Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Cycling (Page 3 of 7)

A Different Approach To Faster Running

When the ‘rona hit and I couldn’t go to BJJ any longer, I decided to take the time off to get back into the deep end of running. Is a sub-20:00 5k possible for me?

****SPOILER ALERT****

Probably Not.

I haven’t been super dedicated to running for several years. Still, I knew what it was going to take to get faster. A weekly long run, a couple of easy runs, and a weekly HARD workout. I hate running intervals. But I decided to buckle down and do it.

Problem is, I’m not as young as I used to be, and I was getting really beat up on the hard workouts. I didn’t have any real significant injuries, but it seemed like I was “hurt” all the time. I’ve run enough to know that running hurt is the path to injury, mostly because of the repetitive nature of running and what happens when you change your stride to accommodate the hurts.

Enter the solution (maybe): Hard bike workouts to get in the zone 4/5 training and doing all the runs at an easy pace. I’m still keeping the weekly long run, but I’m just looking for time on my feet. I have faith this will work based on the improvements I’ve seen in my running in the past when I focused on cycling along with the running race results I was able to get when I was REALLY fit from BJJ and doing no running at all.

The added benefit here is that I get to keep all the things I love about running easy and jettison all the things I hate about running hard. In truth, I dislike races less than 10k as well, but doing a race every now and then for the good of the 5 9s team isn’t a huge ask.

Zwift VS Peleton

Here’s what it really comes down to for me:

Peleton is spin classes. Zwift is group rides and races.

Peleton is for people who want to exercise/get fit. Zwift is for cyclists.

I realized the big difference while watching a TV show that had a character in a spin class.

Peleton is, “Come on, you can do it! Feel that burn and know you are improving your life!”

Zwift is, “Hey…looks like you can work with me to catch that group ahead. Oh…you’re cooked? Peace out…I’m gonna drop you and find someone else who can take me further up the road.”

I Hate New Year Resolutions

If you think about it, it’s a little strange to decide to make major changes based on some arbitrary time when a number changes on a piece of paper.

Still, we’re human, and I guess we need these imaginary lines to psychologically break up time; this year more than any other in our lifetimes.

But I’m not making resolutions. I mean, I’m definitely making some changes that coincide with the calendar change, but they aren’t really resolutions. The timing is merely a coincidence. So…listed in no particular order:

Blogging

When we moved from FL to Las Vegas a few years ago, I cut back on blogging a lot. I’ll write later about the reasons why, all the other changes that happened, etc. But I do plan on updating things here much more often. Not because anything I have to say needs to be read, but because it helps me to write it.

Going past actually writing, I think there’s something therapeutic/cathartic about putting it out in the world to be seen, even if it’s not widely read. It feels weird to make yourself a little vulnerable and realize that you’re still ok.

This one is really important because it’s my outlet to talk about everything else on this list.

Cycling

I was really into cycling on Trainer Road a few years ago. It looks like I’m going to be transitioning over to Zwift, and I plan on talking about why along with tracking some of the technical stuff around it.

There’s a whole other aspect to this beyond training–lots of emotions tied up in it. Again, lots to say later, but the passing of my friend Bill this year ultimately led to a fire being lit under my behind.

Running

Religion? Therapy? I don’t know. It will take a lot of long runs to figure this out, but it’s something I’ve brought back into my life more this year. I didn’t know how much I was missing it. I have a lot to say about how my feelings around running have changed and this new need I feel to protect it.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Holy moly do I miss BJJ. I can’t wait to go back, and the end is in sight. Taking all this time off has given me a chance to reflect on how bjj plays into my physical and mental health. Like running, it’s something I need to protect. Both are activities I don’t want to risk being sidelined from.

Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF

Wow. There’s a switch in topics. I’ve spent the last year reading and studying a lot. Again, lots to say here, but all of it can wait until after I take my last exam and have a certification that can’t be rescinded.

Rugby

Greatest game ever. As years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the breadth and depth of impact rugby has had on my life.

I wish I could have just one more season in a 28 year old body.

