Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Morrisville 300k

The ride turned out to be a suffer-fest!

We started the ride at the normal place in Morrisville, NC. It is always great to see so many friendly people that just want to have fun riding bicycles.

I dropped off the back just after Lake Jordan. Not a big deal, I knew I would. I made 2 huge mistakes that would haunt me later. First, sunscreen; second, I left a small water bottle in the back of the car. I was going to carry a small disposable bottle for emergency. I don't like to stop until the control. So I was starting to run out of water and thought water conservation was the way to go...MISTAKE; better to drink it while ya got it.

Lawn Mowers

This all led to a huge bonk on the return. I was too overheated to eat anything and everything I put in my stomach made me want to puke (heat exhaustion?). No worries, I had Endurolites and race caps. The taste of Perpetuem and gels makes me cringe. Need to figure something out.

By the time I reached the 200k control, I was dun. But I couldn't quit. I sat there for about 20min, had a Snickers and some Gatorade. What I really needed was a big sandwich. I decided that 100k is just a training ride. So at 1830 I headed to Mville. I felt ok at this point, speeds 16-17. Then just before Parker Herndon Road, another bonk...this time bad. Refuel at Andrews Store, departed at 2300.-- (WTH--4 hrs to cover 40 miles???).

I left Andrews Store beaten down and queasy -- only ~20 miles. I absolutely froze (sun burn) on the downhill to the lake. I put on my vest and arm warmers - problem cured. Then the fun began...I kept falling asleep on the bike; weaving into the left lane and back to the right. I probably looked very funny. Eventually, Gary and Sara caught me they were 2 hours behind me. I rode the last 8 miles with them, no issues. It is amazing how a little company can change the outlook. No wonder Tom Hanks had Wilson the volleyball as a companion.

We finished at 0111; still had a few hrs to spare. The ride was just a series of lessons on how to man-up. I have actually felt worse before but, only a couple times. It is valuable training for future events especially when I decide to venture into a 1000K+ one of these days.

Lessons learned:
  • Sun screen saves you from skin cancer or potentially being charged via the UCMJ with Destruction of Government Property. It also keeps your body temperature lower.

  • FOOD before the ride; food during the ride.
  • Water is good too, but I checked my weight and was right at the 3% weight loss for the day. According to Hammer Nutrition Athlete Education series, more than 3% weight loss is not a good thing.
  • Caffeine is essential at night; I'm addicted to the drug. I have some coffee brewing right now!
The best news note:
  • My back did not hurt during the ride or after the ride. This is the best news of all. Could the Z be paying off? We'll see.

Ride Time: 18:11 (this is total time)

Me at finish. Photo Couresty of Gary and Sara...Thanks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Last weeks training

Thurs – Ride 15 -
Wednesday – Ride 30 - 100 Pull up – Swing - 500
Tuesday – Ride - 30
Monday – 100 pull ups – Military Press – 32k 5x5 - Wheel roll outs 5x5
Sunday – 100 Pull ups – 500 swing

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Up in the morning with the rising sun."

I was up and got my ride out of the way this morning. I think I still feel a little bit of yesterdays ride but it wasn't all that terrible. I often feel drained with back to back rides, especially when the second is a long ride.

On my return, I did hill repeats on the way home. There are two bridges that parallel each other. One is larger and steeper than the other. I ride in circles over one then the other. I repeated this 5 times. My hope is they emulate some rollers. There is not too many options to practice hills in VB.

50 mi

Friday, April 18, 2008

Added weight

4kg kettlebell in Berthoud Bag.

So....I got to thinking about my bike set up. According to the latest issue of the Bicycle Quarterly, who tested a Coho, it weighs around 29 lbs. Making the Coho considerably heavier than my Motobeceane. Of course each Coho weighs slightly different as they are custom; not one size fits all.

This led me to think about my rides last year and my 2 brevets on the Coho. I rode a lighter frame last year. Riding these events was not a to difficult. When I added gear and water for the 600k, the rig was significantly heavier. I believe my camel-bak came in around 8 lbs. The added weight was different and I wasn't used to it.

