Better cycling Project 2.0

Putting it all to Together.

Finally we are here, the last entry. For those keeping track, this wasn't 30 entry's in total.
   In life, in training, making dinner, what ever, you have to know when its enough. You have to have the sense and confidence to say, “you know what, that’s good for today”
Know your limits gang. With out knowing where there are you can not try to push them higher and farther.

What ever advise you take, what ever training plan you follow know this, you must adapt everything you do for you and for the times. Today is different that yesterday and tomorrow will be different from today. We are not race horses. When I first started competitive cycling a friend and to be cycling mentor gave me the best piece of advise I may have ever gotten. “Eric, you HAVE to keep all the legs on your stool strong.” What? I said. “Cycling is one leg of the stool. Family/ home life is another, your job is another, and your wife/ girl friend is another. It doesn’t matter how strong your cycling leg is, if the others are to weak it will fall over and you’ll have nothing.”

Realize that while all of these tips and training explanations may be good, but when taking out of context, applied to you and your goals some might not be so applicable. This is complex sport, a complex world and we, humans, are complex creatures. Soak up knowledge but take it all with a gain of salt. there are many topics in here that I discussed in detail and others that have been left barely touched...

There are many coaches out there today, training plans for every race and every level of rider. What ever you do stay true to it! Riders and athletes every where look to the greats or a teammate who is doing well at the time or at there last race. they think, “huh, Bob has improved a lot, what has he been doing?” so you ride up that same hill, or that loop on Tuesday afternoon, or ride twice a day, or what ever. STOP!

This was best said by my friend and college Patrick: “If you are going to reach your potential, you need to stop this habit of hopscotching. You need to find a plan and stick to it. Naturally, you want to know what the “best” plan is…right? I will keep it really simple for you. Even thought there are countless permutations on how to tweak a plan to make it more personal and/or effective, only one thing really matters. Will the plan allow you to train consistently for a long enough period of time? If so, you will improve.”
If your gona do something, plan it and commit to it! Changing your focus, your path and your plan every month will get you no where.

Stay safe everyone, stay happy, and keep riding!

Periodization and Rest                                             
Planning out our year of training and racing may be the most important thing you do.
I feel the most important aspect of this is planning when you will be able to rest.
When we put things into our sch. like work trips, weddings, family reunions, etc..
things can look pretty tight but there are ways to deal with this.

While this is a discussion on the bigger picture it will help too refresh your self
on the day to day recovery protocols below on day 21.

I use Training Peaks to manage all my athletes and my self as well. they have a nice interface with yearly planning capabilities, long term TSS planning, diet, everything you could imagine.

Maximizing your time in Winter! 

2 workouts in One post below. 

Cold Weather riding Tips
Riding in the cold can be… not the most fun ride you have had on a bike but there is no reason that with a little prep and planning you can’t have quality rides in 30 degree weather.
Here are a few key aspects for staying warm.

~Wind proof! Your outer layers should be wind proof or HIGHLY wind resistant. A nylon cycling jacket is very cheep get one!

~Thermal jacket: Should be warm, durable zipper w/ a draft flap. Pockets are nice but better on the inner layers. ~Bib tights: No chamois. Wear your shorts under them. Wind proof in the knee and IT bad areas is very nice!

~ Under layers a long sleeve jersey is nice. Water bottle in the back pocket under the jacket will keep it warm or at least from freezing.

~Gloves or lobster mitts. Wind proof is a must here!! The lobster mitt type glove is very warm!

~Shoes over sized. Thin wool socks, feet need to have room for good circulation. 2 insoles for extra insulation on bottom of foot.

~Booties. Maybe the most important accessory. Wind and water proof. NO neoprene! Full, water proof coverage on bottom, except the cleat area of course.

~Fenders: get them, your butt and your riding pals will be much happier.

~Bike: get a cross bike or mtn. bike. Having another place to ride besides the roads when they are icy will be safer. You’ll be out of the wind, going slower, less wind still, and warm. Changing up your scenery in the long winter months can keep the mind fresh as well.

~Warm up: Do some jumping jacks, massage your feet, get he blood moving! We were talking about 2 workouts in one. This is the time! Do your threshold intervals on the trainer, towel off, change into dry clothes and then go for the endurance ride or meet up with the team for you Sat. group ride. Talk about secret training!

Separating Skills From Zones
A little discussion here that goes along well with a few other topics we have done.  remember some of these vids are old. so don't worry you didn't miss any newsletter, however my hair is still in disarray.
An important topic here, particularly for the roadie!

also after you have checked out the video look over a few sections again.
~One workout two affects. part 1 and part 2.
~The section on pacing
~And one that is coming up. on "maximizing your tie in winter"

Saddle sores are often an avoided topic of discussion. That shouldn’t be. They can happen to anyone and will keep you off the bike for a long time.
Saddle sores are an infected cut or pimple on one’s “under carriage”. Having this condition while sitting on a bike seat can be extremely painful. While riding your skin slightly rubs on your chamois, if its hot and your riding for a long time sweet evaporates and the salt and waist products from that sweat can cause minute abrasions and you’re way to a saddle soar.

How to prevent them:

Prevention is far better than the cure here. A few quick, consistent measures can keep you saddle sore free for a long time.
1. Stay clean. Keep shorts clean and shower ASAP after a ride. This will halt the beginnings of any issues that may be starting.
2. Chamois cream: This is a lotion that is specially made for this use. Applied to the chamois before a ride will keep it soft and supple even after hours of riding in hot weather.
3. Change your clothes: get out of your cycling gear ASAP! If you can’t shower bring baby wipes or something similar to clean up a bit. I also keep a small towel and water in the car to wipe off my face, arms and legs for a more comfortable car ride home.

