Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Clif Bar Toolkit winner!

Mike Hebert you’re the man!image 







Email me you mailing address to quadrathon at gmail dot com and I will get it on it’s way to you asap!

April Summary

With April containing both the L’Etape, Becca and I’s wedding service and reception, (we actually got married in January) and my Knighthood rides I seem to have been either tapering/resting or going all out.

image image

This is how it shook out

  • Running; 3 runs covering 17.71 miles in 2:37
  • Biking; 8 rides covering 349.12 miles in 24:12:02
  • Swimming; 2 swim covering 1.61 miles (2833 yards) in 1:43

I did hit my 100th workout for the year.

As for May I am back in Triathlon training for Vineman which is coming up in July!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

8 Days in California; course preview

Here is the course preview for 8DC, remember you can sign up here, 9 days to go!

Stage 1

Duration: 1:15:00
TSS: 99
IF: 0.89

Starting off with two sprint points and a KOM, 8DC kicks off with a varied course that caps off its foray through the mountains with a fast and nervous circuit race. The varied course combined with the nerves and energy of the opening stage will keep the intensity high with a mostly aerobic profile spiked with short bursts well above FTP.

Stage 2

Duration: 0:59:00
TSS: 74
IF: 0.87

An almost prologue-esque ITT on a mostly flat, out and back course marks stage two of 8DC. After a quick warmup, the relatively simple and brief course profile will allow for two race-start intervals at 130% FTP followed by 11-minutes at 103% FTP. Don't go out too hard!

Stage 3

Duration: 1:35:00
TSS: 131
IF: 0.91

The long and varied stage three kicks things off with a solid amount of climbing, giving you a mixture of sweet spot and FTP work. Afterwards, a jaunt through some flat terrain provides some great opportunities to collect some sprint points with some brief anaerobic efforts. But make sure you ride smart, because an absolutely massive effort on the mountaintop finish will push you above FTP for eight, hard minutes.

Stage 4

Duration: 1:10:00
TSS: 99
IF: 0.92

Day four is a day for the sprinters. A relatively flat course will allow for a certain amount of recovery, but is sure to be kept interesting by constant tactical surges. But don't worry - these surges will only push you over FTP for brief periods of time. Even though today's course would seem easy, frequent but relatively minor changes in elevation could provide the perfect opportunity for some bold race tactics.

Stage 5

Duration: 0:56:00
TSS: 72
IF: .88

Stage five is full of opportunity to gain points, but its shorter duration provides a great chance to get some life back into your legs after four days of hard racing. Frequent climbs at or above 77% FTP are intermingled with anaerobic sprint efforts for those coveted sprint points. What makes today's stage most interesting is a strong climb towards the end, followed by a massive descent that is sure to keep everybody on their toes.

Stage 6

Duration: 1:28:00
TSS: 128
IF: 0.93

Upward and... upward. Stage six is arguably the hardest stage of the challenge. A lot of punchy, intermediate climbing followed by a massive mountain top finish makes for an excellent opportunity to leave a mark on the GC. The stage is sure to be highly tactical, so expect a fair amount of low intensity work in between seriously hard efforts ranging from 115% FTP to a whopping 180% FTP. The final climb is sure to be just as tough but without the luxury of tactical slowdowns in between efforts.

Stage 7

Duration: 1:10:00
TSS: 110
IF: 0.97

Your penultimate stage certainly won't provide any rest opportunities. Expect a ton of sweet-spot work as you navigate the initial rolling hills. But stay vigilant - you'll need to give everything necessary to cover important moves while you work your way towards the extremely intense circuit finish.

Stage 8

Duration: 1:21:00
TSS: 121
IF: 0.95

This is it. Your final chance to leave it all out there. A brutal circuit race awaits you on day eight with four, lengthy laps on a punchy and hilly course. Be ready for hard efforts at or above 110% FTP as you navigate the technical course on your way to the finish.

Thanks to Jonathan for sharing the preview.

I will have a couple more one month free giveaways coming up before the start so stay tuned!

Monday, April 28, 2014

8 Days in California!


Want to play but don’t have a TrainerRoad account? First to ask (leave a comment on this post) for one will get a code which will give them a free month!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Headsweats Ambassador!

I am super happy to announce that I have been selected to be a Headsweats Ambassador for this year! If you look back through this blog most if not all of my running pictures show me wearing a Headsweats Visor! I have worn them for anything from a 5k to 100 miles and an Ironman in between so I am very excited to be representing a product that I have every faith in and that works!

image image image

I have been sent three products to review and rather than go for the tried and tested Supervisor I opted to choose three that I have not used before;

I have already put the Headband to test on last weekend’s Knighthood ride and now I am back into Triathlon training the Race Hat is going to get some punishment!

