Are we there yet?



swampy1970

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JS, All of the big rides that I do are organized events that mostly require a few hours or more to drive too. Events like the Death ride are a few hours away near Tahoe, the Everest Challenge is about a 5 hour one way trek at greater than the posted speed limit. It felt oddly strange that the event this past weekend was only a 20 minute drive away. I'm sure there's something similar to the California Triple Crown, up in New York state. Find a ride that tickles your fancy, enter it and have a go. Sure, take the power meter along for the ride and use it to set a sensible early pace but also take in the time to fresh coffee at 0 dark 30, meet similar bikeaholics and enjoy the support, the food and the cheers provided by the organizing club and other volunteers. Normally I wouldnt entertain the though of just riding 200 miles but when it's that much fun it's pretty hard not too... But if your back goes into instant spasms just thinking about riding for that long don't kill yourself just find something that's as fun but fits your current state of health until the back approves a little more. Lance was right - it's not about the bike. In my case it's about the fun.
 

jsirabella

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swampy->Thanks for all the info on the cranks. I guess the PCs have one nice feature in that you can test different crank lengths quite easily. You really got my attention when you put the back issue quote in there. I measured them but not sure if you go from top to bottom of the crank but if you went from the highest to lowest point they are 8 inches long which would be 203mm which seems really long so I am probably not measuring correctly and need to go from where the crank attaches to the bike to where pedal attaches which is more like 7.5 inches or 191mm. I would think the smaller cranks would make easier on the hips and back as not as big a circle to make so less movement in lower back, correct? Maybe a change for me in the future but I got lots to work on first. You would think by this time I would have my cadence down pretty well in CP but still do not and I am still not in control of the bike as much as the bike is in control of me. I need to get more into when to switch gears to work in my powerband so I do not feel like lead by loop 5.

Today was so funny in that the rain had stopped earlier but the roads were still a bit ugly. I have not had that much dirt and pebbles on me and the bike in a while! Got to the office and took about 30 minutes to clean the bike off. The chart looks the same though.



Always CP gets my IF as about as close to a 1 as I usually can and the NP get about that 250 range while the AP is always in that >210 for an hour.

As far as rides in the future I am thinking doing the October MS Bike Tour as in a way it is how I started with longer rides many years ago and seems appropriate given my current quest for a comeback. I am also fixated on 5 loops in CP as even before my sciatica it was never fun or easy. We keep pushing forward.

For me to do one of those rides you describe I have to give the wife fair warning. I can see it in 2012. I have to still have her believe that work comes first and this is just some silly old-man hobby ;)

-js
 

swampy1970

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JS,

Easiest way to find crank length on most cranks is just to look at the back of the crank. The length is usually either cast, stamped or printed on. To measure it, it's the distance from the center of the bottom bracket bolt hole to the center of the pedal axle hole.

That graph looks to have lots of 400 watt efforts. I'm guessing you're finding going pretty tough being that 400 watts is about 140 watts over threshold, which puts it at L6. If you're going out for a hard hours ride, probably keeping it under 320 would be a good idea. That 5th loop will probably happen sooner rather than later that way.

For me it seems like the issue with the cranks is that a longer crank comes up too high. Then again I could be completely wrong... I'm just glad that the back doesn't hurt and until Friday at least no further explination is required. Then I'll have a chance to talk to someone who has an actual clue about the human body and biomechanics and all that m'larky and my recent findings/events.
 

jsirabella

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swampy->You pretty much nailed it. There are only so many 400 watt efforts I can do in my CP ride and given that CP is just a circle with a series of those, I run out faster than I would like. I have tried to take down my power output to that 300s but I feel like I am barely moving on those hills. What I will do next time is no matter the speed just take it down to that level. So basically CP is 400 watt effort with no watt efforts right after. I have to smooth them out.

-js
 

daveryanwyoming

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .

... So basically CP is 400 watt effort with no watt efforts right after. I have to smooth them out....
Yeah, if you can you should work on smoothing things out. It's o.k. to go slower and smoother up the hills as long as you take that energy you save and put it into the downhills by shifting up and maintaining pedal pressure going up or going down. It's not only that you burst to 400 watts, it looks like you typically follow that up with complete coasting. I haven't been in CP in decades so maybe that's what the road demands in which case it's a better venue for microinterval work and not so good for steady Threshold work. But is it possible given the terrain and the traffic interruptions to apply more continuous pedal pressure, use your gears and distribute your efforts more evenly?

