Friday, December 21, 2007

T-Max Intervals 12-21

Here's a brief description of my second attempt at T-max interval training.

I used a flat 10 mile course, warmed up slowly for 5 miles, and started the intervals.

The first one went well. I was able to hold onto 400 watts for 2 minutes without any taper.

The rest phase went pretty well with my heart rate dropping down to 130 by the end of 4 minutes.

The second interval I was able to hold 400 watts again for 2 minutes without tapering, but required much more concentration.

By the end of the second rest period I was not ready to go hard, my heart rate did not drop below 140.

I tried to go and got my watts up to 400 but decided to call it quits quickly, not feeling very good.

Finished a quick cool down to close out the course. Will have to start the intervals before 5 miles next time as I would have passed the end of the course before the 3rd power phase had ended, or make the course longer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Larry Shwartz Award

I've been tossing the Larry Shwartz Award around in my head for a couple of years now. Riding a century at least once every month.

Here's a ride I'm looking at. If done across two months (Aug 31 to Sep 2) according to the rules of the Larry Shwartz Award I could bank a third month (January) at the same time.

Day 1: Ride to Dahlonega

View Larger Map

Day 2: Ride the Six Gap Century Course (ie., play in the mountains).

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Day 3: Return Home

View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First T-Max Interval x 3

After riding pretty hard on Sunday I gave myself 2 days to recover before I started T-Max training. Even with the time off I didn't have a full tank because I started at 11:30 at night. Christmas time is pretty crazy around my house, I'm looking forward to after New Years, hopefully my schedule will get a little more routine.

Anyway, with limited time available I didn't spend enough time warming up and started the First Interval too soon. I figured I would warm up quickly during the interval, and I did. 400 watts for 2 minutes seemed lot harder than 400 watts for 3:16, a LOT HARDER. I couldn't hold it, nearing the end I was tapering down to 320 watts. During the rest phase I coasted, spinning at 130+-Watts. My rest phase was 4 minutes, which seemed pretty short, and my heart rate recovered nicely. I went into the Second Interval focused on 400 watts, trying not to go over and trying not to go under, this time it was a little easier to hold but I still had to taper down. After another rest period I started the Third Interval trying not to focus on the pain. Again I could not hold 400 for the whole interval, tapering slightly at the end.

After those three efforts my vomit threshold was approaching so I just cooled down and watched the end of the race.

My course setup was 10 miles with 0.8% grade. During the intervals I was traveling about 25 mph, during the rest phase it was 13-16 mph. During the 2 minute Power phase I would travel almost 1 mile.

I think next time I will try a flat course. This will bring my speed up a little higher, and make it easier to cool down.

I hope to get one more T-Max session in this week, we'll see what happens.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Morning - RideMore - 2007-12-16

With the winds up, coming from the west, and with the temperature dropping there were few people to spread the work around this morning. Five brave souls showed their faces to start the ride at 8:00 AM.

Taking off from the village market we headed towards Apison. The group almost got split at the train crossing but everyone made it under the gates before the train arrived. The speed was up and we were cruising with a big 20+mph wind pushing from the back. We headed south down Bill Jones, turning right and then left we went down Salem-Valley. As we dropped passed the beef farm and went up the rise towards Ware rd, we noticed a bull calf outside the fence on the road. As we approached we slowed, sure enough he wanted to come across the road to rejoin his buddies on the other side of the fence. Sprinting as he approached the fence, he went right through the fence and hardly slowed down. (Note to self: Don't mock the bulls standing by the roads, the fences will have even less effect on them if they decide they want through).

From there we proceeded to Spivey, crossed Keith to Headrick and headed North on Stewart. From there the work started in earnest and the group split a couple of times due to the high winds and the effort needed to keep going. We followed Old Tunnel Hill, Carson, Wesslyan, and Apison Pike to complete the circuit to the Village Market.

Two of us decided to do an additional 10 mile loop down Ringold Rd, returning up Standifer Gap. Traffic was a concern that didn't materialize, with only 4 or 5 cars passing.

The whole time we rode the snow/sleet was spitting but not much of a factor. The cold chilled my face making it difficult to form clear words, and one of my toes was beginning to chill off at the end of the ride. Those were the only cold difficulties that I experienced.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate it an 8, with minus points for the wind. Overall a very nice ride.

Ride Route

Pre/Post ride comments

Friday, December 14, 2007

December T-Max Test

I did not sleep very well last night for a few different reasons, one of which was the Tmax test that I had planned for 5:00am. When I woke up I lay in bed for awhile deciding whether or not I wanted to actually try the test.

At 5:45 I finally got up and prepared to do the test. I couldn't find my heart rate chest strap, looking back I think that was a good thing(I always ride harder if I don't know what my heart is doing). I new that I wasn't going to last real long on the test so I set up a course of 5 miles with a 0.7% grade, climbing 185 feet in 5 miles. I did this to add a little more resistance to the wheel and reduce the speed of the test but still have minimal resistance during the warm up/cool down. I could have set up a flat approach and a 10% grade, but I didn't know how long it would take me to get to exhaustion and I didn't want to have to stop in the middle of a too long hill. (One of the peculiarities of the Axiom Powertrain software is that you have to finish/complete the miles of the ride plan in order to be able to save the data.)

