After a few weeks of ploughing (literally, thanks to a Snowy Dec / Jan) through the holiday period while avoiding the scales, I finally weighed myself and was surprised to see that I’m in way better shape than I was this time last year. Better to be ahead of the game than being a few steps back from where you would like to be. There are stills months of hard work ahead before I start hitting important races, but until then it’s a case of spending time on the bike or in the gym. To fit in gym time at 24hr fitness I have to wake up at 445am to access the equipment that I need. Not ideal, but it’s good to get my gym workouts done before my day has really started.
I’ve been searching for a direct-drive trainer for a while… The best thing out there to-date is supposedly the BT-Advanced Training System. Noisy, but delivers a punishing workout from what I’ve heard. Until I live in a house with my own garage and no neighbors attached, I need to have a quiet means of training. Seems like the Italian folks at Elite may have come up with the solution – The Elite Turbo Muin. Direct drive fluid trainer and supposedly so quiet you can probably hear your neighbors eating their dinner. Thanks to Bob at ProNet and Rudy at Oschner, I was put in contact with City Velo in Denver who have one of these (hopefully magical) trainers on its way to me. With some luck I should have it before Christmas. If it lives up to the hype and allows me to do brutal workouts, I’m sure I’ll be cussing it out in no time! I’ll post more photos and a review once I’ve got it and churned out some miles.
Yesterday I got an email from USADA welcoming me to the National Testing Pool (NTP). From what I can tell, and added bonus of being a current US National Champion is that your pee can be demanded whenever and wherever. What this means is that I need to provide quarterly updates to USADA on my whereabouts so that a Doping Control Officer (DCO) can find me for whiz testing whenever they want to. Slight pain in the ass, but it’s all in the name of keeping sport clean, so I’m all for it.
After a few months of trying to find a bike sponsor for 2014, I’ve picked up Felt! As such, I spent half of last week hitting F5 and tracking my TK1’s shipping progress from CA to CO until it’s final arrival on Friday. Thanks to training and life in general, I didd’t get to sit down and build it up until Sunday evening, but it’s finally 99% complete. All I need to do now is trim down the NBA-length seatpost, install a magnet for the SRM and speed sensor, then just drool over it. The 2014 TK1 is definitely one of the coolest bikes I’ve ever owned and the Bayonet system is a masterpiece!
Last night I headed out east of Denver on a route that I’ve been using for endurance rides… At the half way point I realized I had a slow front flat so I pulled over… A few feet from this guy! Holy s**t. So far all the snakes I’ve come across on my rides have been dead and well baked, but this one was glossy and rattling away. After snapping a few photos from what seemed like a safe distance I rode farther up the road to a safer location to fix the flat.
Last night I had one of the best training rides I’ve had in a long time. It was just a short 1.75hr scoot but I felt like I could cruise at 250+ watts without pushing all out. The power was flowing nicely!
Then this morning I woke up to cold weather, ice on the windows, and snow on my car! Not a ton of the fluffy stuff but definitely a solid sign that fall/winter had landed in Colorado. The last time I experienced snow was in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2003… It’s been a while!
One day a week I drive out west to Golden to get in some quality training on Lookout Mountain near Golden (The front range’s equivalent to Hawaii’s Tantalus, except 6000ft higher). For me to step into a car to go training is a rare occurence and something I definitely hate doing, but sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. I rode to Golden once after work via Colfax Ave (Ghetto) and it was pretty miserable. I’ve also done it on weekends via various bike trails which is better but still time consuming. The first two times that I drove to Golden after work I got stuck in traffic, and last night was no exception. Sure enough, someone managed to crash their vehicle despite roads being dry, crystal clear visibility, and a wide open smooth road. I really do wonder how these people handle winter driving based on their lack of ability to drive in late summer. There are definitely a lot of people here who prefer to concentrate on their non-hands-free phone conversation vs the task that they should be more attentive to… DRIVING!
So, after 1hr + to go 20 miles, I had to hunt down a store to buy some kind of fluid for my ride. I thought this would be a simple task but the best option I could find in Golden was a Subway (sandwich shop). I got in there, grabbed a drink, and stood in line behind a couple teenage girls who were busy ordering 14 sandwiches. Can’t just ring me up for the one item I’ve got and let the two indecisive kids take the next hour to figure out their sandwich construction so that I can get on my happy way? Nope, no can do… I had to sit it out, blood boiling, before finally getting to pay for me drink. As the girls left, the Subway employee said to them … and please NEVER come back”. At least he was understanding and apologetic.
