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Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

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Old 06-02-13, 02:02 PM   #2851
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I don't know enough to say exactly; I am just extrapolating from my own program. During the winter and early spring my coach had me doing lots of 1x60' and 2x20' intervals. During late spring, it's been a lot of 3'+3' over/unders. Now as I am racing nearly every weekend, he has my midweek volume way down. Either I am doing easy 60' rides (usually an extended commute) or very short-interval power work.

I am riding a lot fewer miles, but the miles I do ride are a lot harder.
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Old 06-02-13, 02:03 PM   #2852
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Maintaining volume during a racing season is tough to do, because of the need to taper if you want to optimize your form for any given race. In a taper week, you reduce volume while maintaining some intensity. That isn't great for your base fitness, and it is one of the reasons you can't maintain truly great form a long period of time - you just aren't getting the volume. Maintaining form for a season is a delicate balancing act: getting the training stress you need to stay strong, while also getting the rest you need to perform your best for a given race. IMO, it's one of the factors that separates the good coaches from the mediocre coaches. A good coach will get the most for you out of the reduced volume, maintaining your fitness by using the races as part of the training, and filling in around them. But there is still a tight limit on how many "A" races you can train for, because a singular focus on a specific race will of necessity hamper your training in other ways. If your races aren't A races, and you are looking for overall improvement, then less taper probably makes sense - you want to maintain a fairly even level of form over a longer period.
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Old 06-02-13, 02:16 PM   #2853
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Hmm. I guess what I am thinking is that despite being ancient, I am still on a rising curve. For all the miles I put in during my early fifties, I didn't "train" - and I think there is a lot more to come in terms of fulfilling my potential. So while I get the periodisation idea, I wonder whether I would be better served, in the long run, by maintainingn volume and accepting that my results will be compromised in the short term, in the hope that in one or two years time I will reap the benefits.
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Old 06-02-13, 02:30 PM   #2854
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Do you want to race for fun or race to win? If you want to race to win, you must include a lot of rest. Racing 3x/wk probably doesn't leave much room for it.
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Old 06-02-13, 02:43 PM   #2855
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Do you want to race for fun or race to win? If you want to race to win, you must include a lot of rest. Racing 3x/wk probably doesn't leave much room for it.
Yeah, I get that. What I am thinking, though is do I want to race to win this year or next? And might the former damage the chances of the latter?

Olympic athletes are taking periodisation to greater lengths, looking to discriminate between years, not just months. Now, I am no Olympian, but it does seem to me that racing to win this year might not be the best strategy with regard to racing to win next year.

I'm just asking questions, here, I don't pretend to know much. But it seems to me that taking the long view, one should consider the fact that it takes several years to get close to one's full strength.
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Old 06-02-13, 04:14 PM   #2856
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In my mostly ignorant opinion, that ignorance tempered somewhat by the fact that I have just gone through those initial years of rapid improvement, is that you need to not just learn to race, but learn how to race to win. The latter includes sorting out how to train leading up to a race, how to taper, etc. The more practice you have at 'doing it right', the faster you will learn. So, again, IMIO, base during race season will exhaust you, make it impossible for you to hang with the pack, and generally limit the benefit of the races. How can you figure out how to attack properly, or how to hold onto a lead, if your training schedule limits your performance a great deal? Racing all you can at this stage is probably beneficial because, while it may limit your performance in any one race, your skills will improve more rapidly, and that is even more important than your form at any particular point in time. Race all you can right now; experiment; learn what works for you. Then structure a program leading up to next season that will give you the best form possible as you hit the season.

My .02
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Old 06-02-13, 05:35 PM   #2857
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Doing base during the racing season is absolutely appropriate under the right conditions. Recovering from injury or life-induced break. Splitting the season in two. Varying disciplines throughout the year (road/cross, road/track, etc.). Preparing for a long racing event like LOTOJA or a RAAM qualifier. Otherwise, it should be avoided unless it is specifically called out in your plan.

Racing for training is OK, within limits. The problem with using racing for training is that you can never predict what kind of work you will get out of it, thus you won't know until you're done whether it was appropriate training or not for your plan. Thus, it becomes hard to determine when to rest and how much.

Racing a lot throughout the training week is OK as long as you don't expect to win. You cannot race to win 3x-4x/wk unless you are in peak fitness. Peak fitness is fleeting. Normal drug-free athletes cannot sustain a peak for a 7 month racing season. It's just not possible. So it's one or the other.

