Bike NERD Alert!!!
The following post is filled with bike NERD material, so enter at your own risk.
It took me a long time to figure out that the training done in the off season (December - March) is really what sets me up to ride and race well form April to September. Along the way I've learned and seen certain patterns with regard to the yo-yo of weight and how it correlates to the amount of training volume. I managed to pack on 6.8% of my body weight in this yo-yo cycle. Yup - 6.8%!!
This is week one of my 12 week base training plan. When these 12 weeks are completed, I move into a 12 week build, peak, and race plan. So I know what the next 24 weeks have in store for me. Every time I start the structured training I review the previous year, do my Power & HR FTP tests, and look at a few charts and numbers.
The first chart explains my obvious weight gain in the September to December time frame as my weekly hours literally dropped off the chart so to speak when I jumped below my 9 hour weekly average...
The arrows in the chart represent the drop off in training and riding volume, and the subsequent turning of the tide to slowly build up to the end of the year to prep for the base training period.
This is not a bad thing as when Fall rolls around the structured training is done, the racing is done, the school year is in full swing, fun rides become the focus, and combined with being in hibernation mode, the food was enjoyed a little more this year than last year at the same time. The Calories In vs. Calories Out equation favors the former part of that equation and the subsequent weight gain took place. However, to take advantage of the surplus in calories, I did a lot of weight lifting in the Fall months to focus on year end body reconstitution of building back some of the muscle that was lost through the cycling season.
It always takes a while for the ship to turn, but the up arrow of increasing volume eventually catches up with the amount of food I am eating and surpasses the intake of calories to create a deficit. This has led to the loss of 5 of the pounds that were gained so far. Plenty more to go, but the clothes do fit again - thank goodness! The hours continue to pick up a lot this week and next to take me back above the weekly average of 9 hours and should result in continued weight loss from now through the end of March provided I manage the calories in correctly when it comes to which portion of the CICO (Calories In vs. Calories Out) equation.
And so it is with the yo-yo at the end of the racing season. What goes up, must come down, and what goes down, must come up.
The next chart shows the annual hours via month with December on top going backwards down to the bottom which is January of 2015. I'll bag another 2 1/2 hours between today and tomorrow to round out at 473 hours. Last year (2014) I had 475 hours, so about the same. Just didn't train to go fast this year.
This chart is from Training Peaks and tracks HR, distance, duration, and TSS for 2015. There are a few bad heart rate strap/monitor readings in there as I had some trouble with one of my straps going wild on me a few times registering things like a heart rate way up at 247 which is not possible for me. Nothing over the 180's for me in years, and I hope the wild HR strap/monitor has been fixed.
2015 was not my best training year as something had to give when it came to teaching overseas in Germany for the 4 months at the beginning of this year. June was a vacation month with Tara of fun road and mountain bike rides out west. I lost my father in July, oodles of trail work at Center, Banner, and Ahquabi and well...the whole training thing just sort of got bagged for 2015 and I focused more on IMBCS and the weather impact on our events. I did manage to get a base put in during 2015 as well as just about match my 2014 hours, but never really did the 12 week build, peak, race portion of it. A lot of aimless riding, using races as training and not very focused training to make myself faster. Knowing that, I slogged through the race season with plans to turn that around and do it properly for 2016.
Moving on to 2016...
Since I have three bikes that I train on with a Power Meter (two in the basement and one outside on the road), I have to do three separate Power & HR FTP tests as they are all different. The rule is "do the FTP test on the bike(s) you will be using to train". Since I use three, I have to do three separate tests. The LeMond trainers in the basement cannot be calibrated, so their wattage measurements are what they are. And they are vastly different with each other giving me results at both ends of the spectrum. It's really odd that two LeMond trainers with more or less the same computer control modules (one has a slightly newer unit on it) show wattage numbers with a difference of 71 for the same heart rate 20 minute test. Climbing on one makes you feel like King of the Mountain with the numbers it shows, the other is more of a Debbie Depressing type of display in terms of the numbers it shows.
These two tests show how widely different the readings from the two power meters are...
The second machine gives me the highest readings, yet the heart rate was the same average throughout and it felt the same as Machine #1 in terms of perceived effort. Trust me, a 40 minute deep warm-up, followed by pretty much an all out and what you can hold for 20 minutes test is a grueling mental and physical hour spent on the bike in the basement with fans blowing on you to try and keep cool.
Slogging it out on Machine #1...
Unfortunately, the computer module controls cannot be calibrated and I simply have to live with the differences and use a separate chart for each when training on them to hit the proper zones. The power meter for the outdoor riding is somewhere between these two, but I will wait to test that if and when the snow melts and I can ride a 20 minute stretch of paved path.
Base Training Week 1
With the tests done for the indoor units, base training can commence. Monday was a weight lifting day and I got to throw in an hour of snow shoveling which tweaked the back after 40 squats and 40 deadlifts, Tuesday was one of the FTP tests above, more snow shoveling and a 60 minute massage to work out all of the kinks. The massage was a gift from Tara and I must say, it's been about 10 years since my last massage. Wow! It felt so good and worked out so many kinks that I may just have to treat myself to a few more. It was suggested to have one every two weeks during the next couple of months, and then move to a once a month maintenance. It's certainly a luxury, but at my age and with some arthritis in the lower back it may be well worth it to give it a try.
26th Wedding Anniversary
Today is our 26th Wedding Anniversary and we have a date night planned.