West Michigan Mountain Biking / Accelerate Labs Update

I’ve been busy building out Accelerate Labs social media with articles and content, riding my mountain bike and posting the proof on my YouTube Channel. I’m working hard to present you with my full effort, but for now, here’s some teaser content from my YouTube Channel. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

The Barry-Roubaix

After this post, I will no longer be posting my training plan every week. Now that I’ve officially entered my race year, what I work on from here to Iceman will be proprietary and I can’t afford any of my competition finding out how I will be training to beat them. I may occasionally provide a glimpse now and again, however, it will be very generic to protect trade secrets.

O.k., I don’t have competition trolling my blog and they certainly wouldn’t be trying to steal a page out of my training plan 🙂 I’m just finding that posting my training plan is overwhelming my blog content and I’d prefer to keep my updates about getting outside (still boring you with the details, of course) rather than becoming a training blog.

BARRY ROUBAIX

Pre-Race Preparations

 

So, the 2013 Barry-Roubaix was held yesterday, and I joyfully participated for the 3rd year running. This year’s event had several significant changes, which in my opinion, worked out phenomenally. The first and largest was that the start finish was moved to the city of Hastings. Hastings is a small rural town about 40 minutes south and slightly east of Grand Rapids. It has a population of approximately 7,400 in about a 5.4 square mile area. It has a neat downtown area with restaurants, breweries, retail, and parks. It is approximately directly opposite of the previous race start at Gunn Lake/Yankee Springs. By moving the start/finish venue, Rick Plite, the race founder and promoter was able to increase the participant cap from 1,500 to 3,000. 2,873 riders registered, nearly selling the race out again.

Because of the additional participants, the race start was split up into more waves. First off were the 62 mile competitors who went out in 2 waves, followed by 10 waves of 36 mile competitors, and rounded out with 2 waves of 24 mile competitors. This race start strategy resulted in wave sizes that ranged from 130 to 230 riders, which was both crazy and energizing all at the same time. I was in wave 3. Hastings shut down several streets for the weekend to help direct traffic away from the race course and create space for the festivities. Several parking lots were converted into team pit areas, temporary food court’s, awards area, and the beer tent.

Unfortunately, I mis-judged the time at which I should line up in my wave, and ended up very near the rear of my group, initially. As the 1st and 2nd waves left and we transitioned towards the start line, I did my best to jockey for better position, but still ended up in about the middle of the pack. When the gun went off, we were led out of town via motorcycle at about a 16-18 mph pace, which allowed me to quickly move up to the rear of the lead pack of 20-30 riders. Once the race hit gravel, a group of about 10 quickly separated and began pulling away. I decided that I needed to be a part of that group so I gave chase, crossing the gap with the help of a slight tailwind. Once on, I simply worked to stay in the slipstream of this group until I could get a feel for the course, the other rider’s strengths, and what advantages I might have. The pace was quick, particularly in the climbs, but I was able to keep it, never falling more than 10 feet behind on any climb and always able to out descend the group (often having to apply some brake). Within the first 5 miles we lost 3-4 riders to falls, which 1 was able to rejoin us.

As we caught the tail end of the two 62 mile waves, the icy road conditions became very apparent as a handful of riders (mostly on cyclocross bikes) went down. I could tell that the riders in my pack were very tentative once riders started going down, and felt the pace slow just slightly. The gravel roads up until that point were either snow/ice covered, or exposed but riddled with pot holes. Friday afternoon had been in the upper 30’s and sunny causing many of the gravel roads to become really wet and puddle up. But overnight, temps dropped into the 20’s and all of those puddles and moist areas froze. It was still only 28 degrees at the start of the race, and clouds prevented the sun from re-softening the patches of ice.

As we continued, I began developing a strategy of simply hanging on no matter what the cost on the hills with the expectation that the pot holes would take their tole on the cyclocross riders as they constantly stood up out of their saddles and hopped their bikes over unavoidable potholes. I was quite comfortable on my Epic, sometimes navigating around obstacles, and sometimes simply hammering through them just to hand over a little psychological message that I wasn’t going to get worn out because of the road conditions. The group was a bit schizophrenic in that we’d peloton out in the flats, bunch up in the climbs, and kind of stagger in areas that had either snow or pot holes as no one trusted the rider in front of them. Again, I didn’t care what line the guy in front of me took, I figured if they could handle it, I’d be fine. I was starting to settle in.

