Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Fast and Furious...

OK, so it looks like the last two weeks where not a fluke...

I only did two races in the A's tonight. The first was a 30 lap scratch, skipped the Elimination in the middle and then a 5x10 Points.

There was an "increase" in the fast people out this week, Bukcosky and Caves where back. Chaddock and Carleton where there again. So the consensus was that there would be some fast racing.

And yes... very fast. The 30 lap Scratch averaged 49.1 kph. The 5x10 Points slightly slower. After a slow start, the last 40 laps averaged 48.5 kph.

I didn't get a very good warm up so at the start of the scratch I just jumped to the front and gave it a little kick to see who would follow.. they didn't so I took about 6-7 laps at speed and then when they started to reel me in sat up and let them catch me... Great way to get the muscles and heart up to speed . And if they are going to let you get a nice warmup in ... no reason not to :-)

Mostly sat at the back for the next 10-12 laps... Then worked my way up through the rotation. Arriving towards the front with just about 3 to go. At that point our group was about a third of a lap behind the leaders, Chaddock, Buckosky and Sidic... I jumped and bridged to them. Chaddock jumped. I stayed with Buckosky and Sidic. With 1 lap to go I moved to the blue and fought to get over Sidic, taking a narrow 3rd at the line. Hit 800+ watts in the jump, 502 watts average for the last 572 meters, 54.1 kph...

The last race was a 5x10... I was mostly hanging on for the first 10-20 laps... Too busy to go to the front while everyone jockeying for position. I was able to get to the front group, Chaddock, Caves, Jones and Denis and follow around for the 3rd and 4th sprints... but in both cases there was just no getting over anyone to get points.. Nice solid 5th both times... Hit 58 in the 3rd sprint!

Chaddock sprinted with two others for the 4th and just kept going. Leaving four of us for the last 10 laps. I worked in the rotation and ended up nicely positioned, arriving at the front with 3 and a half laps to go. Jumped and got a very nice gap, carried it through to the finish to take 2nd in the final sprint. Unfortunately that didn't quite get me to 5th... :-(

But still I thought it was a very nice effort. And just like last week, finished both races strong and could I think easily have carried through for another 10 laps.

Whats really bizarre is that my CTL has dropped significantly. Had it up to about 85 for the Whister Fondo and now its down to about 50... Can't for the life of me get up to speed or do an effort outside... End up doing L2/L3 recovery rides when I get out on the weekends... But the track workouts and races feel easy. Perceived effort is not that high. Speed is up, power is ok.. Endurance on the track is great.

I've been doing the Wednesday Structured workout, usually followed by a 10-20 minute fast pace line workout in the Buckosky 42kph workout... This week I also did the Tuesday morning workout.

Also back to the Computrainer and the winter racing with the Computrainer Race League. Last week it was the 10k TT opener.. Was about 4 seconds faster than last year.. But the front derailleur cable snapped just before I started, so I was stuck in the small ring.. Probably could have done it about 10-15 seconds faster taking advantage of the "hills" to go fast in the 53x11.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BVC Racing - lots of fast and fun racing!

I'm really enjoying the BVC Friday racing so far this year... Last week I managed to snag a 4th in the 4x10 A Points race. No pretty pictures though as I managed to get to the track without the Ergomo...

Tonight was better. After my usual early out in the opening Elimination race I managed to finish 3rd in the 25 lap Scratch Race and 5th in the 4x10 Points. No mean feat with ten other riders, two of whom are on the National Track Team (Ben Chaddock and Gillian Carelton.)  Overall for points in all three races I was (a distant) fourth behind Ben, Gillian and Bruce Denis. Didn't think that was too shabby a result :-)

This was a fairly fast race averaging 48.8 kph for the last 28 or so laps. With about 15 laps to go I had to make a hard bridge up to Gillian and then we worked to get back up to Ben. Bruce Denis and another rider eventually got up to us but at that point Ben jumped again with Gillian and myself following. Gillian was smart enough to pull up and let me lead the way to the finish line and take the 2nd there.

Getting going in the final 4x10 points race was hard after the 25 lap scratch... was huffing and puffing and seriously thinking of pulling up for the first 5-6 laps... Luckily the group decided to take the first 8-9 laps easy and by the time we got to the sprint my heart rate was back up and the legs where feeling ok again. Again this was a another fast race averaging 47 for close to the entire race. I hung out at the back for the first few sprints and then managed to stay with the (slightly larger) group that split off the front. We eventually lapped the field (although the other group had one less rider so Jeremy scored them down a lap instead of us up a lap.)

Ben Chaddock disappeared off the front with about (I think) 6-7 laps to go... I can't remember seeing him go, just wasn't there anymore... He apparently almost lapped the field. That left Gillian, Bruce, Julian Base and myself. Gillian led out with three to go. I followed to get a (distant) third with Julian and Bruce following. Good enough to get me 5th overall.

Overall the racing is fast so far this year. And very enjoyable. Fast bike, fast wheels. skin suit... and 18 weeks of doing the WTNC's.