Coronavirus

The Missus and I have spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about this. Shocking, right? Some about the specifics around the actual virus, but a lot more about it’s implications for our family and society going forward. I think our experience and journey through this has been really healthy, but it has made me look at our culture/society a little differently.

Other Stuff

As I’ve gotten older, I’m subscribing less and less to “isms”. I think that’s because I’ve realized I don’t really have any answers and neither does anyone else. There are so many nuances to everything. Oh to have just one more day of being young and knowing everything (or anything). I’ve shied away from writing about politically charged stuff for years, but I think it may be easier for me now that I have more questions than answers.

Besides that, I’ve been listening to great music, reading some cool books, and reading some trendy books. I should share, or at least leave some thoughts I can refer to later.

I’ve gotten hooked on some really interesting stuff on YouTube. And while I haven’t been posting here, I’ve written quite a bit as well. Mostly on Twitter (lol), but also done some gratitude journaling (how trendy), and even had to get up in the middle of the night to get a poem out of my head.

Yeah…not really ready to share that yet.

Things I want to learn more about

Spanish, literature, music theory, economics, etc. This list is ever-expanding, and I’ve come to the realization I think a lot of people come to–I’m running out of time to cram all this in.

I’m not editing this. I’m just hitting publish.

Want To Try Trainerroad For Free?

Quick and to the point, if you’d like to try out Trainerroad for a month,  just leave a comment to this post with your first and last name and I will hook you up. The email address you use will have to be legit, but it won’t be displayed–I just need it to fill in the information on the TR side. First three commenters get them.

No catch, and they don’t have an affiliate program (yet), so I don’t get a dime for it. I just strongly believe in their product and want to help anyone who’d like to take it for a test spin.

Horrible pun.

I’m a huge fan of Trainerroad, although you wouldn’t know it by reading this blog lately. Actually, you wouldn’t think I’m a huge fan of much of anything by reading lately.

Still, when I am training (and why am I such a lazy bum right now?), I can’t think of a better investment I’ve made in my fitness that Trainerroad. I was riding a ton about a year ago–well, at least a ton for me–and I saw tremendous results not only in my cycling, but also in my running.

Yeah, being a strong cyclist takes you a long way towards being a strong runner.

I even did the Sufferfest Tour of Sufferlandria in 2014. What has happened to me?

 

Laziness Will Exact Revenge

It’s my own fault for not being better prepared and letting off the gas.

Trainerroad announced the 2014 8 Days in California Challenge, and I’m very ill prepared to ride this in just a week and a half. The only thing I can do to make it easier on myself is to take a new FTP test based on my newly found lack of bike fitness.

It sucks when you have to take an FTP test to make things easier on yourself.

Although I don’t expect it to be as grueling as the Tour of Sufferlandria, I’ll be bringing a bucket to this one.

Races–Gotta Get Something On The Schedule

I’ve hit a rut.

I’m working out consistently…well, running at least, somewhat consistently…but not having an immediate purpose if starting to take its toll.

My spring so far has sort of been built around rugby. I’ve already played one March tournament in Savannah, and I have another one coming up in NOLA in April. The plan was to make it out to rugby training with The Red Eyes once a week, maybe make a B-side match to help fill out numbers here and there, and get all my other fitness through running and some cycling on the off days.

The problem is that even rugby training jacks my back up. Bad. And the tournament I played a couple of weeks ago left me unable to run for about a week. I’m still going to make it to the NOLA tournament, but nothing in between now and then rugby-wise.

But I’m not amping up my SBR for some reason. I’m chalking up some of that to work travel and spring tasks around the house, but I’m running out of excuses.

Luckily, my Fall schedule is loaded with races–a couple of big Oly distance tris and a couple of 13.1 races right after that. So I’m going to have to start buckling down soon whether I like it or not.

Did I mention I’d like to come into serious tri training this season with a 5k PR?

Yeah…I’d better get on that.

A Different Kind Of Schedule For Me

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to focus on fast instead of far for this year. I took some time off after the Tour of Sufferlandria (a whole week off the bike) to recharge and get ready for some new stuff.

