Saturday, May 20, 2006

too much post, not enough time! (rasta accent)

could this be called balance?
I think that as I've been riding up to 5 days a week there is no way in hell that I'm going to post all those rides, so I'm simply going to post those that stand out from the rest. Besides, I have a crapload of work to do on the computer that doesn't involve my heartrate; other than the times I can't figure out why my images won't show online but my src and href files are correct... I HATE DEBUGGING!

A few weeks ago I put in a 70 mile effort just to see if I could at this stage of the season. Everything was starting to fail towards the end but it was still fun, most of the time. Some wad (geek, herb, idiot, etc.) made a snide comment about my use of armwarmers for the day's tempurature. I'm guessing that he felt that there wasn't a need given the copious amount of arm hair he was farming. What pissed me off was that I gave him a friendly nod and he just stood there w/ this shit-eating grin on his face finally breaking his aloof silence by cracking on my apparel. I hate people.

The week before that I did 222 miles for the week! I felt great, and it was nice to get over the 200 mile mark so early. But, it has dawned on me that I'm not sponsored despite my best attempts to look as though I am, so there is really no justification at putting in that amount of time on the bike. So I've started to cut my rides to around 2-3 hours depending on what I'm trying to accomplish. If I'm going hard it will be the short side of 2 if not less, while if I'm chillin' or doing base work it'll be closer to the 3 spot. The 50+ rides really eat into your day not only in time on bike, but also in the recovery process. I'm usually a vegetable after those kind of efforts.

a little bit of ultratraining!
hard efforts lately have been tailored towards Lactate Threshold training. Basically I'm trying to brainwash my body in thinking that lactic acid isn't that bad, Clockwork Orange style, minus the Beethoven. I'm riding just into Zone 4 right around 163 BPM (for me) so I don't fill my legs w/ acid and they're able to flush what I am creating efficiently. The more you do this, the less that the acid and amonium buildup affects your performance at this effort level. Depending on your fitness, you can up this level in future rides until your body says no more. This helps you go longer, and harder when others start to blow up.

I've also added the Fatty rides back into my routine as well. Ride up to your high Zone 2 and not above so you'll want to do this on flat terrain; no hills! The reason why you want to avoid the changes in terrain is that you won't be taking on any calories. No gels, bars, carb drinks, nothing! Doing this forces your body to search for the most readily available energy source in your body w/ out tapping into your glycogen stores (Zone 3 and above) which is whatever you put into your stomach. If you haven't put anything in there it will switch and look for the next readily available source which is your fat! This generally happens around the 1:30 mark into your ride. You'll feel ravenous, then suddenly nothing! Keep this effort and most of your caloric expenditure will be provided by your fat stores. This is an old Euro-roadie training secret. You should only do this when you're decently fit. Otherwise you'll bonk and crash. I do carry gel w/ me in case I do have some problems and I do need some calories to get me home.

cycleboredom says talk w/ your doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen, and definitely before you starting taking any sort of supplement. Eat better. Live longer.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

what am i training for?

I've written and re-written posts regarding my training and nutrition and they all seem to get very long. I can't seem to cut things down as I see need to keep as much info as possible. But it does seem strange to keep posting about training and not really touching on why or what I'm doing this for.

are you a smoker, son?
I once took a lung power test in college when I was fairly fit from skating and some riding, and the instuctor asked me that question. I was shocked. Like an ass I smoked in high school 'cuz it was cool, but had quit nearly 4 years before that test! I have no lung capacity, therefore no staying power, therefore no racing. I imagine that I could build up my VO2 after awhile but that is limited by a genetic marker so it will never increase beyond a certain percentage.

But I still love cycling and testing myself to see how I can perform. I want to get better so I work at it. I also have to say that I and nearly every shaved-legged hill junkie have body envy. I see guys racing on TV and in the local crits and want to sculpt my body, or a better term, reduce my body down to their fat-less perfection. I'll stop before this borders on biker porn. You've heard Phil Ligget comment on the "long, lean, bronze legs of" so and so and wonder what that old man gets off on. He's a leg-shaver too! He's got the disease.

i'm not a Jan!!
It seems as though I suffer from the Jan effect; winters aren't kind to my waist, stomach, etc. I have to get it off every spring/summer. Since I'm also German, I inevitably would get the "Hey Jan!" everytime someone would see me in my kit. You get tired of it no matter what you say to yourself; especially if you have control over it. I vow that I won't reach the ematiation of Rasmussen though...

I've obviously been doing "base" rides in order to get my entire body in shape. I say entire because you have to build up all the micro-muscles that you use to simply hold yourself up as well as getting your legs, lungs, and heart up to speed. When you do long rides over at least 2 or more continuous hours your body starts to truly build it's endurance on a whole scale. Even your down-tube/soft-tissue area builds up in order to endure the saddle time!

Once I feel as though I have a good foundation I'll start to vary my rides in intensity and in duration based on what I'm trying accomplish. If you're racing you'll have specific goals or weaknesses that you'll want to work on. I could have been considered pack-meat in my 200lb+ days, but now I want to be more of an all-rounder w/ a touch of climbing. I'm just over 6 feet tall, so that in and of itself limits how much I can "dance on my pedals" as I attack the various Cols of my hometown. Yet I can achieve a sense of liveliness when I do hit the climbs and not the ponderous big-gear approach that the Fat German takes.

There are many sources of training info out there but I had started using the Armstrong book written after the '99 win. It was written by my friend and former customer Peter Nye (not the Science Guy!)! It's simple and straightforward; all you need. I haven't started following it this season yet, but I have added repeated intense efforts througout some of my rides. Thing to remember is if you go out to push yourself focus on just that. If you are out to ride the lactic acid out of your legs from the previous day, don't go chasing after the high-socked hybrideer that just passed you. Old, and still true today, way of thinking is: slow and long, short and fast. You'll end up killing yourself if you go out for 5 hours doing intervals. You can have some hard efforts if you want a good workout, but too much leads to overtraining. Doing a slow and short ride is good for getting coffee or groceries; leave it at that.

As I add different types of rides I'll share them w/ you. I can't wait to do cadence speed training again! I'm a pain junkie!