Posts Tagged ‘training


Want to know why Indoor Cycling Training Works so well?


Walburg 2012

Well, nothing like a little hubris to tame your ego, eh?

The 2012 version of the Walburg race was as anticlimactic as the event itself was a year earlier, when I scored in a final breakaway and just missed winning the damned thing by nine feet and two places! This year, flush with confidence from my previous successes in January and February, a first, a second, and a third, I figured racing Masters was my ticket to success in this event.

Boy was I wrong.

It started out with me not having any real teammates to speak of, a stacked field, complete with about 50 extra riders from Austin, and a lack of wind in the first lap, to really crack the field. I drove down the morning of the event, since my start was later in the day, got there plenty early, and made friends while I warmed up. The start itself had me near the front, and I sort of tried to make friends, but the McKinney Velo guys had ALL hands on deck, as did most of the other teams, so I was sort of odd-man out. I ended up basically trying in complete vain to set up a breakaway, got in to maybe one or two small efforts that were doomed, and essentially rode myself out of energy and in to some damned calf and quad cramps (which was weird, given that I felt I was adequately hydrated and rested, but there were other things going on that I’ll reveal in a later post), and after 70 minutes, I basically removed myself from the race so I wouldn’t hurt anyone in the pack if my legs cramped up. I set ALL SORTS of season highs for Normalized power, but in the end, it was completely for naught, as I burned through over 1000 KJ’s, was above my previous IF high for 70 minutes, and then completely blew up.

There isn’t much to tell here. I rode like a moron, and really should’ve waited at or near the front, until the wind began to pick up, and then made friends out on the road. But I didn’t, and honestly, next time, I’ll either make sure I have allies with me, or I’ll wait and try to be more patient.

I’ll try to add a photo to this, but honestly, the only photo I saw from back then had me leading out the pack,like a silver locomotive, with everyone else just eating hot dogs and drinking milk shakes.


Cedar Hill Road Race Reviews –

Wow – has it been a while, or what? I can’t believe that 2012 has progressed so rapidly, and that so much has happened. I know I need to update everything, but I’ll try to do it in progressive order, so that the thoughts follow the line of time. Please bear with me. There’s a lot to tell.

February 11th and 12th were two days that I’ll never forget. Coming off the success of the event in late January, I looked forward to this circuit race, a 1.9 mile effort that had about 90′ of climbing on a 6-8% wall. The first day the race went counter-clockwise, while the second day’s effort went clockwise. Temps were pretty cold both days, in the 40’s, and the breeze coming off the lake didn’t help much with wind chill. It was my second race as a Master for the season, but I was surprised to see some top talent lining up for the event. By the top of the first hill, however, it was pretty much me, Bret Crosby, and a McKinney Velo rider. We got separation by the top of Lap 2, and with a pro rider from Elbowz (an Australian whose name I can’t remember) giving us our gaps, Bret and I took turns pulling (the MV rider did NOTHING, but it was understood that his presence was necessary, because his teammates were obviously doing a great job blocking for us), me pulling strongly the first hour, he finishing it off the last 30-45 minutes, that we ended up freaking LAPPING THE FIELD by the end of the race!!!

Now I need to give a sidebar note on this. There’s something really incredible about lapping the field in a race, something I’ve never done before. First – I witnessed Bret do this once before in a race up in Denton, and it was incredible. Then, to actually be a contributor to this – WOW, just…. WOW!!!!! The only problem with the lapping was that we ended up in the pack for their sprint, though by gentlemen’s agreement we did not challenge the results – we went Elbowz/Mirage/McKinney Velo, and I later rolled up to Bret, thanking him for the ride, the race, and the privilege of knowing what I’d just done, with one of my absolute heroes. He’s VERY humble, but he needs to know that he’s a model athlete and contributor to the sport.