Watch out for the reviews in the future but in the meantime enjoy this 25% off code!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sufferlandrian Knighthood…I am dubbed!

You don’t have to be mad to work here but it sure helps…quite clearly the byline of this endeavor!


The Sufferlandrian Knighthood, ten back-to-back Sufferfest Videos, any and all are fair game with the exception of the two short ones, The Long Scream and The Extra Shot. There are in fact some very distinct rules that you can read about here.

With that in mind my attempt was schedule for Sunday April 20. Thanks to some super generous folks I had met my goal for my charity Beagles and Buddies, the source of our two mad hounds, Cali and Sprocket. After some thought, but not too much, I had sorted out the order of videos that I would be riding, although this would change during the day, my fuel and fluids had been primed, my tires were pumped, my chain lubed, my technology charged and with that I had a reasonably early night and set my alarm for 6:00am.


From a technology standpoint my plan was to use my Garmin 500 for each ride on an individual basis and then use my 910xt for a total elapsed time with a 305 as a back-up. I was using Trainer-Road on the screen so I was able to follow a prescribed power requirement.

I’ll spare you the usual morning routine except to say I had a shower and then had pancakes for breakfast. I was on the bike by 7:30am and after a small technical hitch I was underway by 7:35am. The first ride went by fairly uneventfully, I had dialed back my FTP to 75% which meant it was running at 173, based on my recent FTP test where it increase to 230. This I thought was fair as there no expectation that I could complete them all at 100%.


For the second and third rides I was joined by Becca and we rode them together completing the third video with an elapsed time of 3:38 on the clock. After this I was on my own while Becca donned her running shoes and left to finish her training brick. The fourth video finished and I was feeling pretty yucky. I had two fans blowing on my throughout the day but I was working and sweating up a storm as the temperature outside had reached late 70s and it wasn’t much cooler in the garage.

With just over five hours in elapsed time I made a decision to grab a quick shower and with some co-ordination with Becca I jumped off the bike and headed upstairs. A clean bib and with a fresh application of DZ Nuts I was back on the bike and heading into video #5. Fifty minutes later I was done. Off the bike and back on again for number 6 which was duly ridden completing it with seven hours forty five minutes elapsed

These middle videos sucked, the clock had been going by quite quickly during the morning but the afternoon hours dragged on into the early evening. My original planning took another hit as I substituted a shorter ride for the massive ISLIGIATT which lasts just shy of 2 hours. This would mean I would shave an hour off of my expected ride time which by this stage was more than fine by me.

The penultimate video was a mess and I was unable to hit any of the sprint, I basically fell off the peloton and rode alone at the back for an hour.


With one video left it was a case of hold the stiff upper lip and leave it all out there…well on the trainer but you know what I mean!

And with that I was done! I more of less fell off my bike got cleaned up and had a curry and beer as well as good rub down with my Bellecore Buffer which did a great job of cleaning all the junk out of my legs. It was clear to see the toll taken as it took several hours after I had dismounted to get my heart rate back down to normal levels and despite consuming liquids throughout the day there was always going to be cardiac drift as the day went on.


With time to reflect on this event I would say that the way to treat it is the same way to treat any long –distance/duration event, in terms of time this took longer than both my 50 mile runs (11-12 hours) but was quicker than my Ironman (13:42) and significantly quicker than my 100 mile run (30:00). You have to have some sense of pacing and that is where the conflict and challenge lies. Each video is a high intensity workout which is designed to put tremendous stress on the body often taking you beyond your FTP level but yet you have ride them and try and stay in Z2 or 3 from a Power and Heart Rate perspective.

In terms of training this is a really hard balance to maintain. I followed the TrainerRoad plan that was a build plan but was obviously not designed for the Knighthood. But it did contain many rides with intervals which gave me a good base and raised my FTP by 15% or so in the 9 weeks. Longer weekend rides also helped as this is just time in the saddle. The obvious difference of course is that an outside ride, has down-hills and changing scenery rather than staring at a TV and pedaling nonstop on a trainer. In the end you just have to focus on one video at a time one interval at a time and know that how deep into the suck you get it will finish!