How to deal with them:

1.Stop riding: This is the most effective method. Take a few das off right away before they get really bad and you’re off the bike for week!
2. Epson sat bath: Taking a hot bath with Epsom salt is a very effective way to add the healing process.
3. Disinfect: Neosporin or other topical anti bacterial products can help as well.
Stay dry: Particularly if it’s hot out, your driving for a long time, etc…
be patent: They won’t go away in a hour and they will only get worse if you keep riding.

Workout Day 22
30' or 40' max effort! this is it. last hard day. pick a rout that will take you between 30 -40' and give it your best! 

Workout challenge, day 21  
recovery ride 
at least 1 hr. relax.  last hard workout tomorrow!  

The Most Important Training You Will Ever Do:

We will cover recovery in the periodization plan later. This will cover a few key tips and aspects of recovery immediately following your training or race.

       Starting off prepared will minimize damage:

The first thing to realize is that you can not fully replace fuel, electrolytes and water during an event. Our best laid fueling plans are simply a delay. One can also not recover from fatigue and muscle damage during an event. You may have times where you “feel” like you have recovered but it’s not complete.
Realizing this, one of the best methods for recovering quickly and completely after a race or event is started off in the place possible. Be sure you are hydrated, topped off with carbs and fuel for your race. Stay out of the sun. Nothing like starting a race with a mild sun burn! And stay this way for as long as possible. Don’t save your food or drink. The saying goes eat/drink early and often. Its right on. If you get behind, if you go even farther and totally run out of carbs to burn or worse get dehydrated, you can not come back from it until you stop. Most likly for a long time. Don’t even get close to that edge.
If you were going to do a 30 minute time trail would you eat or drink anything? Maybe a mouthful of water but that’s it. The last 30 minutes of a race or long ride is the same thing. Prepare to be in the best place possible for that last 30 minutes and every difficult section of the event your taking place in.

Active recover methods:
1. Hydration
2. Fuel
3. Shower, Hot cold
4. Stretching and massage
5. Feet up
6. What ever hurt you on the ride. Heat, cold, sun, etc

Easy recovery drink

1. Oj, cut with some water if needed.
2. Whey protein power (with fell spectrum of amino acids)
3. 4+ grams of L-Glutamine
4. Drink ASAP!
Workout Challenge #20
3x20' first 2 are in Z3, last one is max effort. up hill if possible last big climbing/ z3/4 day!

One workout Two effects.
With busy schedules, many athletes just don’t have enough time to work on all the aspects of training necessary to reach their full potential. And it’s even worse for triathletes who need to be effective in four different sports. Because of this, it is of great value if one can combine workouts. I am not talking about doing a brick workout or even doing double sessions. I’m talking about maximizing your time. Even pro’s who train for a living need to be efficient and therefore more effective with their time and training. Do you think Lance Armstrong logged any junk miles while training for the Tour? I don’t think so.
A great way to make your training more efficient is by focusing on more than one aspect of your training in one workout. By placing workouts within workouts, you can get a double whammy effect out of your training. But, be sure to consult your coach before concocting your own “double whammy” workouts.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to place tech. drills or hard intervals into a longer endurance workout. For example, in a 3 hour ride, you can:
· focus on your technique while riding up hills
· keep your pedal cadence high and concentrate on pedaling “perfectly”. (Talk to your coach about this one too.)
· alternate standing and sitting. Stand up on one hill, for the whole hill, the sit on the next.
· hone your skills by doing fast pedal drills in your long ride or strides in your long run.
· do intervals or some kind of harder effort in your work out. If you are looking to increase your power or speed, do your intervals after a solid warm up. Cool down easily, hydrate and fuel up appropriately, then continue with a low intensity endurance workout.

Bike workout example:
20’ warm up 3x10’ zone 4 (threshold (rest 3’) 10’ cool down, continue cool down in Zone 2 for 2 hours

Looking to focus on more endurance training for that Ironman? Do your intervals after 2 hours of riding at Zone 2. BAM! You just killed two birds with one stone. Again, please consult your coach or a coach before doing any of these workouts as they are a bit more taxing than your normal single aspect workouts. And, there are some “double whammy” workouts that are a bad idea or at least not as effective for the athlete at hand. It’s a good idea to try and train the same general engine within one workout, for example doing 1 minute intervals in a group ride. In this case you will be working on shorter duration power and anaerobic endurance. In fact, the 1 minute intervals are simply adding some more of the same type of intensity to your group ride. But, while, doing a long, Zone 2 ride then doing sprints is not working the same engine, it is race specific training for a road racer looking to win a sprint at the end of a long road race. This kind of race specific training is good, just don’t do it too much. It can lead to burn out fast, so use it with discretion.With proper planning there is no reason that anyone can’t finish that Ironman, be a contender in their age group, or win the big one. Happy training!

Training and racing in the Heat
its been HOT this summer. everywhere. here are some tips and facts for dealing with the heat.

The extreme heat and sun can reek havoc on your power out put. It can also be very dangerous if not properly prepared.
Some simple steeps to take in both mentaly and in equipment preparation can save the day.

Fluids: Your just gona need more. Keep them coming steady and try to avoid the supper cold drinks. They can disagree with your stomach when the body is working hard in the heat.

Electrolytes: these will need to be upped as well. Make sure the sport drink is plentiful. Maybe have some electrolyte pills on hard as well.

Cool the skin: water over the head and on the legs feels extremely good. with the wind you will get an immediate cooling effect. This will make the outer blood vessels constrict and force blood back into the muscles. While this feels very good you can run through your water very fast. make sure you have enough to drink!!

Sun screen: solar radiation can also affect you a great deal. Even the slightest amount of over exposure to the skin can cause your recovery time to be greatly increased, and cause excess fatigue and that sluggish feeling during a ride. Apply liberally! Keep it clear of the eyes however…

Keep eating: When the temp rises it can be difficult and down right discussing to eat a hot, sticky, sweet energy bar. You have to stay on top of your fueling. You need just as many calories on a hot day. so stay on track!

