Sunday, March 31, 2013

Endurance Athletes and Carbohydrates Part 2

In Part 1 of my serie of blog posts on carbohydrates (CHO) and endurance athletes, we had an overview on the importance of post-workout carbohydrate feeding in the recovery process. It's main role is to refuel muscle glycogen stores in order to set you up for your next training session. This is one part of the recovery equation and CHO plays another major role in the recovery phase by starting its action during the training session.

Ingesting carbohydrates during training has been shown to possibly blunt the glucoregulatory hormonal response (insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, growth hormone and cortisol) during exercise. These hormones (except insulin) are responsible for the increase in blood glucose concentration. Their activity generally increases with exercise intensity or duration in order to level off blood glucose concentration since exercise intensity/duration depends on glucose as fuel. How does CHO feeding during exercise act on your body? What mecanism comes into play? Here is a brief summary of what happens.

Implications in recovery and peripheal fatigue

CHO feeding during exercise could lower blood concentration of the hormone cortisol. Altering cortisol secretions can have some positive effects on recovery. Cortisol is known to suppress the immune system by decreasing T-cells and therefore makes you more prone to catching infections and illness. To regulate blood glucose, cortisol uses the body's amino acids and transforms them into glucose and liver glycogen (neoglucogenesis). This means it can feed your body using it's own tissus such as muscle fibers and connective tissus. Decreasing neoglucogenesis by ingesting CHO during exercise could therefore accelerate the recovery process. During exercise, cortisol blocks glucose entry into the cells which could decrease exercise intensity by promoting free fatty acids (FFA) use as fuel. Less plasma glucose available for working muscles potentially leads to accelerated fatigue of those tissus and can compromise subsequent medium to long term recovery. Decreasing growth hormone effect has similar results since GH supports cortisol action.

Plasma concentration of hormone epinephrine is a strong marker of glycogenolysis. The more epinephrine concentration is found in blood, the more muscle glycogen will be used during exercise to maintain intensity level and liver glycogen to maintain blood glucose levels. Using liver glycogen to maintain blood glucose levels at a stable concentration means less glycogen is used for exercise specific oxidation. CHO feeding during exercise as been shown to reduce epinephrine production and could therefore spare muscle and liver glycogen use. Even though it might be a marginal change, sparing muscle glycogen knowing you only have about 400g available is always something good. The role of endogenous CHO feeding in that case comes down to regulate blood glucose concentrations in order to prevent using  liver glycogen stores to do that task. More glycogen is then available for specific muscle contraction during exercise and could delay exercise specific muscle fatigue.

Insulin levels during exercise generally follows a downward tendancy with exercise intensity/duration. Ingesting CHO during exercise could help maintain insulin secretions at resting levels and could even slightly increase it's production. The main action of insulin is to uptake blood glucose and store it as muscle and liver glycogen. Having normal or slightly elevated insulin levels could then accelerate the recovery process by increasing the rate of blood glucose uptake to cells. It could contribute to muscle and liver glycogen synthesis during exercise as well, delaying peripheal fatigue.

To summarize, endogenous CHO ingestion during exercise helps maintain blood glucose levels stable and blunts glucoregulatory hormones response. Lowering the effect of these hormones could have implications in exercise intensity, fatigue during exercise and post-workout recovery mainly by sparing muscle glycogen stores.

Some theories involving CHO feeding during exercise and glucoregulatory hormonal response are linked to the onset of central fatigue. Decreasing the glucoregulatory hormones effect by CHO feeding leads to more stable blood glucose levels and thus, less free fatty acids blood concentration and oxidation during exercise. FFA blood concentration is thought to promote fatigue during exercise, which brings us to Part 3 in a few days.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Maximal Aerobic Power Test: so short yet so painful!

First full week of work in months! It was a draining week at my new job and it requires some adaptation. Sleeping patern has changed and I am now usually in bed by 20h30-21h00! That is pretty crazy. I had some sluggish sensations during training this week and felt my legs lacked the high intensity feel. I finished working at 14h00 today (friday) and I was planning on doing my MAP test to see where I was at with my fitness. I fueled accordingly yesterday and today and was NOT looking foward to the pain! Those tests make me nervous just like the stress you feel on the start line when racing.

