Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Oopsie!  Ride 275 began at 11:31 p.m. on Saturday and ended at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.  This was a first such event.  Anyway, this 30-minute trainer ride was close enough for my needs.

Ride 276 was 40 minutes up the hill and back down, then on to OHDS's very cute staging of Fiddler on the Roof.

90 to go.  In terms of bottles of beer countdown, this makes it 15 six-packs.  Speaking of which, I'm going to start doing core training again.


Friday, March 30, 2012

A Whole Bunch!

Rides 265 and 266
A welcome half an hour of recovery-paced riding after Tuesday’s class, and another one the next day.

Ride 267
On Friday, I drove to Solvang for the first double of the season.  Forecasters promised rain, so I shelved the newly-repaired Llewellyn and went with my fendered Spectrum.  Checked into the hotel and dressed for a ride.  I hadn’t been on this bike in over a year, so definitely needed a shake-down cruise.  Rode into the wind, westbound on Highway 246, then north on Drum Canyon Road -- also into the wind -- and back for 70 minutes.  When I returned to the hotel, my sit bones weren’t feeling good.  So I decided to raise the saddle.  By half a centimeter.  It’s not as bad as it sounds – on the ride I’d wear my Riivos that have a thicker sole than the Rocket 7s I wore on the ride.  So, yes, a different bike, a new position, and different shoes.  I also felt a bit cramped with the 10cm stem that was on the bike.  Stupid?  You bet!  Oh well, what the hell.  Kevin Thornton came by in the evening.  We’d met online and would ride this double together.

Ride 268
Solvang Spring Double.  Sucked.  First 101 miles took 5:32 at 19.1mph.  I guess that part didn't suck.  We were fairly fresh and social and this part went by quickly.  The return took 7:40 at something like 12 mph into 15-25mph headwinds.  When we were lucky we had cross winds.  Fucking demoralizing.  The wind did a complete 180 from the day before.  Last year’s 90 miles of rain was better than this.  Glad I brought the fendered bike, it made the rain stay away until late evening, but I wonder if the fenders were catching the wind and slowing me down.  Funny thing is legs felt OK at the end of the ride and responded well to efforts with no hint of cramping.  There was severe brain cramping, however.  I’m pissed at this ride and it’s all wind-related.  Fuck it; don’t want to write about it anymore.

Oh yeah, the bike fit and the shoes worked out just fine.

Ride 269
What?  Was there any question this was going to be anything but half an hour of recovery on the trainer?

Ride 270
Or this?

Ride 271
I did 80 minutes in class, doing everything everyone else was doing, and the legs responded well, considering I’d done a double three days earlier.  Decided to bag it while I was still relatively ahead.

Ride 272
Another half an hour on the trainer.  This was a "pre-covery" ride ahead of next day’s all-out efforts at the gym.

Ride 273
This was fun, of sorts.  I had an appointment in late afternoon and would have to leave class early.  So I arrived 15 minutes before class and began my warm-up.  The warm-up was a 12-minute build-up of cadence and resistance.  After the warm-up, I recovered for four minutes, then did a five-minute all-out effort.  This consisted of the first three minutes at 250 watts at 25mph and two minutes at 260 watts at the same speed.  I’d bumped up the resistance because I felt that I could tolerate it.  It was tolerable.  I was quite spent at the end, but honestly it wasn’t an all-out effort.  Maybe five minutes at 260 would have done the trick, but we were supposed to do this effort in low zone 4 and my zone 4 is 235-265 watts, so I thought 250 was plenty optimistic when I began and was pleased to have sustained 260 at the end.

I finished the five minute interval, just as the class was starting its warm-up.  Five minutes was hard, but the 20 we all dreaded.  It was time for me to start my 20 just as they were starting their five.  Much to my surprise, they didn’t crank into their perceived max resistance, but spent the first minute building up to it.  That would have been easier.  Oh well, I launched into my 20-minute interval at 225 watts.  Kate wanted us to hold whatever we could during minutes 5-15, then go harder, if possible.  No reducing resistance.  Blowing up was acceptable, easing up was not.  I rode at 25mph and it was all fine and manageable, gradually becoming more and more uncomfortable, but I made it through the 15th minute with the legs feeling OK.  Then, during minute 16, I completely lost it aerobically and had to stop.  Fucker!

[A day later, I think about how easy it would have been to hold on for another 3.5 minutes (just 210 stinkin’ seconds).  But no, there is no way for my brain to replicate what the body was feeling and the mind was thinking at the time without replicating the effort.  I feel fine now, so 3.5 minutes seems that it should have been doable.  But when I was on the bike, at 16.5 minutes, additional 3.5 minutes at 230 seemed like an eternity in purgatory.]

