Monday, September 27, 2004

Speedplay Zero Review

I kept thinking that I should write a nice long review of my new (well, now kinda used) Speedplay Zero pedals. I imagined a well thought out articles accompanied by nice pictures.

Well, it ain't gonna happen. I'm lazy. However, I found myself playing with Amazon's new customer image upload tool and today wrote a more concise review of the Zero's on their site, so that will have to do.

So, go find my review on this page. Also note that 3 of the 4 product images are ones I uploaded. Quite a cool feature!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

CTS Update : 9/12/2004

Now that I've been through my first week or so of coaching, I figured an update was due. Shortly after I conducted my field test, I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with my coach. We talked about my goals and how much time I had available for training. He promised he'd have my schedule posted (on their website) by the end of the day. He did not disappoint. By the end of the day my workouts for the next month were ready for me.

Finding out your workout for the day is a simple trip to the CTS website. Each day lists the total workout time and any specific training you need to do. Virtually all workouts have heartrate limits and cadence guidelines. My first scheduled workout was on a Thursday and called for a total workout of 1:45 minutes. During the workout I had to perform two sets of "descending intervals". Each interval is an all out effort for a given amount of time. The intervals were 90, 75, 60, 45 and 30 seconds long. After each interval you rested for the duration of the interval. After 1 set I got a 10 minute break and then had to do it again. I'll tell ya... the intervals were tough, but they made my otherwise boring commute home much more interesting.

This weekend I did two hours on Saturday that included one hour of tempo pace (high end of the aerobic range) and 2.5 hours of "endurance" riding today. So far so good...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Carmichael Training Systems

I took the plunge and signed up for online coaching through Carmichael Training Systems. Over the next few months I plan to (hopefully) post regular updates about my experience using an online coaching service.

So, why CTS?
Simply put, they seem like one of the top names in the business. I could have hired a local coach, which would have gotten me some face time or used smaller online services, but CTS seemed like the biggest and best. Frankly, Chris Carmichael's experience with Lance Armstrong weighed heavily in their favor. Let's just hope his experience translates well to an online service.

How much does it cost and what do you get?
It depends. Packages are offered that range from $50/month to $500/month. The higher priced packages get you more coaching time, in depth analysis and a more experienced coach. I wanted to make sure my coach had plenty of cycling experience so I opted for a package in the middle of that range (ok, not quite the middle, a bit below the middle).

Last week I signed up and received an introduction from my coach the next day. He has been racing at the semi-pro/elite level for 8 years, went to the Olympic trials for track racing and has numerous other accomplishments in track racing at the national level. Now this is the kind of coach I was looking for!

The first order of business is to conduct a field test. The results of this are used to build your training routine and provide a good gauge of your progress. The test (for cycling) is simply a 3 mile time trial, performed twice. This weekend I scouted out a relatively flat 3 mile course (around here, finding that isn't easy!) and got to work. After a 30 minute warmup the first trial got under way. 7:30 mintues later the suffering was over. Average heart rate: 172. I gently rode back to the start, taking the full 15 minutes advised in the test instructions and got under way again. After 7:45 and an average HR of 169 I was finished (well, aside from the 30 minute ride home).

As soon as I got back, I gathered the data from my tests (time, HR, cadence, etc) and emailed them to my coach. He and I are scheduled to talk on the phone tomorrow to lay out goals and a training plan. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

That's all folks!

Well, as far as racing is concerned for this season. Last Thursday was the final criterium and the event calendar is essentially empty until next year. Time to relax a little and start training. Now that I have a little racing under my belt I'm hoping it will be easier to motivate through the winter. Last year I started the fall with a 5 week vacation that had no exercise and a lot of eating. That was followed by not so structured training through the dark months. This winter will be better. It better be... I don't have a high bar to beat. :)