Technology Test

This post has been done entirely using my iPhone and apps for YouTube (Capture) and WordPress. I first took the video on my phone using the Capture app, uploaded it to YouTube through the app, and the copied and pasted the video link to my WordPress page using the WordPress app. I may not have been the first person to do this, but I wanted to know how it would work and how easy it would be. It took me less than 5 minutes which is good because now I need to get my butt on the bike trainer and make up for the ride I didn’t do last night 🙂

Ride on, ride hard…..


Year End Review

Everyone’s doing it which makes this either really annoying, or simply accepted blogging practice. In any regard, I’ll make this year end review short. 2012 was a good, fun year of riding and racing. I look forward to more riding and meeting friends on bikes in 2013.

My 2012 totals were the highest yet with 2,716 mountain bike miles, 592 single speed miles (also a mountain bike, but I separate it out in my spreadsheet), 476 road bike miles, and 53 running miles for a total of 3,798 miles of training/exercise/thrilling adventure. As you can tell, I don’t like to run.

These miles took 274.8 hours to complete, which is only 11.5 days, so there’s room for more 🙂 Compare that with the Race Across America record of 3000 miles in just over 8 days and I’m in the hunt! The estimated total number of calories burned for the year was 370,560 which translates into 106 lost pounds. This is where I can really get better this year.

Because my weight was the same at the end of the year as it was at the beginning; and that at 235-240lbs I still have a few I could lose (I’m doubtful at 6’3 and a stocky build I’ll never be under 200), I could really focus on my diet a bit more and become more competitive. I’ve always said that its easier, cheaper, and more beneficial to take 3 lbs off me than my bike. I realized this a couple of weeks ago and started back on my monitoring via myfitnesspal because there was no sense in waiting until New Years to start a resolution. I think if you figure out you need to change something, change it once you figure it out, don’t wait for another arbitrary day like New Years to start. You’re just delaying the inevitable and possibly causing more damage to yourself and others in the meantime.

But enough with the deep thoughts….its off to start my 2013….with a scheduled day off of riding (though it’s been tempting to join one of the handful of area group rides going on today). I know. It’s just the way my schedule turned out. No worries, I’ll be back on the bike tomorrow.

Morning Workout Part 1 of ….

I thought I’d delay my planned Monday night sprint workout to Tuesday morning because my legs still weren’t quite underneath me from riding Thursday-Sunday last week. While I do consider this time of year NEXT season rather than the OFF season, I want to be intelligent about not pushing the training so hard this first month. What I found out was that my body (being an Owl) does not perform well at 6:30a.m. It just plain SUCKED! I even went to bed early last night (11pm).

I was recently reading an Outside Magazine article about people’s ability to perform opposite of their chronotype (or against their grain), and research is showing that ‘Lark’ athletes (morning people) perform their best in the morning and ‘Owl’ athletes (night people) perform their best in the afternoon / evening. By studying baseball players, researchers were able to correlate chronotype and improved batting averages with games played before or after 2pm. This would suggest that I should be fine continuing my evening workouts. However, before I write off morning work-outs all together, the article points out that my body can be trained to perform better earlier in the day if I train earlier in the day, and Owls inexplicably begin to transform into Larks as they get older (I believe it has something to do with work hours).

I ended up cutting my planned 45 minute sprint ride to 30 minutes. It was rough right from the start. I didn’t feel warmed up after a 10 minute warm-up; absolutely struggled through the first set of 14 sprint reps; and, didn’t find the 3 minute recovery to be even remotely enough time. I couldn’t get back up to full strength during the first part of the second set, so I did what any disciplined, self respecting athlete would do…I quit. I’ll fight the battle another day.

While I’m not ready to discard my evening workout routine yet, it may become important to start training in the morning because my races next year will start 2-3 hours earlier than last year as I make the jump up to expert. It just might not be tomorrow morning.

