Monday, October 31, 2016

October Summary

What started as a quiet month picked up steam. I rode every single day and ended up with 39 activities due to CX races. I am pretty close to completing two virtual challenges; one is the length of the UK and the other across the USA. Both of these will wrap up next month. November is a crazy month with something happening virtually every weekend. From there it’s into the holidays and the end of the year!


I need to catch up on training posts but trust me I am putting in the miles!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

CX Training Week 7

This was the penultimate week on the plan. November is crazy busy with three event weekends for me and four events for Becca, throw in Thanksgiving and it just a bit much!

So here is how it shook out;

Monday. Easy spin for an hour doing some PC maintenance so no TR etc


Tuesday. TrainerRoad The Chimneys. 5x4-minute Big Gear Start intervals w/ 30-second wind-up at 130% FTP followed by 3 minutes of Threshold work at 95% FTP at a 85-95rpm cadence. 4 minutes recovery between intervals. Plus 15 MWU and extended CD


Wednesday TrainerRoad Pettit. 60 mins with warm up of Endurance


Thursday. TrainerRoad Crane. Crane is 5x30-second Hard Starts at 165% FTP followed by 1 minute of Sweet Spot work at 92% FTP. Nearly 5 minutes of recovery falls between each effort.


Friday TrainerRoad Taku. 30 mins easy recovery with pissy left Vector


Saturday Death Valley Century, you can read the report here


Sunday. TrainerRoad Taku. Easy recovery followed by massage and beer!


One more day and I will have ridden everyday this month, it wasn’t a thing, but now it kinda is!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Crossitas at Casitas SoCalCross Prestige Series #5

Lake Casitas is about an hour’s drive from home so it was an easy race to attend. Becca was still in full on Ironman training so this would be an event that I was to be on my own at.
I loaded the car and headed out early hoping to get a practice lap or two in before the two races that I had decided to race; Men’s Beginner Races in the AM and in the PM. These cover a wide range of ages and abilities but basically they are Cat 3-5…I am firmly in the 5 group!
I was able to get on the course and get a pretty good warm up. Unlike the prior weekend there was no grass here at all.
The course was located on the edge of the lake. The lake has receded in recent years due to the drought and as a result we were riding over areas that would have previously been underwater. Hence the very strange Strava mapping! When you look at the terrain map you can just see the actual waterline.
The first race went pretty well, as before I fell off the back but I was starting to claw my way back up by the time we got the second half. Fundamentally my top end speed is missing, no doubt a result of the longer endurance races and events from this year. That combined with minimal technical skills leaves me looking for lines when others are floating over the course. This combined with the classic being 10 seconds slower than someone else over an obstacles accumulates quickly and in 3, 4, or 5 laps that soon adds up.
In the end I was happy with my first race and had a good understanding of the course. This left me pondering the second race of the day and hoping that I would/could do pretty well. This was the first race using new Stan’s Tubeless tires. It had been able to get a small ride in the day before but I was still feeling my way with the right inflation amount. I had opted for Clement Tires as I had had a good experience for them at DK200.
I spent the time in between watching the Cat 1s and Pros doing all sorts of tricks on their bikes!

We lined up on the start grid for the second race and with a short blast of the whistle we were off. Long story short I burped the tire off the wheel after two laps and a long way from the pits. I picked up the bike and ran to the pits to change my wheel. A quick change and I was back in the fray. I pushed on to at least finish the race and managed one more lap before I heard the bell for the final lap. I took my foot of the gas and cruised in. I was at least one lap, quite possibly two laps behind!

Like I said on Instagram...

More experience, more miles, more knowledge. This is a steep learning curve that I am trying to ascend!

Monday, October 24, 2016

CX Training Week 6

Race week, with that said my plan was to keep my foot on the gas as much as possible through the week.

Monday TrainerRoad West Vidette. An easy 45 minute recovery ride. I rode this at 90% of effort.


