Coaching Effects

One of my goals for the BC Bike Race is to not die. That is a bit dramatic, but I really just don’t want to suffer all day every day. One of my struggles with training is knowing when and how much to do. I know I’m going to have to train several days in a row, but when do I start that, how many days, how long for each ride? Lots of questions.

To help me answer answer these questions I have enlisted the services of b78 coaching. I’ve been placed with a coach who does a lot of cyclocross and mountain biking, and who has done the BC Bike Race twice before, as well as competed in other multi day stage races. For me this is the perfect fit.

They use a service called Training Peaks that allows them to map out my weeks of activities, and I enter them in the system as I do them. Harmon Connect also has hooks into Training Peaks so that as long as I use my Garmin, the workouts get entered automatically into Training Peaks. Very handy.

I’ve only been on the program a couple weeks, but so far so good. I’m finding that having a coach layout my workouts helps me stay motivated and accountable, which are both very good things. I am quickly realizing how much effort and time I’m going to need to put into this though. My upcoming week has a run on Sunday, a spin class on a Monday and Wednesday, a 2 hour easy spin on Thursday, then a 3 hour or longer ride on Saturday. Also sprinkled in there are some core workouts which are killer, but essential for proper pedalling technique.

My coach mentioned the other day that there are only 4 months to go until the race. That is a bit scary to think about, and makes me nervous. Since I signed up, I’ve tried to make each ride count. Do an extra loop, learn to love hills, ride to the trails instead of drive, etc. In spin class I’ve tried to put in extra effort with higher cadence than called for, pushing right until the rest, putting in as much effort as I can. The net result is that I feel great while riding these days. I’m feeling very strong and fit. I’m nervous about the race, but still looking forward to it.

There are some side effects of the training that I have noticed so far. 

The first, which is no big surprise, is increased food consumption. I am hungry throughout the day and all it takes to make my tummy grumble is seeing someone else eating something, or hearing someone talk about food.

The next side effect is the amount of time needed to prep for and clean up after riding. After I get back from a ride I typically need to eat and shower; sometimes I will have a nap. I still have to clean the bike though and get it prepped for the next ride. 

Bike upkeep is an expensive proposition too. I had to replace the drivetrain on my mountain bike this year. Thinks break or get tweaked and need replacing. Batteries need replacing, fenders need to be purchased and installed, lights are needed, etc.

The final side effect is increased laundry. Again, not a surprise, just something I hadn’t counted on. I have a few sets of riding gear, but when I am riding 4 times a week, I generate a lot of laundry. It also means I need to consider wants I wear for each workout, so that the kit I want to wear for long rides is clean and dry for me.

So far this has been quite an adventure getting ready for this race. I am loving how much riding is m doing, but this does mean less family time, which I am missing. Only a few more months to go until life returns to normal 🙂

Race Vacation

This past summer we were on a road trip when I did something I had been dreaming about for a very long time. I signed up for the BC Bike Race! I first became interested in the concept of this race when I heard about them putting on their first race.

Every year when the race began I would read the writeups on Pinkbike and get even more stoked. Their coverage is pretty amazing with lots of photos to really drive home how awesome the event is.

Signing up was a nerve wracking experience. There were some credit card issues, but more importantly this has been a dream of mine for over 10 years and taking that step to realize the dream was very intimidating. My heart was racing, and it almost felt like I was already at the start line.

After the signup, the vacation continued, but in my mind I started developing a training plan. From that point on I convinced myself that I loved hills and would hit as many as I could. I’d push myself harder and ride longer than I normally would. Spin classes started and I would put all my effort into those.

Yesterday I met with a coach and started talking about setting up a training plan.

Today I am feeling pretty good about where I am, but still nervous about where I need to get to. There is still lots of time to prepare though, and I am grateful for that.

Breezy Exception

Tonight was a spectacular night for a ride. I started from home and headed downtown to follow the waterfront. It was pretty breezy along Dallas Rd, but the day was still warm enough that I never got a chill. Once I turned away from the wind though it warmed up considerably. Originally I was going to do an out and back totalling two hours. I always enjoy a loop more, so while I was going through Oak Bay and Uplands I started thinking about how to make it a loop.  I ended up on Blenkinsop, hit an entrance onto the Lochside Trail, then headed towards home.

I quickly realized that I was still going to be short on time, so I turned out of town towards Thetis, then came back home along the new section of E&N trail.

The longer I live here, the more I love this place. The cycling infrastructure is great, and it seems more often I am running into people I know. Tonight was no exception.


Waterfront Night

Last night Sue and I each got out for a ride. The plan for me was to ride after Sue, and I wanted to do about 1.5 hours. I went along the waterfront since it was such a nice day out.

On the out leg I could see that my average speed was pretty high. And I wasn’t pushing hard enough to warrant such a speed. Immediately I knew that the return leg would mean a huge head wind. I remember my speed was over 30 KM/H was I was heading towards Clover Point along a flat section.

I made it to Arbutus and Finnerty road in 49.45 minutes. Turning around I braced for the worst, and once I got to Cadboro Bay Village I could feel the wind starting to pick up. Sure enough, by the time I got to Willows Beach, the head wind was pretty fierce. It got steadily more and more worse as I got to Ross Bay, and the hill from there to Clover Point was pretty slow. As I passed Clover Point I looked fown to see myself doing 20 KM/H in the same spot where previously I was doing 30 KM/H.

It was sure a good work out on a beautiful night.

View July 3, 2013 TdV in a larger map

Return Gross

I’ve had a couple really great rides lately. Last weekend I rode with someone I had never ridden with before. Sue works with this persons girlfriend, and although we chatted over email a few times, we really didn’t know each others riding ability. He mentioned that perhaps his girlfriend had built him up a bit.

