Monday, March 31, 2014

Knighthood Training Week 8

A pretty vanilla week. Somewhat of three bears week, with two weeks ago being overcooked with 175 miles Papa Bear, last week being a bit undercooked with 121 miles Momma Bear, this week was pretty much in the middle with 147 and shut the front door 3 of those miles were running!!! Baby Bear This is the penultimate week of training so I was glad to have a solid week, it also closed out the month and the quarter so it was a week with lots of closings.

Here is how things shook out;

Monday; Rest.

Tuesday; Lone Pine. Dialed back to 92% as back is still sore. This was a nice solid ride.6x10-minute intervals in the Threshold power level at 95-99% FTP with 3-minute recoveries between intervals. Focused on form on the bike, sitting still, "scraping shoes" etc. GC Data.

Wednesday; Pyramidal. Very pleased with this, some work but well within myself. 40 minutes of Tempo with varying intensity every 5 minutes. GC Data.

Thursday; Red Kaweah. Had to stop for bio break between 2nd and 3 sets and forgot to restart Garmin hence missing 7 minutes and 1.5-2 miles...oh well. 4 sets of 3x4-minute efforts at 95, 100 & 105% FTP with slightly increasing rest periods from 1 to 3 minutes in duration at 50-60% FTP. GC Data.

Friday; Rest.

Saturday; North Maggie. Today was a FreeRide so as Sunday is on the road I just swapped them around. 5x10-minute Power Steps each beginning with 5 minutes between 90-95% FTP followed immediately by 5 minutes of 1-3% FTP steps which top out at 112%; 5 minutes of rest between each interval. Dialed intensity back to 95%, GC Data.

Sunday; Hidden Valley, WLV loop. Nice solid ride with a bit of everything, climbs (2800' of gain), flats and drops. Felt strong, hammered some of it and eased off in some. Followed this with a three mile run in the new Saucony Virrata 2s. I was chasing Becca for a bit and was pleased with the pace given my lack of running. Finished it off with a cold Mexican Coke!

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In terms of the month as suspected I broke the 600 mile mark, this is a new high for me even compared to Ironman training back in 2012 when I had bike week (which was 190 miles) I only topped out at 476 and when training for the Tour De Big Bear last year I maxed at 498 so this is a big up in mileage from then.

That being said this plan is very consistent with 4 x 90 minute rides and a 60 minute ride per week and and then whatever I did on a Sunday.


For the quarter, well the numbers speak for themselves. This obviously reflects the two weeks off in January after the bike crash. That being said had I not crashed my training would have looked very different as I would have continued on the Ironman St George 70.3 plan, so there would have been a lot more running and swimming of course! Either way I am pleased with the consistency.

imageThis is the last week of the scheduled plan. I have decide to skip Saturday’s ride; the only ride which I have missed since starting. This will give me an extra day of rest before L’Etape du California on Sunday.

imageMy best estimate is that I will just break 70 hours of training over the 9 weeks and hit 1100 miles. I will write up a review on the plan next week!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Screwed blue!

It’s taken me a long time to finally find a pair cycling shoes that fit, to be honest it’s taken a really long time! The problem is that wearing them in the bedroom and walking around for a minute of two is very different to wearing them on the bike. It’s then that you discover that they pinch, pull or whatever it is that they do to not make them fit. For the record I have tried; Sidi, Shimano, Spuik, Northwave, Giro and probably a few more that escape me.

Last month I picked up a pair of 2013 Bonratger RXLs, they fitted really nicely. The problem was the ratcheting mechanism on the inside of the shoe slipped which loosened the shoe, Bontrager offer a 30 day perfect fit policy, so I took them back to the LBS from where I got them and they gave me another pair no questions asked. They were surprised to hear my complaint and the owner wore the same shoe and had never had any problems so quite possibly it was a random pair. Anyway so far so good!

