Sunday, May 31, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 5

Another big week to finish up the month but a step back from the previous two weeks. With hindsight I got a bit carried away with the accumulating mileage and now my knee is pissed at me. It feels very similar to the issues I had back I February when I was piling on the running miles and with such a big jump in cycling I am sure it’s teetering on the edge of over use. With that said, here is the week:

Monday; off. Nailed it!

Tuesday; Triple Divide 28 miles. 3 sets of 3x3-minute VO2max repeats at 110-120% FTP with equal, 3-minute recoveries between intervals & 10-minute recoveries between sets of repeats. Standing climb in lowest gear for intervals. First try of ISM Adamo Attack saddle.

Wednesday; Black + 20 mins extra. 22 miles. Added extra to finish off Giro Stage on TV. Endurance ranging from 50-80% FTP

Thursday; West Vidette.  35 miles. 6x8-minute "hard start" intervals starting with 1 minute all the way up at 130% FTP followed immediately by 3 minutes at 97% FTP and concluded with 4 minute at 94% FTP. 5 minutes of recovery falls between each interval. Extra 5 mile warm up and 4 mile cool down.

Friday; quick road ride. 22 miles. Easy out. Fast loop around Underwood and pushed hard around the lake for a Crit lap. 100 miles on the ISM Attack 

Saturday; Mary Austin. 32 miles. 3 sets of 2x10-minute intervals consisting of 2-minute steps up from 95% to 100% to 105% FTP and then back down again. Rest between intervals is a brief 60 seconds while the recovery between the sets of stepping intervals is 5 minutes. Sensor drop out and then saved file restarted which is next 3 mile ride. Extra 3 mile warm up to start. Second Max effort per set was standing climbing.

Sunday; Road Ride. 56 miles. Three times round the same loop. Went for consistency overall with a goal of sub 3:30 56 miles. Pushed hard on some of the sprints and climbs and spent as much time as I could on the drops.

Total for the week 196 so a bit of a drop off vs the prior two weeks.

For the month I hit 826 miles on the bike by far my biggest month ever with just over 50 hours as well as the World Run at the beginning of the month for another 2 hours and 14 miles

Overall total 841.69 in 52:27:34

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pactimo; Match your Ride Bundles

Pactimo have just made it significantly easier for you to look sharp and be super matchy-matchy on your bike. Last month they introduced a new concept called “Match your Ride”. This allows you to color match a jersey, bib (or shorts) and cap to your bike’s color scheme…ingenious right!


Color schemes are available in 11 colors;

That pretty much covers anything you could possibly be riding. The top and bottom design is simple and classic and comprises they Ascent Air Jersey and Ascent Pro Bibs, both of which have been updated this year.

Ascent Air Jersey;

Built for a sleek aero fit, lightweight feel and extreme breathability, the Ascent Air jersey features ultra-lite, super-stretchy and ventilated Speedskin fabric across the front panels, sleeves and collar. Back and side panels are constructed from Arrido mesh to provide lightweight breathability. Designed with comfort in mind, the Ascent Air jersey includes silicone waist gripper, neck tape, and a full-length zipper. You'll love how whisper light this jersey feels on those hot summer days.

  • Lightweight and breathable Speedskin and Arrido mesh fabrics
  • Pactimo TotalFit™ design for excellent anatomical fit
  • Anti-chafe neck tape in collar
  • Full-length YKK zipper with Pactimo pull-tab
  • Ultra-soft silicone gripper at waist
  • 3 full rear pockets
  • Rear pocket opening for headphones and earbud loop in neckline
  • Rear reflective trim

Ascent Pro Bibs;

Whether you’re racing in a local crit or enjoying an epic weekend ride, the Ascent Pro Bib Shorts are built to deliver. Using our proprietary Silhouette™ Engineering, the Ascent Pro Bib Shorts are specifically made for performance and comfort in the riding position. These bibs feature 7.5cm leg compression bands for a longer, more comfortable short that will not ride up or bind. (Cyclists preferring a shorter inseam should consider the Ascent bib shorts.)

  • Worn by pro and elite cyclists worldwide, these bib shorts incorporate high performance lycra and exceptional chamois design. Whether racing or going long distance, the Ascent Pro Bib Shorts will enhance your ride.
  • Italian Miti® Zaffiro Shield XC fabric (78% Nylon 22% Spandex; 200g)
  • Silhouette™ Engineering: Integrated anatomical design for enhanced compression and support
  • Italian-made Cytech CyTech E.I.T. Liege Carbonium chamois: 3 multi-structured levels (10-8-4mm), high protection foam, anatomical shaping and Elastic Bioactive surface fabric with carbon fiber
  • Non-binding, double-layer fabric compression leg band
  • Flatlock stitching eliminates chafe points
  • 9.5" Inseam

Worried about buying a jersey and bib set, are you all legs or all body, don’t panic! You may exchange a single item for a different size, however you cannot return a single item for a refund. The entire bundle must be returned for a refund.


