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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Gov'ner of Giv'ner

Training updates, easy conversion of your bike to a single-speed and some interesting news items!


I think my training session on Tuesday (Monday was a rest day) might have been one of the hardest i've ever done..!

Much like my previous effort, i did more of the 8min Over/Under intervals at the Observatory. This time, i succeeded in doing five, 3x 'hard' and 2x 'easy'. Hard and easy are relative of course, 'hard' just means i start off with the 'over' and do them all earlier.. 'Easy' means i ease into it, but in the end i'm doing the same thing. No matter the order, there's 5mins at ~260w (my 1hr Lactic Threshold/Functional Threshold Power) and 3mins above 350w, which is definitely an anaerobic effort for me. I can sustain that for perhaps 5mins, so doing 3mins mixed in with virtually no recovery at 260w means it's hurt time.

So my intervals looked something like this, unfortunately my HR strap wasn't picking up, i'm sure i was well above 190bpm for most of these. Also, rested 5mins between each effort (mainly descending the hill):
#1 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U
Watts: 303 (feeling good)

#2 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U
Watts: 301 (feeling it)

#3 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U
Watts: 299 (seriously - owwie)

#4 2U/1O/2U/1O/1U/1O
Watts: 303 (booya!)

#5 2U/1O/2U/1O/1U/1O
Watts: 299 (holy crap)

I'm pretty pleased with myself, there's some real improvement! A couple weeks ago i was barely holding 293w on the 4th effort, and didn't even try a 5th! For the 1hr my Normalized Power was 276w, which is WAY above my actual FTP (260w.) I also got a TSS score of 113 in that hour. Scary when 40mins was actual 'work'. So in summary, there was 40mins averaging ~300w, and 15mins of that was above 350w. Earlier in the summer my *hard* workouts had me achieving maybe 32mins @300w (steady, TT effort). I'm pretty sure that's a new high for me!

TrainingPeaks WKO+ summary for the entire ride:
Entire workout (193 watts):
    Duration:      2:35:03 (2:50:48)
    Work:          1772 kJ
    TSS:           224.4 (intensity factor 0.937)
    Norm Power:    244
    VI:            1.26
    Distance:      66.062 km
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    896    193     watts
    Heart Rate:      86    174    152     bpm (incomplete)
    Cadence:         23    149    87     rpm
    Speed:           3.7    63.8    25.8     kph
The rest of the ride was pretty straight-forward, from Oak Bay took Richardson across through downtown, onto the Goose, met training buddy Lysanne at the Trestle, rode out along the Goose and Interurban. (EM pace, 220-240w). Did intervals, suffered, thanks to the cheering and encouragement of Lysanne and friend Mark who also came out. EM ride back continued along W.Saanich to the rolly Sparton/Oldfield/Brookleigh, across the highway and Santa Clara/Claremont/Blenkinsop/MacKenzie/Henderson/Foul Bay. Nice day for it too, btw.

VCX practice race tonight, and it was WET!!  Much smaller group out, maybe 25 of us. (There have been upwards of 70 some nights!) It was nice to get some practice in the rain tho, and slipping around in the mud, since it's been sooo dry!! The green Michelin Mud tires (original tread) are amazing. The Mud2's are pretty much the standard tire around here, but the originals are even better...will definitely be nabbing any more i ever see. Apparently there's a petition out there to get Michelin to produce them again, i totally understand why. Here's a shot of me from tonight:

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It's not too clear in the shot, but i was pretty covered in mud. =)

Got in about 28mins of racing, my first few laps were great! I started off at the back, and moved up a bunch of positions, catching the group my main rival Roland was in, and managed to work my way up to the front of that! Cleared the group and had a pretty solid gap (wtf?!) but the climb became REALLY slick, and my tire slid and i came to an utter halt. I was pushing it pretty good, and so just stalled there...everyone caught and passed me, and i took a moment to get my momentum up again..haha.. Chased again after that, but i was pretty wiped by then...maybe 28mins of racing? I also basically TT'd it to get there, since i was running late. =P

For the rest of my week, i'll prolly just chill, maybe head out for an hour on Friday. Saturday is the SingleSpeed Championships of the Universe in Errington (near Parksville), part of the Cross on the Rock series! I'm looking forward to this mostly..will be interesting to see what gear i'll want...

Elegant, Simple Way to Convert Your Bike to SingleSpeed

And how will i be making my Campy drivetrain a single-speed? It's easy: three zipties. One on each lever, preventing the upshift (around the brake and shift lever.) To prevent downshifting, a third ziptie goes around the down or toptube over the shift cables (don't cover the brake!) If you hit the thumb lever on the shifter, the cable goes lax, but if the ziptie is tight, it won't drop.

