Recovery Week

I'm in my recovery week before entering the SMSP Intervals Phase.

Here's how the week pans out from Monday to Saturday (Sunday I start the SMSP Phase):



Power Phase Week #2...

Timing hasn't been perfect this off-season as I go through the phases to prepare for the XC race season. Due to my imperfections in timing (thanks to skiing, a holiday trip to California, a trip to Oregon, various singing and judging events), I find myself overlapping the Power Phase with other phases. The first overlap was with the Endurance Phase (where I dropped some pounds - yippie!!). The second overlap is about to begin as I enter the SMSP Phase. In spite of that overlapping, I have been judicious about getting proper rest and recovery. Because of that, the body seems to be holding up and I haven't caught a cold since winter of 2007. Hmmmm....I haven't been this healthy since I lived in Vienna...

The Power Phase today included:

8 reps of 45% 1RM
6 reps of 50% 1RM
4 reps of 55% 1RM
3 reps of 60% 1RM

I warmed up for 10 mintues on the exercise bike and did the Power Phase lifts in the following order...

Leg Presses
Dead Lift
Hamstring Curls

I finished the workout with 30 back extensions, 30 crunches, 30 lat pulls, 30 lifts on the inclined press, 30 curls and one 3 minute muscle endurance interval on the hardest resistance setting the bike could provide. It was a good day as the gym was pumping in 70's rock 'n roll which is my era and helped me jam during the lifts.

Now I am off to take the dogs for a walk at Lake Ahquabi in the snow. Oh boy, look out squirrels and rabbits - these dogs are ready to chase...


Endurance Phase Ends...

I wrapped up my 3 week Endurance Phase late this afternoon with a 2 1/2 hour ride on the exercise bike in the basement while watching Drake beat Butler. What began with a 3 hour gravel grinder in Story County exactly three weeks ago with the MOB ended today with a solo ride in the basement. It's been hard to imagine spring is coming with all the snow and cold weather we've had. In spite of that, I've been doing the work in the basement to get ready and am pretty close to remaining on schedule. Ideally, I would like to have been at the end of the Endurance Phase exactly 2 weeks ago instead of today. However, it is what it is. Reality says that I have my first race 6 weeks from today.

I move into the SMSP Interval Phase this week and hope the old ticker is ready to handle the load. The legs are feeling pretty good, but my memory of last year's SMSP and MSP intervals tells me there is some torture ahead. In other words, the welcome mat at the "House of Pain" is luring me in...

I'll hit the gym tomorrow for some Power Phase weights and do some core work while I am there.


Building that base...

...continues. I did 75 minutes last night on the trainer in Zone 2 and 3 with a finish of 9 minutes total work time with muscle endurance intervals. I felt good and could have made it to 90+ minutes, but my wife sounded the dinner bell and I had to respond.

Today through Friday finds me off the bike, but I will do a recovery spin tomorrow.


Power Phase

I had a great Power Phase workout today. I was hopping off the floor and my legs were flying on the machines. My son tagged along since the schools were closed today due to bad roads. I spotted for him as he did some bench press work.

Power Phase today included:

8 reps of 45% 1RM
6 reps of 50% 1RM
4 reps of 55% 1RM
3 reps of 60% 1RM

I warmed up for 10 mintues on the exercise bike and did the Power Phase lifts in the following order based on what machines and weights were available with the crowded gym...

Leg Presses
Hamstring Curls

Finished with back extensions, crunches and step-ups before heading home for dinner.


The week in review...

After Monday's base ride, the rest of the week unfolded pretty much according to my training schedule.

I hit the weights on Tuesday for a combination strength and power phase session. I used the strength week #1 weights (the pyramid that works up to 85% of 1RM). I raced to the gym after work to beat the crowds and began with 10 minutes of warm-up on the exercise bike with 5 reps of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off out of saddle power climbing intervals. I didn't do any inclined press lifts and I kept it at light weights for the lat pulls. Something is terribly wrong with my left shoulder (it feels like rotator cuff, but I'm not sure), so my upper body work is over for now. I can hardly put my suit coat or jacket on without screaming out in pain. No idea what I've torn in there, but it stings. I maxed out the weights a couple of weeks ago and although I didn't feel anything at the time, I obviously destroyed something on either the inclined press or the lat pull. I ended Tuesday's session with sets of Lunges using 30 and 35 pound weights; back extensions, inclined crunches and step-ups (all at Power Phase speeds). This week will be 2 visits to the gym for Power Phase only weights.

