PowerTap

Double Bogus to Pioneer

2009-08-09CropUhl in Eagle, ID – To get ready for the 1,000 Warriors race in Utah in a couple weeks I did my second double Bogus ever. The first time I did it was with Heather in late May of this year when we needed some climbing miles. Today I managed to beat our time by 15 minutes and post a decent norm power for the 6-hour affair.

Here’s the the GPS data (no power) on Garmin Connect: 
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/10830023

While the Garmin reports elevation gain of 11,527 feet, that’s a little optimistic. My calculations based on just the peaks and valleys of the “real” climbs comes out to 10,000 feet of climbing in 103 miles. This compares to 7,500 feet of climbing for the 96-mile 1,000 Warriors race.


Slammed

2009-03-15Crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – So that didn’t go as I’d hoped! Multiple factors contributed to my downfall today but the biggest one was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Got dropped within the first 15 minutes of the first race of the year! Oh well. I was really bummed as I was time-trialing while I watched the pack ride away from me, thinking that it was all my leg’s fault.

2009-03-15MMPWell fortunately I rode with my PowerTap and was able analyze my power data when I got home. One TrainingPeaks WKO+ chart I like to look at is my Mean Maximal Power (MMP) for a ride versus my all-time best. How close the solid yellow line comes to the dotted line is how close I came to breaking a personal best for that duration.

In this case, the graphs come awfully close together in the 1.5–2 minute range. Looking at the details, I was only 4% off of my best 1min 43second effort…ever! And that PR was achieved mid-season in 2005, one of my best years.

Continue reading "Slammed" »


Two Tabatas

Click to view intervals. Uhl in Eagle, ID – Tried to do Tabatas today with renewed focus on achieving 210% of my VO2Max power, currently estimated at 375 watts. So that's 788 watts for each 20-second "On" period! Well, I only hit 736 on the first and then 645 on the second before giving up. But comparing to my other attempts, it's the best yet. My next goal is to see if I can do three above 600 watts. Baby steps...right?!


Mount Harrison Hill Climb

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – With 4,500 feet of climbing in 16 miles, Mt Harrison Hill Climb is tougher than Bogus. Not only that, but the steepest parts come in the last few miles...ouch! Ben and I carpooled to the little town of Albion, just past Burley. This was definitely a low-key race as there were only about 40 or so participants. I think the 2.5 hour drive each way deters a lot of people. It has for me as this was the first year I did it.

Heather and I have actually ridden it before as reconnaissance when it was stage finish in the International Women's Challenge many years ago. Back then we only rode to the Pomerelle Mountain Resort lodge. So I hadn't ridden the last few miles to the look out, and those proved to be the hardest. I was duly warned that it was steep so I had my 12–27 cassette. I also used Heather's PowerTap wheel so I could pace myself. I used it the same way I did on the Bogus Tuesday Nighter and it worked really well. I fell off the front group early on, even before the turn up the hill. But then I started picking people off after the corner and then all the way to the lodge.

By the time I got past the lodge, I was struggling to match my target of 300 watts. At that point I was in survival mode and was happy to see 270 watts. I think the lack of oxygen had something to do with that. Did I mention that the top of the top is at 9,300 feet above sea level? Yeah, there was still small patches of snow up there. The views were incredible but once I stopped riding I got cold so I didn't stick around and just headed back down to the car. I managed to do it in about 1:18 which was good for 8th place overall and 2nd in the 1/2's. Not bad, but I still felt like I could have used more recovery from my Tour de Park City. It was certainly a great LT workout!

Full results on BoiseCycling.com


2 x Forest Service Signs

Click to view intervalsUhl in Eagle, ID – Even though I'm not fully recovered from the Tour de Park City, I wanted to do some LT work today. The Mount Harrison Hill Climb is on Saturday so if I did a solid workout today, I'd still have enough recovery time to bring my CTL back into positive territory.

The half-Bogus Tuesday Nighters have been going on, so I planned my ride so I could do a modified 2x20; I'd do an LT interval before the race group ride started, then descend down and meet up with the group for the Tuesday Nighter. I started my first interval at the bottom and kept it mostly high-tempo, low-LT. My legs didn't feel bad but the air was humid and felt thick so breathing was hard. It wasn't super hot but it was nice to feel the cooler temperatures as I gained altitude. But I still felt a little dehydrated from the weekend.

I managed to make it up to the Forest Service Sign on my first interval in about 38 minutes with a normalized power of 278 watts. Then I quickly turned around and descended so I could get to the gas station and re-fill my bottles before the Tuesday Nighter.

After filling my bottles I rode back up to the starting intersection and there were quite a few people in attendance. I only had to wait a couple minutes and then the we headed up. I estimate there were about about 50 riders and I settled into the middle of the pack for the first part of Corrals. As the group increased speed, I dropped back as I was experimenting with using my power meter for pacing a hill climb like this. There has been discussion on the Wattage Group on whether the pacing benefit outweighs the weight disadvantage of using a pwer meter on a hill climb.

Continue reading "2 x Forest Service Signs" »


Jason Broome TT

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today was the first race of the George's Spring Series and it was the Jason Broome Time Trial. I didn't get my TT bike together until last night because I was waiting on new headset bearings so without much time on the bike, I knew I wouldn't generate as much power as on my road bike. But I didn't think it would be 40 watts different!

Img_1261The first start time was delayed due to some registration issues. The worst part was the cold wind, so after waiting in the long registration line for ten minutes, I decided to go back to my warm car and return when the line was almost done. Once registered we learned that start times were significantly further out than previously sheduled so we had a lot of time to kill. It gave a good opportunity to chat with fellow teammates and friends. Fortunately I didn't have any commitments or a need to get the car back to Heather so I wasn't riled by the delay.

