Fitness Check for Hell’s Gate Hundred

Do you remember a previous post when I mentioned that my body must have been telling me something? Well it definitely was telling me something.  I had been working so hard that week and not sleeping well.  I rode Wednesday about 45 miles at tempo.  Thursday I had a crappy ride and turned around.  Friday I had a better  ride.  But by late Friday afternoon I wasn’t feeling well at all.  By Saturday morning I had a full-on cold. I spent the week going to bed early, sleeping in and not riding.  I kicked it in a week! But more importantly I strongly believe I beat the common cold by increasing my  L-Glutamine doses from Aminopure.

It was my first cold of the season.  I didn’t catch a cold after the Furnace Creek 508 in October.  I didn’t catch a cold or flu when all my shop mates were sick through November, December, January and February but finally in March I got something. Again I strongly believe I owe my immune system’s strength to Aminopure!



ANYway I got a chance to do two hours on Saturday 3/24 and so I went to Torrey Pines in San Diego and did 5 repeats.  A short ride but I wanted to see if I could ride at intensity since I am heading out to Death Valley for the Hell’s Gate Hundred.  Hell’s Gate Hundred is a century in Death Valley with about 10,000 feet.  It is a great event put on by the best organizers in the business AdventureCORPS.

I felt ok, actually much better than expected.  I did the repeats at different intensities and different gear ratios.  I think I will be in decent shape to complete the event but not too compete for the “win”.  I guess I was just checking how much I was going to suffer knowing I wasn’t going to place well.  😉

Here is a summary of the repeats

Repeat Time Normalized Power w/kg
1 6:21 321 4.72
2 5:43 304 4.47 Inside
3 8:01 239 3.51
4 6:58 286 4.21
5 7:19 262 3.85

Torrey Pines Outside 6:21 Normalized Power 321 4.7 w/kg

For more Climb Analysis Data visit my page dedicated to climbs.


Friday Ride May 20, 2011

I haven’t been doing much group riding so I thought I would show up for the Friday ride.  The ride typically starts off mellow and continues to pick up intensity throughout the ride.  This week the pace was hurried from the start through Back Bay until we hit the surface streets.  But then it slowed down to a crawl.  My hope was that the pace would stay medium to high for the full ride.  One of the main reasons I don’t do group rides is because the pace isn’t consistent enough to feel like I get a good enough workout.  It’s either too hard and I get dropped or too slow and all my power data proves to me that riding alone would have been a better workout for me.  As an Ultra Cyclist I won’t ever need to ride anaerobic intensity but it’s nice to push that threshold up a bit so that my cruising speed increases proportionally.

Below are graphs for the entire workout with the following ranges highlighted– best 60 minutes, best 10 minutes and last five miles of the ride just before the sprint which I don’t pretend to participate in 😉

Entire Ride

Best 60 minutes 248 watts or 3.75 w/kg

Best 10 minutes 328 Normalized Power or 4.9 w/kg for 10 minutes!

Last 5 miles 280 watts or 4.24 w/kg

Swami’s Ride – A Humbling Experience

Garmin Player here

You know how sometimes you think you’re the shit?  You think you’re fast or you think you’re in good form? Or maybe you feel good about yourself and your training thus far?  I was feeling that today when I decided to ride the Swami’s Ride— you know to get a little intensity.  For those not familiar with the Swami’s Ride it’s world famous for being the fastest ride in San Diego County.  Many European pro cyclists and pro triathletes ride the Swami’s Ride when visiting San Diego.

I hadn’t ridden all week and thought I would have rested legs and would be able to hang on to the group.  Well I’m here to tell you that I suffered and got dropped like a hot potato when the pace picked up.  It was a humbling experience. Here’s how it went down.

We left Nytro in Encinitas heading North on PCH at a moderate conversational pace.  We picked up a little momentum as we made the right turn on La Costa Ave.  Right turn on El Camino Real and all was still good. But once we made the left turn onto Levante it was like someone stuck a red-hot poker up someone’s “bleep” and it was all I could do to hang on.  My legs weren’t warmed up yet being only a few miles into the ride.  The pace was so high that we were running stop signs in the residential area — something I’m not really comfortable with.  The group was at least 60 riders maybe more.

