Another month whizzes by! March is just around the corner as is the next race, the Strada Rosso on the 17th. February started with the Tour of Sufferlandria which was cut in half with the Rock Cobbler. I had to do some tap dancing to fit it all in and the final ride was left to very late in the day. This was followed very quickly with a 10 day vacation. I had great plans of doing this and doing that and in the end I did very little.
Returning home this meant my legs where well rested and I had a very successful FTP test and that set the stage for the rest of the month.
Overall mileage-wise I am down on the monthly average to reach the 10,000 mile goal but I am not too worried about that now as the second half of the year is relatively event free and allows for more wiggle room.
Looking forward into March I am hopeful I can complete the upgrade project to my road bike. Becca had a takeoff DuraAce 9000 crank-set and it seemed almost criminal to leave it unused so I am slowly picking up the rest of the group-set to complete the build. My plan is to trickle down my Ultegra 6700 groupset to the Lynskey Gravel Bike and switch out the SRAM grouppo which I am really not a fan of!
In the last few days I also got confirmation from BikeInsure of being an Ambassador for them. I will have a longer post coming up but the elevator pitch is that they provide insurance for you and your bike when training or racing. The premiums are good and the policy is simple.
It seems strange to be writing up Week 4 when weeks 1-3 were focused on the Tour of Sufferlandria and vacation but that is the way that it has been. So with Strada Rosso only a couple of weeks away I was keen to put some solid miles in the bank. I wrapped up the end the Traditional Base Miles plan and this week started the Sustained Power Build Plan. This marks a change in stategy of training with reduced volume and increased intensity with a lot more work in the sweet spot zone. So this is how the week shook out:
Monday. TrainerRoad. Recess 40. Easy spin to start the week with some TSS. 40 minutes at roughly 50% FTP. FTP test tomorrow!
Tuesday TrainerRoad FTP Test. Probably the best test I have ever ridden, went out at a sustainable over target pace and held it for a good 12 minutes, eased of for a minute during the third quarter and then ramped it back up over the last 5 minutes. FTP increase from 234 to 243. Following a full 45 minutes of warm-up, a 20-minute time trial is used to assess Functional Threshold Power (FTP). More graphs and data on this post.
Wednesday TrainerRoad Mont Albert. Legs a little tired after yesterday but settled in to the ride and the new FTP. Slowly settling back into training and the bike. 15 min warm up and then the ride. Mont Albert is 1 hour of Tempo intervals spent between 70-80% FTP with intermittent, 1 to 3-minute recoveries at 55% FTP.
Thursday TrainerRoad Avalanche Spire. Early start...so business as usual, took a while to get up to speed but that's why I add the extra 15 minutes warm up. Not an easy ride but happy with the results. Avalanche Spire is 6x6-minute over-under intervals with 1-minute valleys at 95% FTP and 2-minute peaks that ascend to 105% FTP. Recoveries between over-unders are 4 minutes long.
Saturday. TrainerRoad Matanuska. Day slipped away from me so did the TR ride instead which would be more quality. Usual 15 mins warm up and then into 4x20-minute intervals at 78-90% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals. Was struggling at the end but just about hung on.
Sunday. I had planned to ride the Mike Nosco route but I bailed after Mulholland. Had the wrong cassette on and I died going up Deer Creek, the thought of Latigo was too much as it's a tough climb at best. That said, 80 miles and 6500' of gain will do. Garmin battery went with 3 miles to go. Happy to get back to the 200+ miles a week level.
It was a great day albeit after a chillyish start but it soon warmed up. The new 3T Orbis II wheels climbed really well but I was undergeared so I have switched my 12-30 casette onto them which will help in the future.
With March just round the corner, spring rapidly approaching and the race season underway I have pretty much locked down my Ambassadorships for the year.
Unless you’re new to the blog you will have noticed that there is a major shift and focus on cycling for the foreseeable future. I feel very fortunate that my blog has been the vehicle for many of these. Having blogged for over 9 years now I have a solid track record on Social Media. Of course the Social Media landscape has significantly changed in the last 9 years and to that end I am pretty active on Twitter and very active on InstagramInstagram.
So without further ado here are the companies that have invested in me and that I have invested in for the next year.
SkratchLabs; this is the second year of working with Skratch. I have switched over to exclusively using their hydration products. Additionally I now fueled pretty much 100% by real food and portables. I’ll be going back to regularly posting recipes so stay tuned.
TrainerRoad; I have been using TR since 2011 and this is the third year as an Ambassador. I have been using TR significantly more in recent years as my cycling is upped and I approaching my 600th ride with them. It’s a great tool, in fact it’s the best tool in my mind for structured cycling training. Interested in using it, hit me up for a 1 month free code.
