Welcome to my July 2015 Endurance Path Monthly Report!
This is coming out a couple days earlier than normal, as I am out in North Dakota for the Maah Daah Hey 100 which is Saturday August 1st and I will want to focus on my race report immediately after the race. That being said, keep an eye out for my race report in the next few days. I spent the first few days of July recovering from the Lutsen 99er and then jumped back into training.
I only had 1 race this month, but it was a big one. I spent most of the month training and preparing for the Lutsen 99er.
Total Races: 1
Time Trial: 1
Synergy 40k Time Trial
Class: Open Stock Non-Aero
Results: 4th of 9
This was my first Time Trial of this distance. I really would have liked to finish faster. I was around a minute off of 3rd place, but almost 6 minutes out of 1st. I pushed myself pretty hard, but did have a bit more left at the finish. That being said, I don’t know if it was enough to catch 3rd place. I struggled to stay in a good aero position and have been playing with the handle bars on my bike since. Jury is still out if this is something I would like to get heavy into, but for now, I am interested and plan to hit the Minnesota State Championships if I am recovered enough from the Maah Daah Hey 100 by then.
August 1st: Maah Daah Hey 100
August 8th: Minnesota State Time Trial Championships
August 15th: Minnesota State Road Race Championships
All races are included in the mileage and session counts. I count a warm up and race as only 1 session, so if you are following me on Strava, the session count on Strava will be higher than this monthly report.
Total Miles: 472
Mountain Bike: 133 miles
Road Bike: 339 miles
Total Sessions: 22
Mountain Bike: 10
Road Bike: 12
My training this month was back to more road miles, but heavily focused on sprints / intervals and hill climbs. I am definitely still building strength in my legs as I am sprinting and climbing faster than I ever have. I still have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, but it is refreshing to continue seeing progress. Some may say that I should be very trail focused this month due to the Maah Daah Hey 100 being all single track, but I really believe the road bike training complements the mountain bike quite well. In my opinion, my endurance levels at this point are where I am going to get them for now and the best thing I can do is focus on strength through hill repeats, sprints and intervals so that when I hit the big climbs in the race, I have enough strength to get through them and keep on riding.
It’s difficult to find the needed long climbs on the mountain bike to get the right amount of sustained climbing hill repeats in, as well as a long enough mountain bike segment to stay in a hard spin long enough for a good long interval burn. The mountain bike does provide for some great short interval training, but many times I feel that the mountain bike intervals are too short to get what I need out of them. It does depend a bit on the trail as well. My local trails, just don’t have the long enough hill sections to get the same kind of burn going that I can get on a good road climb. I was lucky enough to find this type of riding at Copper Harbor and Marquette back in June, but I was home most of July and did this on my road bike.
I am becoming a big proponent of shorter mileage training, but heavily interval / sprint /repeat based type training vs just getting out and hammering mile after mile. It has helped me to learn recovery after pushing the heart rate to red line along with building muscle. In the past, I would go out and just ride heavy miles and tear the body down when I could have backed off the mileage and had a very purposeful training session.
My big Moutain Bike Race after the Maah Daah Hey 100 will be the Chequamegon 40 that I finished last year in 2 hours and 39 minutes from a gate 5 start. I am gunning to knock another 20 to 30 minutes off of that time and it is not going to happen by me just going out and riding lots of miles. I plan to focus on shorter distances with very high intensity intervals and hill repeats. My expected outcome is to be able to ride faster at the same heart rate threshold. To get close to the 2 hour finish mark, I will need to average close to 20 miles per hour and that is not going to happen by me going out and riding 50 miles as fast as I can.
This section may start sounding like a broken record, but this is a work in progress all the time. I am constantly trying new things, but eggs and vegetables seem to be a never-ending constant. I have been going through eggs like no tomorrow. I do use a protein powder as well, after heavy workouts. All I can say, is that I can do a hard workout and I have not been cramping and my legs are getting stronger without being sore. I do get fatigued, but my muscles seem to be building vs getting torn down.
