Fulgaz is an option, too. Perhaps a Wahoo or Garmin workout instead? I dunno. I do know this, though: the chance of moving lots of snow today (blowing, shoveling, etc.) is extremely high!
FOR now, since I’ve finished moving some of those flakes (so I could get the images for this post), I’m content to just blog away, watch the snow fall and revel in the fact that we finally have a shit-ton of that white stuff. About a foot or so since last night, with a lot more expected. Hallelujah!
AS a professional cyclist — written with tongue firmly planted in cheek — I have the luxury of not being too hasty in my decision making this morning (or any morning for that matter). “Professional cyclist,” at least in my case, is code for unemployed. My most excellent friend, Mr. Keno, gave me that moniker, around the summer of 2020 I think it was, because I was able to spend an extraordinary amount of time (and still am) training.
ALAS, I wish the situation was different. I do need to earn more ducats than I am currently but am appreciative of the EDD help and oh so cognizant that there are people far worse off than I.
Indeed, I continually wonder how I held down a full-time job, got those many homestead chores done, stayed involved in the community, and trained.
I did it, but as my wife points out, I was a lot more stressed. And admittedly I didn’t spend quite as much time working out then as I do now. That’s something that will change at some point; either I’ll be back into the corporate grind or working at the California Alps Cycling shop, or both, in the near future.
IN the meantime, I wish you a happy hump day and hope that you too got the weather you needed or wanted.
I’m off to the pain cave.
I’LL leave the icicles alone for now.
MAYBE later, when I’m doing some serious snow-moving, I’ll pull a few of ’em down and start my ‘cicle garden.
ROSCOE (II, a 2017 Domane 600 Series Disc) and I headed out from HQ here in Markleeville on an almost 60 degree day knowing that some mud was possible — but unlikely or at least navigable we thought after a couple weeks of dry weather.
THE trail starts at Hangman’s Bridge, just about two (2) miles from Markleeville, and I had hiked it before. A few little rollers to kick things off, and a couple others about half-way out, but other than that it’s a fairly flat, non-technical out-and-back trail that tracks the East Fork of the Carson River for about 3 1/2 miles or so. Click here to check it out on All Trails.
THAT first pitch wasn’t rideable (at least for me) so I kicked things off with a little hike-a-bike. Little did I know then that I would get a bit more of that (hike-a-bike that is) pretty quickly.
I was having a great time riding through the squishy, pine-needley (is that a word? not sure) muck and was really enjoying the sound of my tires hitting that squishiness. Some fish-tailing, some mud-splattering, some big ol’ rocks and some pine cones; all of which made for some serious, shit-eating grin kinda fun. Roscoe and I were really enjoying ourselves and then we hit IT and as soon as we did we knew we were in a bit of a pickle.
THERE was no more progress to be made and I had to dismount. It all went very much downhill from there and it was a veritable laugh-riot. I was cackling like a madman as I surveyed the scene. I had seen mud but I had never experienced THIS MUD.
MY wheels would not move. No problem, I thought. I’ll just grab one of these sticks and clear ’em out. Snap. Okay, let’s try another one. Snap. No joy there. I need a better (not necessarily bigger) stick. Again I tried. Crack.
OKAY, let’s pause for a moment, I said to myself, and look at the shoes. Holy sludge Batman, this stuff is incredible! There was no way any stick was going to clean out this caca.
Note the small pine cones imbedded in the mud on those shoes.
I realized at this point that we were doomed, Roscoe and I. And yes, that is hyperbole. We weren’t really doomed but the ride sure was. At least we were fairly close to the trailhead. So, I swallowed my pride and called for extraction. Luckily, I still had cell service so that made it easier. I also had, if needed though, my inReach Mini. So if I had too…
For more on that little gadget of wonder, by the way, take a gander at this post. I think it’s the most valuable thing I carry when I’m riding, or hiking, or snowshoeing, or pretty much doing anything here in the California Alps, or any adventurous location for that matter!
