Century Training Series: Day 8 (Week 1 Re-cap)

Today marks the official start of Week 2 of my Century Training Series where I’m documenting my efforts to train for my first century ride in late September 2009. Because today is a scheduled rest day, I’ll use it to conduct a re-cap of Week 1. Here’s a link to the Century Training Plan I’m following. Week 1 started off rather easy with a one hour endurance ride scheduled for Tuesday. I actually thought this might be too easy for me but I did it anyway and completed it with no problems. On Wednesday I had to skip an interval workout because of a late afternoon thunderstorm. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday saw me ride per the century training plan. As the week went on I found the rides getting a little tougher as the required time at endurance pace was lengthened with it topping out at two hours on Saturday. In a few weeks I’ll be doing Saturday rides of three to four hours in length which kind of blows my mind right now. Here’s a recap of my cycling numbers from last week as well as today’s measurements: Total Riding Time: 7h:24m Total Miles: 109.3 Neck: 17.25 in Chest: 46 in Left Bicep: 14.5 in Right Bicep: 14.5 in Waist: 47.5 in Left Thigh: 29 in Right Thigh: 27.5 in Left Calf: 18.75 in Right Calf: 18.25 in A look at the numbers The total mileage of 109.3 miles is the most I’ve ridden in a week since I did a cycling fundraiser from Connecticut to Ohio over 15 years ago. If I hadn’t had to skip Wednesday...

Century Training Series: Day 7

Today marks the end of my first week of training for my first century and I’m glad tomorrow is a rest day. I’ve ridden more miles this week than I have in over 15 years (I’ll post my week 1 mileage tomorrow). Today was a 1.5 hour endurance pace ride and I waited until this evening to do it because tomorrow is a rest day. I arrived at White Rock Lake at about 6 PM but ended up having to fix a flat on my front wheel before I could even start. Very frustrating. The tube was one that I had patched before so I should have expected it. I put in my last new tube which means I need to hit the bike shop tomorrow to pick up a couple. Another good reason it’s a rest day tomorrow. By the time I got rolling, after having problems with my pump, I wasn’t in the best of moods and in the interest of time shortened my warm up to 15 minutes vice the normal 30. After the warm up I picked it up to 15 mph and did my best to hold it steady. After 30 minutes I didn’t feel too good and thought it could be contributed to either not hydrating enough, the bad start or the shortened warm up. I eventually settled down and kept the pace up for the next 30 minutes until I stopped to refill my water bottle. It was a short stop but I think I may have drank too much water too fast because for the next 10 minutes or so I...

A few random cycling questions & thoughts

Resting heart rate. I’m familiar with resting heart rate and how it’s related to your fitness (the lower it is generally the more fit you are; some say a better gage is heart rate recovery). Today I decided to check mine and it was 56 bpm. That is a huge improvement for me since the last time I can remember having my heart rate taken I was well above 70 bpm. This is great news for me since there are studies out there that a resting heart rate above 70 bpm is a significant risk factor in heart disease. Do you track your resting heart rate? Women cyclists. As most of you who read my blog know, I do most of my riding down at White Rock Lake here in Dallas. It’s just convenient for me. There are always lots of cyclists out there with many of them being women. There are plenty of guys riding bikes that have aerobars, profile bars or just full out time trail or tri machines. What I’ve noticed though is that about 80% of the women I see are riding some kind of aerobar or tri setup. And every one of them pass me like I’m standing still. Is there a reason so many women ride this setup? Energy levels. Even after having a very tough ride yesterday I found that my energy levels for the rest of the day were very good. Normally, after a ride like that, I would want to take a nice afternoon nap. Yesterday I didn’t even think about it. I’m hoping that means my riding is paying...

