Entries For: June 2009
Kilos. Again, but properly this time.
Way back in April 2008 (the 23rd) I was rabbiting on about how I'd just squatted 180kg. I did, but shouldn't have said squatted, they were quarter squats, not real squatsm and way easier - In my defence I didn't know any better at the time. But, a strength coaching course, a lot of reading, training and coaching with the Olympic lifters in at the Mermet and 14 months later ... I know that a squat should be below parallel to be useful and also to be better for your knees. So ... Today .. I'd set a goal of 180 proper squats by July. It's the 30th of June. Last heavy lifts were 172.5kg on Thursday last week (3 x 5). Right. The rain's thundering on the tin roof of the 'haus, cranked up the Star Wars theme, and go! 3 x 3 at 180kg. Proper, genuine, real squats. Done.
I won't crack 1500 watts tonight on the Powertap ... But that's ok. Time now to swing to a power emphasis for a month, the new wattage target is 1550 watts, by August, and 5 x 5 squats at 180kg by August too. That should be do-able. I'd like to get my power cleans better, up to 90kg, and consistant flying 100's below 6.5s at DISC, also by August. The foundations are there now ... Now to use the strenght to generate power!
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Last week, too much ...
Too much strength training! Or at least, not enough recovery. Tuesday, squat heavy and then 30s sprint efforts at Spin. Managed to crack over 1400 watts with ~45 mins recovery after the heavy squats - not bad considering. Wednesday, um? Can't remember! Did something though ... Thursday, work all day at the LBS. Quiet night in at home. Friday, heavy squats, high volume (3 x 5 @ 172.5kg - very hard, for me anyway ...). Saturday .. MISTAKE! go for 4 hour MTB ride with Rich. Too much. I should have kept it to an hour or two. 4 hours was too much, especially after the heavy squats on Friday. Got home with baked legs. Had baked legs for an hour prior to then. Not good! This is going to break my training on Sunday ...
Too keen on Sunday in the 'Haus, trying to prove a point about doing Hard Stuff and not being a whimp ... Squat light-ish (3 x 3 @ 160kg) then a set of deadlifts motivated by sheer bloody mindedness, not sense - 1 x 5 @ 155kg. Oh. Um .. Now I have to sprint at DISC? On these? Errr.... Ok.... Warmup didn't feel too good. Legs very soggy, not answering the question at the surge at the end of the warmup at all. Our efforts were to be two by flying 100's then some short keirins. Did one awful (AWFUL!) flying 100, the time was ok-ish, 6.8 or something, so a high 13 (I've done far worse, after all ...) but I really want to be consistantly under 6.5s at the moment, no chance when using legs that wouldn't move a small rodent, let alone push 98". Climbing the bank felt like turning left at Winch Corner at Baw Baw. No chance I was getting out of the saddle with any quality at all. I pulled the pin for the night and just coached the troops for the remainder of the evening with Nathan. Next week ... And Nath, remind me not to do stupid long rides on the day before a training session! Ich Bin eine Bloody Idiot!
The Apolito's are home this week. They're going to be keen to get their teeth into training. We also have a new drill to break the A stream at Spin. If you're curius, google for "Tabata protocol". Oh yeah ...
The server the aboc website lives on is all new!
My old server was an old Intel Celeron 2.8GHz box, with a clunky old hard drive and was old, well overdue for replacement. I think it was 4 or 5 years old? Way underspec to run modern CMS's like Plone (the CMS this site runs on) and such, that's for sure.
Tonight, the server got a big upgrade, it's now a shiny new Intel Core2Duo E7400 with 4GB of RAM, NetBSD 5.0 (amd64), mirrored 320GB hard drives and other nice fruit.
It should be a bit quicker and more stable, the old one was starting to get quite unreliable. Good-o. I've got to get up at roady-o-clock (before 9am!) tomorrow morning to help out at the time trial at the 1:20, so I'm glad this upgrade seems to have gone well.
aboc now owns another KKRM!
Adding to the stable of serious spin trainers .. we now have I think 6 Kurt Kinetic Road Machine spin trainers for use at our Spin Sessions. Quite a few of them, and a Cyclops Fluid 2 and a Cyclops ProFluid. The KKRM is the best of them, so we keep getting them. They're indestructable and generally the best spin trainer we've ever tried, including the BT ergo, I think the KKRM is a better trainer than that. They're not cheap, RRP is around $800 these days, but worth every cent. I know when I pop a KKRM under a rider at a Spin session they will get a solid workout with no reliability issues.