Lots of new stuff actually.

This spring I’m committed to (gasp) rugby for the for first time in a long time. Well…not too committed, I’m only going to practice once a week. But there’s an Old Boys tournament in NOLA this April, and I want to show up not only fit, but also with at least some of the strength and rugby mobility I’ve lost over the past couple of years.

It also helps to have held a ball recently.

This actually fits in pretty well with my efforts to try and get a little faster. I’m focusing a lot more on fast twitch in my non-rugby days with intervals. You could make the case that I’m more committed than the average rugby player because I’m going to training once a week and actually doing something on the other days. 😉

And then there’s that mobility issue–back to yoga.

The Missus has a YogaGlo subscription, and when I started checking out their offerings for endurance athletes, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m getting in a couple of short sessions each week focusing on hammies and hips, but also getting some arm and shoulder work in.

The missing piece to my whole plan is swimming. I’m not going to get in nearly enough. Saturday morning Masters is one tough workout a week, but that’s my only access to a pool. I’m hoping I’ll be able to squeeze in at least one day of OWS, but that sort of depends on the availability of partners.

The hope is I can make it to the end of April without any injuries, a little more speed, a little more strength, a little more mobility, and ready to switch things up a little.

Here’s the general schedule:

  • Mondays: moderate bike + stretch yoga
  • Tuesdays: run intervals + stretch yoga
  • Wednesdays: easy bike + long yoga
  • Thursdays: tempo run + rugby
  • Fridays: long slow bike + stretch yoga
  • Saturdays: masters swim + hard run
  • Sundays: long run

[image credit]

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 9 Report

Stage 9 – Violator

  • Duration: 1:08:31
  • Power: 303 watts
  • Average Cadence: 80
  • TSS: 89.4
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  1:47 pm on Sunday, February 2

Ugh…I purposefully never did this ride before today because I wanted it to be a surprise to me. And because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.

Violator starts off with the typical warm up. Then you do some sprints, followed by a few sprints, then ending up with a nice little set of sprints.

Violated–64 sprints in all.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_9_violator

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. Granted, I didn’t get to watch the video because when I went to download it my link was expired. Luckily, the fine folks at Trainerroad still let you pull up the profile and do the ride, you just don’t get to see the cool cycling footage and read the sadistic jokes.

I watched a documentary about Bo Jackson instead. It’s all good. I’ve contacted The Sufferfest, and they’ve already gotten back to me with a link for the download. And I’m probably happier not having seen the video and knowing I’d missed all the cadence queues. Again.

So this ride was probably easier than it should have been, but my legs are scattered, covered, smothered, topped, chunked, diced, broiled, charred, and toasted.

And I did it all for this:

tos_badge

A little badge on my Trainerroad profile that says, “I really WILL beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow.”

This Tour was a lot of fun. I think they did a great job keeping the pressure on everyone, and these rides weren’t just suggestions–do them or get dropped!

Also, it’s great that they raised so much money (over $57k at posting) for the Davis Phinney foundation for Parkinsons.

One of my former rugby teammates has Parkinsons, and it’s something I’ve talked about before. It’s especially viscous to see the disease attack people like Pat and Davis Phinney–people who are active and healthy. This is the part where I ask you to click on the link for the Davis Phinney foundation and make a donation.

Can’t wait to do this ride next year!!!

Previous Stage Reports:

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 8 Report

Stage 8 – Blender

  • Duration: 1:44:26
  • Power: 314 watts
  • Average Cadence: 84
  • TSS: 140.5
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  2:19 pm on Saturday, February 1

Confession – I totally ignored the cadence queues on this ride. Before you write me off as a cheater, let me explain…

You don’t show up to play a round of golf and monkey around with your swing on the course. You do that on the driving range. In practice.

This being a Tour (race), it isn’t the time for me to go off and try to do something I’m not good at, especially when my main objective for the day is just to keep up and not get dropped. This video calls for long periods of high-cadence work.

