Doing More With Less Since 1972

Author: Scott (Page 1 of 76)

Six Gap Training – Week 11

5 Rides | 9.5 hours | 169 miles | 5988 ft

Astute loyal readers of this blog (0 people) will note that there was no Week 12 Six Gap Training report. It’s not that I didn’t train during week 12, but it was pretty uneventful outside of the autocat beta race I did.

This past week was way more eventful. It was the first week of the Zwift Classics series, which was pretty awesome, with some low key rides mixed in throughout the week. But I did take on a big event on Saturday, doing a 100 mile virtual effort. Hard to call it a real century since the bike didn’t move at all, but it was a five and a half hour effort, and that has to account for something.

I sort of made a badge hunt out of this event–why not use the opportunity to level up? So I got the 10x and 25x badges for laps around volcano circuit, then I navigated over to Tempus Fugit to finish up the final 60k. There’s also a 100 mile badge you get at the very end of a century ride. I have to admit, I was expecting to only go EXACTLY 160 kilometers, but had to do almost 161. That last bit of a kilometer was pretty brutal mentally.

But mental toughness is what I’m going after with rides like this. There’s not really much climbing involved on this route, even in the laps around Volcano Circuit. It’s all about sitting in a tiny room for a long time and making circles with your legs. And that’s what makes riding outside so much easier when I have to do it.

I was really happy to get that distance out of the way–it’s been out there haunting me for a while. That’s the good news. The bad news is that my desktop computer I was using for Zwift appears to have died. I did a little research and found that the most economical option for me was to go with the Apple TV solution. Way cheaper than a computer, and the only other thing I had to purchase is a bluetooth HRM since my old school Garmin straps are Ant+ only.

I’m going to be missing a few days of training for a family funeral, which will give everything time to get delivered, and I’m gearing up for a big weekend next weekend as well.

Yorkshire Grad Prix Race Report – 2021 C5 Americas East

I wrongly assume that anyone wants to read anything ever again. But I still like to read, so I’m writing this for myself. If you (or I) like watching videos instead I got lucky that Lee Brill edged me out at the line, and he recorded the entire race and posted it to his YouTube channel. We were pretty close for much of the race, so this video tells a lot of the tale of my experience.

Good–that gives me a chance to talk about my personal thoughts and realizations from this race.

This was not a good course for me, so I’m actually pretty happy with finishing 20th on time and 15th on points. I’m more of a steady effort guy–not exactly known for my punchiness. Actually, not known for anything on the bike other than wearing motley kit that’s embarrassing to actual cyclists.

Anyway, there ain’t a single flat spot on this course. You can see what happens at the end of Lee’s video when I go up against a real puncher. I attacked, and was able to split the group of 4 we were in up in half, but he delivered the knockout blow.

I did learn something in this race that is haunting me a little. I can’t explain why I have problems tapping into my grit/aggression on these virtual races. In live competition I’m pretty decent at digging deeper than I should be able to. But for some reason I envision all my competition in these races having an easy time with them–just coasting along dishing out punishment. That’s the best case scenario I imagine actually. Usually I imagine them poking at my avatar like a voodoo doll and laughing at my suffering. It’s really defeating.

I realized while showering after this race that they are hurting too. I can put a hurt on them. Well, some of them anyway. Not all of them, but that’s ok. My move at the end of this race cut the number of people I had to compete with from three to one–proof that I need to get more aggressive. When I’m going into a physical competition like rugby or jiu jitsu, I always go in with the mentality of, “That dude better watch out for me–he’s about to feel something he’s never felt.”

Now, of course, it usually doesn’t work out that way at all. Even when I win, it’s seldom dominant, and I’m always a breath away from snapping. But I need to figure out how to get myself there for virtual bike racing too.

It’s the right mentality when competing.

Overall, loving this format. I do wish there was league scoring, but I think that’s coming for future series. I think what they’re really trying to work out here is the autocat system. I’m up in the top third of C5, and the competition feels about right to me. I’m sure the bottom third would disagree though.

