A big month kinda…tapering into the Everesting meant I had up and down weeks. In the end it looked like this;
As for December…rest month mostly!
The last week, just a couple of ride before the big day on the weekend.
Monday, TrainerRoad Mount Wood. When every ride is minimum of 25 miles! Felt a little tweak in right knee so cruised through last set . 3 more rides till this is done! Mount Wood is 3x8-minute over-under intervals alternating between 3 minutes at 95% FTP & 1 minute at 105% FTP with 6-minute recoveries between intervals. Usual 15 min warm up.
Wednesday, took the Lynskey for an easy spin.
And that was it until the big day!
Plan for next year are shaping up. I am waiting for Race registration to open on the BWR and Dirty Kanza in February and January respectivly. I am signed up for the Rock Cobler which is in February. All three of these rides (I am not sure I will actually be raceing them) are off road, mostly.
I have been kicking aorund the idea of getting a hardtail moutain bike for these events, not really looking that seriously but kicking things around. I was trawaling through a FaceBook Swap Meet and I came across a Lynksey Cooper CX. It’s used, some but not much and is pretty well speced. A quick communication with the seller and the deal is done! This was the listing picture:
It will need a few tweaks before it’s ride ready but it’s got a lot of fun packed miles ahead of it!
Monday, drove back from Tempe, took the day off
Tuesday. TrainerRoad Blackcap. Too much too soon, not enough recovery from Sunday! 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.
Wednesday, TrainerRoad Pettit. Dialed down to 90%, legs tired, just listening to them. Pettit is an hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-75% FTP.
Thursday, TrainerRoad Shortoff-1 Hard work but this is the best I have ridden this one so far. Shortoff -1 consists of 2 sets of 3x2-minute VO2 Max intervals at 120% FTP. Rest between intervals is 3 minutes long and rest between sets of intervals is 5 minutes long.
Saturday. TrainerRoad Marion. Felt rested after day off, couldn't quite hit the highs though. Reduced the cadence for the third interval which let me put more power into stroke and as a result was a better 12 minute set. Marion is 3x12-minute intervals in the Threshold power level at 95-99% FTP.Recoveries between intervals are 5 minutes long.
Sunday, TrainerRoad Gibbs. Had technical issues so started to pedal and waited for PC running TrainerRoad to boot up. Schedule wanted 2 hours but was short on time so managed on 80 minutes. Gibbs consists of 2 hours of aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP. One more week of taper.
Ok week one of taper in the bag…quietly going nuts and checking the weather! It rained a bit this week and the temperatures have dropped.
Should finish the year run/walking 2500 miles in total.
Monday TrainerRoad, no name recovery ride. I picked up a Tacx Smart Trainer online, this was the first ride with it. Just an easy 45 minutes getting used to. I forgot to turn off the GPS hence the map. Jury is still out and as I don’t want to mess with my training so I will be putting it to one side until the Everesting ride is over and going back to my faithful Kurt Kinetic Road Machine
Tuesday, Another recovery ride, just listening to my body. First half was on Bushido second back on Road Machine. Jury is still out.
Wednesday, MTB with the Family, cruising the local trails with the kids.
Legs back to 90%. Had a Zwift moment on a climb during te second half other than that just got it done. Townsend consists simply of 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP. 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.
Thursday, TrainerRoad Kaiser. Late start. Started off ok but soon realized legs didn't have it, rode as well as I could, second interval stopped for bedtime so had to get HR back up to continue. Usual `5 min warm up beforehand. Kaiser +1 is 2 sets of 3x3-minute VO2 Max repeats at 122% FTP with 3-minute recoveries between intervals & 6 minutes between sets.
Saturday, TrainerRoad Whiteside-2. Solid set, still can't quite hit the highs but happy with the overall consistency. Whiteside -2 is 5x20 Sweet Spot repeats at 85% FTP each separated by 5 minutes of active recover. 50+ miles w/ @MUN for his Sufferfest Knighthood
Sunday, 100 Miles of Nowhere.
