping is a problem in amateur cycling.  For instance, we observe that the rate of positives among amateurs tested is alarmingly high. Secondly, we know from observing other sports, and even human endeavors outside of sport, that when breaking the rules is simultaneously beneficial and not monitored, bad behavior results.  But we’d also like to note that we are addressing doping in amateur cycling because our members tell us they are observing issues and want to see action.  We know a significant portion of our membership care deeply about this issue.
Now, as for that survey data - a lot exists across all sports, but something we received last year was particularly relevant and eye-opening. If you were opted in to our emails during the fall of 2014, you may recall being asked to complete an anonymous survey by a group of international anti-doping researchers led by Dr. Paul Dimeo from Stirling University in the UK and Dr. Werner Pitsch from the University of Saarlandes in Germany. We did not receive specific information about any of the survey participants, but we did receive an overall analysis of the survey which used a questioning strategy to allow respondents to answer honestly without fear of retribution. The analysis indicated that as much as 10% of survey respondents in categories 1-3 admitted to using prohibited substances at some point during their competitive cycling career. Another finding in the research was that there was little difference in the prevalence of lifetime doping between categories 1, 2, and 3, validating the belief that the prevalence of doping is not simply a function of competitive level or rewards. Again, such data does not alone form the basis for our concerns, but it is compelling evidence.

10 x 10 seconds

I rode an easy 30 minutes when I got up and then did these at lunch between meetings. I ramped up the rpm's and shifted up through the power range until I was above 600 and then hit the INT. Power was 664, 656, 613, 675, 648, 632, 640, 651, 624, 621. I took about 2:30 between each.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Varied Workout

Started the day with my 8am spin followed by the 9am circuit and then hit the road bike for 4x10 steady states over an hour ride. Not my best power on those (310 +/-) but I was pretty cooked by then. Those plyometric exercises i the circuit class really take that spark out your legs.

Monday, April 4, 2016

6x1 high cadence and 6x1 power intervals

Looking at my schedule tomorrow I decided to do these today. I used the crit course. The 6 high cadence were 122, 120, 124, 122, 122, 123, on the flat to downhill section. The 6 power intervals were 511, 539, 540, 508, 508 and 511. Super winded after each of those, but felt good to power up the back of the course slightly up hill on them. Stayed seated and tried to keep the power high.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Article: When to Plow Through Intervals or Cut Them Short

4x6 minutes steady state

I did the 4x6 steady state today, outside and on my Cervelo P2 tt bike. Held the following power/cadence: 349/85, 357/86, 348/80 and 350/84. The first two were with some tail wind and the second two into the wind. Very gusty, like 20-40 mph. Made handling the tt bike interesting. Felt good about the power on these. Cadence a little low but under race circumstances I'll get it going into the 90's to 100's.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Common Triathlon Rules Violations

6x4 hill climb efforts

I left the house at 5:30am and did;t retain until about 4:00 pm. Given the traffic on a Friday I didn't want to go to my ideal road for the 4x6 steady state so I did the 6x4 on the hill close by (Heekin Avenue). Power was 405, 374, 373, 366, 366 and 363. Well above steady state but I felt like I wasn't killing it. Normalized power for 50 minutes at 311 with 1988' of climbing in that time. I'll do the 4x6 tomorrow on the time trial bike.

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