Riding The Infamous Lemond Loop in Reno/Tahoe

One of the most famous routes in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area is the Lemond Loop. It was a route Lemond regularly trained on.   One of my friends Dan who is in preparation for Ironman Lake Tahoe and a few other races invited me up for the weekend to tag along for this ride since we are both racing at Tahoe in just over a month’s time, although I am racing the 70.3. We got up early Saturday morning for a relatively early departure from Truckee to avoid some of the midday heat in the Nevada desert.  While the loop typically starts in Reno, we started in Truckee.  We rolled out about 8:30 and started off towards the Brockway climb which is on the Ironman Tahoe course.

BrockwaySummit

 

After descending down to Lake Tahoe we made our way around the Incline Village and crossing over into Nevada we began our long, roughly one hour long climb up Mt. Rose.  Mt. Rose is a Hors Categorie climb (mean hardest categorized climb, above category).  The climb is about 9 miles long at just over 5% gradient.  The view of Lake Tahoe from up on the climb was breathtaking and peaceful.  MtRoseTahoeOverlook

Mt. Rose is the highest year round mountain pass in the Sierras.  It tops out at nearly 9k feet and is just above the treeline.   We made pretty good time, and it was going to be a long 20 or so mile descent down into south Reno.  The air was rather cool at the top of the climb and as we descended, you could feel the air warm up quickly.

DanMeMtRose

 

 

After about 45 minutes of descending we made our first pit stop of the day in Galena. I didn’t need much at this point other than some water to fill the bottles and mix up some more Powerbar Perform.  After our quick pit stop we started rolling down highway 431 again across town to start the famous Geiger Climb up to Virginia City.  Geiger is a Category 2 climb that is 7 miles long at 5% gradient. This climb is famous for the battle between Andy Hampsten and Greg Lemond during the Coors Classic.

 

The Geiger climb is long and exposed to the sun for the entire 7 miles of climbing.  We had some amazing views across the valley of Mt. Rose in the distance from where we came, and some great views of downtown Reno.

MtRoseDistance
Mt. Rose across the valley.
GeigerClimb
Looking back down the Geiger Grade and downtown Reno in the distance.
GeigerSummit
Geiger Summit – 3 climbs down, 2 climbs to go

After our climb up Geiger we descended down into Virginia City and kept rolling.  On our way out of Virginia City we came across some wild mustangs.  It was such a treat to see wild horses.

Horses

We kept cruising, but now we were in the hot Nevada desert, and we had about 10-15 miles of solid headwind to fight before we got to Carson City which was our next pit stop.  As we rolled into Carson City, my buddy Dan noticed his rear tire was cooked – literally the rubber was toast and the tube was poking through.  We found a bike shop about a mile from the Spooner Pass climb and stopped in.  The guys at Bike Habitat were awesome.  They got us taken care of and directed us back onto our route.

We were back on the road and started heading up Spooner.  This is a long 9 mile Category 1 climb at a 5% gradient again, and one that just happen to have a nice headwind the entire way up.  I think this is where Dan and I were starting to feel the ride setting in.  We were just over 80 miles in and both craving a Coke.  Anyway, we continued to muster our might again the grade and wind.  Finally we reached the summit and had a fantastic descent back down to Lake Tahoe and the inviting cooler temperatures.

SpoonerSummit

 

We hit lake level and like a horse chasing a carrot I started charging with Dan on my wheel.  We rolled back into King’s Beach and stopped one last time, 100 miles into the ride to enjoy a large ice cold coke before charging back up Brockway on our way back to Truckee.

All in we finished the ride in just a few minutes over 7 hours. The ride was 115 miles with right at 11,000 feet of climbing.  If you ever have a chance I highly recommend doing this ride with some friends.  The vast changes in topography, landscape, climates, and towns is nothing short of epic.  I have done some rides but this was spectacular.

A big shout out to my friend Dan for inviting me along.

StravaFeel free to check out the ride here :

http://app.strava.com/activities/181230177

 

Power Meters: A Beginners Guide – Part 3 – FTP Boosting Workouts

Written by: Editor in Chief

In Part 2, we discussed various ways to obtain your functional threshold (FTP). Now we need to put what we know to the test to boost our power and fitness on the bike. We want to see an increase in our benchmark test every 4 to 6 weeks. Below you will find a couple workouts designed to help you increase your power on the bike.

