Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pedal Stroke

Discovered some new things with my pedal stroke last night. By concentrating on where the pressure is applied in my pedal stroke I found it easier to hold my core interval. Here are the comments I sent to my coach.


I had a great workout tonight. Kept my heart rate up for all three
intervals. The best part is that I was playing around with pedal
stroke a little and found something that made me feel a little more
comfortable and smooth. I normally press my toes down into my shoe.
At the end of my rides my big toe is raw on one foot. Tonight I
lifted my toes up a little. I focused on feeling my heel press into
my shoe as I pulled back. I felt the tops of my toes push into my
shoe on my upstroke, and I felt the balls of feet press into my shoe
on my downstroke. I also noticed that it was easier to maintain my
cadence if I paid more attention to the tension in my hips and shins
on my upstroke. I think the push intervals really helped me focus on
keeping tension in my hamstrings and tonight I was able to maintain
that tension even though I was really focusing on the tension in my
hips and shins. When I started doing this I noticed I didn't hit as
many false walls. When I did hit one it was much less severe and only
made a minor change in my cadence 5-7 RPM instead of 10-15 RPMs.
Also it was much easier to maintain my heart rate. I didn't feel like
I was pedaling straight up in hill in BR 12. It felt more like I was
hauling ass on some rolling singletrack in my middle ring.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Attitude and Shifting

Had some revelations on the bike about attitude and shifting my front chainring. I learned if I act like I am tired I will tired. I also learned it feels much more efficient to ride in my middle ring unless I am climbing something really steep. Here are the comments I sent to my coach.


My workout yesterday was more laid back. I didn't pay too much
attention to my heart rate. I glanced down every once in a while to
make sure I wasn't slacking too much or using too much gas on the
hills. I tried to be as smooth as possible and not waste any

After about 4 hours I started having a little pity party in my head.
Telling myself how hard this was. Thinking about how I was tired.
Then 30 minutes later this little kid sees me go by for another lap
and comes flying up the trail after me. I let him go by then take off
after him to see how fast he is. Turns it out he was fast. I stayed
behind for about 10 minutes. I glanced down and noticed my heart rate
was about 180 and I could feel how much this was taking out of me so I
let up. It was a lot of fun trying to keep up with him though. I
also noticed as soon as I heard coming after me I was no longer tired.
All those bad thoughts were instantly pushed out of my head. Even
after I let up I felt a whole lot better than I did 30 minutes before
I saw the little kid.

I thought about one of my bad habits yesterday. I hardly ever use my
front derailleur. I normally keep my bike in my granny gear and only
shift in the back. I think I started doing this because my front
derailleur would never shift. Plus when it did there was about 50
percent chance that it would throw my chain off onto the frame or I
would get chainsuck. Only using my granny gear makes my riding pretty
inefficient though. I mostly coast on the downhills and spin out on
the flats. Then on the climbs, I probably go harder than I need to
make up for being slow everywhere else.

I tried yesterday to use my front derailleur. I did feel faster and
more efficient in the flats. I ended up not downshifting though. I
started climbing everything in my middle ring. After awhile this
started making my back hurt because I lost my form and posture. After
that I switched back to my granny gear and only shifted back to the
middle ring a handful of times. I will keep working on this in future
rides. Plus I think I will buy a new front derailleur. Mine is 7
years old. Probably hardly used though. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

First Core Interval

Did my first core interval. It was much easier for me hold this pace than the push pace which is weird because the core interval is at a higher intensity. Made a mistake and gulped this Hammer Nutrition stuff between intervals. It ended up giving me a stomach cramp and forced me off the bike. Here are the comments I sent to my coach.


Here is my summary from last week. Sorry I took so long to get it to you.

The workout tonight didn't go so well. It started off pretty good. I
bumped my EM heart rate up to 135-140. I didn't hold 140 the whole
workout but it was better then it had been. I also did the 3 x 2 core
interval warmups. I found a gear where I could hold 90 RPMs and still
get my heart rate up. After a couple core warmup intervals I noticed
it was much easier to spin in my EM gear. I was able to hold 95 to
100 RPMs where before the core warmups I was probably only pedaling 75
- 80 RPMs. Also the false walls went away.

Then I did my first 8 minute core interval. I was able to get my
heart rate up in a couple minutes and I was holding around 95 RPMs.
My heart rate was staying around 163-165. I felt good the whole
interval. It was much easier for me to hold this pace than the push
pace. The push pace always feels like I am bouncing in and out of
working hard. This pace I was able to just dive in and relax. It
felt normal and familiar. After my interval was over I sat up and
pedaled with my arms off the bars. After a minute or so my stomach
cramped. It was really high up almost in my chest. I couldn't take a
deep breath or bend over and hold my bars. I kept slow pedaling for 5
minutes hoping it would go away but it didn't. So I got off and layed
on the ground for 10 minutes until I felt better. Then I got back on
warmed back up and did my last two intervals. My RPMs dived with each
interval. It went from 90-95 to 80-85 to 70-75 RPMs. I was able to
keep my heart rate up for all three intervals. It wasn't overly
painful. I felt like I had plenty left but I could tell from the RPMs
dipping that I wasn't as fresh as my first interval.

Monday, April 03, 2006

First time feeling fast

Sunday I felt fast for the first time. I could really feel the effects of my training on the trail. It was a huge motivator for me to keep working hard. I pasted my comments to my coach below.


Sunday I rode my mountain bike. I felt a little run down before I got
on the bike. My legs were snappy but I think mentally I was just
tired. I couldn't really ride at 120 AHR. I was in the granny gear
the whole time. I basically tried to it in the smallest gear possible
that I could still keep a smooth pedal stroke. Every time I looked
down though I was doing at least 150 AHR (unless I was coasting
downhill). I kept working on it the whole day. I think it is just a
matter of me keeping a more constant effort instead of my rapid
acceleration/decacceleration thing that I normally do.

My pedal stroke seemed choppier than I expected. Also the back of my
leg above the knee was sore after Saturday's recovery ride on the
mountain bike. I wondered if I should lower my seat a little. Felt
like I couldn't pull my pedal stroke all the way back. When I got to
the back of my stroke (after pulling through the bottom) my leg would
be pulled up back to the handlebar. Didn't mess with the height
though because I wasn't sure if this was the way it supposed to be or

I did the Snap Intervals in my big ring. Man it was fun to go that
fast. I am not sure I have every gone that fast on flats and up hills
before. I was catching air going uphill. Pretty cool.

I broke my training on the second interval. This guy was annoying me.
Riding my wheel and skidding all over the place. He claimed he lost
his riding buddies on wanted me to pace him. So I messed with him a
little. Every time he would get on my wheel I would speed up and ride
him off my wheel. After I gapped him a couple hundred yards, I would
slow down and let him catch up. I did this 3-4 times before he
finally popped. I probably wasted about 15 minutes and I saw my heart
rate go as high as 180. Not good for training but fun none the less.
I was surprised at how calm I was when cranking up hills. I knew I
was working but I never felt out of control and sloppy.

After my little racing session, I went back to doing my snap
intervals. For some reason I thought I was supposed to do 5 sets of
snap intervals instead of 3. Once I got on to my fourth set, my mind
started to get a little hazy. My handling was degrading as well. My
legs never felt tired. Again I think it was all mental.

When I got home I felt spent, I just layed around for a little while
and sipped recovery drink and ate some pasta. It took a couple hours
but finally I snapped out of it. I feel fine today.