Here are my thoughts and words of advice for anyone wanting to try this;

  • If you have not done a recent FTP test use Rubber Glove to set your FTP as your first ride
  • Then reduce the FTP, there is no way you can complete 10 of these at 100%
  • Consider the order, I went for intervals at the front and put the steady state videos at the end
  • Talking of order put the ones you like at the end of the day
  • Avoid ISLAGIATT and Blender, they are both very long and Blender is especially complex
  • Avoid Violator, the sprints will just sap the energy from your legs!
  • Have a hydration and fuel strategy worked out in advance, the deeper you get in the harder it is to stick to the plan but eat and drink even if you are not hungry or thirsty, it’s just fuel!
  • Practice your hydration and nutrition plan; find something you like and that works for you
  • Personally I opted for a mix real food; pancakes and soft Hawaiian rolls with PBJ or banana and Nutella but I also went through a fair amount of Gels and Bloks, consumption noted below
  • Consider your electrolytes as you are going to sweat; I used a mix of SCaps and High-5 (a UK version of NUUN but less gassy)
  • Because I was following the TrainerRoad plan I had not looked at a Sufferfest for nearly 3 months which was a nice mental break; familiarity can breed contempt!
  • Taper before the event, if you’re new to that concept do some research
  • Have a stopwatch for the breaks; mine were a bit tardy
  • Eat a breakfast and get an early knight ;-)
  • Change clothes if you can, unlike being outside you will not dry and if you are damp/wet you’re more prone to chaffing
  • Talking of chaffing, get some Chamois Crème, I prefer DZ Nutz
  • Enjoy the online interaction it makes it a lot more fun; Facebook Twittter and Instagram away during those rest intervals

Some stats

Per Garmin;

  • Miles covered 168.55
  • Total Time 12:29.49
  • Moving time 10:11:14
  • Ave Speed 13.5mph
  • Ave Moving Speed 16.5mph
  • Ave Power 122w
  • Max Ave 20 mins 183w
  • IF 0.741
  • TSS 608
  • Ave HR 132bpm
  • Max HR 166bpm
  • Ave Cadence 81rpm
  • Max Cadence 113rpm

Per the mess on the floor;

Hydration and Nutrition

  • 9 x SCaps
  • 8 x 16.9 oz Lipton Diet Green tea
  • 4 x 28 oz water with High 5
  • 4 x Gu gels
  • 4 x Hawaiian soft rolls with PBJ
  • 4 x Pancakes with PBJ or Banana/Nutella
  • 3 x Cups of tea
  • 3 x PowerBar bloks
  • 2 x Pack of Cramp Crushers
  • 2 x Pack Clif Shot bloks
  • 1 x PowerBar bar
  • 1 x Mexican coke

Starting weight 180.6 Ending Weight 175.9



Now onto 6 Hours of Temecula and Vineman!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Save the date…and win Clif Shot products

No I am not getting married again. This time save the date for a Q&A with two kick ass Ultra Runners!

You are invited to join Clif’s Facebook chat Wednesday, April 30 at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT hosted by world champ ultrarunners Scott Jurek and Ellie Greenwood.

They will answer any and all questions related to running (from first-time 5k to ultra-distance racers). Ask questions and win prizes including:

- One winner will receive a 30-minute 1:1 consultation with Scott Jurek to discuss how to prepare before, during and after race day. Scott will choose his favorite question at the end of the Q&A.

- Several lucky participants who ask questions during the Q&A will receive a CLIF SHOT Toolkit featuring CLIF SHOT products, gear for training and race day and CLIF’s marathon training and nutrition guide.  

image I also have a Clif Shot Tool kit to giveaway, this is all you have to do!

  • Leave a question on Clif’s Facebook page for one entry
  • Leave a comment on this blog post for one more entry!
  • Tweet “I entered the @quadrathon @ScottJurek @eLLiejG 90-to-0 Preptalk Competition to win a @clifbar toolkit at #quadclif”

Tweet as much as you like, every tweet is worth one entry and then the winner will be drawn and posted the evening of April 30th!

Easy peasy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review; Voler Black Jersey & Bibs

As mentioned in my ride report for L’Etape du California I wore the new Voler Black kit. This is not the first ride in this kit, nothing new on race day and all that, but it was by far the longest, and given the intensity of the day it was a great opportunity to put it through its paces. The photos in this post were taken not take during L’Etape but on a different ride when I could ride up and down the road getting decent photos.
Black is bold move by Voler to introduce a premium line that avoids the fanfare of team or sponsorship logos and is targeted against other brands where the cache is the brand/badge/logo of the manufacturers, think Castelli, Hincapie, Santini and the like. It’s a limited line in terms of items of clothing currently only offering bottoms; bibs and shorts, top; undershirts, jerseys, vest and jacket and thermal booties. It combines all the elements found in their proven team kits and serves them up in a highly functional and cosmetically simple but satisfying formula.

