Sunday, December 20, 2009

Iowa in December

Total miles for the week: 203
Mon 15 easy indoors
Tues 32 Group indoors intervals
Wed 27 easy outside
Thur 40 endurance pace outside
Fri 16 Shop on the rollers 5:58 for Killer 2 miles (best ever)
Sat 33 Outside easy
Sun 40 Endurance pace indoors
Next Week Goal : 175

I think we have been pretty lucky with the weather this December. Last year I only rode outside 3 times for a total of 155 miles. This week I rode outside three times and for the month I have 300 outdoor miles total. Sunday's outside ride got cancelled with the snow coming in early.

I don't mind riding outside if the roads are dry and the wind is not blowing 20+ mph. The big hassle is that it takes 30 minutes to figure out what to wear and get dressed. Gravel roads are great to ride when they are snow covered but in the last week they have been too icy. Last Friday I was on the gravel roads and found myself laying in the middle of the road as the bike went right and I went left. I decided I better wait until some of the ice breaks up before "hitting" them again.

For indoor training I started the second year of Tuesday night indoor group rides in my basement. The turnout has been light the first two weeks but hopefully will pick up as the winter continues. The sessions are usually 75-90 minutes with either a Coach Troy video work out or some other structured workout. My wife is a spin instructor and can be pretty creative with her workouts and I have been know to steal a few of hers.

When the season starts each rider completes and anaerobic threshold test on my indoor trainer. This test is better referred to as the ride-til-u-die test. It is based on Conconi's test to determine anaerobic threshold. Before the test the rider warms up 15-30 minutes. They then ride a pre-programmed 10 minute interval that increases the wattage every 30 seconds. The wattage range is normally 165-412. The subject rides until they can't ride anymore. You are only allowed to stand for your last interval. Since the interval is based on watts not speed shifting or slowing your cadence does not make it any easier. The machine just adds more resistance to keep the wattage at the targeted level. The longest I have made it is 9.5 minutes.

The attached video is Greg Harper on the last 30 seconds.

When repeated at regular intervals this test will let you know if you are in better shape then last time. You can compare your heart rate at a certain watts from previous test. If your hear rate is lower then you are in better shape. My results last week were close to the results from early June right before leaving for RAW and a little better then last year at this time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Somebody order me a C.A.T.scan

Last week I sent in my entry form, and actually got in, to the TRANS IOWA VI. The field limit is only 75 and it fills up within hours of registration opening. I was fortunate enough to have Christopher's girlfriend drop my entry off at the store on the weekend so they would have it first thing on Monday. This is a 300+ mile gravel road race that takes place in central Iowa at the end of April. The course is a big loop that is revealed section by section as you arrive at the check points. The route to the first check point is the only cue sheet you start the race with. As if 300 miles of gravel is not enough of a challenge the race is completely unsupported. You have to carry everything or stop at c-stores along the route. Last year the top riders were done in about 25 hours.
Training for this event will begin after the first of the year. The plan is to ramp up the long rides on the weekends. In late March and early April increase to some 150-200 miles rides. Most of my long rides will be on the roads but I will have to throw in some gravel riding as the date gets closer.

Equipment choice for this race will be very critical. The bike of choice over the last couple of years has been a cyclocross bike or a 29" wheeled mountain bike with cyclocross tires. I don't have either. I am hoping to borrow a cyclocross bike from one of my riding partners for the month of April.

Lights are also a big choice. Riding on the pavement you can get by with less of a light then you can on the gravel. Most paved roads are well marked with very few obstacles. Gravel on the other hand has no white lines along the edges and many potholes and other obstacles. My plan is to us a Schmidt Dyno hub. The output of this light is great and I won't have to worry about carrying batteries. The only problem with this light is that when you stop the light goes out. To over come this I will also have Connie's adventure race head lamp on my helmet. The helmet light will be needed anyway to read the cue sheet and the street signs.

Being unsupported means that you will have to carry extra clothing for temperatures changes plus food to get from town to town. It will be a little hard to find food at 2:00 in the morning when you are in the middle of no where. I have not decided if I want to wear a Camelbak Mule or put a seat rack on the back. Right now I am leaning towards the Camelbak.

Now that winter has arrived the training has tapered off a bit but the goal is to try to get at least one 60-70 mile ride in each week. I am not looking forward to the week that I will be stuck in the basement riding for 3 to 4 hours. I am on target to get 13,000 miles this year with 12,000 being outside.

To mix training up a little I entered the Devil's Cross cyclocross race in Bettendorf a few weeks ago. It was a great workout. I raced the fat tire division first and got first place of 6 and then entered the 40+ open race and got 7th of 8. The open race had 29 entries and I got 19th overall. I was the only rider on a mountain bike. I was in it for the fun and work out and accomplished both.