There's nothing wrong with racing for training to gain experience, but even that will catch up with you. I used to race 2x/wk during the week and 1x-2x on the weekends when I was in my 20's. I'd be fine for the first 8 weeks then I'd have to stop racing for two weeks to regroup. I could not do that now.

Pick your poison. Race now to win or use racing as training to gain experience.
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Old 06-02-13, 07:51 PM   #2858
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There's definitely a psychological aspect to the training/racing question, especially in how it affects motivation. It's an individual response. The presumption is that people will want to race more than they would want to train, but that's not always the case. But for most people it is. You have folks that have very singular goals and for them tighter control on the amount of racing is important and needs to be accepted. For most people though there's a balance that needs to be struck between training enough to race well, and racing enough and well enough to stay happy and motivated. A bad balance leads to bad results leads to demotivation and ultimately burnout.

Great tactics and so/so fitness can be as successful as great fitness and so/so tactics. So learning how to race is important, for a new racer there are more avenues to learning how to race than just racing though. I can throw a basketball at a hoop all day long and not have a clue how to shoot or play the game (although USAC would seem to disagree).

And racing is only good for training in a chunk of the fitness spectrum. And it can be destructive to the whole picture, both mentally and physically.

Base has a bunch of definitions depending on who you talk to. But volume is hugely overrated, especially for Masters racing other than stage racers, and really has little to no utility during racing season (barring raceus interupttus like Shovel had). If you're doing a lot of racing you have two goals, to rest and maintain. The maintenance can be things like core and strength work, some solid high tempo work, stretching, massage, and the like.

I'm pretty competitive on 8 hours of racing and training a week. Did I mention volume is hugely overrated? Specificity is not.
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Old 06-03-13, 02:55 AM   #2859
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There's definitely a psychological aspect to the training/racing question, especially in how it affects motivation. It's an individual response. The presumption is that people will want to race more than they would want to train, but that's not always the case. But for most people it is.

I'm pretty competitive on 8 hours of racing and training a week. Did I mention volume is hugely overrated? Specificity is not.
Actually, I'm one of those who wants to train more than I want to race. The racing acts as a sort of reality check for me, to judge my progress towards the goals of becoming as fit and skilful as I can be. It just so happens that in the next six weeks a bunch of opportunities to race are presenting themselves, and it has prompted me to think about how best to integrate that into my continued training.

I entirely buy the point about specificity. I'm a harder sell with regard to volume being overrated, though. Here is a 2009 article from the journal of sports science. It's very long, but if you click on the link to case study 1 - from professional footballer to elite cyclist - you'll get an account that that is short enough to bother with. It describes a pro footballer who turned to cycling and achieved considerable succes on 8 hours training per week, with a substantial proportion of that time at high intensity. The cycling coaches then more than doubled his volume to 18 hours a week and reduced the average intensity. On the high volume, low-intensity regime his VO2 max increased and so did his threshold power.

The whole article is very interesting, actually, as a review of the evidence across a number of endurance sports.

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Old 06-03-13, 04:51 AM   #2860
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Ok, but how often did they race and for how long with each program?
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Old 06-03-13, 05:30 AM   #2861
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Actually, I'm one of those who wants to train more than I want to race. The racing acts as a sort of reality check for me, to judge my progress towards the goals of becoming as fit and skilful as I can be. It just so happens that in the next six weeks a bunch of opportunities to race are presenting themselves, and it has prompted me to think about how best to integrate that into my continued training.

I entirely buy the point about specificity. I'm a harder sell with regard to volume being overrated, though. Here is a 2009 article from the journal of sports science. It's very long, but if you click on the link to case study 1 - from professional footballer to elite cyclist - you'll get an account that that is short enough to bother with. It describes a pro footballer who turned to cycling and achieved considerable succes on 8 hours training per week, with a substantial proportion of that time at high intensity. The cycling coaches then more than doubled his volume to 18 hours a week and reduced the average intensity. On the high volume, low-intensity regime his VO2 max increased and so did his threshold power.

The whole article is very interesting, actually, as a review of the evidence across a number of endurance sports.
I'll look it over, thanks. Based on your synopsis I'll say there are two problems with this model as it relates to a Master's cyclist. The first is sustaining/surviving an 18 hour work load. I actually know folks who's coaches have them doing that kind of volume at 50+. They do not seem to race well. I doubt I could do it. One of the worst things that's going on out there right now are folks are applying elite/pro training to masters. In most, though not all instances it's pretty inappropriate and counter productive.