Zwift Autocat C5 TEST Race Review

So, yeah, I’m reviewing the race. I can’t help but do that because I’m happy with my results. But I really want to give some thoughts on the new categorization system Zwift is testing out. Basically, it places you in race categories of 1-6 instead of the traditional A-D they’ve been using. They’re using the WTRL Zwift Classics Series to try this new system out.

Spoiler alert: Scotty Likey.

The old A-D system is based solely on your watt/kg number. For me, that’s currently at 2.89, which is a solid C. Yeah…the denominator of that number is too large. I’m working on it. But this single measure doesn’t say a ton about you as a rider. Are you a good climber? A good sprinter? Are you punchy? Are you at time trial specialist?

The Cat1-6 system uses your registered numbers on ZwiftPower and considers many more factors from your past performances. When I went through the process of getting categorized, I was a little disappointed that I ended up a ‘5’. I was so sure I was a mid-range 4.

Well, after racing last night, I think the categorization system put me in the right place. Whatever it’s labeled, it put me in with folks I can race with, but can’t beat. At least not yet. I was hoping I’d be in the top third of finishers, and ended up 6th out of 21 in the race. I could just have easily been 7th, but I happened to get the perfect power up (aero boost) for a big guy to finish on a short flat right after a big downhill. I literally crossed a fraction of a second ahead of 7th.

So…yeah. Top third.

I did some recon before the ride, watching videos others posted from previous test races. After seeing Cat 4, I knew I would not be able to hang. The Cat 5 race I watched looked doable, but painful. One thing that stuck out in both races was that (as always) people come screaming out of the gate and push for the first 1k. Knowing this, I went way harder than I wanted to go in order to stay in the lead group out of the gate and just try to stay with the group for at least the first lap.

The lead group was made up of 10 riders, and I made it a point to attack on the first KOM, just to see how others would react. Everyone stayed with. One guy kept riding out solo, but no one chased–the group of nine could handle a single flyer an reel him back in.

We remained a group of 10 for the first two laps, and the second lap was much more calm and had a pretty steady rhythm. But I knew from my recon that a big attack was coming. I got a feather power up at the start line and opted to hold it for the climb. Man…EVERYBODY attacked. and the pretenders (I was one) were detached quickly from the top 5 riders. Three of us quickly separated ourselves, then settled down a bit.

Just before the KOM banner I attacked hard, knowing that the mostly downhill finish benefitted me as a big guy. What I didn’t know was that one of the other two guys was even bigger than me, and he cranked out some serious watts on the downhill to catch back up with me with about 1k to go. I jumped on his wheel and held on, hoping he didn’t get the aero power up at the KOM banner like I did.

Lucked out, and was happy to edge him out. Looking at his numbers later, we are really well matched. Hopefully I’ll be seeing him in the East Coast time slot on some of the Classics!

Six Gap Training – Week 13 – Stop Piss Farting Around!

Titled in honor of an old football coach who didn’t curse, but used these two words liberally. I never really figured out for sure what “piss farting around” is, but I know he would yell it at us for doing it twice a day in the late summer. And that’s the theme for this week…

Two-A-Days!

The big ride(s) of this week were both virtual, and both around 60 km each by the pixel count. I did two group rides on Saturday of the Petit Boucle course and the Tire-Bouchon course. I have no idea what those words mean, but I had about an hour between finishing one and starting the other. That gave me some time to go inside the big house, eat, refill water bottles, and literally chill for a bit before going at it again.

The first was really nice. It was a ‘C’ ride, and of course I was dropped early because I couldn’t hold that pace for 60k. Luckily, a couple of us slower folk hooked onto the wheel of a guy who was doing 2.4 w/kg steadily, which let us run at just under 2. Eventually we were the only two in our group, and I was able to pull the hills for us. He was even bigger than me, so the downhills were really nice.

Not so lucky in the second ride. I was solo the whole time. šŸ™ The only bonus is that we were on a course that was not one of the Zwift worlds of the day, so once the group ride was over and I kept pedaling on an empty course I ended up with a KOM jersey. Had to take a picture, because you won’t ever see this again.

