Friday, February 20, 2009

DZ Manipulates the Earth's Forces

I'm plaigerizing again, but I could not resist. I'm fascinated with the mental aspects of time trialing. A teammate sent me a great article by Juliet Macur of the New York Times (thanks Doug): As Leipheimer Coasts at Tour of California, Armstrong Is Part of the Pack

I encourage you to read the article, but in case you don't, here are some of my favorite parts and quotes:

  • Other riders agree that tunes about being happy and carefree should never be the soundtrack for a time trial, an individual race against the clock that is often synonymous with pain.

  • But, Lim said, the winner of the time trial will need another quality to be the fastest on the course: the ability to manage pain better than anyone else.

  • As soon as a rider takes off, his body starts hinting at betrayal. His legs start to feel like anchors. His lungs start to burn. His arms start to ache from holding onto the handlebars with death grips.

  • "Your body feels pain as a protective mechanism, so when you are going as hard as you can, all your body wants to do is fight it," Lim said. "It's telling you: 'Why are we doing this? What bear is chasing us? What are we doing this for? Stop this, just stop this right now.' "

  • "I told him, 'Maybe it's not anger that motivates you anymore,' " Lim said. " 'Maybe it's love.' And [DZ] said: 'Ooh, love. O.K., man.' And that was that."

  • "Being good at the time trial, it's mostly mental," Zabriskie said. "If you think you are having a good day, you are probably not going fast enough.

  • "I truly believe I can manipulate the earth's forces and use them to my advantage," [DZ] said.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Making FTP Progress by Taking it Easy

Last year I was able to maintain FTP growth through January 8th - then my results flattened out. It's probably not a coincidence that I started doing much more VO2max and anaerobic work in January last year. Either then intensity somehow stunted my FTP progress or, more likely, the reduced time available for SST and L4 work stopped my FTP improvement.

This year I've pretty much stayed away from high intensity work except for what I got in the Peach Peloton attack zones. I did my first set of hill repeats for 2009 on Monday.

Yesterday I did another FTP test. It appears that my FTP is still creeping upward. That's good news, but it makes me wonder if I should continue to hold off on intensity training even longer into the year. Oddly enough, I don't feel that my anaerobic system is suffering much from the lack of training. One thing's for sure, the absence of intensity in January and February has me feeling much fresher and I've not been sick since last spring.

I guess if the training program ain't broke, don't try to fix it. So for now I'll let my intensity mostly come from races and see what happens. I'll probably know in my first crit if the lack of anaerobic work has set me back in that area. My current FTP chart is below. I probably should do at least FTP test in my recently modified TT position to see how that stands. But I've been putting it off because, well, hurts a lot to be in that position for 45 minutes - I really didn't develop the new position for longer races.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clean that Chamois!

The cyclist never should have been in that lane, but once he was there, he did a pretty good job of not becoming a hood ornament. I think the award for evasive maneuvers goes to the 2nd motorcyclist, though.