Wednesday and Thursday I did 30 minute easy off/recovery spins in the basement. I was going to do the same on Friday, but my body said "NO!" when I came home from work Friday night. So I skipped an easy spin and took Friday totally off. That's fine, as my original plan was to take Wednesday, Thursday and Friday totally off the bike.

I went for a power hike in the snow on Saturday with the dogs at Lake Ahquabi and did some trail repair while I was at it. The ice storm in December really took its toll out there as trees are snapped everywhere, so I was removing what debris I could from the trail without any tools. The spring will require some serious chainsaw work to clear the trails. The dogs had a blast and my hiking boots were soaking wet from the excursion.

Today was a 100 minutes on the trainer in the basement (that's equivalent to 2 hours of riding outside). I will be up to 2 1/2 hours by next Sunday which is my target goal for this endurance phase before starting the 6 weeks of intervals. Let me say this, a 100 minutes on the trainer was not as boring as I thought thanks to catching the most of The Hunt for Red October while on the bike. It kept me "occupied". I warmed up for 15 minutes, did 7 reps of sprint intervals and then the rest in Zone 3. Following the session, I went upstairs and crammed down a PB & J. The snow looked like it had subsided outside, so I and got bundled up to go outside and clear the driveway and walks. I wanted to make sure we could get out Monday morning for school and work. There were these nasty 3 foot drifts all across the driveway and front step which had to be dealt with before I could do anything else. Not so much fun with just a shovel. It was wet snow and the weight of it taxed me as I cleaned the entire pavement. Just as I finished everything, the snow plow came by and totally blocked off the driveway entrance again. So I went down and pushed all that muck back into the street. "Take that, city plow driver!" ;-]

I was in such a hurry to get it done for Monday morning only to come in and see on the news that Indianola schools are canceled for tomorrow on account of the snow. The kids already had Thursday and Friday off for parent teacher conferences. Now with Monday off, my wife is going crazy having them home for 5 straight days. They've had way too many snow days this year (usually on account of the buses not being able to get through on the county and gravel roads) that it looks like they'll be making it all up in June this year. One very simple law change would prevent all that: allow chains on Iowa roads. Yup, chain those big yellow buses up and let 'em barrel through the snow to get the kids to and fro. Works in other states like clockwork, but no chains in Iowa.

Moving the snow off the driveway and sidewalks with my shovel was enough fitness training for today as the bike riding alone burned 1000 calories and I'm sure the shoveling was another few hundred.

It's hard to believe spring is coming with all of the snow and bad weather this year, but I'm keeping on schedule with my training like it will eventually get here. We all know it will arrive soon, but it just seems forlorn at the moment with storm after storm since November. One ride, and one ride only this year outside. That was the 30 mile gravel grinder with the MOB.


Fat Tire Training...

I took Sunday off because I had an audition for an opera which involved callbacks in the evening.

I hit the C7i Trainer in the basement for 70 minutes Monday night. Zone 2 and Zone 3 riding for the first 60 minutes, and then 10 minutes of leadout intervals. Those are those suckers where you start at a 60 rpm cadence and gun it up to 120-130 rpm cadence and hold for 30 seconds. I did 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off until I couldn't hold the 120 rpm cadence for the full duration of the 30 seconds. The last 2 intervals were painful and I couldn't make the last one - so I cooled down for a few minutes.

I showered and headed off to the Sports Page with the wife and kids for dinner. We ordered Fat Tire draws. Neither of us had tried that beer before. Man, was it good. A huge thumbs up on Fat Tire draws in a frosty mug after some bike training!!!!!

I think I'll hit some weights tonight. It's been a full week since my last lift. I'm working through the Power Phase at the moment and will eventually rotate into maintenance mode for the season (1 time per week).

Off to work...



I took Friday off after my Thursday ride in zone 4 at an average HR of 151.

I did 90 minutes on the C7i trainer in the basement late this afternoon in zone 2 and 3 (I didn't exceed 145 HR). 90 minutes on the trainer inside is the equivalent of about 108 minutes outside. I'm working my way up to 2 - 2 1/2 hours. I should be there by the end of next week.

I drove to Waverly and judged a voice competition at Wartburg College this morning. Fog all the way up and blowing snow all the way back which made for tension filled driving. A lot of cars were in the ditches along the way this afternoon. I grew up in blowing snow in the Dakotas, so my slower speed kept me out of the ditch.


The Grind of Endurance...

As I said in a previous post, the team ride by The MOB was my "official" start of the Dave Morris Endurance Phase. I am doing this phase along with the subsequent wrap up of my weight lifting strength and power phases (which I extended longer based on the SpokePost.com article). This endurance phase calls for 3 weeks of base building to transition one from the weight lifting phases to prepare one for the 6 weeks of intervals that are coming up.

