Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Half Time Break

For a lot of us (cyclists and triathletes), our outdoor riding/racing season started in late February or early March. If you're one of them...it's HALF TIME...time to take a break from the bike. Time to re-charge the batteries, evaluate the first half of the outdoor season and prepare yourself for the second half...from July to October/November.

Yes, I know a lot of you that are in good form (and fitness) are worried/concerned that they're going to be giving up some fitness. I too used to be scared that I'd lose EVERYTHING I worked so hard to achieve. Well, for those of us that have been hampered with leg, back, knee, etc. injuries (mid-season) we know this is NOT true. We don't lose our fitness as quickly as we think/thought we do. And, in most ALL cases we come back STRONGER after our injuries.

So, how much of a break should we take...and what should we do during the break? Depends. But, in most cases I would say anything from 5-10 days off would suffice. And, what to do? Anything but ride the bike. This is the time to do some OTHER things you'd like: hike, kayak, fish, beach volleyball, golf, surf, whatever. Just be safe...and ACTIVE! (Don't be doing anything stupid like playing touch football in flip-flops or playing softball and sliding into 2nd base w/ shorts on either.) And, this is NOT a week long excuse to sit on your a$$, drink beer, watch TV, get fat do NOTHING vacation. You've got to be ACTIVE and eat/drink sensibly. This is ALSO a good time to spend some dedicated time with your spouse, girlfriend (or both- just kidding), kids, friends, etc. too. (Spouse? Girlfriend? Remember them? Those people you ignore during the training/racing season when you're training hard?)

Not only do you need a physical break from the bike, you need a mental one as well.

Lastly, this is also a good time to evaluate the first half of your season. Did you accomplish the goals you wanted to? If not, why not? Are you training too hard? Not hard enough? What can you do the 2nd half of the season to accomplish your goals and make the season a success? What are your strengths/weaknesses? Remember to train your weaknesses and race your strengths.

Now recharge those batteries and good luck on the second half of the season....and finish strong! Power On! Coach Rob

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mini-Criterium (0.4 mile loop)

Yup, that's right..a Mini. I thought I'd start something a little closer to home where people could ride their bikes to and get a good 1 hr. race-pace workout. Thus, the Cold Spring Elementary (CSE) mini-criterium. What is it, what's it all about? Come see this Sunday at 0830 in the parking lot of Cold Spring Elementary located on the corner of Cold Spring Creamery Rd. and Rt. 413 in Buckingham, PA. Please don't email me with questions about the mini-criterium because I'll be out of town (on business travel) and won't have time to answer your emails. If you're interested..just show up. Racing will start promptly at 0900 and last for an hour. Group fun ride to follow from 1000-noon, usually a hilly ride on the PA side to Frenchtown, NJ and then a fast TT on the way back (on Rt 29/River Rd.) to Bulls Island on the "Big D" and back into PA. Should be fun! Please- only riders with good paceline skills and/or racing experience wanted/invited. We want this to be safe and fun. See you on Sunday! Coach Rob

BTW, we're going to have some Cat 2-5 road racers and some triathletes in attendance!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fleecydale/Carversville Rd Time Trial

Ok, for the athletes that I train with (and coach) that live locally, I want you to do this time trial and report your total time and average speed. But, rather than do it fresh, I want you to do it on your return trip..from whatever ride you do..whether it be a short interval workout on River Rd. or a long 3 hr. ride on the hills.

The start is at the bottom of Fleecydale Rd & River Rd. (at the stop sign). The finish is the intersection before Carversville Rd. and Rt. 413. I'm curious to hear what your average speed,total time and average watts (if you have a PM) is UPHILL from Fleecydale/River Rd. to Carversville/Rt. 413.

Here's my ride today after doing a 2x20 L4 workout on River Rd. in NJ. I felt pretty good, and feel I could have gone harder...but this is my first time. Avg. watts 270w, 14 min, 18.1 mph avg. Not too bad but I know a lot of riders that can do MUCH better. Give it a try and either post below in the comments section or send me an email.

BTW, this is an EXCELLENT threshold workout. Remember, this should be done at threshold (L4). My heart rate averaged 174bpm which is my threshold HR, and my power 270w is actually my FTP..pretty accurate..since I didn't do this fresh. If I did it fresh I'll bet that my average watts would have been 290ish watts.

Anyway, give it a try! Like I said..GREAT WORKOUT!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

On the Third Day

No, this blog is not about one of my favorite albums from the Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO), or about Christ's resurrection from the dead but rather my laptops resurrection from the dead. My laptop is up and running..albeit with a new Hard Drive.


