Planning for Another 100

This 100th post was much harder to write than I originally thought. I wanted to get it just right. This is why it has taken this long to complete.

About a month ago, I was sitting on the trainer thinking to myself (as I often do) about how my training regimen would translate into race performance. I had been working particularly hard compared to years past and was hopeful that the strategy would pay off. After my ride I hopped on the scale, as I do about once a week, and discouragingly reviewed my equivalent of the magic eight ball’s response. 240. ERRGGGHH! If only I had the discipline to manage my food intake I’d be able to drop weight with the amount of riding I was doing.

And then, as if I were the Wiley Coyotte screeching to a halt over the middle of a gulley, I stopped and said “Wait. What?!” “If only I had the DISCIPLINE!?” That was humbling. I realized right then and there that something owned me. It explained the shame after eating my box of Triscuits and half block of sharp cheddar cheese. But it wasn’t a comfortable realization.

Discipline, I realized, was more than convincing myself at every test not to give in to an option counter to my goal. Discipline wasn’t trying to push myself into the positive action castle, but that I was defending the castle from an intruder. It’s my house. But…seconds tick, minutes slip away, hours pass, days go by and the disappointment of that realization fades. I concede small battle areas. “Avery won’t eat an entire ¼ pounder; I’ll just add that little bit to my burger.” Before you can blink, I’m numb to the frustration I initially felt.

But this is more than just about food. And at the same time it’s not really about anything important at all, either. It’s just the minor battles I encounter while trying to accomplish my competitive goals. They’re not life or death issues so I need to keep that in perspective. But it did point out that there’s more that I can do in my training.

This past Sunday was the Yankee Springs Time Trial; the first true mountain bike race of my season. I took the entire week off two weeks ago, the week I was supposed to really hit it pretty good before a taper week last week. But I just needed the mental reset. I did fine on Sunday. Not as well as I maybe could have if I hadn’t skipped that week, but just fine.

I’m hoping that these are fairly common struggles of weekend warrior athletes. This week is a good hard week and then next week is another taper week leading up to the Fort Custer Stampede. I’m looking forward to the physical and mental challenges of this season. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time training physically over the winter. I’m planning on a few ‘mental taper’ weeks to help out with the mental strengthening . I’m planning them now so that I can hopefully avoid taking them out of necessity in inopportune times. My new plan is to research and add some mental, sport specific, training. I’m thinking this could lead to some new and different posts over my next 100.

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

 

Michigan Mountain Biking: The Training Chronicles

I’ve been busy. Lake Tahoe was fun. This past week was a terrible week for and of training. I don’t have a ton of time to update my blog right now, so I was forced to be efficient doing two things at once: ride my bike AND create a blog post at the same time. Here’s the result:

 

And here’s the kids sledding down the hill:

 

Talk to you soon….

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.

Self Taught

After my ride the other night, I revisited my stack of exercise articles that I’ve printed off over the years and visited a few YouTube sites for tips. It’s amazing what you can find if you really look. I haven’t ever hired a professional coach or personal trainer for bike training. It’s not that I don’t see their value; rather, it’s just not in my weekly allowance budget. Therefore I’ve had to rely on what I hear other riders doing and what I can find on the interwebs.

I am sure that the business of coaching is gratifying, but it has to be a tough one these days with everything that’s available for free on the web. Even though most articles and videos are only teasers for more developed programs, there’s enough information collectively to put together a pretty decent training program. I know that my scheduling and drill structure would be tweaked by a knowledgeable trainer, but I’m also finding that part of the fun in developing a training plan is exploring, finding, and creating on my own.

I’m taking my training program more seriously this year. I am jumping from the ‘Sport’ class to the ‘Expert’ class as defined in Michigan (other states use the ‘Cat’ system).  My training plan for the past two winters was simple: ride outside. Often. After watching a couple of riding buddies really take some strides through a disciplined training plan, I figured it could only help if I was more intentional about it this year.

I don’t claim to have the greatest training plan, or even one that’s going to work. But, if I can offer anything here, it’s my training plan from week to week as I’ve posted, and links to two trainers I’m subscribed to on YouTube (I am not affiliated with them at all, I just found them interesting). I’m providing the links to their websites, but you can look up their YouTube channels as well for some of their free tips to get started. I’d love to hear of some other training tips or resources if you have any.

http://www.bikejames.com

http://www.cyclo-club.com/public/main.cfm

I’m also working on my cross-training this winter with body-weight strength building exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, split squats, etc.). I’m choosing to do body weight stuff to help build core strength at the same time.  I’ve also found that trail building provides a good all-around butt whooping, so I’ve been helping the past few weeks with a local trail that’s being built. Call it a triple bottom line project: a personal work-out, social support, and faster access to a new mountain bike trail :). Here’s the trail so far:

 

 

I’m looking forward to seeing how my plan works out next year. I don’t have any visions of grandeur or expect to improve so much in one off season that I compete for 1st in my new class, but I do want to see some improvement, and 2nd or 3rd would be acceptable 🙂

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