Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ITI training, week 17

Monday: Road bike, 2:46, 33.8 miles, 3,620 feet climbing. I was back at sea level and beginning to come around from my cold, so I decided to aim for 20 to 25 hours of saddle time as a "peak" week of endurance training, three weeks before the start of the ITI. On Monday I rode Highway 9 to Page Mill, a quick but tough route that helped me clear out what I hoped was the last of the sinus gunk.

Tuesday: Weight lifting at the gym, followed by a trail run, 55:12, 5.4 miles, 887 feet climbing. I did three sets, 12 exercises, 12 reps, managing better with the extra weights I added last week. The trail run was uneventful. I descended into Wildcat Canyon but did not see the mountain lion that has been spotted a couple of times in the past few weeks.

Wednesday: Fat bike, 3:17, 28.2 miles, 4,545 feet climbing. I pedaled up Black Mountain and did two loops of Bella Vista and Indian Creek, one of the steepest segments of dirt nearby. The 1x11 gearing on the Eriksen is perfect for a snow bike, by which I mean it's low. The 900-foot ascent of Indian Creek was a fairly comfortable spin at 3.3 mph. That's a good gauge for churning through soft snow, where ideally I could stay in the saddle and maintain 3 mph, while expending less energy than I would pushing the bike at 2 mph. Snow biking is all about power output. Cyclists with a good amount of wattage move much better in soft conditions — comparable to a speed boat skimming over choppy water. I am more like a bogged-down row boat. What I lack in power, I try to make up in mental fortitude. And when I lack in fortitude, I only hope I can find the fumes to keep moving forward. Energy efficiency helps.

Thursday: Road bike, 4:23, 50.5 miles, 6,219 feet climbing. This was a most wonderful ride from home to the entrance of Big Basin Redwoods State Park and back. Some maintenance neglect on the Specialized Roubaix led to seat post slippage. The result was a sharp pain in my lower back that occasionally radiated out through the top/side of my left leg. It seemed nerve related, and was tear-inducing at times. I could relieve it by raising my saddle, almost eliminating the pain afterward. The second time I did this, after the seat post slipped down again, I raised it so high my feet could barely reach the pedals — toe pedaling. But it did help a lot. This pain only seems to happen on my road bike, and I may just avoid riding it for the rest of the month. I really need to practice with the Eriksen anyway.

Friday: Trail run, 1:12, 6.7 miles, 1,536 feet climbing, then weight lifting at the gym. Daylight limitations meant I had to run first. I dislike lifting when I'm fatigued, but it's probably a better gauge of my endurance. I made it through two sets and decided to go home and rest up for the big weekend I had planned.

 Saturday: Fat bike, 7:08, 58.5 miles, 8,773 feet climbing. Eriksen and I set out to climb all the hard hills we could reach in seven hours — Fremont Older, Bohlmon Road, Sierra Azul, Black Road. I hit a nice stride in Sierra Azul — not breaking any speed records of course, but feeling comfortable while spinning and finishing the ascent feeling strong. Black Road was tougher as I started to believe I was near the top three miles too early. When the hill kept going, it broke my focus and made me feel grumpy. I had to stop and eat one of those Clif Pizza Margherita energy food packets. These are just terrible — a thick paste that tastes like lukewarm Ragu mixed with peanut butter. No. Just no. But I gave it a try. I'm trying to finish up the random energy food items in our cupboard, which is a little silly because we have a truckload of food for our ITI boxes moving in as I write. After I choked down the brown paste, I embarked on the grin-inducing descent of the John Nichols Trail, where a mountain biker asked if I was riding an e-bike.

Sunday: Road bike, 9:06, 106.2 miles, 10,259 feet climbing. I got back on the Roubaix for a grand Sunday tour, hoping that a clean and re-greased seat post would resolve the slipping issue. The sharp pain in my lower back still returned, but I could alleviate it by stopping to stretch every hour or so. This is why I'm not riding the road bike any more this month. (I will miss you, Sworxy.) It was a beautiful day, although almost too warm, and windy. I'd accumulated fatigue over the week, and this ride definitely felt like more of a grind than the others, but didn't necessarily get harder as the hours piled up. I always maintain this delusion that I can float like a little feather on my road bike, but it actually does not pedal itself up the hills. Jerk.

Total: 28:49, 277.2 miles ride, 12.1 miles run, 35,839 feet climbing. I'm pleased with the numbers this week. I managed nearly 30 hours on the move even though it was a fairly busy week of non-bike-related tasks. The 35,000 feet of climbing is my highest yet in this training block — even more than I got that week I rode the 100 miles of Montebello. When it comes to pedaling or running up hills, I'm pretty strong — although I remember I'm near sea level and it's warm and this is still nothing like Alaska. I had no breathing problems all week. After doing a lot of gasping last week while I had a cold in Colorado, this was a relief, although I'm still concerned that any compromises in my respiratory system can drag me down quickly. I'd still place my fitness confidence on the lower end, but at least my legs are working well. 


  1. road biking issues - sounds like sciatica? had that after riding years of hardtail, could barely walk for months.

    anyhow, may not want to give up road work, all the top riders do lots and lots and lots of road and trainer...that's the reason why I gave up racing, cause I was becoming like a hamster. Going round and round. It was no longer fun, boredom set in. Thus, many give up racing after 4 years due to injury, boredom and fatigue.

  2. I got one of those Clif Pizza pouches in a race packet once. How the heck did that flavor make it through to production? Doesn't Clif sample their flavors? *shudder* Ew.

  3. Jill...the Roubaix is a carbon frame I assume, and a carbon seatpost too? If so, you should really get some torque-paste (specially made for carbon components)'s a special paste w/ small micro-beads in it that help carbon seatposts and handlebars NOT slip (so you don't over torque them and ruin them, which people do to stop them from slipping).

    I use Ritchey Liquid Torque (mostly because it comes in a very small packet, it's cheap, works GREAT...and also lasts a LONG time! I've been using the same tiny pack for a few years now)'s a link:

    I'm still chuckling about the mt biker asking if you were riding an e-bike (likely cuz your Erikson is SO big and you rarely see somebody riding a fat-bike out on the kind of rides you are doing up there). You probably blew his mind, and he's still wondering what's up with the 'crazy girl on the fat-bike' in California!

    I knew right where you were in your first pic (in the redwoods) before I got to the part where you described the ride. LOVE the ride up hwy 9/down and down into/beyond Big Basin Redwoods! You have some fabulous rides up there (both rd and mtb) that you're really gonna miss. Riding in Redwoods is simply AWESOME! Every time I work up there (and ride every chance I get) I am saddened when I come home to the roads/trails of Santa Maria. Amazing how great your riding is up there even in the middle of SO many people!

    1. Yeah I used assembly paste and torque wrench, the post stayed put. We hadn't maintained it otherwise in years, not sure if the shop originally used any paste ...


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