Building up a base

Posted in Triple Bypass at 17:45 by RjZ

Oh, six months or so to go…looking great.

Thursday and Friday: trainer time. ‘Bout and hour one day and 30 minutes the next. I hope not to keep too much track of trainer time. Seems embarrassing somehow.

Saturday: Mike’s loop, 24.48 miles at an average speed of 14.06 mph. Mike’s loop is a relatively flat loop but hey, it was windy and I was coughing up a lung as I recover from China. I actually had to push just to keep this speed up and I am glad I was riding with fellow Triple Bypass riders because I wouldn’t even have pushed that hard if left to my own devices. Still, that’s pretty slow. Did I mention it was windy?

Monday: Lunch loop, running, (alright, jogging), 3.15 miles at 9:56 pace. I do this during lunch now and again (maybe more in the future, and that terrible time is actually not so far off of typical for me. Which is good, because my lungs hurt pretty bad breathing in all the cold air.

One of my colleagues is an avid runner and cyclist. He insists that this is exactly what I should be doing: exercising through the phlegm. But it sure isn’t pleasant. I can hardly take a deep breath even now as I write this hours later. What do you think? cough my way to fitness or not?

Meanwhile, I am not worried about my times and speed right now; I am ‘building up a base.’ It just remains to be seen how long I can keep that excuse going.

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MS 150, actually a good reason to ride a long way

Posted in Triple Bypass at 18:17 by RjZ

She started it. My friend has MS and that really pisses me off. It’s a nasty disease and like most diseases nobody should every get it. She’s required to stick needles into herself everyday to keep the symptoms like blurred vision and weakness at bay. But what pisses me off is it was this friend who started this whole “Triple Bypass” thing. She’s the one who got the new bike and is riding the MS 150.

Clearly, she’s not going to do it alone. She joined the Left Hand Brewing Team and our Triple Bypass team of idiots is joining her for support, because 2 x 75 miles in as many days is a perfect training ride for the big torturous climb a few weeks later. Unlike the Triple Bypass, the MS 150 is actually for a good cause. That’s why you should support me and donate some nice tax-deductible money to support me and above all to help find a cure for MS. I’d like to get rid of as many excuses for her to inadvertently make me do stupid things as possible. Click here and donate!

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Doing the math

Posted in Triple Bypass at 18:18 by RjZ

Over and over again, I’ve been doing the math and trying to figure out if I am going to finish the Triple Bypass before dark. I think that must be why they schedule the thing in summer, so that the days are longer.

It’s 120 miles. A typical recreational rider can keep up an average of 16 to 19 miles per hour on the flats. (Sorry for the imperial units here, but the route is miles, so my speed has to be as well.) That’s 6h20m to 7h30m with no breaks;

Triple Bypass Route

Triple Bypass Route

there are five stops along the route and I will be using them. At the moment Last year when I was riding I think I could hold a good 17 mph pace. Although clearly not for a 120 miles, a distance I have never actually completed.

But then there are these hills. They’re mountains, but I like to call them hills so that I can forget that there’s 40% less oxygen than at sea-level at the top of them. Or that it can snow in summer. Right, there are these hills. Long climbs don’t really lend themselves to the same average speeds. I don’t know what the average rider does up climbs, but I know that I managed only a 7 mph pace during my ride up Colorado’s paved 14er, Mt. Evans.

The Triple Bypass is 55 miles of downhill (yay!) and virtually no flats, so we’ll call the other 65 climbing. At my pace that’s 9h30 minutes of climbing. I sure better go fast on those downhills if I expect to make it before they close the route down.

Clearly the answer is speed on the hills. How to get there? I am open to suggestions, but my plan is <gasp> intervals. Even USA Today (so you know it’s true) reported that intervals can get you fit in just three minutes a day! Intervals are painful and when I tried doing them the first time I started running they made me throw up. This time I plan on starting slowly, incorporating my heart rate monitor into the mix. Into my workouts (really, they’ll start soon!) I am going to insert at least six reps at 30 seconds each of high intensity at least zone 5 heart rate work. 

That means my normal slow jogging pace and three minutes of sprinting thrown in; my normal boring trainer pace and three minutes of stand on the pedals pushing. Same thing for riding when the weather finally permits. Anybody think this will help? Sound like a good program?

Because faster is the only I am going to finish this thing!

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Stupidity ensues

Posted in Triple Bypass at 9:06 by RjZ

A friend of mine got a new bicycle. She’s excited to get out on it and is planning on riding in the MS 150 this June. She e-mailed us the day after New Year’s to invite her cycling friends to come and play and to follow the beer trailer for two days of riding from Denver to Fort Collins and back on the Left Hand Brewery team. Now this is a great idea. It’s going to be a fun ride. It’s flat and relatively easy and a guy will actually be cycling with cold beers in a bike trailer–there is no downside.

That’s when the e-mail thread started to get stupid. One friend wrote that we could “train” for the MS 150 by riding the Elephant Rock Century. I rode this easy enough 100 mile bike ride last year. It was a beautiful ride through rolling high plains south of Denver. While I was certainly exhausted during the ride, selective memory had me believing it was actually kind of easy once it was over. I think I’ll skip that one.

Then another added, joking, I can only assume, that we could always do the Triple Bypass. The Triple Bypass is such a coveted Colorado ride that it registration filled up for this ride last year in just fourteen days. There are many stupid people in the world after all. It’s 120 miles over three Rocky Mountain passes for a total climb of over 10,000 feet (3000 m) in a single day.  It’s so popular that you can sell a registration to it on Craigslist.

But I didn’t think of that when I agreed to do it. I didn’t think of just how difficult this ride really is and that the occasional long-ish weekend ride will hardly be enough training to complete this mother of all Colorado rides. No, I only thought of the bragging rights. Your entry fee includes a jersey, after all, and Colorado cyclists see these jerseys on the roads now and again, and they have no choice but to think how strong the wearer must be. (I hope they don’t give out the jersey after completing the ride…)

We signed up. Sitting at computers at different locations we counted down before pressing the button at the same time, allowing peer pressure to inspire us to new heights of stupidity. Less than a day later, the ride was already full. 3500 riders had joined in under four days, a new record. Stupidity knows no bounds.

After I looked at a suggested training program, my stupidity started to turn into fear. At an average of 12 miles per hour (which at my current fitness level would be quite an achievement) I’ll spend 10 hours on the bike. The only way I will survive is by actually ‘training’ not just ‘putting in a few miles’. Regular rides, cross training, core strengthening, multiple times a week, every week. Crazy. Why did I do this? I have no choice now. Stupid peer pressure. From now until 11th of July, this blog will regularly be taken over by reports on my progress. Feel free to laugh at the quixotic nature of my quest. I’ll log miles here and people with actual experience can tell me how much more I need to be doing if I expect to do this thing in less than 12 hours. Oh, and I’ve got some business travel to do first, so, I’ll get right to all that training…in February.

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