Century Training Series: Days 5 & 6

Day 45 Nothing special on Day 4. Was supposed to be a 30 minute recovery ride but I wound up having to skip it. Day 56 This is the first Saturday of the Century Training Plan. Saturday’s will traditionally be the long endurance rides and with this being the first Saturday it was 2 hours in length but will increase over the next 12 weeks peaking at 5 hours. I arrived at the White Rock Trail in enough time to start by 8:30 with plans to be finished by 11 but a phone call delayed me from starting until 9. That would translate to some hurting in the heat near the end of the ride. Starting out slowly I did my warm up for 30 minutes or six miles. I began in the small chain ring and slowly increased my speed and shifted into the big chain ring over the next 30 minutes. After the warm up was complete I was riding along at 15 mph which is my planned endurance pace for my century. Now I would try to hold that for 2 hours. After 30 minutes I didn’t feel too good and felt like I was struggling. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with having nothing for breakfast (besides six fig newtons) which was a big tactical error. At this point I was wondering how I was going to ride another 1.5 hours. I just tried to settle down and keep going. Before long I had reached the one hour point but it was starting to get hot. Real hot. Between the 1:40 and 1:50...

List of Tour de France Contests

UPDATE: I’ve redirected all Tour de France Contest posts to this page and updated the links for 2014 Tour de France Contests, Giveaways and Special Sales by my sponsors. I’ll add more as I find’em but if you know of one not listed please leave it in the comments or contact me. With the Tour de France in full swing it seems like everyday I’m seeing where somebody is running a contest or giveaway ranging from trips to bicycles to gear. I thought I’d try and put them all in one spot. Here you go. www.RoadID.com – Enter for a chance to win a VIP trip to the 2015 Tour de France as well as 21 daily prizes. Specialized #itsmytour – Win your dream ride! Enter for a chance to win a bike ridden during the 2014 tour as well as a pro-level bike of your choosing from Specialized. Here’s a list of special sales and/or promotions by some of our sponsors: Competitive Cyclist Tour de France Sale: Daily Deals for all 21 Stages July 4th Blowout at Performance Bike 40% off select items at Pactimo every time the yellow jersey changes...

Century Training Series: Days 3 and 4

Day 3 I was all set to ride my first interval day of the century training plan but mother nature decided not to cooperate. As I was getting off the train from work it was just starting to sprinkle and by the time I got home (a 5 minute drive) it was a downpour of biblical proportions. Tons of rain and it was headed straight for White Rock Lake. I decided then that riding was going to be a washout. Day 4 Today saw better weather but it was hotter. The temp at 6:30 PM was in the high 90s and the heat index was probably over 100F. It was windy too with it blowing 10-20 mph out of the South which gave me a headwind for half of the 25 miles I rode. Today’s scheduled ride was a 1.5 hour endurance pace ride which, for me, means 1.5 hours while maintaining 15 mph. Because of the 1.5 hour ride I opted to only do a 15 minute warm up which put me in the saddle for 1 hour 45 minutes. I felt OK but the wind was brutal in spots and made it hard to maintain 15 mph with the headwind. There was one uphill spot where I couldn’t maintain 15 mph but made it up on the backside. I ended up in the small chain ring for the most of the ride which didn’t bother me in the least. Overall I think it was a good ride but not easy. When riding these endurance rides I’ve switched my computer from a speed/distance display to a speed/time display....

Cycling Warm Up: why you need to do one

By now you’ve probably seen a few stages of the Tour de France already and have seen some of shots of the riders warming up on trainers before the start of a stage. Ever wonder why they’re on those trainers before going out and riding for 4-5 hours? It’s not so the paparazzi can get their photos. They’re on those trainers getting their bodies warmed up and ready to ride before the stage starts. If they don’t do this before the stage starts they won’t be ready for the physical stress of the stage and will likely perform poorly on the stage and risk potential injury. The same goes for those of us who are just struggling to get our daily mileage in. If we don’t warm up properly we won’t be able to reap the benefits of our training. Up until a few weeks ago I really didn’t warm up at all. I would hop on the bike and start out at 15-17 mph even though my target speed for my century is 15 mph. Starting out fast like that made me suffer later in the ride because I had not adequately warmed up and expended too much energy early. Since then I have become religious in doing a 30 minute warm up before actually starting my training ride. That 30 minutes equates to six miles for me and seems to work good. I had no plan for how I would do my warm up other than easy spinning with a gradual increase in my speed over those first 6 miles until I was at 15 mph at...

