3.0.2 – 2013 Training Log: January – September

2013 Training Log: January Through September

Read about our 2013 Bike Goals
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Marian and I are training for the 2013 Tour Season. I will try to provide monthly progress reports on our training, using the above chart. We have five places we want to ride, shown as triangles. In addition, we are aiming for 3000 bike miles, and 400 bike hours, which will be shown on the graph.
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09 bike goals chart
After taking about half of June and all of July off, we got in a solid month of training in August. The likelihood of achieving 400 hours of training and 3000 miles of biking seems to be very challenging now.
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Our log is included below, in reverse chronological order, with the most recent one at the top. You may jump to a particular month, rather than scrolling down: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August, and September.  October, November, and December will be summarized.
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September Summary

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We entered September with many expectations.  With just Build 3 left, we believed we were on the verge of touring.  Unfortunately, we were thwarted.  Instead of a triumphant completion of our training, I injured my left shoulder. I lost the rest week at the end of Build 2.  I simultaneously performed Build 3 while rehabilitating my left shoulder. I lost little fitness, but did not advance as far as I needed in order to be tour ready.  I was hampered by general weakness and pain in my left shoulder, limiting the time I could ride.
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We tested our tour readiness on 30 September, and were unhappy with the results.  Carrying 60 pounds, we rode from Lexington Reservoir to the top of Old Santa Cruz Highway.  We turned back, rather than completing the remainder of the ride.  My shoulder was too sore, and I did not have the necessary conditioning to complete the ride.  The realization that I was not yet ready for the PCH was a bitter pill to swallow.
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An alternative, to ride our Mountain Bikes at either MOAB, or on the OC&E Trail in Klamath, is on hold.  My mountain bike developed a serious frame problem.  I am uncertain whether our frame guy can rescue my bike.  The worst case scenario is that I will have to buy a different Mountain Bike.  I will consider the alternatives, once I hear from him.
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August Summary

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We got back into the swing of training, within hours of Paul and Helen leaving. We took them to the airport for their 06:30 AM boarding, anxious to resume our training.
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But, the question was where should we start?  Until we stopped, we had followed a carefully designed 23 week training regime, and were on the verge of completing it.  Had there been no interruptions, we would have moved on touring.  But, we hadn’t.  Fortunately, Friel anticipates 23 weeks of training, immediately followed by six weeks of racing. Friel’s re-entry point is at Base 3, followed by as much of Build 1, Build 2, and Build 3 as possible.  If necessary, Build 1 can be omitted.  We elected to enter at Base 3, and omit Build 1, hoping to return to tour form by September.  Elsewhere, we discuss the ins and outs of training.
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The biggest change was to move from Threshold rides to AC Hills, without benefit of flat AC rides.  We had not attempted that before.  AC Hills were no better than I remembered them. It was hard to be enthusiastic about flogging your body as hard as you could, three successive time, before resting.
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We also changed our climbing routine. On Wednesdays, we rode up the Old Santa Cruz Highway, near Lexington Reservoir, we added 20 pounds of weight. While that may not seem like much, it made a huge difference, especially the first week. The second week was easier to manage. While it is easy to congratulate ourselves on succeeding, we were sobered by the realization that Marian usually carries 50 pounds, and I carry 60 pounds. So, while we may still have the itch to tour, we aren’t ready, not being nearly as fit as we were in June.
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We have been balancing training with continued work on the bathroom. We lift weights or ride in the mornings. We eat lunch, rest for a time, and then chip away at the bathroom. I am relearning the ins and outs of tiling walls. We still ride on the weekends.
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We rewarded ourselves with a ride around part of San Francisco Bay. While not a training ride in the usual sense of the word, that is, we went less than 25 miles, and had no panniers, we were certainly in a grand swirl, with hundreds of biking tourists.
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Where is this all taking us? We are not sure. Frankly, having lost so much momentum, I wonder if we will do any touring at all this year. That is a painful realization. I am 62, and, if I do no touring for an entire season, I have chopped out a significant part of my touring total, perhaps 10% of the remaining time I have. I have thought about riding the OC&E Trail, near Klamath, or going to Moab. Marian still wants to do more of the Pacific Coast Highway, but I am worried that we aren’t physically ready, and that the days are already much shorter than they were in high summer. And, soon, the winds will shift, and become very unpredictable.
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July Summary

