Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Summary

A big month. I started with the lofty goal of 1000 miles. That would put be back on track for 10,000 miles in a year. It was a big ask and I didn’t want it to derail my training by just adding junk miles.

In the end I added a couple of double days and and rode recovery rides on my rest days and with that I rolled over the 1000 mark.


Not easy but there were no major issues.

Monday, March 28, 2016

High Rouleurs Society Week 1

Recovery Week post Strada Rosso.

Monday TrainerRoad Lazy Mountain. 1 hour of easy, steady effort between 45-55% FTP.


Tuesday TrainerRoad Mont Gosford. Today should have been a FTP test but legs not fully recovered from weekend and feeling a little beaten up from last night's massage so pushed it off. Added 15 minutes warm up and rode Mont Gosford is 1.25 hours of Tempo intervals spent between 70-80% FTP with intermittent, 2 to 3-minute recoveries at 55% FTP.


Tuesday evening TrainerRoad Taku-1. Quick ride to double down today


Wednesday Mont Gosford (yes again). 15 mins warm up followed by Mont Gosford which is 1.25 hours of Tempo intervals spent between 70-80% FTP with intermittent, 2 to 3-minute recoveries at 55% FTP. Focused on lower cadence and climbing drills.


Thusday Mount Hope. Usual 15 minutes warm up and then 5x10-minute intervals at 95-99% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals. Just below target, felt a bit bloated. Ride was in the afternoon rather than before breakfast


Friday Royal Loop TGIF Quick loop around the locale. Picked up a slow flat didn't change it just stopped to give it a quick pump twice. Pushed hard on a couple of sections and put on too much sunscreen, it made my eyes sting!


Saturday Royal Fruit Loop. Royal loop segment to Fruit Stand and loop back past the Missile Base. Pushed hard on some sections and enjoyed the tailwind. Eased off with 3-4 miles to go


Sunday Buck and Change. Used the new Crusin' The Conejo double metric as a base. I was going to come up short as it starts further away. After yesterday's hard ride this was a deliberately long easier day but with a couple of good climbs. Paced myself pretty well and could have carried on. 300m+ week


Massive week, probably my biggest ever with over 316 miles and 19:38 of saddle time. It was a big push to close out March with 1000 miles! So mych for recovery!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Big miles weekend…

I hadn’t put in any really long rides so far this year and with an open weekend I decided to have a couple of days with solid miles. My Saturday ride was a well-worn ride with a little extra. Outbound while downhill had a headwind so it was a wash. I enjoyed the tail wind on the return leg and was riding hard for 60 or so of the 68 miles getting home in just under 3:45, of interest (at least to me) I covered 56 miles in 2:55 which would be a pretty solid Ironman 70.3 ride. For Sunday I decided to head out early, the objective was distance but at a sustainable pace. I was trying to simulate the High Rouleurs ride in April which has two big days in the hills.

I am always left scratching my head a bit when I need a long ride and I tend to default to tried and tested routes. This time I was looking for something new and came across a new route for the local Crusin’ the Conejo ride “Crusin for a Brusin” a double metric century so around 122 miles. Sounds perfect I thought. There was a good 30 miles of road that was new to me and a couple of familiar climbs thrown in for good measure.

I downloaded the file into my Garmin 810 and loaded up my bike for the ride managing to hit the road and the reasonably early (for me at least) 9:30. I had a pocket full of Lara Bars and Skratch and an USB battery charger. The first thirty miles took me out into the local orchards and it was a pretty route through the lemons and limes.


From there I rode through open arable farmland including the ever spooky sod farms, just acres of nothing except…grass! After a quick stop at the local missile museum I picked up PCH and had a headwind for the next 8 miles, so that sucked!

From there I turned inland on the first of the two climbs; Mulholland, this was my Everesting segment so nothing new here a quick descent down the new resurfaced Encinal Canyon and I was back on PCH for another 5 miles before turning back inland for the 9 mile climb up Latigo. Latigo canyon usually sucks it’s switchback after switchback and I have ridden it enough that it’s not a challenge it’s just a pain in the ass. That said I felt like I was happily cruising up, not crushing it but that wasn’t the objective.