Doing the Tuesday nighter's got my 5sec power up about 12%. Still not that high, maybe 920 watts for 5 seconds, but that overall that is letting me get away with pushing the 53x14 99" gear and I think giving me more endurance at the more typical track wattage's (700-800 typical max). Tonight's races where among the fastest I have ever placed in, but neither race was long enough to actually make me feel like I would have to slow down. Still going strong at the finish and could have done another 10 laps at the same pace reasonably easily. So if I can maintain that endurance as we get into longer races I should continue to do well.

And as always every time I move up in gearing I go faster for less perceived effort and do better with more endurance. Hard not to like that! Anyone got a 54 tooth ring I can try?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Planning for 2012 Fondo

This years Fondo was substantially slower than last year. 

By my estimates, looking at GPS logs and power files... The front peloton was 2-4 minutes slower than last year because of the headwind from Squamish to Whistler, and people NOT in the front peloton where slower by 5-8 minutes or more (proportionally longer the farther back you where...)

Compared to last year, the front peloton and all of the small groups of riders getting shelled off the peloton where kept together by the headwind. Last year there where break away riders who finished ahead of the main (small) peloton. And behind the peloton where lots of small groups that where stretched out.

This year the front peloton was much larger and stayed together (except for us shelled riders...) And the shelled riders couldn't do much except try and work in small groups. If you got off the front then typically your group quickly caught back on as you worked into the wind.

Looking at the two years... the first conclusion is that if you want to finish in under 4:00 hours, then you need to start with the main front peloton and stay with it for as long as possible. My estimate for this year is that if you stayed with them until Britannia and then continued on at your best pace you had a reasonable chance of getting in under 4:00.. 

The second conclusion is that staying with the front peloton requires maintaining a race pace in the main peloton. This year the average speed to Squamish was just over 36kph and we got there in about 1:50... 

The third conclusion is that the pace of the peloton is roughly Cat 3/4, but the distance overall means that most Cat 4 riders get shelled off leaving mostly Cat 3 riders at the finish.

The difference between riding in the peloton at that speed and in smaller groups following at lower speed is primarily the difference between racing and time trialing. Racing means low power output mostly while in the draft, but then moderately high anaerobic bursts to get up the hills. Time trialing mode means high aerobic output with low variation and little to no anaerobic work.

At a guess, in the peloton to Squamish, 160-200 typical, 400-450 up the short hills, 350-400 up the long hills. Overall average power about 210 watts. Outside the peloton, about 200-240 typical, 300-330 watts up the hills, overall 220 watts average.

So yes, probably lower "average" watts in the peloton... for higher speed. But the cost is lots of anaerobic matches being burnt.

My better numbers for this year came from precisely three things:
  • they neutralized us to the to of Taylor Way, I might have been able to stay with the peloton non-neutralized, but it would have been hard
  • lots of long hard rides with anaerobic training (the fun and friendly hills of Belcarra Park)
  • the Tuesday Crits, 12 reps of 50 second 450 watt intervals in 25 minutes... great way to build endurance, repeated weekly from May to September
Overall my 5 second power went from 820 watts last year to 920 this year.. attributable to the WTNC's..

I've signed up for next years Fondo already. The goal for next year is another 10 minutes off, under 3:40. To do that I need to hang with the peloton until about Daisy Lake or better (I lasted until Alice Lake this year.)

The difference in training for next year will be to switch to Cat 3 races (I've raced Cat 4 for years...) primary differences are slightly faster up the hills and more times up the hills. Typically Cat 3 should be 1-2kph faster and where Cat 4 races last about 1:30-2:00 Cat 3 races are 2:00-2:30. For a typical Spring series race that means 8-9 laps when the Cat 4 (C group) is doing 5-6.

Which probably means I'll get popped off the back, but overall it should get my 5 second and 1 minute power numbers up, and give me more endurance for them. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gran Fondo - Starting Stategy

In the 2010 edition of the Gran Fondo Whistler there was a definite advantage to starting at the very front of the first start chute. The first group went out fast and there was a lot of selection in the park and up Taylor Way. If you started more than a minute or so back you really never had a chance to bridge up to the front riders.

This year the front group was neutralized through the park and to the top of Taylor Way, resulting in a very large (400+) riders effectively starting together ....

This makes the starting strategy a lot different. Remember that your time is measured from when YOU cross the start line to when YOU finish. If you start two minutes back and then finish one minute behind the first people across the line... you will record a better time.

So that begs the question, how FAR back could you safely start.  This video provides some interesting ideas.

Global TV Helicopter Video of start

It shows the big bulge at the front of the race going through Stanley Park. Followed by a steady stream of riders .... but other than the big bulge there appears to be a lot of empty space behind them. I suspect that you could have started in the four hour chute, probably 3-5 minutes back on start time... and still easily have moved through the riders to get to the front group before it got up Taylor Way.

This would give you a 3-5 minute buffer against the people who started at the front....

