Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Power and Training

I did my first power test last weekend. I borrowed Bjet's power tap and I hit my ole foe Kuglar Mill. I rode up about 4 times, the first time being a recon, 2 attempts at making myself vomit and a final half-hearted attempt.

It was really cold and windy but I am happy with the results. During the test I just focused on riding and tried not to glance at the numbers. Actually my second hard attempt I kept a really high cadence and my power numbers were better! Looking back I typically ride faster with a higher cadence. Perhaps I got a bit too into gear grinder mode over the winter.

Need to tweak my training a little more. Perhaps hills are better earlier in the week so I save my quads for the weekend.

I should research more intervals too. Right now I just do sprints (typically 15-30 seconds, sets of 5 with 1 minute recovery) or 10 minute intervals where I push a big gear trying to build muscle. Or hills.

Need to get my race starts stronger with some killer 10 minute intervals. I NEED TO FIGHT FOR THE ULTIMATE PRIZE! Some socks...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BioMetrics 2011

I had my blood tested at a Health Fair at work and it's good to know that what's under the hood is looking fairly healthy.

Weight: 149
BMI: 24
BF%: 19.2 (estimated from home scale)


Total Cholesterol: 233 mg/dl
HDL: >100 mg/dl (I guess my "good cholesterol" was too high to be measured by the little machine)
TC/HDL Ratio: NA (Measures risk of heart disease, too low and unable to be measured)
LDL: NA ("bad cholesterol" was too low to be measured)
Triglycerides: <45 also="" and="" bad="" be="" br="" dl="" is="" low="" measured="" mg="" that="" to="" too="" unable="">

Blood Glucose: 78 mg/dl (non-fasting!)


Blood Pressure: 111 systolic / 78 diastolic mmHg
Pulse: 53 bpm

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back to Basics

This is a picture of my niece. She's riding a bike that Bjet got her for Christmas about a year ago. I think she's just getting old enough to push that thing along (it's surprisingly heavy!).

Last week on the BioWheels ride I totally stunk it up in the double paceline. Maybe I had a bad day at work, but there was this MASH—MASH—COAST! tempo and it wasn't very smooth. I don't know if I got behind someone awkward in the paceline but my A.D.D. went into meltdown mode and I kept letting space open in front of me. Then I wasn't pulling off as soon as I should in the rotating paceline. I felt so embarrassed, I rode like a real newbie out there. I hate to suck it up so bad in front of my teammates and friends — people I respect and love to ride with.

On the way home I kept mulling over my failures in my head. Then I started kicking myself over the fact that I can't ride off-road on technical stuff. And I start to feel like a real mediocre rider and that on a crap-to-incredible scale I would end up somewhere that a lot of flies would be circling me! It kind of makes me want to quit.

Then we passed this farm field in Indian Hill. I remember seeing a sunset over this field when I first began riding and thinking to myself that I am so glad to be riding a bike. The sun was setting and I thought I have to let all my baggage go.

Hopefully I can be like my little niece and just have fun. But there's a lot that I have to learn — so I really have to work on some of my fundamentals if I want to get better.

Maybe someday it will be safe to take off my training wheels.

Monday, March 21, 2011

April Training Schedule version1

I haven't been very good about perfecting my training schedule. The image is a sketch of what I will be doing. I need to fill in types of interval workout as well as weight training and yoga. Hopefully as the year progresses I will keep on myself to design my training and not just go out there and ride aimlessly.

I'm reading Racing Weight Quick Start Guide at the moment. I'll post my learnings and I how I work in the intervals and nutrition concepts into my training. The website is a little rough but there might be some nice content on it around food and fueling.

Part of me wants to dork out and get über serious and watch what I eat, get a power meter and a coach and see what I can do. Part of me wants to live and ride and have fun. I usually end up somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Like lil' wings on my tootsies

For the second straight year I absolutely floored myself and achieved the unimaginable at the Heart Mini marathon! There is something about competition that makes me rise above and reach my full-potential.

I didn't know what to expect from my legs though. This would be my first attempt at a half marathon. On my run home from work I pretty much fell apart in the last 2 miles and finished with about an 8:45/mile pace. Then the next week I ran longer than I have ever run before — for 2 hours in the sleet at Red Bird Hollow.

There were some bright spots — I've been doing speed drills like 400m sprints at a 5k pace or running 5k Time Trials downtown. I showed some speed. One 5 mile was at a 7:31/mile pace and another 5k at a 7:14/mile pace. So I aimed to run my first half marathon at a 7:30 pace, in 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Perhaps it was the canon being fired but I took off like a bat. I ended up in the pace group with a 6:52 pace. It felt okay so I hung in there. I thought I would get a good start, beat my best 5k time then bail.