Entire Swami’s Loop – Elevation, power, Heart Rate

Entire Swami’s Loop- 250 Normalized Power or 3.7 w/kg

Left turn onto Rancho Santa Fe Road and I’m thinking I need to get to the front and set tempo — to my liking.  I’m looking at my SRM power meter and doing between 330- 360 watts just trying to stay next to my 2×2 mate.  My FTP is only 270 watts, so you know I was suffering.   I was red-lining and I had to pull off the front and sit in.  Just then I was passed by all the guys I had been holding at bay.  Right turn onto San Elijo Rd and the pace continues to quicken. I saw the peleton thinning out and I had to weave through “traffic” to maintain position and contact with the group as we went up the little roller before the Elfin Forest Rd.

Now for the real “meat and potatoes” of the ride–Right turn on Elfin Forest and I’m hanging on by a slender thread.  At one point, my best five minutes from my SRM download, I averaged 184 heart rate with a max of 187 heart rate with a Normalized Power of 316 watts (4.6 w/kg).  I hang-on long enough to crest the firehouse roller.  Finally a little recovery as we hit a fast descent with sharp turns and then the road straightens out.  Gaps are formed and I’m bridging to close them — fully exposed to the wind at 40 mph+.  We come off that hard left at the bottom of the descent and I have to hit the gas hard to close the gaps.  More data from my SRM shows that I held over 700 watts for 17 seconds to close the gap from that hard left.  What’s the reason for the gaps– TOO MUCH DAMN BRAKING ON THE DESCENT.  Now I’ve really put myself in the hurt locker and I see the front end of the group get up out of the saddle and accelerate again just as I’ve made the junction.  That was it, one acceleration too many and POP! I’m off the back.

Best 60 minutes Elevation, Power and Heart Rate

Notice my Intensity Factor is 96%, my Normalized Power 265 watts 3.9 w/kg

Now that I’m off the back I take a couple of minutes to recover and then hit the gas again.  I picked up some of the other riders that had been dropped and we formed a little pack.  I made it to “the church” and regrouped with those that were faster than me today.  It’s humbling to pull in and everyone there has already recovered from their sprint and are joking, laughing and using there hands demonstratively trying to make sense of the chaos that is called the bunch sprint.  It was a short stop this time and we rolled off towards Del Dios Hwy.

I felt worked going through Del Dios and Rancho Santa Fe but I was hanging on.  Until we exited downtown Rancho Santa Fe and a rider wearing a Pista Palace kit attacked the first roller leaving us looking at each other like “well are you gonna take up the chase?  I’m spent!”  It took a few seconds for us to react and by that time Mr Pista Palace was shifting again and again still out of the saddle and creating a sizable gap.

The rollers and the twists and turns of riding through Rancho Santa Fe (RSF) are a huge adrenaline rush especially in a pack.  But the road surface is terrible.  For an area so exclusive and with so much wealth residing within, I can’t understand why the roads are in such a bad state.  Don’t the rich pay their taxes?  I digress, Mr Pista Palace has timed his attack perfectly.  His continued strength through RSF has confirmed his initial “I’m the strongest rider here today!” statement when he attacked.  He stayed away until the sprint at San Dieguito Rd.

And that’s it.  I got my ass handed to me by the big boys.  But you know it’s good for me.  I don’t fancy the taste of humble pie and some days you get a modest slice and some days the whole pie is shoved down your throat but hey that’s cycling – there is always somebody faster.

Hour of Power-Hill Repeats

I wanted to do an HOUR OF POWER to finish the weekend of training on a high intensity note.  My legs felt surprising well after the 130 mile and 10,000 feet of climbing ride from yesterday.  I found a hill 1.5 miles long with a gradual increase in grade, a slight relief in it and a steep kicker at the end. The hill was perfect for getting your intensity up gradually and then powering over the steepest part when you are most spent. It was perfect.