The next day, with similar temps and a slightly smaller field, I ended up in the break with another friend and mentor, Mikey Brown, also of McKinney Velo, and an OKC Velo rider. We didn’t quite lap the field, but we did get about 4/5 of the lap in. The break took a bit longer to get started, and the course was slightly easier – the clockwise hill at least SEEMED easier – but in the end, Mikey pulled another signature move, backing off and losing contact in the last corner, about 800 meters from the finish, and then ROCKETING off the left hand side of the road, to get a sustainable gap. I was left battling with the OKC rider, who happened to be a National Duathlon Champ or something like that, and since his pulls at the front were negligible, he ended up attacking in the last 150 meters and getting a 3 second gap on me. I’m no fan of OKC Velo, and this didn’t raise my opinion of them much, but all’s fair in love and racing, and he did contribute somewhat. I’m kind of a hard-liner, taking solid pulls and doing a lot of work early to establish a break, hoping that my work will be recognized and rewarded. Saturday, it was, but Sunday, less so. Still, I’ve earned the respect of those around me, and this was an absolute blast of a weekend.

One other interesting note. This was the first time I rode with someone using Di2. Mikey Brown had it on his bike, and it was awesome hearing the motor shift him from 39 to 53 at the top of the hill. I was using my new SRAM red, and, well, my hands kept going numb. Sheesh.


ErgVideo Multirider Performance Training – How and Why it works!

CompuTraining Works

How many hours a week do you actually train? It’s a serious question. Think about it. We’re cyclists – recreational, competitive, triathletes, utility riders. But in today’s modern world, the difference between how many hours you PLAN on training versus the hours you actually GET to train, getting the most out of the time that you actually have available, is critical. Now for the next question… When you actually do get to train, how good is the training? The reality is that after we’ve headed out for our ride, there are SO MANY variables that can affect the quality of that ride, that it remains difficult to actually achieve that which you planned for, especially if you live in an urban area and have to deal with traffic or hazards.

The solution, of course, is indoor training, and nothing gives you a better indoor experience than using a CompuTrainer with the ErgVideo software.

The CompuTrainer is an indoor ergometer that uses a precisely controlled electromagnet to increase or decrease the load placed on a bicycle rider’s rear tire. When the load increases, the rider must match that load with power, known in our business as Watts. The ErgVideo software takes it another step, simulating an actual ride, and the nuances of wattage that are required to pedal around. The ErgVideo library has over 50 titles, so you can pick and choose workouts to suit your needs, be it intervals, race simulations, or adventure rides. More are added to the library every year.

The final piece to indoor training is found in comradery. ErgVideo and CompuTrainer allow for multiple users (up to 8) to perform the same workout, but to do it at their own respective wattage threshold. In other words, everyone will be doing the same 3-minute interval, let’s say, but one rider will be doing it at 350 watts, while another rider will be at 250 watts. Both riders will be at 115% of their respective thresholds.

The indoor training classes at the Cycling Center of Dallas are 12 week programs that go through three distinct “meso-cycles”, which basically means that riders will focus on one energy system per month, and will then switch to training another aspect of performance the next month. Testing for Threshold is done every 4 to 6 weeks, and as riders adapt to more intense loads, threshold values are adjusted so that they can continue to improve. Riders get a consistent location and environment, get a safe place to work out, and get a workout that is incredibly effective, giving riders the most “Bang per Buck per Minute” of any type of workout, indoors or out. Programs are 8 to 12 weeks long, and participants get a booklet describing each workout, it’s goal, and how it fits in to a bigger plan of progression and periodization.

While triathletes have known about the benefits of CompuTrainers and indoor training for years, It’s been rumored and confirmed that several professional cyclists, including Taylor Phinney and Michael Rogers, have switched the bulk of their intensity training to indoor training. The time they do NOT spend outdoors, is then spent recovering, and research is proving that in many cases, “Less is More”, especially among Endurance Athletes.

If you are a recreational or competitive cyclist, but have to juggle your schedule for training with work, family, church and travel, you might think about indoor training and the ErgVideo experience. Your power will improve, your strength will rise, and you’ll be able to ride at a higher speed, longer, because of the work done indoors. Two days a week, 60-90 minutes at a time, can yield improvements in power-to-weight ratios of 10 to 15%. It truly is ‘revolutionary’!


Scenes from Mirage Cat 3 race, 5/29/2010

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Will post the race review soon.


2010 Richardson Wild Ride!

Richardson Wild Ride Route

The 2010 Richardson Wild Ride was a rally that practically everyone had second thoughts about attending, due to the threat of inclement weather, but once we got there and rode it, it turned out to be one of the best weekends of riding yet this year!