SRAM is the easiest, two zip ties on the levers. No more shifting. Do it to your buddies on the road. =P

Shimano is annoying, and takes a bit more. Zip ties on levers prevents downshifting. Two small bolt'n'nuts are needed directly on the cables where they first come out (on the toptube or downtube right at the headtube.) Bolt 'em on nice and close to the housing stop, and you're good as gold.

Post any other tips in the comments section!

News of Interest

A few news stories that have crossed my way that are of interest to the cycling and vegan world.
Worldwatch Institute: "Livestock and Climate Change"
WW challenges the claims of the UN's FAO report "Livestock's Long Shadow", which asserts that ~18% of all greenhouse emissions come from animal agriculture. (Which is higher than the entire transportation sector: cars, trains, planes, boats, etc..) WW insists that the FAO is off significantly, and the actual number is in the range of 51% of all global emissions. The article even encourages getting kids to eat 'analogs' like veggie burgers and soy milk. Amazing. Note that this hasn't gone unchallenged, and i've noticed many claiming that respiration, which wasn't factored into the FAO report, shouldn't be included. WW says it should be included, and if i understood the report, it's based on the fact that we're adding ~50 billion breathing creatures, and at the loss of carbon-sequestering forests and plains, for both the animals themselves, and the fields for all the food they need. One critique is here from Stephen Walsh of the Vegan Society.

NYTimes: "To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates"
Tied in with the above piece, foods in Sweden are being labeled with their carbon emissions.

NYTimes: "The Sex of Athletes: One Issue, Many Variables"
A thoughtful piece on gender in sports.

Cyclingnews.com: Katie Compton's 'Cross Bike
A few interesting tweaks and parts on the bike. I agree that the Crank Bros pedals are pretty slick if you're not clipped in!

Velonation: Bruyneel: Armstrong close to quitting after collarbone mishap
Subject says it all..a bit on the team tension with Contador as well.

And that's it for tonight, safe riding! =)


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    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Cyclocross is a Go!

    Allo allo! Lot's going on to blog about, you can follow along on this blog - you will know it is time to turn the page when you hear R2D2 beep like this: "do do-do do do...ba-baaaah". Let's begin..


    The OA Victoria Chapter has been busy, we organized Learn to Race Cyclocross clinics the last 8 Saturday mornings (and we're grateful for all our guest instructors: Craig Richey, Tom Skinner, Geoff Pendrel, Drew MacKenzie, Jon Taylor and 2009 Canadian National Cyclocross Champ Alison Sydor!), and our members have been showing up at the Cross on the Rock race series and putting on a good show! More on that below. We also organized what we called the Mini 'Cross Comps, short competitions focusing on specific 'cross skills. The events were the Sand Pit Invitational, Whirly Whirl World Championships and the Short Track Sprint Showdown. Unfortunately we never got around to the Shoulder & Run Hill Climb Hustle. No one seemed very eager for that one. ;)

    Congratulations to Emile DeRosnay as well, who won 2 Bronze Medals at the Canadian National Track Championships in the Points Race and Madison - he had a banner season, and we're looking forward to seeing him tear it up next year! Hopefully we have a track here..

    We've also got links to all things cyclocross-related in Victoria, including the results from the Mini 'Cross Comps, click here!


    The general lack of racing had resulted in an insane amount of very specific training for me! My summer (basically starting in June) was focused on 300w. My overall goal was to train myself to be able to ride the Sidney TT at 300w. (Figure a sub-25min time with that.) It was over-ambitious...my max wattage was in the 270w range (and my 1hr LT around 255w), but i figured go big or go home!

    I devised a training program that essentially had me spending a lot of time at my target wattage, the basic theory is adapting my body to that kind of effort/intensity. And you know what: it was working!

    Now, my max wattage for the TT come the end of Aug was 288w (~25:30 time) - it's not 300w, but it's a SIGNIFICANT jump over my previous wattage. The way it was increasing, i might have gotten quite a bit closer to my goal in another month or two.. So, pretty happy with that. 300w and more will be mine in 2010!

    Now that it's 'cross season, and i've got the most solid TT base i've ever had, i'm now focused on what CX demands, and my main training has been the lovely Over/Under intervals. For this, my 'Under' wattage is my 1hr LT threshold: ~260w. My 'Over' is 350w. These things are pretty tough, and go something like this:

    The entire effort is 8mins, alternating at O/U efforts. Normally something like: 2mins U, 1min O, 2min U, 1min O, 2min U. The goal is to be able to go hard, then return to a steady pace, and then hard again, and repeat this and be able to recover at threshold. Rest between efforts is 5mins.