The course was the same as last year with a 1km downhill followed by straight flat section with one turn towards the south. The wind was steady at probably 25 MPH and it was cold! I "warmed-up" on the trainer and did a 15-minute LT push. I didn't try to kill myself on it but it hurt more than it should have. I should have taken this as a warning sign.

Continue reading "Jason Broome TT" »


Warm, Cold, Warm

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Another warm day here in the Treasure Valley so I set out to do a long ride. I was initially planning to go west to Emmett Rd. Then head over to Emmett Valley and head west to Horseshoe Bend. That would have been about a four hour ride. But on my way out, I could feel the fatigue in my legs from yesterday's short, but intense, workout. So as I was heading west on Beacon Light, I decided to just do a straight Emmett-Horseshoe Bend loop.

After 10 minutes of fairly easy spinning, I kicked it into Tempo territory and kept it there most of the ride. I pushed it on the longer hills just a little past threshold. It was fairly warm on the way up Hwy 16 and through Emmett. But once I got into Black Canyon, it was much colder, probably in the low 40's. That's not too bad, but I dressed for the 55° weather back in the valley and the headwind didn't help. But since I was working it, my core stayed fairly warm and I continued to push it though the canyon.

Continue reading "Warm, Cold, Warm" »


Variety Workout

20071121crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a couple easy days since my record-breaking ride on Sunday, I felt like I was ready to go hard again and my resting HR confirmed that. Today I did a variation of the standard 2x20 Lactate Threshold (LT) workout.

20071121lt1After warming up for 15 minutes, I started my first LT interval. But instead of keeping the wattage steady, I did a 10-second burst every minute. In between bursts, I just tried to keep the wattage above 260. As the interval progressed, it got harder and harder to do so. After 15 minutes of this, I really wanted to quit, but I plugged along. Initially I was hitting 410-420 watts on the bursts, but by the end I was happy with 380.

Continue reading "Variety Workout" »


1-minute Personal Best!

20071118crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – I can't believe it, I broke my 1-minute power by almost 10% today! When I see such a large gap, I always wonder if maybe my power meter had a fit. But that's not looking like the case. Here's how it played out...

I waited until the afternoon to ride since it rained last night and part of this morning. Even though it was cloudy all day, the temps were really warm and I was waiting for the roads to dry off. By early afternoon, the roads were mostly dry and I headed west out on Floating Feather. I wanted to do a few laps on the former Hillsdale circuit race course and do a mish-mash of a workout, kind of like a race prep workout, but longer.

I eased into tempo zone (Level 3) soon after setting out. I did feel a little residual fatigue in my legs from yesterday's LT workout, but it was easy get my power up to Level 3 without much thought. This was a good sign. I went straight to Hillsdale with a sprint, and then a couple pushes into Level 4 and 5 to "blow out the pipes". The wind was at my back and I was just flying on the way out...that was fun!

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1-hour FTP Test

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a couple week of riding, then a forced break while I was in LA, I thought I'd change the start of my 2008 training plan to today! It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things; it only affects my Excel-based training diary which I've setup to handle one season's worth of data.

So what better way to start my season than to do a 1-hour functional threshold power (FTP) test! Since the weather is still nice around here I took advantage of the warm temperatures and did a 1-hour threshold test up Bogus Basin Road. I got an idea of what my FTP currently is from the MAP Test a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to confirm it. Well, my estimated 270 was duely confirmed, as my 1-hour power today was 272!


MAP Test

20070924map Uhl in Eagle, ID – I figured I'd start the season off with an assessment of my fitness. I performed the maximal aerobic power (MAP) test as it's a quick benchmark of fitness without having to suffer for a whole hour with a functional threshold power (FTP) test. Doing an FTP test indoors is just excrutiating for me. Although MAP looks a slightly different aspect of one's fitness, it still can be used as a baseline. The Richard Stern Training web site has a good explanation of the MAP test and protocol.

Basically, you steadily ramp up your wattage until you can't go anymore. Sound like fun? Well, it actually isn't that bad since you're done in 10 minutes or so. You only really suffer during the last few minutes. So I reluctantly put my bike on a trainer and start warming up. I prefer riding rollers over a trainer, but since I'll be riding to failure, balancing on rollers may not be the best idea!

I only did one MAP test last season and it was in January when I had fairly good fitness. Back then I hit 401 watts for the last minute. This time I managed 368 watts. I don't feel that's too bad considering all the time off I've had recently. Actually, it's a nice place to start...at this point it can only go up! When looking the FTP/MAP ratio I had last year, the same ratio yields me an FTP of 270. Not too surprising as this is what I estimate my current FTP to be, just based on perceived exertion over the last week of riding.


Bogus Basin Hillclimb

Img_7653_3Uhl in Eagle, ID – Good thing I'm in the middle of my "off-season" as the smoke was thick for the 2007 Bogus Basin Hillclimb. I've been taking the last three weeks completely off the so it was nice to be able to support Heather at the hillclimb without the stress of racing myself. Unfortunately, Heather's lungs don't like the smoke either, but doing the race was part of her training plan so there she was. I was able to drive up the road and wait for the riders to go by to cheer them on and take pictures. It was fun yelling for the people, then looking at their faces saying, "Who's that!?" Heather did okay, but not great. She was second in the women and a few minutes slower than last time she did it. Still a good 1-hour effort and since she rode with a PowerTap, we have a good idea of her current FTP.