We'll have to see if the organizers change things next year. If they use the same starting procedure (neutral to the top of Taylor Way) it wouldn't actually be a bad idea to use the elapsed time from the starting gun for any riders finishing in the first group at the finish. This would even out the effects of where you start as long as you start somewhere close enough to the front that you can get to the front group of riders. But wouldn't give you an advantage for doing so.

Anyone out there who started in the four hour chute can let me know what it felt like to them this year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strava Widgets - Join your club!

Cool Strava stuff... If your club members "join" their virtual club in Strava then their rides are available via two different widgets:



Gran Fondo Whistler 2011 - by the numbers

On September 10, 2011, Stuart Lynne and seven thousand other people rode to Whistler.........

The official results are available here as a PDF..

I munged those back into a Google Docs spreadsheet here for those interested in doing some numerical analysis.

Rider Summary
The riders where neutralized until the top of Taylor Way. To some extent prevented the selection of stronger riders that occurred last year where the "front" sprinted through the park, over the bridge and up Taylor Way. Resulting in a much smaller lead group.

Roughly (my guesstimate) about 400 plus riders ended up as a very large group on the Upper Levels. This resulted in, by Horseshoe Bay in the riders mostly taking over both lanes of the West Bound highway. We where supposed to only use the inside (far left) lane, but there was the lane, there was no (as in Zero cars) and the group was averaging about 35 kph. It just sort of ended up looking like it was safer to ride over there than fight for space with two hundred plus riders (with more than a few sketchy ones in there!)

There was some selection all along the Sea to Sky Highway.. Possibly down to 350 by about Furry Creek. There was some serious damage done there and again coming out of Britannia Beach. My guesstimate is maybe 250 at Squamish. Average speed to there > 36 kph.

I was in a group of about 20 at that point and we couldn't see the front group. But there where some motivated people at the front pushing the speed up > 40 kph... and we managed to catch what looked like the main group at about Alice Lake.

Unfortunately I got "self selected" out at that point... Preferring (bad mistake) to ride my own pace. I managed to do it faster than last year... but not fast enough. I knew that to finish in 3:45 I needed be averaging 33 kph at the end and that I wouldn't be able to pull it up by much in the last 30km...

And about then we noticed that not only where we climbing a long hot hill, but against a head wind. That coupled with the small groups following at this point was the reason falling off the main group was a big mistake. They had the fire power and numbers to maintain their speed. The smaller groups had neither.

This is shown in the histograms. No one off the front this year... It stayed more or less together until the finish.

Overall my time for the last half was just about exactly the same as last year. Although the climbing to Daisy Lake was faster, the final 30km was actually slower. I wasn't passed (that I can remember or noticed) riders once once on the Cheakamus climb until Whistler. I did catch up with a few riders in this segment.... but not that many.. More than 10-20? Certainly not by much!

Overall my placing fell from fell from 289 overall to 260th (roughly 5000 finishers). And since there where 75% more riders this year, that is of course better. I was 49th out of 1221 finishers in the 50-59 group compared to 48th out of 770 last year.

  • Official Time 3:50:03
  • Overall 260th - 5000 vs 289th 
  • 50-59 - 49th - 1221 vs 48th - 770
The initial group (~70 riders) had (with the benefit of hindsight and armchair quarterbacking) a huge benefit from keeping all the strong riders and working together to keep the pace very high in the head wind. And they missed last years best times by about 5 minutes.

Outside of the initial group, on average for most riders the ride was substantially slower.  Possibly by as much as 10-15 minutes.

Personally, I was hoping for under 3:45 and missed that by 5 minutes. But looking the overall picture, I can adjust that down by probably about 5 minutes to equate to last year. So I think I achieved my goal (with reservations). I'll look at power numbers and do some analysis of that later in the week.

Histograms Showing Finish Distributions

This Histogram chart shows all finishers in ten minute intervals. Roughly speaking the peak is between 270-300 minutes... 4:30-5:00.

This Histogram chart shows the first half hour finishers, about 460 riders in one minute intervals. Note the peak at the beginning. Roughly 70 riders finished as a group within the first three minutes. Unlike last year there where no riders off the front.

Contrast this with 2010. Some people off the front, then much smaller groups that dribble in.

Strava Segments

The organizers didn't do split timing this year... which was a shame, the numbers from that where interesting... But with the ever increasing numbers of people riding around with Garmin computers on their bars its Strava to the rescue. It collects uploaded GPS files and then allows you to create ride segments for smaller sections of your ride. And then it will find all available rides that "match" that segment.

So here are some segments of the Fondo. I've tried to eliminate "overlapping" results... i.e. where people did the same route and managed to match into the Gran Fondo route. This is done by matching the exact start (half block West of Burrard on Georgia) for on segment and the exact finish sequence for the rest.

There still are some rides listed there where not the Fondo. And some that where on Saturday but part of the Giro. So don't assume that all the results are for the ride.. You can see the dates for the matching rides if you have a Strava account (free signup.)

To Brennan Sports Center, 50% distance. Ignoring Marty Lazarski (Giro rider) we can see that there was a tight grouping, large number of riders arriving within a few minutes of 1:48.

