Sunday, August 31, 2008

Week of August 25

A surprise trip to Austin kind of messed up the training week, but I salvaged things OK. Monday was an easy day with less than an hour on the PCs just joyriding. Tuesday was a hard day, where my intent was to do about 90 minutes of tempo riding. I was doing pretty good early on, but the warmer temperatures and higher humidity were taking their toll on me. Nonetheless, for the first hour I managed 224 W normalized, 2 hours total on the PCs today. Wednesday was a travel day to Austin and no riding.

Thursday morning in Austin was my first time with the PCs on hills. I did a quick 35 miles up and down Parmer on my 24-25 lb PC equipped bike. I don’t know if it was the heavy bike or the Powercranks (and the inability to stand up to climb a hill), but the ride did wear me out. The good news is that it was my best PC ride yet. For an 87 minute stretch I logged 209 watts average but 235 W normalized for an IF of a tad over 0.853 (estimating my regular crank hour power at 275 W). I was rather pleased with the ride.

Friday was a very easy 40 minute recovery ride in preparation for the Saturday group ride. While most of my team was down south to hit the “hills” (bridges, and since I hit real hills earlier in the week, why drive down for some of the manmade stuff?), I took advantage of slightly slower speeds to ride locally with the PCs. The good news is I exceeded my longest PC ride by a few miles. Next week I hope for at least a metric century on them. The bad news was I wasn’t the freshest. A couple of hours in my body wanted no more. My heart was racing pretty good. I was taking pulls on the front at TT power, yet my heart rate was approaching 170 beats per minute. I never see that on my regular crank bike. The tempo efforts felt like threshold, and threshold like high VO2 efforts. I was pretty tired.

Sunday I decided to ride the road bike with the regular cranks to give my legs a break. With a long Monday ride on the PCs planned, I wanted to be sure to have a quality PC workout. A day on regular cranks, I hope, will give the legs the needed rest. When I first clipped in and started pedaling, as I would stop pedaling my legs just wanted to keep going. The sensation was the same as after a night of racing at the track on the fixed gear. Going to regular cranks just feels weird. I was hoping to bust off a 20 minute interval to see if riding the PCs has helped yet, but my legs were simply too tired. I hope to do that later next week.

One thing I have noticed over the past couple of weeks is that while my PC-specific power is going up, in general I feel my fitness is decreasing some. I think some of this can be traced back to a total decrease in training stress. The transition to PCs hasn’t been immediate, and as such I’ve had to ramp up in volume and intensity. My TSS scores the last 4 weeks have been 582. 675, 335 (weather issues, so I turned it in to a rest week), and 602. Ideally I’d be in the 750-850 range.

PC time this week - 8 hours 35 minutes
PC time to date – 34 hours 55 minutes

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Week of August 18, Here Comes the Rain

A bit of a different week training wise. After the weekend in Austin, I had no motivation to get out Monday and ride, so I didn’t. In hindsight I should have since an upper level low decided to park itself near Houston, bringing several days of wet conditions. I redeemed for my Monday rest day with my best ride yet on Powercranks on Tuesday. I have to wonder if my effort would have been as good had I not ridden with pal and teammate Alex. What was intended to be just an “easy” ride turned out to be more of a tempo effort. With Alex riding next to me I had to keep the pace up with his “easy” regular cranks. It was only a 25 mile ride, but my normalized power was 228 W for the ride, with a 20 minute segment at 250 W and hour at 241 W. It really felt like a breakthrough ride with the PCs.

Wednesday through Friday were another story. Between being held up late at work and the wet weather, I found no time to ride in the evening. I was going to join my teammates up in Chappell Hill Saturday for a hill ride, but I just was too tired to contemplate that trip. I slept in on Saturday and went out for what I wanted to be a long ride. One thing about my body, however, is that just a few days off sets me back quite a bit. Saturday on the PCs the perceived effort was sky high and my legs were gone. My heart felt like it wanted to jump out of my chest with even moderate effort. My high from the Tuesday ride was replaced with an absolute low – one of my worst rides of the year. 2 hours at a pathetic 171 W normalized. During and after the ride I was happy not to have made the trip out of town.

