Bogus Basin Hill Climb 2009

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today was the annual Boise “world” championships, otherwise known as the Bogus Basin Hill Climb. After last week’s tough 1,000 Warriors race I figured Bogus would feel like a walk in the park. Well it wasn’t…it was as hard as ever, but in a good, make-your-legs-hurt, kind of way!

I ended up ignoring the SRM on my handlebars and pushing it to stay with the front group over Corrals. With a 7.5 minute wattage of 350 I was way over threshold. But having the group on the downhill probably saved me a good amount of time. I did slip off the back on the cattle guard hill then just rode a steady pace for the rest of the climb.

I didn’t have as much punch on the second half and was caught by Thomas L.. We worked together as we picked off a few other riders. He pulled a good part of the time. We caught another rider in the trees so we had three people when it flattened out. I think we all just wanted to finish with a good time so we continued to rotate. I ended up at the front with less than 1K to go so I pushed it pretty hard and no one came around me by the line…but the best part was we all broke an hour! My official time was 59:44.379 which was good for 14th place. Average power was 313 watts and normalized power of 319 watts.

For some reason I thought that was my first time breaking an hour, but after reviewing all the past year’s results, I actually did it in 58:44 in 2004. So now I have a new goal for next year: Break 58 minutes!

Results on Spondoro:

Hardest Race Ever Recorded

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I did the 1,000 Warriors race this past weekend and it was tougher than I thought it would be. I actually have proof that it was the hardest race I’ve ever recorded at a whopping 382 TSS! By the time I met up with Heather and we rode down to our pick-up location in Sandy, the total was 421 TSS.

I may have gone over those numbers last year in the 170-mile Tour de Park City or a few years ago at the 203-mile Lotoja race, but since my PowerTap wheel is heavy and un-aerodynamic, I wouldn’t use it for “A” priority races. But this summer I got a deal on a Cannondale SuperSix and a wired Cannondale Hollowgram SI SRM and built up a new race bike, so I no longer have to decide between light wheels or having a power meter! I also broke my high-speed record on the north side of Suncrest with a speed of 63.5 MPH! That road is just made for going fast as I set my previous record of 62.3 MPH on it years ago when we lived in Utah.

I thought doing a double Bogus-to-Pioneer would be enough to prepare me for this race, but ending a 96-mile race up a 7-mile climb that averages 8% grade and gets near 10% in sections while it’s 100° out, was painful! Rather than give a detailed blow-by-blow, I’ll just say that I made it to the Sundance climb with the group and climbed it well, but then faded quickly on the last two climbs: Suncrest and Snowbird.

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Another Record Breaking EHB

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – I guess I’m proving that the training principle of specificity really works. For as much as I do the Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop, it may not be surprising that I broke my personal record…yet again! This time by a significant margin: I did it in 2:46:15 with a normalized power of 261 watts!

I think my form is finally coming around after a two-month plateau during the summer. While I had a good climb on Saturday’s Sweet EHB loop, when I did Bogus on Monday I didn’t have nearly as much power and was slightly disappointed. I probably needed more recovery before Monday's ride, but I wanted to make Monday and Wednesday my “hard” days so I’d have two days before Saturday’s 1,000 Warriors race.

I still would like to break 2:45 which now I know is realistic. I have a feeling after I taper for Bogus in a couple weeks, my legs will be much fresher, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. For now it’s time to rest up and get ready for the suffer-fest early Saturday morning…Cat 1–3 men start at 6:05 AM!

Sweet EHB

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I was planning to do Warm Lake Road ride today, but with the forecast for Cascade looking really cold with a chance of AM showers, I changed plans and did an Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop instead.

I rode with Mark and Michael and we had a good time with all the wind! Going up Highway 16 was the worst part, with a strong head/crosswind. In Emmett, we made a new turn off Substation Road as Michael showed us his property there. With less traffic than the other two roads that take you to Plaza (and eventually the bridge) I think I’ll make this new turn part of my standard operating procedure.

We were treated to a nice tailwind for most the canyon and then made a stop in Horseshoe Bend. I decided to do the hill steady-state and managed one of my fastest times with the help of the tailwind. Power was about 10 watts off of my best time, which I acheived back in 2003 when I was in my best climbing shape. I had fun on the downhill and then cruised back into Eagle. The weather was perfect and it was a great ride.

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: 

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.

Record EHB

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – Did my favorite local ride today, an Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop. The forecast called for a strong northwest wind so I had a feeling I’d be able to use it to try to break my past record of 2:56:39 set back in 2006. As an aside, I did it in 2:53 once but that was on my TT bike, but that would be comparing apples with oranges so I don’t count it. So today I went hard the whole time and managed a time of 2:52:57 with a normalized power of 247 watts! Nice!

