Saturday, May 31, 2008

Darylmple Loop

Always a tough ride for me, especially riding up from Johnson Ferry Rd.

Map My Ride Map Here

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spalding Alps

Making the best of not being able to drive out to car-free roads much anymore I have gone back to some old routes near my house. One of these I call "Spalding Alps" since Spalding Rd. in Dunwoody is pretty hilly. I like to start right off of Winters Chapel, go left, and ride Spalding all the way to Roberts Rd. Sometimes I keep going as Spalding eventually changes into Darymple Rd, but more often than not I just turn around and do the hills in the other direction and then make up a route back to the house.

Today I did that and was able to get in 28 miles in 1.5 hours. Other times I will exit Spalding and head to Roswell to the riverside area and then back again which is about 2.5 hours. If I am really in good shape for time, I will head up into Roswell and back around Oxbow. This would give me around 3 hours.

Not too shabby for the metro area.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I rode the Ellijay MTB race course today. By the time I got to Ellijay it was raining and although I don't normally ride on wet trails, gas is expensive and it is 88 miles from my house to Ellijay...

Wet, the trails are very treacherous and right out of the gate I took a major spill on one of the notorious downhill sections that has a hard left in the middle of it. After 2 or 3 tough climbs and hike-a-bikes, I was met with another slick downhill and crashed again, this time busting up my pinky pretty bad on a rock and giving me a nice thick bruise on my hip. There is a little break in the undulations through a nice grassy field and some sculpted turns but after that it back to one more extended hike-a-bike.

I was using a 32x18 but I may go to a 34x20. That would give me a 1:1.7 as opposed to a 1:1.77 ratio. I used the 34x20 for the Snake TT and liked it a lot. My legs were pretty fried after the climbing since I am no climber.

So, if the weather holds out I guess I'll be there but if it rains I may skip it altogether.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Heritage MTB Race Result

Some nasty pro-type guys came to play and had a lot of game. My first lap was marred by 4 crashes, 1 over the handlebars. Breaks were disabled, rubbing the tire so I had to stop and fix that. Water bottle gone of 1st lap so I had to take a hand up. The second lap was a total antithesis of the first. I felt in control and began passing folks again. I finished strong but clearly 4 minutes off the podium and 13 minute back from the winner. The winner was 1.5 mph faster than me over the tough slippery, rooted course. Eric Nicoletti who is in front of me in the standings, had a good day and finished 3rd. I was finally satisfied to see him beat me by 4 minutes today.

My new bike performed well but I did not see any real difference. The Rapidade drink mix from Dedicated Athlete was incredible. It was the first time I had ever used a product in a race where I felt a difference in performance from lap to lap.

My 4th place result was my worst this year so far but the field was tough and it was great to have stiff competition. I hope Eric and I can match up again in Ellijay. I think that is going to be a brutal race for a single-speed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

So my FTP based on the 60 minute NP values from my hard race Saturday (304w) is probably too high an estimation. Since I have no other test data, I have been advised to leave it at 295w until I can add another metric. Fine with me.

I am looking forward to Sunday's Heritage MTB race and I am considering abandoning the SS category and racing the 40+ expert category (If I can get it approved). It will depend on whether I have enough time to do 3 laps.

I'll also get to race my new bike which I am looking forward to!

Monday, May 19, 2008

One good thing that came out of the hard race Saturday is that my normalized power for 1 hour was 304w which is an indicator that my FTP is at least that high. It could be higher but probably not. I have had it at 295w so that is encouraging since I have not been doing any real training as of late.

I am going to do a formal test in 2 weeks so let's see what that reveals.

FTP can be determined many ways and the most likely ways have been nicknamed the "7 deadly sins".

GTC Championship Race Recap

For me the race sucked as usual.

I always miss the winning break because I have no idea what I am doing. The chase was hard and fruitless and capped off with 2 mechanicals.

Then to make matters worse, I saw some power data from the winning break and whatever ego I had left was humbled even more.

The race ended up sucking worse for Brendan who did everything right to win only to get squashed at 38 mph by a turning motorist in the last KM.

The big winners were Brendan, Andy, Theron, Michael and Tim.

Not that it matters, but I am going to take out my inability to close 50 yards to the break on the MTB race this weekend. New SS bike too.

School ends Friday. Charlotte turns 3 in 2 weeks!

Power data:

Race average--sucked

Friday, May 16, 2008

The TSS Addiction

Ever since reading the Training With Power book, lurking on the Google Wattage Forum, and using Cycling Peaks WKO+, I can see why so many power users become TSS addicts. TSS or training stress score is a way to quantify the effects of training as a fraction of your functional threshold power, terrain, time, and intensity of the workout. It is defined here.

In using WKO+ the past 3 years, you can create a graph called the Performance Manager that tracks chronic training load, acute training load, and training stress balance (freshness) over time. The meat and potatoes to causing changes in these values is training stress and the TSS value that you acrue in each workout.

The standard of 3 weeks training/1 week rest has been abandoned by many cyclists training with power in favor of using training stress alone. These riders look to build their preparation for events by looking at how much/what kind of TSS they should accumulate each week before their body stops performing optimally. For some power users, the addiction results in just seeing how far you can push the envelope with TSS in terms of daily, weekly and monthly amounts.