Build your FTP by doing this three workouts in order.  When one starts to get easy move on to the next one.

For each workout perform a 10 min warm-up and 5 min cool-down.  Warm up 6 mins at a slowly building pace then do 2 x 1mins at 80% with 1min rest in between.

1) 4 x 10 at 100% FTP (2-3 min rest)

2) 3 x 15 at 95% FTP (3 min rest)

3) 2 x 20 at 90-95% FTP (5 min rest)

 

After a round of the above workouts enjoy a recovery block and retest your FTP. Reset your zones and repeat. Remember to train at the appropriate intensities as well in your other rides.

Weekend Wrap Up for July 26-27, 2014

The world was busy racing this weekend on nearly every continent.

Ironman Canada

Whistler, Canada

July 27, 2014
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.

This staple race on the Ironman circuit was heavily contested between the hard charging Belgian Marino Vanhoenacker, and the Canadian superstar and run phenom Jeff Symonds. In the end it would be the Ironman World Record holder Vanhoenacker who would prevail using his sizzling 4:31 bike split to finish in a fast 8:16,  holding off Symonds who was trailing with a blazing 2:40 marathon and finished in 8:25.

The women’s race was a close battle with the top 3 finishing within 6 minutes of one another. It would be Bree Wee of Kailua-Kona who would take top honors at the end of the day though in 9:46, closely followed by Karen Thibodeau and MacKenzie Madison.

MarinoCanada2014
Image courtesy: IronmanLive

Results
Men

1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:16:10
2. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 8:25:22
3. Paul Ambrose (GBR) 8:33:10
4. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 8:42:59
5. Andrew Drobeck (USA) 8:50:32

Women

1. Bree Wee (USA) 9:46:58
2. Karen Thibodeau (CAN) 9:51:35
3. MacKenzie Madison (USA) 9:52:46
4. Jackie Arendt (USA) 9:59:06
5. Anna Cleaver (NZL) 10:05:23

 

Ironman Lake Placid

Lake Placid, New York, USA

July 27, 2014
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.

Neo-pro Kyle Buckingham of South Africa who has been on the fast track to top ranks of the sport celebrated his first professional Ironman victory.  He placed his stamp on the race with a combined race best bike and run to finish in 8:38.

IMLakePlacid_Ferreira_2014
Image courtesy: Ironman Lake Placid

The women’s race saw Amber Ferriera march to overall victory in an impressive 9:31 as she made up ground on Kim Schwabenbauer and Lisa Roberts.

Results
Men

1. Kyle Buckingham (RSA) 8:38:43
2. Balazs Csoke (HUN) 8:51:26
3. Jonathan Shearon (USA) 8:59:22
4. Ryan Cain (CAN) 9:05:19
5. Vinny Johnson (USA) 9:09:56
6. Nathan Buttrick (USA) 9:14:07
7. Juan Valencia (COL) 9:22:32 (Amateur)
8. Raymond Botelho (USA) 9:23:21

Women

1. Amber Ferreira (USA) 9:31:28
2. Kim Schwabenbauer (USA) 9:38:14
3. Lisa Roberts (USA) 9:40:04
4. Kristen Lemos (USA)9:50:26
5. Leslie Demichele (USA) 10:05:20 (Amateur)
6. Jessica Jones Meyers (USA) 10:06:53
7. Kathryn Thomas (USA) 10:19:46
8. Jennifer Schoenberg (USA) 10:30:57 (Amateur)
9. Rachel Jastrebsky (USA) 10:35:58

 

Challenge New Albany Half

New Albany, Ohio

July 27, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / T 13.1 mi.

In it’s inaugural year, Challenge New Albany Half drew a stellar pro field.  This was in large part to an exceptionally good prize purse ($32,500 split equally among the male and female field. First place for each was $5,500).

Erik Limkemann and Meredith Kessler took top honors, and in process setting the bar for next years race.

In the men’s race Limkemann and Starykowicz battled throughout the race, but it was Limkemann who bested Starykowicz on the bike and continued to put time into him on the run finishing in 3:50.