Health and Fitness
Weight: 155 lbs
My health is much better than it was going into and immediately after the Lutsen 99er and my fitness levels seem to be increased. One of the things I struggle with regarding health, is that I have been getting allergy shots to build a long term tolerance against things (which seem to be many) that I am allergic to. I have reached my max dose on the allergy shot, which is basically an injection of what I am allergic to and each time I get the shot, it knocks me on my butt for a couple days. I have to really make sure I am not too fatigued when I get it or I risk getting sick. You might ask, why I am getting the shots then? I continue to get them because they have helped in the long run and big picture. 2 years ago, I would be sneezing, itching and eyes all puffed up after spending time outside and that situation has drastically improved. I just have to get myself through the maintenance phase of them now and then I can stop them. In the mean time, it just takes some additional planning and thought of my training around when I get my shots.
This is a new section, but I think it might be helpful. If it is not, then by all means, let me know. If you would like to see or know something specific about my gear, then again, let me know as well.
I seem to have finally wore through some parts. After the Lutsen 99er, I found that my drive side crank bearing was shot and after sitting for a couple days, was darn near locked up. It is no wonder the pedals were feeling a bit heavy in the last few miles. While I was at it, I decided to replace my chain, as well. I replaced the BB with the stock Sram GXP bottom bracket and the chain with the stock Sram PC1051 chain from Amazon. I am glad I did, as when compared to the new chain, the old one was definitely stretching. In the past, I have had a bad habit of not replacing my chains soon enough and consequently ruining my rear cassette and front rings. These little replacements made my Felt Edict feel like a brand new machine. I really like this bike.
I have also reached a point in time where I am starting to wear through components on my road bike. In June, I replaced the wheels as the stock wheels were starting to get a bit of grind going on in them. I didn’t get fancy though, as I primarily use my road bike for training and figured since I am still racing in Cat 5 on the road, I have no reason to get fancy with my ride. I ended up going with a cheap set of wheels from Performance Bike that seem to work just fine. The hub doesn’t spin as freely as I might like, but again, I road ride and race at this point, primarily for training.
The next thing I noticed, was the crank not spinning as freely as I thought it should, so I ended up replacing the Bottom Bracket. My bike is 10 years old and still has the stock FSA Gossamer Crankset with pinch bolts and the FSA BB is actually a bit expensive compared to the Shimano stuff. I ended getting a Dura Ace BB from one of my local bike shops (Penn Cycle in Blaine, MN) for $35, which was cheaper than the FSA BB. After pulling everything apart, it turns out that the BB wasn’t really in all that bad of shape, but I went ahead and replaced it anyways. I will keep the FSA BB in case I decide to build up a gravel grinder on the side. Not that I have something planned, but just saying…
This brought me to some further inspection of the drivetrain. After further inspection, I also felt it was time to replace the chain and cassette as the chain was stretched quite a bit and the cassette teeth were getting widened to a great degree. I went with a Sram PG950 12-26 cassette and Sram PC971 chain from REI. The cost of these 2 combined was still $30 cheaper than the Shimano Ultegra Cassette alone.
My next thing is figuring out a better position for Time Trial racing on my stock bike. I am really mixed on it. I feel like I have a good position on it now for road racing and training, but I don’t want to mess it up for the occasional Time Trial. That being said, I went ahead and lowered the bars and pushed the seat forward. It is quite a bit lower and more strain on the back, but I can definitely get my back parallel to the ground now and probably in a bit better aero position while gripping the hoods. I will keep you posted on my progress with this in the future.
Personal Training and Coaching
Some other big news that I have, is that I have started studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer and a Level 3 USA Cycling Coach. I will of course, want to work my way up through the levels, but this is the starting point. I chose NASM for the Certified Personal Trainer because it seemed to be a bit more athletic focused and I really want to learn for myself first and then obviously I would like to start coaching other athletes. I feel my big area of focus for athletes will be people like me and where I was a couple of years ago. I really want to work with people that have decided to make changes in their life and challenge themselves, whether that be just getting started in some type of endurance competition or those that are making the progress to become competitive.
I will keep you posted on this in the future. I feel I have learned a lot about training, racing and making lifestyle changes over the past few years, so I can start working with other folks to do what I have done and what I am doing. My plan is to go a bit further with it and study nutrition and performance going into next year, but I need to take things a step at a time.
This was another great month of increasing my fitness levels and climbing abilities. To further what I mentioned last month, I am starting to see climbing as one of my strength areas. I will stay focused on it for sure and continue to build leg strength.
Again, look out for my Maah Daah Hey 100 race report in the next few days. Also, keep an eye on my Twitter account Saturday as my wife may get some live stream video of some of the race, if cell signal allows. Until next time, keep the wheels spinning.