Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paying my dues

Miles, hours, and quarts of sweat continue to pile up as I end the first month of my prep for TransIowa. I've been putting in between 10 and 12 hours a week on average this month, almost all of it on my Tacx trainer, other than a couple of outdoor rides when the weather was decent, as well as the Triple D Adventure race last weekend in Dubuque.

I wasn't really too concerned with Triple D this year for some reason. Not sure if it was due to the weather, or just more confidence in my fitness levels. The one thing that I was not prepared for was all of the ice that covered the course due to the unseasonably warm temps the day before the race. I felt really good physically coming into Dyersville, but I was absolutely petrified by the thought of having an accident on the ice somewhere on the course. I already had a couple of close calls on the way out, one of which almost took out my friend Guitar Ted. Plenty of other riders were able to break through their fear and just turn loose, some on cross bikes, but I was among their ranks. The chance of not showing up in Grinnell in April due to a broken wrist or collarbone wasn't worth the risk to me this year. I still ended up with a good hard 30 mile training ride across a bunch of new terrain, and I got to spend some time with friends during the weekend, so it was far from a loss. Standing around drinking water and the occasional soda while everyone else was drinking beer was an interesting twist to the weekend. My self imposed alcohol fast lasted until this weekend, when I allowed myself one beer during a friend's birthday outing. I have to admit it tasted quite good, and I'll be happy to have a few more once TI is done. 

From a fitness standpoint, I think things are sitting good right now. I'm started to get in some longer rides this weekend, albeit on the trainer. Saturday was a bit rough, maybe due to the Tacx course I chose. Today was a lot better, again maybe due to the course I chose, but I really felt like I was riding outside of my body today. I had no issues with generating power, unlike yesterday. *Shrug* The human body is a weird thing sometimes.

I'm still thinking over light setups for TI. I have been giving serious thought to moving my Schmidt hub over the the La Cruz and going with a dyno light instead of using my Dinotte battery powered lights, figuring that not having worry about battery charge or carrying the batteries would be nice. A couple of people that I trust seemed to think that might backfire on me, figuring that I would pay more than I expected for the extra watts of resistance. I'm still not sure, and I'm happy to take any suggestions or opinions into account. 

Mileage for this month is going to be well into the 800's. *shaking head*

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Trainer time

Two hours of tempo was on tap today. With the temps dropping steadily throughout the day, I decided to use this evening's workout to test out the Real Video portion of my Tacx Bushido trainer. In a nutshell, you load up a course, tell the trainer to use that, and it displays a filmed video of the course and adjusts the trainers resistance based on the course topography. I loaded the The Dordogne course, which is an easy 75km course through the French countryside and set out to pedal for a while. While the overall course profile was rolling, there were plenty of sections of 4 - 7% for short periods that made me get out of the saddle and change gears. I was amazed at how quickly the two hours went. Watching the video (on a big LCD TV), keeping an eye on my wattage, and adjusting to the terrain really made it seem like I was riding (or as close as I was going to get in my basement) It's hard to say this, but if I'm not actually looking forward to using the trainer a bit more this winter, I'm at least not fearing a couple of hours on it if weather dictates. Summary - 2:04:13 at an average power output of 202 watts.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Turnin' the cranks

Gave up on the idea of completing the Festive 500. Too damn cold and just too many thing scheduled at the wrong times to get the miles in. More crushing of the legs has ensued through New Years Day via the Salsa Mukluk.

I rode from my house down to Rasmussen's on the 27th and then met up with some folks for a forward and back through Denmans, plus some trail packing in Squirrels nest and a climb up to the top of Hillside. I rode back to the shop to warm up before limping down to Mullets for dinner with my lovely wife. The week had caught up to me by that point, so I sent the bike home and arranged for a ride back from El Bait shop where we were saying good-bye to Sean Noonan before he shipped off for basic training. 24 miles for the day.

I took Friday off for some family stuff and then met some people over at Sycamore for some more fatbiking. Good times, some hard riding, and introduced my friend Lacey to riding fatbikes in the snow. She was a trooper the whole day, despite us taking her on a trailbusting expedition on Sycamore's south side. She was wiped by the time we got back to the north end, and I'm happy she decided to not run me over with her truck as payback on the way out of the parking lot. 14.5 miles for the day.

Sunday the 30th was warm, but I had scheduled a movie watching day, so no riding. Our small group of 4 watched Truth in 24 and Senna, both excellent documentaries. I made a couple of pots of chicken noodle soup, and others brought stromboli and some prosciutto wrapped pears for food.

New Year's Day meant skipping the Nth Degree ride and meeting up with mates at 9 AM for another lap of Sycamore. I think the temp was somewhere around -1 or 0 when we started out and it had barely climbed into the + range by the time we were done at 11:00 or so. As soon as I got on the bike I could tell it was going to be a bad day. No snap to the legs, bike felt weird and I just could not push the pace very hard, despite the well packed trail. I opted to just sit in and enjoy the day, even if it meant riding by myself for a good part of the time. We had a couple of guys that suffered some tire issues, but nothing major. A LOT of guys out on fatbikes that morning. We had 6 or 7 in our group and we ran into four others at various points on the trail. Another 14.5 in the books, despite the frigid temps.

Tonight, I settled back into training mode for TIV9. An hour and ten minutes on the trainer riding tempo, along with some one legged pedaling drills and some cadence ladders to break things up a bit. Legs are feeling a little tired, but that feeling will pass as the hours start adding up over the weeks. I upgraded from a standard magnetic trainer to a Tacx Bushido this summer, so I have power to train with as well as heart rate. It will be interesting to see how that works out as the sessions progress this winter. Tomrrow's workout is supposed to be two hours of tempo, so I might take the opportunity to try out some of the VR or video features of the software.