A Match my Ride full kit costs $240 and has free shipping, you also qualify for free points which you can use for future purchases, more info on that here. Jerseys are available for $105 and Bibs for $135, Shorts are $105. However you won’t get the free cap which is what tips it (no pun intended) in favor of buying a complete kit at once.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 4

Building on the back of last week this week just got bigger. Albeit only be a smidge but bigger is bigger and it done with one less day riding in the week, here is how it shook out;

Monday. Rest. First day in nine and only the second on this moth to date

Tuesday. FTP Test. To be honest I was disappointed my FTP increased by a only one point! I am always torn by these test to ride the line which will result in a minimal increase or to go all out which it doable for the 2 x 8 minute test but then is not sustainable especially when getting into the longer rides. Still that said it’s only Week 4 so I have plenty of time to go. I extended the warm up and cool down to make it last 20 miles. I am finding that I need to have at least a 5 mile warm up to hit the ground running when I get to the first set of intervals, this is the same for most of the rides.


Later in the day I rode the new Sufferfest Downward Spiral, lots and lots of intervals and another 20 miles.


Wednesday. Pyramidial. 24 miles. 40 minutes of Tempo with varying intensity every 5 minutes. Additional 23 minutes easy pace to see the end of Stage 7 of the Giro.


Thursday. Smith. 25 miles. Smith is 6x10-minute intervals set very close together that all hover very close to Functional Threshold Power (FTP). I only managed 5 intervals, just ran out of time, #3 and #4 were standing climbing.


Friday. Sufferfest Elements of Style and ES20. Practicing on form and power.


Saturday. Mary Austin. 30 miles. 3 sets of 2x10-minute intervals consisting of 2-minute steps up from 95% to 100% to 105% FTP and then back down again. Rest between intervals is a brief 60 seconds while the recovery between the sets of stepping intervals is 5 minutes. V3rY H@rD!!!!


Sunday. Outside yay!!! 75 miles…well ok 74.97! Nice easy start was foiled by 20 miles of headwinds. From there it was some fastish flats along PCH and a big climb up through Mulholland. Nice quick descent down Decker and then a couple of pushes to get home. A bit longer than planned but it's all good! Practicing descending in the drops and I have to say it's easier than on the hoods! Who knew!!!


215 miles for the week and 620 for the month crushing my goal of 600 with a week left...maybe I can hit 850?!?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Skratch Labs Recipe of the Week; Peaches and Coconut Rice Cakes

Another easy recipe, the truth is they are all pretty simple and that’s one of the joys of them!


  • 2 cups uncooked sticky rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon coarse cane sugar
  • ½ cup peeled peaches (canned/tinned or fresh)
  • ½ canned coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt


  • Heat oven to 350f
  • Combine the water and rice in a rice cooker with a dash of salt and let cook
  • While the rice is cooking mince the remaining ingredients, (I mis-read this and simply chopped up the peaches)
  • Lightly coat a backing sheet with nonstick cooking spray or use parchment paper
  • When the rice has finished cooking mix with other ingredients
  • Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and press rice into shape. From experience you can press pretty hard was you want it to stick together and keep its shape
  • Remove from plastic and place on baking sheet
  • Bake for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Let cool and wrap


Chopping the peaches meant there was really not enough peach spread through the mix and also that it was ultimately quite delicate. Next time I will definitely make sure I mince them. That said the taste was great, very light coconut with a sweet hint of peach!


Over to you!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 3

Week 3 is in the bag and as expected it was a big one. I continued with the TrainerRoad 8 Days in California challenge completing it on Saturday. Here is how the week shook out;

Monday. 28 Miles. Princess Stage with 5 KOM including steep ascent in last stage. Short sprint in first third. Fell off the back during the middle climb. Clawed my way back to front group and finished mid bunch. Legs pooped from yesterday's triple! Added an extra 8 miles riding tag-a-long with Becca as she finished up a brick.


Tuesday. 25 Miles. Only one KOM. Several intermediate Sprints and fast flat run in to the Finish.


Wednesday. 26 miles. 3 intermediate sprints and 4 KOMs, fast tailwind finish. Easiest day so far...which is good as legs are feeling it for sure, 176 miles in last 5 days. 


Thursday. 15.6 miles. Short hard TT with extended warm up and easy cool down.


