Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Summary

Overall June was a bit of a hotch-botch of training. I finished the Golden Gran Fondo but had an easy run into it as I was staying off of a niggling knee.

I added some running into the mix and got out onto my Mountain Bike a couple of times, that’s always a good reminder of my overall level of fitness!

Al things considered the month wasn’t that bad I as actually only had 16 bikes and 3 runs!

I am hoping for a bigger better July although a week’s vacation may have some impact!



Monday, June 29, 2015

5k a Day!

I am part of the 2015 in 2015 Run the Edge Challenge, while I was running through April my miles were accumulating quickly but since stepping out of my running shoes and into my cycling pair my running mileage tailed off and so I included daily steps. However I needed to bolster this with some running and to be honest I was becoming a one trick pony with just cycling miles and most likely setting myself up for an injury more than just a tweaky knee.
So with that in mind I have decided to add a 5k a Day run into my training, to be honest I have little expectation of doing it every day but if I can get 3-4 runs in a week it will help with everything.
Tomorrow is July 1st so that seems like a good time to start!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


I’ve been kicking this around for a while and post Gran Fondo my docket has cleared for the rest of the year. I have got some big plans for the first half of next year but I need something to work towards between now and then.

The idea of Everesting is simple. You ride one Strava Segment up (and down again) until you have accumulated enough elevation gain to have the equivalent of Mt Everest; 29,029’ (8,848m). There is a pretty comprehensive list of rules listed here. The key to this is Segment and finding one that is sufficiently challenging enough that the elevation gain can be accumulated over the shortest amount of time, it’s easy to pick one that would have you riding for 20-22 hours which is pretty challenging in itself!


I have my eye on one and using the Everesting Calculator I came up with the following;I am still looking at options and I will need to ride this to see how it’s actually going to shake out.


Beyond the actual segment identification there are other considerations, some are obvious; nutrition and clothing, others are less obvious; gearing is one in particular I am looking at as I currently have a 53/39 crank and compact could be a wise investment!

The date however is set as October 25th. That gives me 16 weeks and it’s a close to a full moon as I can get…which I will most certainly need!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo

This is a bit late, but hey late is better than never!

One of the benefits of being a Brand Ambassador for Pactimo was that they provided a free entry into the Golden Gran Fondo. Pactimo is based in Denver and this was their local race. It would also be a great opportunity to actually meet some of the Pactimo folks and other Ambassadors’. This combined with the fact that this would allow Becca to get some training miles on the Ironman Boulder Bike Course as well an opportunity to swim in Boulder Reservoir it seemed like a no brainer to book some time off of work and make a long weekend of it.

After reviewing the course descriptions I decided on the Medio route, 63 miles with 7600’ of elevation. This was the middle choice, the shorter one was 20 miles and Becca opted for this and the longer one 97 miles had nearly 11,000’ of climbing, this proved at the end of the day to be a wise choice all round!

We were fortunate enough to be staying with friends in Golden itself and the morning of the Fondo we rolled to the start line all of one mile! We met up with the Pactimo folks and a couple of other Ambassador’s from the area. We chatted until it was time to wander off to the start line. While waiting I realized I had forgotten my phone so I zipped back to the house to grab and used the back streets to get back to the start line with literally a minute to spare! I could hear the national anthem playing as I arrived back!



The Medio Route was basically three loops, up over and around Lookout Mountain back into Golden, then through Golden Gate Canyon State Park for a figure of eight and back into town again. At a high level it was two climbs but of course in reality these comprised lots of smaller climbs with false flats and on the flipside sweeping descents interspersed with switchbacks…oh and some gravel!



The climb up Lookout was uneventful, I was at the back of the pack due to the phone issue but I soon started passing people. Becca was behind me but not by much and the climb to the top was over in just under 5 miles. The climb up Lookout was a timed section, each distance had a specific section and prizes were awarded for the fastest rider. The climb was nothing too onerous or strenuous, the roll back into town was pretty fast and as the road was unknown I took it fairly easy. We rolled through the first Aid Station and topped off our water bottles. Shortly after we were back in town and Becca peeled off as her 20 miles was done.

From looking at the elevation profile I knew that the next section was basically four summits over 23 miles and then a run down to the finish with a quick climb in the middle, with that in mind it was all about pacing. The climb up through Golden Gate was the first climb, it was pretty remorseless and I was happy to take a breather when I got to the top! It’s actually classified as a Hors Categorie, well you know, without classification…as such!