I also did a couple of easy rides, and another trip up the Alpe de Zwift. I’m doing this ride repeatedly and using it to experiment with cadence. I’m going to need to keep my heart rate in check to have a good day at Six Gap, and that’s means being aggressive (but not TOO aggressive) on Hog Pen Gap. I worked on a lower cadence here while continuing to push the watts.

It felt like I was getting a PR, but I ended up about 3.5 minutes off my best time where I pushed more watts at the same cadence at a lower heart rate. I need to do some more work to figure out why that was because it could give me a hint of what will work for me on pain day and my fitness/freshness leading into it.

Zwift Group Rides – Y’all Just Chill On This

It’s been a long time since I read a blog post and then wrote a blog post responding to it. Like, it’s been years. But yesterday I read this post on ZwiftInsider around group rides, giving feedback to group leaders, ranking group rides, etc.

I joined one just last week, led by a pro rider. (This, by the way, is often the kiss of death on Zwift ā€“ pro riders are notoriously bad ride leaders.) The ride details stated a pace of 2-2.5 w/kg. He messaged before the ride began to say he would be holding a pace of 2 w/kg. Then promptly launched off the front, messaging 10 minutes into the ride that the pace would be closer to 3 w/kg.

It’s funny, because last week I did a couple of group rides that I normally don’t do, and both of them went poorly. Well, poorly for some of the people doing the rides. I didn’t have a problem with the rides or the leaders, even though they didn’t stick to the advertised pace. I just rode my own ride, found a couple of other people who were doing the same, and finished my workout. But I was amused with the whiny riders complaining about the leaders. Even while I was in the rides themselves I was thinking about this. I mean, it didn’t really irritate me, because the little text/message boxes popping up on my screen with people upset with the leaders didn’t affect my ride at all.

And that’s kind of the point.

Look, a virtual group ride shouldn’t put nearly the amount of expectation on ride leaders as in-person group rides. Safety is not a concern–nobody’s getting hit by a car on the trainer. Cues and steering are not a concern–nobody is getting lost out here. And really, speed shouldn’t be a concern–at least not one big enough to get upset about.

I get it. It’s fun to “go fast” on the screen because you are riding in a big blob while only putting out 2.5 w/kg of effort. But at the end of the day, what does it matter if the leader (and most of the peloton) want to bump it up to 3.0 w/kg and you can’t keep up? Why would you get upset about this? No one is stopping you from continuing on at 2.5 w/kg. That’s on you. That’s your inability to be disciplined with your pace. Take the opportunity to work on it.

Is it because you’re trying to get PRs on Strava segments or get more “miles”? Um….this isn’t real riding. What you’re really doing on a trainer is X watts for Y minutes. Spoiler alert–you aren’t actually going anywhere.

So if you don’t like the way the group ride is going, don’t complain. Just ride. Or just get off your bike. It’s not like the leader drug you out 25 miles away from your house. You’re already home. And guess what. There’s probably another virtual group ride starting up in 30 minutes or so.

Then you can get mad at whoever is leading that one. They are probably getting paid exactly the same thing ($0) as the person who was leading the last ride you whined about.

I get the point of the post is that there should be a way to provide feedback, but that’s so the leaders can get better and have more successful rides in the future. I’m all for that. What I experienced last week was anger and whininess during the ride. The feature I’d ask for is the ability to mute the Debbie Downers.

2021 Six Gap Training – Week 14 – All About That Pace, Bout That Pace

5 Ride | 8 hours | 160 miles | 2,690 ft | Training Score: 414

This was a pretty light week of climbing, coming off a week where I’d struggled with hilly longer rides. My legs definitely appreciated the little break. Focus this week was placed more on doing a couple of longer rides (63 miles and 39 miles) along with a short but intense TT on Tempus Fugit.

The long ride was the highlight of the week–done on actual terrain with actual people, eating actual food. I overate on this ride, and I don’t regret it. I’ve been trying to eat every 1.5 hours, but that didn’t seem to be cutting it for rides that were taking bigger effort. This time, I opted for every 45 minutes or so. I didn’t resort to carbs though–snacked the whole way on egg/guac mix and some beef jerky. Went through just under 4 bottles of water as well. Hydration hasn’t been much of an issue so far in training, but I haven’t run out of water yet either.

