The past 10 days have been a really busy time. We are getting prepped and administering SOL tests, and then I have had rehearsal every night from 7-10 for the show. It has left precious little time to train, but what time I have had I have fortunately made pretty good use of. I only had one really bad day, Saturday, when I went out for a 4-hour ride and was struggling with hydration. I had 4 bottles with me, but I didn't adequately pre-hydrate in the hours before the ride, which resulted in the first ride of the season where I almost had to call the broom wagon to pick me up, I was that bad off. Later that day, I noticed the veins in my hands were about half their normal size, I was so tapped out of fluids.
I must have the art of recovery figured out pretty well, though, because the following day I went out for 2 hours and did 15 x 20sec x 5:40 rest sprint intervals and set a new PR for that duration. Also had a pretty good tempo ride on Monday, a shorter workout on Tuesday, and then a good 1.5 hours yesterday on the TT bike, which is feeling very comfortable. Looking forward to the race this weekend and the time trials coming up in June and July!
5/16-17: Apple Orchard Mtn. & TT Intervals
Went out to the BRP Saturday with my buddy Rodney today to introduce him to Thunder Ridge - a 13-mile 5.5% climb from the James River to the top of Apple Orchard Mtn. For Rodney, we hooked the powertap up to his bike and it was a 90-minute power test. For me, it was the only time I've ever ridden a sustained climb at a low tempo pace, shepherding Rodney to the top. We went part of the way down the other side and then, while he climbed at a sustained pace, I would do a hard effort, turn around at an overlook, roll back down past him, then repeat. So I did get a little bit of work. The best part was jamming down the other side at 40+ mph.
Sunday was cold and rainy, so decided to do some tempo riding on the TT bike. Popped Coach Troy into the DVD player and did about 56 minutes of efforts at approx. 300 watts - about 90% of road bike FTP, but in truth it felt a bit harder than that. Of course, 10 watts of that is lost through the drivetrain, and then factoring in the TT position and the fatigue from the previous 3 days, I think I can rationalize away the discrepancy in perceived exertion. Regardless, I'm still more powerful on the TT bike compared to the same time last year, and that's what counts.
5/15: Happy National Bike to Work Day!
Yesterday got to go out and do some decent up-tempo riding with my buddy Patrick - a true "hard man" in the world of cycling. When I asked him once why he doesn't compete, he replied, "Because I would be satisfied with nothing less than total domination." I was given two significant compliments while out on the ride. The first was when, about halfway through, as I was doing my turn at the front, he said, "Too fast." The second was when he told me that my improvement in speed had finally given him the motivation he needed to drop a few more pounds. I'm glad I can push that competitive drive in him, since he has helped me get faster over the years through our weekly hammer-fests.
Today was Bike to Work Day, and I was excited to ride the 19 miles to work this morning. I found a great route that snaked back and forth across the main road to work, so that I only had to ride on the main route for a total of 1 mile. The side roads were very quiet, and I was passed by maybe 3 cars the entire time. The route was gently rolling, allowing some good tempo riding, and it's nice to be able to combine commuting and training into one task - since it saves me about 40 minutes to do other things, like take a nap!
5/13: The LT says, "Drop and give me 2x20!"
It was surprisingly refreshing to actually do some structured training today, since last week consisted primarily of unstructured tempo and endurance riding (a welcome break after a weekend of hard racing). Going into the intervals I wasn't sure what to expect physiologically, but I knew I needed to go hard. I felt strong on the first one, but on the second one I was certain that I just wasn't putting down close to what I should have been. However, when I got home I pleasantly discovered that I only saw a 3% drop in power across the 2 intervals, and both were well into the upper realm of FTP (based on 330 watts):
Rep #1: AP 357 watts, 24.5 mph
Rep #2: AP 346 watts, 22.9 mph
5/4 thru 5/10:
My inability to blog this previous week is fortunately not indicative of the amount of training I was able to get in, but rather how busy my schedule has become between work, classes at the YMCA, training, and rehearsals at the theater. I figured that, given the choice between actually training and blogging about training, I should choose the first one!
This week has primarily been a return to LT and VO2 work, with some hard 3-8 minute efforts on the TT bike on Wednesday, Thursday off (my first completely off day since the Friday before Ephrata), then some sweet spot tempo on Friday. Saturday and Sunday were both primarily endurance, with 3 hours on Saturday (1 horu of sweet spot tempo) and 3.5 hours L2/L3 on Sunday. Saturday was oppressively humid - I lost 3 kilos of fluid weight during the ride. No wonder I felt like warm Jello by the time I was done. Sunday's ride was much, much better.
Burrito Burrito Burrito! I learned a lot from racing at Fort Lee today. After looking at the corners, which were rather scary, I went into the race with the goal of getting on the front and out of danger. So I went hard from the gun, averaging 350 watts for the first 6 laps. While I at the front, I practiced what I learned from the Ephrata RR - slowing into the tight corners, then sprinting out of them, so as to accordion the field and make them suffer. This had the effect of shelling out quite a few folks, I think.
Then I settled into the front group, doing some work, marking some break attempts, and trying to get away with a few groups here and there. I got suckered into a couple primes, which was a mistake, since I burned some matches for nothing, really. In fact, the second one cost me dearly, and I dangled off the back for nearly 5 laps. I almost called it a day, but then my "inner Bill" yelled me back to my senses. I managed to chase back to the field, although by this time a 2-man break had gotten away. From there I actually found fresh legs, and was in the front group again as we approached 3 to go. Then at 2 to go, they rang the bell for the Burrito Prime! As we came around the corner, I could see that the front of the group wasn't really going for it, so Banzai!! I uncorked it, attacked, won the prime, got a gap! Unfortunately, I got caught on the backside of the course, but it was an awesome race!
Wintergreen Race Report: I had a damn good TT. I wish I could say so good as not to get passed by Paul Buschi (I did hold him off for 10 mins - and kept him at about 15 seconds for another 10), or so good as not to get passed by Ted Michaels (I forget when that happened, but at least it was over quickly), or even good enough to beat Hosang (he had an "off" day, which for him means only 2:00 faster than me) but I did pass 2 guys in my group, and came within 4 seconds of my PR for the race (despite being about 3 kg heavier). Compared to last year, which was a debacle at 48:00, I was 5:40 faster, with a 42:20.
Okay, so enough with the negative; after all, I went into this TT with the intent of really testing FTP for both 20 minutes and then for the full 45 minutes (a bit shorter than the typical PLT time). So here is the "damn good TT" part:
- Peak 20 minute average power: 367 watts (+19 W compared to last test)
- Average power (& normalized power) for entire TT: 350 watts (359 watts)
- Watts/kg for TT: 4.43
Needless to say, I am very happy with the numbers, even if my time was not a PR. On the flats, 365 watts for 20 minutes is a strong solo breakaway attempt. If I can drill it with enough juice to get a gap, that's the kind of power I need to win or place well in the crits. And 330 watts on the TT bike... well, let's just say that would be icing on the cake.
Well, I'm Wintergreen bound on Saturday. Don't know what I'm thinking, but every year I come back for the pain. This year I will have the joy of getting passed by Paul Buschi (my 30sec man) and Ted Michaels (at 1:30). But with only 9 competitors in the 30-39 age group, it's a good opportunity to get in a hard workout and get some easy BAR points (I'm not trying to win the BAR, but I think I can finish up in the top 5).
Sunday will head out to Fort Lee for the Cat 4 crit, maybe get off the front and have some fun, hoping to add another top ten to the count, I think I'm up to 5, maybe 6, at this point. I didn't really focus on crits last year, so I'm hoping I can get 4 more and upgrade for the 2010 season.