I have been using MAP tests for a while now and have a serie of datas I can refer back to in order to gauge my fitness and progression. I use the British protocol of 25 watts increments per 1 minute. Canadian riders are more familiar with the canadian protocol which consist in a 30 watts increment every 3 minutes. MAP tests are very protocol dependant. I like MAP tests better then the popular 20 minutes test because it is shorter and is not pacing dependant. The most important factor is picking a protocol and sticking to it in order to compare results from one test to an other. I use this protocol for 3 reasons: 1) it is used by highly reputable British and Australian coaches and sport facilities, 2) it's a protocol from which you can estimate your Functionnal Threshold Power (FTP) and 3) it's easily done on an indoor trainer.

Estimating your FTP from a MAP test result

The result from your MAP test is the last minute average power, usually the highest 1 minute power during the test. From that data you can extrapolate your FTP. It has been said that one's FTP usually falls within 70% to 80% of MAP. Most people use 75% but I prefer being conservative so I use 72% of my final result. Depending on the individual, FTP could be lower then 70% or a little higher then 80%. Another interesting data you can obtain from this test is your mean maximal 5 minutes power. The test's intensity usually does a good job forcing you to produce a high 5 minutes power in the last stages of the test. Typically, a rider's best 5 minutes power should be arround 90% of his MAP using the protocol described above.

The results

Since you might be a power data geek, here's the part you are probably looking foward to: today's results. I am not too much into personnal number showing and all that stuff because I think it sounds pretentious but for the sake of the blog post I will include my personnal numbers. Last 2 tests were done at the end of december and during the first week of febuary. Oddly enough, both tests resulted in the exact same MAP and 5 minutes power: 463 watts and 410 watts respectively. The only difference being the december test saw me lasting 8 seconds in the 475 watts step whilst I lasted 22 seconds in that step during the febuary test. At the time I was a little annoyed by the test's results because I had no improvement. Reflecting on the situation with the precious help of my mentor I realized the result was not bad at all since I was in the middle of a pretty intense training block involving a lot of Vo2max type of efforts. Following this block I headed south 2 weeks ago and could log some long rides and I think all of this is starting to pay off.

The multiple steps of a MAP test

Despite the fatigue and lack of confidence in my form I stepped into the pain and did my test today. The test went very well and I managed to complete the 475 watts stage and log a mere 1 second in the 500 watts step! Final results are looking good for the upcoming season: 483 watts MAP, 425 watts 5 minutes power and a 340-345 watts estimated FTP. All of which, at my body weight, are not numbers to be shy of. Estimated FTP would be exactly 347 watts but given the powermeter has an error margin I prefer staying conservative and call it 340-345 watts. The 5 minutes power is about 87%-88% of my MAP, which makes some sense since I am a bit of a diesel engine.

Its worth giving a try to such test, is easily perform on an indoor trainer and repeatable. I am quite pleased with today's results and it looks very good for the upcoming season. I hope I still have some room for improvement. But for now, I will concentrate on upcoming training sessions. Actually not looking foward to them with the new power target I will need to hit!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Endurance Athletes and Carbohydrates Part 1

A balance in macronutrients is essential in an endurance athlete's diet and we sometimes hear people trying out some funky nutrition shifts such as high fat diet, low carbs diet, etc. One thing is sure, endurance athletes need to have a high proportion of their daily macronutrients intake as carbohydrates (CHO) to perform optimaly. CHO has a lot of functions within the body and I am going to try and make this a series of two or three posts on CHO in relation to exercise, recovery and fatigue.