The kit itself lives up to its name and is only available in all black or black with red trim. Both have a reflective accents and there is a mix of technical fabrics to ensure maximum breathability, moisture transfer and sun protection (UPF28+) 
The Jersey; there is no doubting the quality of the fabrics when you slip the jersey out of the bag, it’s super soft and amazingly lightweight, if it was any lighter I am sure Newton might roll in his grave as gravity is denied. There is a full length zip (YKK) and a two piece collar, the newer fashion of abandoning a collar might be neat in the Pro peloton but I like a proper collar and it keeps the morning chill off my neck.

At the back you have the customary three pockets and the added benefit from a small zippered pocket, ideal for a Credit card or cash and handy when reaching behind you grab a gel and don’t litter the road with all your valuables. There is some reflective trim on the back too. At the bottom there is a silicon strip to stop the jersey from riding up etc.
The side panels and the panel at the base of your neck are made from a moisture wicking and heat dispersing fabric, this works very well in letting you cool off.  While the day may start cool this time of year in California we are still seeing temperatures in the 80F range and black may not seem an obvious choice of color for a fabric to wear in the sun but on all three of my rides well over 100 miles in total I had no issues with heat management.

The most noticeable feature on the jersey is in the sleeves, specifically the Power Band which are dotted with tiny gel dots to ensure gripping to your arms. Now while I do not have a shoe lace arms of a Pro cyclist or the muscle laden ones of a body builder this feature was really nice in making sure the sleeves stayed in the right place. They also did a great job of holding onto my arm warmers during the early hours of L’Etape to avoid that 1” gap between jersey and sleeve where all the cold air accumulates! The sleeves are also a little longer than usual but I am tall so that wasn’t a problem. Every seam on the jersey is flat so there is zero chance of chaffing or rubbing!

The jersey is pitched as race fit, at 6’1 and around 175lbs it was the perfect length but it was a bit loose in the body. I am at the lower end of the weight scale (170-190) and the higher end of the height scale (5’10-6’2) and had a size large, so a medium would have been snugger but too tight across my shoulders and too short for sure. I have other Voler jerseys (Hammer and 53X11 Coffee) and they are all large so I think the large was best for me. Without going custom made one this is the curse I have to carry!

The Bibs; if you ask any cyclist bibs vs. shorts you will pretty much find that 99% of people prefer a bib. While they might look unsightly they are a world apart in terms of comfort and the Black bibs reinforced this. Similar to the jersey when you slip these out of the bag you can feel the quality. Silky and soft but with an awful lot of strength inside. Made from compression fabric that just wants to love and hug you these bibs feel super comfortable. The chamois is new chamois for Voler; the Comp Hp. Made by Cytech. This is the description from Voler’s website which does it much better than I can;

The Comp Hp is the evolution of the Multi-D Comp, one of Cytechs most successful pads. This updates version features pre-molded wings and an integrated top for a smooth, seamless look. While the overall dimensions are almost the same, the ultra-high density foam inserts have been enlarged in order to deliver a greater degree of comfort during longer rides while in the road bike position. While keeping the minimalist, flat design of the original pad, the central channel has been slightly modified to provide more relief along the perenial area. A reduced usage of the back liner makes the pad even more lightweight and breathable, allowing greater freedom of movement”.
Wow well there you go!

Actually what this means is that it’s really comfortable, I mean really, really comfortable, it’s not like sitting on telephone directory (unlike some I have sat on!). It’s very body fitting and it can stretch so it moves with you as you move on the seat or stand up. The different thicknesses of padding is really effective in ensuring you have the right thickness in the right place, it doesn’t bunch or fold! Rated for long rides (6 hours) I can certainly see this being the case as my L’Etape ended after 4:30 and I was heading out for another 90 minute loop without any issue!  Like the Jersey the bibs also have FS (Flat Seams) too…flat what you ask, I’ll let Aaron explain;

What you need to now about FS is that it's a good thing! Similar to the sleeves the bibs have a Leg Power Band in lieu of the usual grippers, I really like this feature as it provides the right amount of support and it doesn’t drag on your legs or give you sausage leg and you don’t get those really nice tram line indents that last the rest of the day! it’s a much more professional and quality look.