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July was devoted, almost entirely, to preparing for the visit of our nephew, Paul, and his family, and then enjoying their time with us. We solved many planning problems in the bathroom, a far more complex series of steps than we had imagined. We stopped short of actual tiling before our visitors came, having a horror of tiles sliding off the walls because we had no time to work the grout in.
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We had a delightful time with our visitors. Ella, five, and her sister, Beth, two, were cautious, at first, especially around our dog, Sierra. We took them to a number of local sights, giving them a taste of Northern California. We hope they had as good a time as we did.We are re-evaluating the unmet 2013 goals. The GAP ride is probably not possible this year, although we still have hopes of doing one or more sections of the Pacific Coast Highway, as well as the OC&E ride at Klamath Falls.
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Our conditioning slipped, due to the six week layoff, where we did not train. My weight training suggests that I did not loose much strength. However, my aerobic conditioning has suffered. We took the Joe Friel recommendation, and elected to restart at Base 3. This means our six weeks of down time cost us about 12 week of training.
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We picked up our training sequence the morning we saw Paul and his family off to the airport. We are concentrating on our aerobic conditioning. With our hill rides, we are using the Old Santa Cruz Highway, which makes for a constant climb, rather than the rolling hills around Lexington Reservoir. This brute force approach will be the quickest way for us to recover our aerobic conditioning. We will incrementally add more weight, until we are back to touring loads.
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June Summary

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June was a much less productive month than we had hoped for. We trained for 15 days, instead of the planned 26 days. Even though we knew we would have to interrupt our training sequence, we continued to do increasingly difficult loaded rides, riding up Eureka Canyon Road near Aptos, and Calavares Road, not far from Fremont.
And then it was time to set aside thoughts of ourselves, and think about our family. First was a happy event, going to Santa Cruz for Elizabeth’s graduation. We also devoted a considerable amount of time to our bathroom renovation, at the cost of training.
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May Summary

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May was a transition month in our training. We met some family obligations by traveling to Oregon. Our son, David, returned from the University for the summer. We completed the Friel training sequence, and began self-designed tour sequences.Looking back to 2012, we had done two practice tours by this point. In late April, 2012, we rode from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. And in mid May, we rode from San Jose to Monterey. Last year, because we had made many modifications to the Friel sequence, I did not feel as fit as I had in other years. However we were ready to begin touring in June.This year, we stayed more true to the Friel sequence. We delayed loaded, back-to-back rides until late May. As a result, we are not quite as tour ready yet. But, there has been little harm done as we have had no specific start date in mind.

  • We completed Build 3, and ended the Friel training sequence without doing the two Peak weeks.
  • We stood down from training the week of 6 May, to visit my Uncle David in Oregon. We scouted the OCE& Rails to Trails in Klamath Falls, Oregon. We concluded we will need our Mountain Bikes. Water logistics will have to be solved before we can do this ride.
  • On 18 May, we rode Mount Hamilton, one of our biking goals for 2013. We rode the mountain on our Surly bikes.
  • We began a new sequence, called Tour 1, in place of Peak 1.We discovered that all web site route planning tools are not the same. Compared against my Garmin 705 Edge ascent measurements, GPSies.com agrees within 3%. Toaster is far less accurate, under estimating climbing by 25-40%.
    • Monday – moderate weights; Tuesday – Threshold ride; Wednesday – , loaded hill ride; Thursday – loaded level’ish ride; Saturday – AC ride; Sunday – recovery ride.
    • Monday – Thursday simulate loaded touring conditions
  • As part of training, with progressively more climbing, we rode a loop around Uvas Reservoir near Morgan Hill, and did an out-and-back on along Elena Road near Los Altos Hills.
  • We are preparing our house for visitors – Paul Beeson, Cathy’s youngest, his wife and children, are planning to visit us in late July. So, until we can be safely assured of certain remodel projects being in good shape, we have decided to delay any extended touring. That probably means we cannot do extended tours until August. Our challenge will be to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to go on tour, without burning out.
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April Summary

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The threat of winter rain has given way to the promise of endless sunshine. Temperatures have begun to rise. Gone are the cold, dreary days. This means many things, not the least of which is touring season. Had we chosen to brave the capricious winds, we could have begun touring in coastal California. Now, soon, we will be able to tour where we wish.Throughout the month we focused on overall conditioning, We completed the three week Build 2 sequence, and started the first days of Build 3. There are two big differences between Build 1 and Build 2, plus two changes to the training schedule to prepare us for touring, for a total of four changes