From Brennan Sports Center. Smaller group at 1:45 (last half time only!) and then more riders coming in over larger intervals.

The last 30km segment. Same comments as above.. gaps increasing and lengthening.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gran Fondo - split times for 3:45 and 4:00 finish

Assuming the same checkpoints as last year...

In other words... all things being equal... riders finishing in four hours last year went through Brackendale at 2:05 and Cheakamus at 2:46.

The other way to pace things is to figure out the average kph you need to achieve your goal time. Then monitor that in your bike computer. You have to start high, for 4:00, about 34 kph at the first checkpoint, 31kph at the salt sheds and 30.5 arriving at the finish. This method may also be subject to error if you stop and your computer only does the average against moving time not actual elapsed time (common.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cobble Hill RR - 3rd 55-59

Last BCMCA race of the year at Cobble Hill. I've done this every year since 2007 and by at about 2kph this was the fastest the 50-59 group has done the race in that time.

Previous years average speed has ranged from 33 to just over 35 kph. Today was hot and fast, average 37.1 kph.. About 8-10 seconds faster up the hill as well.

Luckily the steady diet of Tuesday nighters made the climbs reasonably doable even though difficult at the "new" speed standard :-)

The pace cause a bunch of normally strong riders to drop off... but there was a bunch of new "entry level" 50's guys who pushed the pace all day and where in at the kill making the final sprint fairly busy (race downhill on dodgy pavement and then sprint for 200m!)

I still managed to stay well towards the front for the final finish and took 3rd for my age group.

A small group of 40's caught us in the last lap and walked away from us on the final hill climb... including Claire Cameron. We simply couldn't hang on to them. They apparently averaged 40+kph to be able to catch us.

Very small amount of leg twinging during the last lap. I think from the hill climbs in the heat. Hopefully a slightly lower pace next week well get me through the Fondo with out any (cramping!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cedar Sprint Pictures

Thanks to Duane and his telephoto we have some nice shots as we head in for final sprint at Cedar RR

 15 Seconds just about 230 meters out. Otto had made his move to the front 200 meters earlier and this is almost exactly where he started his sprint to the line.

 10 seconds out, about 137 meters. Mike Sevcov has moved around the rider he was following (yellow and black jersey to the far left.) I'm just maintaining my position behind Mike and protecting a line by staying to his right (my left) so I wouldn't get boxed in.

 6 seconds out, about 80 meters. Ray Wagner on the far left is coming around the blocking rider. Steve Crowley is stuck in the middle.

 1 second out, Ray Wagner moving up on the left, Ray Crowley has moved across to the right. Both are slightly to late.

Otto has a good gap. He has lead the sprint from 450meters out. First attacking to get to the front and then then sprinting from 250m. Mike Sevcov still going strong.

I'm maintaining my position against Ray and Steve.

Final 1-Otto, 2-Mike, 3-Stuart, 4-Steve and 5-Ray.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BCMCA Cedar RR - 3rd overall

Beautiful weather in Nanaimo today... forecast was for showers but there was just a few scattered clouds and the temperature was warmish but not hot. A fairly strong group for 50-59's (17) with a bunch of strong young guys who seemed happy to do a lot of work keeping the pace up.

First lap we averaged 39.1 kph, lap two was 38.4. We caught most of the 60's about halfway into lap two. The remaining three 60+ riders at the beginning of lap three. We never did see any of the younger groups. They where several minutes behind us at the finish.

Going into the last 5km of the race I just stayed near the front bouncing from wheel to wheel as appropriate taking an occasional pull at the front. Just over a kilometer from the finish there is a little dip, going up the small climb a small group jumped past me from the back requiring a sharp response, gave me the peak power for the day, 922 watts, 573 average for 12 seconds. Followed by 30-40 seconds VO2Max effort. But that kept me on the wheels of the front half dozen riders.

I was able to re-position in that group about 3rd back on the outside giving myself open road to move up when needed. At about 400m there was an attack from the back. I was able to follow that wheel, staying roughly 3rd.

At 200m Mike Secov came sprinting down the inside and the the rider I was following responded. We finished 1,2,3. Great leadout!

So at the finish rider Otto Kamstra 1st overall, Mike Secov 2nd, and I was 3rd.

The advantage here was the flat (ish) final sprint with a long lead out... A little work on my part helped to spice things up starting about 5km out. Pull the speed up early, get people working harder earlier... wind the final leadout up starting a km out... by the time you get to the finish line you have a bunch of people who are tired and hopefully aerobically challenged... Which impacts their final sprint.

Effectively this tries to change the odds from favoring those with good 5s-1m power to those with good 3m-5m numbers :-)

File from Strava and TrainingPeaks.

Pictures from Duane Martindale's site.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

BCTT 2011 - Lake Cowichan planning

Out and back 40km course. 10km up, 20km rolling (about same climbing as first 10km), 10km descending.