Full results on Spondoro.com:
http://www.spondoro.com/results/HillClimb/2007/results.pdf


Different Hub, Higher Max!

20070711crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – Even though I've backed off my training recently, I've still kept up my regimen of doing one neuromuscular workout each week. Since I only sprint for 15 seconds or less during these workouts, with complete recovery, it's not really a physiologically taxing workout. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was suspicious of the 1328 max wattage I achieved with my new PowerTap SL hub. So I have switched to using my older PowerTap Pro wheel.

Img_7543Well today I managed a whopping 1360 max with my tried and true PowerTap Pro! There's still some level of doubt in that number due to PowerTap's pre-session effect, but it's still cool, nonetheless. After I downloaded the ride, I was disappointed to find out that I didn't break my 5-second best of 1250 watts. But I did come within 16 watts of it, which makes it my second best of all time!

20070711crop2_2 To better analyze my sprints, I created a new worksheet in my Excel-based training diary and I now record the stats for each sprint and visualize it in a modified version of the chart I use for regular intervals (LT, VO2, etc.). Instead of only showing Averages, I've added Minimum and Maximums and changed the HR graph to Speed. I'm still playing around with this but if anything it's been interesting to look at my sprints this way. Maybe with more data, I'll be able to identify trends by looking at wattage versus RPM.


Can this be?

Img_0032Uhl in Eagle, ID – Not only did I hit the highest max power today, I also broke my 5-second record. The former is not a big deal; PowerTaps aren't the best power meter for capturing maximum wattages due to aliasing. But I'll take the 5-second wattage of 1,250, anyday! Ironically, that's exactly the sprint wattage goal I had set for myself back in November. I guess all the backing off I've done recently has a great side effect: a fresh nueromuscular system!

I do have a slight concern with the accuracy of my new PowerTap SL wheel, due the hub problems I've been having (I'm working with Saris on it). But the numbers are realistic. Just a few days ago, I was hitting near those wattages during another sprint workout and was suspicious of the hub's accuracy. So I came home and switched to our PowerTap Standard wheel. When I went back out, I did a couple more sprints and was able to produce similar numbers.

I would still like to finally get my hub issue resolved. It's disconcerting that once the torque is zero'd, the value will change when the wheel is rotated to a different position. The other thing is that if I zero the torque while stationary, it will then read 2-3 ft/lbs a few seconds later while coasting. Both of those things don't happen with our PowerTap Standard wheel. To add insult to injury, the XR300 rim I chose (aka, IRD's Cadence Aero Niobium) is making noise. When I mentioned this to Dave Thomas of Speeddream.com, he was able to reproduce the noise with his own set of XR300's. He thinks the noise is coming from the nipple/rim interface and offered to insert brass washers in my wheel. But I'm waiting to send him the wheel until I get the hub issue fully resolved. Sometimes I wish I didn't "upgrade" to the SL and just got an SRM!


Easing Back Into It

20070619crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – The reason it's been so quiet around here is because I've taken a break off the bike. I was feeling fatigued through the month of May and even though I reduced my training volume, my recovery remained limited. I was able to go hard from time to time, but when I did, it would knock me down for a few days. So after the Eagle Criterium, I took the whole week off the bike and started easing back into things this past weekend.

Today I did my first "hard" workout since my break. I just did a two hour ride with a set of 2x20's. They went well and I was able to knock them both out at 300 watts, but they did feel a bit harder than expected for that wattage. Hopefully that's just due to a slight de-training effect and being a little blocked. After the ride I didn't feel thrashed but will still take it easy the next couple days. I don't want to fall back into over-training, which is probably what my problem was in May.

I've been training fairly hard since October, with only a short break after Valley of the Sun. So in hindsight, it makes sense that I needed a break. From now on I'm going to plan more recovery time into my schedule, at the expense of a lower chronic training load (CTL). I have a feeling I've found my CTL ceiling of 100TSS/day, which seems to be a common limit as shown by the non-scientific poll I posted on CyclingForums.com.


Coyote Classic

20070520 Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today I reminded myself why I haven't done a mountain bike race in a couple years:

1) They're really hard! It's like doing a 40k time trial, but for two hours! I don't have a power meter on my mountain bike, but I did use my PowerTap in HR-mode. My average HR was 172! That's almost my threshold HR! It also didn't help that I went into the race feeling overtrained. I think all the mountain biking I did this week was a bit much. Even so, every time I do a mountain bike race, I realize how much "easier" road racing is. There's just no resting in a mountain bike race. Even when descending, you have to be on top of it and stay focused. With all the body english, even while descending my HR only got down to around 140!

2) Racing mountain bikes negates all the things I actually like about mountain biking. Like taking my time and just going whatever pace I feel like. Enjoying the scenery and the sounds of being out in nature. No worries about wattage or HR. Just riding for fun. But when you race mountain bikes, it's stressful! First you have a chaotic start with everyone sprinting from the line (not at the line, like at the end of a road race). Then once the dust settles you're either trying to pass someone, or being passed. This is especially nerve-wracking on singletrack. That's where I was actually trying to do the passing! And of course, there's no time to enjoy the scenery. What fun is that!?

Continue reading "Coyote Classic" »


PowerTap SL Hub Problem

Uhl in Eagle, ID – This video shows a problem with my new PowerTap SL hub. When I tighten the non-driveside axle lock nut, it will cause the entire axle and freehub body to "wobble" when it's rotated. Originally, I thought this was caused by a bent axle, but the problem persisted after replacing it with a new axle from Saris. So after much trial and error, I pinpointed the issue: When the lock nut is only hand tight, the axle barely wobbles. But when the lock nut is securely tightened, the driveside end of the axle, along with the freehub body and cassette, all wobble significantly.