Slow down: realize that on a hot sunny day your simply not going crush any personal records. Re-sch. the hard intervals or long ride if possible.
Leave early in the am to avoid afternoon heat. If you can’t avoid it go more by feel. riding in 100 degree heat is not the day to be a slave to your power meter.

Workout #19. 
Home stretch here everyone, stay tough! 
big mtn day in the Tour = big tempo/ zone 3 day for us. 1hr to 2hr's of total time in Z3. make these intervals STEADY. up hill if you can, 20' minimum interval time. rest as you like!! fuel well today. drink and eat lots!   

workout 18. 
day off!! enjoy! 
Workout 17. 
recovery ride! at least 1 hr. nice and relaxed.

Group ride part 2.

The fast ride.

There are many “fast” group rides all over the country. This is normally a rode cyclist ride. Usually an hour or longer. There is a set rout that is done most every week. These rides are fast paced and can be very hard. If you get dropped no one is waiting., this is a hard workout any way you cut it.

It is good to know the rout before heading out on one of these rides. If not ask a few folks “hey this is my first time here, any big turns I need to know about?” And pay attention!!
See group rides part 1. all of the pay attention, be carful, take care of your self stuff goes 10 fold on one of these rides.
Also realize that this is STILL training! Its easy to get caught up with it all. these rides can be very VERY fun but be safe, look ahead for traffic, turns, new potholes, etc… When in doubt easy up, communicate with the group and relax. Sprinting through a yellow light making drivers angry and dropping half the group is dangerous and there is no place for that here.

Training effects:
Earlier I talked about maximizing our time when training and focusing on one zone or “engine” at a time. The group ride works many different engines in one workout. it also works what is sometimes called Anaerobic Endurance. Anaerobic endurance is the process of doing repeated efforts over your threshold. The less rest one has the harder it is to recover and produce this high amount of power. This type of training will improve your power at VO2, your ability to resist fatigue from repeated efforts, like repeated short hills, accelerations in a pack, etc. and will enhance your bodies ability to filter and flush lactate and lactic acid while riding. In a bike race the finishing miles will almost always come down to anaerobic endurance efforts.
This type of training can be done alone with structured intervals. For the rode cyclist some times there is no better training than to race. These group rides provide a great race environment. However, this A.E. training is very stressful on the body and needs proper time to recover from. Use it sparingly and recover well!
For the triathlete group rides can provide an avenue to training a weakness most have, max power and A.E. while more on the A.E. side. They are fun and an hour of some hard work. This type ride and training should be reserved for the more advance athletes.

Good uses for the fast group ride:~Tune up for a bike race. used in peaking phase.
~To train anaerobic endurance
~Hone pack riding skills
~Practice race and personal tactics
~To do very specific training. Some times the best training is to simply do it
For the Triathletes:
~Great for short distance athletes to get that one extra gear on the bike. go a little bit faster.
~long distance triathletes. Great for developing speed in the legs and ability to produce high power after fatigue. (ride for 1-3 hours before the ride) this will make riding at your own pace seem quite easy come race time.

One very important thing to realize is that this fast group ride is not the same thing for everyone… Hear Audio.

Group Rides part 1
Group rides can come in many different forms. We will talk about two general types of group rides that riders find themselves on. However, no matter what type of ride, who its with, or how long it is “supposed” to be, there are a few key tips that everyone should know.
1. Be prepared! This applies to your equipment, your mental and physical state, your food and water, everything! Even if you are riding with your closest friends it pays to be 100% self sufficient.
2. Have a “pack” mind set. Regardless of the size of group you are with there are times and situations that require attention. This includes pointing out pot holes, being predictable on turns, riding behind other people, being aware of the riders right behind you, etc. In general, be safe!
3. Go with the flow. You may have an idea of what this day will bring, you may even have a particular workout you would like to do within this ride, but be sure to be flexible and go with the flow. If it is SO important that you do a certain workout at a certain time on a certain stretch of road, it would be better for you to ride by yourself. Part of the reason we ride with others is for the spontaneous nature of riding and that variable power application.

The Team Ride:
This might not necessarily be with your actual team but a small group of people that most likely know each other. This group could consist of 3 people or 10. In either case it is best to have a plan and be sure to talk about things before the ride such as:
~Where are we going?
~How long are we going for?
~How hard will the pace be and when do we want to hit that pace?
~Is the plan OK with everybody?
If the group knows each other well this conversation might only take about 1 minute.

Realize your place:
If you’re a new Category 4 rider in your first year of racing and you’re going out for 4 hours with 6 pro triathletes, sit on the back! Don’t get in over your head only to be holding everyone one up because you can’t even stay in the draft on a flat road. See planning questions above.

Is this a good workout for me:
This depends on many variables. You need to decide for yourself depending on your situation, training, and what race your preparing for. Group rides can be a lot of fun. Getting out with friends and seeing the country side is what riding is all about. You can go farther, faster in less time and touch on intensities that you simply can’t do alone. No matter what your event is, being able to ride smoothly in a fast pace line is one of the fundamental cycling skills. If you have a power meter compare your solo rides with even the steadiest small group ride and you will see quite a difference, not a good or bad difference, just a difference.

Workout #16
The VO2 breakthrough!
One of the favorites (notorious favorites) from out workout Hour of Power workout library.
warm up well!!  after the interval set, cool down in Zone 1-2 fo ras long as you like. 

10' warm up. (extra)as 4' building to threshold. then 2'Z3, 1'easy 30" Z5, 2'Z3 
5' easy. 
3x1' Z5. (2' rest) 
5' easy
3x1' Z5 (1' rest) 
5' easy
6x30"on, 30" off. these are all out. last one as strong as the first. 
4' easy
5x90" Z5 (30" rest) 
this is a VERY difficult interval session!  if you blow on the last set. try to grind through it. if you can't hold zone 3 power, cool down. you are done! nice work. 

Workout #15. 
Endurance ride. zone 2 most of the time. you can make it longer if you like but keep it relaxed. tomorrow will be tough!! 