We started out at the WildFlower Festival, a weeekend-long event held in Richardson to celebrate spring and support several worthy community causes, including the Richardson Cancer Center. Rolling up to the start line, I ran into several fellow pirates, along with friends from other clubs, and numerous clients, past and present. The chatter was cut short by a few announcements, then the National Anthem, and when the siren blew, we rolled out.

The course for this year was different from previous years (for me, at least – it may have changed last year). Gone were the numerous lefts and rights through neighborhoods. Instead, we took at right at Park Lane, and stayed DUE EAST for several dozen miles, until we got out just past the Lake Lavon dam. This was excellent, as we were able to keep speeds high, ride some better roads, and focus on pacelines and shedding some of the weaker riders. I hate to say that it comes to that, but honestly, it does. However, early, maybe no more than 6 miles in, maybe closer to 10, the same Tandem cyclists whom we rode with last week, along with National-calibre cyclist and coach Brian Fawley, slipped away. That was really my only, and largest mistake – I let them go, and they ended up SEVEN MINUTES UP on us at one point. No amount of pursuit would work, and we later learned that Fawley had FLATTED, and they STILL took over 2 minutes on us at the end. WOW!

My only real complaint about my fellow riders is that there were largely just about 8 of us doing the large majority of the work. Several Top Guns were in the pack, and McKinney Velo and PACC represented themselves well, as did Mirage, with Ben Sewell and Jordan Chaney taking strong, regular pulls, but by and large, the rest of the group just settled in and did nothing but eat cheeseburgers and drink milkshakes. Guys, I don’t care if you take a fake pull or not, but you could honestly show up at the front once or twice, at least for the cameras! C’mon!

The day itself ended up being absolutely perfect. Temps were mild, the wind was absolutely minimal, and the humidity was kept at bay. Threatened storms never once appeared. The 64 miles were covered in 2:35, right under 25mph for the average. I do need to boast about two comments made separately. On the outbound leg, I was feeling incredible, and was pulling the pack on some of the 1-2% false flats, when a PACC rider told me I had to back off because neither he nor anyone else could hold my wheel… Not that I believed it, but it was flattering nonetheless. Later, toward the end of the ride, as we were heading back in for the final miles in town, Chris Powers, a phenomenal cyclist with a rich pedigree of victories underneath his legs, rolled up, patted me on the back and complimented me on a good ride with strong pulls. Honestly, that’s really flattering, when someone of that calibre offers a respectful compliment. Earlier, during the chase when we thought we might actually be able to catch the Tandem and Fawley, Powers had come to the front and given a MONSTER 3+ minute pull. The whole time, I was right no his wheel. I don’t know if his teammates were able to keep up at that point.

The finish itself was neutral, since we had nothing really to race for, and we sat up as we went under the banner, congratulating all who finished with the lead pack on a good ride. In the end, there were maybe 25 of us. The Tandem and Fawley ended up breaking 2:31, I believe, which again had me popping my eyeballs back in to my sockets. I’ve never ridden with a tandem that was so smooth and integrated in to the peloton so well… and then crushed us with such incredible ease!

We stuck around for pizza and other snacks, and told tales of our rides, this weekend and previous, and made plans to go for several others. Rally season in North Texas is in full swing, and even while road racing draws down, you can bet that the strongest riders will be pushing themselves and each other to the limits in the 100k’s over the next several weeks and months!

Quick Kudos to my wife, who had her longest ride in about 8 months, 51 miles, and was also very strong. Smiling Amy was missed, and it looks like now she has returned! 🙂


2010 Cedar Hills Rally – 2:31 100k!

Head for the Hills of Cedar Hill!

The 2010 Cedar Hills Rally brought a whole host of surprises, and it began with the weather. After a long spring of rain and even snow, we North Texans had begun to enjoy a true spring, with multiple days of good weather, mild-to-warm temps, and breezes finally coming in from the South. Sure, there had been some storms that came in from the South and due West, but at least the Blue Northers were gone. However, on Saturday morning, we woke up to, get this, temps in the high 50’s, and a gusty wind blowing mostly out of the NorthEast, but really just sort of all over about three different directions on the compass. About 2000 people showed up to get their fill of the rolling hills just south of Dallas, and the course did NOT disappoint.