And on another front, Trek/Bontrager have not been able to sponsor the Summer Sprint Series for 2009-2010, so we're in the hunt for a new series sponsor, and rumour has it we may get a write-up in Ride Cycling Review sometime over summer also.
Bicycling Australia, bunk ....
Every now and then I buy a copy of Bicycling Australia, generally against my better judgement. It's Ride's poor cousin at best, but like a McPlastics thickshake, every now and then I'm drawn to buy it, knowing I'll feel awful afterwards.
The May-June 2009 edition is no surprise. A few years ago BA published some stupid article glowingly praising a fraudulent snake-oil product called "Oxy Shots" (go ahead, have a look at the website, it's .. breathtaking!) which claimed to improve oxygen saturation in the bloodstream by drinking (yes, drinking!) oxygen. Absolute bull, but there you go, and the muppets at BA endorsed the thing, gave it a whole page and the reviewer had never heard of placebos (despite apparently having a coaching qualification ...).
So what have they done this time? "Lact-Away". Yep, A page's 'review' of a product that claims to buffer the body from something THAT DOESN'T EXIST THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Our old friend Lactic Acid! Really! Blood lactate is a fuel and is used in the Cori cycle to produce glucose, it's not a performance inhibitor and LACTIC ACID DOES NOT EXIST IN HUMANS! The reviewer even mentions that she (I assume ... Shannon Johansen sounds female) started feeling like she was lactating more readily than usual. She breastfeeds while riding? Ok .... Strangers in the house and all that? Bizzare ... Anyway .. How would she know her blood lactate levels without a test? You can't feel it. Given that the active ingredient in this stuff is vinegar and salt (if you want to buffer the PH of your blood, sodium carbonate is known to work, and there's protocols for it and it's almost free at the supermarket, not that I recommend it), suggesting that the mugs buy a $125 bottle of this stuff to 'see if you're the one that gets a 20% improvement' is a poor joke at best, and downright irresponsible at worst. Looking for a magic potion to improve performance? BA, EPO works ... maybe you can promote its use?
If you really want to know what causes muscle pain and performance decreases, read this article. It's a little dry .... Here's a relevant quote :
In summary, it appears that the intracellular accumulation of lactate per se is not a major factor in muscle fatigue
And even more interestingly :
Experiments in which lactate was infused into whole animals while the muscles were stimulated to fatigue by nerve or direct muscle stimulation, found that the presence of extracellular lactate, which likely decreased pHi, reduced failure of sarcolemma excitability and restored force production (emphasis mine!)
"Lact-away", no, actually, I'd like MORE blood lactate.
So that's my BA thickshake for this 6 months or so. Fools and their money, and I was the fool again! Hopefully I'll resist the urge next time.
Melbourne will be hosting the 2012 UCI Track Worlds. Good-o! It's an Olympic year (just like '04 was when Melb last had the worlds) so it won't be as important but the world's best will be here for it. Good-O!
On Wednesday I was weak ...
Wednesday I was supposed to squat heavy, but I hadn't recovered from Tuesday's lifts and spin session and I struggled with 160kg and only managed 2 reps of the first set before bailing out.
Today, 4 x 4 @ 170kg squats. Not easy ... but, done!
The Apolitos are in France, and sent me some photos
Some of you may remember the very exciting news a few months ago ... Yes, aboc Sprint Squad t-shirts! Remember? Yeah... Of course you do!
Anyway ... Dino and Emily have some (do you feel uncool for not having one? Give it time ...). They're also in France on holidays. Here's some photos :
I heard at Spin on Tuesday that only leaders wear yellow in July. Right!
I got carried away in the 'Haus but still managed a decent output at Spin
After Lucie and I spent a very relaxing weekend at Bonnie Doon, planting trees and burning weeds, no bikes, no Internet, no weights ... It was back to it yesterday. I got a bit carried away in the 'Haus, and did 3 sets of 5 squats at 165kg, the last two of the third set were really really hard! I had to sit down for some time to recover! It's not often I see 157bpm or more when doing strength work. Finished off with three sets of three cleans at 60kg. Pretty weak, but I was well shattered from the squats. My form was ok, they were definitely power cleans, not squat cleans! Throw the bar up, there's no way I'm going to squat to get under it, if it doesn't get to sternum-height, it can just hit the floor... Oh, it's 5:15pm, I start spin at 7 ... Um ... Food, fast! Bolted down some chocolate Big-M. Ok ....