The second is threshold power is also pretty over rated, at least from a racing standpoint, depending on what type of racing you're doing. There's the tri guy syndrome...the guy who sit on the front at 27 MPH all day long but gets shot out the back on the first attack to 33. Zero doubt that doing a lot of mid intensity work is going to drive up FTP. And how important is FTP?

The difficulty with quantifying a lot of what makes a successful bike racer tends to drive the science folks a little batty at times. And it's why the Ewang heroes often don't win races. I've had to explain on numerous occasions that FTP is only truly applicable as a success/failure training metric for people doing one hour TT's. It's got a lot of value as a training guideline but I'm not alone in beating guys with much bigger numbers in that department.

When I say "overrated" it's in relation to people being fixated on things like volume and FTP, simply because they are quantifiable. Folks like numbers. So it goes.

BTW I'm up this late because my effing computer picked up a virus BTW...slipped past my AVG. Running fixes while I mull this stuff. Or I guess early for the east coast folks. Things seem to be oke doke now. Off to bed.
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Old 06-03-13, 06:19 AM   #2862
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Ok, but how often did they race and for how long with each program?

To be fair (and this relates to Ex's point about FTP being only one data point) the guy was a time-triallist and even with his massive VO2 max tended to get beaten (not by much) by the very top guys, because (the authors speculate) they were better at maintaining their aero position and had many more years of event-specific training.

And my own experience bears this out. I'm not training with power but occasionally get tested and at present probably have around 320w, which is more than 3.6w/kg. Not spectacular, but not too bad for a big old guy who hasn't been training systematically for very long, and still on the rise. I'm getting beaten by weaker riders on flat courses partly because they are better bike racers than I have yet become - they waste less of their strength - and partly because as yet that power does not translate into an ability to deal with the repeated attacks. I don't have the "snap" to surge and recover, surge and recover often enough to stay in contention. So - and this is where I absolutely buy the point about specificity - my principal focus at present is much more about intensity than volume, with a lot of criss-cross intervals and the like.

I'm just interested in what balance of activity is likely to give the best results in the longer term and wonder whether experimenting with periodisation over much longer timeframes might allow one to continue to get stronger over a longer period. So, maintaining low-intensity volume during the race season may almost certainly injure my race results this year, but it may (may it? this is my question) maintain and build my base fitness better than would reduced volume and higher intensity, and thus give me a bigger platform to train further during the winter and build for next year. Just musing, really, and heavily influenced by my touring background. I don't think I have ever felt as strong as I did after a two-month tour during which I spent 25-30 hours per week on the bike at low intensity. At the end of it I was riding away from people I couldn't previously live with.

All of which may just be an argument for investing more time in base during the winter, of course. And let's face it, in the long term we are all dead. So it might have been an idea to think about training with a focus on the long-term before I reached the age of 58!
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Old 06-03-13, 08:15 AM   #2863
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Thanks Chasm for the article. My observation is that we are all very genetically different which determines focus, motivation, recovery, VO2Max and etc. And muscle fibers have the ability to morph depending on the stresses applied and frequency. A favorite quote of a 60+ friend who is a 5 time master world championship sprinter is that endurance is a speed killer. When I raced at the 2010 Masters Track Worlds in Anadia, Portugal, there was an Aussi in our age group that won the points and scratch races although he was relegated for head butting and did not officially win the scratch race. He claims to ride 300 miles per week.

Another racing buddy (60+), who races road and track, and has won Masters Track Nationals in pursuit and points, believes he needs long milage and time in the saddle to do well at pursuit. And he seems to always be able to pull off a great performance almost independent of training. Case in point, he was mountain climbing in Nepal, got sick, had a lot of time off the bike, came back and crashed on a tandem and with little to no training for weeks participated in the State TTT on Saturday and the 60+ team did very well and won the jersey.

I have another friend 70+ who had his genetics tested by 23andme. He found a researcher who has identified 16 genes that may contribute to VO2Max. He sent the researcher his genome and he has 13 of the 16 genes. Suffice it to say, he is a great cyclist and responds well to volume and intensity.

