Mount Evans Hill Climb

A project in correcting power data for altitude to gauge aerobic stress. The aerobic stress of a cycling effort is gauged “fairly” by using power (assuming the power meter is calibrated. c.f. Brailsford’s Bullshit) only when the relative aerobic effort stays fair across the measurement. In the case of going to altitude, the blood-delivery demands […]

Continue Reading

Season Planning Seminar

The Invitation: First thing back after Christmas (well at least close to first thing) is a good time to lay some plans for the next season. This is partly because everyone is highly motivated at this time of year and full of the ‘New Years Resolutions’ vibe. This week, we’d like to have a club […]

Continue Reading

CCC – Day4

Excerpt:

Photo from gallery: CCC 2012 - Stage4

The rolling pastures gave no warning that we were going to encounter such a beast in the middle of the Pyrenean foothills. One moment we were rolling along chatting and the next we’d made our way in and amongst some forest and were into our easiest gears and out of the saddle. The climb crept up on me from out of no-where and I was still in the big ring when the grade went over 10% for the first time. Fortunately we knew it had to be short and so it wasn’t completely defeating to the morale. The road was tight, shaded, and the pavement was in acceptable shape to get traction despite being broken up and having grass growing in between the tyre tracks. I kept checking the road grade on my garmin as it pitched up steeper and steeper around the few corners, generally though this road was headed straight up hill with minimal landscaping. 12%, 13%, 17%, 19%. Incredibly, I somehow had the strength to do it and do it well. It was an end-of-the-day finishing sprint for the likes of Joachim Rodriquez. Unfortunately I’m not quite as skinny as him, and I didn’t have to beat anyone, but the drifting imagination helped. The legs just pumped and the heart just beat and the lungs just breathed. And then, as soon as it had started, after less than a mile it was done. Out of the trees, and tada, what a climb.

Continue Reading

CCC – Day 3

Excerpt:

Photo from gallery: CCC 2012 - Stage3

It didn’t take long to start ascending, just less than a mile to be exact. By about quarter to eight most people had found themselves in their easiest gear and trying to conserve energy as we began a long wet climb towards the Col de Perysourde. The grade backed off after the first few kilometers to a slightly less demoralizing pitch and it was possible to grab a few more gears and get going with the climb. The rain was on and off, but more off than on, for the ascent and banks of clouds floated around the mountainside as we passed through a series of villages on the way up. The views out across to the valley to our right were entertaining as they came in and out of view obscured by bits and pieces of cloud or fog drifting about, I was reminded specifically for the troutbeck valley from year spent in England. The sheep looked depressed by the weather and the varying shades of grey in the skies weren’t doing a whole lot to keep me excited either. The public fountains designated as ‘Eau Potable’ were overflowing as we climbed past dozens of them alongside this road but it was hard to be thirsty when you have a half liter of orange juice and three or four bowls of cafe-au-lait already waiting in the bladder. Stopping just seemed like a cold idea so it was postponed for another kilometer, and then another, and yet another.

Continue Reading

CCC – Day 2

Excerpt:

Photo from gallery: CCC 2012 - Stage2

The road started to switchback a bit more often and soon the trees started to break up. The silence gave way to the sound of cowbells and sheepbells (not that I can tell the difference) as I started to make my way across the meadow. The views were nonexistant, a couple dozen meters in front and to either side, but that was enough for now. Progress continued with the added entertainment of having huge cowpies to avoid all over the road. The grade backed off as the kilometers wound to a close and I rolled up to the top feeling quite contained, pleased and happy. The lack of markings or reference points eliminated almost all the sense of accomplishment, but it wasn`t a loss. The beauty of the moment atop that mountain was the reward, peaceful and calm. I could hear thunder in the distance as I stuffed some food in my mouth and got dressed with all of my clothes and started to descend off of the other side. With not a tree in sight being on a bike made me definitely the high point on the mountain for any lightning strikes and so after pausing and briefly enjoying the moment I got on my way as quickly as I could.

