Tuesday, March 19, 2013


     Today is Tuesday the 19th.  The Solvang Double Century, my first event of the year, is Saturday the 23rd.  Four days.  Am I ready?  Did my training work?  I guess I’ll just have to find out in four days.

     I made some changes in my training regimen this year.  Last year, it was all about miles.  Get in as many miles as possible, and when I’m done, get in even more.  This time last year, I had 2,364 miles in, starting in late November.  I had several centuries, but not much climbing, and I spent a lot of time riding through pain and soreness.  And weather. 

     This year I trained a bit differently, the reasons for that below, but mainly what I read in The Cyclists Training Bible.  I tried to get smarter miles in, rather then lots of them.  I worked more specifically on climbing, which is still my weak link, by a bunch.  I’m 6’0” and 175 pounds.  Just not built to climb, so it needs work.  And it will still get more.  This year’s to-date mileage:  1,595, starting in early/mid-December.  Far under last year, but I actually feel better, stronger, and fresher.  The only thing that worries me is that I don’t have as many long distance rides in.

     But not this week.  This is taper week.  As I finish writing this, I will head out for a 2.5 hour ride, mainly to test the work I just did on the rig, specifically to check the chain I just bought and installed, the new cleats I just put on my shoes, and to make sure everything else is in good working order, mechanically, physically, and mentally.  Wednesday is an off day, Thursday a 1 hour spin, and Friday a ½ hour neighborhood ride/stroll before driving down to Solvang.

     There are more specific changes I made to this year’s training, and I’m looking forward to finding out which ones work and which ones do not.  Here they are:

     In September, I jumped in and bought a Garmin Edge 500, replacing a then 14 year old cyclocomputer.  I loved that thing, it was one of the first units to show altimeter readings for not a crazy amount of money.  

     The new Garmin gave me crazy data, which did take me a while to figure out how to benefit from, but what I have noticed is the importance of a proper cadence.  Mine was inconsistent before, since I relied on my musicians head to keep time as I pedaled.  Innacurate.  Now I have a MUCH better grasp on cadence, and that has helped me greatly both on the long flats and in climbing.  Not to mention cranking for days into a headwind.

         Along with a new Garmin must come Strava.  In the past, I had several Excel files to track ride records, climb stats and records, and several other things.  Strava does it all for me.  And with Segments, I can tell how I stack up to other folks (which I don’t really care about) and how specific rides, and climbs stack up against myself.  I’m starting to see those records fall, just because I have a better way to record, look at, and keep track of, my data.  LOVE IT!

     Every cyclist serious about taking their training to the next level for events and races should get this book.  Granted, lots of it was over my head.  I don’t train with a power meter, and I don’t do regular races.  But, I did learn a lot about training in general, and more specifically how to break down my season to benefit the most from my training.  Which is the main reason why my mileage is down this year.  It’s smarter, not longer.  We’ll just have to wait and see how that worked. 

  • Feet Fix
     Last year’s Davis Double Century was one of the most painful events I have done.  My feet literally ripped me off my bike and forced me to sit in a kiddiepool at a rest stop for ½ hour to cool them down.  (Picture below)  So, into the shop I went, asked all kinds of questions, and came out with Specialized Foot Beds and Shim Kit.  I noticed a difference immediately, with much less pain in every condition, and greatly reduced hot spots.  We’ll see how they work over 200 miles, but I’m betting they will alleviate a lot of issues.

     I’ll be honest, last year I still didn’t have my Hammer Nutrition use dialed in.  I was drinking waaaay too much Perpetuem, and not enough just water.  This year, I have the Perpetuem dialed back a bit, and I’m going to carry a bottle of just water. 

  • New seatpost and handlebars
     When I bought the rig, I was never fully fitted to it, we just went through a rather quick one to get things like saddle height, angle, and fore/aft, handlebar position, and stem angle.  But I didn’t change anything else.  I should have.  The handlebars I replaced right away, but still wasn’t completely satisfied with what I put on.  So, after many long months of researching and searching, I found what I was looking for, and it is perfect.  Same with the seatpost.  I really needed a zero-setback post, and now I have one.  So, my bike is better fitted to me now.

     So, with all these changes, I should, in theory, have a better, smarter season.  We will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.  Stay tuned to find out