Meredith Kessler continued her dominating 2014 season with a spectacular 4:19 race performance securing her win over Jennifer Spieldenner in front of a hometown crowd.

MBKChallengeAlbany2014
Meredith Kessler heading out of T2 on run! Image courtesy: Twitter – @Robby_Simpson

Results
Men

1. Eric Limkemann (USA) 3:50:33
2. Leon Griffin (AUS) 3:56:16
3. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 3:56:35
4. Justin Metzler (USA) 4:00:28
5. Adam Bohach (USA) 4:00:57

Women

1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:19:02
2. Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 4:23:14
3. Jillian Petersen (USA) 4:24:08
4. Haley Chura (USA) 4:29:58
5. Carly Johann (USA) 4:33:01

 

Ironman 70.3 Calgary

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

July 27, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.

Andy Potts and Rachel McBride both dominated their rivals in convincing fashion this weekend in Calgary.  Potts securing his fourth win of the season led out of the swim not to be seen again. McBride coming off a recent injury was back on top in front of a home country crowd.  She crushed the bike in an amazing 2:13 on her way to a 4:07, smashing Miranda Carfrae’s previous course record by nearly 4 minutes.

McBrideCalgary2014
Image courtesy: Wattie Ink

Results
Men

1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:43:43
2. Will Clarke (GBR) 3:44:19
3. Brandon Marsh (USA) 3:47:32
4. Jordan Rapp (USA) 3:48:03
5. Grant Burwash (CAN) 3:54:25

Women

1. Rachel McBride (CAN) 4:07:19
2. Mandy McLane (USA) 4:16:12
3. Lisa Mensink (CAN) 4:17:47
4. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:19:29
5. Amy Marsh (USA) 4:21:13

Tour de France – Paris Finale

The 2014 edition of the Tour de France wrapped up this weekend in Paris. It was the Italian, Vincenzo Nibali  who would be the final wearer of the yellow jersey in a dominating performance.  In a spectacular showing of the French revival of cycling, Jean- Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot finished second and third respectively.  Thibaut Pinot also won the white jersey, or best young riders classification.  Peter Sagan again took the green jersey for the sprint competition.  The big surprise was  Rafal Majka securing the polka dot jersey, or King of the Mountains classification – after nearly being left off the Tour roster for Saxo-Tinkoff.  This is the first ever jersey for a Polish rider.

General Classification Results 

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 89:59:06
2 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:37
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:08:15
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:09:40
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:11:24

 

 

 

Power Meters: A Beginners Guide – Part 1 – Understanding Metrics

Written by: Editor in Chief

So you have been riding for a while and finally decided to take your training to the next level.  You have probably purchased one of the many available units on the market (eg. Quarq, Powertap, Stages, SRM, etc) based on your needs and budget.  But now what?  Power meters are a fantastic tool in the training arsenal, but without the proper knowledge they are just an expensive toy.  This will be the first of a series of articles which will aim to provide you with enough information to use and interpret the data from your new power meter. We won’t go too deep into the details, but we will guide you in the right direction.

Terminology

PowerHeadUnitShot

A measurement of energy used over time, in this case expressed in watts.  Unlike heart rate which can drift with dehydration, altitude, or heat – a watt is a watt and is constant.  Usually expressed and displayed in real time (usually to jumpy), 3sec average, 10sec average, or 30sec average.

Average Power

The average output of the whole of your ride. This include the uphills when you are pushing 300w as well as downhills when you are coating at zero watts. Average power will be important later when we start to explain field testing.

Kilojoules (kJs)

A unit of work. If you are trying to lose weight, kJs are what you want to rack up.  Many newer head units (eg Garmin) will give you a kJs readout.  This is a good guide for eating on the ride.

Threshold Power

The single most important metric we will use.  Essentially this is the power you can sustain for one hour.  Usually expressed in Watts/Kilogram or w/kg – this provides a way in which two riders can see how they compare.  Better yet, it allows you to see which way your fitness is progressing. For instance if you produce 250w at threshold and weigh 70kg you are producing 3.57w/kg at threshold.  Now lets assume you lose 2kg and now produce 265w at threshold.  You are now producing 3.89w/kg.  However, if you gain 2kg yet put out 275w at theshold you are only producing 3.76w/kg.  In an ideal world you will gain fitness, increase threshold power, and lose a few pounds.  Your mileage may vary.