I'll be posting some new cycling articles next week. Coach Rob

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Laptop Died

I'm in mourning..my laptop's HD crashed. I lost all of my Power File data for 2009..just mine though. All of my client files were backed-up on another computer with Training Peaks. More importantly, I lost all of my work files and business files from the last 6 mos...since that's the last time I backed-up the HD. Anyway, I won't be posting any articles for a while..since I'll be trying to salvage what I can from the HD. BACKUP daily people...BACKUP!!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I don't know one athlete (triathlete or cyclist) that doesn't want to go FASTER on the bike. Granted there are those that are a little nervous going FAST down steep descents and rather apply the brakes to keep their speed in check. But, for the most part..when you're racing it's all about..the NEED for SPEED...and how to go FASTER!

In order to go faster, especially for Triathlete's (that are out on a course for 5+ hours)..it's not a matter of just exerting raw power on the bike...it's about balancing POWER, COMFORT and AERODYNAMICS. (See Powerpoint Slide above).

This blog, however, is NOT about Power (wow, a break) or Aerodynamics..it's about Comfort. One of the most important aspects of Comfort is "bike fit". That is, properly fitting a bike to your body geometry rather than fitting your body to a specific bike. It always amazes me how athletes just go out and buy a particular bike because their buddys ride one, or their favorite pro triathlete rides one, or they can get a good deal on one at their local bike store (LBS)...not knowing that "geometrically speaking" it could be the worst marriage in the world. So, keep that in mind when purchasing a NEW bike. Demo ride as many as you can (of different make) BEFORE you buy, because some bikes will just fit you better than others..even if they're the same frame size.

If you already have a road bike or Tri bike..and you want to ensure that you're fitted properly..you can either go to your LBS and have them fit you...or do it yourself. A decent "static" fitting will take about an hour and cost approx. $100. A static fitting is one where the LBS will drop a plumb line from the tip of your knee (while your seated on your bike with your foot stationary at the 6 o'clock position) to the center of the pedal axis to check for proper alignment. Then they'll use a goniometer (fancy name for an angle measuring device) to measure knee extension angles. These are the two most important angles that will fit you to your bike properly. A more advanced "dynamic" fitting will take up to four hours and cost approx. $400. A dynamic fitting is one where the LBS will use either a hi-speed camera or video to check for proper alignment, knee extension angles and other important angles. With dynamic fits, the LBS is most often fitting the bike to you. A "dynamic" fit is more accurate/precise than a "static" fit, just like a "dynamic" spin balance of your cars tires is better than a "static" balance. A proper warmup on the trainer is normally required before a dynamic fit is performed.

If you're on a shoestring budget..you can easily do a "quick fit" check at home. All you need is a digital camera, computer, protractor, ruler, black sharpie marker, and some clear transparency film to cover your computer monitor..while you draw lines/angles on it. You just have someone take a photo of you on your bike (on a trainer), in whatever position you want to ride (Aero-bars, on the hoods or drops), and then upload the file into your computer and onto your computer screen. Then, you tape the film transparency over your computer screen image and start tracing the lines with your sharpie. When you're done, you use your ruler and protractor to measure alignment and critical angles. Or, if you have a good Photo Editing Software program, like Adobe Photoshop, you can forget the sharpie and transparency film and just overlay lines through your ankles, legs, hips and shoulders (See photo above). BTW, the photo above (of me) is with a Cannondale road bike with a seat-tube angle of 73.5 degrees. A Tri-bike, with a seat tube angle closer to 80 degrees, would move me more forward, allowing me to raise my seat, thus dropping my arms more and creating a flatter back...and ultimately a more "Aero" position. I was actually able to get my position flatter since this photo was taken. Since I couldn't get a more forward position, based on the 73.5 deg seat tube angle, and the fact that my seat was as far forward as it could go, I bought an off-set seat post that allowed my seat to go MORE forward. Thus, seat height up, creating a more acute angle of the arms where you currently see 110 deg. angle in the photo..and a flatter back.

I'm not going to go into the actual bike fitting procedure for you here, because I don't have the time, but what I am going to do is provide you with a great article on bike fit from Dan Empfield..that will pretty much explain everything you need to know about proper bike fit...so you can either do it yourself at home..or be able to speak intelligently when you take your bike to your LBS to get fit. (Don't sound too smart at the LBS on bike fit, after you read the article by Dan, or you'll fluster your LBS fitter...haha) Here's the link:

Good luck, and if you have any questions..email me: mullerrj@comcast.net Be Aero, Power Up, In-Comfort= Go Fast!

Training Criterium Race

I don't know if anyone is interested or not, but I'm thinking of organizing a Practice Crit at CB South High School (Warrington, PA) on select weekend days. I've included a map of the course. Check it out. It's relatively flat (only 50 ft. elevation change per lap), and just shy of 2 miles per lap. I figure a 10-lap race would be a good workout and good experience. If you're interested, email me: mullerrj@comcast.net I can tell you for a fact, that we'd either have this training race on either a Saturday or Sunday morning...EARLY. