Archive for February, 2011

Field Test

I got my schedule from Michael Emde this morning. Because of some prior commitments, I’ve not been able to train much the past few days. Next week, though, I have my field test to look forward to. I’m always nervous before these explosive efforts. Basically, I have to ride as hard as I can for 20 minutes, then take a 20 minute rolling rest, then hit it again as hard as possible for the next 20 minutes. When I finish, I take the data from those two 20-minute efforts and get max heart rate, average heart rate, max cadence, average cadence, distance covered, max speed, average speed, power output, etc. Emde then takes all that data and crunches numbers to devise the best way to get me from here (which is slightly out of shape and with a huge goal ahead) to there (in shape, skinny, powerful, and ready to tackle The Furnace Creek 508) in 8 months or so.

Time, she is a ticking!


Thank You!

Undertaking the 508 is a huge drain on time, money, and resources over the course of the year. I couldn’t ride this race without support from friends, family, and loved ones.

Additionally, thank you to Philz Coffee of San Jose for sponsoring my entry into this year’s race, and to Michael Emde for his continued coaching and encouragement.

Thoughts on Sierra Road

Let’s start off with a little bit of honesty. I’m not in the best shape of my life. Far from it. But I am in better shape than at any point last year, and that feels pretty good.

This past weekend, some friends of mine invited me on a medium-length ride of 75 miles or so, and the ride included Sierra Road. I was actually thankful that the ride didn’t fit into my training schedule, because I’m not in good enough shape to get up and over Sierra without having to stop a time or two. And when you ride with people like my friends, that’s just a layer of judgment I’d prefer to avoid at present.

Yesterday, though, I hit Sierra Road on my own, and I was quickly reminded just how far I have to go to be in shape for The 508. I have until the first weekend in October to be ready to go. And I’m going to need every day of it!

Sierra has some steep pitches. I’m not entirely sure of the grade, but I heard tell it hits 20% for some very short stretches. It averages 12%-15% over 3+ miles. And it is, in a word, my nemesis. The nice thing about Sierra is knowing that none of the climbs on The 508 are as steep. However, they’re a lot longer, and equally tough. I don’t want to jinx myself here, or make people think I’m somehow not worried about the 35,000 feet of elevation gain in October.

While I was slogging my way to the top yesterday, I had to stop twice. The first stop was about 1/3 of the way up. I pulled off into a driveway and just took a couple of minutes to catch my breath and let my heart rate settle back down into the 130s (I was pegging at 192) before clipping back in and heading back to the top.

The second stop was a tougher one. At about 2/3 of the way up, my shoulders were actually as fatigued as my legs. Not only did I have to stop, but also had to walk my bike for 20-30 meters before I could clip back in and continue to the top. While I was walking, I got passed by a flea-sized man on a mountain bike with two of the smallest front chain rings I had ever seen. I wanted to shove my pump through his spokes. But I didn’t. I was good. I just told him he was doing good, clipped back into my pedals, and passed him up to the top. I have a double chain ring. I refuse to use a triple. So, I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, my slowest was just fastest than his.

The point is that I did make it to the top of Sierra yesterday. And I had a less-than-stellar descent to get back down. I’m not really a great climber or descender, but I was so fatigued after the climb, I fought the descent the entire way down.

So, I have work to do. I’ll get stronger, better, more confident. It’s a process, and I recognize that process. By October, I’ll be doing repeats on Sierra. For now, it’s enough to get to the top, no matter what it takes. That road isn’t going anywhere, and neither am I.


Away We Go!

Stay tuned for updates about my goal of completing the Furnace Creek 508 in October, 2011.

I’m off for a training ride at present, so additional blogging will have to wait.

But I hope you check back often, and please comment, encourage, chide, or whatever else floats your boat! It will be a long road of hard training and preparation ahead. I really do look forward to having you along for the ride.