Saturday, September 15, 2012
Sit on Sat
We considered the profundity in the statement, "Movement is the process of the Universe", this morning in our 90 minute Sat sit session. although, truth be known, there wasn't a lot of actual sitting involved. If was mostly work. Mostly hard work. 10 seconds of 99.9% RPE, 10 seconds rest X3. And then a ten minute recovery, 2 of 3 standing. There was challenge. YOU KNOW what 3x10's feel like ONCE. Try them every 10 for 90 and gauge the results!
More truth be known: I love intervals. They freaking hurt. I like them because i know they have value. They will make me stronger, fighting the reality of and fending off the fact that I am losing muscle mass every day, and will be for the rest of my life - and if I don't take immediate and effective measures to counter I will, in a very short time, be physically unable to perform to my expectations. And this means across the board gentlemen. Intervals are life. Go hard, take it to max, hold, rest, recover and repeat. In between please fuel properly, manage your stressors and relentlessly affirm the good.
We also talked about the practice of mastering the movements, indeed becoming Masters of Movement. Adding speed, grace, power, focus and sustainability to the mix. Moving along the time line of the process. One day after another. It takes some discipline. You have got to want it. And appreciate the path. One must respect the challenge and surrender to the goal. Every day. There is so much left to do, so many places to see, so many hearts to change, games to win, victories to celebrate and disappointments to assuage. This trip has already been long and strange now it is time to put our collective wisdom into play for universal good. Let me make this clear: The world needs us. We are leaders. We can sway sentiment and manufacture consent. We are Masters of Movement, the Sultans of Spin. Way more important than job creators, we manufacture energy. We fuel the spirit like decaying dinosaurs fuel your car. The difference of course being that we share this non-polluting positive, constructive energy with our friends and family for free while Big Oil banks record, and obscene profits exploiting our dependencies and addictions.
Mastering the movement doesn't mean getting comfortable in the driver's seat or in the rocking chair. Any idiot can do that. It means using the God given gift of your physical body to move that mass through time and space. Walking, running, spinning, cycling. Move it. Get good at it. Improve it. Streamline it. Rest it when necessary (like after hard sessions). Give it high quality nourishment. Love it and enjoy the process. Assist others to become masters.
Here is Chris Carmichael's take from this morning's newsletter addressing a similar situation.
I finally did it! Even as my weight came down and my fitness improved, I’ve struggled to ride Cheyenne Canyon in Colorado Springs in under 20 minutes. I used to live at the top of the canyon, so the 3.1-mile long, 1200-vertical feet high ascent was my climb home. Way back when, in the years much closer to my pro days, I could ride the climb in well under 20 minutes. In recent years, I’ve been somewhere between 20-22 minutes, but never under 20. Until this week!
Earlier this week I rode the climb in 19:41! To put it in perspective, really good amateur racers can do it in about 15-16 minutes and Tom Danielson holds the record at 13:34. But for a nearly-52-year-old guy, I’m happy with anything under 20:00.
The question is: why now? Where did I make the improvement necessary to finally reach my goal? Here’s how I did it, and how you can get faster on your favorite local climb:
1. Intervals: No surprise here, and nothing all that sexy either. Just straight-up hard interval work. A few years ago I realized that, despite many years of mileage in my legs, I needed max-effort intervals in order to achieve measurable improvements in my climbing speed. If you’ve been riding for many years and you seem stuck at one speed, consider short, very hard interval work. I’ve been doing 90-second intervals on a 9% grade, with about 90 seconds recovery between each.
2. Plant-based diet: I refuse to be an extremist with my diet, or to recommend extremist diets to athletes we work with. I do believe, however, that a significant shift to “more plants, fewer animals” is good for both performance and health. Keep in mind, eating for good health doesn’t automatically translate into eating for optimal athletic performance. As an athlete, it’s important to think about performance nutrition first (what energy and nutrients do you need for optimal performance and recovery?), and then source your food in a healthy way (fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole foods instead of processed, etc.). For me, this dietary shift has helped me lose 10-12 pounds (I’m down to about 158 right now) and have the energy necessary to maintain a higher training load than I have in the past 10 years.
3. Endurance Blocks: This year I had the opportunity to race Trans Andes (6-day mountain bike stage race in Chile) in January, ride the Amgen Tour of California Race Experience (8-stage race) in May, and ride the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Race Experience (7-stage race) from August 20-26. My personal-best ride up Cheyenne Canyon came about 15-16 days after the final stage of the USAPCC. Following some recovery time after USAPCC, that’s just about exactly when I’d expect to see a nice boost in power at lactate threshold from training block that big.
4. Power-to-Weight Ratio: All of the factors above came together in my power-to-weight ratio for a 20-minute effort (remember, PWR always has to be expressed for a specific timeframe. It’s always higher for shorter efforts and declines as efforts get longer.). The day I rode a 19:41 on Cheyenne Canyon I think I weighed 158 pounds (71.8kg), and my average power on the climb was 287 watts. That’s four watts per kilogram (OK, fine, 287/71.8 = 3.997 for you engineers). Now, is 4 w/kg going to win me any hill climbs? No, probably not. But consider this: when I was somewhere between 7-10 pounds heavier, I rode up the same canyon and pushed 288 watts, but I reached the top 90 seconds slower.
5. New Bike: Ok, maybe there was a fifth reason. For the record, I set my PR on the second ride on my new Trek Madone 7. I'm not going to give the bike all the credit for my performance, but it certainly helped me get the power down to the road. If you haven't tested on out yet, go do it. It's an awesome bike!
And lastly a 29 point (all inclusive) list of the things that keep us from forward movement, action or the creation of energy. I like it.
In closing, tomorrow, Sunday, I would like to capture some additional test video of a group ride. we'll start at 0800 from the Bike Barn up from the Ferry Terminal and ride to Poulsbo and back. You are all invited. Let's move.