Dist elapsed Goal Average Speed Power
km m kmh   FTP
10 17 35     108% - Mostly uphill slog
20 32 38     100% - Rolling slightly less uphill than 10km back
30 49 37     105% - Rolling slightly more uphill than 10km out
40 62 39      90% - Mostly descending

That's the plan... 10km in 17m average speed 35kmh, 20km in 32m, 38 kmh average, etc.

Takes into account the relative amounts of climbing or descending. So push hard from 0-10, a little easier for 10-20, hard again for 20-30, and fly down the last 30-40 which is mostly downhill.

Because it is rolling for the middle 20km (10-30) think in terms of matches. There are about 8-10 hard climbs and similar number of easy climbs. So lots of anaerobic contribution. 

Go 105% up a hills until you have crested and regained target speed, 100% where it is nominally flat and 95% for downhills. 

Depending on the length of the hill, you may try for slightly higher power (shorter) or lower power (longer). But to optimize power to CdA increase power at low speeds, decrease to recover at high speeds. Always keeping power high until back to high speed, remember don't lower power at crest of hill, push past and get speed back up. 

Most people reduce power at the crest as their brain, lungs and legs are telling them to stop and since they have finished the hill it seems like that would be OK. Its NOT!

62 minutes or less should podium in Master C (well it depends on who shows up... OlafS. should be under 59). 

My time in 2007 on the same course, but 49km (started and ended differently and went farther out) was 1:15:26, average speed 39.3. So 62 with an average speed of about 39.5 should be doable. If I recall it rained that day and slowed us down considerably on the final 10km descent.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Two different studies - LSD vs HIT

Both of these highlite the importance of keeping HIT (High Intensity) down and LSD (Long Slow Distance) up.

The easier and shorter read from Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D

Total training time was strongly correlated with FTP and VO2max. This observation strongly supports the above correlation with overall rider ranking.

• The amount of time spent in “aerobic endurance” workouts and at the Zone 2 (Endurance) power zones also strongly correlated with both FTP and VO2max. This is a very interesting finding and runs counter to most our pre-conceptions that better fitness comes through better/harder/more intervals. Rather, this points to the importance of developing that big “aerobic engine” as the foundation for better fitness. Indeed, many of us, despite our limited training time, probably do as much higher intensity work as elite riders with double our training volume. So if you can arrange to have a week or two of increased training volume, it may be best to focus on endurance efforts rather than more intervals or high-intensity work.

• The above finding is about total time in aerobic endurance work. However, the overall distribution of training time at different zones were similar across all 11 subjects, averaging ~73 in Zones 1-2, 22% in Zones 3-4, and 5% in Zones 5-7. Note again the preponderance of relatively “easy” endurance work even in elite/world class cyclists. This suggests that the mix of training is about the same across these elite athletes, and again that “quality equals quantity” even at these elite levels.

• FTP was most strongly correlated with total training time spent doing “strength” workouts, which consisted of low cadence (40-60 rpm) high gear efforts for 2-20 min. 

• The amount of time spent in “aerobic endurance” workouts and at the Zone 2 (Endurance) power zones also strongly correlated with both FTP and VO2max. This is a very interesting finding and runs counter to most our pre-conceptions that better fitness comes through better/harder/more intervals. Rather, this points to the importance of developing that big “aerobic engine” as the foundation for better fitness. Indeed, many of us, despite our limited training time, probably do as much higher intensity work as elite riders with double our training volume. So if you can arrange to have a week or two of increased training volume, it may be best to focus on endurance efforts rather than more intervals or high-intensity work.
• The above finding is about total time in aerobic endurance work. However, the overall distribution of training time at different zones were similar across all 11 subjects, averaging ~73 in Zones 1-2, 22% in Zones 3-4, and 5% in Zones 5-7. Note again the preponderance of relatively “easy” endurance work even in elite/world class cyclists. This suggests that the mix of training is about the same across these elite athletes, and again that “quality equals quantity” even at these elite levels.
• FTP was most strongly correlated with total training time spent doing “strength” workouts, which consisted of low cadence (40-60 rpm) high gear efforts for 2-20 min. 

And the longer and more in depth peer reviewed paper from Stephen Seiler and Espen T√łnnessen

Here are some conclusions that seem warranted by the available data and experience from observations of elite performers:
       There is reasonable evidence that an ~80:20 ratio of low to high intensity training (HIT) gives excellent long-term results among endurance athletes training daily.
       Low intensity (typically below 2 mM blood lactate), longer duration training is effective in stimulating physiological adaptations and should not be viewed as wasted training time.
       Over a broad range, increases in total training volume correlate well with improvements in physiological variables and performance.
       HIT should be a part of the training program of all exercisers and endurance athletes. However, about two training sessions per week using this modality seems to be sufficient for achieving performance gains without inducing excessive stress.
       The effects of HIT on physiology and performance are fairly rapid, but rapid plateau effects are seen as well.  To avoid premature stagnation and ensure long-term development, training volume should increase systematically as well.
       When already well-trained athletes markedly intensify training with more HITover 12 to ~45 wk, the impact is equivocal.
       In athletes with an established endurance base and tolerance for relatively high training loads, intensification of training may yield small performance gains at acceptable risk.
       An established endurance base built from reasonably high volumes of training may be an important precondition for tolerating and responding well to a substantial increase in training intensity over the short term.
       Periodization of training by elite athletes is achieved with reductions in total volume, and a modest increase in the volume of training performed above the lactate threshold. An overall polarization of training intensity characterizes the transition from preparation to competition mesocycles. The basic intensity distribution remains similar throughout the year.

