Your MGCC club has some very knowledgable minds amongst its membership. Here is a very fine example on how to understand Intervals by Trevor Connor (brother of Greg and Uncle to Cam) as published in VeloNews today......
To make sure you have enough left in the tank for the finishing sprint, it's important to understand interval training.
My friend didn’t know what to expect. He had just arrived in California, and while the weather was great, it was the company that scared him. It was his first ride with Levi Leipheimer and he prayed he’d be able to keep up. They were soon riding the hilly Northern California landscape. My friend, an accomplished mountain biker, was happy to see that he could hang with Leipheimer on the climbs, even if he was at his limit. For two hours they explored back roads while he wondered why their workout was so undirected. Eventually they stopped. With a smile, Leipheimer said, “Thanks for the ride, I have to go do my intervals now.” Just one sentence and my friend learned what being a Tour de France contender meant. The workout hadn’t been undirected. It was just the warm-up.
For those of us looking to optimize our performance, the days of purely undirected rides are behind us. As Robert Pickels, an exercise physiologist at the renowned Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, explains it, “By focusing on specific workouts, you have a much better sense of what you have done, what you need to do and how to recover.”
While a quick Google search will bring up hundreds of interval options, they too often just list times and zones. There’s a lot more to it if you want to make your intervals truly effective. So, let’s look at how to optimize your intervals.
Back to basics: Aerobic vs. anaerobicVince Lombardi was famous for starting team talks with the line, “This is a football.” The message was clear: never forget the basics. The same philosophy applies to cycling. We have two ways of producing energy: aerobic work requires oxygen and doesn’t fatigue easily; anaerobic work is fast, strong, doesn’t require oxygen and doesn’t last very long.
Almost all interval work targets one aspect of these two energy systems. Effective intervals aren’t about just going hard or riding in zone “X.” Effective intervals are about optimally stressing one of our energy pathways. As Pickels puts it, “There’s a difference between working hard and achieving a big number. If you’re working hard, but your power is going down, you’re not necessarily getting the benefit.”
Aerobic power: Be mindful of the deficitYou’re out for a ride with a few friends. You hit that steep climb and suddenly the competitive fire has you setting all new power records. Yet minutes pass before your heart rate catches up with how you feel. Our aerobic system is sluggish. It takes time for aerobic pathways to respond to an increase in work. Until it does, we rely on anaerobic metabolism for our energy. This effect is called oxygen deficit; with an increase in intensity we initially rely on anaerobic metabolism to meet the increased energy demands. According to Pickels, “People might think of the oxygen deficit but not ever call it by name, or recognize that that’s the component they are trying to increase or decrease in a given workout.”
Oxygen deficit can be critical in effectively targeting your intervals. Being in oxygen deficit generally means your aerobic system is not being fully stressed. If you are doing purely aerobic-focused work such as threshold intervals and you spend the majority of the time in deficit, your power numbers might be great, but your workout wasn’t. On the flip side, intervals targeting your anaerobic system should maximize oxygen deficit.
Anaerobic power: The big spenderThink of the fastest anaerobic animal on the planet, the cheetah, capable of running at 70 mph. Now think about what it’s doing when it’s not hunting down some slower prey — it’s laying around. We can produce a lot of anaerobic power, very fast, but it doesn’t last long and it takes time to recharge. While you have to do work to activate aerobic pathways, the best way to prepare for anaerobic work is to do nothing.
The box below gives suggestions on how to approach the different types of intervals, but in selecting which ones you should do, remember, if you want to achieve optimal performance you have to start with an understanding of yourself. As Pickels said, “The interval workout really needs to be designed based on what your goals are, what your weaknesses are, and what you need to achieve with your upcoming performances.”
Maximizing your intervalsAerobic intervals
Intervals that improve your sustainable aerobic power, such as threshold intervals, are some of the most important work a cyclist can do. These intervals are generally five to 15 minutes at your threshold heart rate/power. Also popular are VO2 max intervals, which are one to four minutes at slightly above threshold. They force normally anaerobic muscle fibers to work more aerobically. The key point: aerobic intervals are most effective when oxygen deficit is minimized. Here are tips on how to do that:
Fortunately, the aerobic system is as slow shutting down as it is starting up. As a result, prior intervals create a “priming” effect that reduces oxygen deficit in subsequent intervals, provided the recovery length is short enough. For threshold intervals, recoveries of 1-3 minutes are optimal to ensure some recovery while limiting oxygen deficit.
