Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Pain Starts Now

Last night was the first threshold work I've done for my 2013 training plan. As always, these sorts of efforts hurt, that's the whole point. Five intervals right at my lactate threshold. Last night was 6 minutes of hard effort with 3 minute recoveries. Next week will be 5 intervals of 9 hard/3 easy. The week after will 5 x 12/3.

What I enjoy about crossing the border from aerobic to anaerobic training is that I can feel good about what I've been able to accomplish in terms of building an aerobic base. 10 weeks of longer, slower rides have yielded a wide base that I'll now be able to layer much harder workouts on top of. Now is the time to take credit for all that hard work. But know that what lies ahead is progressively harder and harder workouts, which will culminate in being at a peak in mid-February 2013.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2013 Plans - Goals

For 2013, it's going to be pretty simple:

1. I want to focus on flatter races that I enjoy. Races like Roger Millikan in Brea and the Redlands crit.
2. I'm going to race regularly over the early part of the season (February through April).
3. If I can ride at the front and get some top 5 finishes, I'll look to upgrade to Category 3, otherwise, I'll go back to being a recreational rider.

In order to make all this happen my anaerobic fitness has to get back to where it once was. That means hard days doing intervals up Mt. Palomar and beating the heck out of myself on the rollers.

All of this is of course easier said than done. It takes a lot of work and a lot of hours (at least for me) to be in good enough shape to do well in races. I just finished up my second base phase. That leaves one more 4 week base phase and two 4 week build phases to put in before I'm where I need to be for Roger Millikan on Valentine's Day weekend. Sprinkle a 10 day trip to India and a trip home for Christmas into the mix and it gets even tougher.

At this point I'm 10 weeks in to my 2013 training program. I've been able to do a good job of balancing work, training, and home life; to the point that I haven't had to ditch one workout. With some good luck and solid planning, I expect to see this trend continue.

Friday, October 26, 2012

2013 Plans - The Intro

It's been 10 weeks now since I started training with a purpose. After oscillating up and down for the past 5 seasons, both from a fitness/physical capability to race and a dedication to training perspective, I have put myself on a mission to return to past levels of performance.

From the incomplete function of my paroneal nerve, to the overwhelming amount of professional work I've had on my plate, there have been plenty of challenges over the past 5 years. Looking back on there have been a lot of changes.

From the physical perspective, my nerve is working better than ever. It still isn't close to 100%, but it's working pretty well. A month or so ago, Carol and I were up at the USACycling Track Championships in Carson, CA. The guys from Wattbike were there too, demo'ing there wares. I spent a little time riding one of their bikes. What I learned is that my left leg (bad leg) is actually putting out more power and pedaling better circles than my right leg these days. When I think about how I've riden the past 4 years, I've consciously gone easy with my right leg, and given my left a chance to work itself back to the level of my right. Along the way, I've probably fostered the lowest common denominator with respect to pedaling power. Simple thought tells me that if I can't stand and flex my left foot up off the ground (with my heel still placed on the floor) and if I'm only pedaling with my right as powerfully as my left, then I'm leaving a lot of power behind.

I remember quite well how my legs felt when I raced the year after my accident. At team training camp in January we started our Saturday ride with a hammerfest up Montezuma (an hour or so climb out of Borrego Springs, up to Ranchita). Take 25 racers with something to prove to each other and give them an hour climb and you're going to see people try to beat the snot out of each other. I came in to that camp feeling like I had something to prove to everyone on the team. Namely that I was back, and that I was someone who they should again feel comfortable to ride for. So when we hit Montezuma I hit the gas, finishing 3rd at the top of the climb. I even had time to stop and put my contact back in my eye after it fell out half way up the climb. I remember though that I didn't give a rats ass how even my pedaling was. My right leg was way more powerful and efficient than my left leg, I didn't care, I would get there with one leg and my fitness. As the season slowly blew up due to work commitments and lack of meaningful results, I transitioned in to trying to get my left leg working better. I rode lots of base miles, rode my rollers a lot, and consciously let my left leg do its fair share.