About 8.25 miles in, the course begins a small climb as the road ends in a ‘T’ where we then took a left into a short steep climb. The road at this particular intersection was covered with about a 1/2″ of crusty ice/snow. Traction was scarce. I saw an aggressive inside corner line that looked clean and decided to take it. It wasn’t my intention to make a move, but I was in about 3rd or 4th position at that point because of the aggressive line. That ended up being mistake #1. The line ended up being solid ice and I went down. Fortunately I didn’t fall hard, but I ended up getting caught on a fairly wide area of ice so getting back up and on my bike proved challenging. On top of the road challenges, I was in the wrong gear to start out at the bottom of a steep climb, but I had no choice as shifting gears under that much load had a high likelihood of tweaking something in the drivetrain. My guess is that I lost 10-20 seconds on the pack.

At that point, I had a decision to make: overcook myself to catch back up to the lead group, or; keep a pace I could push and hope that the road conditions would finally wear the lead group down (all on cyclocross bikes I believe). I chose option 2, and thus, made mistake #2. I never regained contact with the lead group, and ended up having to push my own wind for the next hour until the leaders from wave 4 and 5 caught me. Once they did, I realized my earlier mistake as I was able to latch on to that group and had no problem following them in for the last 4-5 miles of the race. I sprinted into Hastings with this group, making sure I stayed out of their way as I wasn’t in it anymore and didn’t want to cause any unnecessary mistakes for any of them. My final time was 1:54:43, about 5 minutes behind the winner of my wave,  which looked like a fun finish as the gap between 1st place and 4th place was 5 seconds. I know there were a number of riders that passed me when I spilled, but didn’t realize that there were that many as I ended up placing 11th.

I had no expectations of winning and have no elusions that I would have either been able to maintain contact with the lead group or had enough left in the tank to offer competition in the final sprint for a podium spot. What I was most proud of was that I took about 2 minutes off my time from last year and moved up 6 spots from 17th to 11th. I was able to capture a little bit of the day on my iPhone. I planned on capturing the race on my GoPro, but unfortunately left the camera on overnight on Friday night so when I went to turn it on just before the race, the battery was dead.

As far as my training plan for last week, I planned a very light week of essentially just keeping my legs fresh by doing some non-stressful spinning on the trainer. I put in 50 minutes on Monday, an hour and a half on Thursday, and just 30 minutes Friday night to liven up the legs in some pre-warm up preparation. Because diet can have just as much of an effect on performance as the race week routine, I went with a high-carb rice filled burrito Friday night and several banana’s and a Mojo bar for breakfast. I staggered my breakfast over a two hour window immediately prior to the race and it seemed to work out well. I also made sure I drank plenty of water as I didn’t want to have the same problem as Iceman last November.

After the race I enjoyed a couple of hours laughing with riders and having a couple of Founder’s ale’s and eating some taco’s from What The Truck’s mobile food truck. This 100% serious here, no matter where you’re reading this from, you need to find out where that truck is going to be next and drive however long it takes to get to it for the tacos. They’re that good.

Barry-Roubaix 2013 rounded out to be a great event. Rick is proving to be a master race organizer and pulled off a perfect event despite nearly doubling the attendance. I’m looking forward to 2014’s race.

My next post will be the milestone 100th post. I’m brewing up a doozy which will dive into a rather personal, but significant realization that has changed some of my behavior over the past couple of weeks, but has also given me a method of understanding decisions and actions. Consider this a teaser….

Milestones

Gravel Groove

 

With yesterday’s ride of just under 3 hours, I surpassed the 10 hour weekly training mark for the first time. Ever. I’m paying for it a bit today with a sore lower back (legs are tight as a drum pulling on my lower back muscles) but I’ll fix that with an extra warm-up period each ride and plenty of water. That’s a major accomplishment for me. It will be important that I keep up that level or higher saddle time. I also am beginning to work harder on the trainer and have begun what I’m calling “Spring Training”. I’m working on a vide (imagine that) that I’ll post sometime after the Barry-Roubaix.