Carbohydrates and recovery

Heavy aerobic exercise rely mostly on muscle and liver glycogen for fuel. The precious glycogen is stored in limited quantity within the human body and any moderate to hard intensity aerobic effort will be fueled from these reserves. The importance of post-workout refueling is therefore crucial for short and long term improvements. But how does it happen? Why is it so important? Here are some answers on the topic.
Carbs play a major role in the recovery process. Depending on exercise intensity and duration, muscle glycogen stores could be partialy to fully depleted. The average 70kg male has about 400g of muscle glycogen to spare and 100g of liver glycogen. Despite being trainable, the total quantity of stored glycogen remains limited. These reserves generally allow for a sustained moderate-hard effort of 2 hours before being fully depleted.

Post-exercise CHO feeding will ensure the recovery process kicks in by refueling your muscles and liver glycogen stores. A proper post-exercise CHO intake will also help your body trigger all the biological processes to set up training induced adaptations. Fueling back your tanks allows to be ready for your next training sessions. Therefore, better recovery means higher quality/quantity training on a regular basis to achieve your performance goals.

Quite often we can read or hear about the post-workout 30 minutes recovery opportunity window and it's major impact on muscle glycogen synthesis. Though this aspect has been debated, it appears evidence tends to suggest the actual opportunity window is an important part of the post-workout recovery process. Insulin response is high following exercise when CHO is ingested. Tissues sensitivity to insulin and glucose transporters such as GLUT1 and GLUT4 is also higher in the few minutes following hard exercise which would increase their hability to absorb glucose. In that optic, a high glycemic index carbohydrate solution should be prefered when aiming for optimal recovery. Liquid CHO with sodium intake is also favorable to ensure gastric emptying is processed faster.

Traditionnaly, we've been told ingesting a combination of CHO and protein (3:1 to 4:1 ratio) would accelerate the rate of muscular glycogen synthesis. A few experts have studied this issue and it appears coingestion of CHO and protein would only be useful if the quantity of ingested CHO (or total energy) is too low. Drinking a 1,2g/kg/h of a CHO solution (van Loon et al. 2000) would seem like a good approach to post-exercise CHO feeding for optimal recovery.

So what should you learn fro that? The importance of ingesting a liquid CHO solution in the few minutes following hard exercise or competition will enhance the body's capacity to recover. Muscle glycogen synthesis is a slow process which takes some time. Under optimal recovery conditions, 5-7% per hour of total glycogen reserve will be restored. Complete glycogen replenishment can  easily take up to 24 hours to be completed and most of the time 24 hours is not enough. This is a major reason to emphasize post-workout nutritional strategy to achieve your performance goals.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SRM home calibration

SRMs have this little feature that make them such great units: the possibility to calibrate your powermeter at home. Dont get the terms wrong here, people often confuse calibration and setting zero offset. This post is about slope calibration and therefore it is all about your powermeter accuracy and consistancy.

To calibrate your PM, you need your cranks attached to your bike, your PowerController head unit, an indoor trainer, a known weight (very important) and a pen and piece of paper. You need to install your bike on your indoor trainer so it remains leveled and does'nt move, it makes the job easier. Though, you can also calibrate your SRM while holding your bike still like I did with my MTB because it wouldnt fit on my trainer.

You need a known mass of around 20kg. It needs to be accurately weighted otherwise the calibration could be useless. Gym weights and such often vary by a significant amount of weight even though they are marked as 10kg, 15kg, 20kg etc. Any post office or private shipping carrier will have an accurate scale to weight your mass. Mine is a 20kg iron kettlebell that weighted in at 20kg bang on at the local post office (thanks to my post man brother).

All you need to calibrate your unit.

The protocol is pretty simple and takes about 5 to 10 minutes. You start by whichever side you like. Let's say you pick the left side. Turn on the powermeter by pedaling foward to trip the reed switch on. Measure your zero offset by pressing mode+set while the crank arm is in horizontal position. When the zero offset is stable, note the value. Load the weight onto your pedal while your crank arm is in the same horizontal position and wait for the loaded zero offset to stabilize; note the value. Repeat the procedure 3 times on each side noting all values. Little tip: if your bike is on the trainer, put the weight onto the pedal and rotate the rear wheel backward to lift the weight and level off the crank. Make sure you hold the rear wheel tight or squeeze the brake to keep the crank perfectly still. If your bike is on the ground without trainer, place your weight on the pedal and roll your bike backward untill the crank is horizontal, then squeeze the brake hard to make sure nothing is moving.