  • First, the weight regime changed on schedule. Gone are the long, lower impact steps – three sets of sixty steps with 20 pounds for each leg, to be replaced by two sets of fifteen steps with 75 pounds for each leg. (I use a 15 inch step, which is about the distance between my pedals when they are in the 6 o’clock – 12 o’clock position).
  • Second, on schedule, the AC intervals moved from flat ground to a hill. We use the 8% grade from the Alma Bridge up to the Old Santa Cruz Highway at Lexington Reservoir. After warming up, we pedal as hard as we can to get our heart rates up into zone 5, for three minutes. Then we rest, coasting down the hill and circling at the bottom for another three minutes. We perform the sequence three times.
  • Third, we moved our hill work from a stand-alone activity on Wednesday, to Thursday, and combined it with the AC Hill work described above. Prior to Build 2, we parked at the dam, rode around Lexington for thirty minutes, and then returned to our starting point. Now, we start at Alma bridge, ride to the dam, and then return. Immediately after getting back to our starting point, we do our AC Hill work.
  • Fourth, we added loaded rides on Wednesday and Saturday. Marian rides with 50 pounds, I ride with 60 pounds. On Wednesdays, we ride in town, often on the Guadalupe Trail to the Airport for an hour. On Saturdays, we ride for longer periods. We started with three hour rides and will work up to five hour rides, adding 30 minutes each week.
  • We have yet to schedule back-to-back long rides of four or more hours. Such rides approximate touring conditions, especially if we can work in 2000-4000 feet of climbing for each ride.

We are devoting more attention to our summer tours.

  • We had hoped to squeeze in the Klamath Rails-to-Trails ride, but weather forestalled that early in the month. Then, after I required several stitches in my finger, due to a non-bike related accident, we lost our opportunity in April.
  • The C&O Tow Path / Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) remains our center piece ride, but we probably won’t do it before September, now. Summer heat and humidity in Pennsylvania and Maryland, would be a major test, for us, on an extended summer ride. Also, our daughter will be graduating, our son will return from college, and we will have visitors from the UK. All of those things make a month long absence difficult.
  • We could still ride portions of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), breaking it up into one or two week chunks. We have been exploring, by car, the route for the PCH ride from San Jose down to San Luis Obispo. The highway is astonishingly remote, in the most populous state in the country. The ride is quite demanding. far more so than the Oregon Coast. With few places to eat, camp, or stop, we will have to carefully manage water and food. With so few camp sites. it is almost reduced to do-or-die.

While Marian has been pretty healthy, I have been working through more physical issues than I did last year. Having toured last summer, I’m more aware of impacts of injuries on touring. Maybe age, or averages are catching up with me, because I do not sense I have been over training.

My left hip has been an ongoing problem, starting in March. On tour, this could become a show stopper. I noticed left hip discomfort with the low weight / high repetition steps of Base 3 / Build 1. In prior years I had the same strain, but it seemed more pronounced. So, rather than have a Doctor (with no interest in salvaging my conditioning regime) tell me to stop, I thought I would try the internet. My self diagnosis was Iliotibial Band strain. My remedy was to reschedule the weight sequence during the week to coincide with “better” days, avoid heavy climbing on the bike, and use liberal amounts of ice whenever and where ever it hurt. Happily, I turned the corner. (I cannot say enough about ice – it is an absolute marvel at helping to heal my body).

I also experienced a new injury with my left heel, coincident with the heavier step weights of Build 2. It might have been plantar fasciitis. For several days I could hardly walk. After religiously treating it with ice, it subsided to pain when I first started walking. Now, it seems to be gone. Pedaling seemed to have no impact on the heel, which allowed me to continue with the majority of my training.

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March Summary

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Three months have passed in the new year. It is already a quarter over, and I am just getting used to 2013. I was even more surprised to see 62 on my birthday cake. Marian and I continue to use the modified Friel training program to strengthen our bodies, and prepare us for long distance touring. On schedule, we completed the final two weeks of Friel’s Base 3, and two of the three weeks of Build 1. Overall, we were successful, although I continue to have nagging problems with my left leg. I am hoping the rest week will get me right.