Tuesday TrainerRoad Xalibu+2. File this under FUGLY! Really struggles with this! Xalibu +2 consists of 7x5-minute race-like efforts beginning with a 30-second surge at 180% FTP. Followed closely by 8x 15s/15s. 15 seconds at 125% FTP and then float for 15 seconds at 88% FTP. Each effort is separated by 5 minutes of recovery.


Wednesday TrainerRoad Townsend. 95 mins Endurance ride


Thursday TrainerRoad The Priest+5. Dialed down to 95%. Accumulated fatigue is really setting in! The Priest +5 is 5x4-minute Big Gear Start intervals which grow to 6-minute. Each interval starts with a 30-second wind-up way up at 150% FTP in the biggest gear you can turn. then 5 minutes of Threshold work that start at 95% FTP but then slowly climb to 105% FTP. Each recovery between intervals is 5 minutes long.


Friday TrainerRoad Pettit. 60 mins endurance set to 95%.


Saturday TrainerRoad Ptarmigan. 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent almost entirely between 60-70% FTP cut the 3 hour ride short to go practice CX skills with Becca on her brick run.


Sunday. CX Racing, report to follow.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Search LA

The problem with LA is the traffic…well that’s a given! Actually the real problem is there is no off season, mostly this is due to the weather!

I have bounced from event to even this year and have done very well considering when I started the year I had nothing on my schedule past Dirty Kanza in June! Since then I have attempted a High Rouleurs Ride, completed an(other) Everesting, I am in the middle of CX Season, I have a century in Death Valley next weekend and another charity ride in November. So when I heard about Search LA in December my interest was piqued!


140 miles, no support, gravel bike recommended, some great and challenging trails with 16,000’ of gain, on a Sunday (no kids) and in December, (potentially cooler), ability to map read or at best follow a route card…ok where do I sign? Well apparently nowhere, I send someone an email and I am in. Oh and there is no entry fee!


My kind of event!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thread & Spoke

Thread and Spoke produce some great and unique cycling focused T-shirt collections. They run limited batches of the designs in multiple colors and are always mixing up their catalog. As I only work from my office 2-3 days a week I pretty much live in shorts and T-shirts and as I already had a pile of their shirts in heavy rotation it seemed like a match made in heaven to partner with them and help promote the brand and collection.

I took delivery of a box this week which contained a good cross (no pun intended) and eclectic selection on offer. Given that it is Cross Season there was a couple of CX focused designs the rest covered a broad spectrum of cycling interests. All the designs are colorful and topical. From experience the shirts are great quality, wear, wash, dry (in a dryer) and repeat and you’re good to go!

Right now they have a great promotion of 20% off orders of $45 which is basically two shirts for $40. They often have sales too as they rotate through the collections. Additionally open an account and you will accumulate points which you can cash in at a later date! So everybody wins!


Check them out now at Thread & Spoke and tell them I sent you!

Monday, October 17, 2016

CX Training Week 5

This week was another big one! My legs are feeling the accumulation of the training and I had a couple of bad night’s sleep during the week. It all adds up!

Monday TrainerRoad West Vidette. Easy 45 minutes recovery ride at 90%. Power Meter had a heart attack half way through! Nothing to see here!

Tuesday TrainerRoad Richardson Richardson is 6x5-minute race-like efforts beginning with a 30-second surge at 165% FTP and closely followed by 4 minutes of repeats where you're either working at 125% or "floating" at 88% FTP. Each effort is separated by 5 minutes of recovery.


Wednesday TrainerRoad Townsend. Townsend consists simply of 1.5 hours of Aerobic Endurance spent between 60-70% FTP.


Thursday TrainerRoad The Owls+5 The Owl +5 is an even tougher version of the unaltered Big Gear Start intervals workout which each kick off with a 30-second wind-up at 140% FTP in the biggest gear you can turn.  Where this version grows its demands is by first increasing the follow-up Threshold stretch to 6 minutes and also ramping the power requirement gradually from 95% FTP up to 105% FTP in a gear that allows you to spin at a more reasonable cadence. Each recovery between intervals is 5 minutes long.

Friday TrainerRoad Pettit. 60 mins endurance. Nice and easy.

