Friday, August 20, 2010

August Training

People have often asked how I train. What sort of load do I do and what kind of training do I do after stage races. Below is my training and racing schedule for the month of August. Although the schedule is fairly detailed its sometimes changed due to fatigue. If for example I have a hard time doing certain intervals I’ll stop the intensity part of that day’s training and might even take a rest day the following day. As you can see my numbers aren’t extraordinary but then again neither is my motor. I like to call it the little motor that could. My weight right now is around 66Kg and for a rider my height at this level it should be between 63-64Kg. But hey I live in Chianti and I love to ride my bike but I also like a descent glass or bottle of wine every once in a while.

So here is how the August schedule started. It’s been changed a few times due to fatigue as well as an early exit from the Tour of Poland on stage 6.

Week 1:

  • August 1st-7th –Tour of Poland

  • August 8th – Travel day and no training

Week 2:

  • August 9th – 2:00-2:30 Hours –
    • 2X20’ on flats @ 280-290W w/ 5’ recovery @ 210-220 Watts +
    • 1X15’ on a climb @300-310W

  • August 10th – 3:30 Hours –
    • 1X20’ on flats @280-290 (95-100RPM), +
    • 20’ on flats @ 290-300W and 65-70RPM.
    • 8X5’ SFR (Slow Power Work on a Hill) @ 280-290W (35RPM) w/ 2’ @ 210-220W.
    • 1X20’ on a climb @ 300-310W w/ last 5’ @330-340W

  • August 11th – a.m. 2:30 Hours
    • 20’ on flats @ 280-290W (80-85RPM).
    • 5X2’ on flats @ 450W w/ at least 5’ recovery.
    • 2X12-15’ on a climb w/ the first 2’ @ 410-420W +
    • 5’ @ 280-290W + the last 5’ alternating 15 seconds at 475-500 W and 15’ at 210-220W.
    • 15 minutes between each climb.

  • August 11th –p.m. 1:30 Hours on the TT bike
    • 3X15’ @ 280-290W w/ last 3’ @320-330W and 5’ recovery @210-220

  • August 12th – 5:30-6:00 Hours
    • 2X20” on flats @280-290 and 5’ recovery @ 210-220 +
    • 20’ on flats @ 300-310W (65-70 RPM).
    • 4X15’ on a a climb @300W with the last 3-5’ @330-340W.
    • 1:00 Hour motor pacing at 180W in the end

  • August 13th – 1:00-1:30 Hours easy.
    • 6X1’ @ 120 RPM below 300W w/ 5’ recovery @ less than 180 Watts

  • August 14th – a.m. 3:00 Hours
    • 20’ on flats @ 280-290W (80-85RPM).
    • 5X2’ on flats @ 450W w/ at least 5’ recovery.
    • 3X12-15’ on a climb w/ the first 2’ @ 410-420W + 5’ @ 280-290W + the last 5’ alternating 15 seconds at 475-500 W and 15’ at 210-220W.
    • 15 minutes between each climb.

  • August 14th –p.m. 1:30 Hours on the TT bike
    • 4X15’ @ 280-290W w/ last 3’ @330-340W and 5’ recovery @210-220

  • August 15th – 6:00 Hours
    • 2X20’ on flats @ 280-290W w/ 5’ recovery @ 210-220W.
    • 2X20’ on flats 300-310W (65-70 RPM) with 5’ recovery @210-220W.
    • 4X15’ on a climb:
      • 1st hill alternate 3’ on the saddle @310-320W (80-85 RPM) + 2’ out of the saddle (55-50 RPM).
      • 2nd hill @ 280-290W with last 3-5’ @ 330-340W.
      • 3rd hill after 5 hours. 2’ @ 380-400W + 10’ @280-290W + 3’ @330-340W.
      • 4th hill same as the 2nd hill

Week 3:

  • August 16th – 1:30 hours easy

  • August 17th - 3:30 Hours
    • 2X20’ on flats @280-290 (95-100RPM), +
    • 20’ on flats @ 290-300W and 65-70RPM.
    • 8X5’ SFR (Slow Power Work on a Hill) @ 280-290W (35RPM) w/ 2’ @ 210-220W. 1X20’ on a climb @ 300-310W w/ last 5’ @330-340W

  • August 18th – a.m. 2:30-3:00 Hours
    • 20’ on flats @ 280-290W (80-85RPM).
    • 5X2’ on flats @ 450W w/ at least 5’ recovery.
    • 3X12-15’ on a climb w/ the first 2’ @ 410-420W + 5’ @ 280-290W + the last 5’ alternating 15 seconds at 475-500 W and 15’ at 210-220W.
    • 15 minutes between each climb.

