Sunday, October 10, 2010

First rain ride of the year...

The weather has turned...lots of rain this weekend and showers are in the forecast for next weekend. With that in mind it was time to break out the single speed for the first time this season.

In some ways I like to ride the single's simple, builds both power and aerobic capacity and works on my spin. The only real downside is that I get bogged down on steeper hills and struggle when the pace really picks up in the pace line...but that just makes me stronger for the first part of the race season.

This weekends group ride was 43 flattish miles, with just a few short rollers so it wasn't a hard ride by any means. I however did have issues with my wheels. My single speed is a cheaper bike and hence came with cheap wheels. Last year I broke several spokes during the winter and this year started with a bang.

About 5 miles into the ride I heard a "Pop" and knew the sound all too well...broken spoke. Since I was already on the road with a 32 spoke rear wheel it wasn't too big of a wheel. I loosened up the rear brakes as much as possible and continued on the ride.

About 30 miles into the ride I hear "Pop"...another spoke down, again on the rear wheel. This one was a little ways away from the front and actually balanced the wheel out a little.

Then with about 5 miles left on the ride I heard a big "Pop"...this time coming from the front of the bike. One of the spokes on my 3 year old Neuvation M28's pulled through the that wheel is completely shot now.

So, one ride...43 miles and 3 broken spokes...a great start to the winter riding season. I'm going to be shopping for some new wheels before next weekend so I'll be ready to ride again and be able to put the power down again on the shorter climbs.

I'm about 2 weeks into the new training program and so far, so good. My legs are a little sore today but nothing that won't be gone by tomorrow. I feel like I'm starting to drop a little weight which is a good I'm hopeful the shorter more intense rides will be a good thing this winter.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Winter Training...

It’s time to move to my winter training schedule now that the days are too short to get riding in after work and the daily rain we get in the winter will be starting soon. With that in mind I’m going to try something a little different this year for my “Trainer” riding sessions.

In years past I’ve done 4-5 days a week on the trainer and one group ride per week (and if the weather was nice a second outside on Sundays). The rides were longer in duration during the week usually in the 2 – 2.5 hour range with longer intervals with the intent of putting the focus on getting ready for Time Trials the next season. These have worked fairly well, but this past season I felt like I was missing a little “Top End” compared to years and lost some of my top end power only getting over 1400 watts on a couple of occasions this summer and never over 1500 watts as I had done the previous year. I’ve also found it hard to maintain focus for 20 minute intervals while on the trainer, which I feel resulted in a less “Quality workout” overall.

I’ve also been moving much of my training time to the trainer recently due to the normal end of season reasons and have been having difficulty with motivation, especially when it comes to the longer 2 hour rides.

So with all that in mind, I’m changing my strategy for my indoor trainer rides this winter. Instead of 5 - 6 days a week, I’m going to ride each day of the week with two hard interval rides, two easy recovery/endurance based rides, one tempo paced ride and one group ride. My trainer rides will not go over 1.5 hours in length, but not under 1 hour and my group rides will hopefully be around 3 hours or more in length on Saturdays.

The change will allow me to focus more on “Quality” trainer workouts with higher intensity, though shorter interval durations than I have completed over the past two seasons. The 7 days a week is to make sure my caloric expenditure stays high for the week since weight gain is always an issue for me during the winter. Even with riding 7 days a week my weekly caloric burn will be less than previous winters.

Right now I’m concentrating on 30 second intervals at 150% of FTP. Over a 1.5 hour interval workout I’m completing (16) 30 second intervals and (10) 20 second intervals. The rest of the ride is completed at a high tempo pace, so recovery is limited during the entire training session. Overall this has resulted in higher average wattages compared to the threshold workouts I was doing in the past and similar caloric burns (though a bit lower) with 30 minutes less spent on the trainer.

So far, even though I’ve only been doing these for a few weeks, I’ve already seen my max power output go up and my ability to hold a high tempo pace on group rides remain at the same level. My peak power on my last group ride was just under 1500 watts and I was only a few watts off of my 5 second peak, without anybody there to push me hard. I’ve also been able to hold a pretty hard tempo on group rides taking very long pulls up front….so….so far so good.

I’m not sure what the long term effects of this type of training will be, or how my shape will be when the race season comes around in February…but as long as I can keep my weight down I think I’ll be able to push a little harder in races, especially during surges that take place separating the contenders from the non contenders. The question is whether I’ll be able to hold on for the 2.5 hour races considering the shorter duration of my workouts over the winter.