Thursday, November 29, 2007

My goals for the 2008 racing season

It's that time of year again; time to renew my USCF license and set goals for my racing season. I trained with a classic periodized program for 2007, which forces one to carefully pick 2 or 3 times a year to hit one's peak fitness, but for 2008 I'm not. So, unlike 2007, I won't set "A Priority" races, a la Joe Friel. Instead my goals are somewhat less specific. Still:

Training goals:
  • Raise my FTP power from 265W (estimated as I don't have a PM) by some ungodly huge amount. I weigh about 152 pounds, so that works out to be about 3.8W/kg. Let's make my goal 4W/kg, so my goal power is 276W estimated (I don't have a lot of weight to lose, but if I do that will be bonus).
  • Break the 19-minute barrier on Old La Honda Road. I wonder if 276W will do that...
Race goals:
  • Win my first Cat 3 criterium. No particular one.
  • OK, maybe I can set some more specific race goals: Win Coyote Creek Circuit Race and Watsonville Criterium. Ugh, that's a stretch goal!
  • Win my first Expert cross-country race. Could happen, given the right course.
  • Enter my first dirt short-track race, at Sea Otter Classic, and don't get pulled.
  • Finish top-10 in any road race (likely 45+ open Cat). Any race will do; this is also a stretch goal!
  • Provide invaluable service to my teammates in other races, helping them to win!
Honestly, that last goal may be the coolest; helping teammates can be a blast!

Well, I'm certainly looking forward to 2008; as long as the rest of my life cooperates. Real life has a way of intruding on this little fantasy world I like to visit.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hate me: I lost weight over Thanksgiving!

Yup, I was 153 pounds last week, and 152 this morning! This in spite of a heavy-meals Wednesday, traditional all-out Thanksgiving meals on Thursday and Friday, huge leftovers lunch on Saturday followed by a nice dinner out.

Credit goes to three factors:

  1. I rode my ass off. I did a hard FTP workout Thursday at 2x20-minutes, then Friday off to rest, then a killer L5 hill repeats workout with my Team Bicycle Trip teammates on Saturday with about 50 miles thrown in. Sunday I surfed for about 1.5 hours.
  2. We didn't have good pumpkin pie. Or any other good pies for that matter. I loooove pie! We only had a Whole Foods pumpkin pie, which is too sweet, and some unusual Indian Bread Pudding. Neither enticed me for seconds.
  3. I avoided the mashed potatoes and breads pretty well. Even though I made one batch of mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes blended in which is really tasty, I just took small dollops. I compensated by eating some extra veggies and turkey. Yummy and healthier.

After all that I did have a brief spike at 158.5 pounds, but that was all water. Don't freak out when you see these high peak readings, because salt and protein, and some other foods, tend to cause your body to retain water. After a couple of days it's mostly all gone. Since I track my calorie intake and expenditure, I knew that I hadn't overindulged.

And, no, I am not obsessed with my weight, I'm not, I'm not! ;-)

I do want to eliminate about 5 pounds of body fat, though, as that extra weight would slow me down on some of the hilly road races I want to do next season. I weighed about 148 pounds just a couple of years ago, but got tricked into gaining. <:-0 The Analytic Cycling website has an interesting online tool that allows you to calculate the effect that weight has on cyclists's hill-climbing abilities.

I'm a bit heavier than the really good climbers. I have teammates who weigh 20 pounds less than me... but I'm not trying to get down to their level as I have some upper-body muscle that they lack because I surf and I'm more of a sprinter anyway. But getting a little closer would be a nice bonus.

By the way, I absolutely loooooove leftover turkey, and was able to score some! Yummy. And my awesome brother-in-outlaw Richard scored me some homemade wild boar sausage! That is so cool. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Well, Christmas ain't so bad either.

My favorite Thanksgiving quote, from my sister, regarding her fiancee Richard: "Why should I buy the bull if I can get the shit for free?"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Low-Key Hillclimbs!

I've been racing, uh, "riding" they prefer to call it, in a fun series of timed hillclimbs. Since I'm racing, uh, riding, for Team Bicycle Trip now, I've posted my reports for these hillclimbs on the Team Bicycle Trip blog:

I hope you enjoy them! Some were painful to write. :-(

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My 2008 training schedule, v2.0

My friend, coach Mark Edwards, has been very helpful in designing a training program for me. It's pretty simple, way more simple than the complicated periodized program I set up for my 2007 season, but is pretty flexible and allows me to tailor each week for maximum effect. I just take the basic schedule shown below and make changes each week when needed.

For the off season I will pretty much follow exactly what I have here, and I will mostly just vary my "junk miles" (bike commuting, and all other non-specific rides) to prevent overtraining. In the real world I will sometimes shift the workouts around to fit into my real-world life, or skip them entirely when needed.

Dennis's 2008 Training Schedule

  • Mondays: Very easy bike-commute, or day off.
  • Tuesdays: "L5" workout with six 4- to 6-minute hill repeats or intervals. (In Santa Cruz somewhere.)
  • Wednesdays: "L4" workout with 2x20 or 1x40 FTP ride. (Likely on Page Mill Road or Old La Honda. Plus bike-commute some of the time, but really slow. Will skip this workout if I'm feeling fatigued.)
  • Thursdays: Very easy bike-commute, or day off.
  • Fridays: Very easy bike-commute, or day off. (Will do a second "L5" workout during the regular race season, unless there's a race the day after.)
  • Saturdays: "L4" workout with 2-3x20 or 1x40 FTP ride with Team Bicycle Trip. (Might occasionally join Crow's Nest ride for kicks, but make sure to ride Hazel Dell. Will just do an easy short ride if there's a Sunday race.)
  • Sundays: Day off. (Most of the time, unless it's going to rain on Monday or something. Might do that second "L5" workout during race season instead of Fridays, when there's a short Saturday race.)


2x20: Two 20-minute intervals. You ride for 20 minutes, usually at your "FTP" intensity or a little below it, then take a break, and repeat for another 20 minutes.

1x40: One 40-minute interval. You ride for 40 minutes, usually at your "FTP" intensity or a little below it.

FTP: Functional threshhold power. It's the fastest consistent "power" your body can produce for about 1 hour.

Power: For cyclists this is how much pressure you can apply to the pedals over time. Not the same thing as "strength" though.

Strength: The maximum force you can apply with your muscles for one brief moment. This really only applies to weight lifters, not cyclists. It's all about how heavy a weight you can lift (or press) one time. Cycling is all about applying force over a long period of time. It's sort of like the "horsepower versus torque" debate that auto racers have.

L4: Level 4. Kind of the same excercise intensity as you experience at your FTP, but expressed as a "zone." "L3" is a little slower, "L2" is a moderate endurance pace, and "L1" is an easier pace, but still not really slow.

L5: Level 5. This is faster than L4, and thus above FTP, so it's a pace you can only sustain for a few minutes. Many coaches express this as "L5a" and then add two higher zones, "L5b" and "L5c," which are higher yet (or call them "L6" and "L7" instead), up to your absolute maximum potential. L5c might be your fastest 8-second pace, I'd guess.