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Now a by-product of trying all these shoes is that you have to switch your cleats…often. I run Speedplay pedals and they require a conversion plate that sits between the cleat mechanism and the shoe, converting the typical 3 hole sole to the 4 hole Speedplay mount. I am going to spare you all the blurb about the cleats as this post is about that tiny bit of blue that you can see at the end of the screws in the picture.

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That blue is Loctite Blue (aka Loctite 242), do not be confused that it comes in a red bottle! There are three main features of 242;

  • Protects threads; Prevents rusting of threads
  • Medium strength; Can be removed with hand tools
  • Locks threads; Prevents loosening of metal fasteners caused by vibrations

It’s the third one that comes in to play for me more than the others, specifically as a result of all the cleat changing I have worn off all the “blue” from the mounting screws and as a result my cleats tend to loosen sooner than they should. It’s inevitable that they will come loose eventually and of course the more you ride the sooner that will happen. The fix is to simply paint some more blue onto them. Well there is a bit more to it;

  1. All the screws should be clean, I use a rag and some degreaser then wipe everything down with a dry clean rag
  2. Apply the blue, gently squeeze the tube and apply several drops on the thread, see photo above
  3. Wait 24 hours
  4. Reassemble cleats

And voila, loose cleats no more! To be honest this can also be used on bottle cages to the same effect, essentially anywhere that might loosen due to vibration! When I travelled to Canada in 2012 I removed the handlebars from the stem to box the bike. I painted all the screws the same way before travelling so they were all good to go when I reassembled the cockpit

Available from any hardware store and even from Amazon it costs about $7.00 a tube which lasts a lifetime!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TrainerRoad 102; software, set up and a giveaway!

Following the 101 hardware step up post, this one will go through the setup of the software and connecting it all together. As before lots of screen grabs, that saves me from typing…a lot!

First thing is to head over to the TrainerRoad website, I use a PC (not a Mac) so this will focus on setting it up on that system. You need to create an account, (I already have one so I can just log in), from there you are prompted to install the USB Drivers and Software. There is a 30 day no questions asked refund policy when you sign up and stay tuned…there is a Promo Code giveaway coming up.



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I am sure you have done this a million times…but hey I work in IT and have SnagIt!


After installing the USB drivers you do the same with the TrainerRoad application, neither applications are big but TrainerRoad takes a little time to install so be patient.

Go and make a cup of tea…

…put the kettle on…

…water is boiling…

…tea is steeped!

Perfect timing!

TrainerRoad is (for now) based on Adobe Air so if you do not have that installed you will be prompted to install that too. Once that is all installed the Application opens and you’re prompted to Log In, use the same User Name and Password that you created when you set up your account online.

The application then downloads the Workout Library, 600+ workouts…that a different one every day for nearly 2 years!

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Once the Library is installed or while it’s installing if you’re impatient you can set up your profile; most of this is common sense but here’s some handy definitions;


Ok we are nearly there….next we have to get everything to talk to everything else. Remember TrainerRoad is taking your ANT+ data and displaying it on the PC screen.

The are two main workflows here that I have used, (I do not have a CompuTrainer so I cannot speak to that). The two I have used are “Enable” Virtual Power and using my Stages PowerMeter for both of these I still use my Ant+ Heart Rate strap (Garmin Premium HR strap 010-10997-07 ) and my Garmin Speed and Cadence Monitor (010-10644-00) so this is the same for both workflows

I’ll go through each of them one at a time, first Virtual Power

This is pretty simple, actually it’s very simple. Check “Enable Virtual Power” and then scroll till you find your Trainer, in my case I have a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. Ok that’s it, like I said pretty very simple!


If you have a Power Meter you need to get that talking to the Ant+ receivers. In this case do not check Enable Virtual Power. Again it’s very simple, for my Stages Power Meter crank motion is the on/off so I simply pedal which turns the wheel, this will also set off the Speed and Cadence Sensor too! Mine are already paired, you will need to hit Search. As you can see it provides you the Device ID as well as a comment on the Signal strength and Hours since new Battery, as mentioned in my prior post I use an extension lead to get the Garmin USB Ant+ dongle as close to my bike as possible. I am to have the signal Strength Good or Excellent.