One huge difference I noticed in riding outside was comfort. This ride was planned kinda last minute, and all I had clean and ready to go was a pair of triathlon shorts–very little padding for a 3+ hour ride. I was surprised at how comfortable my booty was. There are more opportunities to move around in the saddle and adjust when riding outside that you get on the trainer. Another reason I’m happy to spend most time on the trainer–anything that makes the real pain day more comfortable.

I did find myself in want of some gloves. It was pretty dang muggy, and we even had some rain at the end of the ride. I never felt unsafe, but I was aware of my hands and that I needed to be mindful of them. Another big difference in riding a road bike that I’m just not used to. In the aero position on a TT bike you don’t have to worry about this.

More climbing for the next couple of weeks, and hopefully at least one session outside each week. I haven’t been doing the weekly TTTs on Zwift for a few weeks, and although I miss them, I think this opening on the schedule has given me a good chance to focus on what I need to do for Six Gap.

2021 Six Gap Training – Accepting The Saddle Time (Reluctantly)

This post is part of a series where Iā€™m overthinking my approach to training for the 2021 Six Gap Century ride in North Georgia. All time spent thinking and writing probably would have been better spent on the bike

At first glance this would appear to be the main issue–sitting on a bike for hours and covering 100 miles. The problem here is that, because of the climbing involved, and because I’m kind of a big guy, this ride probably looks more like 175-200 miles when you’re thinking of it in saddle time. To put it in running terms, I’m not training for a marathon, I’m training for an ultra.

If I were doing a normal century ride, I’d be able to count on some things like riding in a big group with a lot of draft. I’d also be able to discount some things like nutrition and hydration. It’s not that I could ignore those things, but they’d be less important. Riding at a pretty easy pace for 4-5 hours is a lot easier to manage than riding 7-8 hours on a roller coaster of effort.

One part of this is adjustment in equipment. Most of my bike time has been in triathlon training, so I’m accustomed to tri shorts with minimal padding–something I can swim and run in. I’m planning to switch over to a bib for this event. I haven’t had a chance to purchase yet, but it’s my cart along with a heaping helping of butt paste.

I’m trying to account for the saddle time by working out how often and how much I have to eat to stop the bonk. That means regularly doing 2-3 hour rides pretty often, even 3 months out from pain day. Something else I’m going to incorporate is two-a-day workouts–doing a long easy ride in the morning, followed by a shorter but more intense ride in the afternoon.

I did a mini-test this Tuesday with a pretty easy one hour ride at lunch (intensity = 73%), followed by a time trial sufferfest in the afternoon (intensity = 101%). Counting the warmup time for the TT, that ended up being an hour and 45 minutes of saddle time, but broken up by a couple of hours. What I’m trying to achieve here is not just the saddle time, but saddle time at different effort levels.

To be honest, the plan was to do a similar test earlier this week, but suffering from the keto flu (see weight loss plan) had me bonking on what was supposed to be a relatively easy route for the first ride. I’m definitely going to have to play with this approach and adjust as I go.

The bottom line is that I really don’t like being on the bike for a long period of time. I can do it once on the designated day, but I’d like to get there without having to do a 6 hour ride weekly. It may come to that, but I have time to check out some different options for now.

Overthinking “Good Lord Lorrie” – Part I

If you don’t know this song listen to it. Now. Just listen. It’s beautiful. Or you could read the lyrics and approach it as a poem. It’s deserving.

I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this song. It’s not getting old to me at all. I’ve been listening to it for at least 8 years, and it keeps getting better and better. This song keeps revealing more of itself to me as the years go by. I’ve even read a few other critiques and commentary about it, and I think they’re fair and (almost?) accurate, but I think they were based on people with limited listens.

I’m sorry, but this song just can’t be properly considered with only two or three years worth of listening–not by someone with my limited aptitude. Your mileage my vary. As I peel the onion back, I have to conclude that either Evan Felkner is an absolute genius, or I’m wasting my time uncovering clues and meaning that were never intentionally left. Radio silence on Evan’s part right now, so I’m going with the former.