After Latigo I should have descended Decker back into Westlake but I was getting conscious of consistent braking on the carbon wheels. They had already been a bit squeaky and the pads need reseating which will happen when the DuraAce upgrade happens in April. So with that in mind I choose to go back through Kanan and along through Westlake Village and from there the usual route home.


In the end I rounded up with just over 112 miles on the clock. By far not the fastest ride ever but my average Heart Rate of 112 was exactly what I wanted. So with that ride I also made my goal of a 300 mile week which put me back on track from a 2500 mile quarter.

Friday, March 25, 2016


Fortunately the bike, not me!

I have been looking for a “hard-to-find” 3T Cycling Arx Team Stem for my road bike for months. 3T have redesigned the graphics on the more recent stems and I was looking for one to match the Doric Team Stem. I was also looking for a slightly longer one 120mm vs the existing 90mm Pro that’s currently mounted.

The end result I wanted was a slightly more aggressive position. When I fitted the stem I inverted it to the -6 degree drop. This would have the effect of making me longer and lower. This would close the angle of my hips a little but it should not be overly impactful. The joy of riding for hours on a trainer is that I would have plenty of time to figure it out if I was having problems.


A week in I am having no issues and as you can see it all looks purdy…and as we know that’s what counts!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Redlands Strada Rosso III

Sometimes things go well, sometimes less so. Redlands Strada Rosso definitely falls into the latter category.

As a reminder the event is not a race, the Race Event Director made a point of stating that early and often. No numbers, no timing, no KOMs just 100 miles or so, lots of gain ~12,500’ mostly on dirt, bring a CX bike and stay for the BBQ. And with that said on with the event.


My plan was leave the house early to arrive for the 7am start, it was a 90 mile 90 minute drive and I made good time and got there with plenty to spare, checked in and got a cup of coffee. I changed and wandered back to the “check in” area, little did I know it was not the “start area”. At 7:05 I asked about the start and was told it had already! Ugh!

I fired up the course on my Garmin, checked the route card and rode off. I met two other guys who were confident that they knew the way but after a mile my Garmin was screaming at me that I was off course. I peeled off and circled back. It took a couple of minutes to find the first off road turning. Finally I was on course and probably a good 15 minutes behind the other 80 or so riders who had signed up for the 100 mile course. I made my own way and after 10 or so miles I saw the first person on a bike. He was on the opposite side of the road going pretty slowly. “Got a pump?” he asked. I did and stopped. He had flatted twice and run out of C02. We rode together for the next 10 miles and to the first Aid Station after which he took off. I had discovered during our 10 miles together he was the CX Master’s State Champion…a bit faster than me for sure!

The route meandered around trails between housing tracts and over open land, there were a few climbs and descents but nothing too treacherous or technical. That ended soon enough. The next 10 miles were mostly up with a nice descent in the middle. Lots of single track with low resistance and flowy corners. Due to the recent rains everything was bright and green and the scenery included good views of the San Gorgornio Mountains. The cloud was hazy and the temperature was climbing slowly but would top out early 80’s and proven by the missed bits of me with no sunscreen!

I caught up with a group of riders and my double flat friend was changing his third flat! I chatted and then rolled on. This was the first challenging climb of the day. We were directed up and over Zanja Peak, there was some riding, some walking, some pushing and plenty of cursing. At the top a walked down section to avoid going endo and then a great swoopy descent to a parking lot.



A note here about the markings…they were patchy in parts and invisible in others even with a route card and a GPS file at the end of each section you were left rotating your head like an owl on high alert looking for the elusive arrow. While it gave you chance to catch your breath it made for lots of stops and starts.

