Sunday, April 28, 2013

Training Update - Kevin Pearl

Each year I commit to buying only one cycling event jersey. Last year, my annual jersey came from the Hincapie Gran Fondo. This year, I chose another South Carolina event. The awesome looking red and black jersey for Assault On Mt. Mitchell arrived in the mail at the end of last week. I can't wait to wear it with pride, but I made a promise to myself that I would wait until I earn it. 

My training plan is entering the final exam phase rapidly. It seemed like just yesterday I was signing up for this event, and now I'm nearly panicked realizing I have less than a month left to be ready. 

Early on, I mentioned my keys to success at Mt. Mitchell would be to lose excess weight, strengthen my core, ride often, and game plan for success! I'm happy to report I have made significant strides in all of these categories. Still, I'm somewhat nervous as we get closer and closer. The guys and gals I ride with in Bluegrass Cycling Club (my local), help coach me up every week about staying focused and climbing as much as possible. They have been inspirational, telling me they can't wait to hear about the ride as we host our big annual event, the Horsey Hundred the weekend following AOMM. 

I have completed multiple fifty plus mile rides, incorporating the toughest climbing I can find in this area, but I wish I had completed some tougher rides. Unfortunately, this winter has been harsher and longer than recent past years, so I've had to spin on my exercise bike more than I prefer. All necessary suffering, I continue to remind myself. 

My biggest test came two weeks ago when I completed the century route at Redbud Ride in London, KY. I was satisfied with my finish as we averaged 17+ mph for the total ride, which included some challenging hills. These may not compare to the Mitchell route, but they still required plenty of effort. 

I had the luxury of riding the Redbud Ride with an experienced Carolina climber, Jim Simes, a very strong cyclist and good friend of mine from Anderson, SC. He assured me that no matter what I thought leading up to the big day, there is no true way to be mentally and physically prepared for the torture we will go through on the bike. Gee, thanks Jim! 

His advice to me was to find the pack that fits my pace early on. Stick tight with them as they pull me as fast and effortlessly as possible to Marion, hydrating and fueling properly along the way. I shouldn’t attempt to start fueling at the Marion stop. By then it is too late. From Marion, set out for a battle, but go at my own pace. In terms of saddle time, I will be almost halfway home.

Hopefully this advice will help me develop my game plan for success. 

Kevin Pearl
Ram Cycling

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tentative Training Ride Schedule

Time is running short, with just a few weeks remaining until the big ride. The last few training rides, organized by Richard White, should have plenty of climbing and some interesting locations.

This Saturday, April 20th at 9:00am.

Meet at the Great Escape (Franklin Ave. near the intersection of I-26 and Hwy 29).

The route will head up the Greenville Watershed, down the Saluda Grade, through Tryon, and back New Cut Road to the start. It is about 88 miles and should take 5.5 to 6 hours total for the group. The average speed should be in the 18 mph range , which includes the Watershed climb. Regroups will occur at all turns, stop sights, mechanicals, and at the top of climbs.

Tentative Ride Schedule:

4/27 - AOMM Training Ride #5: This ride will cover the actual Mitchell route for 50 miles beyond Bill's Hill, and then back to the start.

5/4 - Table Rock Ride: This is a great ride, with some nice climbs including the infamous Highway 215 climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It will be 97 miles with 8,500 feet, and will definitely let you know where you stand for AOMM. It starts in Table Rock State Park, heads through Rosman, up 215, to Brevard, back up through Caesar's Head (easy side), then back to the start.

5/11 - Possibly Marion to Mitchell. This could also be a makeup date if the Table Rock ride gets rained out.

Observing the following will help ensure a safe ride for everyone:

1.      By coming to a posted ride you are in fact agreeing to abide by all guidelines either posted with the ride, communicated to you at the pre-ride meeting or referenced by the ride leader(s) during the ride. Ignoring these guidelines is not an option. Those who lead our rides deserve our support as otherwise they may decide it’s not worth the effort to organize , post and lead rides.

2.      If you  have a problem with someone or some behavior for any reason during a ride, please let the ride leader know and they will deal with the problem. Please do not verbally or physically threaten anyone as we believe all cyclists should feel safe. 

3.      We will designate multiple ride leaders (can be done just before the ride) who will deal with any major disagreements as a leadership group.

4.      Safety includes obeying all traffic laws, most notably riding two abreast and not crossing the yellow / white line into oncoming traffic.

5.      All cyclists on a ride are responsible for themselves and all other cyclists in the group. Everyone has a duty and right to speak to safety concerns and we would ask that this be done in the spirit of civility even when attempting to address dangerous or disruptive behavior.

In Addition:

1) When we stop for any reason please move to the far right side of the road or off the road if possible . This is especially true at stop signs as we need to let cars by and they are often reluctant to go by if we're milling around in the road.

2) Please try to move to the right as soon as possible and 2 wide whenever someone says " car back.". The car may still have a tough time getting around but at least we tried.

3) Please pass information forwards and backwards through the group for turns, holes, etc.

4) If you plan to leave the group, please move to the back of the group before your turn so as not to create confusion about the correct route for others.

5) Please be careful when moving around in the pack. We all count on each other to make predictable moves as the group rolls down the road and it's the quick, unpredictable moves that often cause accidents.

6) If you do experience mechanical issues or difficulty in maintaining the groups pace, please let us know ASAP so we can help you determine your best option .

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finally a Climb - Aaron West

With a little more than a month of training before the big event, I imagine that most people are out climbing as much as possible. I was witness to a large group of Freewheelers out this weekend. My guess is there were about 30 of them, who swiftly passed us as we prepared to climb Caesar’s Head Mountain. 