And from the commentary on the above paper by: Stephen A Ingham:

But just as vestiges reside in species, high performance training programs contain residual imperfections. The current paper highlights, in my opinion, the most common mistake: the accuracy of training execution. Specifically, this paper supports my own observation that for endurance athletes (particularly middle-distance), low-intensity training is performed too high whilst high-intensity training is performed too low. I surmise that the latter is a product of the former. The case studies illustrate the effects of including higher volumes of accurately performed low-intensity training It is not clear whether low-intensity training is more effective than high intensity training or whether low-intensity work simply allows more rapid recovery and preserves high intensity systems for performance of high-end work.
When working with middle and long distance athletes, this bunching of intensities on the plot of percentage of training time vs intensity is the first thing I look for when establishing a profile and understanding of ways in which preparation and performance can be improved. Further, there is a tendency for sports physiologists to prescribe types of sessions to an athlete with inadequate knowledge of the athlete’s program or how it is performed.

So get in more LSD. Keep the HIT well defined and to about two sessions per week. Ensure that LSD is LSD and HIT is indeed HIT.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday Crit - 1st tt'ing off the field

Fun crit out in Richmond... I sandbagged it in the C group and just TT'd to the finish.

The race started slow so following my usual reaction to that I jumped... and got a good 300m gap... so just kept going.

Did about 40.8 kmh average (top blue line in chart) for the first 10 minutes (to the preme) and about 39.0 kmh average for the rest of the race (bottom blue line).

There are two long 300m places on this course that you can look back to see how close the rest of the race is getting. Tonight I just kept my gap at that distance. If I couldn't see anyone I slowed down a bit. If I saw them at the far end I just picked up the pace. There was at least one pair of riders that made it about half way across just before the preme lap, but they eventually gave up and fell back.

So could I do this in the B group?

First its likely I was helped by Ryan, Mark and Scott working hard to prevent anyone from getting away to try and bridge up. So hopefully any attempt for the B's would get helped by some EV guys...

Second looking at some power files from two years ago it looks like the average speed (then) for the B group was about 40.5. So no, unlikely I could stay away for the entire 30 minute race.

But possibly (maybe) there might be some hope trying to get away for the last 7-8 minutes. Say about 4 or 5 laps to go. Far enough out that possibly most of the B's wouldn't think to try and cover a jump. But within my best 10 minute window for 40.8 (which could be pushed higher with some motivation for and end of race effort.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Straight from Andy Coggan via Alex Symons blog.

Like Andy's Power Profile which shows Watts / kg so you can see where your power ranks you, this shows your FTP in Watts x your aerodynamic drag, CdA to give you Watts / m2 so you can see where you rank for (flat) TT performance.

My best guess for CdA is about .23, current FTP 295. So 1282 or just about smack dab center of Cat 3. Which more or less is where I show up in TT results...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Anmore Tour - new PB!

So the secret does seem to be training load. Sounds obvious but.....

I've concentrated, for the last few months, on long hard rides. Tempo or better for 3-4 hours. Moving my post Xmas CTL from mid 30 to about 85.

Tuesdays WTNC, possible NP-Buster was the first result.

Today I only had two hours free, so went out hard for my Anmore Tour... to see if I could get a PB...

And WOW! First split is the top of the first climb up East Rd, typically 9 minutes, previous PB about 8:30... Today 7:30!

  • East Rd - 7:30 - 8:30
  • Buntzen - 16:05 - 17:00
  • Whitepine - 32:20 - 33:00
  • Belcarra - 42:30 - 43:50
  • Burrard Thermal - 55:02 - 56:16
  • Home - 1:32 - 1:35

The previous PB's for the splits where across multiple rides over 4+ years... so beating all of them in one ride is nice. Its possible to hit a PB in one or two segments just by going harder for that section, but doing it for every split is far harder.

I suspect that the WTNC's are also helping. One thing I noticed today was that on the short climbs (1km, 100-150m) I was able to maintain a higher wattage for longer with a lower perceived effort. Not necessarily something I could maintain for a longer event, e.g. Whistler Gran Fondo at 3.5 - 4 hours. But noticeably better for this distance. And I suspect the reason for the PB's.

WKO's power profile shows the progress as well. Not as definite in the anaerobic range (5s and 1min) but definitely the 5min and 20min just continue to respond to the load and move up. Now nudging into Cat 3 territory. So the question is how much farther can I push those ranges in the next 6-7 weeks before the Whistler Gran Fondo.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A tale of two Crits

We've had a marvelous WTNC season so far... no missed races for rain. And last night we got a bonus. The UBC Grand Prix took all the Cat 1/2 riders so us lowly and unprivileged types (Cat 3/4 and novice) got to do a double distance for our WNTC..