It allows you to think of workouts differently. Here is an example from my own riding. I have around 5-6 hours during the work week to ride. If I want to keep my fitness at a specific level I would have to do workouts that increase my CTL and lead to positive changes in FTP in tests. So I know that if I time trial at my FTP for an hour I should earn 100 tss points. Right now to make improvements, I have to be doing an average of 70 tss points per day for 7 days. So an easy day of 50 tss would mean that I would have to make up the other 20 points somewhere else during the week. I also know now howe many tss points I will earn on group rides, intervals, and other rides I commonly do (with some variation on intensity).

But, not all TSS is equal. I can ride for 1 hour at my FTP and get 100 points, or ride for 2 hours at 50% of that and get 100 points. However, the physiological effect is very different. In the forst workout I am stressing my threshold power capabilities while in the other I am primarily using the aerobic system. Depending on my goals, one may be better than the other.

So, two riders with CTL's of 70 tss/d could physiologically have a very differerent FTP depending on their workouts.

It is easy to become addicted in a loose sense to TSS. Watching how the CTL and TSB lines change with even 1 day off per week (given my schedule) can be enough to not take easy days or time off. It can become onsessive to make the CTL line ramp up and the TSB line decrease to negative. Eventually something has to give and one has to be careful to not overtrain or get sick because of it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

GTC Championships

This Saturday is the 4th annual GTC championships. "Historically speaking the inaugural event was 2005 as I (Dan) had missed the entire 2004 season. In 2006 Brent Owens took the win after the 2-man breakaway of Welp and Stone missed a turn. In 2007 Welp won from a breakaway of five riders including Stone, Behning, Simpson,and Coy." (corrected by Dan)

"I suspect Tim Stone really wants it this year but will work for his son Michael if they can get away. Expect Brendan, Andy, Tracy and Theron to be contenders also."

I think this year will be the toughest edition with a rising junior star, hungry club members, and new masters team racers. I think it will be over soon for most, possibly before New High Shoals. Who knows what alliances will form? All I know is that compared to my yearly racing, the GTC championship stands out as the hardest race of the year. Stats from last year...

64 miles in 3 hours
Max Power: 948w
Average Power: 210w--Normalized Power: 257w
Time spent sitting in: 30 minutes (15%)
Time in threshold: 20 minutes Time above threshold: 45 minutes
Variability of terrain: 1.22
Burned 4 matches at 30 seconds each between 300 and 5oo watts. Dropped at mile 55.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Spring Update

It has been a wonderful spring so far. Even though I got a case of the flu back in February and a ear infection in March, I have been able to get in between 8-9 hours a week of riding. I have also been able to do 5 races since January with very good results. My CTL is hovering around 70 which was my high last summer. All this with little structured training except for "sweet spot" intervals every week.

I have only raced on the mountain bike since January and here are the results:

Snake Gap TT: 1st, new course record for the 17 mile single-speed division
2 Ways in 1 Day TT: 1st
Flat Rock MTB Race: 1st
Yargo MTB Race: 2nd
Yargo Dirty Spokes 4 Man Relay: 4th

I have tried to commute once a week but it is not very easy to do. The commute is 40 miles round trip and there are a lot of lights. Last Friday I made it to school in 57 minutes (19.6 average) but the way home I was tired.

My newish single-speed MTB is almost finished. I am waiting on the fork and stem to come in the mail but Max over at REI has the Klein BB and White Industries cranks in perfect alignment. I am really excited to try it out.

Coming up is the GTC Championships next weekend and then the Heritage MTB race.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dirty Spokes 12 Hour MTB Race

I rode as part of a 4 man relay team in the Ft. Yargo Dirty Spokes MTB Race yesterday. It was cloudy for most of the day with a little drizzle early, and then it gave way to some nice, cool conditions. There were a lot of folks racing this event and hats off to all of the solo 12 hour racers, especially Shane and Mark on the single-speeds. They really suffered through the 12 hours and not many people would want to do that.

Our team was a good mix and our main goal was to have fun and see how competitive we would be, but not go into the race with pre-determined expectations. We went with a line up order of Jim Behning, Theron Colucci, Stephen Jansa, and myself. We did not change it and all of us successfully did 3 laps each. Stephen did about 30 minutes in the dark and I did a full dark lap. We were able to keep good lap times with Jim and Stephen doing laps around 1 hour, Theron around 58 minutes, and myself around 55 minute (except for the dark lap which ended up being 1:05).

As time went on it was apparent that we would be a solid 4th place if we just kept doing good laps. Third became out of reach about 7 hours in and since it was an open field, the top team really turned the pedals and put almost an hour into us.

All in all the race was great fun and we all were pretty low key about our place in it all. My favorite thing of the day was watching a co-ed 2 person 6 hour team that had a toddler. One of them would do a lap and exchange both timing chip and baby at the same time so the other could do their lap. They had it down to an art.

I must say that watching Mark Stewart and Shane Schreihart suffer through the 12 hour solo singlespeed race was enough to make me never want to race 12 hours on a bike doing anything. It looked very painful. They have my respect but hopefully there is no lasting damage to them.