TR3 tr8

Ok at this point you are; Logged in and your Ant+ Devices are ready to to receive and Display the data. The next step is to choose a ride. Now in between me starting this post and completing it a new Version (2.6.1) has been launched which provides you with an easier interface to choose rides, so I am going to cover that in another post but I don’t want to leave you in a state of prepared excitement so the next steps will get your rolling on a simple ride! I would suggest you do this anyway just to get a feel for the set up and screens etc, there is nothing more frustrating than start-stop-starting a workout

On the workout Tab search bar type “free” this will present a series of rides with fixed durations 30 mins, 45 mins, 60 mins and so on. Choose the duration you want and Click on Open Workout. This opens the TrainerRoad Window.

Here you are presented with the screen with gradient lines on the Y axis of Watts and on the X axis of Time. The interface is really simple, there are only 6 (or 7) buttons. At the bottom left hand corner are two of them Always in Front (or not) toggle, this lays the window…well always in Front (or not)! The other is a % with an up or down chevron for Workout Intensity; in case you need to dial it down or up.


At the top in the center is a Toggle for Vertical and Horizontal. For those workouts that have Video (Sufferfest, Cyclefilm etc) there is a third Toggle “Video” (the 7th button). Vertical fills your whole screen. Horizontal reshapes the grid to fill only the lower portion allowing you to overlay it onto a movie, DVD or TV, my TV of choice is

imageClosing stages of the Dwars door Vlaanderen in “Horizontal Mode

Closing stages of the Dwars door Vlaanderen in “Vertical” Mode…it’s just not the same!

There are six data fields that are presented in a central (in Horizontal mode) Dashboard; Power and % FTP on the left, in the center Interval Time and Total Time and on the right Heart Rate and Cadence. Remember it will only display based on what you have so if you do not have a HR strap then you will not see any HR data and the same for Cadence. To the left of the Dashboard is the total workout on a timeline and to the right To the next 5 minutes. In a Free Ride situation neither of these are that meaningful. When you are riding it’s useful to know what’s coming up…sometimes. This photo shows what the hell I am trying to explain!

Scene from the Fourth bike interval of The Sufferfest Chrysalis 

There is a difference between a Free Ride and a Program Ride  (one where there is defined structure) which is on the Power section as the Program Ride shows Target Power instead of % FTP. To get started simply Click the Play button and start pedaling! At the end of the ride it will sync to your account and show up under your Career, if you need to finish early hit Pause “||” and then Sync; the circular arrows and it will upload it!

Voila you are set up and have completed your first ride!

Ok so this is enough to get you set up and pedaling…clearly I could go on and on and I will in another post. Now to get you started here is a contest for a free month or TrainerRoad!

For the giveaway I am working on the honor system

  • Liking them on Facebook gets you one entry
  • Follow them on Twitter gets you one entry
  • Tweet “I entered to win the 1 month free of @trainerroad from @quadrathon you can too, enter here ” at least once a day between now and Thursday April 3rd will get you up to seven more entries;

Leave a blog comment on or by Friday April 4th telling me what you did and that’s another entry for a total of 10, I will draw a winner on Saturday April 5th!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Knighthood Training Week 7

After overcooking it last week this week I was back on the straight and narrow. Work got in the way of any commuting and my mileage went back to the mid-120s for the week. I also managed to tweak my ankle and back…on different days! Nothing to do with the bike I fell up the stairs on Monday night and the mis-stepped off something and that locked it up my back on Friday. So much so that I had to jump off my bike and hit the foam roller for 10 minutes into the ride Friday night! Up until now Friday has been my day off but with a long day at a Track Meet on Saturday I knew that there was no way I would want to get on the bike at 6pm Saturday so I switched it with Saturday’s ride and that proved out to be a good choice even with a crabby back. It’s easing up now and I am looking for a deal on a Groupon massage for this week!