Zone 6

Neuromuscular Power

Zone 6 means all out, very, VERY high powered effort and maximum exertion. These short maximum efforts are obviously very key for crit riders and sprinters. But, they are also a necessary component of every rider.  Zone 6 can be broken down into two basic parts: pure muscle strength and your neurological ability to use that muscular power.


These efforts place a much greater stress on the neuromuscular system rather than the metabolic system that we use at lower intensities. This area is vital to road cyclists regardless of the type of event you are training for. The constant accelerations of the pack may not seem hard but they do ware a rider down. If you’re not up to the task you will not be able to be at your best come crunch time in the race. Ten watts per kilogram of body weight is the line which many feel is the “nail in the coffin”. A spike in power at or above this level, even if only for a few seconds, does significant muscle damage that can not be recovered in the race. Having a sound and developed Zone 6 at your disposal will help buffer the effects of these efforts. Even in a long road race, which might favor a rider with good Zones 2 through 4 (like stage 1 at the Tour of the Gila) we saw riders putting out 30-40 spikes at or over 10 watts/ kilo. In the Colorado state crit championships last year we saw a rider with 45 spikes over this line in just 90 minutes!

What about the Triathlete or TT specialist?
For these athletes Zone 6 is not as vital but still very important. Yesterday we talked more about training your weak areas and if that weak area is “weak enough” it will hold back all other areas of your development. This is one of the most common weaknesses we see in triathletes and recreational endurance athletes. Although it shouldn’t be a key aspect to your racing, it is key to being a complete rider.

So what is “too weak”?
At a minimum, male riders should be able to put out 10 watts per kilogram of body weight, more like 8-9 watts/kilo for female rides. But, make sure this effort is also repeatable, ie one should be able to knock out a few of these during any given ride AT A MINIMUM!

If you are a more advanced roadie with a threshold power of 4.2 watts per kilogram (280 watts at 142 lbs) your maximum power should be at least 1000 watts.

How to train:
· To build your pure strength, all out efforts at a low cadence work very well and are very functional.
· Short high cadence work in an easy gear (on down hills, etc) will recruit more and more fast twitch muscle fibers and the neurological synapses needed.
· Put it together with short all out efforts.

Bottom Line:
The shorter your effort in a race or event the more import Zone 6 becomes. However just because you’re a long distance triathlete or multiday endurance rider don’t count on your Zone 6 effort to be there when you need it if you aren’t doing it in training. The RAAm team we worked with this year did some pretty extensive on the bike strength work in the late winter months and early spring. They won.

Zone 5, VO2
What is it? Where is it?

Zone 5 is just above threshold, around 105% - 120%. It has also been described as your best effort for anywhere from 2.5 minutes to 6 minutes. So which is it? Well, remember all of our zones or engines have a range. In the lab your “max power at VO2” will often correlate with a 2.5 minute effort on the road. Five minutes is a good field test to do and also will serve as very practical training for many road races in the US.

To really dial in this zone for you, look for your best 5-6 minute effort to be the lower end and your 2.5 minute to be the upper end. This is where the power meter really comes in to play. These upper intensities are very hard to pace with perceived exertion, but it is possible with experience and practice. Heart rate is also very difficult to use due to the lag effect of your heart rate and the fact that these efforts are so much shorter. By the time your heart rate settles in, your work interval is done. Your HR will be reaching to its max after only a few minutes in this zone or a few shorter intervals.

Real World Applications:Having a well developed Z5 is vital for many athletes. The road racer will need this power application a lot! Even in a long hilly road race that favors endurance and threshold power we see riders putting 15 minutes in Z5 just to stay in the main group. In a crit you could be looking at 10 minutes in Z5 even though it is just an hour long race. If you’re not prepared and if your Z5 is not well developed it will be impossible to recover from these efforts let alone make the winning effort.

What if you typically don’t use Z5, for instance, you’re a long distance triathlete or training for a big ride like the MS 150 or Ride the Rockies. In these cases Z5 is not as important but it still needs to be defined and addressed in training. Think of the “building a house” analogy of training with your Zone 1 and 2 being the foundation and Zones 5 and 6 being the roof. You can have a great foundation and be building your rooms and floors higher and higher with your Zones 3 and 4, but with no roof, your house will fill with water every time it rains. It is important to understand that ALL your energy zones work together. you can not have one without the others! 

"At some point your weak areas, whether they are specific to your key athletic events or not, will hold you back. " -Ek Endurance CoachingIf you were lifting weights to build a strong chest you will only develop so much before your weaker back, shoulders and arm muscles begin to slow or stop the progress of your chest. It is the same thing with endurance training. You can have strengths and you definitely want strengths. You can be and should be preparing for you and your specific event, but you have to be, at least some what, complete. You don’t see the best Ironman triathletes going to a sprint distance race and getting destroyed by amateurs do you? Yes they are professionals who do this for a living, but they are also complete athletes.

Where should my Z5 power be?
use the "Cycling Power profile" here to see where your strengths and weaknesses are.
· 105% -120% of threshold is a good starting point.
· Find your 5 minute best and 2.5 minute best power and or perceived exertion (PE).
· For long distance triathletes and distance riders look for your 5 minute power to be around 10%-12% higher than threshold power.
· For the roadie, look for you 5 minute power to be 15%--25%  higher than threshold. 

To sum all this up, every rider should know where there Zone 5 is, do a few tests to determine the range of your Zone 5 and compare it to your threshold, and think about what events you’re planning on doing and how Zone 5 training can best serve you.
~Beginer Z5 workout. 2 sets of (30 sec. on, 30" off)x10, (5 min.) rest between sets low Z5 power during "on" time. becarefull not to spike power to much at start.
~Adv. Z5 workout. 6x2', 6x1' 6x30" (2' rest between all)  power at mid Z5 during. also try our "VO2 buster  in the Hour of Power workout library in Training peaks! 
Have fun!! be safe!

workout #14. 
Recovery ride. yes. you have been working hard. this has not been easy, pat your self on the back, relax but still get out on the bike, 1 hr or so. nice and easy, enjoy it. 
Workout #13
Tempo, surprise, surprise!
2x 20' or more advance 2x30' with 5" rest between. Then, another 20' at the end of the ride. in Zone 3 again. if you can hold Zone 3 great! if not make it a steady 90-95% effort. 

get caught up with the training posts. recorded video of tempo training from last night.  also refresh your self  with threshold work, and endurance work "long ride" below. 