Warm Lake Road

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I just re-discovered Warm Lake Road last weekend when we went camping with some of her work colleagues. We brought our bikes but only rode up both climbs on either side of Warm Lake. Since Heather had some business to do up yesterday, we decided to come up, stay the night and then do a longer version of that ride. The road has been recently paved and is super-smooth with no chipseal…imagine that!

IMG_2850We stayed at nice little motel started out early this morning. While it was over 100° in the valley, it was only 52° when we started and just barely crossed 70° when we finished at noon. We mostly rode tempo, except for doing LT intervals up the two major climbs: Warm Lake Summit (elevation 7,291 ft), and Big Creek Summit (6,564 feet). We were cold for the first two hours of the ride and didn’t really go hard until we hit the Warm Lake Summit climb. Then we rode to the end of pavement (EOP) then turned around. On the way back we stopped at the Warm Lake Lodge to refill our bottles, then headed to Big Creek Summit where I did another interval.

IMG_2852 Once it warmed up I felt much better and pushed it hard all the way until we were back in Cascade. It was a great workout! BTW, camera is starting to go on the fritz…if you noticed the horizontal artifacts on the EOP pic.

Here’s the the GPS data on Garmin Connect:

Finally a Good One

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a week of mediocre rides, I finally had a solid workout today. I headed west to ride part of this Sunday’s Idaho State Championship road race. I headed west on Chaparral and did six 30-second sprints with 90 seconds rest. They were tough, but I pushed through it and managed to produce consistent power across the set. Then I rode medium- to high-tempo as I rode the El Paso loop, jamming it up the hills and doing LT on the flats. I went back to tempo-mode as I returned back to Eagle through Hillsdale. With an intensity factor of .86 for a 3:20 minute ride, it was one tough workout!

Descending VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I did my first “real” workout since last weekend’s hard rides. Since I was on the rollers, I decided to do VO2s today. They’re good for indoors since there’s no traffic or intersections to contend with and can turn on the tunes.

Instead of doing a straight set of 4x5s or 5x4s, I decided to do descending VO2s; from 5 minutes down to 30 seconds with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. They went okay, but my legs felt a little blocked as I had not gone hard all week.

Memorial Day Bogus

IMG_25592009-05-25CropUhl in Eagle, ID – Even though we just completed a two-day, three-stage race, Heather and I headed out to do Cartwright, Bogus to Pioneer, Cartwright. Yes, we love to suffer! But the weather was just perfect and we both beat our times (and wattage) from the last time we rode Bogus.

We did sleep in a little bit and didn’t head out until 8 AM. It was a bit cool heading out on Hill, but perfect by the time we climbed Seaman’s Gulch. My legs were hating the first few pedal strokes up that hill but it got better as we went along.

IMG_2552We really enjoy the nice, new pavement on Cartwright Road. What a difference nice asphalt and bike lanes make! The “wall” is definitely a lot less steep than it used to be, but it still hurt in my 39x25! On the motorcycle hill I “only” hit 51.7 MPH this time; the wind wasn’t conducive to a high-speed run today.

We both treated Bogus as one, long interval. Heather stayed with me for a while, then dropped off on the switchbacks. I felt pretty good and very comfortable on the bike but my legs started to fade as I approached the trees. I eased up through the flat section, then kicked it up again through the parking lot and the last section to the Pioneer condos. I just barely finished all my fluid by then, so I went straight to the spigot and refilled my bottles.

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Top Five

IMG_2524 Click to view race and flyer stats Uhl in Eagle, ID – This afternoon was the last stage of the Treasure Valley Stage Race, the Nampa downtown criterium. Heather went off before me and it was an interesting race to watch with only six women. Heather was on the front a lot, but that was the plan. Heather really wanted to get a workout in as the Mt Hood Cycling Classic is only a week and a half away! Heather and her teammate had a plan for the finish, but it didn’t unfold as they wanted so neither of them won today’s stage. But Heather still won overall, in addition to racking up a bunch of cash primes.

IMG_2527 My race also had a small field; only 11 starters today. That was fine as this was a pretty technical course; lots of turns and bumpy pavement all around. We started out steady with Team Bob’s Bicycles setting tempo. From time to time, there’d be a surge in the pace, but then it would settle down again. The first few of them, my legs were really feeling yesterday’s road race.

