The Waffle House Chronicles...

Friday, February 03, 2006

The post y’all’ve been waitin’ for!

Yesterday was Performance Test time! I was instructed to prepare for it like I would a crit. A big bowl of life, a container of yogurt, a large tea and a Dr. Pepper (and a 2:15 drive) later we got there 45 minutes early. We chilled out at a local McD’s and then went to visit Robbie.

First thing we did was take a tour of the building. I didn’t have my camera on during this but imagine two projectors and about 20 computrainers. Hanging on the wall were a couple dozen elite bikes that put my Scott to shame (Litespeeds, Serottas, Colnagos, Etc.) After that Jess took off and I changed into my cycling gear and answered a bunch of questions. Then it was bike fit time. He did say I had a pretty close fit. He then lowered my seat about a cm and also moved it forward. He thinks that will be best for endurance training and would be more comfortable when I have to add aerobars.

Next I was placed on a Compu Trainer with a Power Tap all hooked up to a computer. First thing was just to look at my overall riding look to get a good feel for it. Then I was hooked up to a heart rate monitor and the wattage was calibrated to my bike. Time for the lactic acid test. There is a more technical term for it but we’ll get to that at the end. My lowest lactic threshold is 180 watts, meaning if I ride under 180 watts it won’t affect my riding at all. We went all the way to 280 or 310 watts in 3 minute intervals. He kept pricking my blood and testing it during each interval to see what my lactic acid level is. I don’t understand it all but I don’t need to. He’ll be sending me a report of this meeting with all the information and advice and recommendations for training.

After that he gave me some water and a clif shot and told me to recovery ride for like 10 minutes. Then it was the max sprint test. All I know is he told me to sprint and I went about as hard as I could (I felt like I almost dumped a trainer that was bolted to the ground) for .2 miles. I guess my max watt output was 1278 and he told me that was excellent for sprinting and I should be a sprinter. I always knew that I guess but I am not a big fan of crits or road racing. All this wattage talk got me thinking of Power Taps and everything. Who knows, maybe a Power Tap will be part of my stable soon!

Next was the spin scan analysis. Guh! My spin scan was pretty bad. Clearly the strongest part on my body is my left quad. But is screwed up my whole pedal stroke. So my left leg did a bit more work than my right, but on top of that it made my right hamstring stronger than my left because I would push down so much on my left downstroke and pull up so much on my right upstroke. Basically I now have to do one legged intervals, a lot of them to get my legs to spin a bit better. He did say I had great muscle control, basically I could do whatever I was told without a thought and could isolate all my leg muscles so they should be easily trained.

Now on to the worse part of the test, the body composition/make-up. Turns out that all the running I’ve done has tensed up all of my leg muscles, especially the hamstrings and IT bands. They are so bad that combining that with my beer belly my flexibility in my torso/hamstring/IT band area was poor! He said that I have the common problem that many first-time runners have. So he gave me some exercises to do and said if I do those exercises 4-7 times a week I should be much better in a couple months and will vastly improve the efficiency of my pedal stroke. Finally my left leg is about 4-5mm’s longer than my right which can also cause some problems with running and riding. Great! Not sure what I’ll need to do there, will have to wait for the report.

In summary:
Strengths: Sprinting is awesome, pedaling is smooth (looking,) muscle control was excellent, strong
Weaknesses: Leg strength issues between the two legs, overweight, lack of core flexibility

He said basically if I can work on my pedaling stroke and my hamstrings & IT bands (and drop 15-20lbs) it would vastly improve my cycling. I am not a genetically gifted cyclist but could be above average if I do what he instructs.

I am now the proud owner of an exercise ball and one of those foam tubes for hip exercises. My bike fits perfect now and once I work these things out in the next couple months I should be a pretty smooth cyclist. I’ll never be a climber but should have no problem being a sprinter or lead-out man. I have good endurance but probably will never be an excellent time trialist.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Even when training for a triathlon it is still all about the bike!

