Thursday, June 22, 2006

Macon Rock 'n Rollman Half Ironman

On June 4th I raced the Rock 'n Rollman half iron race in Macon, GA. I've raced it twice before, and decided back in February that I'd do it again this year, so I pre-registered. However, at about the same time in February, I caught the bike racing bug. Therefore, I had done almost no running and swimming from February to June (maybe swam 3 times and ran 3-4 miles per week on most weeks).

I decided to go ahead and race, just take it easy on the swim, and maybe even DNF and skip the run. The swim went ok. I was slower than in prior years, but last year's course was shorter than it should have been and it was also a wetsuit swim last year - unlike this year.

I figured that all my bike training would result in a much quicker bike leg. I planned to try a reverse split ride where I finished strong, so I limited my heartrate during the first half of the ride to 150 bpm. I had a great first half - I felt strong and averaged about 20.5 mph, which was about a mile per hour quicker than last year. I was also careful about eating and drinking enough.

During the second half of the ride, it became more and more difficult for me to keep my heartrate at the desired level (I planned to keep it at or right beneath 150 bpm, then finish the last 5 miles in an anaerobic scream). By the end of the ride, I found it difficult to generate any significant power, and my heartrate was hovering around 135 to 140 bpm. I don't think I bonked or got dehydrated (I ate and drank plenty and didn't feel bad). My only guess is that muscle fatigue did me in (I was at or below threshold heartrate, so I doubt it was a lactic acid buildup - plus, I think I would have felt muscle burn in that case). Bike time was about 1:53, I think - a minute or two slower than last year - very dissapointing.

I decided to go ahead with the run, but ran very, very slowly. I finished the race in about 5:51, which was about 35 minutes slower than last year.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

iBike Pro

I've done a lot of research on training and racing using a power meter. I'm sold on the fact that it's a more accurate way to dose your training than heartrate and has other advantages. Not wanting to drop $2000+ on an SRM, I researched the iBike Pro. Theoretically, it should work pretty well. If you know the forces against you (air resistance/wind, gravity, inertia, and mechanical losses), it should be a small step to calculate your power output. The trick is getting good input from all the different sensors.

The short version:
Air resistance coefficient: from coast-down test
Mechanical losses and rolling resistance: from coast-down test (perform in most common riding position for that day)
Headwind/tailwind: from pressure port on front of meter on handlebars
Gravitational resistance: clinometer data combined with altimeter data inside unit along with weight input by user
Inertia: accelerometer inside unit

The ship date has been postponed several times in the last 6 months due to changes and/or updates with the unit. An e-mail from John Hamman, one of the product's developers, stated that he has found a correlation with SRM data that varied less than 1%. If that's true, the iBike Pro will be a huge success at $350 and will do to training with power what Polar did with heartrate training in the 80s and 90s.

News I received this morning said the unit should ship within a week, but I've heard that before, so I'm not holding my breath.

I e-mailed CyclingPeaks software and found out that they will be supporting downloads from the iBike Pro, but it might take a few weeks for them to get that set up.

I have one on order, I just hope I get to see it soon, but I said that 6 weeks ago!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Savannah Criterium

Jeff Clayton and I drove down early Saturday morning to ride in the Savannah criterium (Jeff also planned to stay and race the other three races on Sunday and Monday: Time Trial, Circuit, and Road Race).

The Cat5 race was first. There were about 30 in our field. The 1.1-mile course was long, narrow, and very flat with a section of pave' after turn 1, which made for some interesting shuffling of the order of the group on each lap. The bigger, stronger guys seemed to plow through the rough section much easier that us lighter riders. So I spent most of the back stretch of each lap working my way back to the front part of the group, then repeating that process for 40 minutes. Eight or 10 guys were dropped as we chased down several short breakaways, and I finished somewhere in the middle of the main pack at the end. I had fun, but have a lot to learn about crit racing (and I need to develop more power to accelerate out of the corners).

The second race of the morning was Masters Open category. Jeff was one of about 15 in the field, which included a team of 3 (I can't remember what team). David Gries (of the team of three) immediately tore off the front on the first lap and the announcer (who knew him) said it was over and that he would just time trial to the finish. However, on the second lap he anounced a pair of sunglasses as a prime, and as the group rounded turn 4, we saw that Jeff had chased Gries down. He then outsprinted the field and won the prime! The bad news was that after Jeff's catch, the Gries again took off and between his strength and his two teammates making it difficult for Jeff and the other guys in the group to chase, he did time trial for 40 more minutes to a 1-minute gap and the win. Jeff placed 3rd in the field sprint for second, giving him 4th place overall (and a pair of sunglasses).

Jeff told me later that he chased Gries again in the circuit, but did not finish with him. He finished 4th in the road race and 4th in the Omnium.