This made for interesting comparisons as last week the Cat 4's had fastest ride of the season (and quite possibly faster than any last year..) @ 41.5kph average speed for the 26 minute race. With a peak at just about 42kph average pace about half way through.

This week of course was a bit slower. There where a few upgrades (people moved up to Cat 3...) And the group was smaller. But my impression was that because we where going to race twice as long, 50 instead of 25 minutes, the pace setters where setting the pace a bit slower. So About 38.5 for the first half and (strangely) a bit faster at about 39.4 for the last half. Or about 39.1 kph average overall.

Here are the two power files with the average speed and power shown.

What I found was the pace for last week was just at the edge of what I could do. Heading into the last two laps it was maybe I could just pull in right now... Perceived effort was over the top.

Last night the pace (2.5-3 kph slower) meant I was just inside my comfort zone (well not comfort but at least not my unconfortable zone...) So hitting two laps to go close to 50 minutes in and I had no thoughts of pulling in.

Last week vs this week numbers, normalize power watts and average watts

  • 316, 235
  • 311, 247

So last week overall wattage was lower, but the peaks (up the hill) where higher and more punishing. This week overall wattage was higher for longer, but the peaks where less punishing. So overall I was closer to my ability zone and therefore perceived effort was lower.

The numbers also show another "problem". I hit 100 TSS points in 50 minutes. And in fact after a short (< 1 minute) "rest" actually decided to push on and keep up a (not quite race) effort to fill in the one hour. Got to 120 TSS ... which of course with an Intensity Factor of 1.09 makes this an NP Buster... theoretically impossible. Although IFF possible it would be done by doing repeated short high intensity intervals with rests between ( a good enough description of the WTNC course...)

But I suspect this simply means I need to move FTP up... currently at 285. Probably need to move it up to about 295, which would move TSS down to about 105 which is closer to what Coggan predicts should be the max for this type of effort.

Trainingpeaks links:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fatigue Profiling - from Allan / Coggan V2

Was revisiting Hunter Allens Fatigue Profile page:

I previously blogged about it here:

And there is another writeup at PezCycling:

Tells me a couple of things...
  • my L7-Neuromuscular absolute numbers still suck but are a bit higher than last year
  • but my endurance at that level is very good, what I can do I can do for a long time 
  • which means I'm not "explosive"
  • L6-Anaerobic Capacity is similar
  • By the time we get to L5-VO2Max the numbers start to look relatively higher and still with good endurance
So if want out sprint anyone I have to go early so that the sprint drags out to 1-2 minutes minimum. So that most other Cat 4's are running out. 

Comparing my numbers to the PezCycling example:

  • Much higher L7-Neuromuscular
  • Slightly higher L6 Anaerobic Capacity
  • Lower L5-VO2Max
  • Slightly lower L4-Lactate Threshold
This guy will beat me in a one up sprint up to one minute. But as long as I can stay on his wheel for that minute I should be able to get past him at two minutes.

Alternately if I can jump from behind and get a gap he cannot close in less than about one minute I stand a good chance of staying in front of him. Typically this means going from about 600m (3 laps on the track.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Aldergrove by the numbers (never let a time trialist get off the front with less than 15km to go!)

Jumped at the top of the small hill (entrance to parking lot) with 2.5 laps to go. Got 300m gap by the time I hit Zero ave, never saw the pack again :-)

They finished about 2-3 minutes after I did. The A's helped a bit by coming past the C's just after I got off and that probably helped confuse and confound them. I kept thinking I was about to get caught, sit up, and then it's a bunch of A's. First the break. The the main group. I actually had to play cat and mouse with their main group for most of a lap, pass them on the downhill ("neutral, single C break coming through") and then getting caught on the small hill, then pass them again, then get passed on the 272nd climb... Didn't take any advantage drafting wise but certainly they where a nice carrot to pace myself from.

My average speed wasn't that high actually, 34.6. Which was very close to the overall average for the C's to where I jumped. But in fact they had dropped down to about 33 for the preceding two laps. I was watching the average speed. We peaked at about 35.2kph at the end of lap 3, but then the overall average started falling. So I figured the main riders where starting to slow down. With 3 to go slowly started moving to the front, getting there at the bottom of the small climb. Got to the top of that about 4th or 5th wheel back, jumped and didn't look back until Zero.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fast nights in the A-Group!

A nice set of races at the track tonight.... and because of other obligations I was nicely tapered not having been on the bike since Sunday.

The first race was a 30 lap Tempo, always good for a fast pace and tonight was no different. Average speed for the 30 laps was 49.3kph, with just under half - 14 laps / 3:20 minutes - averaging 50kph! Can't remember a race this fast. At least not one I was able finish.

I was on a 51x14, about 95.2" for racing after doing a solid 20 minute warmup on a 52x14 (97.1"). Since my form was good this felt very comfortable and I had no trouble hanging in even as the the pack speeds hit 52-55 and stayed well over 50 for extended periods.