Try some CP laps where you focus on Tempo, not Threshold so you're not right up against your redline. Focus on smoothing out your application of power so that you roll the hills steadier but then use gears and leg speed so that you can continue applying power on the downgrades. If you can smooth things out at a more reasonable Tempo pace then in time you can work on building on that kind of pacing to take it up closer to your limits. If that's just not possible then use CP for what it gives you, bursty micro-interval work and use other roads or the trainer for your steadier work.

-Dave
 

jsirabella

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dave->I believe I need a new strategy in CP and maybe your advice would do it as far as trying for tempo. Right now when I ride in CP I just give my best effort for 5 loops, imagining it is a race in a sense with no drafting.

I always hit the hills hard and up many and die on the other side as I get over the crest of the hill. I believe I need to be like the other an be a bit more patient getting up the hill and keep the effort on the other side which is where you make up more than loss speed on the hill. As was said to me many time we all go slow up hills. I was always the opposite where I tried to crush the people on the hills but once I got on the other side I was crushed.

A small issue to is the switching of the gears meaning if I want the most speed I need to switch between the 42 and 53 often but my rear cog is all wrong for the switch. I may need to do this on every hill to not loose the speed so as you can imagine doing this 6 times in every loop at CP gets a bit nutty unless I just stay in the 42 or 53 chainring and just deal with it best I can.

-js
 

CalicoCat

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .

dave->I believe I need a new strategy in CP and maybe your advice would do it as far as trying for tempo. Right now when I ride in CP I just give my best effort for 5 loops, imagining it is a race in a sense with no drafting.

I always hit the hills hard and up many and die on the other side as I get over the crest of the hill. I believe I need to be like the other an be a bit more patient getting up the hill and keep the effort on the other side which is where you make up more than loss speed on the hill. As was said to me many time we all go slow up hills. I was always the opposite where I tried to crush the people on the hills but once I got on the other side I was crushed.

A small issue to is the switching of the gears meaning if I want the most speed I need to switch between the 42 and 53 often but my rear cog is all wrong for the switch. I may need to do this on every hill to not loose the speed so as you can imagine doing this 6 times in every loop at CP gets a bit nutty unless I just stay in the 42 or 53 chainring and just deal with it best I can.

-js
Js,

I'm confused . . . or maybe I am misunderstanding your problem. You should not have trouble switching between your big and little chainrings, and doing so should be pretty natural. When approaching a hill where I am going to need my little ring, I start by going two gears harder in the back and then calling on the little ring. I think of it as 3 clicks in quick succession, two with the right hand and one with the left, this actually keeps the gear ratio pretty similar to what it was before going into the little ring. Then once I hit the hill, I am in my little ring and can start switching into lighter gears in the back as necessary on the climb. Once cresting the hill, just get into your big ring and then fine tune things with your right hand, as gear selection isn't quite as important going down hill as it is going uphill.

. . . .or is everything I said, like, "duh" and I am just totally misunderstanding your problem???
 

swampy1970

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .

swampy->You pretty much nailed it. There are only so many 400 watt efforts I can do in my CP ride and given that CP is just a circle with a series of those, I run out faster than I would like. I have tried to take down my power output to that 300s but I feel like I am barely moving on those hills. What I will do next time is no matter the speed just take it down to that level. So basically CP is 400 watt effort with no watt efforts right after. I have to smooth them out.

-js
Riding at a given power is what it is... Some days you get blasted by a killer headwind and 300 watts is 15mph in the drops on the flat, other days it's 35mph 'cause the wind is blowing just as hard the other way. Same deal with the hills, 5mph up one side and 40 down the other. You're training yourself to adapt to a given power level in order to target certain gains.

If you're fairly short on time then L3 and L4 are where the majority of gains are at. Don't forget about L5 and L6 just add in some structured work when you've reached a level of comfort with the L3 and L4 rides around CP for a specific duration. You have back issues so forcing the pace isn't going to help matters at all. I'd be more inclined to even knock it down to high L3, low end L4 ( SST ) and get your 5 loops in but relax on the bike. Become comfortable with riding and become confident that you'll be able to do so pain and injury free. For me that would be far and away the first priority. It's not all just about banging out "the power."
 

jsirabella

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cc->Actually you pretty much nailed it. I will try two down harder on the rear derail and one easier on the front chainring. Than as I crest I switch back to the big chainring and adjust. There will be alot of changing gears in CP for me. Given my bike still using a shimano cassette with a campy setup I will need to get used to it. But that is actually what Dave/Swampy said about 2 cog difference between the 53 and 42.

swampy->I have come to the conclusion as I come on 3 years with this issue that I may be as good as I can be in terms of the scitica. There is a chance that it will get better but I am in that quote un quote management phase and doing pretty well with it. I know right now that if I go for 3 hours on the CT I will have scitica for that night but anything below no issues no matter how hard I go it seems and I always have a pill to fix that if I need it, my call. Outdoors I can go longer with no issues.

