Monday, May 14, 2007

Training - The New Me

Alright, there is no new me. But I actually rode this Monday morning (on the trainer, if you must know). I was a bit tired and rode a bit shorter than I preferred but the reason was worth it. Sunday the future missus and I worked our collective tails off, clearing out the basement and the junk I've accumulated through 15 years of living in the house.

We put everything on the driveway and sorted out what to keep and what to toss. There was a lot of stuff on the driveway and more than a few cars slowed to check out a potential yard sale. But when they saw the piles of garbage bags they probably wised up and none of them actually said a word to us.

We did this for the whole day - with a 20 minute break to eat some food - and celebrated a virtually empty basement by going out for Indian food. We still have the bike room and the garage to do but trust me, this was a huge accomplishment.

The immense fatigue of the cleanup combined with a blanket of food-induced eye-drooping sleepiness meant a very restful night's sleep. But an open window caused the temperature to plummet in the bedroom and I woke up chilly and still a bit fatigued.

Nevertheless I decided to ride. My brother called asking for a ride to work the previous evening so I decided to ride the trainer so as not to screw up the commute schedule.

I was watching a 2007 Tour DVD as well as the full 100 MB versions of the stuff I put on YouTube. My stuff I know about - effort level, feeling, etc. But the Tour is harder to comprehend.

One stage a break went for a nice ride over the mountains (yes, I was trying to inspire myself - I actually watched mountain stages). Phil and Paul were talking about the wattage the break was putting out - 400 watts or so.

That's almost incomprehensible to me.

If I go all out for a minute, I barely hit 400 watts. Yet these guys were doing it all day!


The future missus came downstairs to see how I was going. I pointed out the insane wattage the pros were putting out to her. She peered over my PowerTap to check out what I was doing. I might have subconsciously upped it for a millisecond but the reading didn't vary much.

200 watts.

She looked up at me.
"Didn't you say these guys have some genetic talent that makes them so strong?"
"Well, yeah."
"And they're pros in the Tour."
"So what are you worried about."

You know, she has a way with words.

So far I learned two things with the Power Tap.
1. I put out very low steady state power.
2. Spinning seems to increase power without a matching sense of effort.

So for my first ride on the bike after my disastrous Prospect race, I decided to spin and see what sort of wattage I generated with a moderate level of effort. Although I haven't reviewed the stats (the PT never lies) I noticed a "moderate" level of effort is about 130-140 bpm and just about 200 watts (180-205 ish watts).

Since I was on the trainer it's hard for me to motivate a lot. And although I go harder outside, even then it's hard to motivate. In fact, when I really think about it, it's even hard to motivate in a race. I simply get to a certain level of effort (170 bpm), I blow up, and I ease up.

No turning myself inside out. I got out of that phase a long time ago - maybe 10 years ago. Only very, very occasionally do I make such superlative efforts. In the past five or six years they've only been in very significant races - one being the Nutmeg State Games when I bridged to a break.

My goal is to be able to revive the ability to extend myself like that. I think it works better when I'm on the road, hence plans to get out there Tuesday, Wednesday, and maybe even Thursday. I guess it depends on rain too - if it's raining I just wimp out nowadays. Not because I can't ride in the rain but because it's such a pain to clean up afterwards.

Curiously enough, I go through this "search for form" virtually every year. The exceptions were the mid-90's when I used EPO... Okay, I'm just kidding. The exceptions were in the mid 90's when I trained all the time, raced all the time, and the form simply showed up and didn't leave for a number of years.

On with the search.

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