Making use of time…

As most with children know finding time for “other stuff” is often difficult, occasionally impossible – between family time, activities, bad moods, illness, and factor in work it’s little wonder most of us with children can’t get that VOLUME of riding we’d like to at least not without coming home to a cranky wife/partner or worse, divorce papers on the dining table. So sometimes you just have to make do with the time you’ve got, but if you are clever you can still get in some good training.

Yesterday was a prime example, it was a day off from work for me and I had secretly been planning all weekend to get out on the mountain bike for 2 or 3 hours; unfortunately sick kids, and a sick wife meant getting out on the bike for a few hours just wasn’t going to happen. So I continued my love affair with the fluid trainer, this time knocking out 4 x [4x 15sec on / 15sec off] Z7 intervals, combined with a warm up and cool down this 30min workout left the legs feeling like jelly!

Sure the total workload was only 3mins, 07sec (fell short on a few) but all of it was >150% of FTP and much closer to 175%-200% FTP, but these short intervals offer a host of Neuromuscular adaptions. In hindsight these intervals probably aren’t too far from MTB specificity really, as “short blast” power is often used for hammering up pinches, or clearing trail obstacles.

Strava

Next race!
With the next Vic Enduro Series race not until the end of June, I am looking for a filler – subsequently I am hoping to the Dirty Gran Fondo in early May, this race has been on the to do list since its inception with its European style stocked up feed zones and finish areas with sweets, treats and even free coffee, people racing on cross bikes, great atmosphere, etc… Sounds like a winner!

Link for those keen: http://www.bighillevents.com.au/dirty_grand_fondo/home.html

Crazy Baby!

Babies are cute, but lack of sleep isn’t!
So the last few weeks not a lot has happened on the bike front, but plenty has happened on the life front… Our newest addition to the family is a little boy whom weighted in at a whopping 8lbs 13oz, that said he is relatively lean with strong legs and lungs so needless to say this proud dad is planning yet another collection of bikes. Hopefully we have a collection of world cup / tour trophy’s in both Men’s and Women’s categories in 20 or so years (we have a daughter also) .

Naturally with a newborn comes a host of other stressors, not so much lack of sleep but broken sleep to which end both my wife and I are coping reasonably well; it does make getting up early to sit on the bike very difficult. In addition the general lack of time also makes it hard to get out and sit on the bike as well…

Cute Baby Pic:
Aidan Hickey

Enter the pain cave.
Not wanting my recent hard work go to waste I have been spending a pretty significant amount of time on the Ergo / trainer busting my guts (nuts). Generally speaking you need to be a special kind of sick in the head to enjoy sitting on the thing, which is really only designed to cause pain and suffering and not much more!.. Maybe I am that special kind, as I don’t mind it all that much, I’ve even sat outside on it on a nice sunny day and let the mind wander a bit.

The trainer does serve a great purpose however, it is a fantastic tool for doing specific work – things like steady state “Sweet Spot”, LTHR, Vo2 Max intervals, and even just Z2 or tempo work can be done with a great amount of precision that just can’t be replicated on the road, no changes in grade, no coasting…. NO REST! To that end when I do get out on the road, the time on the trainer is then realised, all of a sudden hammering along at warp speed is done with relative ease.

Moving from Threshold focus, to Vo2Max Specificity – the year thus far has been a pretty solid dose of tempo and threshold workouts, work designed to push up the Functional Threshold Power a bulk of the work done in long format intervals painful if done right they offer a host of adaptions to both your aerobic and anaerobic systems and a world of pain for the duration of the interval. Closer to the end of June, prior to race season the focus will shift from improving FTP to working on Vo2Max / Short burst stuff more akin to mountain bike racing. These efforts will be short and sharp, generally <5mins and generally spew inducing.

Race Report… And that was the end of that!
Like usual I prepped my race gear on Friday night, filling bottles, stocking food, etc… Also sitting down and working out a strategy for food and drink. Big breakfast, pre-race snack and 290cal per hour should have me covered… On the day I slept in after a bit of an up and down night with Aidan, not to worry I still got to the course with plenty of time it would just mean my feed station and warm up wouldn’t be ideal… Though I managed to get a good feed spot anyway.

The race started at 10, with the usual mass start – determined not to get caught in traffic my plan was to hammer the first lap before settling into a race pace. I seeded myself on the second row, starting whistle went off and it was on… Straight to 180bpm where the heart rate stayed for the rest of the lap – The plan “worked” as I crossed the line for lap 2 with most of the field of 150 or so behind me. Realising that pace was going to be unsustainable, I dropped back a bit and soon settled into a rhythm of consistent laps each with only a few seconds of each other.

Attack, Attack, Attack! Despite slowing down a little I was obviously going a decent pace as I was being passed by very few, and generally using the team riders that did pass as a wheel to hang onto. Between laps 3 and 7 there was a lot of jostling for position amongst myself and a few other solo riders; Generally they were faster over the first half of the course, but I would soon eat them up over the back of the course which was more fast and flowing… On the start of lap 6 myself and a fellow solo rider crossed the line together, after a quick bottle change I managed to escape the feed zone in front.

I would soon come up on a friendly Cannondale rider also in solo, once again we tussled for position for a bulk of lap 6 and 7. On lap 7 I dug in a little more, managed to put a decent gap on the Cannondale rider before hitting the final few kms of single track for the lap. About 5 minutes later, it happened – I caught the soft edge on a turn, it spat me across the track and into the bushes, naturally I unclipped and put my leg down… Ahhhhh that twisting feeling! I didn’t pay too much attention to the pain until I got to a short pinch climb a few meters away from the incident… Sharp shooting pain up my leg as I tried to get up it, I managed to get back to the feed zone albeit in a bit of pain. I hopped off the bike for a few minutes hoping the pain would disappear but to no avail – I figured better to call it quits that do some real damage.

So that was the race, extremely disappointed it ended the way it did, looking at the results with my times, and how I was feeling I would have been good for a decent finish. Looking back at the race, both the starting and feed strategy worked really well with not even a hint of the energy levels dwindling. Body and legs felt great, bike felt great (besides the pivot bearing squeak).

On the positive side, the leg hurts over the weekend but it’s significantly better today; hopefully the rest has made it better; I will find out tonight I guess when I jump back on the bike!

Like always I try to take things away from races… So lessons learnt!
1) Don’t make silly mistakes, flat track is bullshit easy albeit fast to have an off the way I did was some real window licking retardation.
2) I need to work on recovery after efforts, notably climbs i.e. Z5 back to Z4, perhaps some threshold ladder work?
3) Nutrition strategy was spot on!
4) Despite the lack of long rides during training (> 3hrs), it didn’t seem to hurt; shorter Z2 stuff I’ve been doing obviously has similar effects.
5) I tapered a little the week of the race, by Friday I felt like I was flying!
6) For VES Rd 2 in Albury, and a few others a 28/38t front combo would be much more ideal. I didn’t drop out of the 40t at all during the race but the next few rounds have much more defined ascent and descent.
7) I really need to grease my pivot bearings.
8) 26″ isn’t dead yet!

Here is a great snap from the race, special thanks to Jason Heidrich Photography for pic! You can checkout Jason’s work at https://www.facebook.com/JasonHeidrichPhotography?ref=stream.
cropped-image00001.png