My challenges are a little different. Having spent a few months off the bike due to injury, I have only been back a little over a month. Most of that has been easy riding, and I’ve been careful not to overextend myself and possibly force a setback. It is hard to believe, but until this past weekend, I had not ridden up a significant climb of even a mile.

I chose the Assault on the Carolinas for my first climb, partly because I’ve done it the last two years and it’s one of my favorite rides. I also knew I could go at my own pace, and that the event is organized well enough that I would be safe. If the injury prevented me from finishing, a wagon would come around to take me to my car.

The first climb is Walnut Hollow -- a beast that peaks at around a 15-16% grade. It was a struggle, but I made it to the top. After getting through some mini-climbs on Highway 178, the route planted me at the base of Caesar’s Head, with 6.5 miles of climbing until I reached the top.

I wasn’t out there for speed. I knew this would be a weak attempt, as my muscles have not healed and developed enough to climb efficiently. This was about enduring and succeeding, just reaching the top under my own power without stopping. I was careful not to go too hard (not that I had a choice), and it took me 1:15 to finish. My Strava report shows that I was stopped for over 6 minutes. Not so. That was just from my Garmin auto-pausing when I was below 3 mph. Last year I would have been embarrassed by this type of showing. This year I felt pride for finishing.

Even though this was a challenge both mentally and physically, it gave me some assurance and confidence. I’m convinced that despite these obstacles, I can still complete Mitchell. I’ve found that if I pace myself and ride with a good group, I can get through the rollers. Marion is no cakewalk, but I can get through it with some help. After I leave from Marion, I’ll be on my own. Even though I’ll probably climb slower than I’ve ever climbed, I can get there.

It will not be easy. Fortunately this ride isn’t easy for anyone. As they say, it doesn’t get easier, you just ride harder. This time I’ll be inverting that phrase. Even though I’ll be riding slower, that doesn’t mean it will get that much harder.

Assault on the Carolinas - ride report

Aaron West

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nutrition Needs During Training - Kelli Jennings

There are 3 main things to be concerned about during the ride (any ride that’s moderate to high intensity and >90 minutes):

1) Fluids: Aim for 16-24 oz. per hour (up to 32 oz. in summer heat). Or for an individualized fluid goal, weigh yourself immediately before and after training to estimate fluid losses (take into consideration the amount of fluid consumed during the ride). My preference is to use a sports drink (or my homebrew that can be found here that provides fluid, carbs, and lytes. You can get more specific with types of carbs when buying or making a drink…look for maltodextrin as your first carb ingredient, then glucose and fructose. If you’re an athlete that prefers to drink water, at least some of the time, you’ll have to add more carbs and lytes through foods and supplements as described below.

2) Carbs: Your body can use 60+ grams of carbs per hour. Again, I like to use a fluid that provides some of these carbohydrates. The specific carbs can come down to personal preference – maltodextrin, sucrose, some fructose, dextrose, glucose all work.  I like a combination, but what’s most important is that you like the taste.  You will bonk time and time again if you try to force yourself to drink something you don’t actually like.  If drinking 20 oz. per hour of a fluid that contains ~12-15 grams carbs per 8 oz., you’ll get ~30 grams per hour just from the fluids. Then, to get the rest of the carbs you need, add 1 small carb option such as 1 gel, 3 Shot Bloks, ½ most sports bars (or a Clif Bar Mini), 1 Honey Stinger Waffle, etc (look for ~20-30 grams carbs on the label) each hour.

3) Electrolytes: Most athletes need 400-700 mg sodium, 100-300 mg potassium, 80-120 mg calcium, and 40-60 mg magnesium PER HOUR of training. Usually, you can get some of the sodium and potassium in your sports drink and in your foods. So, begin by calculating the amount you’ll get per hour based on your fliud and food plan. Then, make up the difference with supplements such as Endurolytes, SCaps!, or another supplement. You’ll find a breakdown of many commercial electrolyte options here.

In summary, each hour of riding:
  • Drink 16-24 oz. sports drink with electrolytes and carbohydrates
  • Eat 1 carb option (20-30 grams carbs)
  • Added electrolytes with supplements as needed
If riding >5 hours: Stick with the same nutrient goals as above every hour. Then, every 3rd hour, you can add a small portion of “real food” if you’d like. A half peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ½ rice burrito, ½ deli meat sandwich, ½ Snickers bar, etc. – these foods are used to add some fat, protein, and extra calories for long rides. They can also serve to add a salty food option to what often becomes an overload in sweet-tasting sports foods and drinks. What’s more, if you choose foods you’ll look forward to, they are a big morale booster!

Schedule: I’m a big believer in eating/drinking to a schedule rather than to thirst/hunger when riding – in fact, if I’m hungry or thirsty on a long ride, I know I’m in trouble. There’s too many variables and things to distract me to let anything other than my plan and schedule determine my fuel intake. So, determine what you need per hour based on the information above, pack it, and drink/eat it!

Recovery: Your recovery snack needs to contain 30-60 grams carbohydrates, 10-30 grams protein, and fluid. I also strongly recommend adding Medium Chain Triglycerides, from organic extra-virgin coconut oil, as they are an efficient energy source that’s used directly by the mitochondria (energy powerhouses) of the cells. As a bonus, antioxidants and probiotics are helpful in recovery – the probiotics increase the absorption of the antioxidants which fight the extra free radicals created by exercise. For a recipe, try my Almond Butter Smoothie and use plain yogurt in place of milk. In my opinion, it’s a perfect recovery. Or, use a bar or another snack that meets these criteria. Try to consume your recovery snack within 30 minutes of finishing your ride.

Kelli Jennings