IMO, coaches have to really know their athletes and athletes need to know themselves. I think this is especially true for masters. The formulation to determine a TSS provided by Training Peaks may or may not work well and needs qualitative assessment to go along with the quantitative numbers. Why are some days chainless and others are hard that should be easy? IMO, a lot has to do with the stress of working and coping with life other than sports.
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Old 06-03-13, 09:29 AM   #2864
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One notable racer I forgot to mention was KK. Last year, he set the one hour record for 55-59 to add to his hour record for 50-54. His training was principally large volume both on the road and track. However, during a LAVRA, he did a 2:25 2K pursuit which is a smoking time for a 55+ racer and in fact is a smoking time for any racer. So his high volume did not seem to hurt his pursuit. Now what if KK had focused on the 2K? Could it have been a 2:19 and world record?
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Old 06-03-13, 09:58 AM   #2865
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To be fair (and this relates to Ex's point about FTP being only one data point) the guy was a time-triallist and even with his massive VO2 max tended to get beaten (not by much) by the very top guys, because (the authors speculate) they were better at maintaining their aero position and had many more years of event-specific training.

And my own experience bears this out. I'm not training with power but occasionally get tested and at present
probably have around 320w, which is more than 3.6w/kg. Not spectacular, but not too bad for a big old guy who hasn't been training systematically for very long, and still on the rise. I'm getting beaten by weaker riders on flat courses partly because they are better bike racers than I have yet become - they waste less of their strength - and partly because as yet that power does not translate into an ability to deal with the repeated attacks. I don't have the "snap" to surge and recover, surge and recover often enough to stay in contention. So - and this is where I absolutely buy the point about specificity - my principal focus at present is much more about intensity than volume, with a lot of criss-cross intervals and the like.

I'm just interested in what balance of activity is likely to give the best results in the longer term and wonder whether experimenting with periodisation over much longer timeframes might allow one to continue to get stronger over a longer period. So, maintaining low-intensity volume during the race season may almost certainly injure my race results this year,
but it may (may it? this is my question) maintain and build my base fitness better than would reduced volume and higher intensity, and thus give me a bigger platform to train further during the winter and build for next year. Just musing, really, and heavily influenced by my touring background. I don't think I have ever felt as strong as I did after a two-month tour during which I spent 25-30 hours per week on the bike at low intensity. At the end of it I was riding away from people I couldn't previously live with.

All of which may just be an argument for investing more time in base during the winter, of course. And let's face it, in the long term we are all dead. So it might have been an idea to think about training with a focus on the long-term before
I reached the age of 58!
A way to get at your FTP through the back door is by measuring VAM. Find a known hill that will take you 20 minutes to climb and use the formulas to calculate W/kg based upon your VAM and grade of the climb. I have checked this method against my power meter and it is okay as long as the wind is reasonably calm and the road surface "normal".

I think periodization works well for A races / events. However, many racers are unwilling and unable to focus on a singular prize or time window. They want it all...all the time. Well, if you are a Racer Ex with excellent genetics, track record and etc., to an extent one can. However, even the exceptional racers who seem to win everything consistently will some day be pitted against those that also seem to win all the time. Now the specialized periodized and focused racer will win the prize.

Is a bigger platform better? Well, maybe assuming nothing "goes wrong" as you age. Also, as you have stated, VO2Max is trainable to an extent. At some point, you are at the limit.

The other aspect is that masters are different. It seems like as we age, once again genetics can yield greatness or folly. So some masters may be able to get away with less focus and still win and never run into someone that challenges them. Elites are different. There is a huge pool of elite athletes with no limits such that, to consistently win, one must train effectively with focus and specificity.
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Old 06-03-13, 11:26 AM   #2866
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Did I mention volume is hugely overrated? Specificity is not.
The n=1 outlier study above notwithstanding, these two propositions could not be more accurate, in my opinion. He did not say volume was not important or didn't have a place... just overrated. And in my experience, in the cycling community (rec to racer, and especially above a certain age), hugely overrated.

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I actually know folks who's coaches have them doing that kind of volume at 50+. They do not seem to race well. I doubt I could do it. One of the worst things that's going on out there right now are folks are applying elite/pro training to masters. In most, though not all instances it's pretty inappropriate and counter productive.
At our age, as we all know, recovery is a limiting factor. 18 hours/week wouldn't leave me with enough recovery time to do the really hard efforts (or maybe I just need to HTFU). And even assuming volume can equal intensity (which I don't think it does), the sheer efficiency makes intensity a home run for anyone with a job and/or family.

I had dinner with some friends last night who all did the local KOM series (3 century+ rides with big climbing). They've all been doing huge volume, of course. That used to be my scene, so they were amused and I think pitied me when I said my entire workout yesterday consisted of warm-up and couple 100-meter standing starts, and about 3 miles (4 flying kilos, full gas, with full recovery between). I'm doing 5 hours/week lately, and averaged about 7-8 in the last year. But I'm stronger/more fit by almost every measure (and weigh less). I'm pretty sold by that n=1 study.