Once you have your values, you can do the old school maths or simply plot the values in an excel document to have it calculate your new slope for you. (Contact me if you need the document).

You will need to plot:
- crank lenght in mm
- your known mass to the gramm
- the right side unloaded zero offset (average from 3 values)
- all right side loaded values
- the left side unloaded zero offset (average from 3 values)
- all left side loaded values
- your current/old slope

The excel doc does the maths!

The excel sheet will calculate your new slope and the % difference compared with your old slope. Last time I calibrated my road SRM, my slope was off by 1,3%. I changed the slope to the new one. Yesterday I had a 0,58% difference. I decided not to change the slope as the factory calibration could be responsible for such a difference and I assume SRM factory calibration is more accurate then the home procedure.

Having an accurate powermeter is essential and some brands allow you to calibrate it yourself. SRM just has this little edge that make them such awesome units.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Home sweet home!


Back home after some very good days in the USA! Currently pretty toasted from the long drive, crappy food and lack of sleep. I will recharge my batteries in the coming days and will update the blog with some more ride info from the training week.

New job starting tomorrow too, might get busy, but stay tuned and share the blog. Also feel free to comment at any time.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hill climb repeats

Such a cold day yesterday here in GA. Very windy, grey and cold air made it a perfect day to hide between Kennesaw Mountain trees and go for some hill repeats. That climb is awesome. The gradient is steady which makes it perfect for steady uphill intervals. It is 2,3km long, 165m total elevation and takes anywhere between 7min to 8min30sec depending on your intensity and if you're going for the odd strava KOM.

I headed there doing a nice little 35min warm up including a low/moderate intensity climb, went back to the base of the climb and started my planned workout. On schedule was 5 x 8min at 105% of FTP with rest time being the time it took to descend the mountain, which is about 3min30sec. Very nice and challenging workout. Managed all intervals almost at 110% of FTP which is pretty good and tells me im in pretty good shape at the moment, unless all the food and booze made me pack an extra 5kg since we arrived here. Hills repeat is pretty MTB specific on a muscle contraction and recruitment perspective. It generally makes you work in quadrant II and forces you to maintain good steady power. The descend was so cold I couldnt ride much longer and had to head back home after my repeats. My time up the climb was about 7min35sec which is decent since I was on a MTB with tires at 25psi. The strava KOM is set at 6min35sec if I recall correctly, which would make it do-able on a road bike at full gas effort taking the right lines up the climb. But im not too much into strava.

This workout is the perfect counter exemple of my last post on The Benefits Of Long Rides. It lacked a bit of intensity to be called a proper high intensity workout but lets consider it that way for the sake of the post. Remember the long rides physiological effect on mitochondria density and size? It was produced via complexe molecular reactions that could be summurized that way: 

Repeated low energy muscle contractions > Icreased intramuscular calcium concentrations > activation of CaMK > activation of the Master-Switch > mitochondria biogenesis = mitochondria adaptations.

Now high intensity workouts also have an important impact on mitochondria adaptations. Though they are stimulated by a different mecanism in the body that involves different molecular components compared with the ''long ride'' chain reaction, they result in the same Master-Switch stimulation.

High intensity training, what, or where is it?

Typically high intensity training is define as being above the second ventilatory threshold, usually above 4mmol blood lactate concentration or when the body can't manage the lactate accumulation. For FTP users out there, I would say from 110% above is a safe bet. Training at high intensities is generally done using work and rest intervals of different durations in order to accumulate a total amount of training stress at a target intensity. There are plenty of possible combinations ranging from micro-intervals to longer work intervals alternated with equivalent or shorter rest intervals. Generally, work and rest intervals durations will be dependent on the quality you want to train. That could actually make the subject of an entire post and even a phd thesis...

How it happens?

