Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 2012

Boonen attacks on pave in the 2012 E3 Harelbeke   
Anticipation building... you can tell it's nearly race season as the chatter on the Speed Theory Forum has definitely picked in recent weeks!
That and has been streaming the European spring classics! Boonen is looking to be in top form!
Kind of surprised I haven't seen much of my man Thor yet, but I expect to hear his name a lot more during the Paris-Roubaix in a week or so.

Weather has mostly held up this month, with a few opportunities to get in some nice outdoor rides, but enough crappy days to force me inside to get in some solid, focused training sessions.

Some noteworthy events this month:
    Minor fracture in my toe. Has reduced me to running only once a week as a tester. Each time it feels fine when I start, but equally painful around the 5km mark.

    Kieran's swim class ended last weekend and next session is full, so between that and my Inglewood pool shut down for renos I won't be putting in my swim time in the near future either.

    First ride through Bragg Creek.

    Couple of testing rides, where I managed to "move the chains" on all 4 of my power profile zones (5 sec, 1 min, 5 min, 20 min).
    Like Boonen, Mike attacks on the
    dirt trail around Lake Chestermere

    Attempted a 5x5 workout on the trainer. If you are unfamiliar with this, you start with a decent warmup or ~15-20 mins. Next you do 5 sets of 5 min all-out efforts, separated by 5 min rest intervals, then cool down. Well, I felt good going into it, and had aspirations to increase my personal best for my 5 min max Wattage.  First set, I kept it hard, but maintainable. 2nd set, I started a little below my target, then increased steadily for the next few minutes. As I got to the final minute, I looked at my average and it was already higher than my previous best. I pushed hard and finished with a good 30 sec "sprint". Looked at my average wattage for the lap and it was about 13W over my previous best! The rest of my workout was shot, but at least I knew I'd killed my P.B. I uploaded my workout to WKO+, and was shocked to see my best 5 minute effort recorded as about 15 BELOW my PB!?! What the heck? Turns out that set I rocked it on, I only did 4 minutes! My mind (under a fair amount of duresse) had convinced me that I was reading it as a full 5 minutes... Man, what a disappointment that was. Thankfully, I had a chance a week later to try it again, and this time did manage to complete the 5 min effort (by 8W).

    First ride on viaduct pathway to Lake Chestermere. This was a ride I had meant to do all of last summer.  Met up with Mike and this time the weather held up very nicely. A tad bit windy on the South-bound part of the ride but whatevs... Nice overall ride, a few detours, some hard packed dirt roads, some loose gravel roads, good quality bike path, flat highways. Great training for Prarie-Roubaix! Here are a couple pics of Mike going around the lake. 

    Stats for March:
    • Swim: 3 swims, 2 hours
    • Run: 4 runs, 27 kms, 2.25 hr
    • Bike: 29 rides (11 indoor, 9 CX, 9 Road), 35 hours, 586 kms. 3600m of elevation; most since September of last year. Also noteworthy that I passed 100 hours on the bike for the year already. On pace to hit my 400 hr goal I set.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Great ride turned bad...

    Is it possible that something so well-intended and pure such as skipping out of work 2 hours early to go for a long be ride can turn sour? Apparently it can.

    With temperatures warming up again and having successfully completed a hilly series of climbs around the Road to Pakistan last weekend, we realized that conditions were prime to start commuting with the skinny tires. That suspicion was confirmed when Tuesday morning I encountered former club-mate, Mike Huang on the bike path, riding his roadie.
    Thus, Mike W and I decided to mark Friday afternoon for our extended commute, circling west of Calgary, up to Old Bank Spring Rd, over to Hwy 22, past Bragg Creek, then East along Hwy 22x back home. Total distance, 100 km.

    Last time we did this route after work was June 30th, 2011. There was a brutal West wind that slowed us to a crawl in the first 3rd of the ride, taking 90 minutes to reach Hwy 22.

    This installment was shaping up much nicer. Temperature at noon was a sunny +10C, with practically no breeze.
    Couple of last minute wardrobe decisions in light of the warm weather, stocked nutrition, 2:00, off I go.
    Met up with Mike in downtown, and off to the hills of Edworthy.
    Managed a good effort up the slopes all the way up to Old Spring Bank, with a sustained 20 min effort of 281W.
    At the summit of West Calgary the wind seemed to realize we were enjoying ourselves a bit too much. A SW 30 kmph gusty slap in the face.
    We trudged along westward, steadily maintaining a good tempo.
    Turning South on 22, we sensed the temperature dipping, and worried about the dark clouds above us.
    That stretch of road from Hwy 8 to Bragg Creek seemed to take forever. Fingers were starting to chill.

    Bragg Creek gas station, warming hands

    By the time we reached the town, we decided on a 5 min stop at the gas station in order to feed and warm the fingers. I realized my fingers were too cold to pour drink, let alone open a honey stinger waffle.

    Back on the road, we now had a sense of urgency as the temp kept dropping.
    Made it to the 22x turn and headed East with the delight of our long-sought-after tail wind.
    Within minutes however, we came to a section of highway that was wet from recent rainfall. Carefully descending down the long slopes out of kananaskis, we were hit with yet another challenge... hail!
    Mike with his open fingered gloves and half-length shorts, me with a thin jersey, flying eastward.

    Well, if that wasn't enough, within minutes after the last big climb out of the foothills, I feared I blew my rear tire.
    Pulled over, and thankfully it was still rock solid. Don't think I would have had the dexterity to change a flat with my frozen fingers. Nor was there any solace from the wind/snow-sleet mix. 100m later, I still felt wobbly on the bike so stopped and checked again. Damn, the front tire was completely flat!
    We were at the 22x-22 junction... open fields on all sides as far as we could see...
    Alright, at least it was the front, which is easier to replace.
    Except when I went to reach for my spare kit I came to the horrible realization that I had forgotten to attach my pod sack to the bike, so I have zero tools. Good thing I was riding with someone else.
    Freezing behind hay bale
    Last bit of misfortune as Mike realized he had not packed his CO2 inflator. Had the spare and cartridge, all useless without the inflator.

    Pained me to do it, but I had to call in the rescue crew. Needless to say, Bev was none-too thrilled to throw the kids in the car and drive 25kms to pick me up. Speaking of pain, I lay waiting, curled up in a little ball of shame and frozen lycra, tucked up tight beside a bale of hay. Legs cramping, shaking violently from the bitter cold.
    32.3 minutes or so later, the rescue van arrived! Never before have I been so glad to see that piece of crap old van...
    A day and a warm bath later, and I can now actually type.

    So, despite a 2.5 hr ride of 75km, I can't help but shake the feeling of a failed workout.
    Mike had made it home ok, the last 25 km being mostly downhill with a great tailwind.

    Forecast is more snow, so that may be the last good outside ride for this week.

    Garmin report:

    Can't wait to try it again!!

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    February 2012

    Not the most news worthy month, mostly business as usual. Took an official recovery week at the beginning of the month, which coincided nicely with a warm stretch of weather where I simply commuted to work with no indoor rides. Nice little break, but it was definitely tough revving back up the following week.

    Having to do some juggling with the training calendar as I'm still trying to plan my first few races of the year.
    Velocity, Bikes on Broadway (sask.), Pigeon Lake, not sure yet which it will be first.


    • Swim: 4 workouts, 2:03h - not a lot of intensity in my swims this month, but I did manage a workout per week.
    • Run: 7 workouts, 58 km, 5 hrs
    • Bike: 18 workouts, 27.5 hrs