I put my head on the towel-covered handlebar and proceeded to completely soak it with sweat.  A minute or two later, I started breathing normally again and my blood began to flow into my brain again (this reminded of a treadmill stress test I’d done at a cardiologist’s office some years ago.  It feels easy and manageable for a long time, then it feels hard briefly, then your blood pressure drops, as your body stops supplying the brain with oxygen and the heart worries about other organs, and it feels like you’re about to lose consciousness.)  I was warming down as the class began its 20-minute interval and they began it with a four-minute build up to their “20-minute” power.  Hell, if I’d known to take it easier during the first four minutes I might have lasted the full 20.  Oh, well, that’s what I get for jumping the gun.  We're doing this effort in 12 weeks, so I get the chance to do it all over again at higher power levels if the training does what it's designed to do.

Ride 274
Two hours with Brian early in the morning, culminating with a latte at Peet’s.  All conversational.  A little harder than yesterday’s efforts would have mandated, but thoroughly enjoyable.  My favorite kind of riding.

92 to go.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

264 and Pounding

I did a 90-minute class today and it was supposed to be an easy day.  I suppose from the power perspective it was not awful -- we didn't go over high zone 3 (OK, I ventured into low 4 for one minute) -- but there was a lot of steady state work.  Not sure if I'm improving and my power levels have risen, but I felt almost comfortable doing three sets of rollers that ranged from 9 to 12 minutes and three sets of steady state efforts.  Kate, who taught this class, polled us regarding RPE after the steady state efforts and people reported 7.5-8.5 efforts.  During the first one, I was at 6.5 and the last one, the one that I finished in low zone 4, was about 7.5.  It was work, but very tolerable work.  It felt like I could have done more.  Now, it's on to maintenance and tapering before Solvang, which is just four days away.


Monday, March 19, 2012

263 Just Like Putting On Pants

Still in recovery mode from Saturday's two-hour sweat-fest, I did 35 minutes at the gym.  Midway into my warm  up (yes, I warm up for recovery rides.  Would you like to make something of it?) I remembered my resolution to do more one-legged riding during recovery rides.  So, I did four two-minute intervals with each leg with one minute of two-legged pedaling in between to get the resting leg primed for its upcoming one-legged session.  Heart rate was low, discomfort level was high during the last 30 seconds of each turn.  I'm glad I limited them to two minutes each.


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Maybe it's dull to keep track of rides in post titles, but at least it'll be hard to mess up the math again.  I'll add pithy bits about the rides to the numbers to make the titles informative.

But not to 262; nothing clever or interesting about this ride.  262 was just half an hour on the trainer, watching Cal women beat Iowa in first rounds of NCAA hoops tournament on the tube, recovering from yesterday's indoor-a-thon.  I thought of riding outdoors, as we had dry and clear skies for the first time all week, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to contain myself and ride at recovery pace and not chase every cyclist on the road.  So, I made sure I'd have no competition on this ride.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

260 and 1

260 was just a half-hour leg turner at home.  I may have broken a sweat.  261 was a heavy sweat-breaker.  I did a two-hour class at the gym, for which I arrived 15 minutes early and ended up on the bike for 140 minutes. I went through at least a half-dozen towels.  Two on the drips to soak up sweat, another across the brake hoods and three or four to wipe myself down.  The class went very well.  The meat of the class was 50 minutes of rollers in zones 2-3.  I felt good during the rollers.  The potatoes was half an hour of steady state work in mid-high zone 3.  Well, the latter I turned into half an hour.  The class did two 15-minute intervals, but I was in a rush to get home, so I skipped the five minutes of recovery between the intervals and just kept going.  During the last 15 minutes I raised the resistance by 5 watts every three minutes and during the last three minutes of the interval ended up pushing against a pretty hefty resistance.  And that felt pretty good.

This class left me feeling better still about my fitness for Solvang.  I'm still NOT hammering this ride.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

259... Again

It's funny how one's [this one's at least] self-worth as a cyclist completely depends on the quality of the last ride. On Saturday, after a five-hour mellow and scenic ride my legs felt great and I was optimistic about Solvang.  Tuesday, after class during which I had to scale down my efforts to complete the intervals, I was all bummed and wondered whether it was my legs or I was still recovering from being sick for two weeks and doing zero intensity training during that period.

Who knows.  The see-saw that is my opinion of my cycling prowess is on the upswing again after today's class.  We did two long climbs -- one a 10-minute zone 2-3 effort and the next a 20-minute zone 3-4 effort.  Remembering my flailing two days earlier I approached the intervals cautiously, riding on the lower ends of each zone fraction.  The final set was seven two-minute intervals in zone 4, with two minutes recovery between each.  I started on the lowest possible edge of zone 4.  It was hard, about a 7-7.5 RPE.  I worried about how intervals 5, 6, and 7 would feel.  I took it really easy during the recovery interval and the second effort felt better than the first.  I continued resting as energetically as I could and the intervals went OK.  I poked the resistance up by 10 watts for the fourth interval, then by another 10 for the seventh.  The last one's RPE was 8-8.5, but since it was the last one it was tolerable.  I wonder how we would have reacted had the instructor announced we had to do one more... or two more?

I cooled down on the trainer for 15 minutes, head and legs feeling pretty good considering the volume of work I'd done.  And my mood, you ask?  My mood is great, but I'm still not going to try to hammer that double.