With everything ready I started the test. My throat was dry, I reached down and my water bottle was almost empty, it will have to do, I don't want stop now. I'm spinning slowly at 100 watts as I watch the 12th stage of the '05 TDF. I spin easily for 10 minutes throwing three 400 watt accelerations in to wake up the legs. At 10 minutes I start the test. Accelerating I reach 400 watts, this doesn't seem so hard. I concentrate on the stage race trying to breath smoothly. At the 1:00 minute mark I feel pretty good, breathing rhythmic and steady, focused on 400 watts and trying to maintain the pace. My throat is starting to burn, grab some water. At 2:00 minutes I am breathing like a steam train blowing air just as fast as it comes in, man this is hard! At 2:30 I force myself to maintain the pace, my legs are screaming, I think I can make it to 3:00. At 3:00 minutes I'm still moving at 400 watts and holding, I'm on the edge and I know it, I surge and hold on until 3:16. I feel sick. I need water. I spin down dropping to below 100 watts and finish the 5 miles trying to recover from my insanity.

With all the numbers in I can now generate my Tmax interval plan.

With a Tmax time of 3:16 and an Interval of .6 * Tmax I get 1:58 for the power phase and 3:55 for my rest phase. With a goal of 8 intervals my total ride time will be 47 minutes and roughly 20 miles(I don't feel I will be able to do all 8 anytime soon).

My plan for the next 6 weeks will be 2 Tmax intervals/week with easier riding(zones 1-3) the other days for recovery and growth. If I get too tired I will drop some of the in-between rides and try to maintain my Tmax plan

The following table is taken from Richard Stern's article on Power

Males [Level of Training]
Up to 15 [Untrained]
15.1-17 [Fair]
17.1-20 [Moderate]
20.1-21 [Average]
21.1-23 [Good]
23.1-24.8 [Very Good]
24.9-26 [Excellent]
26.1-27 [Extremely Fit]
27.1-29 [World Class]
29.1-35 [World Class- Pro Tour]

Using the formula, power/mass*0.67 or W/kg*0.67 gives me a rating of 18.89 (moderately fit). Dropping to my Ideal weight of 165 puts me at 22.20 (in the middle of "Good"). Dropping to my Ideal weight and Increasing my PPO to 500 puts me at 27.75 ("World Class").

I will retest PPO and Tmax after 6 weeks of training to see if this plan has done any good. I will also be watching the scales.

PS - Disclaimer - This is an extremely strenuous test that will take you to exhaustion, even after 3 hours rest I can still feel the effects of the effort. If you are unsure of your medical condition see your physician before attempting to do these tests.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Peak Power Output Test

I've been pondering my fitness levels (or lack thereof) for awhile. There hasn't seemed to be much movement either way, and having struggled for years with the winter drain, I wanted something different. While browsing the Bicycling magazine I ran across this article, the T-Max interval.

Anyone who knows me, or has ridden with me, knows that the hills are my nemesis and I have been pondering what to do about it. The T-Max interval seems like it could help in my search for a breakthrough.

Two years ago my wife gave me a Real Axiom Power Trainer. Mine is similar to the one in the link but without the "real" which means it doesn't have the nice scrolling/syncronized pictures of the course. It can be programmed to simulate any terrain that you want to ride, from flat to bruttaly steep. Most importantly it reads out in WATTS.

During the previous 2 winters I was not serious about fitness maintenance or actual improvement, which I wanted to change this year, so I have decided to actually use this machine and see what it will do for me. Am I serious? Time will tell. I never have been before.

Sunday I had a good base ride on the road, and the last 2 mornings I put in some base training on the trainer. As I woke up this morning I decided it was time to do the ramp test to see what my PPO (Peak Power Output) was.

I set my course up to do a 10 mile ride up a 0.5% grade, enough to give my legs something to bite into but not too much so I could cool down after the test. The test is a stepped power ramp starting at 100 watts, and stepping up 30 watts every minute until your legs turn to jelly and you fall off your trainer puking your guts out. I started the course and warmed up for 5 minutes at 50 watts, just turning the cranks over easily. After 5 minutes I bumped the power up to 100 and then began the progression, 30 watts increase every minute, trying dissociation at the higher output levels to keep going. I made it through 11 minutes but could not surge again, which give me a PPO of 400 watts. I may not have gone hard enough because I didn't puke or fall off the machine. I think I was pretty close to my max though, my heart rate peaked at 193 which I have seen before during some hi-intensity efforts. Overall I was satisfied with the effort.

Although I now have my PPO, the test is not over yet. I will do another easy ride tomorrow, 10 miles at 200 watts Here is the spreadsheet of my test

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday Group ride - 12-09-2007

Group ride?, there was no group.

I woke to the sound of rain at 6:00am and went down to check the radar. The rain appeared to be moving off rapidly so I decided to catch a few zzz's and see what it looked like at 7:00am. Woke up at 7:10, realized I did not have enough time to get ready and eat, so I got ready to ride- grabbed 2 powerbars (Recipe) - woke my son and told him about the roads being wet - jumped on my bike and went to meet the 7:30 group. The 7:30 group was me, so I rode 9 miles to get ready for the 8:00 group. When I arrived at the 8:00 meeting point there was one other rider (my son) waiting for the group depart.

We gave everyone a fair chance to show up, decided there wouldn't be anyone else, and took off. It was a gorgeous December day with temperatures approaching 65°F during the ride. We counted 3 broadwing hawks, a pileated, and a white crown sparrow. One of the hawks actually disgorged some of it's meal when we stopped to watch him. I'm not sure if he was making a commentary or not.

Traffic and winds were low, and we travelled a new road, something that's hard to do after riding in the same area for many years. Pacing for once wasn't a problem, it was a nice slow ride at a conversational pace, although we did some animated sprints to liven things up.

While returning home, we happened upon a cyclist that had flatted. We offered to fix his flat, not wanting his ride to end on such a nice day, but he refused and said his support crew/vehicle was scheduled to arrive any minute.

Did I mention that it was a great ride?

This was the ride plan

This was the Actual Ride