You can read about that here
So back on the upswing time and mileage wise, with over 15 hours and 246 miles clocked. Last big week before Eversting at the end of the month.
The premise was pretty simple, ride 100 miles and go nowhere. I missed the initial Fat Cyclist announcement and as a result I was about a month late to the party. That said I got my registration packet and DNA Cycling were happy enough to swap in a too small jersey for a too large T shirt. Timing wise it tied in nicely with Becca’s volunteering duties at Ironman Arizona. So we packed my Bike and Trainer in the car and we headed out to Tempe. Our schedule was pretty tight, we left home midafternoon Saturday and arrived early evening. Checked in, unpacked and basically flaked out.
Becca was up bright and early to get to her Volunteer station (T1 Changing Tent), I had a slightly slower start but after some Skratch Rice Porridge and couple of cups of coffee I was good to go.
I had packed a couple of Laptops and a Fan, I knew the room would have AC but a fan in the face works very well. There were two laptops; one would run TrainerRoad and Netflix and the other was running Zwift. I am playing with Zwift right now and have a couple of months free from being a Strava Premium user. For now the jury is out if I will keep it post free period.
TrainerRoad had prepared a 5 hour ride profile. Finishing in five hours was going to be a stretch for me, obviously that’s 20mph for 5 hours! I guestimated that I would be around 5:45 which was 17.3 mph. That seemed more realistic. The ride they had created was a mix of Sweet Spot, Tempo, Endurance and Active Recovery. After a warm up it was a rinse and repeat of a 60 minute cycle with a cool down. I added my usual 15 minute warm up and they added a 10 minute cool down twice and another 20 minutes of Free Ride on the tail end to close it out.
For fueling I had Lara Bars, they’re simple and whole food. I also had a couple of bananas. For hydration I used Skratch Labs Raspberry with a half scoop of BASE Amino. I have been using the Amino supplement when riding indoors for a while and I think it’s really been working with my recovery.
So with all that preparation complete it was time to get on with it! So I did. After 2:20 I stopped to pee and refill my bottle. I worked my way through my food, essentially eating 3 things every two hours, a Lara Bar is 210 calories and a banana 100 so my consumption was a bit light but I have been fat burning for quite some time and I am used to exercising in a pretty fasted state. Becca came back around noon and then headed out. I was still plugging away.
Eventually the TrainerRoad ride ran out and the second or third movie ended. I had around 93-94 miles completed per my Edge 810 but was around 87 miles per Zwift, I had joked with Becca that if I made it to 110 I would have a 250 mile week. So when 100 miles rolled I kept going. By 105 I was done, a couple more miles and I rolled the Zwift Century, seriously the things we do for a freaking badge!
So with 107 (Edge 810) miles I stepped off. 6:06 and 17.5 mph average. This actually is my longest (distance) ride to date this year, that record is not going to last very long! I think it’s the third or fourth Century ride this year.
All in all it wasn’t that bad, having the TR profile really helped keep me engaged, no doubt it I had just been spinning I would have been slower and significantly more bored. I totaled at 248 miles for the week, with over 160 miles on the weekend on the trainer, Saturday I had ridden 53 and change supporting a friend who was riding his Sufferfest Knighthood.
What I was really pleased with was the average HR, 119bpm for the entire ride.
Now to ease off of the gas and taper into the Everesting ride in two week!
Races are like vacations, it’s always good to have one, ideally two planned out. At least tentatively, so with that in mind this is the in pen and pencil plans…
This will dovetail into Becca’s plans for the year which look like this;
I am sure there are few other adventures that are off of the radar right now but that will come into focus as the year pans out.
I was fortunate enough to have been provided a 2.0 BSXinsight (Cycling Version) to test and review. While there is a lot of jargon and text that can be said about what it does and doesn’t do the elevator pitch for the Insight is the following… “it allows you determine accurate aerobic and anaerobic training zones based on lactate threshold and it provides you real time feedback on what is happening inside your muscles via a numeric muscle oxygenation level”. That’s my pitch not theirs but that was how I had to explain it to Becca when she saw me wearing one leg sleeve while on the bike one night. Bottom line is that it “tells you exactly how hard your muscles are working”, that is their pitch.