The Difference Between 90% and 100% Effort

Nothing. Seriously. I put on my neat little work-out program 100% effort for my peak output during my high cadence sprint workout and 90% effort for my low cadence sprint workout. My thought process was that because I was holding that peak for 40 seconds per rep vs. 15 I would need to manage my output a bit to sustain the cadence / speed. After doing both workouts, I knew I put out 100% on the high cadence sprints, but couldn’t really tell that I was lowering my output for the low cadence sprints.

Oh well. I’m not too worried about it, but I thought it was funny that I actually thought through planning my effort output and then really just put 100% effort into both sprints anyway. We’ll see how that changes as I increase my workout load.

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I’m tweaking my training plans slightly because I found them to be a bit too easy (the planned rests in between sets was too long). I’m also going to loosely map out which day I’m doing what to make sure I get it all in. I did end up getting everything in I had planned last week, but I’m starting out a bit behind the eight ball because I rode for fun (but hard) on Friday at Merrell Trails and put in a good 80 minutes yesterday along the lakeshore and at Riley Trails. The result is that I really need to ride a recovery pace tonight (which I’m going to do) when I typically will have an opportunity to do either a time targeted lakeshore ride or the planned fun ride on Sundays. I also have to make sure I plan in recovery rides and strength training.

To get back on a schedule I want, I’m going to mesh my ‘fun ride’ and ‘lakeshore timed ride’ together for Saturday which will allow me to ride again on Sunday next week and put me back on schedule. So, here’s my plan for the week. I put up some of my video from Friday and Saturday’s rides on YouTube, too (below the plan):




Completed ?

Sprints – High Cadence:


10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
17 15 second rest – 20%    –   14 total reps (7 minutes)
20 3 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
27 15 second rest – 20%    –   14 total reps (7 minutes)
30 3 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
37 15 second rest – 20%    –   14 total reps (7 minutes)
45 8 minute cool down – 40%


Strength Training – Upper Body
Sprints – Low Cadence:


10 10 minute warm up – 30%
40 seconds on – 90%
17 20 seconds off – 40%    7 total reps (7 minutes)
20 3 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
27 20 seconds off – 40%    7 total reps (7 minutes)
30 3 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    5 total reps (5 minutes)
45 10 minute cool down


Strength Training – Lower Body


10 10 minute warm up – 30%
30 20 minute sustain – 80%
35 5 minute rest – 30%
55 20 minute sustain – 80%
60 5 minute cool down – 30%


Strength Training – Lower Body
Recovery Ride


45 minutes at 30-40%


Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes











Way Too Easy

That’s what I thought last night during the first 3 reps of my high cadence sprint work-out. After starting out with a 10 minute warm-up, I busted into my 15 second on, 15 second off sprint intervals. I was immediately concerned that the resistance setting was not set high enough and I couldn’t get my adjustment nob to stick in a higher tension setting. Oh, but I soon found out there was no need to be worried…at least about the tension setting.

Last week I posted my training plan for this week. Call it accountability. I started out Sunday night with my ‘Sustain’ plan and completed part two last night with my ‘High Cadence Sprints’. Part of the reason why I’m setting weekly schedules is to make sure I’m pacing myself and building, rather than just haphazardly busting into a mid-season training routine by January 15 (which is just not the right timing for my race schedule). As many things in life, training is a discipline game.

If it gives you any indication of the level of my discipline, when I got on the bike, I still hadn’t decided on which sprint interval plan I was going to do. I just knew I had to get on the bike (step 1 is always the hardest). I figured out during my warm up that I couldn’t get the tension on the trainer hard enough to really perform my low-cadence sprint interval plan, so by default I went into my high cadence variation.