    I've been making them harder, my goal is to spend more time at 350w, so there's an extra O in there. My 'easy' repeat looks like: 2minU, 1minO, 2minU, 1minO, 1minU, 1minO. I call it 'easy' because you ease into it, there are big recovery sections, and the last O is at the end. It's always easier to go hard when the end is in sight!

    I do these at the Observatory, and i find it takes me exactly 8mins doing these to get to the top. Funny that. ;)

    The 'tougher' ones start off more intense, and have shorter O's off the start, so something like 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U. So i'm much closer to the 'red zone' the entire effort. I don't know if this is *actually* any harder, by my HR might suggest this is the case: it's several BPM lower on the 'easier' effort.

    All these efforts average out to ~300w and 8mins, plus each one include 3mins@350w. (Note that my stats show i can hold 350w for around 5mins max.) Today, i did four - i was hoping for five, but figured that was pretty good, considering i'd taken the last week off. Going into the ride, my legs felt like crap, and my EM wattage (220-240w) was feeling like a bit of a challenge, but when i got to the hill, the legs and lungs kicked in, and i actually felt pretty good!

    My rest week was literally that! Raced last Sunday, no bike Mon, Tue, did the Wed night practice race in spurts, mainly following speedy peeps to check out their lines in technical sections, then cutting out the longer straights/hills, and catching back on. Thu & Fri were entirely off-bike too, then on Sat i put in some good efforts at the clinic.

    Out on a Wed Night VCX Practice Race

    Here's the general #'s from my four efforts. I mixed up the timing on my first one:

    #1: 1O/1U/1O/1U/1O/3U (kind of went hard for the last 30sec)
    Watts: 302 HR: 180

    #2: 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U
    Watts: 300 HR: 178

    #3: 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U
    Watts: 297 HR: 178

    #4: 2U/1O/2U/1O/1U/1O (easier)
    Watts: 298 HR: 175

    Intervals Completed.. Owie. Lovely day too. ;)

    The last time i did these (Tue, Oct 13th) the wattage was something like: 303, 297, 290 & 293. The first two were 'middle' difficulty: 1U/1O/2U/1O/1U/1O, and the last two were progressively 'easier', the final being the 'standard'. No HR data on those. They felt like big efforts tho, but i'd been going hard for several weeks without any real breaks. I think the week off helped. Happy with the improvements tho!

    So, summary from today: 32mins averaging 300w, and 12mins of it at 350w. That's a pretty solid workout, and should help me move up in the racing.. I'm feeling quite good right now (normally would be burnt out by now!) and i'm thinking that i'll just keep getting stronger until the end of the season.

    The rest of my ride was basically 40mins EM ride to the Observatory, the intervals, and 40+mins back, rode the waterfront home. Full stats for the day:

    2h14, 1568kJ

    Duration:      2:14:10 (2:29:07)
        Work:          1568 kJ
        TSS:           188.5 (intensity factor 0.921)
        Norm Power:    240
        VI:            1.22
        Distance:      60.35 km
                         Min    Max    Avg
        Power:           0    770    196     watts
        Cadence:         26    118    88     rpm
        Speed:           3.7    57.6    27.2     kph

    I've also gotten Training Peaks WKO+ which is fantastic for this stuff...i'm such a numbers geek. =)

    The rest of the week is looking something like:

    * Mon - rest
    * Tue - likely more O/U, 4x, maybe 5x if holding up at the end of #4.
    * Wed - practice VCX race
    * Thu - rest
    * Fri - rest or 1hr EM if feeling peppy
    * Sat - Race! Heading up to Errington for the Single Speed Championships!
    * Sun - World Vegan Day!! Got a bunch of events lined up in the city, see The Victoria Vegan for more. =)

    Cross on the Rock

    We're super-lucky to have Normon and Wendy organizing this series for us, and it's probably one of the best CX race events in the world! Super-fun, a huge variety of courses, and amazing atmosphere. Why, at the last event, they had vegan Tofurkey Beer Brat sausages for us to celebrate Crosstoberfest! It was fantastic, site page here, four more events coming up, with the final three around Victoria!

