Monday, January 05, 2009


I've actually been on my bike lately, I just haven't felt much like writing about it over the holidays. Actually, I was asked politely last night by my darling wife if I was becoming obsessive about exercise/biking. I don't' think she understands quite yet that I'm actually just trying to ramp things up to the point where I'm close to the recommended training hours from the various plans I've looked at. Most of the guys I ride with hit anywhere around 10-15 hours on the bike plus workouts on top of that. I'm sitting right at 6 hours on the bike with a few workouts sprinkled in. I think it's mostly just an adjustment period in lieu of seeing my laid out on the couch with a beer watching the game to sweating my butt off sitting on a chunk of carbon fiber and vinyl.

Back to New Year's Day. The Nth degree ride was a pretty good time. Temps were conducive to getting not only a decent amount of mileage in, but also to enjoy the ride. The winds were a bit breezy and chased us from tail, to cross, to head as we transversed our way up to Granger and back. 26 miles in total with some nice hard efforts sprinkled in on my part. I helped push the pace up a bit on the way back with just 3 or 4 of us hanging out up front for the most part as we got into Grimes and stopped for a quick regroup. After that it was the last little push back into Johnston and time for me to head out. The few efforts felt pretty good with having had some time on the trainer to keep my legs in shape.

Most of the group descended upon Casey's in Granger:

The rest of the day was spent chasing the idea of going ice fishing, but due to a certain lack of planning, we never made it out. Hopefully I'll get out once this year as I don't think I even made it out on the ice (at least to fish) at all last winter.

Friday had me back at work and I self prescribed a rest day before Saturday's effort rolled around. I packed up my road bike, gear, and headed off to the shop for my fit. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting other than I wanted to hopefully gain a bit more power and stability on the bike. Donny had fit me well over a year ago on that bike and I really hadn't made any changes since. Adam ran me through the gamut of tests for flexibility , leg length, and a ton of different information to plug into the computer. After that it was off to the races with doing some changes in my footbeds, cleat placement, wedges, and shims. According to the original model, I really wasn't that far off so fear not, Donny did a good job on my fit. Adam just has the tools to take it to the next level and that's what we did.

We moved my seat position up about 1 cm and forward about 1.5 cm. Beyond that, we maintained stem length and height so no further aggressiveness was dialed into my position. The main issue I've got is that while I have some flexibility, I am on a bike with more relaxed geometry so it doesn't necessarily take to being in an aggressive stance. Kind of like bolting a huge wing on your Yugo. Might look interesting, but that's about where the advantages stop. One of the things I wanted to do was a power test checking out before and after fitting measurements. We didn't make this happen, but I did get the after test done.

The power test consisted of a warm-up, then steady state intervals at 80-95 RPM, with a 4 minute window to hold the power, 1 minute recovery, and then upping the wattage to the next level. Rinse and repeat until you can't maintain the wattage/RPM for the 4 minutes and then take your information and plug it into this chart. While I was hoping for better, I can't really complain about the outcome being at the very beginning of actual training. According to the chart, my power to weight ratio is 3.8watts/kg. With the handy dandy little comparative chart, this plunks me right in the middle of what is supposed to be Cat 4's. Not too shabby, but I've got a long ways to go. Of course as Donny posted up when doing similar test on the PRC ladies last winter, it's just a number. Your goal through training is to increase that number, but in regards to actual race performance it means less than zero. It only shows how well you do on the test. In any case, I got what I wanted which is a base number to start from. In addition, it gave Adam a chance to learn more about the computrainer in the shop so hopefully he can start offering a few more expanded services to go along with his fittings. One final bit of info I found interesting was that I was able to push my heart rate to 195 during the test. Previously, I'd only managed low 180's as my max indoors. I definitely felt like I was at the beginning of the puke zone when we got done.

I spun things out Saturday night for an hour and then hit Lou's power house on Sunday morning for another hour and a half sweat fest along with another hour last night. I finally got some entertainment set up in the basement in the form of a DVD player and what a difference that makes. Sure the IPOD is great, but you can only listen to it and the sound of your heart pounding for so long before it becomes too monotonous. I flipped on Walk the Line and watched the first hour of it last night, much better!

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