The Coho's added weight doesn't seem heavy but there is a difference. Cruising speed is similar but the top end isn't quite the same. During the winter brevets, I carried some extra liquids and cold weather gear in my bag. Not a factor until you ride up hills of significant grade. Yikes, absolutely a difference.

After nearly 4 months on the bike, I feel part of the bike. It is an extension of my body. But reviewing my lessons learned brings me to a different training approach. I've decided it is silly to struggle with something I can control. I can control how much weight I'm carrying and how much weight I can handle while cruising. There is a need to acclimate to producing more power for an extended period of time.

Why take chances when I can simply practice riding with added weight?

Today's chow and kettlebell.

The added weight had very little affect on my average speed or bicycle handling. In fact I blew over the Lesner Bridge like it was a speed bump. With that said, I have to admit...I am DONE. I feel like I rode 200k today. I will use this training tool more in the future!

Z neural warm up.
Ride: 30 with 4kg added to bike.

If I have to make an educated guess (I haven't put this on the scale), this set up is in the 40lbs ball park. I hope I don't carry an additional 8lbs of weight on a brevet. The hope is perhaps a few pounds. The hope is that I am over doing it I will be light on the next brevet. Or, perhaps I should start training with kevlar as well....HMMMM.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Semper Gumby

Today I had a plan; it included a 40 mile ride and some vo2 lifting. Things changed before I even got out of the rack. Caroline was sick and my day was spent with her. I formed an alternate plan but it didn't work out either. The third plan became a charm. This unending flexibility and rolling with the punches is what we call 'semper gumby' (always flexible). This is an important trait in many ways. One way is it helps when you need to fit in some sort of a workout when there really is no time.

My tertiary plan called for squats, pressing and pullups. After the third set of everything, I realized I haven't really done any strength training in a few weeks. I'm sure I'll pay!

I have to make note of a couple things. 1. Began Z neural warm up. I think I was pretty much doing this anyway but it is now official. 2. I've been working on some corrective movements for my ankles. The purpose is provide me with appropriate flexibility in this area. It will help me do pistol without counter weight. Today I tested myself and I think I will have it in the next week or two.

I thought about people throwing huge weights around. Often a lifter will sacrifice form and function just to get more weight or size. I think this defeats the purpose of training. I have worked for 2 1/2 years on making my body stronger and more flexible. Most important, I have worked on making everything work and move the way it is intended.

The results of this hard work are many. I can sum it up like this; 'improved general purpose fitness.' What the heck does that mean? I do really cool things faster and more efficiently. I recover faster. Most often I can do things without near crippling back pain. I can touch my toes and more importantly put on my skivvies and socks.

As I move closer to fixing all the physical problems resulting from years of abuse, I realize I have further to go. I keep raising the bar and getting closer to distant goals. Some of these are still a few years away. In the mean time, each little milestone, a pistol, an extra inch of flexibility, no pain after a workout, pressing the 88 for reps or riding stupid long distances all are awesome achievement in my little portion of the "COURAGE CORNER."

What is cool in yours?

Z n-wu
front squat 48k: 5x5 (I'm gonna feel this -- working back to 10 sets over the next week)
See-saw press 24k: 5x5/5 + pull up x 5 (I'll keep this for a few weeks as well)
elbows to knees: 5x5

Sunday, April 13, 2008


It reminds me of the desert but it is just the road on the way back from Back Bay.

Shot from Sandbridge Pier. The tall buildings far in the background is where I'm headed.

I watched these "fishermen" catch some seaweed.

41 miles

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In the muck

COHO Randonneuse at the the rain.
Maybe I'll install the front mud flap. It is just collecting dust on my desk.

Surfers in the rain...Gonna get wet anyway!

Another surfer.

The boardwalk and hotels.

I planned a 45 mile ride today and I felt great riding. I considered just doing laps at the boardwalk. I could have spend 3 hours going in circles. It would have been fun and kept me very close to home; just in case I got bored or a mechanical. Other than a few cops, some surfers and myself, I only saw a half dozen people. FANTASTIC!