Normalized Power (NP)

A proprietary and standardized algorithm that accounts for time spent coasting, downhills, and intervals or efforts where sharp increases in power are produced. It aims to create an estimated power number for the ride or interval if you had averaged a constant power output.  Normalized power will almost always be higher than average power, especially on hilly rides or in group rides/races.

Watts/Kg

Exactly how it sounds, the relationship of watts produced to kilograms for the rider who produced the watts.

Training Stress Score (commonly referred to as TSS)

Developed by Andrew Coggan and licensed by TrainingPeaks.  This is a way in which to quantify the effort level of a ride.  A TSS of 100 is equivalent to a 1 hour all out effort. This is one of the most tracked metrics in a training plan by most coaches.

  • TSS less than 150 – low (recovery generally complete by following day)
  • 150-300 – medium (some residual fatigue may be present the next day, but gone by 2nd day)
  • 300-450 – high (some residual fatigue may be present even after 2 days)
  • Greater than 450 – very high (residual fatigue lasting several days likely)

Intensity Factor (IF)

Ratio of the normalized power to your threshold power. Provides a valid comparison between rides and riders.

Typical IF values for various training sessions or races are as follows:

  • Less than 0.75 recovery rides
  • 0.75-0.85 endurance-paced training rides
  • 0.85-0.95 tempo rides, aerobic and anaerobic interval workouts (work and rest periods combined), longer (>2.5 h) road races
  • 0.95-1.05 lactate threshold intervals (work period only), shorter (<2.5 h) road races, criteriums, circuit races, longer (e.g., 40 km) TTs
  • 1.05-1.15 shorter (e.g., 15 km) TTs, track points race
  • Greater than 1.15 prologue TT, track pursuit, track miss-and-out

Variability Index

Defined as normalized power (NP) divided by average power.  This is an indication of how smooth or even effort was distributed throughout a ride.

Part 2 will go into the various testing protocols to obtain your threshold power, a critical step in effectively utilizing your new power meter.

Cycling Gear – ISM Adamo Attack Saddle Long Term Review

We have spent nearly half a season now on the ISM® Adamo Attack saddle, logging some nearly 3,500 miles on it.  ISMAttackSideProfile

ISM® or Ideal Saddle Modification™ is the genius of Steve Toll.  Triathlete Magazine voted the ISM® Attack their 2013 Best in Class, and for good reason!  The idea was simple, most saddles were uncomfortable so lets remove what makes them uncomfortable.  We had been riding traditional road saddles for years, and upon switching the the Attack saddle we had no idea what to expect.

ISMStockImage

Two things are obvious about the ISM® Attack – the saddle is split, and a few centimeters are missing from the nose.  While it may seem odd, this is what makes this saddle comfortable.  It took us some miles to get this saddle dialed in, but once we had the position right and our sit bones (those things on your pelvis other saddles have ignored) had time to become accustomed to their new task we were very pleased.  The first obvious result was the improved comfort – no longer were we putting pressure on those important parts of our body.  This became even more evident after riding one of our road bikes some days later not equipped with an ISM® saddle.  That experience left us wondering how we ever managed those long hours in the saddle.

One of the additional benefits besides comfort with the ISM® saddle is the increase in performance and power.  This is achieved through what we can only attribute to the ability to rotate your pelvis further forward and the saddle holding you more square, meaning that you are shifting ISMAttackRearProfileleft or right on the saddle and effectively changing your bio-mechanics.

While ISM® currently offers 13 other saddles than the Attack, we chose the Attack because it had the narrowest transition from front to back, allowing for more fore/aft movement.  This was important since we put a lot of miles on our triathlon bike and live in a mountainous area.  The Attack measures 270mm long and 110 mm wide and is available in Black, White or our their new USA color theme.

The Verdict

The ISM® Attack is good enough it could possibly change your life.  While the Attack may not be the right shaped saddle for you, ISM® without a doubt probably has a saddle for you.

MSRP $249.95  Ismseat.com

 

Written by: Editor-in-Chief