I still believe though I am not done with the bike adjustments and I can lower that front bar plenty more and straighten my back out more. I have come pretty damn far from from nearly falling to the fall in pain some days when walking down a city block so I will continue but I do agree that I do not want to go back there and I will be careful.

I will try an L3 ride this week in CP with the goal of finishing the 5th loop without feeling like lead. I just will have to get used to people passing me but maybe that gear selection that cc suggested just may help. You may find it hard to believe or actually may not but I switch gears so rarely on the bike. Only since back on the bike have I really started to work on gear selection and cadence. In the past I was so busy trying to crush the hill or someone next to me that my first thought was just pedal harder!!

-js
 

swampy1970

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .

cc->Actually you pretty much nailed it. I will try two down harder on the rear derail and one easier on the front chainring. Than as I crest I switch back to the big chainring and adjust. There will be alot of changing gears in CP for me. Given my bike still using a shimano cassette with a campy setup I will need to get used to it. But that is actually what Dave/Swampy said about 2 cog difference between the 53 and 42.

swampy->I have come to the conclusion as I come on 3 years with this issue that I may be as good as I can be in terms of the scitica. There is a chance that it will get better but I am in that quote un quote management phase and doing pretty well with it. I know right now that if I go for 3 hours on the CT I will have scitica for that night but anything below no issues no matter how hard I go it seems and I always have a pill to fix that if I need it, my call. Outdoors I can go longer with no issues.

I still believe though I am not done with the bike adjustments and I can lower that front bar plenty more and straighten my back out more. I have come pretty damn far from from nearly falling to the fall in pain some days when walking down a city block so I will continue but I do agree that I do not want to go back there and I will be careful.

I will try an L3 ride this week in CP with the goal of finishing the 5th loop without feeling like lead. I just will have to get used to people passing me but maybe that gear selection that cc suggested just may help. You may find it hard to believe or actually may not but I switch gears so rarely on the bike. Only since back on the bike have I really started to work on gear selection and cadence. In the past I was so busy trying to crush the hill or someone next to me that my first thought was just pedal harder!!

-js
Changing gears is not a bad thing - that's why they moved the controls upto the brake lever so you can do lots of shifting ;)

Crushing people on hills will come with training (increased sustainable power), increased ability to handle anaerobic efforts (structured L6 - first to develop power then to deal with "lactate tollerance") and weight loss. It's advisable to do the first before the second. The latter can be done anytime and has a massive effect on how fast you go up hills, especially as they get steeper.

On the flat, speed is mostly watts/drag rather than watts/kg. If you can lower your bars a bit without risking back woes or effect your ability to train then do so. It's free speed. Keep the elbows from sticking out and tuck the head in. Just make sure that you're not actively stretching to maintain the position and take an allen wrench with you just incase you need to adjust midride. If you have an expansion plug adjuster inside the fork steerer tube rather than a star fangled nut then make sure you take the allen wrench for that one as well just incase it comes loose.

As for the sciatica for the 3 hour CT rides. You can get off and take 10 to chill and stretch out the back and hamstrings or just walk around. Andy Wilkinson, hard man and current British 12 hour record holder, used to do 2 to 3 hour intervals, followed by a rest and then another few hours, followed by a rest and then another set... From what I recall the rest wasn't exactly short. Take a break and split in into 3x60 minutes or 2x90minutes. Find out which treats your back the best. It's a training ride after all, not a session of torture. The only "pain" derived should be from the effort of pedalling not from conditions that arise from biomechanical woes or pre existing injuries.
 

jsirabella

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swampy->Thanks for all the advice.

Funny thing as I got a bit of good news today surprisingly. I went for my periodic phlebotomy and the doctor said no need. Your levels are the lowest they have been since we started. I was at a 50/15.5 which given your type of blood condition is pretty good. I asked again if getting on the bike and the hours put in make a difference and she still insists no. She said there is this condition called sports enemia (sp?) where for endurance athletes they seem to drain liquids in quickly which dilutes the blood levels. Doctors do not understand why this happens and probably a genetic trait developed over time.