So I just want to break down one little section of the song that took me down a rabbit hole. It’s the ambiguous placement of the words “I guess” in the leadup to the chorus. On the first few listens, it seems like it’s simply a way to find a rhyme with “loneliness”. But if you listen closely, “I guess” is a phrase used to bridge two statements, and there’s some ambiguity as to which statement “I guess” goes with.

When he sings it, it’s spaced like a run on sentence:

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

So, does he mean it like this?

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess.

It’s just another phase of bein’ free.

Or does he mean it like this?

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones.

I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

Why does it even matter? Well, because one thing is a definite statement, while the other is the narrator’s supposition. It all depends on how you read/hear it.

This weighed on my mind for a while. Yes, I do have more pressing issues, but there’s no harm in taking some time to appreciate someone else’s hard work/art and trying to understand it on the level it deserves. I went back and forth on what he meant, and I landed on the second reading as the answer.

I was happy to have some resolution, and I decided to listen to the full song again with this little piece of knowledge.

As I was listening, I realized I’d been swerved. Everything else that’s revealed to us in the song just didn’t add up to my conclusion. This guy is a screw up. He doesn’t know anything.

That’s when my mind was blown. I think Evan meant it both ways–he’s just a damn efficient song writer. “I guess” works as both the end of one line and as the beginning of another. It would be read like this in prose:

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess.

I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

He’s “guessing” about the whole situation. Just listen to the end of the song…

Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right.

Also, when he says, “I had good intentions ’til I had to many. I was stupid I suppose”. And then there’s “Good Lord Lorrie I love you, could it go more wrong?”

This dude is “guessing” and “supposing” all over the place. Could it go more wrong? He doesn’t know. Even Lorrie herself says, “I wonder what we went through all this trouble for.” Between the two of them, there’s lots of wondering, guessing, and supposing.

Maybe you have to have truly been in love to understand the absolute certainty that you were absolutely meant to be together.

But these two? They don’t have that certainty. Nothing revealed in the song anywhere reveals any kind of certainty existing between them. It never did.

He’s “learning how to lose a thing he never laid a hand on”.

The only thing that is certain is that none of their relationship was ever certain.

2021 Six Gap Training – Fat Shaming Myself For Better Results

This post is part of a series where I’m overthinking my approach to training for the 2021 Six Gap Century ride in North Georgia. All time spent thinking and writing probably would have been better spent on the bike

Here’s a tough realization I’ve had to come to terms with: The biggest bang for my buck for speed and efficiency on the bike comes from not doing something. That something is shoving food into my face. I knew it was going to come to this. It’s just simple math. I can increase my strength and power, but there are limits there. The easiest way to improve my watts/kilogram is to decrease the denominator.

I have a complicated relationship with food. Actually, it’s not that complicated. My love for food is right up there with rugby, jiu jitsu, and, uh…other stuff. It’s a tough place for me to have the discipline to deny myself.

Weight loss has to happen for me to hit my goals, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. I’ve been at different weights over the last 30 years, depending on what activities I’m focused on. Playing rugby in college I was ~190 pounds and trying hard to gain weight. I was 215-220 as a reasonably fit men’s club rugby player, a step or two slower at 230, but I ran a marathon at that weight.

I tried to stay just over 200 pounds when I was doing triathlons pretty regularly, and that was a comfortable weight for that activity. Well, it was 10 years ago.

A couple of years ago when I was training BJJ heavily, my walking around weight was in the low 190s, and I could make 185 pounds without having to do any kind of weight cut–just a few days of being careful with the diet. I’m pretty trim at 185, so I think that’s a decent target weight for Six Gap. I’m currently floating between 200 pounds at my heaviest time of the day to 192 pounds right after a tough ride. I’m using 200 pounds as my baseline, just to be safe. Anything below 190 would be pretty good on pain day.

The Keto Reset Diet

That covers the “what”. For the “how”, I’m following Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet. The “when” is mid-September, the “who” should be obvious, and the “where” is all places known to man.