Since the axle is "crooked" in the hub, this problem also manifests itself when the wheel is placed in the bike. Depending on the orientation of the axle, the wheel will be skewed in a different direction than the vertical plane of the bike. With the wheel resting in the rear dropouts, I can use a cone wrench to rotate the axle and see the spacing between the tire and the chainstays, change.

I figured a video would give the folks at Saris a better idea of exactly what was happening. Sometimes phone conversations aren't the best for describing technical issues. Unfortunately, the camera I have doesn't have great resolution. And on top of that, more detail is lost due to Google Video's compression. But if you look closely, you'll see the wobble during the second part of the video.

Continue reading "PowerTap SL Hub Problem" »


Riding by Feel

20070509cropUhl in Eagle, ID – I wanted to do a long ride today and considered doing the Payette Loop. But after more thought I changed my mind and settled on the Hamilton Corner-Emmett Loop. That way, once I get to Emmett, I have the option to go on to Horseshoe Bend if I feel great, or head home if I don't. With the Payette Loop, once you're out there, there's no short-cutting home!

The weather was awesome with clear blue skies and a starting temperature approaching 70°F. There was a good south wind blowing, which meant that I'd have a headwind on the way home. I wanted to just enjoy a nice long ride without any structured intervals. So I set my PowerTap to display max wattage, so I wouldn't have my current wattage staring me in the face. This is essentially the same thing as taping over the PowerTap display, but without wasting tape or leaving any gummy residue!

Continue reading "Riding by Feel" »


Power Upgrade

Img_7154Uhl in Eagle, ID – I've always been reluctant to use either of our PowerTap wheels because they are so darn heavy. We've got the older, 32-hole PowerTap standard hubs built up on Mavic Open Pro's. They're fine for training but they're neither light nor aerodynamic. They're both almost 5 years old and for the last few months one of them has been dropping power sporadically. I knew the inevitable was coming and a couple weeks ago, it finally died.

So I called Saris and they gave us the option to "upgrade" to a complete SL system (including new coded HR strap) for a price we couldn't refuse! I de-laced the wheel and sent in our bad hub. The rim was still good and so I'll eventually walk it over to our second PowerTap hub. The rim on that one has a nasty dip in it and goes out of true regularly (too bad it wasn't this hub that died!).

Continue reading "Power Upgrade" »


Pre-Race Power

20070414crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today I did my typical pre-race ride which is a mostly tempo ride with a few "blow-out" efforts thrown in here and there. I had company as UTRider is in town and I wanted to meet this fellow cycling blogger. I told him what my plan was and that I was fine if he just wanted to hang on my wheel and get some free motor-pacing!

After a few minutes of chatting, I did my first LT push at a nice 320 watts for a couple minutes. Then I settled into high tempo range. Then I proceeded to do a few 1-minute and 30-second efforts, only recovering in high Level 3 in between. It was windy out and since UTRider is a tall guy, I felt sorry that he wasn't getting such a good draft, but I was impressed that he was able to hold on most of the time.

I ended with short form sprint, then we moseyed back to town and chatted some more. My power was really good, and like yesterday, I was wondering if something was up with my PowerTap? But again, the data from the download looks good, so maybe I'm finally coming into form! We'll see tomorrow as it will certainly be a race of attrition. With the hills and a high winds, only the strong will survive!


Slammer Road Race

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today was the second race of the George's Spring Series, affectionately called the "Slammer" due to the proximity to the Idaho Correctional Facility. The weather was great and with our late start of around 12:30, it was warm enough to race in just shorts and a jersey. There was a wind, but not as bad as it can be out there in the open desert. But with only a couple small hills on the course, the wind is usually the biggest factor. Ted and I carpooled to the start area and got there early, so I had time to take a few pictures of other categories that were already in progress.

Img_0197 Starting for the Intermountain Orthopaedics elite were Ben, Hugo, Kelsey, Ken, Ted and myself. It was the biggest elite team contingent we've had in years. The race started fairly mellow with a couple guys eventually pushing the pace to "get a workout in". Once we were on Cloverdale, the crosswind became a factor and the attacks started flying. Ted and I were trying to only respond to the GC contenders for the series, and not worrying about non-GC threats. A little while later TH and KA went off the front, but the GC race was still in the main field so we didn't worry about it.

Continue reading "Slammer Road Race" »


Easiest Ride of the Year

20070312cropUhl in Eagle, ID – With my focus this season on Quality over Quantity, I haven't done many "easy" rides. I've never been a fan of active recovery rides—riding at Level 1 (L1) for 1-2 hours. If I need a rest day, then sitting on a saddle for a couple hours with my power barely reaching 170 watts is not my idea of recovery. After a hard block of training or racing, there are certain parts of my body that need recovery just as much as my physiological systems! So what I usually do is jump on the rollers for 10 minutes to just spin my legs out. Once every few weeks, I'll take a day completely off. But more often than not, I'll just get on the rollers.

So today, I broke my tradition and actually went out for an hour at an L1/L2 pace. It was strange riding at such an easy pace and I found myself constantly gravitating towards to a more Tempo-like wattage. Instead of using my PowerTap to keep my wattage up, I was using it to keep my wattage down! But it was great to get out and enjoy the spring weather and do a route that I wouldn't otherwise. Total ride time was just over an hour at an Intensity Factor (IF) of .64, making it the easiest ride I've done in 6 months (not counting those 10-minute spins)!