We then did a little hike-a-bike, Roscoe and I, laughing (just me) all the way, and my lovely assistant (and wife) Patricia was there lickety split.
Those Lessons Learned?
THE ride that I hoped for instead turned out to be an afternoon of shoe and bike washing and the first thing I learned was that regular water (i.e. from a garden hose) does not work on this stuff. That cold water just made the mud harder.
LESSON #2: When you are riding a road bike (albeit an endurance-oriented, Paris-Roubaix tested model) made a gravel bike with the simple addition of some gravel tires, mud is a problem. It wasn’t designed with enough clearance like today’s true gravel bikes. Sand, check. Loose dirt, check. Rocks, check. Gravel, check. Mud, negatory. Better clearance is better!
LESSON #3: SPDs can be problematic in the muck. I did have a small swiss-army knife in my kit but it would have been a long slog to use that little thing to clear out everything to the point where I could actually ride. I should have installed those hybrid pedals (SPDs on one side, platform on the other) before I left.
LESSON #4: Use warm water (and brushes) to clean off the caca. Like I said earlier, that cold water just made things worse. I even had to use a steel brush to clean off the tires. Thankfully I have a big ‘ol laundry sink in the bathroom off the garage so I was able to apply that hot H20 liberally. Still, it took a surprising amount of time.
LESSON #5: This one I had applied before: wadded up newspaper in those wet shoes make for fast, efficient drying. I cleaned the shoes before I started on Roscoe, by the way, and did so in the sink, with warm water and a nylon brush.
THE short answer is YES! It certainly has in my case and I’m willing to bet it will help you improve too.
I’VE recently finished reading the 3rd edition of the book “Training + Racing with a Power Meter.” It’s a lengthy and technical tome, and I first mentioned it last October in a post I published about fitness apps.
THE book is full of juicy bits (and myriad workouts) and I’ve been practicing what it preaches for several months now, with my most recent efforts focused on pacing. If you’re like I used to be (and most cyclists are I suspect) than you’ve probably been using your heart rate for your focal point, and that’s a decent option, especially since some power meters can be a bit pricey. And if you don’t have one…
Don’t get me wrong. I still pay attention to my heart rate but now it’s in comparison to my power numbers, not vice-versa. Let me explain.
Typically, cyclists just ride. We ride hard if we feel good. We ride easy if we don’t. We’ll watch that heart rate and let it settle down if it gets too high and we’ll push harder if we think we’ve got some beats to give. And yes, you can pace yourself using those criteria. I have and sometimes still do.
However, if you take the leap and instead make power the cornerstone of your cycling workouts (after you test yourself and figure out your FTP) then you can instead set your pace based on the watts you’re producing.
FTP, or Functional Threshold Power (no, not File Transfer Protocol you computer nerd) is defined as “the highest power that a rider can maintain in a quasi-steady state without fatiguing for approximately one hour. When power exceeds FTP, fatigue will occur much sooner, whereas power just below FTP can be maintained considerably longer.”
THAT’S pacing in a nutshell: Don’t go all out early. Save some matches (also defined in the book) for later in the race. For most of my cycling-life I’ve been this guy: Go as hard as you can until you get tired and then rest more often, and longer, in order to finish the event or workout. Holding back is hard. Especially on a time-trial and especially when other cyclists are passing you or you’re riding with a stronger rider.
I’ve been working on my pacing, mostly inside on the trainer, by doing a couple rides I’ve done many times before, one on Zwift and one on FulGaz: Alpe du Zwift on the former and the Alpe d’Huez on the latter. The former by the way, is Zwift’s version of the latter. They both have their advantages, or likes as the case may be, but I won’t bore you with those distinctions. Suffice it to say they are difficult climbs, with specific sectors, that easily translate to pacing practice or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
When I’m working on those “two- P’s” I focus on keeping my power number down in Zone 3 for most of the ride and as I get closer to the finish I continue to push harder through the other zones so that I finish in Zone 5 or 6.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
Yum! Pudding! It’s been awhile since I’ve had some good pudding. I have to make some and put it on my post-ride list. I’m salivating now but will move on. Apologies…
Last week I was reading one of the last chapters (chapter 13) and came across the section(s) on time trials. Last year, as you may have read in my “Social Distancing Racing” posts (use the search box on my home page to find ’em) I participated in some racing, and due to Covid-19 all the races were essentially time trials but I didn’t know then what I know now. I would have done better had I read the chapter sooner.