I’ve flirted with a ketogenic diet before, and I’m already wheat free, mostly grain free (tortilla chips are the devil), and careful about my sugar intake. This seems like the easiest path from where I am currently, and the more I learn about keto, the more sense it makes from a biological standpoint.

When I really started digging in and running my numbers using the formulas in Mark’s book , I realized that I’ve really been overdoing it with the protein. I was really shocked at the amount of fat I need to be consuming, and that’s going to be tough to accomplish.

I ran the numbers to get from 200 to 190 pounds in the next 60 days, and then I’ll assess where I am. Based on my activity level, my target daily calorie intake should be around 3,277. The macros break down like this:

  • Fat: 227g (2046 calories)
  • Protein: 112g (448 calories)
  • Carb: 50g (200 calories)

Keto gets me where I need to be, quickly. And this isn’t a cosmetic thing…your photo doesn’t go down in the record book, just your time. I fully expect I’ll be back to my fluffy self by Christmas. Well, maybe not…we’ll see what comes up after Six Gap!

2021 Six Gap Training – Learn To Love Not Crashing

This post is part of a series where I’m overthinking my approach to training for the 2021 Six Gap Century ride in North Georgia. All time spent thinking and writing probably would have been better spent on the bike.

I don’t ride my bike outside very often. The number one reason is safety, but I have plenty of other reasons. I like to get on the bike when I’m ready to ride and to be done with it when the ride is over–not a lot of preparation or clean up. And (living in Florida) it’s nice that the trainer lets me ride at night when it is a little cooler and on simulated hills. Maybe the biggest advantage I see in the trainer over the road is that I can get power metrics off my trainer/Zwift that I don’t get outside–I don’t have a power meter.

So how will trainer riding affect my experience at Six Gap? I won’t pretend there aren’t drawbacks, but I think the benefits of riding on the trainer far outweigh the limited benefit I could get from riding outside.

What about riding with other people?

I definitely recognize this as a skill that is important for cyclists. The thing is, I’m not trying to be a cyclist. Not a real one anyway. Not a poser one either. When I envision the next 5 years there’s a lot more jiu jitsu than cycling involved, especially outdoor road cycling. I think I’ll still enjoy jumping on Zwift and knocking out some races or getting in trail time while I’m in Tennessee, but I can’t see me falling in love with cycling and doing a bunch of group riding. It’s just not my thing, and it’s probably a product of spending most of my past bike time training for triathlons and riding alone, even when I’m outside.

“Yeah, but if you can ride with other people, you get the draft!”

Where is the opportunity for a peloton to form and save me tons of energy in this ride profile?

I’m not seeing a lot of draftable miles here. Not enough to make it a major focus of training anyway. And it’s not like I have ZERO skills at riding with others now. It’s not like I’m only comfortable at 2 bike-length space between everyone. So the gain of getting better at where I’m already sitting doesn’t seem that big.

An analogy is that I could swim faster than I can, but I’d have to put in a ton of work to do it. And if I put in that time/effort on the bike or run instead, I can get 2-3 times (maybe more) time improvement. So back in my tri days I quit trying to get better at swimming, and it paid off.

“Yeah, but you’re a big guy, and the practice descending will help you go faster.”

True, but we don’t have any 12% grades to descend here for practice. I’ll get some of that in when I’m in TN, but just enough to build my confidence. Ultimately, what am I going to do, try to pull an extra 30 seconds out of my Hog Pen descent by riding on the razor’s edge? No thanks. I’ll tap the breaks where needed, keep the bike upright, and finish a couple of minutes later. Besides, I can probably more than make up for those gains by getting better at climbing. And the more time I spend descending, the more time I spend recovering.

To sum this up in general…

I’ve been able to ride a bike since before I can remember. I’ve been better at it and worse at it than I am right now. I’m well aware that bike handling skills are a real thing, and I could get better at them if I applied myself. I just don’t see those gains having much of an impact for someone of my ability. For world class guys, sure. But at my age I probably don’t have the risk profile to even implement most of what I could learn. I mean, there are things I can definitely do on a mountain bike, but there’s always those few percentage of times when it wouldn’t work out.