It got better after the first 20 minutes, so then I decided to attack. Well, “attack” may be too strong of a word. I just rolled off the front as the pack slowed on the back stretch. Since I was so far down on GC, no one chased so I quickly got a good-sized gap. I put it in TT-mode and just rode the corners as smoothly as possible. Riding solo and picking your own lines, you can pedal through every corner.

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First Full Bogus

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Did my first full Bogus climb today and it was tough. Heather and I were debating about doing a “Big Loop” but opted out after yesterday’s harder than planed workout along with lots of house work. We thought a shorter, but lots of climbing, ride would be better.

We rode in on Cartwright and rode Bogus Basin Road all the way to Pioneer then came back on Cartwright as well. We were really pleased with the work they did on Cartwright as now most of it is nice smooth asphalt with a decent shoulder. I also forgot how steep the hill before the Owyhee motorcycle park was as I hit 55 MPH on the descent!

Then on Bogus we rode tempo to the bottom of the switchbacks, then I started an interval to the Pioneer condominiums. The first half was okay, but by the time I reached the trees my legs started to fade. I only averaged 272 watts for the 85-minute interval, with a normalized power of 279 watts. Yesterday’s ride took more out of me than I thought. I waited a short time for Heather then we had fun on the descent. On the way home on Cartwright, when we hit the first big uphill by the motorcycle park, we were both really glad we didn’t do a Big Loop. In the end it was solid 70-mile ride with 9,000 feet of climbing.

4x4 VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – After hardly riding the last couple days I ended up doing a nice set of VO2s today. I only did four 4-minute intervals as that’s all I had in my legs. The ride was just over an hour but I didn’t want to do any more than that anyway since I’m still TSB negative. The weather looks good for this weekend so I plan to rack up some serious TSS before tapering for the Treasure Valley Stage Race next weekend.

May Day VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Did a nice set of 4x5-minute VO2 intervals today. I think the wattage numbers are slightly low, probably because my PowerTap wasn’t properly zero’d. The LCD recently broke so I can’t see the top line anymore. I still zero the torque before every ride, but since I can’t see the display, I do it based on muscle memory.

Comparing my watts and speed with the last few times I did 5-minute intervals, I can confirm that today’s set doesn’t correlate. My average speed for today’s intervals are more representative of average watts around 340, not 330. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, it’s still a good training effect. Hopefully there’ll be a break in the predicted rain tomorrow and I can ride outside.

Tuesday EHB

Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a tiring Chicken Dinner road race, I decided to rest a day before riding long again. Even though it was hard due to the unseasonably warm weather, I didn’t even get on my bike yesterday. Instead I hit the gym and did some light cardio and core work.

IMG_2295So it was a good thing the warm weather held out another day so Heather, Cory and I could do a nice Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop after work. It was my first ride in just shorts and a sleeveless jersey, thanks to the 80°F weather!

Cory was an “eager beaver” when we headed out and even though my PowerTap CPU display is cracked, I swear I was doing like 250 watts just riding side-by-side with him on Beacon Light. It was probably just residual blockage from racing hard on Sunday then taking Monday off, but then again, I’m not one who can talk and ride unless I keep it to zone one. By the time we were northbound on Hwy 16 my legs felt better and the three of us enjoyed the strong tailwind to the top of Emmett hill. It’s always fun to ride uphill at 20+ MPH!

IMG_2297 We cruised through the back roads in Emmett and then hit Hwy 52. For the first time this year we stopped at the Wild Rose park to top off our water bottles. With the warm weather comes increased hydration needs. Then we got back on our bikes and did a nice rotation through the canyon to Horseshoe Bend. Since Heather had a hard stage race this past weekend, she took easier pulls while Cory and I pushed it a bit more.

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Cold, Windy VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Even thought it’s now April, the weather still feels like winter. It was sunny most of the day and looked warm outside, but it barely got into the mid-40s. I wanted to get some VO2 work in so I headed outside anyway and did a set of 5x5 minute VO2s. With intersections, right-hand turns and some ups and downs, they were more variable than when I do them indoors, but that’s part of specificity…I don’t race on rollers. In the end, my average wattage across the set was pretty good. After a few minutes recovery I cruised at mid-tempo pace and met up with Dan for the ride back home. The sun had given way to high clouds so I was pretty cold by the time I got home. But a solid workout nonetheless.

EHB on the Down Low

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – With Daylight Saving Time in effect, I was able to do an impromptu Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop after work. This week I’ve been forcing myself to ride easy, but ride longer. Today I started out a bit hard doing my usual high-tempo up Hwy 16, but eased up through Emmett and restrained myself through Black Canyon.