But it doesn’t make sense to do that on race day when you can pull the same power at a lower cadence and keep the heart rate under control…right?

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_8_blender

The upside is that my first attempt at Blender and several days doing the Tour of Sufferlandria have shown me I’m weak at long periods with high cadence. It’s something I’m going to work on (that means doing this ride A LOT) in the future. I’m well aware that riding at a high cadence evens my power distribution out through the pedal stroke, and that’s something I want.

But I’ve also heard some really knowledgeable triathletes talk about the fact that everyone has a natural cadence, and it’s better to work off strengths than weaknesses. I think that’s somewhere in the mid-80s for me–data analysis coming to verify that.

Strangely, I get the same results running. As long as I stay in the mid 80s, I’m good. But my HR blows up when I try to run 90 rpm–that magic number everyone is supposed to hit.

I’m beginning to think recommended cadences are a lot like BMI.

One more day!

Previous Stage Reports

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 7 Report

Stage 7 – Angels

  • Duration: 1:04:43
  • Power: 382 watts
  • Average Cadence: 82
  • TSS: 99
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  11:15 am on Friday, January 31

And… The Hunted

  • Duration: 1:01:30
  • Power: 366 watts
  • Average Cadence: 84
  • TSS: 99
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  9:33 pm on Friday, January 31

This is the stage I’ve been dreading since sometime around mid-November. Angels is just a really freaking hard ride for me. I have a hard time recovering once my HR gets up into the 160s, and this ride puts me there a lot.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_7_angels_profile

Nothing different this time around–begging for mercy about halfway through the second climb. Still, I made it to the end with my breakfast intact.

Again, no records set, but I’m ok with that.

I’m learning a lot about my strengths and weaknesses riding ToS. Maybe “learning” isn’t the right word…”confirming” is probably better. Long steady efforts at a moderate cadence are like candy to me, but sprints or repetitive high-cadence efforts shred me, even if they are at low power are really tough. I’ve noticed that the recoveries at the end of the rides tend to see me riding at about 84 rpm to get my heart rate down.

I’ve also figured out that I need to hold off on taking in water during the recovery periods until my heart rate is back under control. Taking a drink makes my heart rate go up, and I can manage to take in liquid during a work period. Rest is the only time I have to recover my HR though, so I’m holding off on drinking until I’m under 140 bpm.

Anyway, that all went out the door once I started up riding The Hunted. I was completely in survival mode for most of this ride, just doing what I could to stay on the line. Successful, but even the warm down didn’t help me recover. My HR was 152 at the end of the ride, and it left me feeling pretty worried about how I’d get through Stage 8.

Blender is the only ride I’ve ever done on Trainerroad that I couldn’t complete. Fingers crossed for this ride…and the 64 sprint finish that is Violator.

Previous Stage Reports

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 6 Report

Stage 6 – A Very Dark Place

  • Duration: 0:50:49
  • Power: 341 watts
  • Average Cadence: 86
  • TSS: 84.0
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  5:15 pm on Wednesday, January 29 (Because it’s Thursday somewhere)

If there are any ho-hum days on the Tour, this is definitely the last of them. A Very Dark Place is a relatively short stage with a pretty good mix of riding on the flats and climbing. Lots of cadence changes, which is a challenge for me mostly because my bike really needs a tuneup to make shifting smoother.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_6_a_very_dark_place

If it didn’t require so much energy, I’d be tempted to give myself a little pat on the back at this point of the Tour. I’ve set one personal best for power output (20 minutes) during the Tour, and that was just by a few watts on the very first day. I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve held back, ridden the line, and not emptied the tank at the end of rides where I feel good.

The last time I rode A Very Dark Place, I set 7 personal bests–from 5 seconds all the way up to 5 minutes–and I was pouring the coals to her on the last interval, riding way above the line.

But I didn’t have Angels and The Hunted pointed at me the very next day the last time either. Stage 7 is the one I’ve been dreading since I first saw the schedule. These two rides aren’t horrible when ridden separately (although Angels puts my HR well into the 170s), but riding them back to back is going to be a real challenge.