Recorded Video on our YOU TUBE page

What is "tempo and how to use it?

Zone 3 Tempo

No mans land or path to superior strength?

Once known as no mans land. “don’t train there, it’s a waist of time”.
More recently we have discovered there is much to gain form training in this zone. But at what cost? Does it serve some riders more that others?
Lets break this down to its definitions and simple components and you can decide for your self what’s best for you.

Zone 3, or “tempo” as it’s called by many, is about 75-88% of your Threshold Power. The facts are that you get the same physiological response and adaptations that you do from riding in Zone 2. The catch is because you’re riding harder you can’t do it for as long. Further more you will be more fatigued the next day and will have a harder time repeating your training and keeping your frequency up. So what to do? With power meters and all the fancy software we can now put some numbers on this question. However be carful everyone will respond differently, recover differently and has different goals they are aiming for.

A few practical applications:

Stage 1 & 2 of the Tour of the Gila: (a 5 day 350 mile stage race) day one is a mostly flat/rolling stage, we had a rider spend 25% of the 4:30 hour stage in Zone 3. for the men in the break and racing hard on the last climb, you’re looking at 40%-50%. On stage 2, over 40% of the riding time was in Zone 3. Almost 2 hours. That’s a good chunk of the race, might be wise to have that engine well developed…

Half Ironman: for most a ½ iron and even an oly. distance we will spend quite a lot of time in zone 3. at the Silverman ½ ironman last fall (a very hilly, dynamic course) the best amateur bike split consisted of 65% zone 3 riding. A flatter more steady course and we see close to 100% in Z3.

Shorter races: When we look at some hard 80 and 90 minute crits we see only 15-18% in Z3…
We can see the real world application very clearly here but what about “training”. As we said when you train in zone 3 you’re doing endurance training at its max but there is a price, fatigue. Zone 3 training can be a great way to maximize time.
In a 2 hour Z3, ride one can accomplish almost the same amount of “work”, Kj's, TSS as a 3 hour Z2 ride.
But what about the time issue? The more time over 70’ the better? And here we have the give and take of zone 3 training. It can be a great way to maximize endurance training when time is limited. It can be great specific and race pace training, but it comes with a price.

So its up to you. Consult your training partners, experienced athletes, a coach. Test it out, see how you respond, see what it does for you, your goals, and your time constraints.

Day 12 workout
workout today is on the hills if you can. if not just hit the interval times. 
10' on (5' rest) 20' on, (5' rest) 10' on. 
your on time is hard around threshold. the rule today is your 20' (minute) interval has to be harder than the other 10' interval. pace your self well!! 

July 10th 2012. 
Rest day in the Tour de France rest day for us. both mind and body. no training vid today either, just relax. catch up on life etc. 
Tomorrow we will start with talking about all the training zones and how to use them. 
Live webinar starts at 6:30pm mountain time here: 
more info on our Facebook page here: 


Workout #10. 

Threshold work!   TT bike, if you got it. flat rd's. my favorite go to, maximal effort threshold workout.
3x15' (4' rest) best avg. all 3 int. steady and the same power. you will be tired for this one so take your time warming up, figure out what you have in they tank and use it up! Tue. is going to be a day off so no holding back!   If there is a local TT rout that you do a lot feel free to give that course and tear also.   beginner version: 3x10' (5' rest)
How to pace in a very dynamic sport
(There is no such thing as a “flat road with no wind” so don’t even go there)

It has been said that riding a bike in a competitive nature is one of, if not the most dynamic sport there is. You go through a huge variety of terrain, wind condition and durations. Add to that any intensity. cadence, gear selection, fatigue, etc and you have in infinite variety of intensity ranges you may go though. While there are some (racing occasions) where you may have to ride at an intensity or rhythm that is not of your choosing and for those than can ride at there selected physical exertion we must all be aware before we can make decisions.
What I mean is you must have an acute sense of all the outside factors that affect you as a rider and how they affect you before we can make decisions on how to react to them.
So pay attention! Your avg. speed for a ride means nothing! It means less than nothing.
There is no such thing as a “flat road with no wind” so don’t even go there.

Here are a few tools that we can use in training. They can help us pace ourselves and/or analyze our performance from that pacing or lack of.

1.Heart rate: the old stand by
Heart rate is a great tool it IS what your body is doing, so listen to it.
However, HR will drift over time. At the same power out put your HR will slowly go up over time due to muscle fatigue, fuel usage, etc. using Friel’s HR decoupling method to see how much your HR drifts is a good tool. Is it the bottom line? No. Are there other factors? Yes. Is this a one or the other? I am fit or not fit? No.
the audio has some tips for using this.
Check out the article here.

Other things that can and do affect your HR.
~sun exposure
~muscle damage (from high intensity efforts)
~lactate build up
~a full bladder
~being excited
~being well rested and peaking.
~and yes the list goes on…

2. Pace: be carful this friend is deceiving
As I said there is no flat road with no wind. However for those of us who don’t have a power meter a climb can be relatively void of wind and with some strict timing locations and doing intervals on the same day or with in the same set we can have a useful pacing tool. Do climb XYZ in 10’, feels good right, feels like threshold, but intervals 3and 4 feel like death and your going 12+ minutes… guess what… that 10 minutes was way to fast and above your threshold. At leas today.
Use this with caution and a few grain of salt. A few gusts of wind on one trip up could ad more time than you think to that 10’ effort.

