Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Summary

A wee drop from last month but that was more a virtue that the month ended on a Saturday, had it been a Sunday I would have been closer to 900 miles for the month. A had a solid down week during the month as well which was needed as I was going off the boil and I managed some core work too, not as much as I need or want but some is better than none.


Four weeks to go!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pactimo; Ascent Pro Bibs & 2.0 Ascent Jersey

I was lucky enough to have be selected as a Brand Ambassador for Pactimo for 2015. One of the benefits was that I was provided with an Ambassador kit, I also purchased a couple more to see me through the year as well as a Vest, Cap and Arm-warmers so I had the full “ensemble”.


Looks good in a bag…looks better on a bike!

The Ambassador kit was comprised of garments from the Ascent collection. This is Pro level and falls between their Sport and Premium lines. I reviewed their Premium line here. Pactimo is small, tightly run company. They are based in Colorado and have their own manufacturing site in China. Just to repeat that, they have their own factory, nothing is outsourced and as a result of this their Quality Control is amazingly stringent. This is also backed up by their Customer Service, I once had a logo badge come off and they sent me a free pair of bibs! So that said on with the review;

The Bibs; the bibs were the Ascent Pro bibs. Per Pactimo; “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”. I am 6’1” and wear a size large, while they are long they fit me perfectly and I have a good 3-4” between the bottom of the bibs leg to the top of my kneecap. The compression band removes the need for any silicon gripper. Trust me when I say that once you have worn a pair of bibs you will never go back to shorts and once you have worn a pair without silicon grippers around the legs you will never go back to them either!


Tan lines! Rule #7

The pad is an Italian-made Cytech Elastic Interface® XC Carbonium chamois: 3 multi-structured levels (10-8-4mm), high protection foam, anatomical shaping and Elastic Bioactive surface fabric with carbon fiber. Wow that sounds very technical, what does it mean, well you have different levels of padding based on the area of the pad. It’s shaped to match your body, the pad is curved not flat, it’s vented to allow for air flow and the fabric breathes and it won’t make you feel overheated or sweaty. So does all this technology work? Yes! I have worn these for rides up to 8 hours long without issue. They don’t get too hot. They breathe. They do not bunch. Basically they work, you forget they’re there. The really nice thing about these is that I don’t need any chamois cream. Seriously nada!

One of the really hidden features is the bib portion. These are not a pair of shorts with some braces sewn on, the bib piece actually comes halfway up your back and sides. This does several things. It makes you feel really snug, no muffin top (yes this is a man thing too, although a lot less for me of late). It stops your undershirt from riding up and it keeps your jersey nice and sleek. It adds some support to your core; those 5 mile descents while on the drops can sap you’re your abs for sure!

The cut of these is for riding, Pactimo call this Silhouette Engineering. They are articulated in the right places for when you are sat on the bike. Again this means less bunching of the fabric. The fabric is super stretchy and just moves with your body. It’s also very resilient, after a hard summer of use it’s showing zero signs of failure in fact there are no real signs of wear. Every seam has Flatlock stitching which eliminates chafe points.

The Ambassador lineup had a very distinct print but these bibs are carried through all kits and if you prefer a more subdued look you can get them in plain black or in a “Match Your Ride” color scheme.

The Jersey; the jersey is soft and comfortable. It has the more fashionable longer sleeves and they do not have those annoying skin pulling silicon grips that other jerseys have. Like the bibs the jersey has been anatomically cut this leaves the front substantially shorter than the back, this is based on the ergonomics of bike riding, you are typically leaning forward which shortens the front and lengthens the back.

There is a full YKK zip at the front with a nice Pactimo tag. At the rear there are three pockets! They may look small but you can get a lot in them. Enough food for a solid 4 hour ride, my Lezyne Caddy Sack (M) and Lezyne's Carbon Pressure Drive, pump, extra baggies of Skratch and my iPhone. Yes it’s a full load but it handles it well.


Is that a rocket in your pocket…nope, it’s a bad 1980’s movie pun!

There is a rear pocket opening for headphones and earbud loop in neckline, I’ll not comment about wearing headphones on the road. There is a silicon gripper at the bottom of the jersey to keep it down.