TT Bike Transformation

Img_7101Uhl in Eagle, ID – This morning I did my usual pre-race workout with a few short efforts at LT and VO2 pace. It felt good and I'm excited for tomorrow's time trial. Since I've been using our Javelin TT bike as my primary bike this past week, I had installed a PowerTap harness on it and used regular spoked wheels along with the mandatory saddle bag and pump. So before I switched it back to "TT-mode", I gave it a good cleaning.

Img_7112 Then on went the Zipp disk and a deep-section front wheel and I stripped all the "extras", save the old Avocet computer which only has a working cadence sensor. That's right, no speedometer! I find that time trialing based on cadence works very well for me since I have a narrow range I like to keep my RPMs when going at LT effort. Power would be great, but without a way to get power and use a disk, cadence is the next thing I pay attention to.


TT Course Preview #1

2007030801crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – This morning I drove out to the Blacks Creek exit to pre-ride the time trial course for Sunday...or so I thought!? I warmed up for twenty minutes on the trainer before driving out. It was only in the 40's when I got out there but it was sunny which made it feel warmer. I decided to get on my bike and just start a practice TT, without any more warm-up. Man, was that a mistake! The first 5 minutes were torture...and it was not because I went out too hard. I was very careful to only sprint for a few seconds to get on top of the gear, then sit down and keep it below threshold for the next 5 minutes.

Even though my legs hurt, the bike felt good and it felt fast even without aero wheels. Since I had my PowerTap, I worked on pacing on the rollers. I would go above threshold on the uphills and below on the downhills. I did kick it up for the last 4 minutes and pushed it to the line. I wasn't trying to go all out today so my average wattage for that effort was only 301 watts. I practiced the start again, then headed home.

Img_7094x_1When I got home, I was talking to a friend of mine about the course and the description given to him seemed a little off from mine. On the George's Spring Series web page, it just says Exit 71. It doesn't give the name of the exit (who remembers numbers to local exits!) and it doesn't say anything about a new course. So I assumed it was the same course used for the past three years. But during our conversation, that assumption went out the window! So I called George's Cycles & Fitness and found out that Exit 71 is not the Blacks Creek exit; it's the Mayfield/Orchard exit! The next exit east of Blacks Creek. So I rode the wrong course! Oh well, it was still a good workout. But it looks like I'll be heading back out to the desert once more!


Chilly Ride

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today was the first outside ride since returning from Valley of the Sun and, man, did it feel cold! It was overcast and only 38°F when I left my house. I really got spoiled riding in 85° weather! But I had already committed to ride with my teammate Ben today, so I didn't feel right about completely backing out. I did a short warm-up on the trainer with a 5-minute push. The push felt awful on my legs and it was hard to maintain my power so I started considering changing my workout plan. I wanted to do a long tempo ride with some LT intervals.

After my warm-up, I headed down to Reed Cycles to meet-up with Ben. Ben brought a ex-teammate of his along and the three of us headed west. The wind felt colder that I expected and I wasn't too psyched for the ride. As we hit Beacon Light Road I tried a 5-minute push. I can usually do better on the road versus the trainer. My legs still felt awful, but the power numbers were much better. So much better that I was wondering if the PowerTap needed to be zero'd. I did switch bikes between the trainer and the road, but I was using the same CPU and hub so there's no reason it should have been different (after I got home, I confirmed it was correct). But I could tell by the way my legs felt I should wait another day before doing my planned workout.

At that point my hands were already freezing so I decided to shorten the ride and do a sprint workout instead. Looking back, I hadn't done a true sprint workout in a month, so it was much needed. My power for the sprints were significantly off from what they used to be, confirming that I shouldn't slack off and always do my once-a-week neuromuscular workout.


Old Standby: 2x20's

20070228crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – I got back into my training plan today with a simple 2x20 workout on the trainer. I spent more time than usual in Level 2 during my warm-up while I made a minor adjustment to my position. When I finally started the first interval, my legs felt the same as yesterday...awful! But I chose a conservative target and managed to finish the interval with an average wattage of 292. During the interval, my legs felt so bad that I was toying with the idea of only doing one. But after five minutes of easy spinning, I squashed that idea! Surprisingly the second interval felt better...either that, or, I was just used to the pain by then! I averaged 297 Watts for the second interval even though I didn't really focus on the PowerTap. After the ride, I had that good feeling you get after a hard workout and was glad I didn't cut it short. I think my body is just not used to training after a week off; it probably just needs some time to get into the groove.


Old Stomping Grounds

2007_02_21crop Uhl in Sandy, UT – Yesterday we drove from St George to Salt Lake City and we're staying here for a couple nights since Heather has some business to do. I managed to get out for a great road ride today. I headed south on Wasatch Blvd and went up South Mountain. I tried pushing the hills and I kind of had to, since I only had a 39x23. Even when I raced this last year I had a 27-tooth rear cog, so today with the stiff headwind, I was crawling up it at 52 RPM! I figured it was great strength training!? The weather was just too nice to not ride; which was my original plan for this week after Valley of the Sun.

Photo_022107_001I headed down the fairly new, Suncrest Drive into Alpine. I meandered through Alpine from the back way and made it to the Highland Hwy. I decided that I was feeling good enough that I wanted to do more climbing so I headed up American Fork Canyon, part of the scenic Alpine Loop. This is a ride that Heather and I did often when we lived in Pleasant Grove. It's a beautiful ride. But I knew I'd be hitting snow at some point, but hopefully I'd be able to at least get to the Timpanogos Cave.