THE section(s) to which I refer delve into flat TTs, hilly TTs and more. There is great advice to be gleaned but I’m not going to regurge it all here. Instead let me just say that I took the author’s advice and applied it (last Sunday as it turns out) on an 18-mile TT (with rollers, and coincidentally, a headwind).
Drum roll please…
I paced myself at my FTP (290). I didn’t worry about speed or heart rate.
I kept my power close to my FTP when hitting the rollers. In the past I would instead push well over my FTP, sometimes into Zone 6 on the climb, and then try to rest a little on the downhill.
AS you can imagine, I didn’t fare too well towards the end of the races. I was coming in 10th, 11th, or worse. I was burning WAY too many matches WAY too early.
THIS time though, I didn’t do that and the above screenshot of the segment (the entire TT) from Strava says it all!
AND what you can’t see is the TT within this TT that I had done twelve (12) times before. It’s approximately 9.5 miles long and on this effort I beat that previous time by OVER 3 MINUTES, and my average power was 70 WATTS HIGHER!
Holy frijole Batman! As I told my wife via text when I was done: “I guess that book was right! Check this shit out! 2nd out of 168. All time! It actually works!”
THE moral of the story is that training and racing with a power meter DOES WORK and it can make you, like it has me, a stronger rider and a more formidable racer.
IF you’d like some 411 on power meters and what I’m using, shoot me an email with your contact information and I’ll get in touch. I’m currently running two different power meters (both crank-based) on two different bikes and have experience with a third single-arm meter. Here’s a link to a good article as well.
Wishing you a happy and powerful new year. Stay safe and healthy and let’s kick some time trials’ asses!
What’s taking place in our country right now is heartbreaking. Our president is fomenting insurrection.
So called patriots (terrorists, really) are breaking windows, entering the U.S. Capitol and threatening violence. They were smiling and high-fiving each other like it was some sort of party. A woman who was shot inside the building earlier today has died. This on a day that is sacred to our constitution, our democracy…
This is not how I was raised. Not what I learned in school. Not what this country is about. And our president is doing nothing? In fact he said he loved these people. Oh, and by the way Mr. Trump, there’s still a pandemic raging that is killing thousands of people a day.
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley just said (and based on the tweet I just saw from Trump I agree), that he thinks Trump is sick. “Out of his mind” is what an unnamed source close to Trump just said.
How do I blog about cycling after seeing and hearing this? I can’t. It would cheapen or lessen what’s occurring.
I don’t have thousands of followers so I understand that I, unlike others who do, won’t necessarily make an impact by writing what I’m writing. But I have to “say” something.
I’m a registered Democrat. Two of my closest friends are registered Republicans. But…we are AMERICANS FIRST AND FOREMOST. We like the friendly discourse we have over politics, especially after a few shots of tequila.
These people though, including our president and a few other political leaders, are not about balance. They are about taking care of themselves and their cronies. They don’t give a shit about us!
At least Vice-President Pence had some guts and told these crazies to leave. That took courage. Thank you Mr. Vice President! Unfortunately they’re not listening, though. On one hand I hope they do go home and on the other I think that maybe their attention will only be grabbed by being arrested. Or worse.
AS President Bush just wrote, and I paraphrase, this is what happens in banana republics, not what happens in a true democracy. There is now talk about invoking the 25th amendment. I hope the cabinet does that.
This man is no longer fit to hold office!
It’s time to pray for our country. Blogging about cycling will have to wait.