Instead I left the boardwalk and headed south. About 6 miles later I noticed I was bouncing -- FLAT. I was about to change the tube when I noticed the stem was not closed so I pumped it and rode on.

6 miles later -- bouncing - FLAT. This time I pulled into a parking lot and changed the tube and off I go. This helped me make a decision to turn and stay closer to home. All systems go!

6 miles later -- WTH? - FLAT. I didn't have another tube and I didn't want to sit in the rain messing with patches. I tried pumping the tube again and hoped it would hold long enough for me to get home or to one of the LBS.

6 miles later -- guess - nearly FLAT. I pumped again and rode home. 20 min after arriving home, the tire was flat.

So now I have to figure out what happened. A pinch? A bur or something else bad?

Ride 35 miles.

Pull up 3x12

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Easterly Low

My plans for a long..ish ride are once again foiled by the easterly low pressure system sitting off the Atlantic coast. The system is bringing high wind, rain, coastal flooding during high tide and it is chilly. While I could suck it up and ride, it would suck. I'm saving my tolerance of suck for events that I choose to do for fun. Not just because I have to get a few hours of ride in.

You ask, what will that attitude get you? Me too!

I do know I won't become a better cyclist by sitting inside and riding the trainer here and there. This is an obvious fact! I am content to watch TV and let the pros ride in the suck. They get paid some serious bank to do it. If you want to pay me to ride, I will gladly suit up right now and do it rain, shine, snow or high winds; no questions asked. Until someone is willing to do this, I'll just sit here and get in some good cross training.

Not riding isn't all that bad, it is giving me the opportunity to focus on some other training goals without worrying about recovery. Heck, I need to kick up the intensity a couple notches before I worry about that. Funny thing is I seem to be doing more with less right now. I think it means I have a good base.

Here's the breakdown of upcoming events I'm working toward. Hopefully my training will reflect these events. Each of these event is challenging in a different way. Training will be similar for the next 3 months. I need to focus on long intervals on the bike and kick up the snatch volume each week.

End of April -- 300k (NC) with a 400K (ROMA) the following weekend.
Three weeks later, USMC PFT -- last one of the old style. CFT is on the way.
Begining of June, MS 150 (training) -- the following weekend, 600K
Last weekend in June is the RKC II

Weight Control
Other than actually training (which would be a good idea), the other thing I am concentrating is dropping a couple pounds. I don't want to get rapped around specifics right now and I don't have a goal for my weight. I guess this might make it tougher to do. There are three factors here:

Where I have to be -
Regulations stipulate wt and BF. I'm within standards. I guess I'm right where I need to be.

Where I want to be -
To be faster and function more efficiently, I need to drop 10 - 15 lbs. All that wattage output stuff is dependent on moving mass. Remember these equations:
f=ma -- W=fd and P=W/t. Translation: with my strength constant, and my weight (mass) lowering, I will do less work to move the same speed I do now or the work I do now will move me further in less time.

Willingness to get there -
This is the hard part. We all want something but not always bad enough to sacrifice something. In this case it means giving up all the good stuff, cake, ice cream, soda...a better way to put it - give up sugar and combinations of certain foods. Grain and sugar. Starch, fat and sugar. Nuts and grain. Carbs and alcohol. It is all about making good decisions.

Practice today:
Swing 24k 1x100 (hand switch at 50)
Pull up - 2x10
windmill - 5x5
Felt sick here so I stopped. Plan called for front squats 48k and snatch. Then some intervals on the trainer.

After dinner - 5x10 roll outs. (knees)
extended plank - 3x10 sec. - (toes)

Sunday, April 6, 2008


On Saturday morning, I was heading out the door and my daughter wanted to go ride her bike too. She found her shoes, jacket and most importantly, her sunglasses! She told me her helmet was in the garage. Her intentions were to ride her trike for a little while. This got me thinking.............