Continue reading "Old Stomping Grounds" »


Packfill

Img_6957Uhl in Tempe, AZ – That's basically what Heather and I were in today's criteriums...filler of the pack. I had nothing left in my legs today and just hung out at the back of the pack for most of the 50-minute criterium. With about 15 minutes to go, I started moving up but when I got up near the front of the field but I didn't have the power to stay there and thing were getting sketchy with 5 laps to go. So I just stayed safe until the finish and finished with the same time.

Before and after the race I had to deal with the issue of my missing placement in yesterday's road race, along with a bunch of other Cat 2's. Long story, short: I ended up getting 23rd yesterday with a 5 second bonus for third in the KOM on the fourth lap. I didn't realize there was a rider up the road at the time. I'm still not convinced the "final" results are totally correct—there were still people protesting when they started our awards ceremony, but I don't think it would have changed the top 10 at all. So overall I was 11th.

I'm sure Heather will write her super-detailed race report later, but to summarize, she also finished with the pack in the criterium and held onto her 7th G.C. position. Overall a decent weekend.


Personal Best on Day Off?

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Even though today was a day off (Yoga doesn't count), I managed to break my 5-second mean maximal power (MMP)? How? Well, I've been looking at my past training diaries analyzing when I had "good" days. As my criteria I used: 1) days I broke a yearly or all-time MMP, 2) days I was "in the zone", when I could put the power down with very little perceive exertion, and 3) good race days.

I knew that I achieved my best 5-second MMP back in 2002. This was odd since it wasn't one of my better seasons. I didn't break any other power records that year. So I looked at the ride graph for that workout and noticed that my power never went zero...even when coasting! A telltale sign that my PowerTap wasn't zero'd that day!! So I fixed the original data file (thank goodness I keep CSV's of all my workouts), then re-imported it. While the 5-second number was still good, it was no longer an all-time best. That honor went to a day in 2003, at 1,198 watts. But that day back in November when I broke both my max and 12-second MMP, I thought it was odd that I didn't break the 5-second. Well I did...by one measely watt at 1,199! Not a significant difference, but I'll take it!


Plugging Along

Uhl in Eagle, ID – I'm sure everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting for my next blog entry, but when my training is only mediorcre, I just don't feel very motivated to write. After Thursday's outdoor ride, I've been on the trainer trying to get in some quality workouts. I have these delusions that my legs will finally start feeling good and crank out some epic intervals, but that hasn't happened. On Friday I got the time trial bike out and put the spare PowerTap harness on it so I could get used to my TT position. That afternoon I only rode for 30 minutes to make sure everything was dialed in...besides I needed the recovery.

2007_01_27crop Saturday I wanted to do 3x20's on the TT bike, but from the first minute of the first interval I knew that wasn't happening! My legs burned immediately and the power was somewhat weak, but I was able to push through and complete the first one. Then I switched to the rollers in the garage (where it's a lot cooler) and cranked out a second interval. That one didn't hurt as much but the power was the same, weak. I forgot how sketchy the TT bike is on the rollers but I managed to do some of the interval in the aerobars and the rest on the bull horns.

Yesterday I did some seated sprints during an hour of Level 2 followed by 45 minutes of Tempo. Then today my legs weren't feeling great so I just did an hour of Level 2, saving it for tomorrow. The weather forecast looks like it may warm up in the near future so I'm looking to increase my training load over the next two weeks which would leave me one week to taper for the Valley of the Sun which starts on Friday, February 16. Season is almost here, and I'm not sure I'm ready for it!?


Outside Tempo

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – The weather was great today so I went for an outside ride with a couple of my teammates, Ted and Ben. I spun on the trainer for half an hour before they showed up so I could "pad" my ride. Not to mention warming up indoors helps reduce the shock when you finally go outside. Even though it was sunny and warmer than it has been, it was still brisk out.

We went right into Tempo and sustained a great pace for about 45 minutes. Then we, or at least I, eased up a bit to eat. Then up Emmett Rd we pushed it again and I considered it a mini Lactate Threshold interval. We eased up on South Slope Rd, then rode Tempo up Old Freezeout and down Hwy 16. By then my legs were feeling it! It was a great ride and it was nice to get out with teammates. I definitely push myself more when I ride with others!


Outside Ride!

2007_01_07crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – Yesterday I did a short, easy ride with a couple test pushes at threshold; both only two minutes each. During the ride my legs felt better than they had in a long time! I knew the weather was supposed to better today, that's part of the reason I kept it easy—I wanted to save it for today's ride! The forecast was correct and today it was in the 40's with no rain, so I was finally able to ride outside. Besides my St. George ride on Christmas Day, I hadn't ridden outside in three weeks! My resting HR was also really low this morning, usually an indicator that I'm well-rested. Over the past month, while I've been in my riding "funk", it's been 2-3 beats higher than normal, even after "rest" days. So today's number was another good sign.

I started my ride with intentions of doing a sprint workout, followed by some tempo. Just gotta do those sprints when I have the chance to ride outside! My max powers on the first few sprints weren't that great, but it's been a while since I've done a true sprint workout, so it was understandable. As I was heading west on Beacon Light towards Can Ada Rd. I thought maybe I should do a couple hard anaerobic efforts. So I turned north on Can Ada, and did an interval on that steep section of road. I cranked it all the way up and kept looking at the clock to make sure it was a 1-minute effort. If I'm going to do short effort like that, might as well make it a duration I can compare to past scores!