I started up the hill at a slow pace but ended up pushing it towards the top…seems that my body just likes to suffer up that hill! But I still managed to keep it fairly tame with a sub-threshold wattage of 265. And finally, there wasn’t a headwind! I was worried about traffic at that time on Hwy 55 but was surprised at how little there was. I guess all the commuters were already home. At the end it was a good ride, even though my legs felt it, it wasn’t a total killer. Weather is looking good so I plan to do it again on Friday.


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" »

4x5 VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I did a nice set of 4x5-minute VO2s today. Wattage was good for the set and while I probably could have done another one, I restrained myself. Saving my energy for some long rides in the next few days.

Hammer Until Your Teeth Hurt

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – It’s just over two weeks before my first road race so to get my body accustomed to going all out, I did some anaerobic work capacity (AWC) intervals today. I warmed up riding tempo, with three short sprints to get my legs primed. After some more tempo, I did five 30-second efforts with 90-second rest intervals. The first three weren’t too bad, but by the fourth one, I was reminded how much I hate AWC workouts! I was breathing so hard that my teeth hurt! While I suffered, the 90 second rest interval gives some respite, as opposed to Tabatas where you only get 10 seconds. Those are of the devil!

After all that suffering was over, I rode tempo then did a 1-minute L6 push and a couple uphill L7 efforts. With more rest in between them they weren’t as bad. And doing them on a steep hill always helps; more power for less perceived effort. For fun I did a one more sprint right after the downhill on Deep Canyon Drive in Hillsdale Estates. I only managed 1,047 watts for 10 seconds, but not too bad considering I hadn’t tone any sprints since last season. As for the workout, 1hr 45min at an intensity factor (IF) of .91, ain’t too shabby.

Tough Group Ride

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – A few of my teammates and I did the Emmett Rd,South Slope, Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop today. Even though we waited until 11:00 AM to start, it was still a bit chilly for me the first couple hours. We rode tempo for the first hour with a blowout effort when we reached the backside of Little Freezeout on Emmett Rd. We took it easy on South Slope then stopped in Emmett. A few headed south back to Eagle while a remaining group of seven hit Black Canyon. It was warmer there and we actually had a tailwind! We kicked it up and things broke apart giving me the opportunity to do a 16-minute LT interval (295 watts).

After a quick stop in Horseshoe Bend it was time for the last big effort, Old Horseshoe Bend Hill. I had been eating and drinking well and I hoped to have good power on the hill. Power was decent but the prior three hours with those efforts had taken it’s toll. I managed “only” 287 watts for a sluggish time of 28:41. Yes, that means we had another headwind…can’t we ever hit the hill with a tailwind! Even though I’m anal about wiping my tires when I go through crap, I still managed to get a flat by the Shadow Valley Golf Course. I performed a quick change, but the pump I had on my bike is years old and didn’t pump very well. So I only put in enough pressure to make it home. I was totally wasted by the time I got to my house, but I still managed to wash a couple bikes after taking in some food. It feels like a long day so I hope I can sleep like a baby tonight!

5x5 Minute VO2s and LT

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I’ve been taking it easy since the weekend, so today was the first day doing a “real” workout. I got on the rollers and after a good warm-up I launched into 5x5 VO2 intervals with 4-minute rest. They were pretty tough but I managed to produce consistent wattage across the set.

I followed up the VO2s with a 20-minute LT interval. Those are always tough after a set of VO2s. Power was okay, but the perceived exertion was quite high for my wattage. I was hoping that the blow-out efforts I did yesterday would help, but no such luck! But hey, at least I’m getting used to suffering. That’s what cycling is all about…right?!?

Emmett–Horseshoe Bend

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – We had a decent turnout for our team ride of the Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop today. This morning we woke up to fog so I was afraid the it wouldn't lift by our start at noon. So I was happy to see it break up at around 11 AM. We started out with about a dozen or so riders. Even with the hazy sun, it was was fairly chilly on the way out...the air was pretty damp. We took it easy for the rollout and then up Hwy 16 we fell into single-file. There was a decent draft so in order to keep my wattage up I just kept a gap in front of me.

Up the two small rollers the pace, or at least the effort level picked up. For me with a pretty pathetic anaerobic work capacity, it felt downright hard! Then it would ease right back up when we leveled off. As we neared the top it was finally my turn to be in the wind so I figured I'd make the most of it. Other than the two risers, I wasn't really getting much of a workout. So I pushed it for the few minutes it took to reach the top, giving me a decent 3.5 minute VO2 interval (350 watts). We then cruised down the hill and took it easy through the east side of Emmett.