Our ride yesterday was much better than my ride of the same route last Sunday. The shoulder of Lakeshore Drive had firmed up over the week making it feasible to ride on. Most of the snow had melted off the shoulder as well and drained leaving very few puddles to dodge. The gravel roads were also free of snow/ice for the most part so there were no spills (or even close calls). I rode with two other shop teammates up to the northernmost point and just as we were reaching our turn-around spot, two other friendly faces came riding around the corner. So, we made the return south with five of us, which was great because we were heading into the wind on the way back.

It’s still muddy and cold out there, but there’s just no better feeling than spending time outside on the bike. I had some really wise advice over the past couple of weeks that is allowing me to relax going into the Barry-Roubaix in 2 weeks: don’t worry about the podium, it’s supposed to be a fun race for me and just a part of the training for mountain bike season. I’m still going to give it all I have and am a bit anxious that I’m not in the same shape this year as last year at this time, but I’m no longer placing the same level of expectation on myself as compared to, say, Iceman. It’s going to be a great ride and a fun day.

So on to my training plan. Did anyone notice my scheduling conflict last week? I didn’t think so. I had planned two rides for Saturday which made the plan seem relatively easy until Thursday when I realized the error. I simply added a 45 minute recovery spin on Friday night, which was helpful for Saturday’s ride anyway. I try to plan out my rides around known events, but my actual rides usually vary a bit in response to conflicts that come up and how I’m feeling. Here’s the plan for this week (Sunday is actual):

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF MARCH 10, 2013
Total Completed ?
Recovery Spin:
Spin the lets out 80 Sunday
Sustain:
10 10 minute warm up – 30% 90 Monday
30 20 minute sustain – 80%
35 5 minute rest – 30%
55 20 minute sustain – 80%
60 5 minute rest – 30%
80 20 minute sustain – 80%
90 10 minute cool down – 30%
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long 120 Wednesday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sprint Intervals: 105 Thursday
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
70 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
80 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
85 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
95 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
105 10 minute cool down – 40%
Strength Training – Upper Body
Recovery Spin:
Spin the legs out 45 Friday
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort 150 Saturday
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 9.8

Ultimate Cycling Challenge

I participated in the Ultimate Cycling Challenge at Ridgepoint Community Church in Holland as a part of the Cross Country Cycle MTB team last Saturday. The fundraiser was started several years ago to help raise funds for the LiveStrong Foundation. Needless to say, eyes darted around the room when it was announced at our team meeting that we’d be participating again this year. Fortunately, despite Lance’s recent banishment and ‘coming clean’ (to any extent that can be believed), the place was packed.

Our team had two spots side-by-side which made spending a couple of hours on the bike much more enjoyable as I got to know one of my teammates whom I’ve ridden around, but never had the chance to get to know that well. Here’s a brief video of the venue and example of the activities going on while we rode:

 

And some pictures:

Jason & I Don & Mark

A Return to the Wild

 

My post-race "I can't believe how hard that was" look.

Boyne Mountain Challenge 2012

 

Generally speaking, cyclists enjoy being outside. That’s probably what drew them to riding in the first place (outside of possibly a necessity for transportation). But riding in the basement all winter on a trainer can make me forget the joy of riding. And then, all it takes is a bright sunny weekend to rejuvenate my enthusiasm and determination. It probably doesn’t hurt that my first race of the season, The Barry-Roubaix, is now less than a month away.

With temperatures hovering right around freezing during mid-day both Saturday and Sunday, I took advantage of the re-appearing bike paths and my wife’s generous suggestion that I go for a ride. Between Saturday’s and Sunday’s rides, I put in 4 ½ hours (about an hour of that was on the trainer last night making sure I got a good jump on the week). You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face during either ride (even when I stuck my foot in my wheel and ended up on the bike path head first…I literally laughed), and you couldn’t dampen my mood all day today.