I figured I’d learn some things with this being my first real offseason with a training plan (or training in general). What I hadn’t expected was learning so much in the first two sessions. I by no means believe this is all I will learn this winter, but here’s 3 things I’ve figured out so far:

1. Understand Your Equipment and Set-Up – I bought a new trainer a few weeks ago. I’ve never owned a trainer before this. I’ve borrowed and ridden on them before, though, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into and what kind of work-out I’d get with it. I quickly assembled the trainer and put my bike up on it. I decided to take an old wheel and turn it into my trainer wheel so I could easily and quickly convert my road bike between training and outdoor riding. After a quick trip to Cross Country Cycle for a new spoke and truing, I was set there. After putting my bike, then, on the trainer, I noticed that I was listing a little to the left and that my adjustable tensioner mounted on my handlebar was not holding the tighter half of the tension settings. I will need to spend a little time leveling my bike and bike trainer, so that’s not a big deal (thought it would have been nice to have figured that out before my first real training session). I’m going to have to pull out the directions (ugh) to figure out how to get the tensioner to work properly. Otherwise I’m going to have to ‘improvise’ a way to keep the harder settings.

2. Breathing is Key – After my 7th or 8th rep in my 1st set I figured out that my initial synopsis of difficulty was wrong. My legs were starting to fade from the initial speed peaks in my first few reps and I was starting to get a side ache. Fortunately I had just watched a YouTube training clip on not getting dropped in the climbs, which gave some interesting advice on breathing techniques to assist with fatigue.  Very quickly, what I gleaned from that was trying to breath out as much air as I could during each breath. I combined that with the steady breathing trick I learned a few years ago when dealing with side aches during a run.  The result was that I began breathing very long but deep (both in and out) and steady breaths throughout the 5-minute sets of sprint reps. It was amazing. Within a few seconds my side ache went away and my peak speed began climbing again. I was able to keep up my peaks throughout the 2nd set and most of the 3rd set. It’s a breathing technique that I’m going to continue using.

3. Training Plan Adjustments – Although I found that my plan for last night was adequate, I will be adjusting it slightly next week to include a couple of more reps per set, and reducing the rests in between sets by a minute or two. For the next couple of weeks I want to keep these sprint routines at about 45-50 minutes, but my planned 5 minutes of rest between sets was too much.  I am betting that after I complete my low cadence sprint plan I’ll have to adjust that as well.

4. YouTube – I began creating playlists a couple of months ago to start storing mountain bike videos that I wanted to watch during my training rides. This has proven to be a valuable exercise.  I have been starting with my brother’s posted video of his Iceman race. I have so much more energy to ride when I’m watching video. The only downside is that during my sprints I need to keep track of my time in seconds and I found myself watching my odometer last night more than the video. I may explore doing some things similar to Cody Sovis of kolo t.c. by creating some videos that include intensity level on the video so I can watch both at the same time. Or, I’ll just use the video library he’s been creating for my sprint workouts. We’ll see on that one.

the time I was done with my 45 minutes, I had a good workout in. I am very satisfied with my first couple of sessions and am very optimistic about this off season training plan; or as I exclaimed on the FBook: It’s not the OFF season; it’s the beginning of NEXT season.

A Little Bit More About Me

I love putting video montage’s together. Nerdy love, too. I had worked on this video to share with People for Bikes in response to their question: ‘what does biking mean to you?’ I really hoped I would be able to put up a 1st place victory at Iceman to put punch into the ending of this video, but 2nd was all I could muster. Anyway, I’ve posted it here from my YouTube account. Enjoy

Update: Where have I been?

Hello. I’ve missed updating everyone on my riding season and general outdoor experiences since May, however, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a new professional adventure. Now that I’ve become a bit more acclimated to my new gig, hopefully I can get back to posting more frequently about all of the great things I get to do in this great outdoor state of Michigan.

First, my new venture. On May 2 I took a new position with a start-up seed/venture capital fund called Start Garden. We’re in Grand Rapids and we’re funding start-ups in a radical new way. I won’t spend too much time talking about that here, but I’ll give you a link to our website: It’s a fund that invests in ideas at a very micro level with the capacity to invest along side start-ups as they experiment, prove out their hypothesis, and hopefully build a scalable business.  Oh, by the way, we invest in two ideas per week; one that we choose, and one that the general public chooses. But I’ll leave it at that and if you want to learn more, explore our website.

