Monday, April 6, 2009

Exceptionally Boring Training Post

Yeah, it's been a while. I've been busy/lazy - as a follow on to my comment on BigBikes blog, (with apologies for the unintentional condescending tone) I've been quite wrapped in my my jobwifehomecarkidslife, and riding.

Last weekend (not the one that just passed, but the one before that), I took a few of the locals on my 'haverhilly' ride. A couple of years ago I put together a local ronde-style loop that incorporates all the local hills I could find, with only one spot on the course ever getting more than ten miles from the haverhill city limits. It ends up being about 65 miles, with 17 notable hills (notable meaning they would be tough in the big ring), and somewhere between 2000 and 3100 feet of climbing. I say 'somewhere' because the altimeter on my polar 720 consistently reads about 3100 feet when I do the ride, but map my ride comes out with 2000. (Scroll to the end of this post for an exceptionally banal analysis of the disparity).

Well, we started out with 11 people and finished with three. I anticipated this. I had cajoled the group into the ride by promising that A) I would not be attacking the hills and would not be the first rider over the top, and B) by explaining that we would never bee more than ten miles from our starting point, and that would make it easy for anyone to bail at any time. Well, it went pretty much exactly as planned. The only complaint I got was from The Indomitable Duane Schofield over dragging the group through downtown Haverhill at noon on a saturday.

We did the 65 miles in a hair over 4 hours, Not bad considering the slower pace up the climbs and waiting at the bottoms of the hills for people to get back on. The other good thing about this ride is that there are no hills more than a mile long, most are between 1/4 and 1/2 mile, and generally speaking the longer the hill the shallower it is, though there are two notable exceptions. This means no really long waits for people to catch on.

After the ride I went back home and spent 4 hours cleaning debris from the winter out of my back yard. I had to get it done, rain was in the forecast for sunday. I got it done, but between the long ride and the work of raking leaves, chainsawing branches, and loading everything into a trailer.....lets say I was pretty whipped. Then of course sunday, my wife decides it's a good day to clean out the attic. Lots of stairwork carrying newly created trash down to the garage to be placed on the curb monday.

I really should have taken a couple of rest days. Monday I _did_ take it easy with a straight commute to a from work, but tuesday I had planned a tempo ride of 30 miles with a time goal of 90 minutes, (including the warm up). It ended up being 93 minutes, which I was satisfied with, as it was only the last day of march.

But then I was _really_ spent. Sore back, sore legs, sore shoulders, sore ass, mostly left over from the bending and lifting on saturday and sunday.

A massage on wednesdy helped loosen things up. Then thursday I took an easy run on the local trails at lunch, Just under 4 miles, and felt _really_ good.

I did nothing again until sunday, when I rode down to marblehead to watch the end of the masters race. I was thinking of riding home from the race, but a cold northwest wind convinced me to hitch a ride with Duane, who actually raced. I felt OK on the ride down, but it was deceiving since I had that tailwind the whole way, and I mean a solid 15 mph wind the _whole_ way, My route was almost a straight line south-southeast, with the wind from the northwest. I was doing 25 mph for miles at a time, with my heart rate well below AT. I was in such a groove at one point, that I blasted straight through georgetown center, forgetting that I needed to bear right and stay on rte 97. Going straight keeps you on 133 which takes you in a significantly more easterly direction. I didn't realize this until I hit rte 1, which surprised me because I was anticipating topsfield center, _then_ rte 1. No problem, just head south on 1 until you hit 97. I made it to the race about 5 minutes after the masters finished. No doubt the extra 5 ish miles cost me that time.

I'm not sure this haphazard approach to training is going to do much for me in the way of battenkill prep. Last time I went I foolishly used a 39/23, and got dropped on the juniper hill climb. This year I'll have a 26, but I'm still not confident of my fitness. So this weekend, I'll do my 'haverhilly' ride again, this time at a solid pace, no waiting. Since battenkill has 2700 feet, I think it might be a good indicator.

Want to play?

*Exceptionally Banal Altitude Disparity Analysis

I don't know where map my ride gets their altitude data, USGS I imagine, but I suspect the disparity between my polar 720 and them has something to do with the resolution of the website data. My Polar profile looks quite a bit more jagged than the Map My Ride profile, and I think the Map My Ride profile may be ignoring little 20-30 foot rises here and there, and may only have a resolution of 50 feet or so, even though it displays to a 1 foot resolution. I've also noticed it tends to average more of the climbing data as the route gets longer. Sure, the Polar is a barometric altimeter, but I highly doubt the barometric pressure dropped the equivalent of 1100 feet in altitude in the period of 4 hours within ten miles of the haverhill line, but that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong.


solobreak said...

I believe that somewhere on the mapmyride site there are faqs that explain how they ignore rises less than 120 feet, and the rationale is there too. I am too lazy to look again now but you'll find it. Dougie says Polars undercount, and he has probably done a qualified and exhaustive analysis...

zencycle said...

Wow, I can't believe you actually read that whole lame post....I just looked at map my ride..

"We report ascent and descent stats for routes when they become 'significant'. This is currently set at about 60 meters of total climb."

"Our ascent and descent calculation algorithms don't count every small elevation change at every point because we need to filter out 'noise' in the underlying data. "

Well, there you go.....