Continue reading "Emmett–Horseshoe Bend" »

Outside in Boise

Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today was the first time I've ridden outside here in Boise, since November. The temperature was in the high 40's by early afternoon so I ditched work early and got a ride in. I just did an hour and a half of tempo, without any structured intervals. I didn't want to go any harder since we have a nice team ride planned for tomorrow. Even so, I managed to keep it in the upper end of tempo with a normalized power (NP) of 255. I've kept my workouts short since we got back from our trip to St George, but I think I still feel some residual fatigue in my legs. We'll see how tomorrow goes. The plan is to do the Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop, which is my favorite local ride.

Microintervals & Tempo

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – It's been a while since I've done microintervals. Actually, come to think of it I haven't done them since last winter, so it's about time to add them into the mix.

I started out with a nice 20-minute warm-up with a couple pushes. Then I did two LT intervals, with 30 seconds above FTP, then 30 seconds below. As my FTP is about 300 watts right now, the first set I alternated between 350 and 250 watts. It wasn't too hard, but the interesting thing is that the worst part of the interval is during the "off" portions. That's when you really feel the prior 30 seconds and you can't believe how fast the "rest" interval is over!

Click to view full-sizeFor the second LT interval I alternated between 320 and 280 watts. Even with less variation, it felt harder, probably because the first interval took it out of my legs! Not to mention, this has been an intense week of workouts! Ideally I try to do these at 450 and 150 watts for a bigger ratio, but I figured I'd start conservatively.

After that was done I spun easy for five minutes then did an hour at low- to mid-tempo. Ended up a 2:15 minute ride and 176 training stress score (TSS). Watching the 2008 men's Olympic road race with my music in the background definitely helps make the time go by quicker. Looking at the ride graph, you can see the microinterval-induced Bart Simpson heads in it.


Click to view interval Uhl in Eagle, ID – Last few days I've been doing back-to-back LT workouts. Monday I did a single 1x20, yesterday 2x20s, and today I did a 1x60. In the back of my mind I did want to use today's interval as a pseudo test; see if I could hit 300 watts for the hour. But I missed it by a few watts. I went just a bit too easy during the first thirty minutes, that kicking it up over the last 10 wasn't going to get the average where I wanted it. Ended up with an average power of 296 watts and normalized power of 297. I'm pretty close to updating my FTP value, but I'll wait until after this weekend's workout to make the switch.

MAP Test Redux

Click to view intervalsUhl in Eagle, ID – I was feeling frisky this morning so I decided to redo the MAP test I did last week. My warm-up was more in line with my standard protocol and my legs felt good during the pushes. The MAP test went well, hitting 406 watts for the final minute. Two weeks ago I only hit 398 watts, and my best ever was 411 watts back in May, so I'm pretty happy with today's result.

2009-01-17MAPAfter the test I tried to do some VO2s but my legs would have none of it. Looking at my workout in WKO+, it looks like I started the VO2 only two minutes after going to failure on the MAP. For some reason I thought it was five minutes, so no wonder it hurt so much! Shows you how dull your brain becomes when you max yourself out! Either way, I decided to bag the VO2s and do LT work instead. I ended up doing a solid set of 2x20s giving me a nice 1:36 minute workout at .91 intensity factor.


Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – So I think I had my first "bonk" of 2009. I jumped on my rollers and warmed up for 10 minutes then did a 50-minute LT interval at decent wattage followed by high-tempo. I felt good most of the ride but after an hour and thirty, my legs started to feel like Jell-O.

I did five more minutes of tempo then eased up and that's when I could really feel it...I was bonking hard! With a light lunch and only one bottle of stuff, I probably underestimated my caloric needs. But at least I was riding indoors where at any point, you can just call it quits and jump off. When you ride outside and bonk miles out, limping back home is no fun at all!

Mix it Up

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – I did a mish-mash of an indoor workout today. I wanted to do 5x5 VO2s but my legs could only take two reps at my target wattage. So after that I did a 20-minute LT interval then four 30-second "sprints", with two minutes recovery. I put sprints in quotes because on a set of fixed rollers, you can only sprint so hard without standing up. Even seated, the last 10 seconds are torture so they must be worthwhile...right?!

MAP Test

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Did a maximal aerobic capacity (MAP) test and came out with 398 watts. This is only an eight watt improvement since my last MAP test, but hey, I'll take it. I wasn't as motivated as last time and my warm-up wasn't as good. So in hindsight, I feel that I could eke out a few more watts. I'll probably just re-test in the next couple weeks.