Headsweats; I love their products, I initially joined their team as a runner and I have used them exclusively for all my triathlons. Now I wear them under my helmet. They keep the sun off my head and the sweat out my eyes! Use Quadrathon25 at checkout for a discount.
Pactimo; in my opinion this is the best cycling clothing on the planet. I wore their Pro Ascent kit for every training and race last year. Including my Everesting ride where I wore the same bibs and jersey for over 24 hours with chamois cream and without issue! This is my second year with Pactimo. I’ll have a discount code coming up soon! They are still taking applications for this year through to February 29th.
Garmin; I continue the Ambassador relationship with Garmin for the second year. I feel very fortunate to be one of a very small select group of Ambassadors in the US. I have been using Garmin products since 2007 and now I don’t ride, run or swim without wearing or having a Garmin device tracking me!
3T Cycling; new for 2016. 3T make some of the sexist and technologically advanced products in the cycling world. I have ridden with their components (bars, stem and post) since 2010 and make a point of changing out any OEM or third party parts on any of my bikes for 3T parts. Specifically I am an Ambassador for their new Orbis II wheelset which are as fast as they are sexy!
I have a few other irons in the fire but as of this post these are the mainstays for this year.
And so it was time to do another FTP Test. The last one was a month ago at the start of the second Build Phase. To be honest the four week cycle took a bit of a beating. I got off to a good start, then had the Tour of Sufferlandria and then Rock Cobbler and then Vacation. So mileage and training generally down for the month. That said with well rested legs after vacation I had pretty high hopes for the FTP Test.
I also gave myself every opportunity to have a good test. Had a minimal day the day prior, a good night’s sleep, checked all the technical bits and pieces and really left nothing to chance. All that was left was to shut up and pedal.
I gave myself my usual 15 minute warm up and then got into the test proper. This time as I transition into the 8 Week Sustained Power Build I would use the 20 minute test.
The result. Probably the best test I have ever ridden, went out at a sustainable over target pace and held it for a good 12 minutes, eased off for a minute during the third quarter and then ramped it back up over the last 5 minutes.
With everything being about the bike there has been a little time for running. That said I have been able to accumulate a few miles. I was incentivized by the lure of fresh smelling shoes thanks to the good folks at Saucony. They sent me the latest iteration of their Triumph ISO 2 shoe. I reviewed the original shoe just under a year ago and you can read that review here.
The big update on this shoe versus the original version is the inclusion on their proprietary technology Everun. Rather than let me try to explain it here is a little video from Saucony.
In addition to Everrun the new features include:
IBR+ (Injection Blown Rubber) this is lighter and more environmentally friendly than previous versions.
IsoFit; Internally the shoe retains the IsoFit inner sleeve that encases your foot, the lace cage has been redesigned and is much improved over the prior version.
Tri-Flex provides better ground contact and push off which adds to efficiency and effectiveness of your ground contact.
There is an 8mm heel drop so this is not a minimal drop shoe.
Saucony describe this shoe and Plush cushioning Neutral Shoe designed for neutral pronation.
So how does all this technology feel?
Well it’s like running on firm marshmallows. Actually that is probably the best description I can give you. Structurally the shoe is very supportive, the neutral design does not force your foot in any direction.
Weight wise they 10.2oz so they are 3oz heavier than my usual Kinvara’s but it’s not really noticeable. The Everun cushioning is very effective and providing positive rebound and is not spongy it adds a bit of a pop to your run.
Along with the above changes the heel cup has been redesiged to to provide a more skelatal structure rather than simply plastering the shoe in plastic support, this also reduces weight. Overall the weight has increased just over an ounce vs the prior version.
The Everun technology is also designed to add life to the shoe, my original Triumphs died with around 270 miles on them so I am hoping that these will exceed 300 miles in long run.
Overall the fit is similar to the original Triumph ISO shoe, the only main difference is that they are coming up a little smaller than before. This smallness is noticable in the length. I usually size up half a size but I should have gone a full size this time. I would imagine that this will become more noticeable over time as your feet heat and expand. For me as running is a cross training activity it’s not a major issue however for someone marathon training this could become a problematic.
The shoe has been acknowledged Runner’s World Editor’s Choice for the Triumph ISO 2, this continues this award as it won it last year too!
Overall this is a well-constructed solid running shoe. The new technology provides for a comfortable ride and as long as you take into account the sizing issue you should be good to go. With the added durability this could very easily become the go to shoe for most runners
Available in three different colors for mens and womens and also in wide versions too. You can find these shoes in reputable Running Stores and direct from Saucony online for $150 where uyou can also read a growing list of user reviews.
These shoeswere provided free of charge by the good folks atSaucony.See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.