Saturday, February 13, 2010

Seattle bike routes on Twitter

If you're on Twitter you should check out a new stream I created just for Seattle bike routes: (and if you're not on Twitter you can still browse the routes and click the links to the maps themselves).

Each tweet (or message for the Luddites out there) is a link to a bike map on along with the route name and distance. Hopefully a useful tool for Seattle cyclists.

A note: since there are over 45,000 routes saved on - and thousands of Seattle routes - it will take a while for the tweets to catch up. (Twitter limits you to 150 tweets a day) So if you follow this stream expect about 150 tweets a day.

Once the routes are caught up every time someone saves a route on with "seattle" in the name/title/tags it will be automatically tweeted here. Just another way to spread Seattle bike routes with elevation data.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Working on Force: Steep Hill Repeats

"Force" in cycling terms is the ability to overcome resistance. And I'm pretty sure this is one of my weaknesses, or "limiters"...

Today The Book called for "Steep Hills" e.g. doing repeats on a grade greater than 8% that take less than 2 minutes to climb - which isn't too hard to do around here in Seattle, even without going too far from Capitol Hill.

When seeking out really steep stuff I've always been a fan of those pitches off of Lake Washington Blvd, which has grades that are easily over 20%. Like Fullerton Ave's incline, which is about 16% for the first half, probably the whole thing (pretty short but sweet at about 2 mins to climb). [fullerton climb map]

Here's the elevation profile of this little climb (.1 miles total):

I did two sets with five climbs each (the descent counted as rest between each rep) - and each one averaged somewhere between 300 watts and 330 watts. (4.6 w/kg to 5.06 w/kg or 105% of FTP, for those keeping track). Or in human terms heart rate was was 175 bpm or more.

Each climb took somewhere between 1min 50sec and 2 mins flat. On some of them I saw the avg power for the climb at 299w near the end, and had to stand and sprint the last few meters to come in at 300 watts even. On some I finished closer to 330 watts. Not that it makes a huge difference, but 300+ was the goal for this workout. (My FTP is currently set to 285w, so this would be a 105+% workout)

Two people commented on my training during this session - comments like "that's some good training!" etc - but I can't really respond with both hands gripping the bars and at or above 175 beats per minute..

On the way back I did the 22% grade that is East Roy St on the east side of Capitol Hill. Ugh. A tad harder than Madison, if you can believe it. But at least the 22% part is only a block long.

More Importantly

Today was 50F with sun, and I was able to get by with only shorts! First time this year. Sure I was chilly at first, but once I warmed up it felt great.

Oh and the cherry blossoms on our street are starting to sprout those little pink flowers.. not that it will make the PNW any warmer, but it sure will look nicer!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Build 1, Week 1: Notes

I'm currently in the first week of the first "Build block" in my training plan this year. According to Friel's "Training Bible" my schedule for this week should look something like this, for a total of 12.5 hours.

  • Monday: Cruise Intervals - went around the south end of Lake Wa, with three or four 10-12 minute intervals at ~100% of Threshold (FTP) along the way. Two hours total.
  • Tuesday: Endurance 2 (zone 2) - ended up doing 2.5 hours, another nice ride around the south end of Lake Wa, with an added detour around Mercer Island. I like to call that route the "double-U". First ride of 2010 with bare arms!!!!
  • Wednesday: off, though I did do 15 minutes of yoga using Wii Fit (still fluctuating at about 144.5 lbs btw!)
  • Thursday: "Jumps". Was supposed to do five sets of these but only got in four (down to Seward Park and back). A jump is 10-12 pedal strokes in a Zone5c "all-out" sprint, in which I essentially try to rip my pedals & handlebars off the bike. Each set consists of 4-5 jumps, with one minute rest between each effort, and five minutes of rest between each set. They were actually pretty taxing - but it feels nice to ratchet up the intensity after so much Base riding. One hour total.
Rest of the week:
  • Friday: Isolated leg drills, which I've never done before, or "Form sprints" (e.g. tuning your sprinting form but not going all out) - Form sprints sound like more fun to me
  • Saturday: Recycled Cycles team ride - we'll probably put in around 80 miles since the season is quickly approaching.
  • Sunday: An hour or two of "Active Recovery" - or maybe no riding at all, only time will tell.

