Thursday, April 27, 2006


Date: April 26
Mileage: 24
April mileage: 429
Temperature upon departure: 35

Today's ride was sponsored by Shasta, who just bought a new bike and is doing some training of her own down in Dairyland. I had about 50 free minutes after work to ride today. It was a seriously short period of time for an outdoor bike workout, but I made up for it by upping my effort. I can't honestly say that I was burning everything I had, but the total mileage - 18 - didn't seem too bad, after factoring in a couple of hill climbs and a light headwind. That's - what - about 21 or 22 mph average? I could definitely improve on that, and I'm thinking that might be a good idea.

I've been trying to visualize some summer training goals that have a little more strategy than my winter training, which mostly revolved around doing a lot of crazy cold rides. So far, most of my ideas revolve around crazy long rides - which are seriously hard to make time for, especially when I have to do the whole job thing and still make time to go see "The World's Fastest Indian," like I did today. Plus, I'm going to have a few kinks in my schedule during the next two months, including two trips to Utah and my parents' visit to Alaska. There are about 18 days in there that I'm just going to lose, and there's nothing I can do about it. Not that I'm complaining. These are things that actually are more important the riding - making sure my family and friends still remember me, seeing my little sis get married, visiting the desert in the spring. Still, somewhere in all of this, I have to find focus.

So I thought it might be a good idea to train for speed. Get my lungs in good shape. For that, I thought about putting in more workouts on the hamster wheel, where I can monitor my heart rate to ensure I actually am working near anaerobic threshold, and I can also gage my progress. But, for the most part, driven training is still very new to me, so I'd love some advice. I have, now, exactly two months. I currently have a good base, but I need to work longer to get back the endurance I had in February, and I need to work harder to build up the strength that summer trail riding demands. It's also important for me to practice, practice, practice, because technical riding is still a weakness of mine. I also need to utilize cross training, because these next two months will include lots of hiking, sea kayaking, running and other miscellaneous outdoor opportunities. So, doc, what do you recommend?


  1. Don't ask me whatever you do -- you're seriously kicking my butt.

    Desert in the spring -- it is quite glorious here now -- and I hope you don't miss the bloom (it will be later in Utah -- I hope).

  2. I'm exhausted reading that. I reccomend drinking, Heavily and frequently.

  3. Hmmmm. To improve speed in two short months, I'd try to combine four things - a couple long base mile sessions per week at an endurance pace for slow twitch improvement; one session of >lactate threshold intervals of 3-8 minutes, depending on how much you can stand, for anaerobic endurance; one session a week of two or three just sub-lactate threshold ("cruise") intervals of 10-20 minutes each interval to improve your fast/slow twitch (or is it slow/fast twitch?) muscles; and some pure power work with big ring drills. The intervals (and the 2+ hour endurance rides)can be done on hills for variety, the key is knowing your Hr and getting it to the appropriate levels, and maintaining it there for the prescribed period. Do all intervals on a 5 minute rest (an easy but fast cadence, 90+, recovery spin) - 5 minutes is how long it takes to replenish glycogen and should be enough time to recover to a low aerobic or recvery level Hr.

    S&E and cruise intervals on hills will help you build climbing ability really fast. The former (done at 101-105% of LT) are particularly tough but worthwhile.

    As for big ring drills, only do them if your legs are in good shape, after a warmup, and as long as you feel powerful and feel no joint/tendon pain. You might consider:

    1) Jumps. Mid-endurance ride, ease off to recovery pace for 5 minutes. Then, in the big ring, throw it up three or more gears, so that pushing the pedals is difficult. Stand up to sprint and take off for ten or 15 pedal strokes at absolute max effort. This involves grasping the drops (on the road bike), and pushing down with the front leg while pulling up with the rear, upper body bent over the bars as if in a full out, race-end sprint. Yes Virginia, it's meant to be done explosively, and to feel very hard. If you spin out of the pedals within ten strokes - in other words spin too fast to keep standing - then you need to roll in a higher gear for the next jump. Rest five minutes doing a high cadence but easy recovery spin before your next set.

    2. Standing start sprint accellerations. Once warmed up and after 5 mins recovery, from a near standing start / trackstand, using a gear like 53:15 or 17, do the same sprint-type effort as the jump. The gear should feel a lot higher because you are stopped. The first several pedal strokes should be like lifting a very heavy weight - you straining, the pedals moving only slowly. Take 20 pedal strokes to get up to speed. Proper gearing will have you struggling mightily the whole way through, but finishing the twenty strokes at a cadence approaching 90. If you finish at over 90 you are probably in too high of a gear.

    3. Big ring hill climb. Do interval climbs in a bigger ring than you'd normally use. Keep the cadence at 55-65. Use power, not pedal speed, to get to the top. Stay seated. Same warmup and risk of injury caveat applies.

    You can do any of these drills on a hill, short hill sprints. The key is long rest, and absolute, out of your skull, red-in-the-face maximum effort. These big ring drills are tough on the knees and potentially dangerous though, so be careful. Done right, you should be grunting and straining and putting your back into it at full force, the whole deal. Your speed will improve quickly. Make sure you have a day's rest (filled with a recovery ride or low aerobic zone ride) in between the harder work days, along with a day off during the week, and after three weeks a week of lower training volume (mileage x intensity level).

    The other thing for fast riding is to not go everywhere at tempo. Do your endurance rides slower, securely in your endurance Hr zone, but for a very long period of time. Climbing on an endurance ride - just spin gently up the hills. You can mix it up a bit but you want to focus on overloading the slow twitch fibers and getting them to be all about endurance, so you don't want to use your fast twitch fibers - the sprinters - to take the load off the slow twitchers on these rides. Force 'em to behave...

    Your mileage may vary...

  4. ^Now THAT makes me tired ;). .::waves::.

  5. Al had some excellent suggestions although I don't see any VO2 Max intervals. With them you go 4-5 minutes all out and then rest for 5 minutes. Repeat 5 or 6 times. As my coach says, puking or feeling like you're going to puke at the end of each one is good. I did 5 of them yesterday although I was supposed to do 6 but ran out of time.


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