3. Power: the gold standard
Power meters are become more reliable and cheaper, get one! Watts are watts. If your in a bike race, however your watts won’t matter much. “hey guys can we slow down I am going over my threshold?” ahh… no, not gona happen.
But they can be the most useful training tool for riding ever developed. A BIG word of advise. Start with the basics. There are more wattage calculations than you can shake a stick at! Normalized power, KJ’s, mean maximal power, avg power, power profiles, TSS, CTL. ohh my god! MY head hurts. And to be honest it gets more in depth than all the fancy calculations. Ask a coach/ someone who has experience with this stuff. And keep it simple! Spend your time training not at the computer figuring out how to get numbers you don’t know how you got to match up.

4. Perceived exertion: Your biggest weapon
Chris McCormack (IM world champion) said in an interview that he trains with a HR monitor and a power meter. He has all the computer soft wear, a coach to analyze it, everything. But come race day he doesn’t use any of it. He races the race and his competition and uses his head.
Having a keen sense of what you can and can NOT do, to top of this hill, or to the end of the TT, etc is a huge weapon. As I said above there are vast amount of different intensities. Now add that to any duration and order in which you did that intensity and you have a million scenarios you could be at the bottom of that final climb. 2 hrs of all out riding in a breakaway. 5 hours of real easy riding, 1 hour all out in cross winds then 2 real easy then another hour of hard riding in a cross wind. You see where I am going and I didn’t even mention anything about terrain!
Learn your body. Learn that when you feel like “this” you can do that. Learn that when you feel like “that” you can NOT do this. Then you can push the NOT farther to the side with proper training…
Bottom line pay attention in training. Get to know your body. Push your self. People surprise them selves every day. Many are also over confident or should we say just self Unaware all the time. Be the prior.

Workout #9 July 8th 

Simple and effective and audio on how to do a "sweat test". 

This can be a complex subject so lets break it down and make things a bit easier.
There two basic aspects to staying fueled up and running at top speed. Define these correctly, add some personalization and your on your way to being bonk proof!

Break this down into two parts. Hydration and food. Keep these as separate as possible.

Water, you need it! On a comfortable summer day (say 70 degrees) you could lose a liter an hour! Never mind when its hot. With your water you should have the correct amount and type of electrolytes. There’s 5. yeah its not just sodium. Its also potassium, calcium magnesium and chloride. Run to short on any one of these and your ride will be over quick. many sport non-commercial sport drinks work very well for this. But do your research make sure yours will work for you. Keep your cal. Content low. To many calories and you’re your drink can actually become dehydrating!

~plan on 1 bottle of sport drink an hour. Keep cals under 100. and be sure they have enough electrolytes. Here are some ranges of electrolyte usage under activity.
*Sodium: 120-360mg./ hr.
*Potassium: 75-150 mg/hr
*Magnesium: 45-150/ hr
*Chloride: 180-360/ hr*Calcium: 150-300mg/hr

You have to take in calories to keep going in a long training session or event. What’s long anything over 1 hour and your going to lose performance because of low fuel. Even riding easy you can be burning 500calories and hour. You can’t digest that much per hour so its very important to keep up with re-fueling on a consistent time frame. Eating small amounts more frequently helps your body digest the fuel as well. Keep the blood in your legs and not in your stomach.
The numbers:
~Get between 200-300 cals/ hr.
~The longer and harder your ride the more important it is to stay on track.
Don’t miss that hour!
~Most bars are a good source of riding fuel. They have lots of carbs a protein and just enough fat to make things yummy. As well as more electrolytes.
~Recipe for home made riding food! I make these in muffin tins. There about 200-250 calls a piece. PB&j’s work really well too!
~Keep drinking water!! Drink more fluid as you need. The more you eat the more water your body needs to process it.

Energy muffinsDirections: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan. Beat eggs, oil and applesauce. Sift together dry ingredients. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients, and then add nuts and/or chocolate chips. Spread evenly in pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars, and put them in the freezer.

1/8 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1.5 cups quick oats1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Table spoons honey
1 Table spoon vanilla 1/2 cup chocolate chips (may substitute half for peanut butter chips)


Workout challenge #8
one of may favorite "tough guy" workouts. Late intensity. 
ride for as long as you have. keep it reasonable. but a "long ride" . what ever long is for you. 3 hr's is great!
but do at least 90 minutes.
     In the last 20'-30' ride at 90-100% of your maximum effort. your power will be lower than if you did this fresh and this will "feel" quite a bit different as well. More here. YOU TUBE PAGE

Core Strength and Flexibility

Being flexible and having good core strength are extremely important aspects of cycling, yet they are often over looked by many cyclist. As is the sport we tend to spend hours on our bikes, in the same position, bent over at the waist. And to ad to this we are generating great fatigue in the largest muscle groups in the body! Starting to see what I am getting at here…

Fabian Cancellara is one of, if not the best time trialest in the world right now. Fabian is not only insanely strong and aero dynamic, he is also very, VERY flexible. He can kick his feet far over the height of his head. It is believed that because of this flexibility he can tap more of his potential power while in a tight tucked position.
Ask any US pro rider what they did at training camp in December or Jan. and they say “well we rode a lot, and the core workouts! Ohhh my god! That was the hardest part!”
Having good core strength is vital to your longevity during the long summer season.
Whether pounding out the watts in your TT position or climbing long and repeated hills your legs are connected to your core. Abs back and a few other wired muscles like the piriformis. If these muscle are weak or your legs are overly tight from not stretching your going to know it!
Many of us have been there before. The hamstrings get tight, then you feel that twinge in the side of your hip and lower back. The next thing you know you can’t put any power on the pedals. None. Ride over folks! If only you had stretched and done some core work this winter instead of complaining about riding the trainer!