  • August 18th – p.m. 1:30 Hours on the TT bike
    • 3X15’ @ 280-290W w/ last 3’ @320-330W and 5’ recovery @210-220

  • August 19th – 5:30-6:00 hours
    • 2X20’ on flats @ 280-290W w/ 5’ recovery @210-220W.
    • 2X20’ on flats @ 300-310W (65-70 RPM) w/ 5’ recovery @210-220W.
    • 4X15’ on a climb @ 300W w/ the last 3-5’ @ 330-340W.
    • 1:00 Hour motor pacing at 180W

  • August 20th – 3:30 Hours
    • 2X20’ on flats @280-290W w/ 5’ recovery @ 210-220W.
    • 1X 15’ climb @ 280-290W

  • August 21st – 1:00-1:30 Hours easy.
    • 6X1’ @ 120 RPM under 300 Watts w/ 5’ recover below 180W
  • August 22nd – 1:30 Hours.
    • 1X20’ on flats @ 280-290W

Week 4:

  • August 23rd – Travel Day. 1:30 Hours easy
  • August 24th-28th – Tour du Poitou-Charentes – France
  • August 29th – 2:00 Hours Easy
  • August 30th – GP Chateauroux – France
  • August 31st – Travel Day – No Riding

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cakes and Altitude

In Paris, the Monday after the Tour de France is an interesting scene at the airport. Lots of cyclists and fans trying to make their way home. It’s cool—except that I didn’t do the Tour, so everytime someone noticed my logos and gear and asked me how the race went, I had to mumble how sorry I was and explain that I was only there for a team event on the last day.

Cervelo put on a luncheon for Tata Consultancy Services, one of the sponsors, just steps away from the finish line on the Champs-Elysees. It was nice to meet some of our sponsors and their guests and give them some insight about what went on the last day. Cervelo led the race into the final kilometer, with an incredible leadout for Thor from Jeremy and Brett Lancaster. I was trying to explain to people that, although Thor did not take home the green jersey for points this year he did put up one hell of a fight for it, and win a stage, so to me his finish was more endearing than if he had won. I’m sure for him it was different.

I was happy to be there and Paris is Paris (and the Tour is the Tour), but I must admit that sitting in the stands just next to the finish line and watching the action was a little strange. I wanted to be on the other side of the barriers. Next year, I hope to improve enough to get my shot. Considering that my teammate Jeremy Hunt made his debut at the race at the age of 35, nothing is impossible.

It’s back to racing for me now—the Tour of Poland. I’m looking forward to being back in the pack but just a little anxious about not having raced for six weeks after my crash. My fitness is good: I was with some other non-TdF teammates at an altitude camp in Switzerland for the past three weeks.

At altitude, you can’t train the same way as you do at sea level. The most important thing is not to go too hard, so it’s critical to keep an eye on the Powertap and heart rate to make sure both measurements are below threshold. To set those zones, I went to our team medical clinic in Basel to do some Vo2Max tests as well as check my blood profile to see how altitude affected my body. (I would also redo the blood profiles after the training camp.)

For me, this period was all about long hours and work below threshold. Marcelo Albasini, one of our sports directors, designed the training and a typical day was 3-6 hours of riding. Twice per week I’d work on power, which meant 8 intervals of five minutes each on a hill, at 35-40 RPM at about 270 Watts. That’s not terribly difficult, but it was an important test of how my knee was holding up. I didn’t have any problems. I also spent a lot of time doing 15-30 minute intervals on climbs at 260-280 watts and 280-320 watts. Once a week I would work these intervals a little toward the higher end—for example every five minutes getting out of the saddle for 10 seconds and accelerating slightly. Not exactly glamorous, but if you do it properly you feel a big difference after two weeks or so.

One of the things about camps that is fun is spending time with your teammates and staff outside of racing. People are generally more relaxed. We threw a barbecue in one of Switzerland’s parks—one of our sports directors, Jens, is a good cook and made us all some nice steaks. And Ted King has a culinary career in front of him when he decides to leave the pedals behind. He’s one of the only cyclists I know who is also a serious baker. I like the kid, but the combination of his skills and my sweet tooth makes him a danger for me.