2009-01-08MAP After the test, I spun easy for a few minutes then did a 20-minute LT interval. The single test alone doesn't really make for a full workout so I like to add some L3 or L4 after the "test" portion is over. After maxing out like that, intervals always feel harder for the given wattage, but I got her done and then warmed down for 10 minutes.


Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – After a nice trip to Saint George, it was back to the rollers today. I rode two hours with three 20-minute intervals. I intentionally did them at the low-end of level 4. I just wanted to get in some good TSS and not try to break any wattage records.

Shoveling and VO2s

Click to view intervalsUhl in Eagle, ID – We received yet more snow over the past 24 hours. I estimate it to be another 6". It took Heather and me almost an hour to clear our driveway and sidewalk. After our "strength" work, we both jumped on our respective indoor training devices; Heather on her trainer and me on my rollers.

After a 20-minute warm-up I did some VO2 intervals. They hurt but I was able to crank out the wattage. I alternated between the 16- and 17-tooth cog each interval, giving my legs a little variety in cadence. I wanted to do five reps, but it was not in the cards. The third and fourth ones were were brutal!

Thanksgiving VO2s

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – With the turkey-fest scheduled for 3:00 PM at a friends house, I wanted to get in a solid workout so I'd be good and hungry. I got on the rollers late morning and when my power was good from the get-go, I decided to do some VO2s. I did my usual 20-minute warm-up with a 5-minute push in the middle to get the legs primed. Then I launched into a the first interval.

I wanted to do a few 5-minute VO2s in the 320–330 range. The first one felt hard. Even in the first few minutes I was rationalizing shortening the next reps. But the second one didn't seem as hard so I went all the way to five minutes. I continued on until I completed five full reps...also known as 5x5s. I even kicked it up a notch on the last one. They were tough but it felt good. After a few minutes of easy spinning I switched to tempo mode. I did a few pushes here to keep it interesting. I ended up cranking out 178 TSS in 2:15 and burned 1,800 calories...sweet! Let me at that turkey and stuffing!!!

First MAP Test of the Season

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Since the colder weather looks like it's here to stay, I've slowly been getting used to riding indoors. I've got a pretty good setup where I ride my rollers; I have a computer set up in front of me with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I'll typically listen to a podcast, watch some shows or do some light surfing, during warm-up and cool-downs and tempo work. But then switch to music with cycling videos during harder efforts. This past weekend I was able to get in a couple 2+ hour rides back-to-back, and it wasn't so bad. I used to have a 1-hour limit, but with distractions and changing up my workouts, two hours isn't that bad.

2008-11-25MAP So now that I've got a pretty consistent training schedule, I decided to get a baseline of my fitness level with a MAP test. To avoid math while riding I just use Ric Stern's MAP test application to display the target wattage on my computer. It's a little HTML applet you can download and run in a browser. You set the starting watts, wattage increment and time interval, then when you run it, your target wattage will continuously update on-screen, in a large, easy-to-read, font. I did my standard protocol of starting with 200 watts and incrementing 5 watts every 15 seconds or 20 watts/minute.

The test went better than I expected. I looked at my results from last year and at my lowest fitness I only did 368 watts. So as long as I beat that I would have been happy. I was thrilled that I achieved 390 watts today. That's only 21 watts off of my best of 411 watts back in May. After the test, I spun for a few minutes then did a 15-minute LT interval to give me a solid 1:05 minute workout. I've typically been riding 1–1.5 hours a day on the rollers with a couple "off" days here and there. But since I'm doing Level 3–5 work during those rides, I've been keeping my CTL in the 60's whereas past years I've let it drop much more. We'll see how long I can keep this going, but so far it's going well.

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?!

Another Gorgeous Day

2008-09-14Crop Uhl in Eagle, ID – I rode up Bogus Basin Road today and did a couple wimpy 2x20 LT intervals. Power wasn't that great but it was the perfect day to ride Bogus. The temp got cooler as I climbed and it was super clear out so you could see for miles. I rode to the 6,000 ft sign then turned around and headed into town for some water. There was a lot of commotion in the Northend as the Hyde Park Street Fair was going on.

After my stop, I headed home on Hill Road. I had to fight a stiff headwind, but it gave me some more solid tempo work. On Old Horseshoe Bend Road I noticed a lot of activity by the Idaho Velodrome & Cycling Park so I went to check it out. I totally forgot but today was Trailapalooza. A band was playing and a lot of people were milling about, most with mountain bikes. I'm sure I looked out of place in my bright lycra and road bike! It was another good ride but my legs are in need of a couple easy days.

