Thursday, July 08, 2010

More Santa Than Unabomber

Morning weigh-in: 176#, 10% BF (Nice bounceback. Boi-oi-oing!)
Well, the hot weather's supposed to be breaking up soon, but we broke first -- we dragged some room air conditioners down from the attic last night, installing one in the bedroom and one (the bigger one) at the bottom of the stairs. The one downstairs is still struggling to cool the entire ground floor, but last night was the best sleep I had all week.
Speaking of "Boi-oi-oing" Scientists now know how giant squids copulate. Ewwww! And speaking of cephalopods, meet Paul, Germany's most famous soccer-loving psychic octopus. (And speaking of ScienceBlogs: Pepsi?? WTF were they thinking??)
Got a haircut yesterday, another winner from Eskandalo. I've never had a bad haircut there, not even a mediocre one. There seems to be a uniform vision when it comes to men's cuts, nothing radical or crazy -- though they can do that too if you want it -- just a really well done haircut. ("Clean lines" is the phrase that comes to mind.) Dude did a great job, especially on my beard -- and especially considering that my instructions to him were to make it "more like Santa Clause than the Unabomber." I was thinking, like, "Miracle on 34th Street," but he'd never seen it. Sheesh, kids these days...
Went home after the cut, and when Anne got home we did the AC thing, then escaped to the already-chilled air at the Brew Works, where we met Ann & Lois, and Lois's daughter Phoebe who's visiting from Missoula. Dinner was some chili, then we went back to a considerably cooler house.
Anyway, tonight is another peak-fade interval session on the towpath, and now that the house is cooler we'll probably be staying in tonight.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

More Analysis: Stuff From Last Year

I thought I'd look at how I stand compared to last year at this time, at least with two common rides I do: Sals and the towpath. (I didn't start doing the Bloomsbury route until 2010 so I can't include it here.) Unfortunately, many of my rides last year were on the road, or with other people, or generally did not match the criteria I used in my previous analysis, but here are a few rides from last year for comparison.
There was really only one Sals ride in June or July of 2009 that fit my previous criteria, the first one shown here.
Date     Avg Speed
7/7/09   6.0
7/8/09   5.6**
7/27/09  6.5**
The two starred rides were somewhat shorter, between 8 and 9 miles, while my previous analysis only looked at rides between 9 and 12 miles. Even so, I see that I am faster this year, by a little bit at least, for all of them.
There was only one ride that matched my previous criteria in June or July, nothing else even came close to matching.
Date      Avg Speed
7/10/09   15.5
This was a ride I did the day after Brian passed away, and I did it in his memory, and I may have worked out some emotional issues through the pedals... It's close to yesterday's pace, so maybe I can say that my general aerobic pace is comparable.
In terms of general mileage:
         Mileage in...
Month    2009   2010 
April    261    260
May      276    230
June     251    296
So the low mileage I was worrried about last year has repeated itself this year, but I expected that -- I have the same life this year that I had last year, and it's a different one from my lonely but higher-mileage past... We'll see if this year's more effective use of my time brings better results than last year.

I've Always Been Obsessed With Eastasia

Morning weigh-in: 171.5#, 9.5% BF
Nice! But I know that the missing weight is all suppression weight: dinner, after yesterday's "hot lap" in the 100-degree-plus heat, was just a Greek salad and two beers. Today is a rest day, and even if I watch what I eat I should see those numbers come back up, sigh...
This Old Bike #1: I suspect that we'll be doing quite a bit more bike/camp touring soon, so I am now into my next project, which is to get the Iguana up to snuff, or at least a more reliable level of snuff for these kinds of rides. (Old Paint is in good shape for the most part: other than the chain, the only old or substandard components are the wheels. Shifters, derailleurs, brakes, and cables are all relatively new.) I got a new rear wheel and new 7-speed cassette last week, and tonight I'm hitting Cutter's to pick up a new front wheel, chain, and sundry items like rim tape etc. I'll probably be slapping those things on over the next few days.
This Old Bike #2: The BB overhaul and general repacking/relubing project failed to eliminate the squeaks and creaks coming from the Turner, so I guess it's time to replace the crank/BB assembly; I think the rear shock is starting to act a bit funny, so that also needs to be looked at, and it's probably past time to replace the pivots. The shock probably needs factory work (I suppose that'll take forever, so I suppose I'll be buying a replacement as well as getting my original overhauled), and I really don't want to do the pivot replacement myself.... Tonight's Cutter's visit might include a long consultation.
Meantime, last night's ride... That was a fun and fast ride, and my intervals went great -- I think "peak and fade" sort of emulates how I kick it in a real ride -- but in one sense I'm disappointed in myself: thinking yesterday about pace and speed, I kind of pushed it on the ride back, and looking at my stats I see that my heart rate was pretty high for what I was supposed to be doing. The workout is geared around high intensity intervals alternating with intervals of rest, but all that is embedded in an "endurance miles" workout, where pedal cadence is kept high and heart rate kept relatively low. I can make noises about how pushing the pace is a form of event-specific training, but that's what the intervals are for, and the slow stuff is for endurance, and my fun ride last night was actually somewhat counterproductive in terms of endurance.
Anyway, today is a rest day, and tonight I'll be hitting Cutters, and also getting a long-overdue haircut, then maybe doing the lawn. We broke down last night and decided to put an air conditioner in the bedroom, so I'll probably be doing that when I get home too. It's another hot day.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Quick Training Analysis