Bev picked me up at 6 as usual, we loaded the car and I was lethargic indeed. Very dead legs. A slow start, at 6:30 there was just a few people, but by 6:40 we had 18 people packing the rooms, not including Ratty Rattus, who has found a home in the kitchen, it seems. Warmup started at a shade before 7 so about 10 mins of E1, then a couple of 5s HCLR's on the minute to get the legs moving. Ok, they went alright. The next block was 3 x 10s big gear sprints from a very slow start on 5 minute blocks. The first one, 1471 watts. Ok! After the heavy squats I thought I'd be lucky to crack 1400, but 1471, I'm happy with that. The next two were a bit weaker, 1413 and 1369, so the squats and power cleans had some some damage, but that's ok. Quality's dropping off, time to change exercises. The next effort was a chunder-drill, a 30 second sprint. These are spectacularly painful. Phosphagen runs out after 6-8 seconds, fast glycolysis at around 25 seconds, the last 5 seconds is desperate indeed. Only the one to do, and I got it, started at 1158 watts, by the end of the 30 seconds, down to 610! HR up to 182bpm though. Ouch. Big time. Last effort for the night is a pair of 15 second HCLRs just to do a bit of final leg speed stuff. They're not too bad. Happy with the night's work.
I'm supposed to squat heavy again today. Um ... maybe! Going for a swim at lunchtime to see if that opens things up a bit first!
For anyone curious, here's the 30 second max effort graph :
Yesterday I got a call.....
Yesterday one of our Spin attendees called me, asking if we'd sell her copies of the spin program we run on Tuesday because she liked it and couldn't make it after moving to the country. I'd never thought of selling it, but certainly we can give it out. So, from now on, every spin session will be documented online so you can see what we did, and do it yourself if you feel like it. We already do that for our DISC sessions, this seems a logical extension to that. Look here for the sessions for 2009.
If I get sufficiently organised, we'll have the sessions planned beforehand so you can see what we're going to do. That might scare people away though ... Heh!
We're helping at the EJT
I've spent a bit of time knocking up a website for the Eildon Junior Tour. It's a basic Plone site, no frills, content is king ... Anyway ... After a relaxing and totally bike-free few days at Bonnie Doon, it's back to the millstone today. The plan is a set of medium weights in the 'haus at about 4pm, then spin like a loon in the sprinters stream at Spin tonight. Tomorrow, if my legs are ok from today, lift heavy - I've done a couple of sets of 3 reps at 170kg squats now, it's time to up the volume and go for 5's before I bump the weight up. The 3's felt reasonably easy last week which is a good sign.
Nathan ran DISC on Sunday for me, it'll be good to hear how that went from him and some of the others who went along. It'll be back to me running it this Sunday though, so no rest for the keen.
News from the Apolitos is that they've got a nice view in some village in France. Very nice ... No bikes yet though.
By proxy, that is ...
Recently I had a lucky break with my real job, a disposed of video/TV/computer projector, with a bit of fiddling around, started to work again, so I have a 'big screen' TV of sorts, when hooked up to a laptop anyway. It's not HD, but it's pretty good all the same. I also have a TV receiver card for my lappy - mobile SBS ... And SBS, as all who read here will know, do le Tour, mostly live. Good-o. They're responsible for many many sleepless nights over July for the last few years.
Anyway ... enough with the preamble. The Tour this year promises to be one of the best ever. A super-team clash, Saxobank (formerly CSC), with Sastre (maybe blown after the Giro?), the Schlecks coming into form, vs Astana's powerhouse team who have 8 TdF wins in their starting line and a second place or two (Armstrong, Contador and Leipheimer) as well as Popovich and the master of tour tactics calling their shots (Johan Bruneel). Add to the mix Cadel Evans who's hitting form right on time as well, but with a suspect team (again!). Can Cadel benefit from the struggle between the two superteams? Who knows? It'll be fascinating, that's for sure.
So we'll all be watching. I have a big screen, Blackburn has clubrooms with a gas heater, a big fridge (or just put your drinks outside, it'll be cold enough ...) and an oven and stove for the making of fresh popcorn etc. Who's in?! I'm going to confirm with the club tonight at the committee meeting, but I'm proposing the following nights :
Friday 10th July : stage details.
Sunday 19th July : stage details.
Tues 21st July : stage details.
Sat 25th July (Ventoux!) : stage details.
These will be open to all Blackburn and aboc people. $5 to come along and we'll provide the popcorn and snacks.
