Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Finally back in the saddle

Today was my first day back on the bike after 4 days off. I got 30 miles in after work - all easy and on the "Cervelo" which now comes complete with old school steel toeclips I took off a huge (62cm) Eddy Merckx I'm in the process of chopping up. Ride was "fully loaded" and in the customary midweek winter blue jeans - with chamois underneath. I think this bike measures exactly to my race bike. Its time for a new drivetrain on it though - some skipping. I'll put my old race drivetrain on it when I swap that out on Saturday.

I felt like total crap the first half of this ride but I loosened up the second half. These winter colds drain me.

I went to see my Aunt tonight in the hospital - she is ok. She is great and has really awesome stories about Providence. I learned that virtually my entire family is from Wood St. and Hanover St. in Providence, which is cool because at least Wood St. is getting to be a nicer area now...Hanover still has some work to do. Furthermore, there used to be a bar called Hanrahan's City Line Tap on Niantic and Cranston...right across from the old Narragansett Brewery. They tore the bar down when they built Rt. 10...which I guess used to be Huntington Ave. Damn progress. That would have been really cool if this place was still here.

Tomorrow the principle of Occupational Periodization and Relationship Periodization are at work with intervals of forced rest in the immediate training plan unless I wake at 6AM and somehow motivate to ride before work - maybe 8-12 20 sec seated easy gear spin sprints. I have been informed that my trainer is excessively loud so early AM trainer sessions are out. Friday I might make a ride...maybe inside though 3 x 9 minute intervals, shifting every 3 minutes into an ever harder gear. Sat. is a sure go with 3+ @ base 1/2 (145 bpm spin for endurance) and Sunday is the 1st Ninigret (I think) with 4h+ forecast (hard, hard, hard). I don't even know about next week. I hope to get some solid training in after this cold screwed me up. Having 2 hard days (Fri/Sun) should wear me out and since next week is another busy week, I should be able to rest Mon/Tues. For the foreseeable future, it looks like 4 days where I can train - W/F/Sat. and Sun. which should be OK as long as I manage these rides and have a focus. I'm getting much more creative with time though as it seems to be diminishing so I'm going to focus on these days and then see how this goes.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Disease

The disease has made its annual late winter visit. I've put together some really good rides over the past few days until Thursday. I'm not that sick, but I've got a bit of a cough and a slight fever - which comes and rest day for me. Probably do a 2h trainer or easy solo road/cross bike tomorrow. Roads suck anyway so I'm not too beat up about not getting out but not training and knowing that I'm not training SUCKS.

In the meantime I cleaned up the Cervelo, greased seatpost/stem, replaced brakepads, and replaced zips on certain areas. This is the bike I ride to work. It rides nice and is going to get more stickers as time goes on.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday...oh Tuesday

Did 40 miles w/ Mike S. today. Ended w/ 2.5h on the day. Sunny and warm by February standards - warm involves temperatures at or above 38F with sun, 44F without. We went east which was a good choice because the wind came up fresh from the south/southwest maybe 20/25 kts. Headwind on way home which makes for misery but it makes for good training. Still not entirely recovered from Sunday's ride but thats OK. I hit the trainer easy yesterday. I hope to sneak out after work tomorrow...maybe ride some cross? We'll see.

About 5 miles of errands later on. Easy, easy stuff.

I amused my self doing my errands by getting off my bike and standing at the crosswalk at Brown and Olney. On the right hand side, right next to where I was standing was a HUGE pothole. I'm in the crosswalk so people are supposed to stop. Furthermore, I'm next to a school which should be further reason for people to stop. It seems that standing in a crosswalk encourages many to speed up and ignore other hazards in the road. One young lady, who was speaking enthusiastically on the phone nailed the pothole dead center. She actually stopped after hitting it. Was that enough to warn other motorists? Hardly. Two other folks hit it while I was there. I don't know if I distracted them or what. It was kinda funny.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Training philosophy

I became vexed when I began to watch the Tour of California on I do not like being in a state of vexation.

Problem has been solved. I've got an English stream from and a full screen video feed from The has no audio so the feed from steephill solves this. I'm amped about this and no longer vexed.

Today I had a great ride. Joe. B. and I departed from White Elec. about 9AM and met Murat on Rt. 14. Although it was a touch cold when I left my house, but it seemed fine later. We went into the Weeds - Coventry and Scituate. We hit some good hills - esp. Harkney Hill Rd. - a very tough little climb. I looked on Google Earth and it has a about a 200' vertical rise and I'd estimate it by the effort it took to get up it as between 5-7% which was tough to get up-probably one of the harder things I've done this year. Lots of 1-4% grades out there lots of up and down. We went rather hard, some parts probably too hard - which thus fits into my training plan and overall training philosophy.