I rode on and made it to next Aid Station at roughly mile 38 in around 4 hours. Fast I was not! I caught up in a gaggle of riders leaving and we rode along a double track path that took a sharp right and closed in. I was riding while others were dismounting. I kept going until a woman shot in front of me and stopped hard. I tried to unclip, failed and went down. Driveside down and still clipped in I slid down a bank. Not far but far enough. I picked myself up and dusted myself down.

I remounted and the pedals span. I hadn’t noticed the chain had come off at the rear. No worries, I put it back on and started pedaling, shifting to a lower gear and then came a clunk and the pedals spun just enough to wrap the chain around the hub. I pushed the bike up the hill and untangled everything. I tried again and the same thing happened. I put the bike upside down and spent 10 minutes unwrapping it again. This time I was trying to see what the issue was.

IMG_2467The derailleur was throwing the chain over the inner ring on the cassette, as a result or as a cause it was pulling the chain out of the derailliuer pulleys and it was rubbing on everything. I had lost my two or three last/climbing gears. Knowing I had the bulk of the climbing left to do and who knew what other trouble I would get into I made the decision to cut my losses. I routed my GPS to take me back to the start. I wasn’t sure exactly how far this was but I did know I would have to ride out of the valley I had ridden into. In the end the GPS put me on (mostly) the route of the 100k ride.

By the time I got back to town I accumulated 63 miles and 6200’ of gain in just under 7 hours.


So that was that really, not the event I wanted but one I walked (or rode) away from albeit with some rubbing and clunking!

This is only my second gravel ride and I only have the Rock Cobbler to compare to but comparisons can be made;

  • Pre ride organization; this was great, communications were frequent and provided good information
  • Check in; this was easy but the lack of pointing out where the actual start was a big miss
  • Course markings; I have mentioned, pretty patchy
  • Aid Stations; basic and nothing special, happy volunteers. I only went through two of them
  • Post ride event; good food but again finding it and the finish proved to be a challenge
  • SWAG; both events had unique and great swag, aprons and wiskey stones

With all that said some things went well and some lessons learned.

  • The new Topeak Fuel Tank bento box worked well, I opted for this over the Revelate Tangle Bag and Gas Tank both of which are too big for the frame.
  • Riding with the Fox back/hydration pack is easy and the worries over weight on my back were unfounded
  • The little route card holder was perfect, my eyes less so, sports readers up next…or Lasik!
  • Riding with full fingered gloves works but reduces the number of photos I take, as evidenced above!
  • The Lyzene bottle cages are useless, insulated bottles don’t fit in them properly, I am trying regular cages next
  • My plan to refit the groupset with Shimano Ultegra that’s coming off my roadbike, it can’t come soon enough. I just don’t like the shifting of the SRAM set
  • I need to lose some weight on the bike, it’s too heavy with all the bits I put on it. The groupset change will help and maybe new wheels?
  • The LBS pointed out to me that the Clement PDX Tires could be on backwards, even though there is no directional markers, it’s increased rolling resistance but better grip. That said the 33mm size tire is working really well and the slime filled Specialized tubes have so far been on point
  • The obvious thing here is that I need to brush up on some basic maintenance of the bike too. I’ll be using the new Zinn book to try and fix the derailleur issue before heading to the LBS for the refit!

So next I have the Mulholland Challenge and High Rouluer Society ride in just over two weeks, in between then and now I hope to refit the bike with a DuraAce groupset.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Strada Rosso Week 7

This was scheduled to be a rest week and as it was the week before Strada Rosso it would be a taper week too. I was aware that I didn’t want to take my foot off the gas completely and was keen to keep the miles accumulating. As it has it’s way of doing life got in the way, kinda. Here’s the details;

Monday TrainerRoad Obelisk. Obelisk is 4x3-minute intervals of leg-speed drills at a very low 60% FTP with 3 minutes of rest between intervals.