There were also two short kickers where I performed 15-20 second sprints ranging in the 800-900 watts range.  On one of the kickers I hit 999 watts and I wasn’t even going for a max sprint number.

Now that my legs are thoroughly worked I will take Monday as a rest day…a well deserved rest day.




Thank you reading my blog…please pass my blog on to your best cycling friend.

Two Hour of Power Workouts

I did two hard workouts yesterday.  In the morning I rode alone and chased riders through a good 1:45 of hard riding.  And then after work another hour of hard efforts.  I am working on my aero position so the rides are shorter for now.  I have a set of Profile Design Sonic CSX bars on Felicia, my Felt F2 with Di2, but I’m not totally sold on them.  I used them last year on Sasha for the Furnace Creek 508.

As you can see from the pictures the armrests are very low profile.  The Profile Design CSX armrests sit almost directly on top of the road handlebar — a very good thing.  On the other hand, you may notice that the shape of the armrest curves upward quite a bit.  I would prefer the curve not to be so drastic.  It is what it is so now over the next two months I need to continue to work on my position and become more aero.  More aero means energy savings at the same speed OR more speed at the same effort.  For example, it could be possible to go 20 mph at 190 watts instead of 200 watts OR I could go 21 mph at 200 watts.  Those numbers are just thrown out there I can provide better data in the future.

Of course if you want to be a professional cyclist and the US National time trial champion you will make extreme efforts to be aerodynamic like DAVID ZABRISKE   Now there is no way he could hold that position for 508 miles but for one hour that man can average over 30 mph! Incredible!!!!

My second workout of the day was another hard hour of intervals with an added bonus.  I was going to ride after work alone.  But just as I was finishing counting the drawer and doing my evening reports I got a call from Yeshua, one of my staff members, and he wants to ride– BONUS!  He is huffing and puffing and I can hear the tell-tale sounds of someone riding on his bike– the wind distorting his voice and his rhythmic speech syncopated with his cadence. The conversation went like this:

Yeshua: “Are you riding?”

Me: “Yes, I’m just finishing my last report.”

Yeshua: “Are you doing your Hour of Power workout tonight?”

Me: “Yes”

Yeshua: “I’m at Back Bay I will be there in 10 minutes”

Me: “Great let’s do this!”

Of course in the back my mind I’m thinking “oh shit I’m going to suffer.”  But suffering is part of getting faster right?

We hadn’t planned to ride together.  It was just a spontaneous tryst and we hammered each other for a good solid hour.  I like riding with Yeshua because he typifies the perfect riding partner. The workout was intervals of 1 km.  It was a great race simulation exercise because I had my headphones on and I didn’t know when he was going to begin his next interval.  I had to pay attention and react to his attack – 10 times.  Once the attack happened then we would ride it as hard as possible for the duration of the 1 km.  The wind was strong coming off the water, as it always is at that time of day.  It was really hard workout with intervals, as they should be, and the only way I could finish each of the intervals was to stay on Yeshua’s wheel!  Even with him shielding me from the wind I was gapped a couple of times.

I like the return leg, southbound with the nice tailwind.  I am fortunate to live where I live and enjoy the sunset every night.  As I get closer to the end of the ride the sun has set and it’s now nightfall.  Lights are required after 8ish.  Personally I love riding at night.  More on that on another post.

And that’s all folks…Thank you for reading my blog.  Please pass it on to your best friend.

Hour of Power Workouts 7/20 and 7/21

As a means to increase my intensity training I am implementing my Hour of Power workouts.  They are as the title implies one hour of hard tempo to threshold work.  These workouts complement my endurance and tempo workouts WHEN I get up early enough to do them 😉

On Tuesday my route was South on PCH to Newport Coast Drive, up and over to San Joaquin Hills then through Backbay back to the shop.  On Newport Coast, 1.55 miles 450 feet of gain and 6% grade, I did a three-minute hard effort, 1 minute recovery then 45 second hard effort, 1 minute recovery then a 30 sec hard effort. Through Backbay I maintained tempo-threshold power.   I held 3.0 w/kg average power and Normalized Power was 249 watts or 3.76 w/kg for my Hour of Power.