Why are you worried about Lactate Threshold? Well knowing the correct zones to train in allows you to train effectively and more efficiently. This lets you correctly make your hard sessions hard and your easy sessions easy and avoids the pitfall of your training becoming a middle of the road blur, neither increasing your endurance or your top end speed. Why should I get one? Well, typically a lactate threshold test requires you to have blood samples taken by way of a finger prick and your lactate measured. I actually had this test done in 2012 for Ironman Arizona to determine my HR zones for the bike and run. While not that painful it was certainly inconvenient and expensive to have these tests administered and due to the effort involved they needed to be spread out over several days. As your fitness improves your zones change. You can put out a greater (either duration or intensity) power (in the case of the bike) for less effort. Having the ability to do this at home is a huge leap forward. The Insight uses LED lights mounted in a small pod which slides into a calf sleeve.
The other indicator that the Insight measured was SM02 this is the muscle oxygenation level, this is a good overall indicator of muscle recovery. This is important so you know how soon you can resume high intensity training after the last set. Remember muscles get stronger as a response to breaking them down, refueling them and resting.
So basically these two metrics; Lacatate Threshold and SM02 allow you to determine the correct training zones and tell when you are ready to resume high intensity training.
I had the Insight for two weeks and tried to use it as often as possible. Inside the box you get the leg sleeve that the Insight goes into, it’s very similar to a compression sleeve if anything a bit shorter. The Insight device, a charging dock and USB micro cable.
Unboxed contents, next to a Garmin 810 for scale
As instructed by BSX I went online and created a profile to upload the data to. The screen shots below are a mix of my phone and the website. After the unboxing and charging I paired it to my Garmin HR strap and Vector 2 Power Meter pedals. This was completed by way of my phone and was pretty easy to do. We have a lot of Garmin devices in the house and it was important to ensure I had the right things connected. Interestingly the Vectors came up as a Kickr, this was consistent no matter how many times I tried to find Vectors all I could find was Kickr?
Update; the Kickr issue has been resolved by way of adding additional ID to the sensor library, so now Garmin Vectors would be identified.
After that the next thing to do was a Lactate Threshold test: The results are below. Basically you follow the prompts on the phone until you fail, from there your zones are calculated for both Power and HR. As you can see there were very similar to the existing zones within Garmin Connect that I had based on my last FTP test and max HR in September. Max HR is a finite number no matter the level of fitness, however it does deteriorate with age. On the bike mine is between 180-185bpm.
Power Zones; BSX left, Garmin right
As you can see the Power Zone were pretty much aligned. Over the next two weeks I wore the Insight as often as possible. On the whole it worked great I had some issues with it having a flat battery and with it syncing on a couple of days and some days two rides turned up on the same day.
That said the data was very much aligned with how the workout went. The worst ride, defined as the poorest recovered and therefore the lowest SM02 was a steady state ride on October 14 this followed a heavy 177 miles over four days comprising;
In my training log I noted “Feeling generally fatigued and not a great night’s 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.”
So yes the accuracy of the data was replicated in how I felt. The rest of the week was a rest week with very little riding and the following week my SM02 had recovered back into the mid 75% range and allowed me to have a pretty successful FTP test using the new Garmin Vector 2s replacing the Stages crank which I had been using in parallel as my main Power Meter.
FTP Test results; above from BSX’s website, below from Sporttracks
I could go on comparing my training with the results and perceived state of recovery but you get the idea.
One other feature that I wasn’t able to test was the ability to connect it to a Smart Trainer via Bluetooth to control the resistance during a Lactate Threshold test. I used the tried and tested Kurt Kinetic Road Machine for my test. Since then I have acquired a Tacx Bushido which will, I am sure, take the fun level to an 11…on a scale of 1-5 for a test!