As opposed to long distance riding, high intensity efforts involve high energy muscle contractions. These contractions require a lot of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) which is simply the high energy molecule derived from nutrients. ATP is the body's energy for all physiological process and high energy muscle contractions require a lot of ATP. This requirement partialy depletes ATP stores which leads to an increase in the concentration of adenosine mono-phosphate (ATP with 2 phosphates removed). Increased AMP activates an enzyme called activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is the signalor for the Master-Switch PGC-1alpha that eventually stimulates mitochondria biogenesis.

So what now?

High intensity training has its place in a training program. Obviously such a type of training has to be monitored carefully with appropriate volume and recovery. It also has a lot of other benefits and one I would like to discuss in a furter blog post is the muscle fibers recruitment and its impact on subsequent adaptations when using such a high intensity training approach.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The benefits of long rides

Long slow distance, threshold and sweet spot work, high intensity intervals, micro-intervals; what's best for your cycling fitness? The answer is there is no one size fits all training method. A training program should rather be a strategy built around racing/fitness goals, alternating stresses, specificity and rest. The main goal of training is not getting to ''x'' watts at Functional Threshold Power (FTP) or whatever duration you like. The aim of a proper training plan should be to induce adaptations to improve performance for a given event. Since we're speaking of cycling here, adaptations will mostly be aerobic, either peripheral (skeletal muscle) or central (heart mecanism, blood circulation and respiration). This post will focus on a major peripheral adaptation found in the working skeletal muscle composition and molecular activity.

We hear a lot about mitochondria related adaptations, be it for their size and/or density. Mitochondria are the factories of skeletal muscle. They process nutritents and turn them into useable energy (ATP) to produce work that will result in an ouput, in our case, a power output that will make you travel a given distance on your bike and/or will make you travel that distance faster with a given perceived exertion. More mitochondria means more power, less exertion and/or more distance traveled. That is why this specific aerobic adaptation is important for cycling performance. How do one increases his mitochondria density and/or size?

Our little friend, the mitochondrion


There are plenty of ways to induce such adaptations but I want to focus on a particular way to acheive it: long distance riding. I thought this would be appropriate since I am in the middle of a high volume riding week. Its been argued a lot but evidence shows training a lot of hours in term of volume and frequency is a very efficient way to induce mitochondria biogenesis. The intensity should generally be below the first ventilatory threshold, which happens around 2mmol blood lactate concentration. Its a typical endurance pace, nothing hard but simply producing a moderate amount of work for extended durations.

How it happens?

Long distance riding involves repeated low energy muscle contraction over a significant period of time. These muscle contractions repeated thousands of time create a rise in the level of intramuscular calcium, which is a mineral playing a major role in muscle contraction mecanism. This unusual calcium concentration activates an enzyme called Calcium Modulin kinase (CaMK) which in turn stimulates an activator called PGC-1alpha. The latest is known to be a major cell signal that promotes mitochondria biogenesis and it is refered to as the ''master-switch''. 

What does it mean?

Riding at easy to moderate intensities for long periods of time will produce the physiological effects described above. This kind of high volume training has a  lot of additional benefits we did not spoke of in the article. Though this approach is not for everyone. An athlete needs to consider his available training time, experience and goals. I would not recommend such a training approach for someone working on a sub 12hrs weekly training regime. I would not recommend to base one's training solely on that approach either. I am not sure where we can set the benchmark for ''long rides'' but I think 3,5hrs would be a minimum to acheive optimal training adaptations using this kind of approach. Frequency should also be considered, as one 4hrs ride per week wont be as effective as multiple long rides.

As with everything else, this should be considered cautiously. There is no ''one size fits all'' training method and everyone is different. A whole lot of other variables also come into play and proper planning of rest and recovery should be taken very seriously with any type of training regime.

Easy day

Thats a proper holiday morning: coffee, cereals and internet stuff. Today is going to be very easy. I might head out in a few hours for a short spin. Legs are so sore and lower back is still very achy too.