    My racing has been going quite well, although i was hoping for better results... Still, i'm certainly vastly improved from previous years. I still suffer from the same track specificity - i can go freaking hard/fast for 2-3 laps, but then i explode catastrophically. So, i've been pacing myself a bit better. I get a good start position, roll with the bunch for the first lap, and then settle into a manageable pace. I got my lap splits from the last race, and i was amazed at how consistent i was:

    Lap 1: 8:44
    Lap 2: 17:43 (so 8:59)
    Lap 3: 26:57 (so 9:14)
    Lap 4: 36:08 (so 9:11)
    Lap 5: 45:01 (so 8:53)

    It was a course that suited me fairly well, with three main sections: climbing & descending, twisty forest paths and twisty field. The climbing was miserable as usual, around lap 3 i found myself in a small group with two other riders ("red" & "green"). On the climb, they would peel away. Buh-bye!

    Luckily, the decent was fairly long, and a bit technical. I was able to fly, but these two guys weren't moving quite as fast, so i'd recover and catch them at the end, and we'd muddle through the forest and field together, and then they'd be off on the climb again. Final lap, they seemed to get even more of a gap on me on the climb - how demoralizing! I pushed it uphill tho! Descended like a demon, mastered the one slippy corner, and hit the woods full tilt - Green was just ahead, and Red was significantly further ahead..

     The barriers - just before the finish line..

    I latched onto Green, waiting for a moment to strike and pass.. There wasn't much opportunity in this section, tight twisty trails with lots of roots, rocks and loose soil if you strayed off the beaten path..

    There was a big log across the trail near the end of the wooded section, and while many riders in Intermediate were getting off their bikes to run over (and then up a slight incline) i was riding the log without issue. Green hopped off, and ran up the trail. I rode the log, and got on his heels...this would be the time.. As he was remounting in the corner, i took it wide, and snuck past - yes!! He made an effort to get by on the following short downhill, but i kept him at bay..my sprinter legs and keirin experience lended themselves to this.

    Next was red, who was barely in sight.. We cleared the woods and up the short climb into the field, and there was Red over 20m ahead powering away in the straight-away... I went into chase mode and kept the pace up. I could still feel Green on my wheel. This was the section that was working well for me however -- i found i was able to recover in there while following Red & Green in the preceding laps... So i rode hard and smooth, and i was reeling Red in. Green was keeping close, but i could tell he was working hard - every tight corner he'd fall back, but would sprint back up. He was doing more work than me.

    There were a few final twists, the barriers, and then what would likely be a foot-sprint finish to the line..the line was just past the barriers, no point in trying to remount!

    By the time we hit the barriers, i had caught Red!! I was hurting tho, and Green was right there behind me. (He'd tried to pass at one point, but it was easy to block in that section.) We hit the barriers, and Red made it through without issue, as did i and Green. We sprinted for the finish, Red had it - no chance to get by. Green was so close i could feel his front wheel on my hells - i pushed and kept my lead, and finished ahead - woohoo!! The battle for 7th thru 9th was completed...

    It was pretty awesome, that's the closest i've been to actual 'racing' in an event -- usually we're all split up much more..which is pretty amazing, considering that there are about 30 people in the category, and only 2 were lapped.

    I finished about 1.5mins down from Roland, my main nemesis in the series. ;)

    I've been doing well to reel him in. The first race, at Beban Park, was a tough one. Lots of straight-aways, and hardly any technical or recovery sections. About the only place i could recover was the Whirly Whirl! It was brutal. Rollie finished ~3mins ahead there. I finished 10th.

    In the Whirly Whirl

    The second race was at Bowen Park, and had a very long road section, lot of short, sharp climbs, not so twisty, and a huge sand-pit that you went through TWICE! There was also a HUGE staircase, but for some reason i actually moved pretty fast up it (after watching the following races, where many were barely moving up it!) I had my first ever technical in a CX race - a flat on my front! It happened about 4mins away from the pit, so i rode gingerly and managed to stay upright.  It was right at the final lap, and as i was changing my wheel, four riders went by. I managed to catch three of them right away, but the 4th stayed away. I finished 12th there. I figure if it weren't for the flat, i would have been about 2.5mins behind Roland..

    At the top of the Apex about to hit the main Sand Pit

    Oh yes, i love running in the sand..

    The Sprint Finish vs "Green"

    At Providence, i finished 8th, and only 1.5mins down - yip! The times are shrinking....  In the series, i'm sitting in 6th overall in Intermediate. Quite a gap between me and 5th, so not sure if i'll be moving up much more...i'll continue to giver tho. ;)

    Alright, that's enough of an update! I'm planning to post here regularly on my training and racing, so keep an eye out.

    Peas out!

    - Dave


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      About Me

      Dave Shishkoff
      aka Dave Noisy
      Victoria, BC

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