Sunday, July 29, 2007

New 'Cross Bike in the Works

I have a new back up bike being built up.

Motobecane Fantom Frame and Carbon Fork front single ring (42 tooth)
Mixed Sram and Shimano drive train
Avid Shorty 6 brakes
Thompson Masterpiece seatpost
Ritchey Stem
Deda Handlebar
Flite seat
Various wheels and Tufo tires

It will be fun to finally ride a 1x9 'cross bike and see what others have enjoyed. It will be nothing spectacular but it should be fun to try.

Pictures when finished.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

VO2 Max Intervals

One of the components for estimating FTP was an all out 5 minute efforts which I was able to do at 360W (top riders are in the 400-500's). So, to build upon the base I have been doing it is now time to throw in some intervals to help build up this system.

My VO2 max range is between 318W and 368W and over the next 4 weeks I will be doing 2 workouts each weeks with varying intervals times.

Yesterday I started out with 5x5 minute efforts (4 min recover) and Thursday (in lieu of racing) I will do 6x3 minute efforts (3 minutes recovery). It would be ideal to have a nice 5 minute climb on which to do these but doing them on flat ground is fine too.

Next week the intervals times change to 6x5 and 7x3 and stay that way for two weeks. There are still other workouts to do that include tempo and sprints on other days.

It will be really important to watch TSS and ATL so that I am not overextended.

The 5x5 efforts were hard and left me pretty tired. But I felt that way at the beginning of threshold intervals and by the end I felt much better.

Weeks 7-12 are going to be interesting and include workouts I have never done before. I'll mention them later.

Still no mention of the 'cross schedule although I do know of 2 races on the docket. Hopefully the planning is coming along smoothly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Body Mass Analysis

I got dunked today to see how my body mass was distributed. The test is pretty cheap at $35 and takes about 15 minutes.

In 2005 I had my first analysis and weighed 179.5 pounds at 68". My body was 82.3% lean and 17.7% fat (~32 fat lbs). For my age I was only 60th percentile and was considered "good".

In contrast, today I weighed in at 175 lbs and still 68" (darn, no growth). My body was 84.4% lean and 15.6% fat (27.2 lbs). For my age I was 85th percentile and considered "healthy". Since I moved up in age bracket, by the 30-39 standard I was 75% percentile and still considered "healthy".

In terms of where I'd like to be, it would be great to get down to 170lbs without losing muscle mass, thus preserving power. That would take me down to 13% body fat. Five pounds is not a lot to lose so I'll give it a shot by reducing 1lb per week. I already use a food log each day and my resting metabolic rate (as determined by the test) is 1950 calories per day.

So, on workout days it is about eating right and going for a 500 calorie deficiet. On rest days or non-workout days, it is just a matter of not overeating and keeping the junk out of my mouth.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Passing of a Naturalist

I discovered Big Trees Forest Preserve back in 1998 when I was looking to get my marriage license at the Fulton County Annex building in (now) Sandy Springs. It is an unassuming urban forest fragment that was cared for passionately by one guy--Charlie Cochrane.

I was there today with my daughter, walking the secluded trails as eagle scout prospects implemented their projects nearby. I assumed that Charlie was where he always was, in the park building coordinating the project and answering any questions preserve users might have. I was shocked to learn that he had in fact passed away on preserve grounds last week at the age of 60.

Charlie always allowed me free reign at Big Trees as I took students there to examine the streams each year as a class project. We had talked about starting various long-term study projects there and he was always nice, accommodating and fiercely protective of the preserve. He would always ask "How many kids?" and "How will they impact the preserve?" he would then tell me he trusted me to uphold the rules and mission of the preserve and allow us to come.

I always admired his dedication to the preserve and his long hours of finding volunteers, guarding it against development, and adding more land to the land trust. I can't imagine Big Trees without him.

If you ever get a chance to go to Big Trees, take a walk on the trails and get away maybe for lunch or take your kids. About the only thing you can do is walk there and enjoy nature, no running, cycling, etc. Those are the rules. But you will get a feel for why it was so important to him and why it needs to continue to be protected.


Big Tree Forest Preserve

Friday, July 20, 2007

Threshold Test Results

The last time I tested in April my functional threshold (FTP) was determined to be 285 watts. This was determined by doing an all out 20 minute effort and another all out 5 minute effort (CP20 and CP5) and then using a Critical Power spreadsheet to determine FTP. My 20 minute average power was 300W and my average 5 minute power was 370W. Once plugged into the spreadsheet I ended up with a FTP of 285 watts.

Today's test was painful but yielded better overall results. I was able to go extend my 20 minute test to 316 W and my 5 minute test dropped to 360 W, yielding a FTP of 300W, an increase of 15 watts.

I have not been training my 3-5 minute VO2 max power but will be over the next 4 weeks, so I should see a little improvement there.

My CTL is around 63 tss/d after the rest week and I hope to get it into the upper 70's before 'cross season.

Hopefully I'll test again in 6 weeks.