I was so disapointed yesterday when we got to the japanese restaurant: my uber-awesome spicy BBQ beef was not on the menu!! They removed it some time ago. Oh gosh I waited so long for that thing and it wasnt available anymore. Needless to say I was very pissed. Sandra chose a Filet Mignon Hibachi with fried rice and I chose the overly deep fried General Tao with fried rice. The rice.... FRIED it is. Cooked on the plate with oil and scrambled eggs then tons of butter thrown in. It makes a very tasty rice but so unhealthy. Thats without talking about the General Tao's chicken. Lots of batter and sweet sauce coating some chicken? Yeah I think there was some chicken in there. Anyways, lucky im riding a bunch, otherwise the food would make me crazy. Its hard to keep good nutritional habits when you're far away from home.

Not much file analysis so far I know. Long rides are not that exciting to analyse exept maybe for the kJ expandure and time in zones when riding the trails. Though dont be too disapointed as I will analyse some files thoroughly when im back home doing intense work. I will also analyse race files as soon as the racing season satrts.

Stay tuned as I will also write a post on how I will calibrate my SRM at home. Pictures included.

Monday, March 4, 2013

First big ride

 Crazy what you can find in the US. Such cheap clothing and shoes. Me and the Mrs went for some shoping in the morning while it was cold outside. Bought some cool shoes and shirts for very little money ahah, awesome!

So today was the first big ride I was doing during our holidays in GA. Those long rides are hard mentally. Good thing I meet someone riding on my loop. He was kind enough to show me arround and he made me discover new places I will certainly go back to on my next rides.

Good ride once again, it was warm enough I could ditch the headwear, the jacket, the wool socks and winter gloves! I even had to wear my tinted lenses! Good steady work with a total of over 3500kJ and some good time logged in Z1 and Z2. Lots of energy expended that needs to be replaced tonight. Now its recovery time andlet the body do its little thing. The master switch should be switched on with that amount of work by a different signal then it would when doing intense work. Tomorrow will be either off or a very light ride, I'll need that recovery time.

Tonight we're going in a Japanese restaurant we went 2 years ago. Since then I am dreaming about their spicy BBQ beef. Time to get that awesome meal, hope it tastes as good as it was 2 years ago!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chasing Dub

Chasing someone faster then you on a mountain bike, on some twisty singletracks, has to be one of the best mountain bike specific workout you can get. Whilst it is not structured and can ruin a perfectly planned day, it is the best workout a mtb racer can have because it makes you handle your bike at race speed, it requires the rider to hit different intensities and it forces you to pick good lines.

So I meet this guy named Dub, a master racer here in GA. We had a short chat and I decided to follow him on the singletracks. We did 2-3 full loops and it was an excellent workout. The guy was fast and smooth, handling the bike really well and staying off the brakes when it counted.

Overall, it was a good ride despite being a little more intense then what I had planned for the day. I should have tried to keep it steady Z2 but chasing Dub made it an entirely different workout. Came back home pretty fatigued and for some reason, my abdominals and lower back are totally shot, like if I had a massive abs workout at the gym.

Here are the ride stats. Lets analyze that ride with a specific XC mtb perspective.

Z2: 1h17min
Z3: 38min
Z5: 9min

Now lets have a more precise look at that power distribution.

Time spent between:
0-150W: 85min
300-400W: 22min
400-800W: 7min

I left everything between 150W and 300W out of the equation, you will understand why. I want to enlight a particular aspect of mtb riding and racing (given I chased Dub!). So what can we understand from the above stats?

First, I spent almost an hour and a half coasting and/or soft pedaling. That includes descents, corners where I couldn't pedal through and technical features I needed to overcome. That is a significant amount of time spent doing very little work you're thinking, and you're half right. Coasting on the trails, like mentionned above, is often forced by descents and technical features. During those segments, you pedal softly but your body is still working quite a lot. Indeed, handling the bike at speed, railing corners and maintaining traction all the way through requires some effort. This effort is not reported in the session kJ expendure. Therefore we could safely bet the session burnt more then 2800kJ. How much exactly? No way to know.