Get a good warm-up
Even getting the aerobic system primed at low intensities takes time. Give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes of easy to tempo riding before starting your threshold work.
The first interval is a throwaway
While you can put out your best watts in your first threshold interval, it’s because of your heavy reliance on anaerobic energy. In terms of training, most of that interval is spent in deficit. It’s the later intervals where you produce your best training stimulus. So, don’t hammer the first interval. All you’ll do is reduce the quality of the intervals that count.
I’ve seen many riders start strong and get slower with each interval. That’s because their anaerobic reserves are depleting and they never fully utilize their aerobic system. Make sure your intervals are a consistent intensity. Target the exact same wattage or pace (on a flat road) for each. Done correctly, the first interval should feel hard, but not unbearable, and your heart rate will be a little below your threshold. By the final interval you should struggle to maintain pace.
What should you do in the recovery periods?
Keep the legs spinning between threshold intervals. This will keep the aerobic system primed. Active recovery will also aid lactate clearance.
While cycling is an aerobic sport, anaerobic power can still be the difference between a podium and middle of the pack at the end of a race. Sprint intervals are the best means of training anaerobic power.
Says Pickels: “If you’re trying to achieve those high powers, you need long recoveries. Accumulating oxygen debt is going to destroy that high power. There’s no point doing a sprint workout if you hit 1,000 watts and then 800 watts, and then 600 watts.” Recoveries should be as long as four or five minutes between sprints to recharge your anaerobic pathways.
Recovery means rest
Watch track sprinters train and you’ll see them spend lots of time sitting around. Letting your anaerobic system recharge for the next interval means doing as little as possible with your legs. Get off the bike and sit if you have to.
Keep the workout short to stay anaerobically focused
Limit your warm-up to 10-15 minutes and go home as soon as you’re done with your intervals. The entire workout should be around an hour at the most.
The secret weapon: Training the deficit
There’s 20 minutes left in the race. Someone just attacked and you have to sprint to catch on. But then a precious few seconds later another attack goes up the road. We’ve all been there. Spend too much of that last 20 minutes in deficit and you’re in trouble. Fortunately oxygen deficit, like most systems, can be trained if it’s stressed. “Training oxygen deficit is the thing that a lot of people are going for now and seeing huge increases not only in VO2 max, but in submaximal performance as well,” said Pickels.
Short efforts and short recoveries
To maximize the oxygen deficit, efforts need to be short and all-out, generally 20 to 30 seconds. However, the recoveries need to be equally short to prevent anaerobic pathways from recharging. Common intervals are six to 12 repetitions of 30-30s (thirty seconds on, thirty seconds off) and 20-10s.
Trevor Connor is a long-time cycling coach and researches both exercise physiology and nutrition at Colorado State University.
Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/03/training/training-optimizing-interval-workouts-using-oxygen-deficit_321186#TyLl2zTIFClmCAYB.99
Season Is Open!
Race Rambling - Steaming Nostril
Anyone who has ridden Steaming Nostril will tell you about the pain that awaits on the snowy, icy, wet and mud filled rail trail. The pain of doing it once isn’t good enough. After having clawed your way out of the rail trail, racing 60km of snow covered dirt and gravel roads, you’re forced to ride the trail one more time before crossing the finish line. The return trip is where most people are “broken”. Pictures often reveal pain filled and desperatefaces.
This year’s race lived up to its name with temperatures well below -10 on the start line. With a better understanding among all riders of the importance of getting onto the rail trail at the head of the bunch, the neutral start was not so neutral but I was able to get onto the trail with the lead group.
There were already some deep ruts in the snow covered trail - which was nerve-racking in this fast paced group. I did my best to stay attached to the back and prayed that Nathan Chown did not attack off the front – as there would be no way I could respond.