I just know that once my sciatica kicked in I could not ride and they found the blood issue and now that I am exercising again and it just seemed to go away but lets see in another 45 days.

-js
 

swampy1970

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .

swampy->Thanks for all the advice.

Funny thing as I got a bit of good news today surprisingly. I went for my periodic phlebotomy and the doctor said no need. Your levels are the lowest they have been since we started. I was at a 50/15.5 which given your type of blood condition is pretty good. I asked again if getting on the bike and the hours put in make a difference and she still insists no. She said there is this condition called sports enemia (sp?) where for endurance athletes they seem to drain liquids in quickly which dilutes the blood levels. Doctors do not understand why this happens and probably a genetic trait developed over time.

-js
I'd read about that before. Isn't it due to an increase in plasma volume?

Oddly, L4 and especially L5 training have been said to increase your plasma volume. Who d'a thunk it.
 

Felt_Rider

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For many months I have just concentrated on long bouts of L3/SST/and a bit of L4. Since February I bumped up the majority of my Saturday rides from 80 to 100 mile training rides with ample L3/L2 just working on the aerobic side of things.

Today I kind of changed it up a little and I felt as if I was trying to hang with js in Central Park with those repeated 400 watt surges. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
When I showed up to the group ride it was all the stronger riders of my group and I knew that if I were to hang with them it was not going to be my typical style of steady L3 pace for hours. I fully expected to get dropped in the first 20 and probably would have but with either lucky timing or mercy I was able to hang on. Lucky timing being that a few times I almost blew on some of the sharp stingers hitting the 400's for a few seconds, but they slowed down enough for me to get back on the back, recover and do it again and again. We did look like a group ride once in a while so at least at those points I was able to recover enough to endure the 60 miles.

I suppose what I am surprised about is that I was able to keep those punchy bursts on the rollers because I have not worked that aspect for a long time. I have just concentrated on steady long sessions of mostly L3 to help improve sustainable power.

By the way, a 60 mile ride seems rather short after doing a series of 100 mile rides. Surprisingly my legs feel better after today's spirited pace as a compared to a lower intensity long mile training ride. I suppose that thought is a bit premature. They may hurt later./img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

My Stats and Power data for today are [SIZE= 18px]Here[/SIZE]

Just a club rider hoping to improve
 

jsirabella

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felt->Nice job bro! Lets face it, there really is no better satisfaction than being able to hang on with folks that would drop you regularly. Charting watts i fine and all but not substitute. It builds confidence which builds future success. Once you get past the mental block that you can hang with them, the less tense you will be when the next surge happens. It allows you to have fun. Also it makes you feel like all those hours in the pain cave paid off.

CP for me has always been that for me atleastt. Basically a series of 400 watt bursts till you run out and when I rode with groups it was really no different just the first loop they took it easy. The pace did slow down ofcourse but it would just go back up once you hit the next stinger. Right now I am still working on the strategy of making the downhills more of a payoff so take it easier on the uphills. Lets see what happens. The truth is whenever I rode in a race or group that all it ever was, huge bursts till you get dropped or the group settles which rarely does,

I would give yourself a bit more credit as far as them letting you catch back on their wheel. I am sure if you were not moving fast enough for them they would not be so kind.

Nice to see this post as I remember just a few pages ago you were getting a bit frustrated.

My training this week was strange. Tuesday in CP really hit me hard but I did get a good 2 x 20 on Wed but Thursday just did not have it in me. I actually did something strange where I did a 1 x 20 in a 45 minute ride which I called a recovery ride. Took off Friday and today had to stay arounbd the house so I did a 3 x 20 and had some really nice numbers. I hit 278 for 5 minutes, 265 for 10 minutes and my best 20 of 255. They all came on th 3rd interval which was nice. Tomorrow I will actually do a Sunday ride and head toward NJ. I believe I have finally found a really nice setup on the bike and want to test with a 3 hour ride.

-js
 

Felt_Rider

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .



