Friday, November 24, 2006

Winter Cycling-specific Weight Training

Another thing I'm trying for the first time this year is cycling-specific weight training, which primarily means squats, leg extensions, leg curls, and core strength excercises. I'm using the Anatomical Adaptation (AA), Maximum Transition (MT), and Maximum Strength (MS) phased approach as described in Coggin's book, Training and Racing with a Power Meter.

The AA phase is lots of sets and reps with light weight to get your body (primarily your joints) used to weight lifting. I started over a month ago squatting 3 sets of 20 with 75 lbs. Lifting three times a week, I worked my way up to squatting about 3 or 4 sets of 20 with 100 lbs.

I'm in the late part of the MT phase now. I'm doing three sets of 10 with about 155 lbs three times a week. The MS phase is next. I'll be doing 3 or 4 sets of 4 or 6 reps with heavier weight to build strength. After the MS phase is complete (late January, I think), I'll continue MS-phase type workouts about once per week throughout the year.

The lifting has definately made a difference in my leg strength. I look forward to seeing how that translates into power on the bike. Like Don Henly says, hopefully it won't be 'wasted time'.

Ergomo Pro

After experimenting with the iBike power meter for a couple of months, I've sold it and shelled out some cash for an Ergomo Pro meter. The iBike is a good unit, and in my opinion is well worth the few hundred dollar price. But I'm really into analyzing the data. And some uncertainty about the accuracy just bugged me too much.

The Ergomo is a great tool. I've only had it for 6 weeks or so, but it has led me into a better understanding of training using power and using the Performance Manager feature in the Cycling Peaks WKO+ software. If you're not familiar with Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF), Training Stress Score (TSS), Acute Training Load (ATL), Chronic Training Load (CTL), and Training Stress Balance (TSB), you should read up (ignore that statement if you don't like to play with the data). For those of us who like the self-coached approach, they are wonderful tools. I think they'll help me squeeze out whatever additional ability there is left in these 38-year-old, non-genetically-gifted legs of mine.

For those of you familiar with CTL, I think I'll shoot for a level between 75 and 100 throughout the year.

2006 Georgia Cup completed

My first year dedicated to bike racing is now complete (after 5 years of triathlon with a couple of bike races thrown in). Although I finished well in the Cat5 points standings, it was a fairly uneventful year as far as results are concerned. I had a few top 10 finishes, and I don't think I ever finished lower than about 16th when I completed a race, but mainly my points success resulted from just showing up to most of the races and entering the Omnium competition on a regular basis. And because I was racing mostly for points standings, my race strategy was conservative and boring.

Next year's strategy will be different, I think. Because there likely will be other Cat5 riders from MAX Cycling racing in Georgia Cup races, I think I'll stay in Cat5, race with them (or in the Masters Open category), and try to develop a more interesting, aggressive strategy for the races. My results will be much more varied, but the races should be more interesting. I think I'll also eliminate the crits from my schedule and stick to time trials and road races. I suck at crits first of all, and they are the most likely places for crashes second of all. I'll be fresher for the road races, too.