Friday, June 22, 2007

Training - Short Sessions, Weight

The regulars might have noticed a severe drop in posting frequency in the last few weeks. It's been a bit tight with the schedule (with work, house hunting, and house selling a.k.a. keeping things clean and the yard mowed). I had a couple breaks too and did some stuff I enjoy - mounted and balanced tires for my Dad (car tires, not bike ones).... and, hm, I guess that's it. This weekend I'll be doing some regular maintenance on my fiance's car (oil change). And of course I RainX the windows every now and again.

With the longest days of summer around and the temperatures at a mild mid 70's, it's been tempting to try and get out after work on the tandem. The future missus and I would race back from work, hop on the bike, and try and get in a 45-60 minute ride. A lot of fun when we can do it.

Work has been crazy recently though and it's really intruded into what I'm able to do - I'm effectively tethered to my house as I have to be near a broadband connection. I got frustrated enough that I requested a wireless PC card from work. One of my bosses figured that's a good idea but wants to dump a new laptop on me too - I guess he doesn't like it. Since it's faster than anything I have, I suppose I'll have to suck it up and accept it. But I don't have it yet so I'm just counting on the wireless card.

In the meantime, my New Britain race really motivated me. I felt good, I felt really into the zone in the hectic last five laps or so, and my next race, in July, happens to be at... New Britain!

I decided to try and get a bit more fit - this one ride a week business was really bringing me down. So I've been getting on the bike as much as I can, even if it's for 30 minutes. Anything to get the blood going, my metabolism up, and my legs worked.

Since New Britain I've been pretty diligent about riding (but, incredibly, I skipped the last weekend, a beautiful couple days, as I was up to my eyeballs in stuff to do). But last week I rode four days and this week I rode five days.


Alright, before you get too excited for me, I should point out that I rode 40 miles in those four days last week and 50 miles in the five days I rode this week. But that's about 30-40 miles more than I normally train each week. If I was spinning this for a sales guy, I'd tell them I increased my mileage 300-400%.

Sounds fantastic, doesn't it?

Not really. I guess it's sort of apparent why my sustainable wattage levels are at, as one reader pointed out, a "girlie" level.

But hey, if I can break the top 10 of a Cat 3 race with what I have, I'm okay with that.

I've also been a bit better about my diet. A bit, not great. And I try and do some maintenance lifting - my sprints always improve if I do back and upper body exercises. I do shoulder exercises too - the best way, in my opinion, to help protect the delicate collarbone area. In fact, I rarely stop doing shoulder exercises even if I skip the crunches, dead lifts, and various arm - chest - lat things.

I lack motivation to go really hard when I'm training. I get to a suffering point and simply ease up. I used to think it was burnout but I think it's just me getting smarter about bathing myself in pain. In races I see what I consider insane heart rates - average 168, max 183. These are virtually impossible for me to achieve when training. My averages are more like 150 and my max might break 170 when I train hard.

It's okay - I definitely race to get into shape. Although it's the meat of the summer, my season is virtually over. I have a few Prospect Parks, a New Britain, and perhaps one or two other races, and that's it. I want to do a Gimbels group ride or two but that seems somewhat unlikely at this point with the insane schedule.

This means I start thinking about equipment for next year. You may laugh but it's sort of true. With my new favorite bike thing, the Power Tap, I decided I want to get a true racing wheel with a Power Tap hub. I think it'll be easier to get a hub and build it (easier meaning cheaper) since I have so many wheels to disassemble. (I'll have to take a picture because even I was a bit shocked at how many wheels I have.) I still dream about a light crank with an oversized bottom bracket axle. Not much else though - the rest of my bike is as good as I need for my purposes.

Perhaps when we move into the hilly area and I work from home every day (today I'm at home because our office got closed due to a bomb scare), I'll be able to ride more, get lighter, and suddenly I'll be jonesing for a 45 gram lighter bottle cage. Remember, 45 grames is 1/10 of a pound - and you lose 45 grams in 10 places and your bike is a pound lighter! My two bottle cages weigh about 1/3 of a pound (150 grams). I figure when I'm lighter than 165, I can justify buying a pair that weigh 60 grams. Or a post that's 45 grams lighter. Or start experimenting with saddles to find one that's 90-135 grams lighter.

Notice I think in 45 gram increments? It makes it easy to translate to pounds. I don't think of my bike as an 8 kilogram bike (with race wheels). I think of it as 17.5 pounds. If I think in 45 gram increments, I can look at a stem (125 grams) and think, "oh, it weighs about two and a half tenths".

I guess I can justify a bike that weighs 1/10 as much as I weigh. Right now, with the lightest wheels I have, my bike weighs between 17.5 and 18 pounds. With the PowerTap rear wheel, I haven't weighed the bike with that, but it should be about a pound penalty - 18.5, maybe 19 pounds.

As I seem to weigh about 175-180, it seems about right.

Now to lose some weight so I can justify some lighter things.

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