Continue reading "Outside Ride!" »


Long Trainer Ride

2007_01_04crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – My legs felt heavy today after yesterday's workout but I still wanted to get a decent TSS ride in. I ended up getting wrapped up on a side project most of the day, so I didn't work out until Heather came home. So we rode together again this evening, while watching some more movies. I did a mostly Level 2 ride with one hour of tempo (Level 3) towards the end. I made sure I had enough food and water nearby so I wouldn't have to get off the bike.

Throughout my tempo effort, it became harder and harder to pay attention to the movie, so we switched over to music. I finished off the ride with a 15-minute cool-down. I thought I rode for 2:15, but since I forgot to clear my PowerTap before I started, I wasn't really sure how long the first part of my ride was. So it was an added bonus when I downloaded the ride and saw that it was two and a half hours...I think my longest indoor ride ever! I don't have the "trainer" gene like Heather does (who's known to put in 5-hour trainer rides). So for me, anything over two hours is an accomplishment. Exact ride time was 2hrs 31mins with 149 TSS and 230/234 ave/norm power.


60-minute Test

Img_6837 Uhl in Eagle, ID – Our living room becomes a workout room during the winter with all the trainers, fans and makeshift tables (for remotes and other riding paraphernalia) but it's just so much nicer than riding in the cold, ugly garage. For today's test I decided to ride the trainer. Since I knew today would be hard, I turned off the heat early this morning so the downstairs would stay cool, then moved Heather's fan towards my trainer and brought in the fan from the garage. For most of my workouts, the ceiling fan and some of the wind from Heather's fan is usually enough, but I knew today I needed all three pointed directly at me!

After getting everything set up, I hopped on warmed up for 15 minutes with a 2-minute threshold effort. Doing 300 watts felt harder than I thought it should and I got my first clue that this 1-hour test was going to be difficult! After a quick stretch and setting all the fans to "high", I got back on the bike for a few more minutes of L2 then started into the test.

Continue reading "60-minute Test" »


Tempo w/Bursts

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today I did a 45-minute tempo interval with sprints every 3 minutes. It was a good workout and I was surprised that the ave power for the interval was 280...creeping into threshold/L4 territory. It was mainly due to the sprints, which on the trainer I was doing at ~600 watts. So I'll still classify it as a tempo interval. Since it didn't feel that hard, I think I'll try a 60-minute test tomorrow. I'm curious as to what my hour-wattage really is. Even if it isn't that great, it will still be a tough workout. We're heading to St George for Christmas and we're not sure we'll be able ride there...we'll probably just do cross-training. Today's ride was 1hr 5mins and 87 TSS at 253/274 ave/norm power.


6x4 VO2s

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Over the weekend it got much colder so I was back to riding indoors. Saturday and Sunday I just did a couple hour-long tempo rides with Heather while we watched Season 2 of Lost. Today I got a late start to my ride because I was wrapped up with some enhancements to my Excel-based training diary. I've updated my interval charts to display ride summary information. I also added an "info-panel" to my training load chart, showing the current day's details. There's now a link to my latest PMC on the right-hand side of our blog.

Back to my ride...I wanted to do a hard ride so I set out to do 6x5min VO2 intervals. Since my last few attempts at these failed, I targeted the lower end of my L5 range so I could complete all six of them. I did the first three on the trainer and they actually weren't that bad?! My legs didn't start to burn until the third one. Since I was getting toasty riding in the living room, I switched to the rollers in the garage for the last three. Although it was nice and cool, the intervals continued to feel progressively more difficult. I did manage to keep my wattage up, so it was just a matter of mind over pain! For the last one I kicked it up to 380 watts for the last minute..."blowing out the pipes" so to speak.

Continue reading "6x4 VO2s" »


Top 1-minute Powers

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – I got sidetracked this morning with a mini-project: I was curious what a good pacing strategy was to achieve the best 1-minute power. I've tried various strategies over the years, but never quite figured out what was the most effective. I know one that doesn't work for me and that is when I start out as hard as I can, then let my power fade all the way to the 60-second mark. Not only does it fail to give me good wattage, but it also hurts the most!

Another technique I've used is trying to peg my wattage near my most recent 1-minute mean maximal power (MMP), with a 10-second out-of-the-saddle effort at the end. But the strategy that seems to give me the best results is starting with an out-of-the-saddle, sub-maximal sprint for ~10 seconds (padding the ave power w/some high-wattage), then sitting down and cranking it at 90% for seconds 10 through 45, then finally standing and giving it all I've got for the last 15 seconds. But I wanted to know if there would be a trend if I looked at the actual power graphs for my top 1-minute peak powers.

Continue reading "Top 1-minute Powers" »


Winter Chill

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – Speaking of winter, today we got another taste. It didn't snow, but we did get a blast of acrtic air. The temperature this morning was 16°F and it only reached a high of 29°F. So it was another indoor workout for me. I just did a set of 2x20s. Since I was indoors, their wattages weren't anything to write home about. My LTs on the road are almost always better. I warmed up and did the first one on our Cycle-Ops Fluid trainer and then switched over to my Kreitler Rollers for the second one. I just wanted to see if one felt easier than the other. Well, I don't think it made a bit of difference—they both were hard. The first interval felt slightly easier, but that was probably due to being fresh. I will have to say that the Kreitler rollers feel much more realistic. Not just because the bike isn't locked in and you have to balance, but the resistance itself feels more like riding outside. Those 4.5" aluminum rollers plus the Killer Headwind fan seem to provide just the right combination of rotational intertia and resistance. I switched back to the trainer after my intervals for some added saddle time for a total of 1hr 40mins and 111 TSS.