I'm 90% over this 'flu!
After about a week of 'flu and general malaise, I'm just about right. I had a gentle ride on Saturday and didn't feel awful, which was good, and did some light lifting in the 'haus on Sunday morning which also went well. Lucie and I spent Sunday afternoon at my Dad's place in Baxter using the flame weeder to kill weeds around his pool and start some burnoff fires. Very much fun! Tomorrow morning is supposed to be the second DUCC training session at Blackburn but the BoM says :
Forecast for Tuesday
Cloudy. Isolated showers during the morning, becoming more widespread during the day. The chance of thunderstorms with hail from midday. Possible snow about the nearby hills at night. Winds northwesterly averaging up to 30 km/h increasing to 30 to 40 km/h during the morning then tending west to southwesterly around midday.
So we may be washed out ... We'll see. Tomorrow night's spag boll sauce is all done thanks to Lucie's help in the aboc kitchen, and it's another good one, with a little bit more chilli to warm up the troops.
We've got a committee meeting this Wednesday too, Lucie & I spent some time today running around to find a letterbox, the club has no consistent place to put correspondence and about 6 months ago I promised to sort that out. It's done now, we have a plastic slot glued to the wall next to the door (on the inside!) that any mail, licence forms etc can go in for Rob to pick up. Hopefully the glue will last! Some kind people have put some graffitti on the door and the sponsor sign that we'll sort out tomorrow as well. I think phenol is a good solvent for the sort of textas and paint pens used by the illiterate scrawlers who seem convinced that we need to know they paid us a visit under cover of darkness. Very brave ...
So if all goes well, tomorrow I'll lift heavy, after a week of next to no work I'll drop back down to 160kg, but that should quickly increase to 170kg I expect and if time permits I'll throw in some deadlifts as well and will do a sprint session at Spin and do the usual swap with Nath to run the session.
It's good to be on the mend.
More than one thing at a time
A good friend of mine is a marshal arts instructor (g'day Dan!). He writes an interesting blog on his training. Unless you're into Judo and Jiu Jitsu it's probably a bit dry but you never know. He's a good author and a great communicator. It's always worth having a look at what other athletes use and one of the interesting things he talks about is super efficient training. He's not training athletes in strength or speed, he's teaching techniques. With my Strength & Conditioning hat on I'd say he should incorporate serious strength work for his people, but we'll have that discussion over a beer one night. Stronger people are harder to kill, after all. He'd counter that he'd be able to beat me up despite my strength advantage, and he'd be right, but if he was stronger, it'd be easier for him to do it!
What does he mean by super efficient? Roughly, training for one thing can be used to reinforce other things. How to apply this to cycling, for example? We can do tractical drills with gear restrictions - teaching tactical riding while forcing higher cadences to be burned in - we do this when we limit the gears riders can use in tactical sessions. Doing sprint drills on ergos placed very close together - so we get our strength & power work, but also get used to going flat-out while banging elbows against another rider. Doing sprint drills with reaction work mixed in, spin people will get a chance to deal with this in the next few weeks, we have some new drills for you. I'm sure there's other examples. Food for thought ...
I've spent the last few days crook .. but am starting to feel better!
Jokes about the Swine 'flu abound .. I've had a decent cold with 'flu symptoms for almost a week (aching bones, sore joints, headache, sneezing and coughing etc) - I don't know or care if it's the aporkalypse 'flu, but I'm starting to feel better today. I didn't train on Tuesday or Wednesday at all and won't do anything today either but with a bit of luck and another good night's sleep or two I reckon I'll be ok to go again on the weekend.
How best to make racing better?
Lots of people would think the best way to support a race or racing in general is to sponsor things. Hand out cash for King/Queen of the mountain, primes in crits (does anyone do primes at crits anyway?!), donate cash to add to prizemoney pools and so on.
I think that's sub-optimal. I think the best way to support racing is to get involved in organising, promoting and competing in races. I personally don't know anyone that cares terribly much about how much prizemoney there is for a race. I won a moderately big handicap way back in my enduro days (Lenny Hammond H'cap 2004) and it paid $250 for the win. Not bad, but to be honest, if it was $10 or $500, it wouldn't have made any difference to me and I didn't even consider prizemoney when I entered. The win was the thing and Mal Sawford's writeup in Cycling News and the CCCC website was the crown jewels.