At the end of the day, the reward just isn’t worth the risk or the time involved in improving. Not for me anyway.

Cryptocurrency – Here’s What War Is Good For

I get the technology. I understand (basically) how the blockchain works. What I don’t understand is how cryptocurrencies represent stores of value.

I’ll give you an alternative definition of a currency–extremely simplified: Something an organization with some level of military power says it will accept as payment for resources/services/products. And they’ll let OTHER PEOPLE use it also.

The military power is a really important piece of this.

If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically protect my resources and products from being taken by someone else, I won’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically prevent someone from forcing me to provide services at gunpoint, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

On tougher terms: if you and your friends (allies) don’t have the capacity to take resources from another organization, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

We could debate the question of to what degree the United States government is willing to provide this protection all day. But I don’t see how cryptos can accomplish this at all, unless they are government backed cryptos.

I’m not pro or anti cryptocurrencies–just explaining what I don’t understand about them being a store of value. And I know this can be picked apart–go ahead. It’s simply a mental exercise to try and figure out where these things fit together.

2021 Six Gap Training – Engulf Your Happy Place In Flames

This post is part of a series where I’m overthinking my approach to training for the 2021 Six Gap Century ride in North Georgia. All time spent thinking and writing probably would have been better spent on the bike.

Grit? Focus? YES!

Lots of people could do a ride if their life depended on it. Granted, they may not do it fast, and it would involve a lot of pain, but they could do it. But building the mental muscle to finish when you don’t have to is a different animal. I’ve had it before. I can have it again. But how am I going to get it? And how do I reach a point that will allow me to actually enjoy the event on race/pain day?

One of the best things I’ve learned training jiu jitsu is that you have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” That’s something I’ve always known intuitively, but I really love the way that statement sums it up. You can’t prepare yourself to do something that is hard by staying in your “happy place” during training. You have to get to the discomfort and then force yourself to stay there. Repeatedly.

Of course, this has to be tempered, especially when training the cardiovascular system. You can’t spend hours in Zone 4 or Zone 5 every day. And that’s what I’m trying to develop a strategy around. How can I build up some mental toughness, even on my easy days? How do I create mental discomfort and focus?

I remember reading Chrissie Wellington’s book where she talked about Brett Sutton shutting athletes into what was basically a dungeon and having them run a marathon on a treadmill. No TV, no music, no phone, no motorcar. I’m pretty sure lights were available. This was all geared towards building mental toughness and focus. I’m not trying to win an Ironman Championship, but there are things here I can replicate.

For me, that means riding alone (no conversation) on a trainer (not going anywhere) in a 6×10 room (nothing to look at). I think I’m cheating a little by using Zwift and streaming music while I’m training, but I’m not Chrissie Wellington either. Zwift is actually the biggest cheat here because it gives me lots of metrics to consider while I’m riding–HR, power, w/kg, cadence, etc. This data keeps my mind occupied, but I wouldn’t exactly call it fun.

But it does to is keep me focused on the right things. I anticipate the biggest challenge on pain day is managing heart rate. Normally I’d say power, but with no power meter on my bike I’m going to need to be able to make the correlation between heart rate and power. It’s sort of like how NASCAR drivers don’t have speedometers. The real goal is to keep the RPMs under control–go as fast as you can while not over-revving the engine.

So all the other aspects of training (climbing, saddle time, intervals) are all built around this building of mental toughness. The trainer and Zwift lets me kill 2 (and on some rides 3) birds with one stone.

“Yeah, but you aren’t getting better at bike handling and actually riding the bike.”

I can’t refute that, but in my next post I’ll at least address it.

2021 Six Gap Training – A Complete Dummy Taking A Stab At It

It’s hard to call this a plan, especially since there’s a lot of playing by ear going on. It doesn’t have specific workouts laid out over 20 weeks or anything like that. This is more like a framework for a training approach, and it’s not based on any experience as a coach. It will be based on a bunch of data, which I’ll write about later. I’m the guinea pig, and I’m going to have to live with the results on pain day. I have some assumptions, some limiters, and a hefty dose of experimentation going on here.