The lead group came out of the rail trail with roughly 20 riders which included Nathan Chown, Peter Disera, Mark Brusso, Tim Marshall and Peter Morse. And in what is certainly the Rule #5 award of the day, Gaelen Merritt broke away solo almost immediately after leaving the trail – and stayed away for the rest of the day. The group was never able to organize itself. From what I could see from my sheltered attempt to do as little work as possible, two riders from Morning Glory Cycling Club, Tom Nesbittand Kevin Higgins, did the majority of the pace setting.
With Gaelen becoming little more than a dot on the horizon, there were a number of attacks in the peleton. Nothing stuck until Tom Nesbitt made his second attempt to get across. As Tom started to disappear into the distance, I looked around the group seeing Chown sitting very comfortably and knew that if I didn’t come into the trail well ahead of these guys I was going to have no chance. So I jumped. I didn’t let myself look back until I had made up half the distance to Tom. When I did, the peleton was well off in the distance.
I’ve got to be honest, without Tom’s work, I would never have made it across to Gaelen. It was clear that Tom had given everything to get us to Gaelen. As he came through to take his pull and I immediately came around him and told him to take another one off but the effort to get across had cost him too much. Tom was off the back and it was just Gaelen and myself left.
Gaelen and I were able to build up a 2 minute lead on the peleton. As we prepared to re-enter the rail trail and make the short trip to the finish, we wished each other luck knowing that cooperation would no longer be of much benefit. I came into the rail trail first. There was no big attack. I just road as fast and as hard as I safely could. The trail was much smoother and faster than on the way out but I was too afraid to look back for fear of crashing. When I finally exited onto the road, I looked back and I was on my own. I crossed the line and won my first race of the year.
I want to thank my team Real Deal Racing and sponsors Gears,WASPcam, Feildgate Homes,Toronto Sport and Social Club,Morning Glory Cycling Club,Champion System, PowerBar,Balance Physiotherapy, RPM Total Fitness, Spin Kicks, Kenzington Burger Bar and Barnstormer Brewing for their help in getting me on the podium. I also want to thankCycle Waterloo for hosting Steaming Nostril and making this great race happen.
March 03rd, 2014
The OCA's Club President's Day.
by Sasha Golish
On Saturday February 8th the Ontario Cycling Association hosted its Annual Club President's Day. It is a day when all the cycling club presidents get together to discuss the emerging cycling issues, what is working in their clubs, and a time to learn from each other.
Sasha Gollish, MGCC Director of Advocacy, attended on behalf of the club and was also presenting to the other club presidents. Her presentation covered Cycling and the Law; the things that we cyclists need to be aware of on the road. Her presentation is attached and is a good reminder for everyone on what the rules of the road are. It will also be attached on the MGCC website here.
The keynote speech was delivered by Steve Varga of the Collingwood Cycling Club (CCC). Steve was discussing his new document, the CCC Ride Guidelines. CCC has a very organized ride structure that they follow every weekend. The goal for the CCC rides is ride quality and experience. Steve spoke to group interaction, organization and structure to reach a high level of ride quality and experience. Some of Steve's ride formations can be found in Sasha's presentation.
Other workshops included:
Michael Cranwell – Member of the Lapdogs Cycling Club specializing in growing and running a successful multiple discipline club
Greg Rawson – OCA Sport Coordinator specializing in event sanctioning
Paul Holman – Owner of Holman Insurance specializing in club and event coverage
Steve Indig – Specializing in Sport and Law
Overall the day was a success. The group learned a lot from each other. Overall the theme was that we couldn't wait to get out and ride on the road in the warm again!
3 Great MGCC Cycling Trips for 2014!
MGCC is very excited to let you know about three opportunities to join your fellow members on a great cycling trip. We've got trips planned to:
FOUNTAIN HILLS, ARIZONA | February 22 to 27, 2014
This trip is in partnership with Real Deal Racing.
Cost: $599 for double occupancy, $899 for single occupancy
Read here for all the details!
BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA | April 30 to May 4, 2014
This trip is in partnership with High Country Endurance.