The fabric in the jersey varies from panel to panel and the side panels are the thinnest, this helps it breathe and disperse unnecessary heat. The collar is soft and has anti-chafe neck tape inside.


Breathable and light side panels provide excellent ventilation.

Both items are a cold wash and air dry…nice and easy, so easy your kids could do it, so give them a couple of $ and let them while you go for a ride!


Doing my best Assos ManI’ve some lots more work to do!

Summary. Overall these are a great addition to anyone’s cycling wardrobe. For me they have been a staple go to for 99% of my rides outside this year. They are hardworking and bounce back after every use. The color stays sharp, even the white trim has remained white all year. There are plenty of features that you would find in similar clothing lines that cost two or even three times as much. Overall Pactimo kit looks up to date and it fits great, I am not sure what else you could want!

They are available in many many different color schemes and patterns across a broad spectrum of sizes XS-XXXL

As a Brand Ambassador I get a pretty good discount and I also get a pretty good discount that I can pass along so here’s your opportunity to pick up some new kit for the winter. At checkout use the code BA15STU to get 30% off your order, does not apply to Artist, Cause, Specialty or Custom items. Jerseys start at $85 and bibs at $125.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Whole 30 results and thoughts

Starting September 1st Becca decided to adopt the Whole 30 diet. You can read about her experiences here and here. I jumped on board as it basically was a healthy and easy way to improve my diet. To be honest it wasn’t that bad but there was room for improvement. I have to confess I wasn’t 100% committed, I still had milk in tea and H&H in my coffee and Splenda in both.

There is a long list of things that are eliminated, the big ticket items are; grains, dairy, legumes, anything with sugar added (most fruit is ok), alcohol. I reduced but didn’t eliminate beer altogether and I still had plain Greek 2% yogurt with homemade granola 2 or 3 times a week. Rice porridge is still a weekend staple. Beyond that I ate whatever Becca put in front of me.

With Becca’s broken collar bone she has become whirling Diva in the Kitchen and with my Sunday rides extended out another month it’s all tied in really nicely timing wise. The results have been pretty staggering to be honest. My weight had averaged 175lb for the last 18 months, sometimes I dipped below 170 after a big workout and occasionally I hit 178 after a big blowout. I wrote in March of last year that my ideal racing weight was 166lb and that figure was impossible to reach yet alone maintain and that I was really aiming for 168lb.

Yeah about that! In the last 6 weeks my weight has averaged 163lb, sometimes I’ll drop below 160lb after a 5-6 hour ride and that effect may linger a few days but I haven’t been above 170 since August 19th.


Obviously my weight was being focused on before September and the start of the Whole 30 plan but the consistency in keeping the weight off has been since then. My training volume hasn’t decreased and with the weight lost my performance has improved, most noticeably I am not dragging the extra 10-12lb up every hill I ride. Trust me it makes a difference! The nice thing is that the weight has been dropped from where it usually accumulates, my belly. I have gone from a 32/33” waist to a 30”ish. The flipside of this is now it is a pain to find 30x34 pants!


The ongoing transition and maintenance hasn’t been all that hard. I have a pretty high tolerance for the same food and as a result my lunches at work have become a plate of color and crunch! It makes me laugh that the same people who say wow that looks good as they walk past me preparing it come back carrying a Carl’s Jnr bag!

With the Everesting attempt now scheduled for the weekend of Thanksgiving it’s time to double down and keep my eye on the prize, so I will be strictly sticking to my 80% rule and focus on the motivation of not having to drag those 12lb over 250 miles is sure going to help!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Everesting Week 16

This week was the start of another build session that will lead into my taper for the Everesting ride. I was feeling pretty good after having a rest week last week. The mental break was nice too after a couple of full on weeks at work I was feeling pretty tapped out. With that said I jumped back in…well I did on Tuesday.