Tuesday TrainerRoad Mount Field. 15 minutes warm up followed by 3x12-minute intervals at 85% FTP with 3-minute recoveries between intervals. Int1; 6 minutes standing climbing 6 minutes seated climbing. Int2; 12 minutes with target cadence of 90+ (averaged 88rpm) Int3 6 minutes standing climb, 3 minutes seated climb, 3 minutes fast cadence 90+. 10 mins cool down


I also got a quick Gear Check ride on the Lynskey for the weekend. It was nothing more than a quick spin with new Tangle Bag and Gas Tank. Mechanical check for this weekend's ride too. BB a bit creaky otherwise all ok! Will take bike to LBS to check the BB.

Wednesday TrainerRoad Pettit. 15 mins warm up and then main set. Pettit is an hour of aerobic Endurance work spent between 60-75% FTP. Legs took some warming up. Struggled to find prefect gear/cadence


Thursday. Had planned to ride and ran out of day. Dropped off the bike at my LBS.

Friday. Actually a planned rest day the day before Strada Rosso. Picked up the bike, lots of loose bolts!

Saturday. Strada Rosso, separate report to follow.

Sunday. High Rouleurs Society Kick off. Adding miles that I missed yesterday, rode the first 2 hours of Oceanside70.3 course as mapped by TrainerRoad. I felt good through first hour but then fell off the back and couldn't maintain the targets. Pushed on to close out the second hour and called it.



…and added a quick cool down…


So not a great week of training or racing…time to move on!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Headsweat Contest

Headsweats fans! Don't forget to enter the March Headsweaty Selfie contest! There is actually one a month throughout the year!

  1. Take an awesome selfie in your Headsweats
  2. Post to your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the #HeadsweatySelfie hashtag
  3. Be entered for a chance to win a free piece of headwear!

They will pick 2 lucky winners at the end of the month. Good luck!

Get out there this weekend and go for it!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Strada Rosso Week 6

I am pushing hard for the 1000 mile month. I’m discovering that it’s a pretty big step up from a weekly mileage total or the very early 200s to get into the mid 200’s. Mathematically it is just over 32 miles a day, but that’s every day and when most days are on the trainer it’s hard and I have a pretty high tolerance for the trainer!

So here we go;

Monday TrainerRoad Recovery. Nice recovery ride, 40 minutes at roughly 50% FTP.


Tuesday TrainerRoad Mount Foraker. BUPF! Big Ugly Pain Face!!! 5x5-minute intervals at 105-109% FTP with 3.5-minute recoveries between intervals. Not going to sugarcoat things: these suck! Put it all really had nothing left during these intervals! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right!


Wednesday TrainerRoad Mont Gosford


Thursday TrainerRoad Carpathian Peak. This took two attempts to complete. at 6:00am, the usual warm up, stopped to load new ride in TR. Couldn't get left Vector to connect, fussed, ran out of time, head fell out the game, will do later.


Followed by the afternoon attempt which went better; Carpathian Peak is 3x12-minute over-under intervals with 1-minute valleys at 95% FTP and 2-minute peaks that ascend to 105% FTP.


Friday TrainerRoad Recovery. Easy-ish spin to keep the legs moving


Saturday TrainerRoad Golgotha. Usual 15 minutes warm up and then into the main set. Golgotha 3x30 minute intervals at 82-90% FTP with 5-minute recoveries between intervals. Was doing well up to the last half of the last set and then struggled to find the right cadence. Hung onto the end. Added a couple of separate miles to cool down and keep the average speed of this one up.


…and the cool down;


Then a spin on the fixie with the kids…


Sunday TrainerRoad Mclure. Pt1 Usual 15 minutes then into main set. Had to stop at after 2 hours to fix lunch for kids and then Garmin wouldn't pick up sensors. Turn off/on fixed that and I carried on. Maclure consists of nearly 3 hours of aerobic Endurance riding spent between 60-70% FTP.


Pt 2 Restarted Garmin forgot to turn off GPS. Finished up last hour and a bit of 3 hours of aerobic Endurance riding spent between 60-70% FTP.


So that was the week, 13:30 in time and 232 in miles. That adds up to 450.2 miles in 13 days, so I am ahead of the game so far!