Cost: $1,480 (includes all costs, taxes and gratuity)
Read here for all the details!
LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK | LADIES ONLY | May 28 to June 1, 2014
This trip is in partnership with High Peaks Cyclery.
Read here for all the details!
**Please note that all costs do not include transportation to and from destination.
January 16th, 2014
Long time MGCC rider/racer/coach/mentor etc. Rolston Miller really is all that. But don't take my word for it, have a look below at how all that looks in glorious slow motion while decked out head to toe in envy inducing Rapha wear. All this in support of our bike shop of choice and huge club supporter Gears
This is what an early morning ride should look like. Beautiful. Inspired. Dance.
Watch this short film directed by our incredibly talented friend, Shelley Lewis.
Viewer Discretion: This will motivate you to get on your bike and ride.
Writer Shelley Lewis
Director Shelley Lewis
Producer Kristina Anzlinger
DP Kris Belchevski
Camera operator Kris Belchevski
Assistant camera Mark Moher / Mike Pesut
Grip James Gordon
Picture editor Melanie Hide
Sound editor Stephanie Pigott at Pirate Radio
Actor Rolston Miller
MGCC East - Brimley Time Trial Part Deux
The Col Du Brimley was kinder as far as the weather was concerned for the 2nd BITT (Brimley Individual Time Trial) of 2013
Kudos to those that came out and congrats to all the members who participated, see the results below.......
We all know Shannon as one of the fastest climbers in our group, we'll he's also a pretty talented bike racer! Last weekend, Shannon competed in the Nationals and we thought everyone would like to hear about his experience in the race. It should come as no surprise that riding with the MGCC has prepared him well!!!!
A number of MGCC members have quizzed me on the preparations I made for the 2011 National Masters Championships last weekend in Burlington. The answer can be summed up easily - MGCC. Tempo on the Bridle Path, hills on Brimley and the longer Saturday morning Bagel prepared me well for the 113km race last weekend in Burlington.
This is an opportunity to share with the group how some members with a racing mind-set can use the weekly MGCC rides to prepare for a race or an entire race season. The goal is not always as simple as getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
My experience with Nationals has been a race that starts relatively smoothly and evolves into battle of attrition. The quality of the field is high and filled with riders whose skills and fitness are unfamiliar. If you can???t confidently gauge the strength of the riders around you it is best to leave a little extra in the tank. When racing with a group staying in contact is the most important thing. Gaps will open up and it is in your best interest to close them as quickly as possible. Riding with a group that is setting a hot pace is difficult. Riding on your own is much harder.
The Bridle Path is where I train myself to hang in with a group. Some people may notice I vary the timing and level of my effort. Sometimes I accelerate on the Crestwood hill to try and open up a gap on the group. I might rest at the top and try to jump on the group as it passes by. That simulates a race situation where a rival attacks and I have to chase hard to close a gap. The rival might look behind, see that he is not alone and decide to take his foot off the gas and return to the shelter of the group only to try again later. The key is to recover quickly enough to have the strength to latch on to the speeding group that will soon overtake us. I put more effort in accelerating up the climb at Nationals than any other single effort I made in the race with the exception of the finish. The training on the Bridle Path loops gave me the speed and recovery to remain safely in the confines of the group. Stamina is important but if you don't have the speed to remain in the safety of the group, you better have a lot of it! I will try the same thing at various points on the Bridle Path Loop but the goal is always the same. Attack and train myself to recover fast enough to grab that wheel as the chase group catches me and goes by.
The training done on the Col de Brimley gave me the strength to remain comfortably in the saddle as the Nationals race climbed up. My general goal is to ride a steady pace on Brimley. I keep a careful eye on my speedometer and try to hold my speed steady as the hill pitches up. That gives me something to focus on rather than the burning in my legs. It may appear I am accelerating but the fact is that I am holding steady. Drafting on a hill is minimal due to the relatively low speed. That means I can ride my own pace without concern for paying a steep price for taking the lead. Brimley is long and steep enough that there are few hills in Ontario that you would find yourself unprepared for. Stay in the saddle, work on developing power, stand with conviction when you are ready to push over the top. 5 times up Brimley gets my heart rate higher than any climbing I did at the Nationals.