Right now I am a fat 79.5kg so the power I am generating is not real impressive at 3.8 w/kg at threshold. If I lost 5 lbs I could increase that to 3.9 w/kg and at a 10 lb loss (not that feesible in 6-8 weeks), my power to weight ratio would climb to 4.02 w/kg at threshold. That means everything being equal, for a 5 lb reduction my threshold would only climb by 1 watt but my predicted 45 minute power would climb to 307W which would be nice.

The funny thing about all the discipline with HR monitors, power meters and training plans, the hardest thing to do is to keep food out of the mouth!

My biggest consistent indulgence is wine at dinner. At 90 calories per 4 oz, or for me 180 calories per 8 oz (2 glasses), that is 1080 calories per week. If 3500 calories per week equals a pound I would be about a third of the way there by dropping the wine alone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Focused Base Numbers 6/1 to 7/9

After doing a lot of easy riding this spring and some doubts/decisions to whether or not to do any focused training this summer, I decided after a nice visit to Nebraska to try it and see what happened. I had already arranged to work with John Verheul at JBV Coaching earlier in the spring so I had a specific training plan .

The focused base developed nicely and compared to last year, I did not have to go through a muscle learning curve with the power meter. Last year it took about 6 weeks for my body to transition from using HR to power.

In terms of numbers, I did about 850 miles and 53 hours of riding in base (Figure 1). There was little "fat" in the base period, meaning I stuck specifically to what was supposed to be done that day. The only exception was during group rides where I did not worry about numbers. So, most of the time every ride had a specific goal or purpose and I found that to be very motivating. This is reflected in the base period mean maximal power curve (mmpc) (Figure 4). The numbers don't look that impressive, but in context of specific workouts I met most major goals. The mmpc shows your "bests" in power for each time duration. Overall in your training year(s), it is a record of your best power, sort of like your portfolio of performance. But in a training period where you are not really trying for "bests" but merely doing the power required for each workout.

Figure 1: Time/Distance

This was the most disciplined base period I have ever done, focused on the numbers I had to do. The training zone distribution (Figure 2) shows exactly what I did during the entire period but not daily durations in each zone. Most time was spent in tempo and I did a lot of threshold work as well in various blocks of 15-20 minutes twice a week.

Figure 2: Percent of Time in Each Training Zone

I did not take a traditional rest week after the 4th week due to a vacation so the base period lasted 5 weeks and 2 days. However, I feel good and am motivated for the next step which will focus on VO2 max efforts and more tempo before transitioning into cyclocross specific workouts in September.

Figure 3: Power Distribution in Base

Figure 4: Mean Maximal Power Curve 6/1 to 7/9

Figure 5: Training Stress/Intensity Factor per 7 days During Base

In terms of high end power, I started doing sprints in base both in 39x17 and 53x19. All sprints in the 39 were done from 10mph and in the 53, from 14 mph. My sprint power has never been great and my max sprint 1-second power has never been above 1350 watts. More importantly, I am lucky if I can hold 1000 watts for 12 seconds. In the figure below my sprint power is variable but as my CTL increases, TSB (freshness) decreases and this has an effect on my sprint power. Today for example my legs were pretty tired and I could only muster 905 watts for 12 seconds and I was very un-fresh at -16.6 tss/d. In contrast, I had a nice result on 3/5/07 at 1038 watts and my TSB was positive. I have not tapered for anything because my CTL is never high enough but if I take a day off or do sprints after a recovery day my results are better. In comparison, on 5/15/2006 I was at 15.6 TSB and managed to hold 1053 watts for 12 seconds. This was right before my daughter was born so I was not riding as much and therefore fresher. The bottom line is if I was expecting a good sprint result in a race this week, it would behoove me to take a day or two off in order for TSB to rise and fatigue to dissipate.

Monday, July 09, 2007

BIke Stuff for Sale

Dura Ace 36 hole rear hub (used) ($10)

2 Michelin Mud CX tires (new) ($40)

Pair of Rapid Fire 7 speed MTB shifters (new) ($12)

Titec "Hell Bent" aluminum black riser bar (new) ($10)

Planet Bike HC Freddy Fender Set - 60mm (new but no rubber band hardware) ($10)

email me at

(shipping not included if not local)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What I Did this Week

I did 203 miles and 11.1 hours this week. My TSS is way up at 660 for the week and my CTL is up around 67 TSS/d.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Road Atlanta Circut Race

On July 26th the Gwinnett Bike Festival will have its first stage of 4 at the Road Atlanta race course. This course is used for both car and motorcycle races and is home to the Atlanta Petite Lemond rally race.

I think it will be a very cool race course and I have never raced on a car track before. The loop is around 2.5 miles and it does have hills (see profile below). The race is 28 miles long (11 laps) and I will probably get shelled around lap 3. I expect the pace to be between 24-25 mph in the 40+ and I am not sure I can manage that. But, I'll give it a try and for me it will be a fun experience doubling as a training race.

Here are maps and profile (the start/finish is in the lower right bend and goes clockwise. North is to the bottom of the picture):