So this is how the week shook out;

Monday; off

Tuesday; 2x8 Min FTP Test. Increase in FTP from 206 to 209. A bit disappointed but it's moving in the right direction at least. Could be a follow on from such a big week last week and/or slipping on stairs last night and tweaking ankle? Following a total of 28 minutes of warm-up, a couple of 8-minute time trials are used to assess Functional Threshold Power (FTP) & Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR). The recovery interval between assessment efforts is 10 minutes. GC Data.

image Wednesday; West Vidette. Nice and easy 45 minutes of aerobic endurance ranging from 50-80% FTP. Fake rest day as last workout was 36 hours ago. GC Data.

Thursday; Smith. First ride of this with upped FTP, struggled to hit a solid cadence above 85 and keep the Power so dropped a gear and kept it in the late 70s, good hill climbing. Slower than the last time I rode this but generally feeling weary this week. 6x10min sets very close to FTP; 3 minutes rest between intervals. GC Data.

Friday; McAdie. Barely hung onto this, spent 75 mins hating it! 4x12-minute Over-Under intervals alternating between 2 minutes @ 95% FTP & 1 minute @ 105% FTP with 6-minute recoveries between intervals. GC Data.

Saturday; off, well on my feet most of the day but not on the bike!

Sunday; Out of the front door turn right! Road the first 3/4 of the Royal loop, then added Erbes climb and then reversed the ride coming home. Rode some hard and the rest was moderate. A mix of rolling hills and some climbing for a total of 2400’ feet of gain! Got to road test the new premium kit “Black” from Voler. GC Data.


With another full week to go before the end of the month I am on track to hit a solid 40 hours of training and 600 miles for March! I have two more weeks on the plan and it looks like it will total up to around 1125 miles in total, then I have an off plan one week taper and the L’Etape du California at the weekend!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Cyclocross is over for the year and the Spring Classic are upon us, but if you were left wondering WTF, here is an explanation!

So now you know!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Knighthood Fundraising…

One of the tenants of attempting a Sufferlandrian Knighthood is that there should be fundraising involved.  With four weeks to go it seemed like a good time to start. There are of course many worthy Charities that need funding but I have decided to keep this local to home.

In the last 6 months I have adopted Cali (Nov) and Sprocket (Feb) from a local Rescue Shelter "Beagles & Buddies". Beagles & Buddies rescues purebred and mixed Beagles, as well as other hounds and small dogs, from pounds, humane societies and off of the street. It seems only fitting given my love of cycling and of these two crazy dogs that I raise some money as I sit on my trainer for 12 or so hours riding to Sufferlandrian Knighthood on April 12th.

For more info on Beagles & Buddies click here

For more info on Sufferlandrian Knighthood click hereimage

I have set a realistic and hopefully achievable target of $250, its enough to make a real difference to the quality of life that the dogs have in the Shelter. I am already nearly 20% there so hopefully I can exceed my goal. Click on the photo above to get to the fundraising page and thanks in advance!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Faux Pas and Faux Rest!

This has been a long week (and it’s not quite over yet)! You know one of those weeks where everything drags and Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday seem to be on a loop and the weekend gets further away the closer it gets! My workouts have been a bit meh too, I am not sure if that’s a result of a disappointing FTP Test on Tuesday. With hindsight I probably overcooked it last week, ramping my mileage up by 40% in a week may have been the culprit…my faux pas. I have been heavy legged most of the week so far and I am only three workouts in.

imageMost of my weekday training is completed in the early mornings, I am sure it’s nothing that anyone reading this has not has to do. As you know it takes a bit of planning; making the next day’s kid’s lunches, setting the timer on the coffee machine, even pre-mixing pancake mix are all done the night before. Of course this is in addition to the layout of the kit the night. But even with all these tricks some days are just a fail. Case in point yesterday! Alarm set for 4:40am, even with the best will in the world I wouldn’t be on the bike till 5:15 and with 90 minutes on tap that gets me off the bike at 6:45! This is just enough time to cook up the pancakes for the hungry hordes, get a scrape, shower and shampoo done and get the day rolling for me!