Friday. 35.1 miles. Two big climbs and lots of intermediate sprints to keep up with the GC Leaders. Mechanical at the hour mark but caught up again. New 40k PR.

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Headed out to the Amgen Tour of California to hang out with the SkratchLab guys at the expo. A windy and chilly day but had lots of fun!


Saturday. 25.3 miles. 8 Days in California. Final Day. Lots of surges and sprints! Total count for the week 205.3 Miles 810 TSS.


Sunday. 47.5 miles. Got out later in the day as Becca and I were at the last day of Amgen Tour of California to hang out with the SkratchLab guys at the expo. Again lots of fun!


A mix of rolling hills, flats and climbs. Hilly and windy to start. To become a better descender I need to ride down descents so I hit one of the biggest drops around here and hung on! Fast and flat 10 miles to a long climb home. Good ride...longer than planned but oh well!


So for the week:

8 workouts, 209.11 miles in 12:21 I missed my strength work (again), which I need to do otherwise it will come back to haunt me! I am really happy with the progressive build of the mileage. I am not going overboard with it. One more build week and then a rest week.


I am at 415 bike miles for the month so I am still on track for somewhere north of a 600 mile month.


I have a FTP test tomorrow so I hope to see an uptick from my current level of 206. It’s basically the same ride as I did on Thursday and I was able to hold 218 for the first section and 225 for the second…we’ll see!

In case anyone is interested all screenshots are from SportTracks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review; Speedplay Pedals Zero Aero Walkables

I have ridden Speedplay Zeros for many years now. I have them installed on both my Road and Tri bike and shoes. The main driver for my choice of these over other options was that they offer some Float. Float is the ability to move you heel in or out without disengaging the cleat. Zeros allow you to dial this is in with a range of 0 – 15 degrees of float, Years of running have left me with twitchy knees and the float is a little kinder on them than a pedal solution that locks you into one position.

Like most things pedals and cleats don’t last forever and they need looking after and replacing when the time comes. Pedal grease should be replaced every 2000 miles or more often in wet or dusty conditions. The actual cleats last between 3000 – 5000 miles. My Cervelo (as of today) has 4807 miles on it and so based on that it was time to replace them, I had also been having some other issues with an achy knee and the cleat’s base plate was actually loosening on one shoe, I was having to dismount to retighten them. To isolate the issue one day I switched to my Tri shoes and had no problem so it was time.

When I was picking up my bike from Wins Wheels after having a tune up I noticed a new version of the Speedplay Zero; a “Walkable”.

From the Speedplay website;

Speedplay’s new Walkable™ Cleat technology for Zero pedals sets a new standard for user-friendly, off-the-bike functionality. Speedplay’s Zero Aero Walkable™ Cleats are the first truly walkable™ cleats for road pedals. The integrated, rubberized covers stay on the cleats while you are riding. When walking, the covers improve traction and protect the cleats from wear. Additionally, the thin, contoured cleat profile allows for a more natural gait and makes walking in road shoes much less awkward.

In addition to these benefits, Cleat Buddies are handy plugs included with cleat sets for use when walking in dirty conditions. Cleat Buddies prevent debris contamination by fitting into the cleat’s center cavity. When you are ready to ride, Cleat Buddies can be easily removed for riding and conveniently snap together to fit in a pocket or bag.

Beyond the obvious save on wear and tear of the actual cleat from the street there was potentially a good deal of improvement in grip to be offered during the run out or in of T2 during a Triathlon. I discussed them with Win and basically the concept was a slightly lower profile cleat combined with a rubber surround that clips on to cover the entire cleat with the exception of the pedal entry. The reduced cleat height means that there is no overall increase in the pedal’s stack height. Additionally they come with a plug that screws in. This plug gives added protection to the cleat locking mechanism in the case of walking across rougher terrain or sand. They are easily screwed in or out and can be tucked away in your jersey. So with that I was sold and picked up two pairs, one each for Becca and myself.

Installation was easy enough. Of course I had to remove my old pair, you can see the wear and tear that they have gone through.


Old Cleats off, well worn and scratched up, nearly 5000 miles on these!


Contents of the new cleats, note the different length screws for the Base shim


The rubber surround pops off the cleat. Fit the cleat to the sole of the shoe in the normal way


The surround the peels back on. Fitted with the plug.


No difference to the stack height…I need to work on my Velcro alignment!

So how they stack up, no pun intended!

Installation; this is easy, if you have installed Speedplay Zeros before you will not be fazed. The only additional step is to add the surround. I found the best way was to to peel it on and then snap the last corner, see the photos above. It pops on and stays on. I haven’t used the plugs as yet but they are lightweight and easily kept in your jersey pocket.