Century Training Series: Day 2

Today would see me actually doing my first ride as part of the Century Training Series. It was nothing serious, just an hour at endurance pace. I consulted with @331miles regarding how to work in my warm up and we agreed that I ride my warm up of six miles then do an hour at my projected century pace which is 15 mph. The weather was pretty nice actually with it not being as hot or humid as it has been the last couple of weeks. It made for a pretty pleasant ride. There was a large number of cyclists around White Rock Lake today too. This was the first day I’ve ridden there since the Tour De France started so I’m thinking some folks have been watching on TV and deciding to hit the road. Call it the TDF effect. Overall I think this ride went pretty well. Near the hour point I was starting to feel it a little but I think that’s because of my bibs. Here are the numbers for today’s ride: Total Time: 1:36:11 (1 hour at endurance; 36 minutes warmup/cooldown) Avg: 14.6 mph Distance: 23.49 miles Crunches: 20 Push Ups: 20 I was going to make a copy of the training plan found in Bicycling to post here but won’t be able to. I emailed Bicycling for permission and was told I could request a PDF of the article but prices start at $1900. I like my readers but that won’t be...

Century Training Series: Day 1

Well, today kicked off my Century Training Series in which I’ll be blogging daily during my 12-week training plan as I get ready to ride my first century in September. I’m following the basic plan in the June 2009 issue of Bicycling magazine for those interested in following along. Since it’s Day 1 it means it’s Monday which is sort of anti-climactic since it’s a scheduled rest day. Because it’s a rest day I’ve decided that Monday’s will be the day I update everyone on my progress as far as measurements. And since it’s the first Monday we need to establish a baseline for comparison later. In truth, I probably should have established this baseline several months ago so I could measure my progress to date but hindsight is 20/20. Establishing a baseline now will allow you to see how my body is changing during this 12-week training plan. Without further ado, here are my measurements: Weight: ? (I meant to weigh yesterday since I don’t have a scale…look for my weight update in 2 weeks) Neck: 17.5 in Chest: 46 in Left Bicep: 14.25 in Right Bicep: 14.5 in Waist: 48.5 in Left Thigh: 28.5 in Right Thigh: 28.5 in Left Calf: 19.25 in Right Calf: 19 in My waist measurement is disturbing. It was measured around the largest part of my stomach which is a horizontal line around the body that bisects the navel. This is how the military measures your waist size and includes your love handles. Most people don’t wear their pants that high so your pant size is usually smaller than your actual measurement....

Tomorrow is the day it starts

Anyone following my blog or tweets knows that I’ve been talking about this for a while. Back on April 1, 2009 I made a post about It’s time to get serious about cycling (my weight loss). Kind of a dubious day to make a post like that but I wasn’t fooling around. In that post I mentioned that I would register for and ride a century. That century will be the Waco Wild West Century in Waco, Texas on September 26, 2009. Tomorrow is the day I officially start training for it. I won’t technically be starting from ground zero when it comes to my training for this century. I’ve been riding anywhere from 50-70 miles a week for the past two months but it hasn’t followed any specific plan. It was mainly to get me back in the saddle and accustomed to riding more. On July 4th I hit the 12-week point until my century and the point where I told myself I would start training by following a plan. That plan is the 10-week basic training plan found in the June 2009 issue of Bicycling Magazine on page 70. I know it’s a 10-week plan and I have 12 weeks to go. I’ll repeat weeks 1 and 2 twice so I can get used to the plan and make any adjustments I need before the 10-week point. I’m going to follow it as closely as I can so that anyone else thinking about riding a century, and wants to follow my plan, will know what to expect. My plan is to make a blog post everyday about...
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