  • The final week of any of Friel’s Base or Build sequence is a rest week. The approach is to do half as much, each day, as usual. This allows the body to heal, but still shocks it enough to maintain overall conditioning. Because of “real world” circumstances, I didn’t do that. Instead of having four easy days, I worked on the house for two days, and did two-a-days twice to make up for it. This turned out to be surprisingly stressing, more so than a “normal” day. This may have contributed to the leg issues I experienced later in the month.
  • We started Build 1. That means AC Intervals, my least favorite ride. This is a ride impossible to hide from, because it demands that the rider push their heart rate as high as they can possibly go. First, we warm up, starting with spins. Next is an excursion into Zone 3 for two minutes, followed by a rest, and then Zone 4 for two more minutes, with another rest. After that, the rider makes three maximum efforts. For three minutes, we ride as hard as we can, pushing our heart rate up as high as we can. There is an all too brief three minute rest period. Then the cycle is repeated, two more times. This ride is completely draining, and lowers my IQ by about 20 points. I need an immediate load of carbs and a couple of hours to recover.
  • I installed a Brooks B17 Imperial saddle . Marian got it for me at Christmas, and the time was finally right to mount it. I followed the directions, including applying very expensive Proofide. The literature (a quaint term still used in the internet age) suggests up to 1,000 miles to adjust to my leather saddle. The saddle is not yet as pliable as I would like. However, I am becoming accustomed to it. Hopefully, this will erase saddle issues I had on the Oregon tour which contributed to stopping at Gold Beach, rather than pressing on to Crescent City.

We had hoped to take a break from our usual training drudge, with a field trip to Moab. We planned on riding our Mountain Bikes with our son, David, and Marian’s brother, Jim. Unfortunately, David’s school obligations kept him from doing the trip. We will find a slot at the end of summer, when the heat in Utah has abated. That will probably be after Labor Day. As a substitute , we explored riding the Oregon California and Eastern Woods Line (OC&E) rails to trails State Park, near Klamath Falls, Oregon. Unfortunately, freezing temperatures and rain / snow hit both weeks we would have gone. Living in the Santa Clara Valley of California shelters us from the weather of most of the country. It sometimes comes as a surprise that we cannot do rides where we want, when we want to do them.

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February Summary

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A month has come and gone, and with it a largely successful month. Marian and I completed Friel’s Base 2, and moved into Base 3, where we are in the middle of week 2 of 4. I reinjured my hip at the start of the first week of Base 1, but was able to get back into the swing of things, missing two days. Rather than repeat the week, we will press forward.Base 3 is more stressful than Base 2, and reminded us, in no uncertain terms, that we have far to go before we are ready to tour.

  • We went straight to threshold rides. We are doing two cycles of 20 minutes in Zone 4, followed by 10 minutes of rest. In prior years, we worked our way up, starting with set sets of intervals of 5 minutes in Zone 4 followed by three minutes of rest, and building up to 20 minutes. As much as anything, riding a Threshold becomes mental, as long as the legs hold out.
  • We broke out hills as a separate activity. We are now doing dedicated rides of about 60 – 90 minutes on the hills of Lexington Reservoir. In the past we combined hills with long rides. This change will give us more flexibility in deciding where to do our long rides.
  • Steps remains a loathsome experience. Long ago, I constructed a sturdy table that is the same height as my cranks. In Base 3, the emphasis is on repetitions, not weight, and only uses 20 pounds. I started with three sets of 40 steps on each leg, moving to 50 this week, and finishing with 60 next week. This, too, becomesa mental exercise until near the end, when the legs tremble.
  • We continue to ride our Surly’s without loading. We will do some kind of loading exercise, starting with Build 1.

We now have a date for our trip to Moab. David, our son, has agreed to go during his Spring break. And Jim Easton, Marian’s brother, has also agreed to come. We plan to meet in Moab on Sunday, 17 March (my birthday), and ride and / or hike for three days. Marian and I are concerned about our conditioning and the elevation (over 4000 feet vs sea-level). I would like to ride the famous Slip Rock Trail. Jim wants to look at fossils. After we return to California, we will pick up with Build 1.

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January Summary

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Every journey begins with the first step. Our January step was modest. We did not begin training until 21 January. I was down with the flu, and Marian was recovering from an injuryWe have based our training on Joe Friel’s Cycling Past 50. We have tailored his suggested sequences to our specific needs. We started at week 5, Base 2, rather than Base 1. We have also replaced his weight routines with Joyce Vadrel based weight routinesTraining in Northern California enables us to ride outside, almost whenever we wish, if we are willing to don rain gear. The latter part of January was dry, a good thing for bike riding, but doesn’t add to the Sierra snow pack. We confined our rides to San Jose. Much of our riding on the nearly completed Guadalupe River Trail from downtown San Jose to (almost) Alviso. The rides are reasonably pleasant, although the large homeless encampments will return with more mild weather. With an eye toward rain, we moved our weight training to the attic. That dark and dreary cave motivates us to complete our sessions as quickly as possible.Our January training totaled 10.9 hours and 76.5 miles.
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Read about our 2013 Training Rides
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