My training this week was strange. Tuesday in CP really hit me hard but I did get a good 2 x 20 on Wed but Thursday just did not have it in me. I actually did something strange where I did a 1 x 20 in a 45 minute ride which I called a recovery ride. Took off Friday and today had to stay arounbd the house so I did a 3 x 20 and had some really nice numbers. I hit 278 for 5 minutes, 265 for 10 minutes and my best 20 of 255. They all came on th 3rd interval which was nice. Tomorrow I will actually do a Sunday ride and head toward NJ. I believe I have finally found a really nice setup on the bike and want to test with a 3 hour ride.

-js
255 for 20? Sounds like you are close to reaching that goal of your former 260 FT. I am still curious how it looks cycling in CP. My only view of the park is from what I see on TV and Google Earth.

That ought to be nice to get out for a 3 hour ride.
 

Felt_Rider

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Here is the video today, which may look as if it was an easy ride. Except for two short segments I must have not filmed much of the climbing. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

 

gman0482

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Hi Ladies & Gents,

I'm happy to post again, after a month of incredible hip pain. I'm still not sure what happened, and I'm having X-rays done this Tuesday. BUT, I couldn't take it anymore and went out very cautiously yesterday, and to my surprise, I had absolutely 100% no pain. Even when sprinting out of the saddle. The last time I tried this was still on my trainer, and there was no way I could even stand up on the pedals.

Anyways, the bike is riding unbelievable with all the upgrades I did over the winter. The power meter ?? I'm a little shocked that my watts are much higher than what I expected. My norm power for a 20 minute ride was 210W, which is surprising considering the fact that I wasn't even pushing that hard, and over a month off.

Anyways, glad to be back.

Thanks,
-Greg
 

Felt_Rider

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Got the video link to work on the post above, but I was thinking about some of the advice I have received here that helped me hang on and survive yesterday.
As I mentioned in my post above that when I arrived there were some folk there that I have always been dropped when they have attended. Especially the guy wearing the DeSoto kit. I have never finished a ride with him until yesterday and to be honest I know he was not going full out, but he was not slacking around either and why I had 10 parsed minutes at L7.

Level Minutes TSS
1 4.41 1.13​
2 50.06 32.53​
3 112.56 140.50
4 25.79 29.99
5 0.00 0.00​
6 2.81 7.81​
7 10.92 40.47 9​

Dave gave advice to me a few weeks back in one of my events to ride "cagey." I took that as to be shrewd in the group or to ride in a pace line that would benefit me and reserve energy as much as possible. I also used some other advice yesterday and that was to stay to the lower gears to be more responsive. Normally I feel more comfortable pushing larger gears at a slower cadence, but since getting the rollers earlier this year I have intentionally worked on spinning a higher cadence and keeping within my training levels. From that aspect things have improved and was able to apply it yesterday. I could not have been ready to spin those smaller gears at a higher power without some intentional training work. I am having to teach my body how to do this because it so unnatural for me to spin fast.

About being cagey
  1. Unless we were in a pace line on a straight section I stayed near the gears that allowed for a quick response like a hill sprint.
  2. The video above shows a lot of footage of me toward the back of the group, but I tried to stay about 3 back from the front as I feel like this is the optimum place. I am near enough the front to see when the lead person is going to do something unpredictable like stand and sprint a hill or even surge on a flat section. The draft there feels good and I tried to stay off the back where a lot of energy is used dealing with the rubber band effect.
  3. At times of nearly being dropped on a hill sprint and those L7 moments yesterday, rather than getting into a panic I would stay calm and use my new aerobic power to motor back up to the back of the group and let my heart rate calm down enough to be ready for the next stinger. In the past I would panic from fear of getting dropped and would surge hard to get back up to the group. By doing this I would get dropped anyway because I would end up way over my threshold for too long a period and not be recovered enough for the next stinger.
  4. Obviously in a ride like this with cyclists above my ability it was a day of not staying on the front too long unless it was a nice downhill section. Do my turn and get off the front then when possible like a intersection turn use that to reposition and get off the back and more to the middle or near the front again as mentioned in point 2 above.

I am sure there were other things I could have done better and a few hills I almost screwed up and mistimed, but I am learning how to survive a ride like this. However, there were times even in the draft of a pace line my wattage would be well over my threshold and it was just endure as best possible and hope the people up front would soon ease up. I suppose that is where I felt fortunate. When I would see my PM hit 400, 500 watts plus for those short bursts I knew it had to impact them as well so it was just stay calm and hope they needed recovery as much as I did.

I have learned a lot by experience, but having veterans on this forum post good info has helped me focus in on some vital tips of improving condition and being shrewd in surviving the pace.
 

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