The distance we cover on the Saturday Bagel is less important to me than the time spent in the saddle. The Bridal Path prepares me to the surge-recover-surge-recover cycle of racing. Brimley gives me the power and confidence to climb hills efficiently. The Bagel prepares me to do it all for 3+ hours. I make sure I am comfortable refueling while on the bike to keep the tank topped up as the race wears on. You don't need a huge tank if you can effectively fuel up while you are underway. The longer rides helps me to develop muscle memory and comfort on the bike while keeping my heart rate in an effective fat burning range.
Our very own Derrek Ivey had a huge result last weekend at the Nationals so we asked him to provide us with a little insight into what its like to Race at an elite level while still maintaining all sort of other commitments!!! Here's what he had to say - Enjoy,
National Canadian Cycling Road Championships
Preparing for the race
In normal circumstances I would have trained in Tuscon during the months of February and March spending 4 to 6 hours a day of riding, participating in at least 20 races.
Due to work commitments, I was unable to train in Tuscon and was limited to 6 races. My employer allowed me to work a reduced work week of three-and-a half days in the three weeks prior to the Nationals in order to train. My training program included 6 – 7 hour ride on Tuesday; a hard interval day on Wednesday; followed by another 6 – 7 hour ride on Thursday; rest Friday and Saturday and then a race on Sunday. I had to extend my rest to two days because I hadn’t built the usual base from winter training in Tucson.
Week leading up to the race
I took the week off of the bike.
The night before
I worked during the day and early evening on the day prior to the race and returned home around 7:00 p.m., where I watched TV while eating copious amounts of Pad Thai, then went to sleep.
The morning of
I awoke at 11:30 a.m. after 12 hours of sleep, ate a steak and cheese sub, packed the car and headed off to the race at 1:30 p.m.
Details of the actual race
The road race was 180.25 kilometres with 14 laps and a category 4 hill climb up Rattle Snake point on the Niagara escarpment. The average speed was 39.5 kilometeres per hour. 178 riders began the race and only 42 finish. I finished in 24th place.
Here is my Garmin Connect file.
The first two laps of the race was the most selective part of the race with Team SpiderTech at the front pulling hard enough to drop 20% of the riders. Each time, I approached the hill, I’d make my way to the front of the pack in order to ensure I would be able to remain with the pack up the hill. At 6’5” and weighing 185 pounds, I pushed an average of 500 watts for 4 minutes while a 140 pound rider pushed 320 watts to achieve the same speed.
Around lap 7 with more than half the field having dropped out of the race already, there was a split at the top of the Rattle Snake climb with an attack through the feed zone. Being that my positioning was not at the front on this lap, I was stuck at the top with poor positioning and ended up in the second part of the split which turned out to be the main field. The winning break was now well up the road and gaining a time advantage over the main field. The pace was still high but the main field would not work together to chase down the winning break as Spyder Tech had 3 riders up the road with a # of their riders still in the main field. It only takes 2 or 3 riders to stop a group from riding efficiently and chasing down a break. It was in Team Spyder Tech’s best interest to allow their 3 riders along with a Bissell Pro Cycling rider to stay away.
During the last lap, I saw an opportunity to break away and came solo into the finish with another rider, Derrick St. John ( who has raced for Canada at the World Championships many times).
The best part of the race was just finishing as I knew that 75% of the field did not make it to the finish. As I had had no spring training or racing in my legs this year compared to years past (except of course for racing my fellow MGCC riders up Brimley or around the Bridle Path J J) it was a food feeling of accomplishment.
After the Race
As I ride back to where the car is parked I don’t feel tired, because I am ecstatic with my result. I quickly get undressed, throwing on the most important recovery tool, my compression tights and down a water bottle filled with Ultragen (first endurance product, amazing!!!) as I pack the car to head home.