The scheduled rides for endurance chart in the Morris book entitled Performance Cycling: Training for Power, Endurance, and Speed is a generic chart that I feel is more geared for road cycling (the book covers TT, cross, criterium, road and mountain bike racing). I have adjusted the time on the bike during these base building rides to something more akin to what I know I will face in a Sport Category race in terms of time/duration.

Today's scheduled ride in the generic chart from the Morris book called for a 4 to 4 1/2 hour ride beginning with sprint intervals and then the rest in zone 2 and zone 3. Well, that duration is nothing like I face in a Sport XC race, so I don't see the need to pound away for 4 - 4 1/2 hours in zone 2 and zone 3 for my typical mountain bike race. It might be a great way to shed some serious weight (and catch a cold after getting run down), but with work, family, chores and real life - it simply ain't gonna happen. I suppose it would be great if I were doing longer XC races or more than a one time a year event such as a 50 mile mountain bike race or a 24 hour event each season. But my usual race is 1 to 1 1/2 hours in duration. So I prefer to keep the base endurance phase more geared to my actual duration needs for my own XC needs. I will be building up to rides in the duration of 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.

Saturday's ride was 3 hours (which I feel is even a tad too long, but that was my launch ride this year). Sunday was strength phase weights. My next ride was on a Monday for 70 minutes with muscle endurance intervals at the end of that duration. Tuesday and Wednesday were "off" days. Today was 75 minutes which began with 10 minutes warm-up, 10 reps of sprint intervals at 15 seconds on, 90 seconds off at 120 - 140 rpm's with the highest resistance setting my trainer allows. After that was over, I was scheduled to ride in zone 2 and zone 3 for the remainder of the duration. However, I had too much buzz in my legs and for whatever reason ending up ticking the pedals over and riding in zone 4 for the reamainder. Based on prior knowledge, that's going to gas me - make for a not so good night of sleep and means I best take Friday "off" instead of riding again. I just couldn't hold back. Nothing like pushing it too early.

If you want to factor in riding on a trainer inside with no coasting and no stopping to compare it to riding outside, I go by the formula of adding 20% to the indoor training to get a better measure of what it equals for outside riding. So my 75 minute ride is equal to a 90 minute ride outside. That meets my needs/goals as I work up to 2 - 2 1/2 hours for outside duration riding time of endurance riding.

I've found myself being very hungry this week during this phase, but I am taking care to keep my hands out of the "let's eat extra" bowls, bags and plates of stuff. As expected, some of the weight gain during the weight lifting phase is starting to shed and I am slowly shaving my weight back down to my race weight of last season. I have a few pounds to go, but I have a little more than 2 weeks of endurance phase riding to go before hitting the intervals.

Legs felt good for the first time tonight since entering this phase. I had buzz (too much as I mentioned above) in the legs and am feeling them start to see light at the end of the tunnel. I have a long way to go before that April 5th first race of the season, but the steps are now under way to get there in time.

Base Building over and out....


R.I.P. Sheldon Brown...

The community of cyclists throughout the world lost one of its shining examples of a true enthusiast, helper, advice giver, specialist, mechanic extraordinaire, etc... in the death of Sheldon Brown on Sunday, February 3rd as a result of a massive heart attack.

Sheldon will be missed for his wisdom, help, advocacy and shining light. Thanks for all the help over the years via your articles, internet posts and emails.

R.I.P. Sheldon Brown



Strength Phase Week 2...

I joined Phil the Groundhog and went back inside today for another 6 weeks after seeing my shadow yesterday.

Yesterday was a great training ride. I joined up with other MOBSTERS Paul, Rob, Sean, Nick, Bruce and Thad for whatever it was -- 28 to 30 miles or so of gravel grinding in Story County. I actually enjoyed getting out in mid-winter to remember what a bike felt like underneath me. It's nearly impossible to mirror my bike set up on my trainer, and I noticed about 10 or so miles into the ride that my seat height on the real bike must be higher or something. I started to get an ache/dull pain behind the right knee. I'll have to check that seat height again once I get out and out for good when the snow clears.

The final 7 miles of our grider was dead into the wind. From my standpoint, I was pretty much done in terms of experiencing depleted energy reserves at that distance and time of around 3 hours. It won't be a problem later on in the season, but it jumped up and bit me. I think Nick was in the same boat as I was, but we finished the ride and grabbed a much needed beer. The ride was a good reality check for me to see where I am and where I need to get in the next few months. Regardless, the ride is a great launching pad for my 3 weeks of endurance phase which I am now officially in as I finish up the weight lifting. No better time than now to build a bit of an endurance base so I can move into 6 weeks of interval training and keep on schedule.