In other news I signed up for the Tour of Walla Walla Cat 4 - Recycled will have 8 racers in Cat 4 and 8 in Cat 3 as well! It'll be great to do a stage race with a full team.

With a 100-rider field the Cat 4 Road Race & Crit, this will be interesting. I just hope it's nice and dry out there when we go in April.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Training for 2010: Base, Build, and Beyond

(photo of a bird on Lake Washington, taken from the I-90 bike trail on the way to Mercer Island)

Well it's a new year so that means I've got to tell you how many km's I pedaled last year: in 2009 I rode about 11,000 km (~6,800 mi), for a total of about 460 hours. Seems like a lot for me, but is certainly less than a lot of people too. For reference I did about 12,000 km in 2008, but did less last year on purpose, since I started racing and doing a bit less of those huge rides.

2009 was a lot of fun - a good number of brevets completed (or attempted), and about 25 races for the season - but 2010 will be even better! In my future I'm seeing less of the "why am I out here?" thoughts and more of the "I hope I can hang on!" kind of thoughts. E.g., less long suffering rides in place for more suffering in a shorter time-span, e.g. racing.


And this year (actually the last few months now) I'm doing a 'real' training plan, e.g. the Base/Build/Peak/Race/Rest "periodization" style of training, from the "Cyclist's Training Bible".

So what does this all mean? In summary it's basically a formula that goes like: create an endurance base, then build on that with more intensity, peaking at a specific time (hopefully during race season!). Last year was more like a plateau for me, with no real rest/work cycles and just general "riding."

So here's my training breakdown:

  • Base: not just "ride slow & long" but the endurance zone is actually slightly higher intensity than what I used to think it was. Think just under tempo, but certainly not "active recovery." In this Base period you work on Endurance, Force, Speed skill, and Muscular Endurance. There are three Base blocks in my plan, each consisting of three weeks of work and one rest week. (12 weeks total)
  • Build: time to sprinkle on some intensity, tone down duration, and work on Anaerobic Endurance & some limiters. I'm doing two Build blocks, each three weeks long with one rest week. In fact I'm starting Build 1, Week 1 today! Today calls for some "cruise intervals" - should be fun. (8 weeks total)
  • Peak: work on Anaerobic Endurance, Power, and a limiter. Hours are down from Base/Build but intensity is up.
  • Race: work on Speed Skills, Anaerobic Endurance, and of course race at least once a week or so.
  • Then you normally take a rest week after racing for a while, doing another Build block or two, and Peak again.
(Note: this is just a summary of the phases and also my understanding of them - you'll want to take a look at the training bible in order to get the real scoop on this stuff)

In racing team news the team rides from the shop on Saturdays have been fun, it's been great meeting the team and getting to know the other 4/5's I'll be racing with this year. I got an older RCR (Recycled Cycles Racing) winter jacket, as well as a jersey with the RCR blue & gold! Finally get to fly the colors of the team, and it feels good. Just got to remember not to flip anyone off while riding in it....

In more racing news I'm looking forward to the first Road race of the WA road season, Mason Lake #1 & probably the Sequim race the next day! At only 36 miles the Cat 5 Mason Lake will be relatively short, but sweet. Bring on the wet road races!! Oh and I'll most likely sign up for the Tour of Walla Walla, it will most likely be my first stage race.

About Those Brevets

With the race season approaching, the brevet season is also almost here too. While I'll probably do less brevets this year I do plan on doing a 200k-600k "Super Randonneur" series, as long as I can squeeze them in between life & racing.

And of course PBP is in Aug. 2011 so that's no that far off.. gotta keep the rando legs in order, as I still want to give PBP a shot.

Here's to a great year of riding! See ya on the road.