The 4 Stretching keys:
1. Every day! before bed is a great time. And/or after you get out of the shower when the muscle are warm and loose.
2. Massage, this can be the best way to get at the IT band, piriformis, and other hard to reach areas. There worth the money! Find someone who know athletes at the least and knows cyclist for the best bang for your buck.
3. Hold your stretch! Time your self 30 sec. is a long time when you would rather be riding.
4. Everything is connected in your body. Stretch tight areas and over soar areas LAST. Loosen up the rest of the body first, then go for the trouble areas.

4 Core strength keys:
1. Winter time is a great time to work on this. If you are consistent 2-3 times a week, we have found you can skip it for most of the summer.
2. 4-5 minutes of concentrated work is enough! Mix up your sets with a brick workout in the gym or while your waiting for training partner/ wife/ boy friend to get out of the locker room. Just get it done!
3. stability balls (or a swiss ball) are great for working your core. There cheap and great to use at home.
4. mix up your routine, keep your self and your muscle from getting board and hit ALL the core areas. There’s a lot. Consult a personal training, your massage therapist, etc…

My friend and colleague coach Patrick has a great doc. of some simple and very key core exercises using a stability ball. Enjoy!
Workout Day 7
easy recovery ride today. relax, get out a just do some easy spinning. The next 3 days are going to be tough!!! 

Good athletes take charge, they take control of there lives of there path, of there training.
things don't just happen. They happen for a reason. Are you in control of that reason?

Good athletes take control, they plan, they make good things happen and do there best to avoid set backs. Sometimes the shortest distance between here and race day is NOT a straight line.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July. A very big summer holiday here in the US. Planning your training, racing and recovery day around a holiday like this should be easy if done far enough in advance. Some events or trips have less planning time. The unplanned does happen but with proper planning we can over come most of them.

A few tips for staying on track and enjoy the “party times” with out worrying about your fitness.

1. Come up with a yearly plan. Or at least from the start of structured training to race day.
2. Have this go week by week. Fill in important dates like:
a. races
b. big training weekends or camps
c. work travel (will you be able to train?)
d. other dates where you won’t be training. (holidays, weddings, vacation, etc)
3. Define recovery and training. There is no in between training sessions!! Have a plan!
4. Realize that while your ski trip/ Jon’s bachelor party trip to CO in February wasn’t training, it’s not exactly rest either. Listen to your body. It’ll tell you when its tired.
5. In your yearly plan list focus points for that week or weeks.
Like: Volume, hills threshold work, strength work, etc…

From here you can start to formulate a very effective training plan.
Now take a day off and have fun!!

                                                       Workout challenge day 6
  As I watch another long break in the Tour and finishing times in the 5 hour region one thing comes to mind. Endurance! We had a post on that a few days back and next week we will go through all the training zones in detail. another great way to build endurance when limited time is short is The Tempo Ride!  the way I prescribe tempo rides is in 1 long steady interval. you are likely a bit tired from yesterdays threshold repeats. 

    so, workout is: Warm up and cool down easy as long as you like. In the middle of your ride do, 1 hour of steady ride in zone 3.   every pedal stroke smooth and as strong as the last one. no coasting, no drafting just strong steady riding! 

All That Gear?!
Here are a few tips on what to look for what to avoid and how take care of these very key pieces of gear.

~Sun glasses are for more than looking cool. They’re eye protection! Look for glasses that come with a hard case, different color lenses and fit well.
Helmets get old and wear out. Yeah!?! 3-5 years for most and its time to replace. Keep them out of the sun. travel with them is a cloth bag, wash them off once a week or after a long sweaty ride.
Cycling shorts and jerseys come not only in different sizes but different “cuts” as well. Not only that but sizing can vary WIDLY from brand to brand. Try them on! Find what fits your body the best and won’t break the bank. Do NOT buy something just because its on sale!
Vest and arm warmers are key pieces of gear to have even in the summer. Arm warmers are cheep, warm and normally last a long time. spend an extra buck for some good ones! A vest can be better than the full wind jacket. They are almost half the size when stuffed in to a pocket, come on and off very quickly and easily when riding in a pack or with friends.
Don’t bother with ones that have pockets and other frills. You want this item small, a high collar, sturdy zipper and wind PROFF! Don’t break that bank here it pretty simple technology…

                                                      Workout challenge day 5. 
Zone 2 most of the time with 5-6 (beginner) or 10-11 (intermediate) intervals of 5 minutes long. in Zone 4. 

rest as long as you like. and mix it up with hill and flat rd's/. 
 more directions here, YOU TUBE
happy 4th! ride safe! 

Intervals are a key part of every athletes training program. But why…
Because there hard? They allow you to buffer lactate acid, improve your VO2 power?
Yes they can do that... but that’s not why there so good.

Many people have a pre-conceived definition of what “intervals” means. Tell your training partners you did intervals yesterday and you are likely have each of them think of something a little bit different.

Lets break it down:
~And interval is a piece of time or distance. That’s it. An interval workout can be anything you want it to be. in cycling we use time.
~An interval workout should have specific work time, rest time, intensity (by wattage and/or HR, PE, etc)
~Should have a number of sets and/or number of intervals to complete
~Should note what terrain to be done on.

Sounds pretty straight forward, and it is. If you have all of the above definition for your interval workout set and understand them you are your way to a very effective training session.
Why are they so good:
And interval workout maximizes the stress you can put on your body. Or it can minimize stress while still getting quality adaptive training in. say you can ride at 300 watts for 45 minutes. You could do a workout of 1 45 minute all out effort at 300 watts. OR, you could do 4x15’ with 5’ rest at 300 and most likely recover better afterwards. By adding rest intervals at the appropriate places and length of time you have now done 60 minutes of work at a power you can only do for 45 minutes. Wow! It would be long before you can do 310 for 45 min. or hold the 300 for a full hour with out rest.