The Golden Gate Canyon climb

The clock had just past the 3:00 mark. From here there was a quick descent into the next Aid Station at the 33 mile mark. I didn’t linger any longer than I needed to and so I headed out and through the start of the second timed section. It started of fairly easily although the road was pretty “dirty”. The road got cleaner after a mile or two and the pretty easy disappeared as a serious of relentless switchbacks and grade that went from 7% to 9% to 13% had me dismount (as well as a couple of other folks I saw) and pushing my bike up!

Luckily I remounted just in time to save the indignity of having an official photo of me walking!

I finished the timed section and then enjoyed some of the downhill that I had dragged my ass up! Even the unmade road section was ok! The loop closed and I found myself back at the prior Aid Station with 20 miles left and in my mostly a downhill ride! In my mind…ha ha ha!


After a nice rollout from the Aid Station there was a gentle climb followed by a steady twisty descent for 6 miles or so. At the bottom we turned a corner and the blacktop disappeared, the road changed to gravel and turned up as far as you could see.

I rode some, not much but some and I walked lots, a few people passed me and some of the other folks walking were just walking faster and pulled ahead. If I had thought that the other sections were tough this proved to be the hardest 2 miles of the day, pushing a bike up gravel on a 16% was, at best, sucky!


Gravel up and down!

That said like all bad things it eventually ended and I was treated to hair raising gravel descent for 2 miles where I may or may have not being saying aloud “don’t crash…don’t crash” and would have felt much happier on my mountain bike with tires that measure 63mm vs my skinny road tires that measure 23mm! Luckily I didn’t crash and this section ended. From there it was a roll back out of Golden Gate Canyon Park enjoying the full width of my lane with some very patient drivers!


A left hand turn and I was back in town and over the finish line with 64 miles on the clock in just under 5:30!

The finish line area was very chilled with a beer garden, someone giving free ROLFing and a bike park. Becca and I availed ourselves of all three and hung around for the awards chatting to the Pactimo folks and other cyclists! There was a real family feel with kids hanging out with parents and just great overall atmosphere!

They started to give out awards to Piccolo riders and Becca had won not only here Age Group but she was the overall female winner! She’s a badass!


After the awards we hung on for the Raffle, it was actually great not to have anywhere else to be and the ability to just hang out on a sunny day in park with a bunch of other likeminded people was such a treat that we didn’t want to leave and miss anything. Hanging around to the end proved a wise move as we both won raffle prizes which was a great way to round out an excellent day!

Beer; it effects people differently!

Overall I was pleased with my ride, I had put in 7 weeks of solid training following a TrainerRoad plan and the high intensity workouts certainly helped with the climbing and distance on the day, the only real downside is that you don’t get to work on you bike skills. I am a wary descender at best and that is something that is only improved through doing!

As for the event, it was very well run and supported, there were only 280 or so riders across all three distances and as you would expect they strung out very quickly so you didn’t feel cramped in etc. This is one of a series of rides across the country and from what I have heard this one was one of, if not the, hardest. Certainly there were riders coming in 3-4 hours after I had finished! Well run with that local grass roots feel, if you see one in your area I highly suggest you sign up!

Lastly a big thank you to Pactimo, for not only sponsoring me and the free entry but also for sponsoring this event, like I said it has that grass roots feel and it’s from these events that the next and future generation of cyclists will come from.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 8

After basically a week off including driving to Golden Colorado, I was back on the bike Saturday. The drive took a day and a bit. We left around 6pm on the Thursday night and got as far as Mesquite NV, about 375 miles. Arriving and diving into bed around 1am. Back on the road the next morning we drove for most of the day arriving in Golden at the end of the day…another 660 miles!


On the Saturday Becca and I headed out to the Ironman Boulder course so she could get some ride time on the course and get a good understanding of what the “hills” were like and how things would shake out at altitude.

The course comprises of basically a top heavy figure of eight. The top loop is ridden twice and the bottom one once. For this ride we would just head out from the reservoir and T1 for 45 minutes and then ride back, I missed the turning through and ended up turning around off course.


The next day was the Gran Fondo and we didn’t want to overcook it so that was it for the day and the week. The good news was that the mostly forced rest had let me knee recover and things felt pretty good. There seemed to be little effect from the altitude, we were hanging out around 5500’ and the Gran Fondo would go as high as 9000. I’ve been at altitude several times and have suffered from sickness only once but I was at 13,000’ so I was expecting no issues.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 7

Eased right off this week. A bit on the trainer at the start and a bit of climbing on Sunday, all the days in between I was foam rolling, using my Compex and Body Buffing my legs as much as possible!

Monday; Off!

Tuesday; just couldn’t stay away! Caltech 30 miles with a 30 minute/8 mile warm up, so yeah 38 miles

Wednesday; West Vidette 20 miles. 45 minutes of aerobic Endurance riding ranging from 50-80% FTP. Additional 30 minutes easy spin

Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Off!