Overall I think this is a fascinating tool. I was always a fan of Lactate Threshold testing and now I have the ability to do it in the comfort of my own home, well, on the bike, in the garage, while riding really hard, ok you can ignore the comfort bit…but I can still do it at home. Additionally there is now only a one-time cost for multiple tests. Of course it’s up to the user to utilize the data, there is no point in just wearing and then tucking it away until the next time. You actually have to have a reaction for it to be of any value. The SM02 data really allows you to align the internal status of your body to how you brain feels about it.
The ability to monitor SM02 is a very new field which up until now has only had one other player, Moxy, who have been carving themselves into a nice niche but now there is a new kid in town. Hopefully that will generate more traction of this data point which is good for everyone concerned. Nobody ever ran their fastest 5k without having some competition. BSX have engaged some leading experts in the Power Meter field; Hunter Allen, Stephen Cheung who will hopefully be able to bring to bear the same knowledge, influence and impact that they did on Power Meters. The other traction point that will be needed is integration into already entrenched software platforms where this data can be integrated to, think Strava, Garmin Connect, Sporttracks and Training Peaks to name just a few.
If you have followed BSX you will know that they started through a Kickstarter campaign for the 1.0 device over a year ago. There has been a significant increase in stability and technology and so as to not let the initial funders out in the cold they can upgrade to a 2.0 model for $79.00. New buyers can get the 2.0 “XC” cycling model for $370, the running model “XR” for $300 and the multi-sport model “XM” for $420. The November 2nd rollout of the Gen 2 model also marks the end of the Gen 1 model. It is well worth looking back at their Kickstarter page it’s fascinating to see the stages of development they have been through from prototype to 2.0!
Well the week kinda got away from me. I had planned for another 200 mile week but it wasn’t happening, that said only 2 rides resulted in 140 miles, nearly 15 hours and over 15,000’ of gain!
Monday was off
Tuesday was the Mike Nosco Memorial Ride
Wednesday I travelled for work, got home late
Thursday I played catch up from Wednesday
Friday was a taper for 12 Hours of Temecula on Saturday
Saturday was 12 Hours of Temecula
Sunday I was dead after Saturday!
Total for the week;
Much like the Mike Nosco ride earlier in the week the 12 Hours of Temecula mountain bike race was not on my radar but with the Everesting ride being delayed 5 weeks and Becca passing on her fall Marathon due to her collar bone this opened up to me.
It was never that it was going to be a race bit more of a long day in the saddle for me. Knowing what I know about Mountain Biking 12 hours on the trails would be around 100 miles. That would be if I managed to stay the entire duration. This would be the first time riding this duration of this race, the last time was the 6 hour race last June where I tapped out after 4:40. This time I had a much deeper cycling specific base having switched over the bike proper in April this year.
Becca and I headed out of town on the Friday to get as close to the race for Saturday morning. This meant we didn’t have to leave at the crack of dawn, the race site was about 2.5 hours from our home. Even though the race didn’t start until 9am getting there in good time meant we could stake out a pretty good site to the side of the course which would be home base for me to stop at each lap to refill.
The format of the race is simple, 12 hours, as many laps as you can. Start at 9am, finish at 9pm. Make sure you have your lights fitted by 4:30pm.
So with that, a low key briefing we were on our way. The first lap is called a parade lap and misses the first couple of miles of the actual course. This allows beginners to complete an entire lap without getting caught up with the general population. The course is an 8.5 mile loop with about 1000’ of gain. It basically a 4 loop cloverleaf course with the leaf being blown from the SE to the NW. Roughly anything NW was up and anything SE was down. The terrain varied from sandy fireroad to 12”singletrack strewn with rocks with a 50’ drop on one side! The grade maxed out around 27%...and that was going up!
The course had slightly changed from last some of it was easier and some was harder. On the whole most of it was fun in one way of another. For a loop I was able to ride about 80% of it, the remaining 20% was too steep to ride up or just too hairy to ride down. Once again I was humbled by other riders abilities to throw their bike off of a mountain and hang on till they landed. That’s just not in my skills base and as this wasn’t my main event it would serve no purpose in doing something silly and breaking either myself (or worse) the bike! There’s no doubt that with practice my skill and confidence would grow but MTB time this year has been next to nothing!