Overall I really liked this kit. There is something to be said about the understated less is more look. It’s not always necessary to have the look at me jersey and bibs and to be honest I shy away from replica team kits.
Things I liked;
  • There is no doubting the quality
  • It manages moisture and heat really well
  • The Power Band leg grippers
  • The little zippy pocket on the back
  • The understated look
  • Super comfortable all round and a ride all day chamois
  • Price $129 for the bib, $99 for the jersey which is less that comparable quality products
Things I didn't like;
  • The jersey sizing is not quite right for me
  • The fabric is textured and could be prone to snagging
Yup that’s it! So in conclusion, if you’re looking for something that is understated and want to add a classy subtle kit to your collection that’s going to turn a few heads for a good reason and don’t want to lay out over $300 for the entire kit then look no further!

Black is made in Grover Beach USA in fact 99% of what Voler make is made in the USA. The name may sound French (it’s pronounced “Vol-lay”), and the style may err on the side of the Mediterranean but the elbow grease that goes into them is good old fashioned USA!

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Rules…

It’s even more simple than you’ve been told. 

The Rules

1. Don’t be a dick.

2. Ride whatever the hell you want.

3. No one gives a shit if your bar tape matches your seat.

4. The bike comes first, right behind family and friends and making a living.

5. Riding in bad weather makes you better. But don’t be stupid about it.

6. If you aren’t having fun, stop.

7. Don’t overlap wheels. Just fuckin’ don’t.

8. Don’t be late to a group ride. Be early.

9. If you’re dropped three times, do your own thing. (See Gentlemen’s Ride)

10. If it’s a no-drop ride, don’t drop people. Ass.

11. Support your local bike shop. And bring them food sometimes.

12. If you race more than 3 times a year, you are in Sport division. If you podium twice, move up. If you win, move up. Getting dead last in Expert is better than winning in Sport. Getting DFL in Pro is better than winning in Expert. No one cares if you win. We all have to go to work on Monday. Test yourself.

13. If you get plate number 13, you turn it upside down. You just do.

14. Do not make start line excuses. “I haven’t been riding”, “I’ve was sick last night”, “I’m too hung over”, “My bike is too heavy”, and the like, are all your fault. Just ride, congratulate the winner, and hang out with your pals after. It’s all good, man.

15. Blogs are stupid. Don’t listen to them, and never take them seriously.


Coffee Ride: Easy, Pease-y. You ride bikes slow and go to a place to drink coffee. Do not fuck up the coffee part. Jeez.

Gentlemen’s Ride: A group ride consisting of any number of riders. Fast but conversational pace on the flats, with hard efforts on climbs. Strict rolling regroups over the top of climbs. Everyone gets back on the first time, no exceptions. Second climb, rolling regroup. If you are dropped two or three times, do the gentlemanly thing and finish the ride alone. If you’re crushing everyone, do the gentlemanly thing and make sure the bulk of the ride stays together. Most of the group should finish together. Ride leader makes any other decisions.

No-Drop Ride: No one is left behind. Ever. That said, make sure a pace is announced and enforced, and do not get in over your head. If it is no drop at 18mph and you can only do 14, think long and hard about going.

Ice Cream Ride: No spandex. 10-12mph. It ends in ice cream, preferably out of a small,  miniature Detroit Tigers helmet.

Recovery Ride: If someone says they are going on a recovery ride, they are going to try to drop you on every climb. Guaranteed.

Borrowed from here

Sunday, April 13, 2014

L’Etape du California

A week late but that’s always going to happen when you’re trying to blog and get married in the same week, but that’s life! So on with the ride report.

The L’Etape du California this year follows the same final Stage (Stage 8) of this year’s Amgen Tour of California which starts next month and finishes in the title sponsor’s home town of Thousand Oaks. It’s four laps of a local climb and loop known as Rockstore. I have mentioned this before and Becca and I have ridden it several times in preparation. In fact I actually crashed on part of the circuit in January…fun times!

The circuit is basically a 20.5 mile square comprising of a Cat 3 Climb which is 2.5-2.7 miles long depending on where you measure it from/to with Strava and with a Grade that averages out around 6-7%. After the climb you get a short downhill followed by another easier climb for a mile or so and then a tricky technical decent with a maximum drop of 21%. At the bottom you had a flat section but you had to keep concentrating as this is where the bulk of the traffic was as well as the Start/Finish line in a local hotel.


For me it was all about the climbing and while this wasn’t a race it was going to have a KOM/QOM section on the Rockstore climb for those riders who completed the four loops. Four loops would total at 82 miles and 8800’ of elevation gain it. I came out to watch the Pro’s do the same loop 3 years ago and saw them whiz by on the flat!

