Well, things haven't gone quite as planned with my original training plan. To this point the weather has been nicer than normal with a lot of days where there was little or no rain, which allowed me to ride outside more. So I decided to hold off on my intervals for a while and focus more on "Tempo" paced rides with some harder work when possible during group rides on Saturdays.
However, I have slowly been building the hours per month back up on the bike. With the end of December coming to a close I should have just under 50 hours on the bike and a little over 900 miles ridden....not to bad for the month of December.
I however, did start my interval training two weeks ago with my current schedule looking like this:
Monday: 1.5 hours on the trainer....20 minute warm up, 20 minute threshold interval, 10 minute recovery/endurance pace, 20 minutes of 1x1 intervals at VO2 max or higher, 20 minutes endurance pace to finish.
Tuesday: 2 hours of high endurance or low tempo pace either on the trainer or outside on my single speed.
Wednesday: 2 hours of high endurance or low tempo pace either on my trainer or outside on my single speed.
Thursday: 1.5 hours on the trainer.....same intervals as on Monday.
Friday: 1 - 1.5 hours of recovery paced riding.
Saturday: 3 - 3.5 hours group riding. We usually get a good 30 minutes of very fast paced riding near the end of the ride, and have been working on break aways, chasing breaks and pace-line work....which has allowed some sprinting.
Sunday: off the bike.
This gives me 11 - 12 hours a week on the bike, with some good threshold and VO2 max work thrown in. I can see that my 20 minute power levels have dropped a little over the past few months however over the past two weeks I've already put 18 watts back on and am holding a more steady interval for the full 20 minutes.
The group rides have been very good for me this year because of some of the high speed pace-line work we have done. Pretty much every ride we have done 20-30 minutes of high intensity work near the end of the ride...which means speeds between 24 and 30 mph. On my single speed my gearing is 73 gear inches (equivalent to a 53x19 or pretty close)...which means when we get going I'm spinning 120-150 RPM for the duration of the pace-line work. I've even hit 35 mph on one stretch during break away work which is around 165 RPM....so I'm getting my speed work in :D
I also know my sprinting power hasn't gone away over the last few months. A few weeks ago a teammate of mine and I had a fun sprint. He matched the gearing on my single speed and we went "Sign Sprinting". He had his powertap on his bike and clocked 1595 watts during the sprint and we were either dead even or I beat him by maybe an inch or so....but I'm a good 35-40 pounds heavier than he is which puts my top end power over 1600 watts right now....which is better than I hit this past summer.
My big issue that I need to work on right now is my weight....I'm just way to heavy for this time of the year.
Last year the heaviest I allowed myself to get was 208 pounds during the winter, which made dropping back down to 195 or so for the race season fairly easy. This year however with my over training during the summer, lower levels of riding during the months of August, September and October and eating like I was still riding 18 hours a week....my weight has hit a high of 220 pounds this winter. With the new year coming around...it's time to start cutting calories.
Overall...I'm not too worried about my weight though since two years ago I dropped about 50 pounds in less than 4 months heading into the race season...this year I only have 20-25 pounds to drop so not nearly as hard as before, but still not super easy. The big key is cutting calories and turning up the intensity on my training which I've started with the intervals.
In the end...Lots of work to do, but I think I'll be ready for the upcoming race season that's quickly approaching. The first TT of the year is the 3rd week of February and there are 4 road races in March.
One racing change for me this year....I'm likely going to race in the masters 40+ category for most of the races this year instead of in the CAT 3's. The reason...fewer people and somewhat less aggressive riding compared to the CAT 3's. However, since the masters category is CAT 1/2/3 the races are still fast, and in many cases faster than the CAT 3 races....so it's not going to be any easier, that much is for sure!
On a side note...by the 31st of this year when you take my trainer mileage (which is pretty close to what I would do on the road) as well as my road mileage I will have ridden over 11,750 miles on a bicycle this year...a new record for me :D