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I don't think I have ever felt as strong as I did after a two-month tour during which I spent 25-30 hours per week on the bike at low intensity. At the end of it I was riding away from people I couldn't previously live with.
I don't doubt you, but it seems like a little bit of selection bias going on here. You are comparing yourself to other volume adherents?

It's not black and white. As noted above, definitely a place for volume. I just weep a bit inside when all my 50+ cycling friends eschew intensity for volume, volume, volume. Average age of participants in my omnium last week: 24.8 (17-39). There is a lot of self-fulfilling prophecy going on when older cyclists bemoan lack of power/speed/fast twitch.
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Old 06-03-13, 11:38 AM   #2867
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It's not black and white. As noted above, definitely a place for volume. I just weep a bit inside when all my 50+ cycling friends eschew intensity for volume, volume, volume. Average age of participants in my omnium last week: 24.8 (17-39). There is a lot of self-fulfilling prophecy going on when older cyclists bemoan lack of power/speed/fast twitch.
Just as you agree there is a place for volume, I absolutely agree there is a place for intensity. The issue is merely the ratio between the two. It seems to me to be highly probable that high-volume, low intensity work will produce some adaptations that interval training does not, and vice-versa, and that we need both. I also agree that too many older cyclists concentrate too much on volume to the exclusion of intensity; without wishing to be unkind, I suspect that many of them just don't want to do VO2 max intervals because they are unpleasant.

I'm less convinced by the recovery argument, though, because low-intensity rides leave me pretty fresh. And I do, of course, have the advantage of not having a job. If I chose to, I could train for thirty hours a week without intruding on other obligations. Though obviously that would be pushing the volume envelope a little far...
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Old 06-03-13, 01:39 PM   #2868
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I also agree that too many older cyclists concentrate too much on volume to the exclusion of intensity; without wishing to be unkind, I suspect that many of them just don't want to do VO2 max intervals because they are unpleasant.
This goes for the young'uns too.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:45 AM   #2869
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Well, my riding is tempo, tempo and more tempo plus I am hitting the gym doing more weights to tire myself out even more - The Hermes, Totally Fred Workout. On July 8th, we fly to Switzerland to commence our 10 day bicycling tour of Switzerland and France finishing in Marseilles. Included in the tour is climbing Mount Ventoux. I have three objectives for my training: to be tough enough for 10 days in a row on the bike, climb Ventoux and look good in my swim suit on deck of our ship. It goes without saying that I can climb Ventoux but it is all about comfort and speed. I am not looking forward to the 4 miles of 10% grade.

I rode to my wife's office for a lunch date. After lunch, she said, "you should do repeats up the short hill in front of her building." Okay, how hard can that be. Is one time up a climb a repeat? It started at 8%, 14%, 9% and finished at 12%. She is such a Nazi.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:59 AM   #2870
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
This goes for the young'uns too.
Beat me to it.
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Old 06-05-13, 03:45 AM   #2871
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Hermes, the tour sounds great.
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Old 06-05-13, 10:03 AM   #2872
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Thanks Chasm, After we finish in Marseilles, we fly to London for 5 days of hanging out.
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Old 06-05-13, 10:10 AM   #2873
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Last night, 2 hours on the TT bike with z3/z4 efforts. It was insanely windy for an evening. I needed leg and arm warmers and a wind vest. June...go figure.
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Old 06-05-13, 05:16 PM   #2874
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New block from my coach. Volume is going way down; intensity is going way up. Key workouts are variations on the Cavendish sprint drill where I roll down an overpass to get to speed, launch, and then try to carry speed.
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Old 06-05-13, 05:41 PM   #2875
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I love those sprint drills. I have a -2% grade leading up to a +5% bump that I do mine on. Ease it up to 28mph then hit the gas.

I had an outstanding short workout today. I had to do a half hour of pace and as much of my core workout as possible. I did a nice 10 minute climb at pace then did the loop at the top like crit practice. It has one technical turn that I could practice my turns with. I stayed in the drops the whole time, trying inside cuts, late apex, pedal through, gas out. I am trying to build my confidence for when I can return to racing. I did my core workout at home instead of the gym as I was limited on exercises and weights.

I also saw the PT today. He called my progress so far "remarkable". I am at four weeks into a 12 week recovery and he says I'm effectively at week 8. I have full range of motion, good strength, and pain only at the extremes of the range. I have a set of daily routines to do. I see him next week when he will work me out harder. He wants to try some K tape at some point to focus the strengthening.

Now I just need to find a job.
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