The previous day we had picked up our race numbers, very smart fabric ones that would attach to the back of our jerseys and a sticker for our helmet. There was also a nice technical T short in the swag bag, which will double as a recyclable grocery bag in the future. There was a safety brief; open course, traffic signs, aid stations etc and an opportunity to buy the ride jersey and bibs and cotton T shirts etc.

After that we headed home and I set to cleaning up the bikes for the next day. I had planned to just wipe the worst off the bikes and not tinker but I had cleaned up my cassette the week before so after washing off her frame I stripped off Becca’s cassette which was, to be honest, filthy and gave it a good clean and did the same with her chain. After a good wash down with some degreaser and the application of some new lube her bike was ready. I washed mine off and removed the chain to get to all those nooks and crannies that accumulate road crap and while reassembling that’s where I ran into trouble. I couldn’t get the chain to fit cleanly back together, the link was so tight that it wouldn’t bend and subsequently wouldn’t shift cleanly. With my limited knowledge and a quick look on the internet there was no obviously cause so rather than spend a too much time decided to use the chain from my TT bike, I removed it, installed it, checked there gearing and I was good to go. With the intention of getting there early and checking in with the SRAM Mechanics who along with a local bike shop Wins Wheels were providing support for the day. My TT bike was left looking somewhat neglected with now no chain to match the removed cranks. It’s going to need some TLC in the coming weeks to get it back road ready for Vineman. So with that said we were ready for the next day.

We drove out to the start and unloaded our bikes and I headed off to the SRAM mechanics to have them have a look at my not-so-handy-work and double check on the shifting which wasn’t quite as crisp as I would like. Ten minutes later I was set. We rolled over to the start line and waited for the National Anthem. In total there was about 500 riders, the ride had 1500 entries but for whatever reason had only sold a third of its slots. By far the majority of riders were local lycra clad regular riders but there was a smattering of hybrid’s, some fixie’s a handcrank and even a tandem!


Unceremoniously we started and rolled out. For anyone who has done a mass start like this it’s always a little wobbly; lots of bike and people and nerves make it a bit ginger and this was no different especially as we were navigating our way out of a hotel parking lot with speed bumps and tight turns. Within a mile or two though we were spreading out. For the first 5 miles until we turned off the main road we had Police outriders so that made it easier and we could ride through junctions without stopping.

With much ado we were on the first climb of Rockstore. Becca and I had agreed to meet at the Aid Station at the top, (of the two, one at the top and one at the bottom) this way we could ride up at our own pace. I was keen to ride it hard but was conscious of the fact I had three more loops to follow. I sat in for most of the climb focusing on form and just moving up the hill only standing during the last hairpin.


It had been a bitterly cold start and I only had arm-warmers on compared to other folks in leg warmers, tights vest etc, I knew it would warm up once the sun was on us and so I enjoyed the work of the first climb and the heat it generated just pulling down my sleeves halfway up. At the top I waited for Becca and chatted to a friend who was working the AS. The second part of the climb went without issue and other than being buzzed by folks on the descent the first loop was in the bag and we started the second.


This time round I had more of an idea on the climb but I still held back, that was until someone tried to jump on my wheel in the last 500 meters, so I dropped it a gear and pushed hard and there was nothing to push against! I wobbled, unclipped looked down and saw I had snapped my chain!

Without much ado there was nothing I could do so I walked up the last of the hill with the call on “I’ll send someone back” coming from all the folks passing me! I got to the top and pulled out a Belgium waffle that I had in my jersey, stuffed the waffle in my mouth, picked up the chain using the tin foil and coasted to the Aid Station!


Mike who was working the AS was able to fix my chain but had to shorten it so I could not go Big/Big. This wasn’t going to be a problem really given all the climbing. We left the AS and made our way back down without issue.

It was warm by this point and I was glad of only wearing the arm-warmers as I saw people pulling over and pulling of layer after layer of clothing that was stuffed into pockets and tied around waists (oh the shame)! While stopped at the bottom AS we were lapped by two groups that were setting a blistering pace! The next climb was warm and by this time we were pretty strung out, I worked hard going up and was happy to catch up and ride over someone who had passed my lower down.


Again at the top we regrouped and rode the descent. We had been umming about the fourth lap and we had agreed to go for it as without it there would be now KOM time. We passed the start line and a mile down the road that was an almighty bang; I had blown my rear tube, not only that I had blown the tire off the rim!

And that was that! We made the sensible decision to bank our luck, it would have been a very nasty blow out 5 or 6 miles earlier while descending and while I am pretty quick at changing tires with the extra time spent walking to the AS and repairing the chain we were a good hour behind schedule!