Fast forward to now and it's time to find the right mix. After the experience on the Wattbike, I'm trying to put my right leg back in charge. The good news is that my left leg is in much better shape to keep up. So far things seem to be going well. I don't have a power meter any more, so I can't say for sure; but empirical evidence in the hills tells me that I'm getting back to riding strongly with both legs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Best Moment (to date) of the 2012 Tour de France

Thibaut Pinot put in an amazing ride yesterday to take the stage win.  For a 22 year old guy, it had to feel amazing to cross the line first, even more importantly; to salvage the pride of his countrymen in what has again been a bad Tour for the French.

When he stormed up the last climb and blew by the then lone leader you knew what he had in mind.  I'm sure his team manager, Mark Madiot had already made it crystal clear to him that he wasn't to catch Fredrik Kessiakoff and work with him to the finish, but instead blow by and ride like an animal to the finish.

With 12km or so to go and only flat roads in front of him the stage was set.  He was something like a minute ahead of a 10 rider group that contained all of the Tour's big contenders.  Guys like Brad Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, and Denis Menchov; all of whom seemed to be intent on eating Pinot for lunch.

As the kilometers clicked by and Pinot struggled to keep his time losses to around 5 seconds a kilometer, his team manager would pull up in the car to provide some rather animated encouragement, with his screams of Allez! Allez!:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Two Wishes - Both Granted

It's almost 5 years ago to the day that I blew up my left leg in a crash at the San Marcos Curcuit Race.
In late July 2007 as I was laying in a hospital bed. Life sucked. I couldn't make my toes go up, let alone my foot or ankle. My knee cap was wired together. My pelvis was held together by steel plates and screws. As I layed there in pain and despair, I asked for two things:

1. To be able to ride my bike again. I envisioned that I would have Carol drive me down to B&L to collect my repaired bike, they'd somehow throw me on top of it and push me down the road, with me somehow pedaling before falling over and hitting the pavement.

2. To be able to do my favorite east county ride and be strong while I did it.
Five years later, I'm extremely happy and blessed to say that I've been able to achieve both of these "goals". It's been a while since I did my favorite east county loop.

Today was the first time in a year or so. Hopefully the following link will work for you:

All I can say is that it was a long road back. Folks like Carol who stood behind me and allowed me to succeed, fail, and then eventually succeed were critically important to everything I've achieved in the last 5 years. Most importantly for me right now; I've gotten my love of cycling back.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Masi is Finally Done

For those who weren't aware, I recently purchased a 1989 Masi Gran Criterium off of eBay. It was listed on eBay by a pawn shop in Pacoima. $535 and a drive to north LA later and I finally owned a bike that I've wanted for a long time. If you follow the Gran Criterium listings on eBay you'll know that every now and then a mid-70s Masi comes along. While they're beautiful bikes and I guess for a lot of people they're the Holy Grail, for me after already buying my Colnago Arabesque and keeping it in original condition, I was looking for something that I wouldn't feel bad about gutting and building up with modern components. When I bought the bike it had Shimano 600 shifters/derailleurs, a real nice set of wheels (Dura Ace hubs with Mavic Open 4 CD clinchers), some odd Stronglight cranks and some weird bars/stem. Here's the before:

For the rebuild I purchased a new Campy Record 10 speed group, a 3TTT quill stem and alloy handlebar, 3TTT seatpost, a Fizik Antares saddle, Velocity Escape tubular wheels and some 215g Tufo tires. Gord at VeloHangar put the bike together. The new wheels arrived today, so all that's left is to glue the tires on tomorrow. Short of a repaint, this is where she stands:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Can't stop laughing

I could watch this clip of Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault losing it behind the bench on Sunday afternoon 1000 times and still pull a muscle laughing.

You've gotta love it when things are going so well for you that you can laugh even when a clown like Vern Fiddler makes a fool of himself like this. Now I've got something to keep me laughing for a week or two, no matter how tough things get.