2011 Heart Mini First 5K: 21:08/6:49 Pace
2010 Heart Mini First 5K: 22:06/7:06 Pace
Old 5k Best (11/05/2007): 22:10/7:09 Pace
Recent 5K TT (3/08/2011): 23:48/7:14 pace
Rank in race at 5k: 40th place

So at about 4 miles I fell off the group, but I still tried to keep them in my sights. We went around the turnaround at Delta and I tried to relax and appreciate the view. I saw Jason from Rogue on the Torrence hill. It was nice to have someone cheering. I felt a bit better than 2010 when I hobbled up the climb but not as great as 2009 when I sprinted up it! The downhill was a bit painful. When I saw Jason again he yelled that I was at about a 7min pace, and that number stuck in my head. I wanted to hold it.

2011 Heart Mini 10k: 42:53/6:55 Pace
2010 Heart Mini 10k: 44:27/7:10 Pace
Old 10k Best (7/10/2007): 49:30/7:59 Pace
Rank in race at 10k: 64th place

I really started to hurt. I think I started going backwards while other runners continued to pass. I tried to keep up each time I was passed but after a minute or so I would fall off.

2011 Heart Mini 15k: 1:04:34/6:57 Pace
2010 Heart Mini 15k: 1:06:53/7:12 Pace
2009 Heart Mini 15k: 1:14:37/8:02 Pace
Rank in race at 15k: 64th place

Well, I began to hurt even more. We had to cross the river and come back again — the bridges were tough. Actually I still had a little punch on the uphills but the downhills were killing my quads. I kept focusing on running smooth as possible. But I think my face gave away the pain I was feeling. I crossed the line and started coughing up a lung.

2011 Heart Mini 13.1mi: 1:31:47/7:01 Pace
2009 Flying Pig Relay, legs 2 and 3 (12.83mi): 1:43:44/8:05 Pace
Rank in race at finish: 71st place
Place in my division: 10th place (Men 30-34)

Perhaps it's not smart to push yourself so hard beyond your training. I will be paying for this with sore legs but I am really proud of the performance and it's so cool to see my progression. I never expected a 10th place finish (in my age division) in a running race!

Part of me is intrigued to keep running and try my hand at the Flying Pig, part of me wants to try a triathalon. But mainly I am content to throw my leg over the saddle and be happy for some early season base fitness.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 Training Camp pt1: New Orleans

New Orleans is a bike city. It's not over-run with spandex and bike lanes and the ilk. There are just A LOT of people who bike to get around. In a congested touristy area like the French Quarter a bike is probably more agile and quicker than a car.

Day 1:
We started with a quick spin in the French Quarter for an espresso. Then we went out a mix of Tchoupitoulas and St. James roads to get to a bike path that runs along the top of the Mississippi River Levee. St. James runs through the the Garden District, running along the street car tracks past Audubon Park and Loyola University (where we saw these guys ironically decked out in preppy garb playing croquet!).

The weather was so nice, we didn't even need arm warmers. It was amazing to the feel the wind on my bare flesh again. We hit that bike path and rode for about 4 and a half hours and nearly 70 miles. The bike path was kind of funny — there aren't hills in New Orleans, just WIND! All these dudes were hammering on there TT bikes in aero positions.

We ended up near an old plantation with all the moss on the trees. Pretty, but creepy because all the bad slavery biz that went down there. But part of me wanted to be sipping a mint julep wearing an all-white suit like Colonel Sanders.

Day 2
After a great lunch at Emeril's NOLA we started with another spin through the French Quarter. We went north, rode through the spooky St. Louis Cemeteries. We were going to ride up to City Park and along the infamous Lake Ponchetrain. But we started seeing Katrina houses and Bridget wasn't feeling super safe so we turned around and headed for the refuge of that safely generic levee bike path. We cruised around Audubon Park a couple times.

My morning run was cool too. Crazy to run past all those old building, and along the river where the steamboat Natchez made me feel like I was in the 1800s.

Next time I hope we tap into some better rides. I would also like to see if there are any badass bayou mountain bike rides — I wanna bunny hop an alligator!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Race #73: Jimmy & Nates' Death March to the Core of Evil

Yesterday 8 members of the BioWheels/Reece-Campbell team converged on the Hoosier National Forest to compete in Sub 9's Death March. The premise of the Death March is simple and brilliant — there are 9 cemetaries in the Hoosier Forest, the first team of 2 cyclists to connect all the dots via trails, gravel forest roads and roads on whatever type of bike are the winners.