So discretion was the order of the day and I simply stripped off my shoes and socks and walked back across the Finish Line…I didn’t want to scratch up the pretty Carbon soles!

We parked our bikes and grabbed the pasta lunch that we had bought tickets for enjoying the warm sun.

Once home we were able to look at the time posted on the KOM stage, my three climbs were;

  • 17:18
  • 19:41 (inc walk time)
  • 17:41

So working on the basis that my fourth climb would have been around 18:00 I would have finished with a time in the region of 1:13 (ish) putting me 30/122 AG and 70/510 OA. Of course as I didn’t finish the fourth loop it’s all moot!

With all that said and done, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, although I will admit there were a few choice words uttered during my mechanical issues! What shone through was the proof of the training. This really proved the quality of the plan and having followed the training plan for the prior 9 weeks mostly on the trainer I was really happy with the results. I felt strong throughout the day and while I was with a mixed bag of abilities on the KOM stage I was only passed by 3 riders in total for the whole day on this stage.


I also got a chance to put the new Voler Black kit through it’s paces and there is a review of that coming up and wear my new Louis Garneu Coursehelmet which replaces my LG Quartz helmet that I crashed in in January!

I should say a few words about the event itself. Both Becca and I really enjoyed it, it was very well organized. The loop lent itself to making life easy for the riders and while it was not a closed course it was well marked and well supported with plenty of road to ride on I am not sure I would be so happy had they sold out all 1500 slots but once the riders were strung out it was not a problem. The local bike shop that supported the event (Wins Wheels) was great and there was plenty of food provided by Cliff.

All that remains is for the Amgen Tour to come to town next month which we are both looking forward to as we are volunteering for two local stages and will be heading back up Rockstore…only this time with beach chairs to watch the Pros do it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

FTP Redux

I still have to write up my L’Etape du California ride report but this has been a crazy busy week and I just have run out of time, it was quite the adventure though! Anyway with that said I was able to retest my FTP this week. Post L’Etape I took two days off and then re-rode the the TrainerRoad 20 minutes test.

Just a reminder the entire ride takes 60 minutes. Following a full 30 minutes of warm-up, a 20-minute time trial is used to assess Functional Threshold Power (FTP) & Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR). The idea is maintain a steady maximal effort for the 20 minutes and from that an algorithm adjusts this to represent the same effort extrapolated over an hour. I had tested during Week 1 and Week 8 of the Trainer Road plan and my FTP results were 206 and 209 respectively. I felt that the Week 8 test was “weak”, I was tired and had a niggle in my ankle. I wanted to wait till after the L’Etape just in case there were any issues leading up to the day. But based on the L'Etape 20 mins max ave power of >241 on Garmin Connect so I knew there was plenty left in the tank

So on Wednesday I set myself up for the test. Loaded up Cycling TV with the As Live version of Scheldeprijs a classic one day Sprint Race, clipped in and was off! image

After the 30 minutes warm up which I fully needed as my legs were still heavy the test started.

The TrainerRoad goal was 225 I aimed for 250 or thereabouts for the 20 minutes. The first 5 minutes was fine, the second harder, the third I was dragging my ass, you can actually see the effort start to fade. With 5 minutes to go I pulled out my stiff upper lip and upped the cadence during the closing minutes to increase the watts to 260 and then 280. Above is the result for the 20 Minutes test.

As expected a hard ride but my FTP increased to 230, from 209 2 weeks ago and from 206 9 weeks ago!


Needless to say I am happy…although that may well change next week during my Knighthood Ride!

This is the output analyzed in Golden Cheetah,I am new to using this application so bear with me, the yellow highlight represents the 20 minutes test from mile 8.63 to 16.63 so 8 miles in 20 minutes…hardly Pro but for a middle aged age grouper 24 miles per hour on a trainer is plenty!

image image If you want a review of the TrainerRoad Advanced Build 1 Plan, click here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

TrainerRoad giveaway winner

Roy, congrats you won the one month free trial, email me at quadrathon at and I will send you the code!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Review; TrainerRoad Advanced Build 1 Plan

Last night’s ride represented the final ride of the TrainerRoad Advanced Build 1 plan, so it seemed a good time to put down some thoughts on the plan while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind.

Just as a reminder, I was training for IMSG70.3 up until my crash in January after which I took 2 weeks off, cancelled my St George visit as I could not swim and switched focus to the L’Etape du California. The L’Etape follows the final stage of this year’s Amgen Tour or California, four loops of a 22 mile circuit, each circuit has approx. 2000’ of elevation gain. Ostensibly this ride has more climbing than the Tour de Big Bear 100 mile ride which I finished (barely!) last August so it’s going to be a challenge.

