Thursday, March 09, 2006


It seems that each week of camp brings a new challenge. Of course we all know about "Ass Week" and "Knee Week". I guess the theme for week three would be "Sick Week". Although I have not written about it, I've been sick all week with a cold and cough. For the most part, it has not bothered me while I am on the bike, but today was pretty rough with all of the coughing. I'll probably skip the 90 mile ride back to Tucson tomorrow so I can get two solid rest days in before next week's multi-town tour. Better to recover now, since next week we stay in a town and a different hotel every night. That makes it very difficult to take rest days.

Our planned route through Bisbee and over Mule Pass was canceled today due to a road closure. A tanker with 10,000 pounds of propane overturned, and the area was evacuated. Apparently, the locals are pretty cautious about these sorts of things now, because the same thing happened about 30 years ago and the tanker exploded. The fireball took out two acres and killed 12 people. At the site of the current accident, the hazmat guys are burning the gas off in a controlled manner. That will take about 24 hours, so we can't get near the area.

Since I was planning on taking the extra rest day for my cold, I hammered pretty hard on the second half of the today's ride. Leaving lunch in Tombstone, I joined a 4 bike paceline, led by Lon Haldeman who was on a tandem. The three of us on single bikes had to sprint for a few minutes to catch Lon's wheel. That was pretty interesting, given that we had just stopped for apple pie with ice cream and just finished eating grilled cheese for lunch. And, becuase the pace was so fast, we never really got to recover even after we got into the draft. By the time we got back, we single bikes were a little fried. Even Lon's stoker (the rear position on the tandem) admitted that he wasn't sure if he was going to keep his lunch down. I averaged 200 watts for the hour, but because I was in a paceline, the actual power while pedaling was a lot higher than that.

It was a lot of fun, though. Especially when we passed a 'fast group' paceline that was moving at about 20-25mph. We were well over 30 mph. Yeehaw!! The headwinds were too strong for anyone to bridge the gap to our line. Gidyup lil' doggies.

Ride Summary

The heart rate monitor on my PowerTap stopped working, so I guess I will not have any heart rate data for the remainder of camp.

Route: Alternate Tombstone Loop from Sierra Vista
Distance: 52 miles
Speed (avg/max): 17.1 mph / 37.1 mph
Riding Time: 3 hours 2 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 37 minutes
Power (avg/max) 152 watts / 736 watts
Calories Measured at Wheel: 1,672
Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ??? bpm / ??? bpm / ??? bpm

Miles this Year: 1452

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rain and Wind

About an hour into the ride today, the wind picked up and it started to rain. By the time I got to lunch, it was cold, windy, and wet. Lunch was not yet ready, and I was shivering, so I grabbed a banana and a PowerBar and left. It was miserable, but I felt better moving than standing around. At one point, the headwind forced me to push 200 watts just to maintain 5 mph. Having rushed through the first stop and skipped lunch, I was first back to the hotel -- except for the people who rode the SAG to avoid the weather.

Ride Summary

Route: Tombstone Loop from Sierra Vista
Distance: 50 miles
Speed (avg/max): 14.7 mph / 36 mph
Riding Time: 3 hours 23 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 2 minutes
Power (avg/max) 152 watts / 664 watts
Calories Measured at Wheel: 1,854
Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ??? bpm / ??? bpm / ??? bpm

Miles this Year: 1400

Monday, March 06, 2006

No Pain. Gain.

No knee pain today. There was a little, in both knees, for about 30 minutes in the morning, but that is what I consider "normal" pain. I sometimes get that if I pick up the pace beyond 20mph in the early part of a ride. I usually make it go away by periodically standing for about 10 seconds. I'm pretty happy about that. I guess my decision to take an extra rest day paid off. I even had some moderately high bursts of power today. I had a peak 30 minute interval at an average of 200 watts, a peak 1 minute interval at 300 watts, and a peak 10 second interval at over 600 watts. I'm considering this pain free day to be a big gain.

For the second half of the ride today, I rode with John Hughes. For those that don't know about John, he is the Managing Director of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association and a professional cycling coach. I told him about what I had planned this year, and asked him for a reaction. Long story short, he seemed doubtful that I would accomplish all of my goals for the year, given my minimal time in the sport. He seemed particularly concerned about my knee injury -- not because it was a reflection of my physical potential, but because it was a reflection on my lack of discipline. I injured my knee because I pushed too hard during training camp. A disciplined cyclist would not have made that mistake.

John suggested that I focus on one of my three goals (i.e. the three tours) for 2006. I debated that idea with him for a while to better understand where he was coming from. After about an hour of discussion on the topic, one thing became clear. Riding the Pacific Coast at 100 miles a day, two weeks prior to the fast southern transcontinental in September, was counterproductive. John's position was that, if I was really intent on the second transcontinental crossing in the fall, I needed to taper my mileage down in the months leading up to the event, while simultaneously increasing the intensity of my training. I needed both endurance and power if I was to have any hope of maintaining the fast pace of the PAC Tour southern crossing for 26 consecutive days.

The first transcontinental, being a total of 40 days of riding for over 3700 miles will likely take a lot out of me. However, it will also ensure that I will have about as good of an endurance base as I can get for this year. John said that, after that crossing, I need to focus on power. Doing just two back-to-back 100 mile days each week or substituting with a single 200 mile day would preserve my endurance. During the rest of the week, I should focus on shorter rides of higher intensity. Hill climbs, time trials, speed intervals, etc. As I approach the southern transcontinental, I need to taper the miles and increase the intensity even more. That is exactly the opposite of what the Pacific Coast tour in August would do for me. In short, 7-10 days of 100 mile riding would significantly decrease my chances of successfully completing the second, faster, crossing.

So, I need to figure this out. Going back to look at my priority list for the year, the Pacific Coast is near the bottom. Perhaps I will have to pass on that ride in order to accomplish the second, fast paced, transcontinental.


  • Today's route included a river crossing. I snapped a picture of one of the riders crossing behind me. As you can see, a river in the desert is like a backyard creek in cooler climates.

  • A view near the top of Coronado Pass. We rode up to about the 5500 ft elevation mark, but did not ride that last 1000 feet of elevation because the pavement ended. After about 1/2 mile of loose dirt and gravel on a road bike, we decided to head back down.

  • Ride Summary

    Route: Coronado Mountain Loop from Sierra Vista
    Distance: 55 miles
    Speed (avg/max): 14.2 mph / 40.5 mph
    Riding Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
    Total Time: 4 hours 32 minutes
    Power (avg/max) 128 watts / 776 watts
    Calories Measured at Wheel: 1,791
    Heart Rate (min/max/avg): 102 bpm / 179 bpm / 147 bpm

    Miles this Year: 1350