Wow, another training update (or lack there of.) On Saturday I hurt my knees. I took a very hard & quick fall onto both knees while playing basketball. Didn’t think it was much but after two sessions of basketball and a 5 mile run on Monday my left knee is killing me. Felt like I bruised the stuff under my knee cap, if I take a blow to the cap it cripples me, if I push on it it feels like a bruise. Tuesday was a tough day, the knee is sore but loose today so I should be ready for tomorrow. What is tomorrow you might ask? Tomorrow I am getting Performance tested and my bike fit in Chicago. Former cycling pro (with a long resume) Robbie Ventura will be doing it for me!
Here is what the website says:
Regardless of what type of cycling you do, triathlon, mountain, track or road, everyone can benefit from the analysis an experienced cycling coach can provide. Vision Quest, LLC provides a comprehensive battery of physiological testing that is essential to help athletes determine their strengths as well as areas for potential performance gains.Vision Quest coaches take a series of physical measurements to get a picture of the basic fitness level of each athlete. On the bike, riders are tested to measure several critical factors that affect performance. Once testing is complete, Vision Quest performs a detailed bike fit to ensure the rider is properly set up for their specific cycling discipline.As a result of all the measurements, Vision Quest provides each athlete with a picture of their present fitness level as well as valuable tools and athlete specific information necessary to make performance gains.Baseline

Physiological Measurements
Percentage Body Fat
Body Mass Index
Vertical Jump
Blood Pressure
Resting Heart Rate

Performance Assessment
Power Testing
Blood Lactate Threshold Test
Maximum Heart Rate Determination
Spinscan Pedal Stroke Analysis

Post-Assessment Analysis
Heart Rate Training Zones
Prescribed Race/Workout Warmup - Athlete and Sport Specific
Professional Bike Fit
Athlete Specific Areas for Growth

So I guess this is pretty tough as they ride and run you to your limit. Oh well, I’ll get to try the Cheesecake Factory afterwards so life will be back to good! I am very excited to have a professional bike fit for the Scott as well and am excited about the Spinscan. I am sure he'll say I am a fatty and any lack of growth in my gut will help me grow as a cyclist. I’ll post a report about it when we return.

Also, last night I took the $50 plunge. I must be on crack! I signed up for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds ride. It is a 200K (over 124 miles) one-day bike ride with over 10,000 feet of vertical climbing, all in Wisconsin. Here’s to hoping I can survive the 10+ hours of torture!

No potatoes in February is going strong so far!!! Just have to hide the tots and give away a can of pringles...

Weekend should be a good time as well! I wonder what Hez is doing right now?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sick of being inside…

So Saturday I didn’t go riding with Jerry and the guys, I am afraid of rain and wind I guess. Actually my rain gear is nonexistent. It looked like a crap day and they stopped over after the ride quick to reaffirm that I was smarter for not going. Actually they did several short loops, one hard, one easy, repeat…not my idea of January fun. Anyways I spent most of the weekend inside, eating junk, playing video games, watching movies, working on a puzzle and finally on Sunday afternoon I had enough. Although I thought I should go running I instead decided to get on the bike for a quick hour spin. The conditions were almost perfect (could’ve used a little less wind) and I took it nice an easy! I finally decided to go to Belleville as it had been a while. After about an 1:15 my body reminded me that it was used to hour runs, not bike rides. Anyways, the last 45 minutes were tougher as the wind picked up (and not in my favor.) But there is a lot to keep me occupied while riding. I think I saw this random guy out riding who has a blog I look at. My dream house is now available so if anyone has a cool 650K to give me, I’d let you go go-karting on the land! J I also saw the place where they found Angela Drake’s body (lots of flowers) so that was sad. Finally I got to a point turning onto Seminole Highway where I decided to try and make it home in 4 songs. Unfortunately I put Korn’s greatest hits on my MP3 player (short songs) so I really had to pick up the pace. Almost made it (turned onto my road as the 4th song ended.) The best part is I get home and Jess says we are meeting her parents at the Olive Garden in a little over an hour. Perfect. 45 mins in the hot tub, shower and then some good eats! Ride distance is estimated at 31 miles, time was 1:55, cross bike. I love my cross bike!

Anyways the rest of the weekend was fun! The Badger hockey game on Friday night was the most exciting game I’ve seen in person, and we had awesome seats! Had some Charlie’s Steakery on Friday as well and enjoyed that! Saturday was hoops and sitting around!

This week is super busy but I’ll keep trying to blog! I start a pottery class tomorrow (wheel pottery) and I am pretty sure I'll suck at that! Puppy training and basketball game tonight, Chicago on Thursday...a good week! Hope all of you out there had a great weekend as well!