Ok back to the review of the Plan. The Plan is 9 weeks long, there are 5 prescribed rides per week, 4 of which are 90 minutes and 1 of 60 minutes. Rides are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then Saturday and Sunday, for me the Sunday ride was usually converted to an outdoors ride, which varied from some reconnaissance loops of the L’Etape course to some longer tempo rides with some climbing. There were several weeks when I completed all five rides on the trainer due to inclement weather or just the convenience factor.

The basic layout of the week was to give you four rides with intervals and one ride of pseudo recovery/tempo. Let’s talk about the intervals first.

These varied from large number super high intensity (200%FTP) short duration (10-15 seconds) intervals to longer steady state intervals (10-12 minutes) at a reduced intensity (98%FTP) with micro intervals (15 seconds to 2 minutes) at a higher intensity (120%FTP). That probably sounds really confusing so here are a couple of examples;

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The recovery/tempo ride was just that, shorter in duration (60 minutes) it was at a lower intensity and without the intervals. Again here are a few examples;

 imageI have mentioned this in the past that this reminded me the FIRST training plan that I have used in the past for running, very specific workouts designed to focus on key elements; endurance and speed. Additionally like the FIRST plan there is no fluff, this is also reinforced by the fact that this is a Trainer based plan where, unlike the road, when you stop pedaling you stop moving, not that you are moving, but you know what I mean.

I am not going to talk about mileage for this plan, as that is an individual thing, distance being a function of time\speed and that will be different for everyone, I will say that as anticipated, including my outdoor mileage I was just shy of 1100 miles for the 9 weeks less the two rides I will miss this week.

With this structure it’s very easy to plan your week out, especially with a trainer which you can do at any time of the day; 5am starts and 10pm finishes are common in our household between Becca and I. The joy of TrainerRoad of course is that you can overlay it on the TV so were able to catch up on the Spring Classics that were streamed as well as a couple of very bad movies via Netflix.

imageThis plan along with all of the Plans are provided free of charge and are available to look at online, the update Application 2.6.1 has a nice feature allowing you to find what’s next so you don’t have to flipflop between the website and the application.

  image Week on week the intensity is fairly consistent per the plan, there is one week (#4) where the intensity ramps up;

Here you can see my TrainerRoad response, the last 9 weeks are in the red box, The TSS doesn’t match up across the weeks, this is a result of my outdoor rides but for the weeks where I rode 5 times on the trainer it’s pretty, actually very, close. Specifically
  • Week 1; Plan 475/Actual 469
  • Week 4; Plan 543/Actual 512 (my Training log notes remind me I had a cold this week)
  • Week 5; Plan 434/Actual 433

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There is very little repetition of the rides across the Plan, the most repeated ride was “FreeRide” (5 instances) where you can basically do what you want for 90 minutes! “Black” which was a Recovery ride with 4 repetitions followed, several others “North Maggie”, “Emerson”, “McAdie” and “Warlow” (all 90 minutes) were repeated twice along with the 8 Minute FTP Test. All the rest were unique rides so you get a good variation across the 45 training days.

As for results, my FTP has crept up this year and I have probably completed one or two too many tests but this was as a result of retesting with my Stages PM, the Tour of Sufferlandria and following this plan, the suggested test interval is every 8 weeks and I have done it, on average, every 5 weeks. The results;
  • 256 Nov 26 Last ride using Trainer Road Virtual Power (I expected this to be approx. 20% greater than using real power)
  • 203 Jan 03 First ride with Stages PM
  • 205 Jan 19 Tour of Sufferlandria Rubber Glove
  • 206 Feb 04 Week 1of Trainer Road plan
  • 209 Mar 18Week 7 of Trainer Road plan
As you can see there is an increase, clearly it’s not huge, as a percentage it is an increase of 3% from January to March. I would say I am disappointed in this but I do think there are some reasons why which I captured in my Training Log and I intend to retest next week once I have recovered from the L’Etape so I will update this post with the results. I would say that I feel stronger and that is where the proof of the pudding is, looking at my Strava Segments I certainly PRd on some of them. Of course with this being a Trainer based plan there is very little road riding so there are very few Segments but there is improvement so I will take it.
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As mentioned I will retest next week so tune back in for an update and of course the Ride report from L’Etape…that’s where the rubber will meet the road!

UPDATE; the restested FTP was 230!