With all that said I still managed to crash two of three times. Fortunately all I picked up was a couple of choice bruises which are now turning several shades of yellow and purple!
This was also an opportunity to test out my Everesting lighting solution, I had 2 Bright Eyes CREE Spots on my bars and a Chinese knock off on my helmet, the lights worked out really well but I determined that they need diffusers to spread the beam rather that have it focused on one section of trail. This will be even more important on the road when the speed is greater.
In addition this was really a test of endurance and with that in mind I was pacing myself as best I could and ensuring that I was eating and drinking enough along the way. To be honest I went out a bit light but I improved my hydration as the day wore on and I was trying to drink a bottle a loop alternating Skratch Pineapple and Raspberry with a mix of BASE Amino powder. As I was able to stop every lap I didn’t feel the need to wear a CamelBak (actually mine is FOX, but you know what I mean). This was supplemented with a firm favorite Mexican Coke (real sugar) and Sprite. In terms of food, I stuck with real food with PB&J rolls and several other items from the Skratch Portables book. All of this worked really well and will be the foundation for the Everesting ride, I’ll be adding warm Apple Skratch during the dark sections…because well 45f!
I chipped away at the loops and the day passed by. I gained confidence as I went round and that helped with some of the trickier sections. Once the 6 Hour riders left the trail opened up and not having someone breathe down your neck helped too. I had set a mental goal of 10 in the 12 hours in total. This was adjusted as I got an understanding of the course and realized what I would have to navigate in the dark down to 8 laps. By the time I started my 7th lap the sun was setting and 3 miles in it had set. The lights worked great but as mentioned they need to have diffusers fitted. The other main taking away is that I need to bring my clear lens glasses, riding at speed in the dark without glasses just results in my eyes tearing and streaming…no fun! With that in mind and after discussing it with Becca I decided to call it after the 7th lap. 60 miles 7:57 moving time, 8:46 total time on course, so three hours longer riding time than last year! For reference these are my splits;
Fairly consistent all things considered.
One of last year’s takeaways was to change the set up on the bike and I have added a lockout for the shocks, this allows me to set the suspension rate on them depending on whether I was riding up or down or along. This is a simple lever on the bars and works great! It took a bit of time to get used to it and once I had the finger and thumb co-ordination figured out I was good to go. In much the same vein as last year I did spend my time in only 3 or 4 gears, again a complete waste of the 26-27 I wasn’t using. With this in mind the next change will be to make the change to a 1x10 set up which reduces complexity and weight!
Overall it was a good, solid day. As always Becca was there to support my craziness, cheering and taking photos throughout the day, hers are above. There were also a couple of Professional photographers on course, here are the best of their photos!
With less than 3 weeks to Everesting this was a good day’s worth of training.
So on Tuesday I took the day off work to join 400 or so other likeminded individuals and ride the Mike Nosco Memorial Ride. This was never on my radar as I had planned for my Everesting ride to have been on October 23 but with Becca’s mishap resulting in me pushing it out five weeks this seemed like a great opportunity to get some mid-week miles and test out the final pieces of gear that I had assembled for the event. In addition to this I was able to support a great cause and pay my respects. You can read more about Mike on the event’s website.
The weather had been pretty crappy the prior couple of days and it had even rained some but the morning was bright and clear. There was also a chill in the air. I figured I would skip a vest or arm-warmers and go with just my usual jersey and undershirt. That proved out the best decision although it was super windy and as a result got a bit cold at the end of the day, but that was really an incentive to HTFU.
I drove out to the start which was only a 20 minute drive, parked up and then rolled to the start. A few words were said and without much ado we were off. I placed myself firmly at the back; risk mitigation. I wasn’t worried about being “last”, it wasn’t a race and I expected to catch a few folks on the climbs..
The route was one I was very familiar with, there was one climb, Deer Creek, which I had never ridden but the second climb will be my Everesting Segment and the third I have ridden only twice before but both rides were in the last 4 weeks. The one real concern was the first descent which is a twisty steep drop from the Conejo Valley down towards the farmland of Camarilo.