I thought what the heck, I would have an hour or two before it would start raining and nap time. I secured her some chips, fruit snacks and a cup of juice. We headed out to the garage and attached the Burley Trailer to the Randonneuse. I figured we could ride around some of the beach areas for a while. This way we would avoid traffic and be close to home in the event the weather got too nasty.

@ 1.5 hrs.
Pulling the extra weight was not an issue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Don't need no stinking crunches

Many of you already know my thoughts on the crunch. I can do them in fact I’ve been doing 200 per year! Yes, you read it correctly only 200. I complete 100 on the semi annual PFT. The crunch is a 2 minute timed event and 100 is the maximum. I finished the last 2 in about 65 seconds.

I do have one secret: when the word go is given, I don't stop. I close my eyes and go. When my partner gets to 100, I stop. I've completed 36 or more PFTs for score and monitored scores more. Believe me when I say, most of the time, the people that stop to rest, don't receive the maximum score; they fall short of the mark.

Crunches are just plain bad especially when back problems already exist. Brett Jones supports my thoughts and provides references to support the idea. Brett give some good stuff to train the core, you can read that below.

Some exercises I do to maintain and build core strength? hanging leg raises, planks, and sitting (balancing) on an exercise ball and evil wheel roll outs. Not to mention the exercises that you can read about in this blog. (Swings, snatches, front squat, renegade row...etc.)

Here is what Brett writes in yesterday's blog:

Crunches are not Core training...

I'll keep harping on this until I expire - Crunches are not core training!

This today from Eric Cressey's blog: Discussing the Bender Ball Ab Infomercial...
Eric provided this reference in regards to why crunches are a bad idea - not too mention "beyond the range" crunches...
Drake et al. The influence of static axial torque in combined loading on intervertebral joint failure mechanics using a porcine model. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2005 Dec;20(10):1038-45.

In particular, you might want to pay attention to the following:
“Repetitive flexion-extension motions with low magnitude compressive forces have been shown to be an effective mechanism for causing disc herniations.”

Yes - crunches are an abdominal exercise but they have nothing to do with core stability or core training. And they may even be harmful - especially if you have a history of back injury and disc issues.

Here is a little article I put together for a gym that I work at:

Just Say NO to Crunches…

Brett Jones CSCS

Ask most people what they do for their “core” or abs and crunches will be the typical response. Well, with crunches being the exercise of choice why is back pain at all time high levels?

Because crunches are not a “core” exercise and they train the exact motions that can cause back pain. Confused yet?
I can hear the inner conversations – “But I thought…????”

Much emphasized and touted for their “core” and abdominal benefits crunches are not the – or should not be – the exercise of choice.

Why? According to research from Dr. Stuart McGill ( and his book Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance – crunches produce very high levels of intra-disc pressure and do not train the abdominals to produce spinal stability. Your abdominals are meant to be stabilizers not movers and the rectus abdominus (the 6 pack muscle) is not really a flexor anyway. It is actually there to provide increased “hoop tension” – read resistance to twisting motions.

What’s a guy or gal to do? Learn to produce stability and prevent rotation and use the abs as stabilizers instead of movers.
Planks to the rescue! Get down on your elbows and toes and make a straight line out of your body. Pull your elbows to your toes and create a “superstiff” contraction of your abs, glutes and entire body. Breathe with and through the tension and stay tight.

Work hard – do not just hang out – and build up to a 1 minute plus hold. You can also get into plank position and keeping the body in perfect position lift one foot just a couple inches (keep the glutes tight and do not change body position at all) and hold. Rest and repeat on the other side. Side planks are also possible.

Ditch the crunches and start planking to improve your “core” stability and see an exercise specialist for questions and/or help with implementing your new “abdominal” routine.

And this is only the beginning - Core activation techniques can be used to target "core" involvement depending on the foot placement/movement pattern (symmetrical, asymmetrical or single legged) and you can get into Full Contact Twists, Chops, Lifts and Overhead lifts....

Training Today:
Swing: 200
bottoms up get up -- 16k 1/1
Pistol: 16k - 5x2/2 + 1leg DL: 5x5
Clean and Press: 32K 5x1,1,2