Several top riders from local clubs attended, but it was the Colavita team that really became the major players. From the gun, Brian Reid jumped to the front and set a blistering pace, WITH THE TAIL WIND, for about 3 miles. David Arteaga, a rider who knows these roads like the back of his hand, and had his breakout moment in this rally two years ago, also rode up front, along with several other riders, including a tandem Joe’s Pros/Colavita team, Curtis Palmer from Colavita, another Colavita rider whose name I can’t remember, and a Williams rider, along with a long-time veteran of Texas rallies, Duane Neu. Again, the pace was blistering, and I was truly surprised that the tandem riders were actually really, really good at negotiating the turns, shifting, holding on to momentum, and basically doing their part in the pack. They pulled, they drafted, they rotated through pacelines, everything. I was impressed.

In the first hour alone, we averaged 28.3 miles per hour, and after staying at or near the front for a number of pulls, negotiating the twisty course and the accompanying county roads (medium quality-to-poor quality, so you had to keep your eyes open), I rolled back to see if I could find some of my teammates… and the pack ended at 10 bicycles! Now, I need to tell you – this is REALLY rare. Most of the time, packs don’t split up and breakaways don’t form until well in to the rally, but here, some time around the first 30-45 minutes, we had actually cracked the peloton. It wasn’t an excuse to slow down, but it did make things easier for the riders who were there, and it also made things safer, since we could negotiate the turns better, and regroup after road crossings, etc.

At about 31 miles, we finally left the cracks and chip-seal and began to traverse west-bound toward the eventual turn right and trip home. The wind was howling, but with the Colavita rider on the back of the tandem (a STRONG female cyclist) directing the paceline, we were able to hold things together quite a bit and quite well, losing very little time in the crosswinds and the climbs out and back to the finish line at Cedar Hill High School. Unfortunately, we did lose two of the 10 riders, one to a flat, the other to fatigue, but the rest of us were able to withstand the turn in to the headwind, and get within 8 miles of the finish line before Curtis unfortunately cracked on a long, ever-steeper hill, facing the headwind. This put us down to 7 bikes (8 riders). Duane rode incredibly well, and Brian and David actually came to a detente of respect after they traded barbs earlier in the ride when discussing who was working more.

The finish went basically uncontested, since we were passing hordes of cyclists from other routes who were finishing up their own rides of 25 and 40 miles. At the end, we looked down and noticed that, with the challenging terrain (3000′ of climbing) and the brutal, gusty wind, we still did almost 62 miles in 2 hours and 31 minutes, a new record for myself for sure, and one that everyone else said either was or was close to their overall PR. Stats for the ride (my own) went like this: 2200 Kilojoules of energy expended, Normalized Power for the ride of  279w, IF of .976, which makes me think that either my Threshold is low, or that I need to check calibration (the cold weather necessitated a manual calibration before the start, but the Joule 2.0’s menu system is, well, still vexing me at this time, and I didn’t want to mess with it). MMP60 Normalized was a 297, so I think I WILL raise my FTP to at least 297 from 287, and see what that does for me. Average speed for the ride was 23.3mph.

Overall, it was a fantastic ride, and again, I’m surprising myself as I come in to form, just in time to save the season. Rally riding is de facto racing for many of us, and with this finish, I am confident that I can hold my own among the elite riders of North Texas.

Post-Race notes:

  • My supplement strategy involved two items: Extreme Endurance pills (6) (, which keep the blood alkaline for a longer period of time before lactic acid overwhelms the system. I was able to completely avoid cramps and sore legs, and I felt that especially on the hilly portions in the homeward leg, in the headwind, I was able to stomp on the pedals at a higher cadence and with more force, thus matching pulls or pulling through on the group with whom I was riding. I was able to do this over, and over, and over, and after the rally, as tired as I was, I was completely void of soreness. Even descending stairs was no problem.
  • The second strategy involves ingestion of 500ml of pure beetroot juice. A study showed that beetroot juice is filled with nitrites, and the supposition is that in the body, the nitrites are converted to Nitric Oxide, which acts as a vasodilator and a blood vessel repair apparatus or elasticity improver or something like that. I won’t divulge the after-effects of said fueling, but suffice it to say that per the effort, you end up with more stamina and more strength as a result of a better blood circulation system.

Photos will be posted as they become available, but this was one rally that this author will never forget, for its’ toughness, its’ speed, and the coordination of the group with whom I was riding. Chapeau, y’all! See you next weekend!

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