Speed and Power

Speed and Power
Excellent training session yesterday. If anything a good training session is when you can enjoy high energy levels the whole way.

2hr 21min for a climbing circuit that took 2hr 56min back in April. Working on speed and power just now. The long training sessions during the start and middle of the season just left me tired all the time. I’m sure that they built up some stamina too, but I’m not sure how much. Now that the focus is on shorter harder sessions I’m able to recover to strong energy levels. A good test is the second climb on this circuit – from Moutiers to Notre Dame du Pré. It’s long, steep and unrelenting with 2625ft of climbing. If you are a little bit tired mentally then it is a torture going up there. You just want it to be over and become almost annoyed by the endless switchbacks and steep sections that seem to go on forever. It becomes a real slog. When your energy levels are good it’s totally different – hard and challenging but not demoralising. Yesterday I felt good all the way setting another PB time by 7 minutes. The climbs were at high heart rates – between 155 and 170 and the overall workout was hard enough to wipe me out in the evening and to make sleeping slightly uncomfortable – just like after a long race. This makes me think that this high intensity training is probably the best preparation for racing at the moment – especially as there is no deep tiredness building up. I’ve searched the internet for information on how to properly build up endurance but there is astonishingly little information available. 

During the session I made a point of sprinting up the steepest sections – working on power output. The first climb up to above Hautecoeur was done in 4th gear but most of the steeper second climb was in 3rd. After sprinting it’s hard to settle back into a climbing rhythm with the legs hurting and heart pumping, but just focusing on the core muscles and relaxing the legs it’s astonishing how quickly things settle down. The “shear” mechanism of pivoting on the hips and not centred on the spine (described in previous post) is the key to making this work. Even when you feel emptied you can keep up a good power level.
Apples and Carrots
Body weight is now down to 68kg and this makes a big difference. I just stopped eating biscuits, bread, cakes and sweets and after being stuck seemingly permanently at 69kg the weight started to drop again. Giant raw carrots, apples, bananas etc. might not be as satisfying as sugary and fatty biscuits – but they fill you up eventually. Weight just drops off. Yesterday’s workout was around 3000 calories – it’s almost impossible to eat enough carrots and apples to replace that – so weight loss is guaranteed.
Energy Levels
The issue of energy levels is interesting. I got stuck trying to understand exactly what “energy” is. The more you look at it the more you realise that nobody defines it the same way – not even scientists. It’s another elusive issue like “time” which everyone thinks they understand but nobody actually does. Anyway, I think that I have a useful answer that explains why “energy” both exists and doesn’t exist at the same time – but I’ll write about that properly in another post soon.
Creak Creak
My bike is starting to creak when climbing. Chris’s does the same and drives him nuts but even the bike shop can’t locate the problem. The Canyon has done 9000km (mostly climbing) now without the bearings being serviced so it’s probably about time to have a look at all of this. I like to do my own servicing where possible – but sealed bearings are not always ideal to experiment with and special tools are often required. The advantage with doing your own mechanics is that you learn something about your equipment every time. Unfortunately I did mess up my front suspension forks on the mountianbike by doing this and it took years to sort them out. I’ll bet I can get rid of my creak before Chris though.

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