On the other side intervals can allow you to get an adaptive response while minimizing fatigue, muscle damage and maximize your repeatability. KP is smiling now, aren’t you!
If you are training for a long distance event, an IM or multi day event you may want to ad in some intensity but don’t want to be to wasted for your work out the next day or want to do a 3 hour ride with the intervals in them. Not to worry doing say 2x15min. (or 3x10min.) at 300 watts with a rest interval will still work that zone but with much less fatigue than doing 30-45 min. straight. This set up would give you a “pretty” good adaptive response for that zone while still having the legs to do a long, lower intensity ride the next day. now we are really maximizing our time!

How to structure them:
Ask a coach or mentor. This can be tough. Everyone responds differently and everyone can handle different capacities of work.
~In general you get a better adaptation for longer work intervals. However longer intervals are harder. And there for can generally do more “total work” in the session if one does more shorter intervals. So there is a give and take here.
~ Find your happy medium.
~don’t increases work time and decrease rest time at once. Pick one.
~ progress slowly!

Keys to interval training:1. On the bike we do them by time. Your body adapts to time not distance.
2. Have specific work time, rest time, intensity (by wattage and/or pace, HR, PE, etc)
3. Should have a number of sets and/or number of intervals to complete
4. Should note what terrain to be done on. (terrain your training for or your weaker terrain)
5. Should work ONLY 1 specific zone.
6. you should stay in that zone for the entire interval
7. add rest to your week. These workouts are tough! Make should you recover from them!

       Workout Challenge day 4
day off!  yeah take a rest "but EK I normally do a hard workout on Tue.??  Well that's why you are here. to make a change, get out of the norm.  tomorrow will be a tough one don't worry.

Wash your Bike!! 

Not only will your bike simply run better and faster clean, you can discover much bigger issues and take care of them before they cost you big money or worse, injury!
check out the video HERE

6 easy steeps for a quick bike clean:

1. get 2 buckets. 1 filled with warm clean water. The other warm soapy water. Use dish soap and save your self some cash. It works great!
2. With a sponge wet bike removing any larger bits of dirt or… what ever.
3. Soap bike down. Put some of what little arm strength you have into it! Rule of thumb. If its hard to get to, clean it well! That means dirt and junk will get trapped there. Take the time to get in there, don’t dwell on your top tube. Wipe it down. Should be done in 3 seconds..
4. Clean your wheels! Hubs and all check for any cracks, water in the rim, tires for wear. Dirty rims will wear brakes pads down fast.
5. Scrub chain and cassette. With soap and/or a chain cleaner. These work well and are worth getting. A stiff brush will help with the cassette. It does not have to be silver again but get the crap out of there!!.
6. Rinse bike with clean warm water.
7. let dry and RE-LUBE that chain!! Very key!!

This can be done in 5 minutes if your good. less than 10 if your fumbling around. If you don’t have time to make sure your bike is running well you don’t have time to ride

Workout Challenge day 3
The endurance Ride. again. this time solo, no coasting on down hills or any where. again it doesn't' have to be hard, pick your duration. conversation pace or in Zone 2 if your using power and or heart rate.

AND The Endurance Ride. What is Endurance? 

What’s long? How long do I have to ride for it to be an “Endurance Ride”?
Very good questions. Like I said in an earlier topic when your training you should be looking to train 1 (or 2, we’ll discuss that later) particular zone or engines. When one thinks of “endurance” rides we think long and while riding for a long time is great it is not always necessary to do 5 hr’s to get some good physiological adaptation going.

So first what are we really doing on a long ride? What are we developing?
check out the podcast on YOU TUBE

· Capillary density: Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels that carry blood to and take waste away from the working muscles. The more capillaries you have, the faster blood is transferred. More energy and oxygen in, more waist out.
· Mitochondria density: The mitochondria are the energy center of the cell. The more you have the less tired you get and the longer you can go.

· Fuel consumption: You will burn a higher percentage of fat to carbs for energy.

· Neurological durability: This can also be referred to as muscle memory. This is one of my favorite subjects and I could go on for a while about it, but I will refrain. In short, like a baseball player, tennis player, or pretty much any sport, the more you do something the better and more efficient your body gets at it. Your feet are attached to the cranks the cranks to the bike. There nothing really you can do to change that circle. But HOW your muscles engage that circle varies greatly from rider to rider.

So, what does this mean for you in the real world?
In application having a well developed Zone 2 engine will:
· help you recover from day to day.
· help you recover during a ride, workout or race.
· enable you to go faster for longer periods.
· enable you to go harder (faster) at the end of a long ride, after an accumulation of fatigue, ie Kilojoules (KJ’s), training stress score (TSS) etc…

So what’s long? How long do I have to go?
While doing an endurance ride is very different for you than say George Hincapie, for our purposes, we will define an endurance ride as this:
Over 70 minutes. After the 70’ mark the above mentioned developments happen at a much faster rate.
Must be repeatable: Say, you did 5 hours yesterday. That’s great, but if you’re laid up for 4 days recovering from that ride it can get counter productive quick. I personally like athletes to be able to do a ride at least 2 days in a row. You can be a bit tired the next day, that’s OK, but you should still be able to get it done. For you riders that use power meters, go for less than a 3-5% decoupling rate from the first day. so, you decoupled 3% on day 1, 8% max on day 2.

Here are some additional items you can think about on your long, endurance ride that will maximize the benefits of your workout:
1. No coasting.
2. Push intensity up a bit. (to be discussed further in tomorrow’s installment)
3. Steady power in order to develop that Zone 2 engine. Sprinting won’t help it.
4. Don’t start too hard! It’s ok to noodle home, but be sure to re-read no #1.
5. Keep that heart rate in check. Remember it’s a direct reflection of what your body is doing, listen to it


What’s in your saddle bag? Day 2
having the right tools in your saddle bag will keep you riding through think and thin.
a few key things to have.
~muti tool with full metal chain tool.
~co2 air for a quick, max psi fill
~pump, never wears out. but your arm might.
~presta valve adapter
~valve extender
see whats in coach Eric's bag  on our You Tube Page. our first video from 2 years ago. its a bit dark but you'll get it!

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