Monday. Off

Tuesday. Trainerroad FTP Test. 20 minute ‪#FTP‬ test with Garmin Vector2‬ pedals. I've been keying off my Stages Cycling for the last 2 years but I needed to retest with the Vector pedals. There is a 10-15% difference between them and the Vectors have me working harder. So while this is a nominal step back in terms of an absolute number it's actually an increase of that 10-15% difference. Put another way if I had tested with the Stages my FTP would have gone from 233 to around 250. I also got to use the BSX Insight, there is a review to follow


Wednesday. Trainerroad Pettit. Legs a little tired after last night's FTP test but other than that no problems. Added the usual 15 minutes warm up and a couple of miles cool down. Pettit is an hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-75% FTP. Also did a 20 mins Core workout in the evening.


Thursday. Trainerroad South Twin –1. 15 minute warm up in and 10 minute cool down. Very happy with this as 4 weeks ago I was struggling to get above 240w on the intervals and now I am north of 260. South Twin -1 is a VO2 Max taper/recovery workout and consists of 2 sets of 2x2-minute VO2 Max intervals at 120% FTP. Extended rest between intervals is 4 minutes long and rest between sets of intervals is 8 minutes long.


Friday. Off, this is per the plan.

Saturday. As a Knight of Sufferlandria I get early access to the newest videos...there are three coming up and I got two them yesterday. Riding them back -to-back today. First up; The Best Thing in the World ‪#‎tbtitw‬ How much was in Z6,7 and 8...err lots! Nice cool down thanks to @cottydale and @thecolcollective 15 minute warm up, then back to back Sufferfests, The Best Thing in the World and Do as you are told! First one is 2x13 min race simulation and the second is mixed intervals. No Trainerroad integration yet so had to go off of RPE/Sufferfest Scale so when 7.5 is your FRP 10 is a lot more and I managed upper and just over 300watts for final sprint! Good race footage too and a kickass sound track!


The Sufferfest's 'The Best Thing in the World:' World Premiere at David Lloyd Leisure, Raynes Park, UK from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.

The Sufferfest: The Best Thing in the World: 1 Minute Sample from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.

The Sufferfest: Do As You're Told: Sample Footage from The Sufferfest on Vimeo.

Sunday I headed out from the house and rode to the coast, I threw in a couple of big climbs including one through Latigo Canyon, this is where I nearly died three weeks ago at the Westlake Century. I was very happy to check Strava when I get home and see that I had PRd most if not all of the Segments!



So for the week, I ended up with the following totals;


Like I said a solid start to the four week build.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October FTP Test

My last FTP (Functional Threshold Power) Test was about 10 weeks ago and I wanted to align my training to the Garmin Vector Pedals. Up until now I have been keying off of the Stages Cycling PM but there is a difference of around 10-15% between them. The Vectors are always lower than the Stages but as the difference is consistent the absolute number didn’t matter. With that in mind the time was right to take a new test and see where I was. October has been tough month. I have been crazy busy and stressful at work and teetering on the edge of over training. I was getting a good sense of that just from the training, my legs wouldn’t spin up and the output was low compared to the effort going into it. I was also struggling to get my heart rate up. A had a solid rest week and with that behind me I teed up the FTP Test.

I used the TrainerRoad test as I prefer the format to the Sufferfest (Rubber Glove) Version and I added an extra 15 minutes/5 mile warm to the front of it. The test takes 20 minute and it has a long warm with a couple of spin ups to get your heart rate up.

I’ve done the FTP test many times now and I know that I need to break it down into 5 minutes chunks, I also know that I often fade during the third quarter. The Target was 237 Watts which with the Stages PM would have been an easy 250-260 Watts. The key is to not go out too fast, just build up steadily and hold it for the 20 minutes, unfortunately my third quarter fade got the better of me although it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past. The last quarter is a minute by minute play where I increase as much as I can until the clock runs out.

The result 230 Watts. This was actually a 3 Watt drop compared to the current setting of 233 Watts. So while this is a nominal step back in terms of an absolute number it's actually an increase of that 10-15% difference. Put another way if I had tested with the Stages my FTP would have gone from 233 to around 255.



The bottom line, the training is working, I am getting stronger and faster! That combined with my weight loss is increasing the my Watt/Kg to 3.2.