What’s tough about training for Six Gap Century is that it isn’t just a century ride–covering 100 miles isn’t the only challenge presented here. Actually, the distance itself hardly factors in when you look at the big picture.

Six Gaps is a complicated problem. It’s actually a set of problems.

Yeah, yeah…I know there are lots of cyclists out there who have banked enough miles, climbs, and saddle time that they can just show up on September 26, ride Six Gap, then go out and to a 100k recovery ride the next day. But I’m not really a cyclist; not even a triathlete at this point. I’m just a dude who has done a variety of endurance events, but nothing this big that’s cycling focused. I’ve always pretty much middle of the pack, and if I can accomplish the same thing here I’ll be pretty happy.

I need some kind of training plan. And I don’t enjoy cycling all that much, so I need one that keeps me engaged.

So I’m going to approach this problem like I’d approach any other–what are the challenges I’m trying to overcome for this event? What are the problems that need to be solved?

For me, the big issues that need to be covered are:

I’ll start with mental toughness. In the end, I think this is the most important muscle to exercise. How do I plan to do it? Lots of time on the trainer, and not a lot of time outside. My past experience with mainly-trainer training has worked really well for me, and I definitely feel a difference when I go outside for an actual ride–it’s way more stimulating.

Imagine spending a few months listening to podcasts about nature, and then going in and watching a documentary about the National Parks on an IMAX screen. It’s that different.

The side benefit here is that the trainer allows me to work on almost all of the other aspects I need to address, excluding bike handling skills. I plan to go over my plan for each of these other issues in later posts, but I’m definitely going to use the trainer as my main training tool.

I’m going to break it down further in the next post. I’m always surprised at how much I have to say about stuff.

Zwift Crit Race 6 ā€“ Bell Lap Cat C

I’ve completed a few other races on this course, and I feel like I’ve not just improved in ability, but also in my knowledge of how these races are usually executed. Now I’m wishing I’d done race reports for all of them, but oh well. I’ve gotten better and better at honing in a strategy, and as a result, I was able to stay with the leaders for the entire 8 laps.

One thing that’s interesting here is that I placed third according to ZwiftPower in this race, but it was 8 seconds slower than my fastest time (23:11 vs 23:03), and I placed 18th in that race. I rode pretty even splits for both, so what’s the difference?

One, I think, is that I was in the lead group for this entire race. That means I was partly responsible for setting the pace. I’m not really an attacker, and now I’m thinking maybe I should be. I realized after the race that there are lots of Category B riders in these races. That’s actually a benefit for me because they help keep the pace a little higher and steady overall while at the same time trying not to get “coned” for going too fast. These are either tempo rides for them or they are lower leveled Bs who can’t compete in those races.

But back to me. I noticed that I tend to take my foot off the gas a little when I’m up front, mostly because my strategy is that I don’t want to burn myself up–I’d rather let someone else (those Bs) do the bulk of the work. The problem is that it keeps the good sprinters in the lead group and rested. I’m not really a sprinter…more of a lead out guy. Who do you think that benefits?

So taking a look at the lap splits for this race, I’m starting to formulate a plan on when/where to attack to try and break that lead group up.

Lap 12:45
Lap 22:51
Lap 32:49
Lap 42:55
Lap 52:51
Lap 62:57
Lap 72:57
Lap 82:44

It doesn’t have to be a sustained attack. I just need one or two other riders to go with me and drop the hangers-on. And I realize that may be me. I remember reading or seeing on a video that it’s typical that the 7th lap in these races is a “rest lap” for people to save up for the end.

I’m thinking about trying to flip that on its head. I’m considering attacking in the second half of the rollers at the beginning of the course and up the slight hill on the 7th lap. This may speed this lap up a little bit while still giving me plenty of time to recover for the 8th lap. Basically I want to shift the “rest” until later in the race and shorten it’s duration.

The perfect situation to do this will be to get a Ghost power up on the 7th lap and an Anvil on the 8th for the cobblestones.

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