Most of the people I race with and work with don't care about prizemoney. They like bling prizes though, but using bling prizes to effect is the key. The way CCCC use an aggregate for their crit series, for example, is fantastic. Riders from every grade have a chance (although with CCCC's crits, realistically it's won by A grade riders most of the time but that's because they promote grades on wins and winners trickle up until they stop winning) and it encourages regular participation. Aggregates, rewards for outstanding performances and the like are good, I think, and our experience at the Summer Sprint Series seems to hold that to be true. The few A grade lads that win most of the races most of the time don't make the field, it's a quality field across the grades that makes for great racing for everyone and I think prizes and event structures should reflect that.
At the SSS we scaled our aggregate performances by grade and while an A grader did win the overall, daily aggregate prizes were split across each grade and in '07-'08 the aggregate was tied between an A grader and a C->B grader and it was decided by fractions of a second in the end, so really, everyone did have a chance. I reckon we've stumbled onto a good model that allows riders at any level to have a chance at the 'big' prizes, without us as organisers spending loads of cash. If I give you $50, you pop it in your wallet and spend it on who knows what, it gets lost in general revenue and forgotten .. but if you win some 'thing', it's a better prize, I think and if you have a chance to win the same prize as the top riders, then grading really does work.
Back to supporting ... The best thing riders can do is to hype the events they want to happen. If you want a quality field to race in, YOU have to help get people there. That means talking up events with your riding chums etc. Just showing up on the day to race is not enough.
Our first lot of training sessions for the Deakin CC start tomorrow morning
As I've mentioned before, aboc has been asked to, and is, providing a set of 10 one-hour training sessions at Blackburn for the Deakin Uni Cycling Club. We're also sponsoring them a little, aboc IT Consulting is hosting their web site. The forecast is ok ... it might be cold but probably dry.
The BoM says :
Forecast for Tuesday
Cloudy. Dry for much of the day although a lttle patchy rain at times. Light northeast to southeast winds.
Before then, tonight I'm doing a plone training course, from 1am to 5am and then have to be at Blackburn at 7 to take a new lad through the basics of riding fixed on a track. Not much sleep tonight and I think I'll need a very easy day tomorrow before the spin session. I've had some news from the Apolito branch of the aboc Sprint Squad. The hotel they're in in the US (California) has a gym and some excercise bikes. I'm expecting to hear that Emily has broken at least one by the end of the week!
Speaking of spin, Lucie and I have cooked another big bolla for dinner and it tastes pretty good. Bring your appetite if you're coming.
DISC - as it's the long weekend this weekend, we're considering not running a session at DISC this Sunday. Will confirm with Nathan tomorrow night and put a note up on the website and do a bit of a ring around to let everyone know. So, who has Julian, Carmel and Jonathon's contact details?!
Speaking of DISC, last Sunday's session went well. Despite the Apolito's being absent and Mason and Jason being under the weather, we had a turnout of 7 (9 if you include the coaches, myself and Nathan). The enduros all left pretty-well shattered, the drill where we pace them behind the motorbike and then they have to attack off the front is a toaster, that's for sure. It was popular, if brutally hard. With Em and Dino away the sprint squad got to do 4 x 1/2 lap jumps in pairs, 2 seated and two with out of the saddle starts and we finished with 2 baby keirins. 4 laps at 40km/h behind the bike and then 1 and a half laps to race. We were all on little gears, 86" or so which made it interesting and a real tax on leg speed. I was pretty happy with how I went, I've not been feeling all that well (swine 'flu jokes, bring 'em on!) but I managed to hit the bunch pretty hard in the baby keirins and get 55km/h on the small gear from not much of a leadout. Certainly not unhappy with that effort.
The Vic masters time trial series got underway on the weekend as well, and both Martin Lama, who many aboc'ers know well and Shane 'The Llama' Miller won their grades (B and A respectively). I'm not sure how Martin managed to get into B grade, but it won't be for long! Great effort, lads. The turnout at the event was pretty healthy despite the 450km driving to do a 20km time trial. It shows that there's a definate market for time trialing. I'd like to think that Blackburn has had something to do with it, as we've been pushing the ITT thing for a few years now at the Boule' and it's growing. A lot of early promotional work was done by Nick Bird last year which really brought about a critical mass of riders who knew about the event and gave it a go, and it goes to show that if you build it, and you PUBLICISE IT! they will come ... I ran out of time to do the promo cards for the Australia Day Madison for tomorrow night's Brunswick Madison No.2 but hopefully they'll run another and we'll get something for that in time.