Jaden and Joe mulled over maps for the week leading into the event. They came up with a very solid course that should deliver us to the finish line with very good times. Also, we planned to ride as a team — a CX team time trial! This put a lot of added pressure on a lot of us, I've always liked off-road bike racing because every rider competes for themselves — because I worry that a poor performance or a crash by myself could potentially hurt the teams' time or worse hurt another team member.

So the start was pretty fast and furious and our 8 riders were spread all over the place! We were really gunning it! I turned myself inside out to pace some of my teammates up to the front Bio-riders. When we made contact I pulled to the left for a break and for the first time ever I physically vomited from the effort! I think Bjet's homemade blueberry wheat muffin that I ate 10 MINUTES before the start may have been a bad idea!

We were together for only a few minutes when the Karwash/Collier BioTeam South duo got a flat! We chose not to wait as the first cemetery was just ahead and they might be able to catch up there. But we didn't see them and perhaps the flat was worse than expected. After about an hour of hard riding Ole Gersy was starting to look fatiqued — an illness had plagued for the previous week and he wasn't his speedy typical self. The Mott/Gers duo had to bail. Then there were only 4! And only a short time later Joe got a flat as well! The gravel roads were taking their toll on our bikes and our bodies.

One of my favorite things about competition is that I believe it reveals the unlimited potential of humankind. Racing has transformed me as a person and has helped me overcome my fears and inhibitions. I am pretty scared of heights, being near a railing or the thought of falling can actually paralyze me! I have been to Paris twice and have not yet been on top of the Eiffel Tower and I DNF'd a climb to the top of Gaudi's Sograda Familia in Barcelona. So it was required that both team members climb a fire tower and have their pictures taken. I sucked it up and got through it! The old structure swayed and creaked but the view from the top was worth it! Here I come Eiffel!

Mott rejoined at the the Fire Tower — he would be along for a fun ride, just tagging along and not taking pulls. And speaking of unlimited potential: Karwash and Collier caught back up to us looking fresh and fast. As a team we hit the lovely trails to hit Callahan cemetary. Man, the trails were really beautiful! I can't wait to ride there again.

I just drank my last drop of water with 15 miles to go. I was low on calories and hydration and worried I wouldn't make it to the end. Suddenly Sub 9's Ron Burgundy van pulls up filled with beer, water and Clif Bars! Thanks to them I didn't wither away out there!

So we were probably only a few miles from the finish. Jaden got a cramp and had to slow up for a sec. THERE WAS BLOOD IN THE WATER. We mentioned when does it become uncivil, when do we race for the best sub-team times. But part of me wanted to roll in as a united front with Jaden & Joe getting the best placing as a thanks for the organizational brilliance. On a hill just before the end Nate and Karwash were going for King of the Hill bragging rights. As a lark I gunned it to come from behind — and suddenly this was perceived as an attack. Nate and I were suddenly pitted against Karwash/Collier. We chugged up the hills and it appeared that we had dropped them. But the day's efforts had taken their toll and as we crawled up the final hill Karwash and Collier rejoined and we took it into the camp with a sprint finish! Karwash and Collier took it at the line! Perhaps it was a bit unclassy to attack the homies that we owe a debt of gratitude — I see some untimely mechanicals in my future!

Thanks again to Jaden and Joe for orchestra the BioTeam's diabolical plot. It was so fun to race as a team and I really think with a few tweaks and streamlining we're gonna tear up next year's race. The results aren't posted yet but I think all of us are in the top 15, not bad out of 98 teams!

Great job Sub 9, brilliant race with a beautiful course! Thanks to the Ron Burgundy van I made it to the end.

10th Place:
Total Time: 04:29:00; with Time Bonuses: 01:14:00

11th Place:
Total Time: 04:29:02; with Time Bonuses: 01:14:02

12th Place:
Total Time: 04:30:00; with Time Bonuses: 01:15:00

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And this little Piggie went Wee Wee Wee all the Way Home

I am getting ready for my first half marathon later this month. I never ran all the way home but I do short "commutes" by running infrequently. Tonight I'm going to run 11.5 miles home punishing myself on Cincinnati's hills.

It's nice to see my pace getting faster as the weather warms. I run 10 min/mi when it's cold and end up running around 8 min/mi by the time the race comes around. I hope to run a sub-1:45 half marathon, and I would really love to run a sub-1:38 but I don't want to kill myself.

I really love trail running and several parks in the area are my secret training bases for the Heart Mini (a hilly running race that benefits the American Heart Association). Probably more of my runs in the next couple weeks will be off-road to prevent fatigue/injury due to impact (from running on asphalt). These secret training bases are Ault Park in Hyde Park and Red Bird Hollow in Indian Hill. I also hope all this running makes my bones stronger so I can survive all the gnarly MTB and CX crashes I usually have.