On the Bike; I have a 190+ miles on them already and I can honestly say that I don’t notice them at all when riding. Beyond the overall newness of the cleats the surround is easily forgotten.

Off the Bike; for obvious reasons this is the most noticeable difference. Gone is the clickyclacky walk and instead it is replaced with, well, silence. There is definitely a better sense of grip on the the ground and there is no noticeable increase in the angle between the cleat and the heel. The riding mileage and my walking has been a mix of outside and inside and there is really no sign of wear on the surrounds, they are simply a bit dirty. I have worn them on concrete and tile and obviously general blacktop road surface.

The nice thing about these is that if you do wear them our or have a mishap you can replace the surrounds for $20 and the caps for $6 and you can also get them in red, black, green and of course yellow.


So in summary I can’t think of any reason why you would not use these, other than adding a nominal amount of weight; 105 grams per pair (3-hole mount) vs. 138g per pair of Walkables, if you’re worried about 33g of extra weight you are not the sort of person who reads this blog! They do cost more money off of the shelf $55 for the Walkables vs. $40 for your standard cleats but they should extend the overall life of your cleats and provide you with a more stable walking surface.

My final thought, based on my limited walking, is that I anticipate that the improvement you will get running out of T2 will be substantial. Triathletes take note!

These Cleats were purchased by me. See previous gear reviews in the Tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Monday, May 11, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 2

A full week back on the bike and the miles are accumulating quickly. This week was the start of the TrainerRoad 8 Days in California challenge so I slipped off my training in the latter days. It will finish up next Saturday and the I will just slot back into the plan. So here is how things broke down;

Monday. The Sufferfest Elements of Style, always good to work on form and develop good habits.


Tuesday. TrainerRoad Glacier. 3 sets of Anaerobic capacity intervals; 5x2-minute efforts at 130% FTP with 5-minute recoveries. 6-minute recovery valley, 5x1-minute repeats at 150% FTP with 3-minute recoveries. 6-minute recovery valley, 5x30-second bursts at 180% FTP with relatively long, 3-minute breaks between them.


Wednesday. TrainerRoad West Vidette. 45 minutes of aerobic Endurance riding ranging from 50-80% FTP. A couple of stops futzing with cleats as they slipped, they need replacing.


Thursday. South Guard. 5x12-minute sets of 30-second steps which rise by 3% until 115% FTP is reached. Then, you'll step back down via those same 3% steps until you've descended to 91% FTP. The second ascent will only take you to 106% FTP before again stepping back down to 91% FTP. Recoveries between intervals last 4 minutes each. Switched to Tri shoes and felt better, reinforces need for new cleats and/or review of road shoes. This was hard but doable. Dropped off my bike at Wins Wheels for a tune up.


Friday. Off. Like. A. Boss!

Saturday. 8 Days of California. Day 1 of 2015's 8DC is a pan flat course which includes 3 intermediate sprints on the way to a spectator-friendly set of 4 finishing circuits including 6 turns per lap and culminating in a final, all-out sprint effort. Picked my bike from Wins Wheels, shifting is so smooth now! Also fitted some new Speedplay cleats…so much better!  I changed things this time and went with their new Walkable cleat, review to follow.




Sunday. 8 Days of California. Day 2 of 2015's 8 Days in California is a course that rolls substantially over the first half of the course and flattens out into a sprinter-friendly finish over the latter half. This course includes 3 intermediate sprints as well as a single KOM/QOM. Once I had finished this ride I went out on the road with Becca and added another 36 miles and after that jumped on my Mountain Bike and tagged along on Becca’s brick run. It was a good cool down ride!



In contrast to the regular TR ride the 8DC rides are proving to be challenging simply due to the fact that is minimal downtime, you can see that in the images above.

So for the week:

8 workouts, 168.94 miles in 10:25 I missed my strength work, which I need to do otherwise it will come back to haunt me!

Still on track for somewhere north of a 600 mile month.

In case anyone is interested all screenshots are from SportTracks.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

#HeadsweatySelfie Contest May Reminder

Just a reminder for the month of May that Headsweats are running this great contest and it’s an easy opportunity to win some free stuff!

I am sure you are all up on how to take a selfie etc so here are the rules!

1.  Take an awesome selfie in your favorite Headsweats
2.  Post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the #HeadsweatySelfie hashtag
3.  Be entered to win a FREE piece of Headsweats headwear!
Yup that’s it…like all the best things in life it’s nice and simple!

At the end of each month, we will pick 2 #HeadsweatySelfie winners to receive the prize.  It’s ongoing throughout the year so set yourself a reminder!

Race, training, golf, beach, whatever…make it fun!

Not sure exactly what a HeadsweatySelfie is?  No worries – I’ll start you off!