I was particularly lost in the day while riding through a section of the bike path that meanders through the pines. It’s a feeling like no other, to me. It’s a feeling I believe humans are meant to feel. Retreating from the concrete jungle’s we’ve created for ourselves to ‘live’ in is very rejuvenating to me. No….I didn’t hug any trees while I was out riding or happen across some ‘funny stuff’. I mean it, though, interacting with nature is therapeutic.

Anyway, I’m ramping up my training this week. We have some snow in the forecast (the system has not been given a name, yet, which is a major annoyance I’ll reserve for some other time). If it’s on the lower end of th

e forecasted range of accumulation, I’m planning on getting outside Wednesday night for a while again. Saturday I’m riding in a Livestrong Foundation fundraiser for a couple of hours, so at the end of it, I’ll have around 9 hours in this week. I’m not sure I’ve ever ridden 9 hours in one week, so this will be a good test of my current state of endurance. I hope your week is well and we’ll catch you soon.

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF FEBRUARY 24, 2013
Total Completed ?
Strength Program:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
12 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
14 2 minutes down a gear
16 2 minutes down a gear
18 2 minutes down a gear
22 4 minutes down a gear
24 2 minutes up a gear
26 2 minutes up a gear
28 2 minutes up a gear
30 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
40 10 minute rest
42 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
44 2 minutes down a gear
46 2 minutes down a gear
48 2 minutes down a gear
52 4 minutes down a gear
54 2 minutes up a gear
56 2 minutes up a gear
58 2 minutes up a gear
60 2 minutes highest gear – sitting
70 10 minute cool down – 30% 70 Sunday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Lakeshore Loop in the snow 110 Sunday
Recovery Ride:
Easy spin 60 Monday
Sprint Intervals:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
70 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
80 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
85 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
95 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
105 10 minute cool down – 40% 105 Tuesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 90 Wednesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Ultimate Cycling Challenge:
Ridgepoint – Pick a Strategy 120 Saturday
TOTAL 9.3

 

RFS

This means I didn’t go for a ride tonight. It means I’m Really Frickin’ Sore. I’m not sure exactly why, but if it’s because of the last two nights, I’m happy to do more.

It started with dedicating a night off the bike to strength training on Thursday night (after 2 straight nights on the bike) which included pushups, pullups, and split squats. I decided to mix up my sustain ride last night and warmed up, sustained my normal 18-19mph pace for 40 minutes and then cooled down. Today I’ve been more sore than I’ve been after any other ride since I’ve started riding bikes again. Trying to follow this ‘listen to your body’ approach to training, I decided to skip my planned ride for tonight. I’d like to know from others who have been following a training program on whether or not you work through it or take the break.

I’m skiing tomorrow and then have a monthly off-week while I ski out west Thursday through Saturday so I am saving my energy for that. Here’s my training program for this week….and then the plan for next week.

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF JANUARY 27, 2013
Sprint Intervals: Total Completed ?
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
70 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
80 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
85 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
95 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
105 10 minute cool down – 40% 105 Tuesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sustain:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
50 40 Minutes stustained pace – 80/90%
60 10 minute cool down – 30% 60 Friday
13 Commute: 13 Friday
Mixed Bag
Mix up some sustain and sprint intervals 67 Sunday
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort 90 Wednesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 5.6
TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF FEBRUARY 3, 2013
SKI TRIP THIS WEEK
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long 60 Sunday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 90 Tuesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 2.5

 

Top Banana Competition Unveiling: The Spring Classics

I’m too busy to write my usual full post. I AM still training. My week consists of judging a pitch competition at UofM, visiting the largest fresh salsa and humus producers in the U.S., working through the details of several large deals and tax preparation for Start Garden while working around the very hectic schedule of my wife’s job (it’s typical for January for her), and getting on my bike (heavy) this week in preparation for a down week of riding next week. I’m having fun and feel very blessed, but I’m just able to breath a ton right now. I’ll be back soon with a re-cap on my training for this week, planning for next week, and news on a fun project I’m experimenting with. In the meantime, please enjoy kolo t.c.’s introduction to this year’s Top Banana Competition:

Top Banana Competition Unveiling: The Spring Classics.