Getting home around 11pm I quickly shower and pass out, as I have to be at work in 12hrs. I awake in the morning with a bit of pain seeing how my body is in the wtf stage and wants me to get back to sleep. I quickly eat and pack copious amounts of food for work. The good thing is my Granite Club student is buying a bike so I can get in a bit of a recovery ride with her as she test rides the bike. Usually I would spend 2 hours of the following day spinning my legs out and then resting at home with my legs in the air to further my recovery.
It took me three days to recover from this race instead of just one. In the past I would be riding full time, giving my body the proper time of rest so I may perform at my best and recovery would be faster.
My Future as a Cyclist
Next year I would love to get back to racing full time. I am going to use this result and other results from past races to demonstrate my ability when contacting teams for 2012. July is the time when teams are looking for riders for the following season. So that is what I must do; contact teams and show my interest in hopes of receiving a call back from a professional cycling team which leads to a meeting which leads to a potential contract.
I am working full time this year just to recover my costs from the previous years’ of racing. I am hoping to earn enough money this year to finance Tucson training and racing in 2012. The average annual costs for training and racing for a semi-pro team break out as follows (bikes and clothing are provided by team – all other costs have been shouldered by my #1 fan – my Mom – and myself):
Tucson winter training (airfare, accommodation, meals, parts) $6000
North America Race season travel, accommodation and food $9000
Race entry fees $3000 – $6000
Replacement parts and equipment (tires, tubes, chains) $1500
Total $19,500 – $22,500
I would like to thank the Morning Glory Crew who came out to cheer me on at the Nationals this year. It made a world of difference and gave me that extra bit of drive to make it up the Rattle Snake climb on the 14th and final lap.
The world's best cyclists are fueled by the world's best superfoods. Steal a few tips from Tour De France pros with easy suggestions for eating and drinking to stay in top form.
While in North Carolina we trained and rode with Max Shute from Max Shute cycling camps in Boone North Carolina. Max is a Ph.D., a Senior Coach for Carmichael Training Systems. Max lives in Valdosta, Georgia and Boone North Carolina. He coaches athletes training for competition in road cycling, mountain biking, triathlon, and marathon.
Are you training as hard or harder than your buddy and not seeing the same gains in fitness? Perhaps he or she knows something you don't. Perhaps they sleep longer and more thoroughly. Perhaps they know what and when to eat recuperative foods. The training stimulus is only 1/3 of the equation. Without the proper diet and plenty of sleep your training gains will be minimized. When we nail all three we get maximum returns on our training investment. It's not just recovery, it's all about allowing super-compensations to materialize.
A body at rest is much different than one doing physical work. Influx of oxygen and other nutrients, as well as waste product removal, across cellular membranes can increase 100 times when doing maximal aerobic work. We have very specialized transporters that migrate from within the cellular cytoplasm to the surface membrane to facilitate this increased need for fuels. Once the workout is over these transporters remain for a certain amount of time, diminishing back to normal status by 90 minutes. Why do they hang out at the membrane? To replenish muscle glycogen and allow amino acids to start the super-compensatory process and repair. This is where a recovery drink serves us well. While absorption of nutrients from a recovery drink is less than a real “meal” they are convenient and do provide what your body needs quickly. Ideally we would eat egg whites, antioxidant rich fruits, and pastas but these food items are often not palatable or available soon after racing or training. Have a recovery drink ready to get the replenishment and recovery started. Then have a delicious healthy meal as soon as practical and your appetite returns. Tupperware is your friend. Have eggs boiled, pasta and rice cooked, and fruits handy so you can grab great food before you get on with your day.
Simple tips for thorough and fast recovery:
As a coach I see the difference all the time. My clients that sleep soundly, eat great food, and train hard and smart make gains three times as fast as those that only get 2 of the 3 correct. Those that only train well often are subject to burn out and a constant level of fatigue. It's striking. Getting it all right is the only way to live. We all work, we all have families, we all have limited time. With just a little planning and time management you can have it all. Don't waste your time with junk miles and junk food. Train, eat, sleep, repeat. Listen to your body. If you are reading this you are likely a motivated person. If you are unmotivated you are unlikely ready to train physically. When you get everything in a healthy rhythm your gains will be maximized. And that's motivating!
Thank you Max for your contributions!!!