Continue Reading

CCC – Day 1

Excerpt:

Photo from gallery: CCC 2012 - Stage1

My jetlag also started to creep up on me as I neared the 6 o’clock in the morning mark. Things were getting a bit bleak and luckily Tom came past in one of our support vans on the way to setting up our third feed stop for the day and offered to fill my bottles. I gratefully accepted the extra 3 lbs of water weight as the trees had started to break up, I could feel the sweat running off of me and the sun’s rays were starting to feel oppressive. All of the fuel I loaded in at lunch seemed to have vanished and I was just about to cross the 1500m elevation mark. Still more than an entire Marmot-Basin access road ahead of me I thought to myself. I found some shade, pulled off the road and had a break, not quite a break-down but close. The mountain was crushing me. I had a couple humbling moments draping myself over my handlebars and I got some sugar into my stomach. When your brain starts freaking out it’s often the case that it can be calmed down a bit by correcting your blood-sugar and for me that was partially the case. I worried that I was in way over my head with this trip. It was still early afternoon on Day 1. I was unlikely to make it to the hotel before 6pm and I had 9 more days of this ahead. I used all of the calming techniques I had in my book to settle myself down and once my breathing and heart rate were under control I set off in my easiest gear. There are 3 guys ahead of me and 14 guys behind me, all I have to do is keep up with last place today and I’m almost certain that I am a couple hours ahead of him right now. I set off, spinning myself up the hill in my 34-27 gear trying to go as easy as possible. ‘As easy as possible’ when the road is pitching up at 8 or 10 % is anything but easy, but I felt a bit more in control of the situation and with less than an hour to go on this uphill I was doing all right.

Continue Reading

The USADA saga

I do know that if the long term goal is to have races like the tour de france start with 180 riders using their God-given talents and the fitness that they have earned through sweat and tears… then it’s absolutely necessary for there to be complete visibility in the global cycling community, spearheaded by the UCI (or what becomes of it), that it is believable that others are not doping. How does the international cycling community start moving in that direction? I think it’s absolutely going to require a Truth and Reconciliation commission as has been proposed but so far shut down by the UCI. Credibility and honesty isn’t something that can be requested, it is something that needs to be earned. Unless there is real effort (and money) directed towards capitalizing on an opportunity for a cultural shift it’s not going to happen.

Continue Reading

How hard?

The magnitude of effort required to complete the first stage of the CCC was about 50% more than was required to complete the Golden Triangle. We then did the same thing the next day… and the load just piled on with basically no respite until the end (if you can call those days respite. Stage 9 had abnormally low grades (only 7 or 8%!) on two of the passes because we were in Spain so the mileage was high but the climbing low. Stage 10 was slightly abridged so that we could finish with time to pack bikes before a celebratory dinner of pork cheeks and some fine Catalan red wine.

Continue Reading

Enduro-Cross is a different Kettle of Fish

My race started out pretty much as I expected. A lead pack formed with 7 people. I was there. There were interruptions caused by crashing but I evaded them and had made the lead bunch, a feat I was quite proud of as all the rest of the dudes in that group race elite (and I do not!). We hit the fenceline, a relatively open section of the course, and I was working hard but I was still in contact and was confident that I could remain in contact. The grass had been freshly cut here, and by freshly I mean “it smells like freshly cut grass”. The freshly cut grass amassed in my rear brakes and started to drag. I tried to flick it out but it wasn’t coming out. At this point I had to either get off my bike and lose contact with the lead group or keep pedalling and hope that the clump of grass would come dislodged. It didn’t and eventually my heart-rate had reached 192 bpm, with me trying to keep up while riding with the brakes on. Essentially that was the end of my racing. I had to get off the bike to clear it out, but even after I was remounted and rolling again I was suffering from a visit deep into the red-zone.

Continue Reading

Jasper Training Block – 2012

I leave for France in two weeks. The final training block consisted of a week of ~15 hours that was front-end loaded leaving me headed into the weekend well rested so I could string together three relatively big days. My hope was that I would get myself a bit metabolically fatigued by loading on some volume. The weather wasn’t warm enough to be conducive to very early morning riding and the sun set too soon to do any late evening riding so all of the days were of reasonable length and difficulty, nothing was extreme. All told, I managed 15 hours 40 minutes of riding over the course of three days with a total ascent of 6000 meters. That’s a very small taste of what I have coming at me when I get to France, but I managed this 3 day block with minimal discomfort. I did screw up the eating when battling a block-headwind for two hours which had me running on fumes for the final 3 hours of my Sunday ride… retrospectively that’s encouraging. I can still climb at sustained rates in excess of 800m/hour when my blood sugar is a total mess. I was also able to climb the final pitch (4 kms averaging 6%) of the Marmot Basin road 3 seconds faster (alone) at the end of the third day than I did (racing S.Mundy) on the first day of the weekend.

Continue Reading