A cornerstone of this philosophy is the principle of Environmental Periodization™. Environmental Periodization is a training system I have developed over the years of living in sloppy New England. It basically dictates that when the weather is nice you go hard (and long if you have the time). The other 50% of the time when the weather sucks then you don't have to ride and thus, maintain a proper balance in your training. Yes, I'll peak at the *wrong* place - as if there is a wrong place to get fast, possibly get overtrained - a real problem I've had to deal with in the past, or maybe get burnt out - another issue I've struggled with, yet...I'll still peak somewhere (hopefully). Rest weeks happen when it rains for a week straight. Hard weeks happen when the weather is nice for a month straight. A future discussion of the other training philosophy I have developed will ensue in later entries. This philosophy is called Occupational Periodization™.

Stats: 65 miles...3:50 so that about a 16.9/17MPH average which is hard for me this time of year for that distance. Overall, I'm happy w/ this ride and its training value. Next week 1000 Sunday. Racing starts 3/2 - Ninigret. If I feel good I'll go to Bethel. If I don't - more training races.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ice, snow, fog, sun, rain, wind, sun, rain

Todays early ride featured a bit of everything. I set out about 8AM...go down Cypress St. and notice that the road is covered in a bit of ice. Since I know its a little colder to the west, I decide to turn around and go east. I skidded to a stop, ascend Cypress and go out to Seekonk.

Crossing the Henderson Bridge I was a bit above the fog layer - I wish I had a camera. The fog had presented itself as an undercast even from this low elevation. Once I got off the bridge I got into the fog. I hate riding in have less visibility. I'm always wary on weekend mornings due to the still drunk, massive hangover factor of many drivers coming from the places where they crashed out for the night. Two cars had a strong weed smell coming from them. Its amazing how easily you can smell weed when you're riding. Furthermore, people will run you over on their way to church. It is imperative to be extra careful next to churches when people get out - they will also run you over. So I just kept it easy and way over to the right in EP. Damn wet though - lots of puddles and grit.

Fog is still with me in Seekonk. Wet as hell. Melting snow on the road. Ice patches. Not a problem though. The snow on the trees was melting which made it seem as if it was raining. Getting soaked at this point.

Fog goes away and sun comes out. Ahh...I love riding in the sun. Still just as wet though. Push the pace to stay warm. Feel great - I haven't felt this good in a long time on the bike. Ride up to Attleboro, over to Taunton through Dighton and into Swansea. Stop at Bikeworks to pick up some lube because my chain was dry by this point. Bikeworks isn't open. It did not snow out here yesterday so everything is dry and the weather is still calm, sunny and warm.

I've gone about 40 miles by this point so now I decide to turn back home. There is a wall of clouds rapidly darkening in front of me. I think I'll be fine - I'll be back in about an hour or so. It is still sunny and calm. No, it won't rain on me now. I'll make it home just fine. I might even do a few laps on the Blvd. to meet my arbitrary miles/hours requirement.

About 20 minutes later it pours on me and a strong headwind kicks up. I begin to get nervous about snow because its getting a little colder, although I can't really gauge the temperature because I'm going more or less balls to the wall. At least my bike gets lubed up. I suggest this method for training.

Once I got home the sun came out and the wind died. Time to wash the bike - my chain is beginning to rust a bit and I've accumulated more grit than any other ride I've been on this year. Yes, when I was cleaning the bike it clouded up and poured on me.

Stats: 54 miles. 3:15. I was making about 18 mph until Summer St. in Rehoboth...where it turned into a windswept rain - this slowed me way the heck down.

Friday, February 8, 2008


I put these together last month. I used cable 5/32...(I forget) and standard ferrules. I did not have the tool to cinch down the ferrules so I used a chisel and a hammer. I broke one set but in anticipation of this I had extras.

The chains work great in the snow. I used them in the big storm on the 13th of December. Remember all that ice that was around - not a problem either. Obviously, no standing or power riding - and the rear skid out bad, but the ride was stable.

I have a messed up old specialized with the seatpost frozen in position that I ride in the snow. No gears - not fixed but just a short chain. Its an easy gear for me but its really hard to ride in the snow so even flat terrain is a workout. Brakes are adequate but not great. I use motor oil on the chain. This bike would fit in many areas of the third world.

Why I'm happy when the weather sucks

The weather sucks.

30s. Cloudy. Drizzle and snow.

I planned to ride today. I decided not to. I revisited training data from years past. I don't feel so bad now after looking at what I've done in the past - the weather always sucks now and its really challenging to work and put time in.

I did not ride the trainer today. I did one hour yesterday (stage 6 2007 Paris Nice. Marseilles looks like a great place by the way). 6 EZ gear spins :15-30 seconds each.

I'm out of shape for these. Must do more.