Now on to the outdoor stuff. Let me just say that I was again reminded through the first part of July that summers are busy in the Lampen household. Rarely are we home on a weekend and the kids drop into bed every night from their daily activities. The kids have probably spent more time at the beach and the pool this summer than I’ve spent on my bike and that’s a lot. The lack of rain has been devastating to the local crops (and lawns), but it has been spectacular for being outside and catching some sun.

We bought our oldest daughter a set of beginner kids golf clubs this year for her birthday, so I’ve been taking her out to the driving range to teach her. She’s picking it up fast and enjoying it. Though I don’t golf nearly as much as I used to, I’m simply exposing my daughter to as many outdoor activities as possible to see what she grabs ahold of.

We also bought our oldest daughter a new bike this spring, which she has since decided is too big, so now we’re borrowing a slightly smaller bike for her to ride this summer. We tried to skip a bike size to be frugal, but instead we nearly extinguished her enjoyment of riding which could have made a catastrophic, life long impact on her opinion of biking. Whew! The other result was that we now have a bike for our youngest, who LOVES riding it. I guess it’s time to sell the Burley.

On another note, though not typically considered a part of the ‘outdoor active life’, we’ve been picking a lot of fresh fruit. Though the unseasonably warm winter and late frost destroyed a number of crops, strawberries and blueberries are fantastic this year. I’m going to miss apple picking this fall (most orchards in West Michigan are expecting a total loss and not planning on any U-Pick), but I’m enjoying my several trips to the blueberry patch. I still think these places need to weigh you before you go into the patch and then after you come out to make sure they get paid for what you eat while picking.

As far as my riding and racing go, it’s been a successful summer on the weekends, though it’s been hard finding the increased riding time necessary to build on my strong start. So far I’ve taken 1st in the Sport Clydesdale division in the 4 Championship Points Series races  I’ve competed in and placed a respectable 5th in CAT 2 at the Fat & Skinny Tire Festival down in Winona. However, where I had posted faster times than many of my teammates in the first couple of races in the season, I’m finding myself finishing near the middle of the pack amongst the sport riders on my team. On top of that, my most recent race (the Boyne Marathon) I took first because the rider I was chasing flatted with 1/8th mile to go. Otherwise he would have beaten me by a couple of minutes.

While on the one hand that is a bit disheartening, on the other, it tends to drive me to work harder. I’m rethinking my training regimen (which lacks real structure to begin with) in order to maximize the limited amount of time that I have to train. I usually spend between 4.5-7.5 hours on the bike a week.  I try to get at least one or two 2 hour rides in a week and am usually out on my bike 4 days every week. I try to vary my workout, but don’t really spend a lot of time with drills. There are many components to a regimented work-out schedule that I can and will be adding to my training.

One of the components in particular that I’m missing this season is a regularly scheduled hill climb night (hill repeats). I used to drive up to Grand Haven on a weekly basis with a buddy of mine to climb a road leading to 5 mile park (not sure why it’s called that, really). I could say why I’m not going up there on Monday nights this summer, but they’d just be excuses. Which leads me to this realization: I think excuses are a way to avoid acknowledging personal limitations.  This can be both positive and negative.

Saying that there are exterior circumstances that don’t allow you to perform your best or put the time in that you need to train should be left up to other people to point out (your friends, family, teammates, etc.). Having your friends say to you that you’re a strong rider but your starting position makes it difficult to post low lap times is encouraging. Pointing this out to everyone when you’re discussing your results is not positive. Not allowing yourself to believe that you have limits but simply improving your training and ignoring the temptation to avoid distractions instead is called determination. Giving in to a thought that you’ll never be a top rider no matter how much riding you do is simply buying into the excuses. Either way, obstacles (which can also be called excuses) are identified and have their place if used appropriately. I’ll try not to use any more excuses in this space.

So that’s about all for now. The family & I are headed down to Winona again this weekend for some great summer lake fun that includes boating, biking, and eating. I’ve started training for the next epic ride in August, Ore to Shore, which starts the final third of my race season. Before you know it November will be here (Iceman Cometh) and I’ll be reflecting on the season rather than entrenched in it. That just sounds really cold.