To try and overcome this I employed my fake (faux) rest day deferring a morning workout by a little over 12 hours to the evening giving me a good 36 hours in between, only 8 hours shy of a full rest day!

It seems to have worked as I managed to PR for 60 Minutes of Power on last night’s ride and was only 3 Watts shy of hitting the 90 Minute PR too. If you remember I zero’d all my PRs when I switched to my Stages Power Meter in January. This is reassuring as last night was all work for sure!

imageNow today should actually be a real rest day but with a all-day Track meeting tomorrow, literally all-day (8:00am-4pm), I am riding tomorrow’s ride tonight so I don’t have to sit on the Trainer at 6pm on a Saturday night for 90 minutes…although it wouldn’t be the first time!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review; CamelBak Relay

CamelBak products have been a staple in my household for years…probably close to 15 in total. Not bad considering they have been around themselves for 27! So when they asked me if I wanted to review their new Relay Pitcher I of course said yes. The Relay arrived a few days later and without further ado I put it to use.

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From their website;

CamelBak® Relay™ reinvents home water filtration with a unique Double Filter Technology that allows you to filter at the speed of your faucet. The innovative double-filter design removes chlorine, taste, and odors twice—every time you fill and every time you pour. Made with plant based activated carbon, each Fresh™ Filter lasts twice as long as the leading competitor—up to four months. With its spill-proof locking lid and space-saving design, Relay goes from your faucet to your fridge in a snap. It's so fast and easy, you’ll discover all kinds of new uses for filtered water, from making your morning coffee to washing fruits and vegetables. 10-cup (80oz) capacity. Dishwasher safe (top rack). “

Unboxing was easy minimal packaging (a good thing) with simple and easy instructions to follow. As you can see from the photo above there are three parts; the pitcher body, the pitcher lid and the filter.Obviously the technology is in the filter and the fact that it filters the water as you fill it up and as your pour it out! Rather than give you a paragraph of text to read here is a little video which probably answers all your questions.

Ok the next step was to set the handy dandy filter reminder dial to March; to remind me in four months of its age. Filters are predicted to last 4 months so I could turn this to July to remind me to change it then, it’s a decision on whether I want to time travel backwards or forwards.

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The instructions told me to run water through the filter before using it and washing out the pitcher before use. So that I did. The big claim to fame is the actual filling time, as quick as your faucet is the claim…here’s the video test;

So that works then! 

The form factor is pretty minimal it fits nicely in a space in my fridge, the only downside is that it doesn’t play nicely with a quart of Milk in the fridge drawer. Which means that the kids can’t easily reach it. But I have a French Door Fridge which only has doors in the top half and it’s not super wide so the door width is not as wide and you 60/40 vertical split fridge freezer door. And yes that is bacon you can see!

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Talking of fridges you may think hang on I have a filter in my door and so do I. But it costs $30 to replace every 4-6 months. Replacement Relay filters are available in packs of 3 for $28.50 so there is some cost saving, actually somewhere around $60 a year…put another way that’s 25-30 Gus!! In addition the Relay is attractive enough to sit on your patio table.

So that covers the cost what about the results. If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I like coffee…a lot. I am not a coffee snob but I would say that having freshly filtered water does improve the taste of the coffee. The same can be said about filling water bottles for the bike, the 80oz is just enough to not overfill 3 large (26oz) water bottles and with the fast filtration the wait for the fourth bottle, two per bike, is less than a minute!

Simple effective products are always the best and this falls into this class, easy to use and does exactly what it says on the box!

The Relay is available in 3 colors; Charcoal, Aqua and Purple, it retails online at $36.99 via the CamelBak website, Amazon or in bricks via Target.

This Product was provided by CamelBak. See previous gear reviews in the Reviews tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me