A bit of redemption came Sunday. The Saturday ride seemed to open the legs up some and I felt right back at home. I went out for 45 minutes before meeting up with the usual Sunday crowd. The pace was a nice tempo pace and I felt good. A couple of woman on the ride were losing a little ground, and since one just got back from a 2 week trip to Peru, I knew the frustration she must be feeling. I dropped back to draft them and just keep a moderate pace for them. It was only in the last 10 or so miles of a 3 hour ride that my legs started burning. My hip flexors were really aflame for the first time I can think of. The accumulated 60+ minutes in L3 and L4 took their toll, but considering this was my longest ride (distance and time) yet with PCs, I’m pleased. It was a nice endurance pace overall at 185 W normalized, almost comparable to a usual Sunday ride after a 3-5 hour hard Saturday ride.

PC time this week – 6 hours 20 minutes
PC time to date – 26 hours 20 minutes

Friday, August 15, 2008

Week of August 11

Monday - a bit of an interval session on the PCs. 2 minutes at 95-110% of FTP followed by a minute of recovery. Did this for as long as possible, which was about 36 minutes total of on time. Total time on PCs was 1:45.
Tuesday - just an easy ride on the PCs for 1:20.
Wednesday - no motivation to ride
Thursday - intended to do a long tempo ride, and things started great. After a 30 minute warmup I headed into the tempo portion where I was hitting 80-85% of my normal crank FTP. Did this for 30 minutes and I was sweating like a pig. It was hot and humid with the heat index over 100 F. My sunscreen was dripping into my eyes and burning them, I was losing a lot of sweat, and the heat eventually took its toll. Legs felt like I could have continued with the tempo effort but the heat was the issue. Ended up with my longest PC ride, however, at 2:45. Also had my highest normalized power for a longer duration.
Friday - out for an 1:10 of easy riding on the PCs. Have to drive to Austin today
Saturday/Sunday - will be on the road bike, perhaps doing a little testing on regular cranks if I feel recovered. Let's see if these PCs are doing what they are supposed to.

PC time this week - 7 hours
PC time to date - 20 hours

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back on the PC saddle

This week was the first solid week on PCs. State TTs are done so now is a time to get reaquainted with the PCs. Monday was the longest ride to date at 2.5 hours, split into 2 rides (morning ride of 1.5 hours, evening ride of 1 hour). Wednesday was spent doing a type of interval workout. I wanted to do a tempo ride, but my legs were getting too tired. Instead it was 60 seconds in upper L3 to L4 followed by 60 seconds in L2. Did this for an hour. I just need to take baby steps to get the same kind of power I'm used to with regular cranks but with the PCs. Thursday was a 2.5 hour ride, and Sunday a 2 hour ride. The only ride on regular cranks was a 3 hour group ride at race pace. 9 hours of PCs this week.

PC time this week - 9 hours
PC time to date - 13 hours

Monday, August 4, 2008

State TTs

Got back from Japan and hit the TT bike. Felt flat on it all week and just had no motivation to push. Did 1.5 hours on the PCs throughout the week. Not much, but I had to get used to my TT bike after 2 weeks away in Japan.

Didn't push during the ITT. I was passing people left and right and wasn't getting passed, so I figured why gun it. That paid off. Ended up with just over a 58 minute 40k in miserable conditions (very hot, heat index over 100, a bit breezy). That was good enough for 1st in the men's 35-39 category. The rest of the team mopped up as well. Pearland Cycles Racing came away with wins in Cat 4, Mens 35-39, Mens 40-44, Womens 30-34, and Junior 15-18. Also nabbed a 2nd in the Cat 3 and 4th in Cat 5. We topped it off Sunday with a 1st in the Cat 3 TTT. We didn't better our time of 52:12 from last year, but we did win by nearly 2 minutes. Our 52:59 came in less than ideal conditions - decent tailwind on the way out, but a stronger headwind on the way back. The time was the 5th fastest on the day (i.e., would have placed us 5th in the P12 category). Not bad for a trio of old farts (one of whom who flatted with less than 5 miles to go) and our 14 year old stud.

But now it's Powercrank time. Loads of PC work coming up.

PC time this week - 1.5 hours
PC time to date - 4 hours