Saturday TrainerRoad Givens+3  Not feeling the love for this. HR reaching max. Givens+3 is 4 sets of 3x2.5-minute VO2 Max repeats at 122 %FTP. 2.5 minutes of recovery falls between Intervals and 6 minutes of easy spinning separates the sets

Sunday Conness. Conness consists of nearly 2.75 hours of aerobic Endurance riding spent between 60-70% FTP. Rounded up to 3 know just cos! A few high cadence drills. At the end I picked it up to hit the 54 miles in 3 hours mark hence the pick up!


Phew big week, seven days seven trainer rides. 199 miles in just over 11 hours and apart from Monday’s recovery ride it was all work!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Epic Rides; Azusa to Crystal Lake

So on Sunday, with Becca out of town at the USAT Aquathon Nationals I had the day to myself and I decided to take myself off plan and head back to the hills to get some altitude, get off of the trainer and out of the garage.

I had come across a segment on Strava that had peaked my interest;


I created the Course in Strava and downloaded it onto my Garmin Edge810. Had a reasonably early night and was on the road in pretty good order Sunday morning. Wheels were down around 9:00am. I rolled out of Asuza. The road soon turned upwards. The route could basically be broken down into three sections.


The first section contoured the edges of Morris and San Gabriel Reservoirs, this was more of a rolling section than pure climbing. For every minor climb you were rewarded with a descent. Pretty views of the Reservoirs along with a stark reminder of the drought that California has been experiencing for the last 5-6 years! Traffic-wise this was the busiest section although the drivers were all very courteous. There was an OHV area which explained all the trucks towing QuadBikes, Dirt Bikes and even the occasional Monster Truck! This covered the first 11 miles or so.

IMG_7742imageimage The next 4 miles is almost a transition area. You are roughly following the San Gabriel River but still climbing. It’s a climbing saddle that bridges Burro Canyon, Bichota Canyon, Lost Canyon and finally Maple Canyon. Ahead you can see the road going up and up…and up! There are a few camping grounds and a little bit of traffic but it’s pretty quiet. The most exciting thing I saw was two guys hunting dragging a deer along the road. The landscape is changing; the trees are thinning out and the ground cover shows more exposed rock.

IMG_7728IMG_7729IMG_7734 The last 10 or so miles is the meat of the climbing, switchback after switchback. The accumulation is a little over 3000’ so it’s not crippling and you are rewarded with some spectacular views for your effort.

IMG_7774 You can see where you have come from and have a good 5-6 mile view back down the valley.
 IMG_7807IMG_7811IMG_7814IMG_7820IMG_7831IMG_7841 The vegetation changed again as I was reaching the tree line for this particular climb and there was more and more exposed rock. Now according to Strava I should have been able to follow the road all the way to the top and meet up with Highway 2 at Islip Saddle and onto Dawson Saddle but around mile 23


Clearly Garmin knew something I didn’t!

I came to a gate across the road. Not a little gate either, this was a full on “Road Closed” gate. I assumed the road was closed due to the winter but I found out later it was closed as the road was no more, several landslides had closed it off and there were sections of it missing!




I found this on Google Maps, it’s about 2 miles further on…closed for a reason!

I stopped at the parking lot to grab a photo and then headed back down making a slight detour to Crystal Lake where there was a shop at the camp ground to restock on fluids and round up the mileage to 25!


There was no sign of the Lake which is actually some ways off the road and looking online is pretty dried up! I was grateful for the refill as the forecasted weather was of course wrong! What was supposed to peak at 85f topped out over 100f in the lower miles and was well over 85f at the summit!

A nearly 3 hour ascent was reduced to a 1 hour descent as I flowed down the mountain back the way I came up back to the car!

So all in all a great day in the hills. The San Gabriel range is significantly bigger than the Santa Monica where I usually ride. I topped out at 5500’ for the day which is a good 2000” higher than Sandstone Peak which is the high point in the Santa Monica’s. It’s also a good hour’s drive away so I need to factor that into a day’s adventure. That said, based on this ride, the juice is well worth the squeeze!

Here is the Strava details and the same on VeloViewer