Beautiful Ride

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather, Mark and I rode the Emmett–Horseshoe Bend Loop. It was a beautiful day with very little wind. We did have a slight tailwind through Black Canyon which made it fast and fun! Heather wasn't feeling that great so she stayed at last wheel while Mark and I rotated. On Old Horseshoe Bend Hill I changed my usual routine of doing a single LT interval to doing 4x4-minute VO2s. The first couple were okay, but they slowly got harder and harder. By the last one I really had to mentally push get through it.

I have switched to using my red Trek as my training bike since I plan to get a new bike next year. Even though I loved my Kestrel, the combination of smoother, 10-speed Dura Ace components (man do I love that 16-tooth cog!) and a livelier frame, makes it much more enjoyable to ride. I just love the way it feels when I stand up on the pedals. And most people consider the 5000 OCLV frame quite dated; I can't imagine how some of the newer frames on the market feel! I've already started researching and so far at the top of the list are the Felt AR and the Cervelo S3. Can you sense a theme? Hint, I'll never win a field sprint!

Post-season Tabatas?

Click to view intervals. Uhl in Eagle, ID – Even though I originally thought Bogus would be my last race of the year, Heather and I are considering going down to Ogden, Utah for the Mountain to Metro Criterium (formerly Harvest Moon) on September 27. So in preparation for a crit after weeks of climbing work, I did a couple Tabata intervals today. Man, I keep forgetting how hard they are! I was coughing up a lung after the first six-minute set. I then rode easy for ten minutes and foolishly, did a second set.

2008-09-10TabataTable The second time around I thought I'd sandbag the first two or three 20-second sprints by staying seated and then standing for the initial jumps of the remaining sprints. Ha! Fat lot of good that did! Having a weak 1st and 2nd effort just lowered my average power because my last three were just as weak as the first set!

2008-09-10TabataAfter I analyzed the data, I realized it wasn't that bad; my average power was better than both the Tabata workouts I did in July and the second set was fairly close to the best one in July. After the Tabatas I did some sprints but they were wimpy, but I should have expected that. Most the rest of the time I was easily putting out mid- to high-tempo wattage...which was nice. The weather was perfect and it was great to be outside.

Bogus...Season Finale?

IMG_8110 Click to view intervals (or in this case, race) Uhl in Eagle, ID – I finally did the Bogus Basin Hill Climb after skipping the past two years due to bad air quality (and lack of fitness, but let's blame the air!). Last weekend was a bit hard and even though I had a decent workout on Wednesday, I didn't feel as fresh as I thought I would during yesterday's pre-race workout. But what can you do!?

Heather's in a bigger training hole than I am so she skipped today's race altogether. It proved to be handy as she was able to drive the car up to the top so I could spin on the rollers after the race. She also was my very own personal photographer!

IMG_8116I got a good warm-up on the rollers and power was looking good. When the race started I got the whole shot then once the road widened, I moved to the right so people could pass me. I wanted to keep it chill on Corrals and save it for the second half.  I let the whole front group pass me, but I still was putting out 340–350 watts. In hindsight, I should have eased up even more as my first five minutes was 331 watts (after sitting at the start line for five minutes).

After Corrals I was able to pace myself better and let those riders that like to surge up the steeper parts, go. I kept it around 300–320 watts. I made the halfway point at one of my best time ever, at around 32 minutes. Then my legs started to really hurt. I tried to keep pushing but I could tell my wattage was dropping. I tried not to look at my PowerTap so I wouldn't get depressed. I kept catching some riders here and there, but at a slower rate than earlier. Then I caught a couple who wanted to rotate. I rotated, but I would have rather been by myself. I really like doing hill climbs as time trials with the uneven power surges of taking pulls.

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Fire on Highway 16

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Today I did 4x4-minute VO2Max intervals with four minute rest in between. I did them northbound on Highway 16. With a stiff headwind there was no problem with not having enough resistance, even on the downhill portions. Power was looking good but the last couple intervals were getting harder so I resisted the temptation to do more than four. On the way back I did a 20-minute LT interval which was fun with the strong tailwind. Nothing like going by Firebird Raceway at 25 MPH...uphill!

I did see an interesting sight; when I was approaching the "halfway" hill, I noticed smoke coming form the east side of the road. I thought maybe it was a farmer ditch burning or something, but as I got closer I saw that the Halfway Saloon was smok'n! There were a couple people walking around it and the smoke was pouring out of the doors and windows. If I wasn't in the middle of an interval I probably would have stopped to take a picture! So during the remainder of my interval, I was confronted with a bunch of emergency vehicles heading to the fire. I counted four police vehicles and three fire trucks. Made for an exciting ride!