Everesting Reschedueld

So per my last post I am rescheduling my Everesting Ride pushing it out about a month from the original date of October 23rd. This has some advantages and disadvantages but as I am reliant on Becca for support and she is reliant on her shoulder there was not much I could do. The plan now is do complete the ride the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend on November 29th. I am hoping that this will mean that the roads will be a bit quieter in general as most people will be travelling to or from relatives and that the segment will be a bit quieter as a result.

The downside is that I lose a month’s worth of daylight but that is offset against the fact that it’s two day after a full moon. Whether in October or November I was going to need lights and I am testing some options for those. Garmin have sent me a set of Varia lights to use as well.


The other upside will be that the weather will have cooled off, but I run the risk of inclement weather. If it’s raining chances are it’s off, not that I am made of sugar but it’s just not worth the risk, wiping myself or my bike out on the road is just not an option!

So this means that I have to extend the training another 4 weeks. I’ll be honest and say at this point it’s not only a physical challenge but a mental one too. It will add about another 1000 miles on top of the 4500 ridden since May.

I have a couple of events coming up to break up the training'; a Sufferfest Trifecta of 3 new videos in a day. The Mike Nosco Memorial Ride, 80 miles and 12,000’ of gain and 12 Hours of Temecula Mountain Bike Race, I rode the 6 Hours race last year so I have pretty good understanding of what to expect…just double it, right?!?

That’s it for now, stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Everesting Week 15

Monday, The Sufferfest Elements of Style. Used the Element of Style as an Active Recovery ride, had a few laggy sections so some of the drills are a bit sloppy. Warm-up, Pedal Stroke Drills, Low Cadence Drill, High Cadence Drill, Systems Check Under Pressure, Climbing with Core, Hard Climbing, Cool Down.


Tuesday,TrainerRoad Blackcap. Feeling generally fatigued and not a great nights sleep! SM02 was down to average of 61% vs. 90% from last week and I could really feel the difference. This week is a step back week though so that will help overall. Added extra 15 mins warm up to this and even that was hard work! Blackcap is 3x9-minute Over-Under intervals alternating between 2 minutes at 95% FTP & 1 minute at 105% FTP with 6-minute recoveries between intervals. The 3 over-unders are sandwiched by slightly longer Endurance intervals.


Wednesday, TrainerRoad Pettit. Legs still tired, took more mental than physical energy to stick with this to the end. Pettit is an hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-75% FTP.


Thursday, off.

Friday, off.

Saturday, TrainerRoad Marion. This is a step back week. I took an extra day off (Thurs) as I was physically and mentally tapped out. So 2 days off the bike helped a lot, bounced back close to 100% Pleased to hit most of the power targets for this ride especially as I was keying off of the Vector's which are a good 10%+ of my FTP! Marion is 3x12-minute intervals in the Threshold power level at 95-99% FTP. Recoveries between intervals are 5 minutes long


Sunday, TrainerRoad Gibbs. File this under better late than never. Easy morning and then an afternoon of chores. Better an hour of riding than none at all and as this is a rest week I am not too bothered. Gibbs consists of 2 (I did one hour) hours of aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP. Threw in a couple of form sprints.

So this was a rest week and I needed it after last week, that said I ended up with 6:00 and 104 miles, less than half of the preceding week.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Everesting Week 14

Monday, I did a Lactate Threshold test with the BSX Insight, you can read my review here. TrainerRoad 15 min warm up followed by test. 3 minute ramps, tapped out at 240 watts. A couple of drops from Vectors probably has the next effect of dropping my LT to 229 vs the 233 of my FTP.


Tuesday, TrainerRoad Venacher. I added extra 5 mile warm up as I knew this was going to be a hard ride. Couple of extra miles on the cool down for an extra 27 minutes. Hung on for the first interval then fell off the back and couldn't bridge, second interval was very ugly, gathered it together for the third and worked on consistency! Vennacher is 3x12-minute Over-Under intervals alternating between 2 minutes at 95% FTP & 2 minutes at 105% FTP with 8-minute recoveries between intervals. The 3 over-unders are sandwiched by slightly longer aerobic Endurance intervals spent at 60% FTP.