The silver lining in all this is when June comes I won't be nearly as burnt out as I was last year.

The first race is in 3 weeks. That will be a serious, serious wake up call. But isn't when training really starts anyway? I know hypothetically one can follow a plan to the letter but sometimes life just screws it all up. Its so much easier, and less stressful to race into shape. It is also much more fun and enjoyable.

Tomorrow: If anyone reads this - looks like trainer time AGAIN. Bastogne/Liege/Bastogne, Paris Nice Stage 7, A Sunday in Hell. I might actually take the cross bike out. Send an email. Mid AM or later.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Tonight I went out to the Blackstone Bikepath to do an easy ride with a few pickups. I'm on the trainer tomorrow, and Thursday for sure so I wanted to do something different - so I put the lights on the commuter bike and went up the Blackstone Bikepath.

There is a primeval connection between solitude, fog and darkness. All of my senses were heightened during this ride. Although I know sounds carry farther in a moistened environment, it seemed you could reach out and 'touch' the sounds. It was eerie and made for a great experience. I cannot say the same about the training value of this ride. I kept it really easy because I did not want to go too fast. The reason for this was simple. I could not see more than 10 feet in front of me for the majority of this ride. I haven't been in fog this thick for a while. I cut it short and went home with the intention of a 1/2 hour run to make myself feel better.

One Job Lot stop later and a dog walk later I haven't gone running yet and I don't think I'm going to. Thanks Job Lot for the 1.50$ drain opener. My drains kick ass right now. Fast.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Over-arching Goal:

Get Faster. Get Cat. 2 points.

How will I get faster?

1. Improve Time Trial: consistently perform time trial workouts all year with a focus on proper aerodynamic form, gear usage and improved muscular endurance.
a. Do Seekonk or a similar TT 3X/mo. to gauge fitness and progress. Adjust workouts accordingly.
b. TT fitness will allow me to get into the breakaways that seem to characterize a number of Cat. 3 races.

2. Consistent Training: Must properly train. No more than 2 days off per week...excepting the rest weeks in heavier periods where 3 are allowed. Must make a special effort to workout during week.

a. Early morning workouts, night bikepath stuff, night Lincoln Woods rides
b. Trainer is another option.
c. Putting off scheduled workouts is not an option.
d. Endurance and base are critical all year...past results indicate that my best results happen when I have put the miles in and not necessarily the intensity. 2X 3hr. rides a week.

3. Improve Climbing: Must do 1 hill workout per week. ALL YEAR.

a. Wilbur Rd. repeats, Cypress hill repeats, Cumberland Hill repeats at night. Minimum 4.
b. Last year climbing was a weakness of mine - largely because my training was erratic at best. It is my belief that if you don't have endurance miles you cannot climb worth crap. Must complete a proper base period and be sure to do at least 6 hours of endurance training a week split into two 3 hour rides. This is mentioned twice for obvious reasons.

4. Improve Sprints: One sprint workout per week. All year. Another cornerstone of proper training.
a. Standing start sprints to get strength up. May through Sept.

This will be revised.



Up at 0800 to ride. Stopped by White Electric and to takers so I went out towards the Reservoir. I ended up going Central to 116 to Danielson Pike to crappy Rt. 6 to 94. Again, same story as yesterday with the hills. Nothing under 10 mph - which got pretty hard actually. I took Central from 94 south which has a long roller on it. It was chilly in the AM but entirely bearable. I went kinda hard in this ride but I kept the pace in the base zone - although I went hard on some of the hills. I'm not going to get to ride at all tomorrow and I'll have to be on the trainer Tues/Wed. unless I get really creative or go running. I might bite the bullet and do a 6AM ride. This will not happen tomorrow as the Superbowl is tonight. Thurs. is another late night so I'm not expecting to ride - although I might be able to pull it off.

Overall, I felt pretty good the whole time. I didn't get really hungry or tired, although I was close - which means to me that I had a good ride within the fitness levels I've developed this season. I had some early season 'dead leg' issues about hour 2, especially on the hills but this is to be expected this time of year, and it means that I am stretching my fitness just that little bit. I like doing these hilly rides this time of year to get the blood flowing and competitive juices up. Flat roads to the east are great for base too but I really want to get to hilly terrain at least once a week on a long ride.

I have to check the rear brake cable setup - there is some friction in there affecting the rebound capacity of the brake calipers.

I need to put new cleats on my shoes, swap out chain and cassette by the end of Feb. or until it starts skipping. Its pretty close but the roads are still crappy and really sandy so I don't want to start damaging a new one until winter has abated.

I might get creative and do a lighted bikepath ride on Tues/Wed. We'll see. Wed. might work for me actually I think I can pull that one off.
PS: I now own Mavic Kysruim wheels.