Next week is a rest and taper week for the Strada Rosso ride on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

100 Miles to Nowhere Analysis

As you may have noticed I ride my trainer a lot. Five out a six or seven rides a week are indoors. Time, daylight, kids all factor into this but the real reason is that I thrive on structure. Their plans make sense, they are easy to follow and based on following them I improve.

Most of the rides max out at around 3 hours and it’s rare that I go much longer than 4 hours on a trainer at an absolute push. Last Sunday I rode the Fat Cyclists 100 Miles to Nowhere ride for the second time. The one and only time prior was last November in a hotel room in Tempe Arizona while Becca was volunteering at Ironman Arizona to get her entry into this year’s race. So having ridden it twice I thought it would be interesting to compare the two.

Other than the geographical difference there were a couple of other differences:

  • My FTP in November was 233 vs 243 now
  • My Weight in November was around 160lb vs 168lb now
  • The day prior in November I rode 53 miles vs 31 miles this year

Other than these three things everything else was the same, this included the gearing, trainer tire and so on.

So how did the two rides compare? Click picture to enlarge.

March 2016 November 2015 Comments
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Higher FTP means increased TSS, NP and IF. Overall just a more intense effort.

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More time spent in Zone 3 and 4 this year vs. Zone 2 and 3 last year.

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Time predominantly spent in Zone 6.
A faster overall ride.

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More time in Zones 3, 4 and 5 vs Zones 2 and 4. High output overall

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Overall cadence is higher and more time spent above 90 rpm. Less overall revolutions as time of the total ride was less.

So what does this all tell me, well four months later I am fitter, I can sustain a greater output of power and hold my HR higher and for longer. Essentially my endurance has improved as has my stamina.

All good things!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Strada Rosso Week 5

This turned out to be a solid week. It was mostly indoors, I managed to get out on Friday, but the weather and timing was against me over the weekend. Good mental training too, 5 hours on the trainer is not to be sniffed at!

Monday. TrainerRoad Recovery. I had planned to do 15 mins warm up and then another 30 minutes. Not happening, legs were totally dead!


Tuesday. TrainerRoad Mount Alyeska. 15 minute warm up and then into the main set. Mount Alyeska is 6x4-minute intervals at 105-109% FTP with 4-minute recoveries between intervals. Legs still heavy from Sunday and struggled to get up to speed but hung on through to the end.


Wednesday. TrainerRoad White. Started off a bit sluggish but was into after 15-20 minutes. In total, White is 60 minutes of Tempo work broken into 6x10-minute segments ranging from 70-80% FTP.


Thursday. TrainerRoad Fang Mountain. Another early start and feeling sluggish but knowing that if I didn't do it now I might run out of day. Standard 15 minute warm up and then the main workout. Fang Mountain is 4x9-minute over-under intervals with 1-minute valleys at 95% FTP and 2-minute peaks that ascend to 105% FTP. Recoveries between OU's are 6-minutes long. Hard work to get to the power targets but I was +/- 4-5watts per interval for the 4x9s.


Friday. The local “Royal” Loop. Quick TGIF blast around the local loop. Pushed hard to go under the hour...almost made it!


Saturday. TrainerRoad Hilltop. Late start to the day meant I only got 3 of the 4 intervals done but as I rode an extra day yesterday it's not too bad of a miss. Was feeling really strong through all the intervals. Training is coming together. Hilltop is 4 intervals measuring between 20 and 25 minutes at 78-90% FTP with short, 3-minute recoveries between intervals. On target for another solid week.


Sunday. TrainerRoad 100 Miles to Nowhere. 100 Miles to Nowhere! Well actually 90 but who's counting! Wet, windy and cold outside so spent the afternoon banking some quality miles with TrainerRoad. Couple of breaks to fill bottles etc otherwise all work. Managed most of what was asked but fell short on the final sprints. Big day at the office! Nice way to round out a solid week. Beer me!



Totals for the week. 6 rides just over 12 hours, just under 226 miles and plenty of TSS.