A big thanks to Paul and Cristy for hosting us. It was a lovely afternoon and evening. Kudos for opening up your lovely home and providing such nice food and drink. I enjoyed visiting with everyone.

I thought I would sleep really well following such an effort, but I actually found myself waking up a couple of times in the night (once at 12:15 am and once at 5:34 am). I think my body was too fatigued to be able to sleep as soundly as I thought it would.

I did a couple of hours of house cleaning this morning (toilets, trash, laundry, floor) and then headed to the gym for some strength training.

I'm not sure I absolutely nailed the maximum weight that all of this has been based on this year, but by having it posted here I can have some electronic notes for next year to make some adjustments. One problem is that the leg press sled only goes up to 390 pounds (with a 15 pound adjustment taking it up to 405). The older leg presses where your legs are up in the air and you add the plates on can go way higher, but these sleds are what they are. My one rep max may be higher than I targeted this year (390).

Here was today's pyramid work....

Strength Period Week #2

10 minutes of warm-up on the exercise bike (HR up to 142)


#1----5------85%-----------2 minutes

Squats: 220
Dead Lift: 200
Inclined Press: 45*
Leg Press: 330
Lat Pulls: 160
Ham Curls: 150

#2----4------90%-----------2 minutes

Squats: 235
Dead Lift: 210
Inclined Press: 50
Leg Press: 350
Lat Pulls: 170
Ham Curls: 155

#3---3------95%-----------2 minutes

Squats: 245
Dead Lift: 220
Inclined Press: 52
Leg Press: 370
Lat Pulls: 180
Ham Curls: 165

#4----2------100%-----------2 minutes

Squats: 260
Dead Lift: 235
Inclined Press: 55
Leg Press: 390
Lat Pulls: 190
Ham Curls: 175

20 sit-up crunches on the inclined crunch bench
20 back extensions

5 lunges holding 30 lb dumbbells
4 lunges holding 35 lb dumbbells
3 lunges holding 40 lb dumbbells
2 lunges holding 45 lb dumbbells

Shower, shave and SuperBowl....


Groundhog Day!

Phil says 6 more weeks of winter this year. That's no surprise as this has been a good old fashioned winter with plenty of snow for skiing, plenty of shoveling and finally a chance for my 4 wheel drive to kick in every now and then due to the white stuff and the ice.

I'm heading up to Paul Varnum's today for the MOB Racing Winter Gravel Extravaganza, Ground Hog Day celebration, and Winter Party. On tap is a 25 mile gravel grinder. The weather looks to be promising (35 degrees with sunshine) which should make for some nice mud and slop out on the gravel. I'll wear the mud gear and bring along some quarters for the car wash to rinse the bike following the outing. It will be my first time outside on the bike this winter and should be a welcome relief after riding on the trainer in the basement - not to mention all the warm-up and cool-downs at the gym for the past few months.

I did 32 minutes on the trainer Thursday following my trip to Oregon and began introducing some intensity (20 seconds on, 20 seconds off lead out intervals; 1 minute on, 1 minute off SMSP reality check intervals; and a high intensity, low cadence 5 minute power interval). I'll be heading into the three weeks of SMSP interval block training rather soon and just wanted to introduce a little intensity to see where my legs and heart are at the moment. I am just finishing up my final phase of the weight training, but got thwarted last night and couldn't do my scheduled weight training.

What happened last night? I ate lunch at the Simpson cafeteria and had turkey pot pie, some raw broccoli and raw carrots. Within 15 minutes of eating that lunch, my stomach started to ache and the gas started to boil in the burner. Somehow, I made it through the afternoon of teaching, but when I got home I blew up. After I let off enough steam to ease some pressure out of the tank, I reached for the Immodium to settle things down. No way I felt like going to the gym in such condition. I wasn't sure if it was lunch or I if had picked up a bug on my trip to Oregon. However, I suspected bad food since it was nearly immediate after finishing lunch. I was able to eat a nice salad with chicken last night at about 8 pm and there were no rumblings or pain - so I think it was a bad lunch.

I will do that weight training tomorrow before the SuperBowl. It's the power phase of the lifting where I am at lower weights doing them in quick, explosive repetition.

Over and out and on my way to Story County to ride with the MOB. I may be like Phil the Groundhog. After I see my shadow out on a multi-hour gravel grinder, I may climb back in the basement for another 6 weeks of riding on the trainer. ;-)