PowerTap Calibration Test

Uhl in Eagle, ID – A recent post to the Wattage list sparked my curiosity on whether our PowerTaps were calibrated. I knew there was a procedure to test it, but I didn't realize it was so simple! So I finally tried it today. It's also referred to as the "stomp test". For you PowerTap users out there, this procedures only checks the calibration; there's no way to calibrate it yourself. For that you'll need to send it in. But from what I've heard, Saris will usually cover it, if it is found to be way off.

The PowerTap calibration test is posted on the Training with Power FAQ. Basically, you put your bike in a trainer, lock-up your rear wheel (a toe strap cinched tight on the rear brake lever works well), set your PowerTap to display Torque, then apply a known weight onto the right crank-arm in the 3 o'clock position. After you record the number displayed, you can compare it to the result of this formula:

      Torque = Weight(lbs) x Crank-length(mm) x 1in/25.4mm x Cog/Chainring

At first, I tried to use my bodyweight. But even though the bike was in a trainer, balancing on one pedal while trying to avoid any vertical forces, proved harder than I thought. At one point I almost fell over!?

Continue reading "PowerTap Calibration Test" »


Weekend Workouts

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Uhl in Eagle, ID – After my hard 3-day training block earlier this week, I took it fairly easy until the weekend. Since it rained Saturday, I ended up doing some threshold intervals on the rollers. I was excited to see what I could do after a couple days of rest. First I did a 5-minute warm-up interval at threshold. That didn't feel too bad so I decided to test my 20-minute power. I started the effort below threshold and kept it at or near threshold for the first ten minutes. Then I picked it up for the second half. It felt unusually hard—much harder than it felt when pushing the same wattages on Monday. I kicked it up for the last minute but I still wasn't able to break the wattage I achieved three weeks ago. Oh well, the consolation prize was that I did break my 12-minute best for the year. I finished my workout with a 15-minute interval in which I go above threshold at the beginning and the end, and sink below during the middle. It was tough! BTW, the reason there's no HR data in the chart is that my HR battery was dying, although during the last interval, I thought I was dying!

Continue reading "Weekend Workouts" »


Tempo Time

Uhl in Eagle, ID – Yup, I'm sore. That circuit training session last night really got me! So today my only workout was going to be a nice road ride. The day started out cloudy and wet again, but it cleared up by mid-morning. I still waited for the roads to dry. When I finally headed out, it was a crisp, blue-sky day. I set out to do some tempo, so after 15 minutes of easy spinning, I switched over to interval mode on my PowerTap and eased into a tempo effort.

My legs were feeling heavy and it felt harder than it should have. I was only targeting the upper end of Level 3, but it felt more like Level 4. I thought I'd just give it 30 minutes, then if it still felt awful, I'd stop and call it good. I rode up Hwy 16 towards Emmett. I started to feel better by the 20-minute mark, so I kept it going over the top of Freezeout Hill. Today the usual west wind was back in force, which helped me keep my wattage up on the downhill. I then continued westbound on Hwy 52, fighting the headwind all the way to Bowman Rd.

Continue reading "Tempo Time" »


Sprint Power

Img_6821_2Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today ended up being a strength day for me. I went to Pilates in the morning which is always a good core-builder. Then for my ride, I did a road ride with my neighbor Dan. I wasn't planning on doing any intervals, but I wanted to do some sprints. Since Dan is fairly new to cycling, I gave him the rundown on how to sprint. We did an easy-gear sprint as a warm-up and I gave him some pointers.

Then we spun at an easy pace until we got to a section of road where we could do our first real sprint. I put it in a bigger gear and sprinted. Without killing myself I managed to get within 50 watts off of my all-time best of 1306. This was a good sign. Since I was feeling good, I decided to try and break my max. On the second sprint I hit 1274. I was getting closer! Then on the third sprint I did 1297...so close that I could taste it! I knew I could do it if I just pushed hard enough. So on a short uphill section of road, I punched it one final time. I only sprinted for a few seconds, but when I looked down I saw a number which made me smile: 1315 watts...a new record!!!

Continue reading "Sprint Power" »


Microintervals Win

Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today I did another set of microintervals—the kind that makes my power file look like little Bart Simpsons. To test my theory that microintervals make it easier to achieve higher average power, I performed the steady state interval first and the Bart-like interval second. I learned that, even though they were second, microintervals still produced a higher average power—about 20 watts higher! Though, they didn't feel as easy as last week. I think regardless of the type, the second interval is always going to feel harder.

Continue reading "Microintervals Win" »


Bogus Tuesday Nighter, Normal Cranks

Uhl in Eagle, ID - After doing some research and talking with a coach who's familiar with training with PowerCranks, I've decided to switch to normal cranks for the rest of the season. Until you can ride PowerCranks at high cadences, then using them all the time will decrease you regular-crank cadence and your snap will suffer. With the Boise Twilight coming up, I didn't want that! So tonight is the first time doing the Bogus Tuesday Nighter with normal cranks. It was hot today, over 100°, but that didn't deter me. I actually like the heat (as long as I have enough fluids). The training race went OK, but I wasn't with the lead group for the second half. It's really hard to compare your performance with other riders because you never know if they were having an incredible day or not. That's where a PowerTap (no relation to PowerCranks) comes in real handy. After downloading my ride I learned that I broke my 30 minute CP (critical power) with a value of 310 Watts. That's pretty good given my late start to the season. Last year my peak CP30 was 326 Watts, so I'm not too far off that.