Windy Ride

Click to view intervals IMG_1634Uhl in Eagle, ID – With a three-day weekend, Heather and I opted to make Sunday a recovery day and then do a longer ride today. We rode with Brent, Mark, Dan, and Don, who are all doing LotaJa again this year. We were thinking about doing Bogus, but changed plans and did a plain, Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop. There was a strong northwest wind so we figured after an hour of fighting the wind we could then enjoy a tailwind through Black Canyon.

  As we headed west and north, Heather and I tried to keep our noses in the wind so we could give a draft to the others. It was a bit tricky on Highway 16 since it's such a busy road but we ended up riding in two small echelons of three riders each. We rode easy through Emmett on Substation road and then we stopped at the Wild Rose Park for a water and bathroom break.

IMG_1633In Black Canyon we rotated most of the time and were cruising at 25–26 MPH. We broke up at times on the roller so either Heather and I would drop back and pull the rider back up. Those times gave me a few VO2-level intervals during an otherwise tempo pace. We stopped again in Horseshoe Bend for more water. We couldn't believe how much traffic there was on Highway 55. I thought we left early enough (10:00 AM) to beat most of the Labor Day traffic but there were tons trucks with boats and trailers already heading home.


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Another Tough One

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I rode did another mini-group ride with some of the same folks as last week. Today we headed out at 7:30 AM with Mark, Brent, Chris, Kurt and Michelle. We headed out on Floating Feather then Foothill then took a turn up Lansing to Galloway. Then we headed over Little Freezeout and then took South Slope to Emmett. We stopped in Emmett for a water and bathroom break then the rest of the group headed up Old Freezeout while Heather and I went on to Horseshoe Bend.

Heather and I pushed through Black Canyon, taking 1-minute pulls each. Each time I pulled I push it to around 320–340 watts. With only 1 minute of rest, this made for a great "over-under" LT interval. We ended up doing this for the entire 38 minutes it took us to reach Horseshoe Bend. It was a nice, hard interval with a normalized power of 277 watts. Then after a quick stop at the gas station, we headed up Old Horseshoe Bend Hill Road. We both did an interval up it as usual, and while I didn't feel that bad, my power wasn't as good as it was last week. I managed a norm power of only 305 watts for a time of 25:45. On the way down into Eagle, we continued to trade pulls. After giving it all on Horseshoe Bend Hill, any time I went hard, it really hurt, but I had to try to equal Heather's pulls as she kept driving it home.

So even though the first part of the ride was pretty mellow, I made up for it in the end with a norm power of 264 for the last 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Super-hard Ride

Click to view intervals Uhl in Eagle, ID – Heather and I headed out with a small group of neighbors and friends today for a long ride. We rode with Dan, Brent, Don, Kurt and Mark most of whom are training for LotoJa which is two weeks from now. We rolled out at 7:00 AM when it was still fairly cool but we knew we'd be out there for a long time so starting that early was a good thing. I wanted to get some Level 6 work done early in the ride so I did 6x30 second intervals with 5 minutes recovery. Power was good for a few of them, but since I didn't wear gloves my hands were so cold I couldn't shift properly to keep my power up on all of them. Compared to last time I did L6 work these intervals were okay, but I know if I tried them when I was warmer power would have been much better.

After that, I just rejoined the group and rotated with them taking some good hard pulls when I was at the front. We stopped in Emmett, then continued to Horseshoe Bend. Seemed like there was a Harley poker run going on as we were passed by what seemed like 100 Harleys. After another stop in Horseshoe Bend it was interval time. I was still feeling good and I used my power meter to pace me and ended up with my best YTD power for the hill. My time, on the other hand, was about 20 seconds slower than Wednesday's ride, mainly due to the headwind in the last half-mile of the climb. Once I reached the top I turned back down and joined up with the others. We pushed the descent and false flat then finally eased up at Beacon Light Rd. My legs were toasted by then and I was glad the ride was almost over. Based on my power data this was the second hardest ride all year. I knew it felt hard!

Playing Hooky

Click to view intervalsUhl in Eagle, ID – With family in town, Heather and I decided to play hooky today. We're planning to go to the Western Idaho Fair with my sister and her kids, but since we're skipping work, we wanted to get in a good ride in before the activities. We did the Emmett–Horseshoe Bend loop with Dan. We headed out at 7:00 AM. There was some cloud cover that kept it nice and cool for most of the ride. We even got sprinkled on as we went through Horseshoe Bend. Power was good during the intervals and I had my best time and wattage so far on Old Horseshoe Bend Hill. Overall it was a tough ride with an intensity factor of .83 for a 3 hour 12 minute ride. Solid workout!