Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Training begins!

Unlike my more hard-core athlete friends, I can't simply do hard, indoor workouts for the sake of doing hard, indoor workouts. They aren't the least bit fun. And I find that there's absolutely no point in killing yourself in the middle of winter when your first event isn't until the middle of spring. Seems like a waste of time and energy, really.

I don't mind training hard, but I need a reason, a goal to work toward.

(Frankly, I've come to think of the winter months as the Universe giving me permission to do something besides ride/train/race. Call me undedicated, but there's more to my life than just working out. And cold, dark days are perfect for kicking back, imbibing in a drink, catching up on my growing reading list, and pursuing other interests that don't make me sweat so much.)

But all that is over now. I have a reason.

On February 26, 2011, I will be riding the Furnace Creek Century*, which is a timed event (but not a race) that starts around 200 feet below sea level, and peaks at about 1300 feet before turning around and coming back through some of the most devastatingly beautiful scenery in the United States.
*I'll be riding with Jill Marks. We've set a goal to finish in under 7 hours total.

Last year, I got ready for a week of AdventureCorps cycling by following Chris Carmichael's "Time Crunched Cyclist" plan. By following the plan, I started my ride season in excellent form (considering that I was pulled out of the cold, snow, and darkness of a Cleveland-style February and plunked down in the middle of some challenging California desert riding).

I'll be following the 'Experienced Century' plan, which means 6+ hours per week on the windtrainer. For those of you who think 6 hours isn't painful enough, think again. The workouts are intense: lung-busting, leg-crushing, highly-focused sessions meant to optimize training time.

All the sessions are based on your own personal power or intensity (heart rate) data. A field test (described in detail in the book) tells you how to figure out your max heart rate and all the zones that you'll be training in throughout the plan. WAY better, in my opinion, than going to a spinning class where some goon of a coach tells you to push harder when you know you're already at your maximum intensity. I'll have my massive coronary on my own time, thank you very much.

9 weeks to Death Valley. 9 weeks of training. Tonight, I get to ride for 90 minutes, mostly at 'endurance' intensity but with some longer steady state intervals thrown in just to keep things interesting. When things get tough, I'll just visualize myself flying up Jubilee Pass...

What does your winter training consist of?
Do you follow any particular plan?
Do you set goals?
Tell me all about it in the comments section...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December Diversion II

My friend Matt came in from Arizona to spend a long weekend. A native Ohioan, I think he missed the cold and snow, but didn't want to admit it. He used the annual Auburn Metal show as his ruse for wanting to return 'home' in the middle of December.

I thought that it might be fun to do a Buckeye Trail run. Matt is an accomplished triathlete, but I was hoping that the slippery, snow-covered trails and 20 degree temperatures would handicap him just a bit. Or maybe the icy creek crossing (of which the only way across was by wading) would slow him down a little.

Not a chance. By the time I caught up with him at the finish, he had already showered, changed, gone to Starbucks, and read through the first 100 pages of War and Peace.

(Turn computer sideways to appreciate this video):

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December Diversion

Earlier this month, Dave and I traveled to Austin, TX. Austin is this great little liberal pocket of sanity in an otherwise fascist (did I really just say that?) state. College town, bikes all over the place, great margaritas, music blasting from every doorway. City motto is Keep Austin Weird.

Spend lots of time (and $$) at Mellow Johnny's. We were told that we missed Lance by a couple of hours. Came back the next day to see if we could catch him. No Lance sightings, but I'm beginning to burn a hole in my credit card.

JUST in case you forgot you were in Texas...
(read this guy's shirt)

Aside from the great bike scene, Austin is known for it's live music, especially if you're a blues fan.

(Me and Stevie Ray)

Saw a couple of really good bands, especially this one:

Back home in snowy Cleveland. Windtrainer beckons...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How HOT is TOO HOT??

We were back in Vegas at the end of September. I hate Vegas, but Dave said we could go to Death Valley, so that was good.

I rented a mountain bike at the new Furnace Creek bike shop. Everyone else played golf.

Self portrait with sunburn.

My rental bike. I took it out for only 2 hours, which was more than enough.

This is the one-way loop road leading into 20-Mule Canyon.

Check out the temperature data. Granted, my GPS wasn't mounted on my handlebar, but stuffed into a handlebar bag. So the readouts are a bit skewed. But, really? 147 degrees??

Here's the data from my GPS. Click here if you want to view the Garmin link.