Even my heartrate stayed well down, only hitting 182bpm for the final lap. Average for the race only 170bpm.

As always, as long as I can stay on top of the gear overall the bigger I go the better I can do. I'll continue with the weight program to see if I can continue to get raw strength up so that I can move up to the 52x14 for racing and maybe 53x14 (98.9") for training.

One side effect of the bigger gear is that it makes it more comfortable to get up off the seat for short efforts even when at speeds over 50kph. Typically leg speed makes it uncomfortable to push hard standing at much more than about 125 RPM. But on this size gear 50kph is about 120RPM and that I can do standing and get a nice jump.

In the second race, a 3x10 progressive points race the A's actually let me get over the top and attack with 3 laps to go.. they are a really polite bunch letting us old guys do some work at times.

Not that I did much... Jacob Schwingboth and a couple of others bridged back on to my wheel and went over me at the final sprint. Still it was fun. Someday I'll surprise them and stay away :-)

I'm playing with some of the new options in the online version of trainingpeaks. While heavily flash based the results are still quite nice and it is easy to make workouts available. See here for the tempo race and here for the progressive.

They also have hooked up with facebook and twitter and you can have your uploaded files automatically summarized and posted to either of them. This can be done either automatically or only for specific workouts. I'll play with posting them to twitter as I only have about 5 followers and as far as I can tell they are all some random people I don't know. They think they are following some other stuartlynne.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back to the Track - Motorpacing in the A-Group

The last few months have been very slack... between work and puppies I was down to about one Computrainer ride a week for most of December...

Anyway, the Winter Track Racing season is back. And again I'm up with the A-Group where it is less embarrassing to get dropped. There I can use the gearing that works for me, 50x14 but it rolls out as about 94" because of the very low profile 28-19 Vittoria Evo Pista CS tubular I use... If I raced with the B's I would have to use a 48x15 and its altogether possible that I'd get dropped just about as often... and that would be embarrassing :-)

The first two weeks where a bit hard. I was on a training wheel because the tubular I glued onto my disk back in October developed a very strange and severe problem early in December. Quite literally the glue holding the tape on to the tubular turned into a greasy sticky substance and the tubular started to roll off the disk! Once I noticed and came off the track and let the air out the tubular just fell off the rim. Leaving the tape firmly glued to the disk!

I finally got around to gluing a new tubular this week. And also decided to bring my old Zipp 3000 tri-spoke out of storage. Previously on my old frame it seemed to develop wheel wobble fairly badly. Worse than other wheels. But I haven't noticed any high speed front wheel wobbles at all since I got the Cervelo T3. So thought it might be time to give it another try.

So tonight it was back with tri-spoke and disk and skinsuit and new booties...

The A-Group did a 40 lap scratch, elimination and 4x10 points. Managed to stay with the field for 20+ laps in the scratch race. And then stayed with the second group when they split off. We got lapped once. That contrasts fairly well with last week on the training wheel where it was stay on for 4-5 laps and then pull up and wait. Then repeat... getting lapped about 5-6 times in a 40 lap race.

The elimination was a bust... pretty hard to accelerate the big gear into the back of the group right off the start. I was the first volunteer.

Had fun in the final 4x10 points race. Nicely warmed up and the field wasn't too fast... Coming around turn two with two laps to go for the first sprint I got gapped slightly behind another rider... with about 4-5 (of 8) riders out front going into the back stretch at about 47kph. Got up and bridged over, only about 10m... but managed to get a good head of speed so just went over the top and dived down.

Now I'll admit at the time I thought that there was only one to go... I was slightly surprised when I came around turn four and saw two laps to go till the sprint. But heck I was sure of two things... first I did have somebody behind me... But second probably only one or two and then a gap... So I just dug in and lead them out.

Anyway, Erik Mulder nipped me at the line, I managed to take a second with Attila very close for third. Since Eric could out sprint me in his sleep I suspect he was being kind to just take me at the line. As far as I could tell there was a 10-20 m gap after Atilla.

The overall numbers where very good. Hit a top speed for 58.5, average 54.9 for 30 seconds or 457 m distance covered (just over two laps!) Average watts about 565 watts for 30 seconds and 464 for 60 seconds...

Of course while it was fun it was also a race ending type sprint... had to pull up and let the main group go around, loosing a lap... But it still managed to get me a 4th overall. So that was OK.

The Zipp 3000 seems to be OK on the P3 frame. No wobble at all tonight or last Wed (had it out to test on Wed for the BVC Structured workout.) I have a Tufo mounted on it. Reasonably good one so hopefully CRR not too bad (I pumped it up to 180 PSI!) Probably I should mount a Vittoria on it. But the Tufo will do for now.

Now just have to move CTL from 26 back up to something reasonable, say 70 or therabouts before Spring Series starts (about seven weeks.) My long term goal for the year is a time under 3:40 for the Whistler Grand Fondo in September. So I have to do longer harder races and rides this year. Haven't decided, but I may do B group races in Spring Series. At least for the flatter courses.