Decision time: ride it today and take tomorrow off before Blender (the only ride that’s ever dropped me), or take today off and do two hour stages on consecutive days?

Going to have to think on it.

Previous Stage Reports

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 5 Report

Stage 5 – Extra Shot

  • Duration: 0:22:24
  • Power: 380 watts
  • Average Cadence: 87
  • TSS: 36.5
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  9:06 pm on Tuesday, January 29 (Because it’s Wednesday somewhere)

And… The Wretched

  • Duration: 0:49:28
  • Power: 358 watts
  • Average Cadence: 82
  • TSS: 76.6
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  9:33 pm on Tuesday, January 29 (Because it’s Wednesday somewhere)

You have to wake up earlier in the morning than this to fool me. The tour route specifies that you must do Extra Shot before The Wretched. The thing is, there’s no warm up in Extra Shot.

It doesn’t say in the Tour guide that you can’t warm up..it’s just not part of the Tour.

Only a moron would jump into a 20 minute time trial without warming up first, so the smart money is on people who realized this beforehand and did a warm up before getting out on the course.

Surprisingly, I realized what was going on and did a warm up.

Not giving myself too much credit though. If I was really smart I probably would not have decided to do ToS. And honestly, I probably should have done a longer warm up. I just did 6 minutes at an easy pace, getting my HR up to ~120 and holding it there. But I started pretty late (9 pm), so I was anxious to get going.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_5_extra_shot

I’d never ridden Extra Shot before, and I didn’t think it was too bad. Again, wish I’d been warmed up more, but this is another one of those rides that is sort of built for me. Actually, The Wretched (part II of this stage) is too.

Being completely honest, The Wretched is a pretty easy ride for me. I actually went back and reviewed the last time I rode it after I finished to make sure I wasn’t under-working because of some equipment setup was off. But it was just as easy the other time I did it.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_5_the_wretched

Climbing on the trainer just feels good to me. My legs are still relatively big and strong, so pushing a big gear doesn’t feel like too much work. Of course, this would be completely different if I was on an actual mountain carrying my actual weight.

But no one is pitying me on the sprint stages when spinning fast just means moving big heavy legs around and around, so I’ll take my easy stages where I can get them.

The Tour itself is only finished with Stage 4 at this point, and there’s a 35% drop-out rate so far. I still think most of the people still in the peloton will have no problem hanging on.

Until Stage 7.

Previous stage reports:

 

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 4 Report

Stage 4 – Hell Hath No Fury

  • Duration: 1:11:59
  • Power: 347 watts
  • Average Cadence: 88
  • TSS: 109.0
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  12:15 pm on Monday, January 27 (Because it’s Tuesday somewhere)

The prospect of racing against a a group of really fast women, which is the story of this video, doesn’t usually sound very enticing. What do I have to gain? I either get beat by them (likely) or I win (less likely) but walk away feeling like I should have won in either case. I have to say, this ride wasn’t as tough as I was expecting it to be, especially after the past three days of the tour. I actually think it was the easiest stage so far.

Granted, it’s totally set up for a guy like me to succeed–long (20 minute) work periods with long (up to 6 minutes!) recovery time in between the big ones.

I ended up riding at the exact same power as in stage 3, but for a longer period. Cadence almost exactly the same as well. Yet this was soooo much easier for me.

I like to gauge the toughness of a workout by the number and type of sounds that come out of the mouth-end of my body during them. The really tough ones involve sounds that resemble the noise you’d make if you had a piano on your back, just a few seconds before you completely give in and the piano crushes you.

The toughest workouts involve the sound that a rugby hooker makes when the tight-head prop has located the back of his head on the hooker’s sternum, and the opposing hooker  is using his shoulder to bury the guy’s chin down and bend him in half. It’s sort of a squeaking sound.

It means you’re cracked when you hear it on a bike.

Well…it means your cracked in both cases–cycling and rugby.