Sunday; joined Becca and rode a couple of local hilly loops. 30 miles. First ride since Wednesday as babying a pissy knee/quad and I have the Golden Gran Fondo in a week. Leg felt 80%. Rode a couple of the hills hard to see how it felt and grabbed a couple of personal KOMs for the day so happy with that. ISM saddle is working well and I can sit in the drops for mile after mile without issues! 


And that was it for the week. Very easy and big step back with only 90 miles, lots of focus on rehabbing my knee proactively as it’s not going to get better by itself!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Butt dialed…

No this is not about my cellphone but actually about dialing in my road bike, or at least my butt/bike interface!

It seems strange that after having the bike for nearly 4 years having put a lot of miles on it that changing the seat would be on the cards but it always seemed a bit of a compromise. I could ride with it for a while but to be honest the longer the ride the more uncomfortable it became. With the discomfort comes a lack of form, power, speed and so on.

With that in mind and given that I have a lot of cycling miles ahead of me it made much more sense to go back to the drawing board.

I spent a fair bit of time researching saddles for my tri bike back in 2011/12 so that seemed like a good place to start. I ended up with an ISM Breakaway saddle and that has been perfect for me. I wasn’t worried about the tri saddle on a road bike thing that some people consider a faux pas, mostly because;

  1. I am sitting on it so no one one can see it
  2. It’s my ass!

That said there were some provisos. Mostly driven by my OCDness was that it should in some way match the color scheme of my bike; red/white/black, (as a side note any other color schemes, unless you are a Pro, don’t count…j/k!). This presented a problem as the Breakaway is only available in White with Black/Blue or Black with White/Blue. The blue is just the labeling but you know red/black/white is not blue!

With this in mind I spent two weeks trialing an ISM Attack, it’s 99% white. After a couple of hundred miles I decided that it was too narrow (or my ass was too wide) either way it wasn’t working. I resorted to trying the Breakaway and it was really no surprise that it was perfect.

Three weeks of solid use including the Golden Gran Fondo had me sold. All that was left was to solve the color issue. That was pretty easy, after a long chat with ISM Customer Service they suggested that I try the Prologue, it’s not a available as a demo version but it is basically the Breakway with a bit more padding and chrome rails. The Service was great, listening to me endlessly babble on about color and so on! They even said if it didn’t work I could return it and get a Breakaway…just don’t crash in it they made sure to tell me!

The saddle arrived, I fitted it and there were no issues, it’s been on the bike for three weeks or so now.

To recap; Prologue model; chrome rails, a tad more padding, all black and $60 cheaper! Customer Service…priceless!

No problem!


If you want more info on the Breakaway you can read my review here.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Golden Gran Fondo (GGF) Week 6

Writing this in hindsight gives me the opportunity to facepalm myself. As noted last week my knee was getting pissy so instead of easing off what did I do…pile on the miles and made sure that they were all on the trainer! d’uh! Here is the week:

Monday; Black 18 miles. Endurance ranging from 50-80% FTP

Tuesday; Caltech 35 miles. 3 sets of 3x3-minute Attack & Recover intervals with very short, 1-minute recoveries between intervals & 4-minute recoveries between sets of A&R's.

Wednesday; Coliseum. 25 miles. 90 minutes of aerobic Endurance ranging from 50-80% FTP. Legs were a bit tired and right knee was a bit sore

Thursday; Cotter. 31 miles. Cotter consists of 6x9-minute sets of varied VO2max/Anaerobic bridging efforts ranging from 105-135% FTP. The bridging bursts range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes in duration with varied intervals at Sweet Spot/Threshold in between (90-100% FTP). Recoveries between sets of intervals vary by trading duration for intensity over the course of the workout.

Friday; off. Oh. Thank. You!

Saturday. Dana. Dana is a beefed up version of an old standard, Over-Unders, and consists of 5x9-minute intervals spent well above FTP for a minute at 120% FTP or slightly below it for 2 minutes at 95% FTP. Recoveries between intervals are 6 minutes long

Sunday; Black/ISLAGIATT/30 min free. 60 miles on the trainer! 60 min warm up with some technical issues and general futzing about with Zwift, after its third crash I gave up! Next 120 minutes @thesufferfest ISLAGIATT, felt strong throughout the whole ride Sensors dropped again during one section. 30 minutes/5 miles easy cool down at the end. 60 miles on a trainer = 75 on the road right!


Total for the week 201 miles so a tint increase in mileage. Knee is really not happy now and I am going to ease right off and see how I feel.