Wednesday,TrainerRoad Townsend. Extra 15 mins warm up. Legs felt really tired and I had to dial this down to 90% based on Vectors which add ~10-15% extra watts vs Stages. Managed to complete and looking at when I rode this 3 weeks ago I added an extra 4.8 miles (and 8 minutes) over t he same ride. Townsend consists simply of 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP. Forgot to turn off GPS so I had to download and upload a TCX file which misses most of the data.


Thursday, TrainerRoad Kaiser-1. Phew legs are pooped! Four big days and 4:30-5am alarms this week. Started this with an extra 15 mins warm up. Kaiser +1 is 2 sets of 3x3-minute VO2 Max repeats at 122% FTP with 3-minute recoveries between intervals & 6 minutes between sets. Rest day tomorrow, this is a nice set up for 230-250 mile week.


Friday, Off, yay!

Saturday, TrainerRoad Whiteside-1. Very much in my wheelhouse, nice long hard sets. Keying off my Vectors so effort was closer to 95% of FTP. Added 15 mins warm up and a couple of extra miles for the cool down. Whiteside-2 is 5x20 Sweet Spot repeats at 85% FTP each separated by 5 minutes of active recovery. Big ride on the trainer.


Sunday, Freedom! Hit the road and rolled around a local loop. Four loops in the midday sun. Crazy hot day, average temp was 97f! Ride ended up being Z3/4 due to heat but Abe HR was ok. Big week with 245 miles on the legs but they feel good. 6 bottles of Skratch and a couple of cokes.


A nice big week, 6 rides for 14:24 and 245 miles, definitely one of my biggest weeks this year.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Oh snap!

…and not in a good way!

I got the call when I was a mile from my car after finishing the Westlake Century on Saturday. My shoulder hurts, I may have put out or worse broken my collar bone! Becca had been at the park with the kids and taken a tumble off of a Razor Scooter!

I drove home, deposited kids elsewhere and headed to urgent care. A long wait and an x-ray later it was confirmed as a broken collar bone. Prognosis 4 weeks of nothing followed by another 4 weeks of nothing!


Needless to say beyond the obvious this will have a trickle down impact, more will follow over the coming weeks!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Everesting Week 13

Moday we were still in Mammoth and spent the moring on out Mountain bikes. There is an extensive set of trails that can be explored but they had closed the day before, we sneaked on and snaked around for a bit, shhh! As recovery as 1000' over 11 miles can be. The bike out-kicks my coverage and will roll up or down things that have me with my heart in my throat. Felt fatigued generally but nothing major from Sunday Yosemite ride. Fun times in the dirt with Becca.


Tuesday off in lieu of Monday and drove back to LA.

Wednesday, TrainerRoad Townsend. My leg was stiff from travelling yesterday, finally warmed up after 30 minutes or so. Townsend consists simply of 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP. Extra 15 mins warm up and a mile cool down to round up. Here endeth the month and the biggest month this year with 839 miles and 34,000 of climbing


Thursday, TrainerRoad Givens. Early morning start with added 4 mile warm up. Givens -1 is two sets of 3x2.5-minute VO2 Max repeats at 122%FTP. 2.5 minutes of recovery falls between Intervals and 8 minutes of easy spinning separates the sets. Still have the diff' between the Vectors and Stages but was aiming for around 250W on the Vectors which will be closer to 275W on the Stages. Rest day tomorrow before Saturday's Stonehaus Century.


Friday. Rest day

Saturday. Stonehaus Century Ride.Solid ride through M72. The ride up Latigo (which I've never done) was brutal, midday sun and relentless switchbacks! 10 miles of climbing and 2100' of gain. Missed the timing on fuel and by the time I reached the top I was close to bonking. Strong rides up Decker and Mulholland. New wheels and cassette ride really well. Second century ride in last 7 days.


Sunday. Recovery day.

So five rides for 12:13 and 166 miles. Not a massive week for mileage but a good amount of climbing and the back to back long weekend rides made for a solid 7 day stretch.