I only made one sound during the toughest part of this ride, but it was a “Whoooo!” sound, Ric Flair style. The ladies featured in this video went for a ride on Space Mountain, and I was stylin’ and profilin’ the whole way up.

hell_hath_no_fury_like_ric_flairIt’s ok ladies…this ride was made for me, so I’m bound to give you another shot at it. You may just have to wait a while. You see, Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it’s still go the longest line.

So I’m four days into the tour, and I’m a day ahead of schedule. Stage 5 is looking to be pretty tough, with a little bit of a pull back on Stage 6. I’m still thinking Stages 7 and 8 are the true tests, and they are back to back.

Looking at the official stats on Trainerroad this morning, it looks like 30% of the field was dropped after the first two stages. I think most of the people in the peloton right now have already proven themselves and will be able to hang on until Stage 7.

I’m guessing we’ll get to Stage 7 with more than 50% of the registered riders still in the game. But I think those two days are really going to break some people down. Just hope I’m not one of the ones that gets broken.

Previous stage reports:

2014 Tour of Sufferlandria – Stage 3 Report

Stage 3 – Revolver

  • Duration: 0:45:38
  • Power: 347 watts
  • Average Cadence: 89
  • TSS: 82.3
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  12:42 pm on Sunday, January 26 (Because it’s Monday somewhere)

Revolver is a speed driven ride. High cadence during the intervals–thankfully it’s short. But that doesn’t really provide much by way of consolation.

This ride is brutal.

Pretty simple–16 reps of 1 minute on, 1 minute off. That’s more like a semi-automatic with a full magazine than a revolver–with one in the chamber if you count the warm up, which was hard enough by itself after all the attacking and climbing required for ISLAGIATT yesterday.

This was my first time attempting this video, and I debated knocking this ride down to 90% before I started, but opted to ride at 100% since it was only 45 minutes long. When I looked at the ride feed on Trainerroad, it didn’t seem like anyone was getting dropped here,  and most people seemed to be riding it at or close to 100%. So I figured I’d roll the dice and ride it at 100%.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_3_revolver

Definitely doable, but definitely painful. I honestly don’t think taking 10% off would have made much difference. My heart rate was only recovering down to the mid-150s by the end, and peaking at the low 170s–stopping just before I reached max during the intervals, and starting back just as I was starting to recover in the rests.

I had a little trouble the first two intervals getting the gearing right, but I finally found the spot where I could alternate between big ring and small ring and on the front and keep it steady on the back, so my cadence stayed pretty steady for the duration.

Glad this one is over. I’m definitely weakening as the days go on–24 hours of rest will be good.

And, is it me, or does there seem to be a lot of repeated footage between this video and some others?

Previous stage reports:

 

2014 Tour of Sufferlandria – Stage 2 Report

Stage 2 – It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (ISLAGIATT)

  • Duration: 1:56:39
  • Power:  340 watts
  • Average Cadence: 84
  • Heart Rate:  152 average,  175 max
  • TSS: 164.8
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  4:57 pm on Saturday, January 25 (Because it’s Sunday somewhere)

ISLAGIATT is a climbing/endurance ride–lower cadence makes me happy…usually.

I’ve done this ride once before, and one of the things I like about it is the story line.  Basically, you are lowly rider having a lackluster tour, and all the people in the home country want to see you go for the Most Aggressive Rider award on this final mountain stage.

I wasn’t sure if it would be as fun riding it for a second time, but I think the story really kept me going. I reviewed my last workout on this ride before I started, just so I’d know what to expect, and was thinking this would be an easier (though longer) day.

I was wrong. This ride ran me up to the rail. My max HR is right around 180, and I spent plenty of time in the mid 170s. I was over 153 bpm for 1:11:00.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_2_islagiatt

In other words, my endurance is a big limiter. That’s going to show up later in the tour for sure. I’m expecting hell on Stage 7, and I’m plotting a rest day the day before it.

I wish I’d gotten this ride in a little earlier in the day, but I doubt sleeping in and resting for much of the day really hurt me either.

Tomorrow’s ride, Revolver, is only 45 minutes long. But it’s loaded with sprints.

Goody.

Previous Stage Reports:

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