Second, lets add the two remaining ranges together, which would give us 29min spent between 300W and 800W. Nothing spectacular here, especially when you think a proper Z4 session would pile a mere 40min+ between 300W and 400W. Now the particularity of this specific distribution relies in efforts duration. Most, if not all of the time spent in that range is the result of multiple short, sharp efforts of less then approximately 15 seconds. What is even more interesting is those efforts were generally following a period of soft pedaling or coasting (see above).

That brings me to that specific mtb riding/racing aspect I wanted to talk about: the neuro-muscular (NM) demand of such bicycle riding. Suddently going from 50W to 350W or from 140W to 650W requires a very specific NM demand. The motor units recruitment, the firing patern and muscle contractions are very specific and different from, say, road riding. The kind of specificity you can't replicate on the trainer or on the road. Sharp accelerations out of corners, high intensity efforts to get over that steep little bump, muscle contractions required by clearing obstacles or constantly trying to be light on the saddle, lifting your butt arround to keep traction, etc. All those situations are what makes the NM demand of mtb riding/racing so specific. An aspect that shouldn't be neglected in a serious rider's training programme.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shreding and ripping corners in GA

After yesterday's little exploration ride, it was time for a first proper training day. Good night of sleep made it even more motivating. It has been a long time since I woke up past 8h30 AM. I feel I will need at least another good night and maybe two more before I catch back on yesterday's missed sleep. Though I've heard you can't catch back missed sleep...

So I headed out under a very light, melting snow and arround 2-3 C. The trails were open today so I went there, about 45min of riding from where im staying. I rode the trails for about 2h30 and then came back the same way I had gotten there. These trails were quite nice actually. Very, very flowy and fast with a significant lack of tecnical features. They were really fun to ride nevertheless and it was a good high speed bike handling skills practice. Ground is mostly hard pack, twisty singletracks with very little elevation; the perfect conditions to fly! Killing those corners at high speed was fun and im starting to trust those new tires I just got, some Kenda Small Block 8.

Trail riding means loads of fun but also very stochastic power output, very little control on it and a lot of coasting time and soft pedaling. Therefore, a lot of time is spent in Z1 and a few spikes are forced by the terrain which means some time is also logged in Z5 and Z6. Overall though, it was still a good workout, fitnesswise and for skills too. Finished the day with 2500kJ. Lots of food on the menu tonight, with some wine of course, but not too much if I want to go ride tomorrow. Alcool isnt the best thing for recovery and sleep, I should write about that in a near futur.

 This is about as technical as it gets here in Georgia. At least where I am.

Hardpack clay: fast!

Tomorrow will be another trail workout but with more time on the roads too. Should be good.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sketchy start in deeep sawthh!

That was one heck of a long drive: 24hrs, non stop, 2 drivers. Trying to sleep in a Pontiac Vibe isnt easy done when its packed with stuff, no room for the legs, no comfy spot to rest your head, not much real sleep all in all. Anyways, a huge thank goes to my lovely Mrs for driving a shit ton more then me even with a cold. Im soft, she's a tank. That makes a lot of place to drive through: Ontario, New-York, Pennsylvania, West-Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessie and finaly Georgia. I would have hoped for warmer temperature, its barely 5 C, its windy, quite cold, but anyways, we're here, lets have fun!

So I went for a little recon ride, checking if the loop I maped out using google maps was rideable and also hitting some trails. All good until I realized my SRM stoped working!!! Oh bummer! In my excitment, I had not tightened the cranks enough and there was a sligh play which moved the crank too far away from the magnet. Result: no cadence, no power. Came back home, made some tests and I think it will be all good to go tomorrow. I only need to buy some super glue and glue my magnet back on right in the sweet spot, these SRM can be picky when it comes to cadence sensor.

So I ended the day with a Z2 ride with quite some time in Z3 because I was not sure I'd make it back home in time, having been delayed by the SRM issues.

Tonight is restaurant time with the Mrs and her uncle, hopefully not too much wine and a good night's sleep after, we need some rest.