I was concerned about not slowing him down too much, so I did my best to keep up, and set a good pace when I was in the lead. We headed out the goose, out past Fort Rodd Hill, up Ocean Blvd, then out toward Metchosen. It was nice to ride with someone, and the pace was pretty good. We turned onto Happy Valley Rd, and when we got to Glenn Lake, headed out the highway toward Sooke. At some point we called it and turned around. It was pretty non-chalant when we decided to turn around and I thought that maybe he wanted to go further.

We ended up back on the Goose for the return trip to town. We parted ways where the Lochside trail meets the Goose. The last stretch home I pushed as hard as I could to get home so I could start helping out with some yard work. It was a good ride, in the 2.5 hour range, and over 70KM.

Once I got home though, I started feeling pretty awful. My legs were toast, I ended up with a horrible headache, and pretty much felt miserable. I think that I came down with a bit of heat exhaustion. I drank a bunch of water, but that didn’t help. It was horrible.

This past Saturday I had another great ride, but this one was a solo ride. It ended up clocking in at just a hair under 3.5 hours. I hit Ocean Boulevard, then headed out to Lombard and Londholm. I knew my legs didn’t have enough in them to hit up Munns, so I zipped across Prospect Lake Rd, turned onto West Saanich Rd, then headed for Mount Doug Park to ride along the water for a bit. I had intended to follow the water route all the way to Cook St, but I was running out of time, and my legs were thrashed.

Oh, did I mention that I did my ride in 26 degree weather? Yeah, it was hot, stinkin hot. As long as I was moving, I was fine, but any hills I could feel the heat radiating from the pavement. During my ride I went through 4 bottles of fluid. I would guess that one whole bottle was used on my head an back in a effort to keep cool.

The upside to this was I got some exposure to riding in heat, I got some miles in, I hit some hills, and I didn’t feel gross afterward.

View July 1, 2013 TdV in a larger map

Plan Solo

I took last week off to look after the kids. We also had Elliot signed up for Pedalheads so the plan was for Amy and I to take Elliot to Pedalheads, drop him off then find something to do for a couple hours.

On the Monday Elliot went off with his class and Amy and I hung around playing on the playground. After an hour of this she mentioned something about her wanting to do Pedalheads too. After checking with Sue, I then asked the instructors if they had room for Ames. Turned out they did! She got into a class as well.

Elliot did very well with his lessons and I certainly see a difference in his riding. He is definitely more confident, can ride in a straight line better, and has nailed his hand signals.

Amy learned to ride with no training wheels. By Wednesday Amy was riding solo after getting help going. By Friday she was flying solo, even starting by herself.

Great progress by both of them.

Amy riding

Amy riding some more

Amy and Elliot cooling off

Amy starting by herself

Elliot roaring around by himself

Jumpship Boosts

Jumpship was today. Well, the Jumpship finals any way. What’s Jumpship? Jumpship was a barge covered in dirt jumps. The riders start on a 20 foot scaffold, drip in to a step down, then make their way across a set of dirt jumps to a quarter pipe, then back toward the start line across another dirt jump.

There were two days of practice leading up to today, but today was the only day I could make it down to watch. I had seen the barge getting prepped ahead of time, so I sort of knew what to expect. Still, the calibre of riders they had was excellent (Graham Agassiz, Tyler McCaul, Jarret Moore, Kurt Sorge, Mitch Chubey, Brandon Semenuk). Some of the tricks they threw down were amazing, and to be so close to the action was pretty cool.

Originally they were going to anchor the barge in the middle of the harbour, but instead they docked it at Ship’s point. This worked out better since the people were able to be closer to the action.

As a photographer it was difficult shooting conditions. The sky was overcast, so all the riders turned out dark. I switched to shooting in RAW mode, so I may try some faking out some HDR shots. We’ll see if I can make time for that. Any way, here are some of my favorite shots. You can see the rest of my shots here.

It was a very cool event, that I hope boosts riding in the area. I hope they can bring back the event next year, or something similar to it. It was a lot of fun and very inspiring to see these athletes perform.

Training Cold

Sunday was my last training ride for the Tour de Victoria. I was supposed to go Saturday, but since I got back from Vegas I had been battling some weird cold that had me feeling pretty drained. I didn’t especially feel like getting out on Sunday either, but I forced myself to go for two hours.

My main goal was to hit Prospect Lake Road again. I had only ridden it once and it seemed like I should do it again. I felt gross most of the time, but I did my two hours. My legs felt pretty dead, like there was nothing in them, much like when I rode in Vegas. I’m on the mend now though, and I know that the training I have done to date will sever me well for the ride.

Only a few more days until the big event.

View Tour de Victoria, May 22, 2011 in a larger map

Total Distance: 44.82 km (27.8 mi)
Total Time: 1:56:07
Moving Time: 1:50:18
Average Speed: 23.16 km/h (14.4 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 24.38 km/h (15.1 mi/h)
Max Speed: 55.02 km/h (34.2 mi/h)
Min Elevation: -6 m (-20 ft)
Max Elevation: 95 m (310 ft)
Elevation Gain: 628 m (2062 ft)
Max Grade: 20 %
Min Grade: -11 %

Snow Clip

It snowed on Wednesday, and it has actually stuck around. Coming up to the weekend I was hoping the snow would melt so I could get in a training ride.

Sadly this didn’t happen. The snow melted a little, but there is still too much ice on the roads to safely ride. Instead I jumped on the trainer in the basement and went for a spin that way.

It’s been too long since I was on a bike. It hurt a little making my legs spin in circles for so long. I sure put on a sweat. It felt good. I did a 5 minute warmup and a 45 minute ride. In that ride I did a few standing stints, a few hard sitting sprints, some rest periods, and the rest I cruised along at a pretty good clip.