Sunday, January 01, 2006

Silver Comet Time Trial Training

I drove an hour and a half yesterday to meet with my coach and some of his other clients to do some practice time trail work on the Silver Coment Trail, a multi-use trail northwest of Atlanta. It was a fun day and the weather was decent for December, but the trip generated lots of questions by me. Instead of summarizing the whole thing here, I've decided to just post the e-mail that I sent to Tony after the ride. If he answers some or all of my quesitons, then I'll post that here later also. On my first 10-mi out and back TT I averaged 153 bpm and 20.3 mph. My second ride was 143 bpm and 19.2 mph. On both rides, I had to stop and unclip a couple of times due to road crossings, etc.

Thanks for organizing the time trial practice yesterday and for keeping the data (I’m sure it got kind of boring after a while). I think I need lots of that type of training, and yesterday gave me a good example of how to set it up in Monticello. It also gave me a good preview of what to expect in the Tundra TT.

There’s lots of stuff below. I apologize in advance for being long-winded, but I have lots of questions.

Yesterday was a strange day for me. The warmup felt great and I enjoyed riding the trail for the first time, and I even ran into a friend of mine who works in Vinings and rides the trail a lot.
The first 10-mi TT felt pretty normal, even though I pushed a little harder than I would’ve when doing a TT at home. I was a little surprised that my speed was not higher – I figured on a flat course, my speed would be higher than what I’m accustomed to in sprint races (maybe the wind and the frequent road crossing contributed?).

But the real surprise was how awful I felt during and after the 2nd ride. No matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t get my heartrate over about 145 or so – and I had very weak legs. I guess it was because my legs were loaded with lactate from the first ride. But based on my experience I thought I should have been able to ride longer than 30 minutes at the higher heartrate. After the second ride I was completely toast. When you asked me to ride a 3rd time, I couldn’t even consider it because I felt so weak. I think I didn’t eat enough before the ride, because I was shaky and getting hot and cold on the way back. I barely made it back to the Jeep at 14 mph with a wind at my back! Lunch never tasted so good, and 10 minutes later I felt fine again – so that was a good lesson in itself (don’t neglect nutrition just because it’s ‘only’ a training ride). If I had tried to ride a third time trial, I honestly might not have made 17 mph and I would have been camped on the side of the trail begging for Powerbars just to get back home!

Now that you have convinced me that my LT is really in the basement, I’m determined to properly focus my workouts to increase it. (What HR do I divide my LT heartrate by to get my LT %VO2max?) I’ll continue to do the hill repeats that we’ve discussed, and I’ll add some 10-mi TT repeats. What heartrate do you think I should be aiming for on the TT workouts? Based on yesterday, 153 bpm is far too high. Maybe I’ll try doing 10 mi at 145 and see if I can increase my speed on a follow-up 10-mi ride? I’m very interested in discussing how I can use the ‘new’ LT information to better pace myself in olympic and half iron distance races (I guess it’s just all-out in sprints no matter what?).

And lastly:
I took a closer look at my heartrate profiles from last year’s half-iron and West Point races. My average heart rates for the four 45-minute ‘quarters’ of my half-iron ride last year were 154, 149, 145, and 141 bpm (148 overall average). I obviously started quite a bit above LT and paid for it at the end (even though I stayed above LT for almost 3hrs? – I still don’t understand that – and then averaged 152 for the entire run). What would have been the effect if I’d started at 145 bpm or so and held it constant throughout the ride? Would I have had higher average speed on the bike, or similar average bike speed but better legs for the run?

Last year’s West Point oly was similar. In thirds, my average rates were: 155, 151, and 149 bpm (152 overall average).

Again sorry for the long-email, but I really want to learn how to optimize my rather limited abilities.