To ensure there were no disasters the organizers had slowed everyone down until the bottom had been reached.
From here we rode out to the actual Memorial site where more words were said. The entire peloton then bunched up and broke apart in the space of 2 miles. Sometimes I have glimmer of what riding fast could be like then I see what others can do and I crawl back in my shell. So with that said and having been caught at a set of lights and stopping to pee I was pretty close to being the Lanterne Rouge. Well apart from the 20+ flat tires in the first 10 miles (people look after your gear!) I caught up with a group of ladies and just as I was in the just in the draft zone we got to the first climb. Oh well.
Deer creek wasn’t too long it was more a short sharp climb, 2.2 miles with an 11% grade. At the top it leveled off and then there were a few ups and downs before the descent.
As this was new to me I used my on board Virb and filmed the entire thing, it’s below at 600X. It’s hard to tell but the descent was very rough, the road could certainly need a new surface. I was happy with my climbing and the way the bike handled things, I passed a lot of people and no one passed me…well on the climb at least.
At the bottom it’s a left turn onto PCH and it was a 2 mile stretch to the left turn into Mullholland. This was the KOM segment for the ride and obviously a stretch of road I was very familiar with. I rode it hard. Passed many people and even sprinted for the last 50 yards or so against someone. I bested my Strava time by 18 seconds down to 38:17, the winner oh he cruised in in 25:35!
Some rollers at the top and it was another decent back to PCH where we turned left again for a 6 mile stretch to the last climb Latigo. This was the third time of riding this in the last month or in fact ever. With that in mind I sat in and rode up, passing people and rolling through the Aid Station at the top. I eased off the gas vs the Mullholland climb but had in mind a target of an hour to the top; 9.2 miles 1982’ of gain and average of 4%. Mission accomplished.
Let’s talk quickly about Aid Stations. All the local bike shops were out in support for this ride. AS were placed strategically at the top of each climb. There was at least one maybe two guys on mopeds checking in with riders on the road. A couple of other motorcyclists were providing roving support. Mavic had a car and a motorcycle too and then there were a few repair stops that also had light provisions and water. There was also plenty of support from the local Police and Fire departments with crossings and turnings mostly covered. All in all the support was great and you never felt out of touch or abandoned. That said I was entirely self-supported throughout this ride, I had 5 Lara Bars and two bottles of Skratch. The weather was not hot, not even close, the average temp for the ride was 67f with a low of 55f and as I wasn’t sweating (you know what I mean) I drank only one bottle…yes one in 6 hours. I’ll say now don’t do as I do! Finally there were a multitude of photographers out and about, here’s a couple of great shots of me…if I say so myself. One was free and the other I am waiting for the download link.
Ok back to the ride. At the top of Latigo, you’re not actually at the top. There are a few more ups and downs to get to the start of the decent which is, by comparison to the climb, short at 0.8 of a mile! Right turn on Kanan, left turn on Mullholland, right turn and back down Decker. Here I dropped my last Lara bar so I stopped to pick it up and grabbed a couple of bars from the AS/Repair stop just in case.
At the bottom of Decker that last stretch home was through Hidden Valley and the wind was blowing a gale. Mostly a headwind which was better than a side wind. One final climb out of the valley and it was a nice decent back into Newbury Park and to the start finish. Here’s the overall breakdown of time/elevation;
At the finish there was hot food, a silent auction (I missed out on the Road Bike Magazine jacket) and Beer! I was cold and so I ate, waited for the auction to end and then headed home.
All in all it was a great day, a challenging ride and 80 solid miles in the bank. The website stated 11,000’ of gain but I only managed 8300’ even so it was the largest gain on a ride…so far! It was also a great day to test out my final gear check for the Everesting ride in three weeks which all worked really well.
As you have probably realized the ride was amazingly organized, more so than others that I have ridden.
When this comes around again next year I’ll definitely add it to my schedule.
Here’s the Strava data for the day.