Tonight I went on a flat ride so that I could keep cadence and power more consistent.  I went North to Warner and back.  I’m really proud of my Cadence Distribution.  I spent over 64% between 80-100 RPM and another 14% between 100-120 RPM for a total of 78.8% between 80-120 RPM.

Average Cadence for the 60 minutes was 91 RPM.  I’m happy with that.

Average Power – 218 watts or 3.3 w/kg

Normalized Power– 235 watts or 3.55 w/kg

On Friday I have tentative plans for a monster training ride stay tuned….

Thank you for reading my blog. Please pass it on to your best friend.

Thursday 031810 Coffee Crew

Peak 5min (308 watts):
Duration:   5:00
Work:       92 kJ
TSS:       9.9 (intensity factor 1.091)
Norm Power: 305
VI:         0.99
Pw:HR:       n/a
Pa:HR:       n/a
Distance:   1.252 mi
Elevation Gain:     275 ft
Elevation Loss:   0 ft
Grade:     4.2 %  (280 ft)
Power:       149…..403…..308 watts  (4.61 w/kg)
Cadence:     85…..110……..93 rpm
Speed:       12.9….18.2…..15.0 mph
Pace         3:18…4:40……4:01 min/mi
Altitude:     256….535……..398 ft
Crank Torque: 135….358…….281 lb-in

Weight today 147lbs 
Garmin player for today’s ride here 

Wednesday Ride plus Warner Loop


90 miles 

Entire workout (167 watts):
Duration:   4:50:24 (5:01:55)
Work:       2913 kJ
TSS:       276.3 (intensity factor 0.757)
Norm Power: 208 (3 w/kg)
VI:         1.25
Pw:HR:       11.24%
Pa:HR:       -11.54%
Distance:   89.51 mi

Min.. Max.. Avg
Power:       0… 946… 167 watts
Heart Rate:   7… 179… 147 bpm
Cadence:     30.. 212… 84 rpm
Speed:       2.2. 44.4.. 18.8 mph
Pace         1:21. 26:49.. 3:12 min/mi
Crank Torque: 0.. 1257… 171 lb-in

Today’s weight 149lb 

I was late leaving my house. I arrived at the ride start a few minutes after they had rolled.   So  me and another rider, Matt, chased to catch the group.  I had to chase almost 27 miles.  Basically, I chased from my home in Huntington Beach to the start,19 miles, and then another 8 miles into their ride.  In the graph above you see my best 60 mins of the day and yes it turned out to be all the chasing I had to do JUST to get to the ride. 


Peak 60min (199 watts):
Duration:   1:00:00
Work:       715 kJ
TSS:       71 (intensity factor 0.842)
Norm Power: 232  (3.43 w/kg)
VI:         1.17
Pw:HR:       -13.49%
Pa:HR:       1.36%
Distance:   17.572 mi
                  Min .Max…Avg
Power:       0……640..199 watts
Heart Rate:   99….177…157 bpm
Cadence:     30….196..81 rpm
Speed:       2.2.. 37.4..17.7mph
Pace         1:36..26:49..3:24min/mi
Crank Torque: 0……889…211 lb-in

Because I’m an Ultra cyclist I find it interesting that many of my best 60 minutes of power are without the group on the group rides.  It just goes to show there is a lot of drafting going on in the pack and that I need to be careful not to get spoiled since I can’t draft in many of my Ultra races.  I would like to just sit out front and ride tempo the whole ride and see what type of numbers I come home with as a comparison.  

New 1 min Peak Power


My “new” 1 minute peak power number.  It is the same as the one I had back in August.  I’m calling it new because I lost all my data.  I now have a file to reference to if I want to look it up.
Today’s weight 148lbs
534 watts /  67.13 kg = 7.95 w/kg
Which puts me at mid Cat 3 on the power profile chart above.