The ride, once I finally hit the road, was awesome. A lot of give for a little take, but it was worth it!
The past few weeks in Colorado have been pretty wild the one-in-a-lifetime rain event being the biggest one. We’ve been pretty fortunate that when we moved to Colorado we chose to live in Denver vs. somewhere like Boulder (Very tempting with the great access to riding in the mountains). Thanks to mothernature, a lot of the canyons that provided access for Boulder cyclists into the mountains have been wiped out, so their winter training, even training for years to come, probably won’t be the same.
We had some flooding in Denver but we’re far enough from the mountains that we didn’t get any walls of water rushing down canyons into homes etc. Some minor inconveniences, but in the grand scheme of things, missing a couple days of training is a small sacrifice compared to less fortunate people. It’s funny how small decisions you make in life can result in very different outcomes.
My off-season training is in full swing and it felt like fall had arrived on Sept 22 with the mercury hovering around 40F in the morning. However, a couple of days later and it was up above 50F in the mornings and hitting 90F during the day. Colorado weather can change pretty damn quick. I’ll have a few more weeks of pounding out the miles before off-season Part II when I go to Japan for two weeks. I’m hoping to do something there to maintain fitness but nothing set so far. One thing on my to-do list is to check out some Keirin racing in Hiroshima.
The pro-team sponsor search is still ploughing onwards and hopefully the plans for 2014 will be a bit more clear by mid-October.
Looks just like Scotland, but with less oxygen to suck down!
Last weekend I decided to venture back to Golden (via car) and ride from there west up Golden Gate Canyon towards Nederland, then back to Golden via Coal Creek Canyon. First off, GGC felt about 100x safer than the ride I did up Clear Creek Canyon last Saturday. Not sure if it was just a colder day, but on sections on the route that were in heavy shade from the sun it was bloody chilly! I was definitely happy with my rare decision to wear a vest under my jersey, albeit a thin castelli aero jersey with mesh back panel. The ride itself was basically an uphill slog with lots of 7% grade for 20+ miles and only a couple of sections that I’d call downhill. Fun, ripping fast descents with lots of turns and few cars or other cyclists. A little before Rollinsville I spotted a group of 3 cyclists in matching kit incoming… At first I thought it was Garmin but later realized it was Team Sky. All riders waves and I almost fell of my bike when I realized that the third rider was 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The temptation to flip around and catch up was definitely there and may have end up being a pretty cool ride but I figured to stay classy and leave them to their thing and me to mine. I was running short on time so ended up taking Coal Creek Canyon back to Golden. If I had more time I’d have done the 3 extra miles to Nederland and checked out Half Moon Bakery. Next time! The ride back to Golden was pretty cool, mostly because it contained a lot of the reward for climbing up to ~9500ft elevation… DOWNHILL and lots of 30+ mph riding.
It’s been a while since I obsessed about really planning and tracking my own training, but after floating through two seasons flying somewhat by the seat of my pants, I decided that it was time to get back on it! I dusted off the old PMC spreadsheet, fixed some formatting issues thanks to using a newer version of Excel.
The original file came from Uhl Albert back in about 2005-ish so some things have changed. If anything, tinkering with a wicked spreadsheet that someone else came up with has taught me a ton about excel that I use in my daily work.
Anyhow… So I planned to start things off last week with a FTP test, which as noted in my previous blog post, went worse than I had imagined. As such, I decided that it might be a good plan of action to get two weeks of “base” miles in first… Mostly time in the saddle with no FTP / interval stupidity. The first week went pretty good and by the weekend I was churning out sea level wattage up to 9000ft, so I’m pretty stoked about that. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve got much closer to being acclimatized than I was during elite track nationals and all the other racing I did since mid-June. Fingers firmly crossed!
I started Sunday’s ride started off in Golden, CO on Lariat Loop and ended up going all the way to Black Hawk and Central City before motorpacing an RV at 50mph back down towards Idaho Springs. The ride up to Black Hawk was a hell of a lot sketchier than I had expected, which was confirmed by a “no bicycles” sign a little more than have way up. At that point I was past the point of no return and kept on truckin’. The first hour was at over 260w so I was definitely happy with that, plus it’s cool to see names like Timmy Duggan and Ted King on Strava KOM lists!