Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jan 5th - Training Ride

You know how it is right?  Cold morning but the sun is shining, you really want to stay in bed, but deep down you know a ride is calling.  You know you will love the ride once you get out there but lets face it the cold is seeping in and the devil is on your shoulder saying "Stay In Bed ..... you can make up the miles on the trainer".  Ah ha you say but there is no substitute for the road and leap out of bed ready to ride.   That's exactly what happened to me this morning other than the leaping bit, I kind of dragged my self into my cycling kit inspired by the sun.

I shot a message out on Facebook to see if anyone was up for a ride.  I going to give up on Facebook one of these days as no one seemed inspired to join me except my old training buddy who is 5000 miles away.  Ah but it brought back memories of frosty snowy mornings and I recall a ride with me up to my waste head first in a snow drift - simple and happy days.

After getting changed I looked at my feet and then out at the frost and an image of frozen toes came to mind.  I had not planned on winter riding and my kit does not include booties.  So old school was the way to go.  An old pair of winter socks and a pair of scissors and problem solved:

Feeling more confident about my feet I headed outside and mounted my steed of the day.  All the thoughts of days past and old school inspired me to ride my steal framed Chas Roberts.  This baby has been with me for going on 25 years and the wheel set is around 20 years old.  After the last ride the rear wheel needed truing up, funny all the spokes came loose, I guess I can't complain to much, they don't owe me anything.  It felt great to ride, like an old friend.

It might say 34F but it felt a darn sight colder and the start of the ride was down hill, not good, really not good, I thought my nose belonged to someone else and I could not believe how much snot I generated in such a short period of time (you cyclists know what that's like).   For you non cyclists here's a good rule of thumb, never shake hands with a cyclist with gloves on, I'm just saying tissues and hankies are not part of the kit.

I turned the corner and this is what welcomed me, yup there is something special about riding in the winter, other than cold toes, cold fingers, a nose that is frozen - oh stop complaining Matthew and check out the view.

Now this all looks fine and dandy but, 10 miles into the ride the sun disappeared behind freezing fog but by that time I had warmed up and looking forward to the view of Snoqualmie Falls.  As I climbed to the falls the sun was cutting through the fog and again I was treated to mother natures art work.  I just had to stop and capture a moment.

At the top of the climb I rode to the view point ready for my reward.  Did I mention it was foggy.  Well this was the view of the falls.

When there is no fog it looks like this.  It sounded awesome, but your going to have to take my word for that.

So I took a picture of my bike instead - Well you do, don't you.

I would have taken a few more shots but low and behold my camera died.  Note to self check battery before leaving.  Same thing with my shiny new Garmin Virb - no power.  Oh well next time.

The ride home was great with a climb up Grand Ridge and then back home to lunch and a hot tub.  Here are the stats from my Garmin.  I even set GPS tracking on so my wife could track me, which she didn't but it was there if she needed it.

Here's to the next adventure - Power Up & MaxLifeOut.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winter Bike Training

If your going to do something either "Do IT" or "Don't Do IT" don't "Try" a quote from Yoda, well kind of similar, but that's not the point.  The point is after racing well ahead of schedule I got all fired up to start training for the upcoming road race session in the spring.  It is at times like this I have to admit wishing Seattle was a little warmer, because lets face it when it's in the low 40's and into the 30's, dark and either damp or frosty, I am not inspired to get out on my bike.  Yes, yes, I know once you get out there it is fine but boy it takes some work to get out there.  Not to mention everything seems to ache more, maybe that's just me but it does.

So the answer, indoor training.  Yup for those of us who live with sessions, that is "winter" and cannot afford to gallivant off to warmer climes to get in quality miles, in shorts a T's and I am going to shut up now because I am getting jealous.  Right were was I, yes indoor training. 

First, find a space inside that you can train without driving everyone around you mad.  Spare room if you have one works well, I do so check.

Second, bike and here I am very fortunate to have been able to buy a new bike this year with the promise to get rid of my old one.  Good job I didn't otherwise where would I get a dedicated training bike from, good thinking on my part - check.

Third, trainer, now that was more of a challenge.  I wanted a realistic feel but did not want to wear through tires like old boots and unlike old boots tires are darn expensive.  I see a good excuse to buy a new toy, I mean trainer.  Hours of research, ok an impulse buy at my local bike shop followed by hours of buyers remorse research lead me to the Wahoo Kickr.

It was as I mentioned an impulse buy but not totally without understanding (that's my story and I am sticking to it).  The Kickr ticket the boxes of:  Wheel off, no wearing out tires, built in power meter, open source so no proprietary software, Ant+ compatible so it works with my Garmin 810 for tracking, it is quite, innovative and looks beautiful (I am a sucker for Black and Blue).  Now there are other choices and although I have not tried it the Lemond makes a well reviewed wheel off trainer that is supposedly more realistic.  Having used the Kickr for a number of session I am very happy.  Trainer - Check.

Fourth, is it really this complicated to train indoors, I remember when a set of rollers, a bike and the radio was all that was needed.  Oh that is still an option but for us serious "DO IT" types that just does not cut the mustard these days.  Ah yes and then there is the tedium which all this effort is designed to at the very least reduce and best case completely eliminate.  Sorry rambling again.  Training Program.  Now this presented me with a few more hours of research.  Did I mention I actually wanted to train.  Sucking it up I did my due diligence and landed on  They provide a monthly subscription that provides access to both workouts and training plans and as a bonus the software syncs with the Kickr and Ant+ allowing for integration of all my devices, now that was cool.  All fired up I put my bike on the trainer, flipped open the laptop, fired up Trainerroads and searched for devices - bugger.  As a PC user Bluetooth 4.0 was not supported and I needed an Ant+ dongle for my laptop to connect to the Kickr.  More bloody research later and a little help from the Trainerroads website (should have looked there first dummy) and a Suunto USB dongle ordered from Amazon.  Training Program - Check

Fifth, you got it -> train.  With the arrival of the Ant+ dongle I was ready to go.  I have to admit that it all works very nicely except for a minor error that comes up on my Garmin when the Kickr power reading changes but it is in no way a show stopper.  Training on the Bike - Check

Prior to setting up my indoor torture chamber, I mean training room I had the chance to experience the videos with my local club.  I was impressed and decided to purchase a number of the videos as well as there training program.   Having used a number of the videos I get the sense that they are great once you have a good base but the intensity prior to building base does concern me so I have stopped using them for now and started to concentrate on base training.  Here trainerroads helps out as they have a number of base workouts and I am currently using them along with winter outdoor rides.  Later in the session I will start to use the Sufferfest videos again once my FTP has increased and I feel they will provide a longer benefit

- Well here goes (wish me luck)

Heres an example of a Trainerroads workout

2013 Snowqualmie Falls - Walk

What shall we do?  have you ever heard that first thing in the morning or got the question out before being asked it.  Well if you are anything like our family the answer is a resounding YES. 

That was the question on a cold December morning.  There was a heavy frost outside and I remembered two things.  Ok, very funny, yes remembering two things at once is a stretch but on this particular morning I managed it.

1st, when the Falls are frozen up it looks spectacular.
2nd, dogs are now allowed on the path down to the falls.

Bingo, we could take the dogs for a walk somewhere different and I could get in a bit of photography.

The falls were indeed spectacular

This is not snow but ice formed from the spray off of the falls - how cool is that
On the way down I snapped a picture of the Sun though the trees
Than at the bottom I was treated to a study of water and ice

Whilst my girls patently put up with me crawling across rocks, and did not complain once about how cold it was, ok maybe once but I deserved it :)