I was wondering what (if any) measurable benefit I managed to get out of my recent training regimen -- I mean I feel like I'm riding better and faster, but can I see or quantify any benefits? I decided to look at three standard-ish rides I'd done relatively frequently before and during the training period.
This is a loop in Hunterdon County starting from my office; it was my go-to road ride especially in the spring, when I could just hop on the bike and make the most of the remaining daylight after work. This is a table of every Bloomsbury ride I recorded.
Date     Avg Speed
4/5/10   13.4
4/14/10  13.9
4/20/10  14.6
4/28/10  14.5
5/5/10   14.4
6/29/10  15.0
The first two rides were fairly slow, maybe because I was trying to figure out my course or maybe because I was not yet acclimated, then I "got all the slack out of the rope," and had a fairly consistent 14.5 mph average for the next three spring rides, just before I started the training. Fast forward two months, and the last ride shows a 0.5 mph jump in average speed -- nice, but probably not statistically significant, I need more rides.
I have a bunch of Sals rides of all kinds, so I filtered this to include only those solo, daylight rides, between 9 and 12 miles in length; this would put me on one or two fairly standard routes, and hopefully would reduce the effect of the 1.25 mile road ride over (and back) on my offroad average. I also removed some snow rides from the sample, which left only three rides.
Date     Avg Speed
3/20/10  6.1
6/8/10   7.0
6/30/10  7.0
There's a pretty good jump, 0.9 mph, between the first ride (pre-training, in fact before the pre-training base workouts), and recent rides.
I narrowed these these rides to solo, daylight rides, longer than say 17 miles, that do not include anything but the towpath (and the short road ride to/from the Sand Island trailhead).
Date     Avg Speed
4/19/10  12.9
5/24/10  13.3
5/25/10  13.8
6/2/10   13.9
6/18/10  14.1
7/6/10   15.4
These rides included my main training routines, so they show what I would have expected: a progressive, gradual improvement -- 1.1 mph over the period shown. (I didn't count tonight's results, awesome though they were, because I'd just overhauled my bottom bracket, and was running a higher tire pressure, and the towpath surface was hard-packed by the heat, and so  felt unusually fast, and also because I was consciously thinking about my speed, making tonight the time trial that the other rides were not.)
So there you have it! I'm not sure of the statistical significance but I would say that there has been improvement. Would there have been even more improvement with a different training regimen, or even just randomly riding a lot like most summers? No clue.

Back So Soon?

Morning weigh-in: 173.5#, 10% BF
Scorcher today. Yesterday too, and tomorrow will be just as hot, then it looks like some fronts will blow through: chance of thunderstorms and slowly dropping temperatures for the rest of the week. Yee-ouch! Hitting the towpath tonight for intervals, this is going to be difficult.
I'm trying to get back into the training groove. Last weekend, and the weekend before, I fell off the wagon with some non-training rides -- no biggie, the rides were longer/endurance, or at least aerobic, "vacation rides," and the training program that I'm on is OK with taking those kinds of opportunities when they come along -- but I'd also been doing a bit of experimenting with my training routine, or at least the routes, trying to do interval-style workouts at places like Sals & Lehigh. Things didn't work out, workouts collapsed to "I'll just ride hard and see what happens," and I am now back to the structured environment known as the towpath for the majority of my riding.
In other bike news, this year's 24 Hours of Allamuchy has been canceled, and I have a feeling that there will be no more in the future. The end of an era: I've raced every one since 1996 (except 2007 when I was in Florida, and 2000 when I was on injured reserve, and served as a race volunteer). This has been a long time coming, race attendance has been dropping, steadily at first and then precipitously in the last year or so, and the promoters have never really addressed the biggest racer complaints: camping and parking hassles.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow, July 4th already... too busy, these last few weeks, to even drop a quick lunchtime post from work.

Some highlights were a trip to Washington DC (met Anne who was there for a conference) last weekend, and our self-supported overnight biking/camping trip to Bull's Island this Friday and Saturday. (We also managed to try that Hashing thing too, a few weeks back.) I've been good with with the photos though, so you can check out the happenings over at Flickr.

Weekends have been packed, and the weeks have been full of all the chores/errands normally done on weekends, and work's been busy as well.
 Training takes up a lot of time too, but I have to say that it's been going really well lately: I'm starting to see some real improvement, both on and off-road. I'll tell you all about it, as soon as I have a spare moment...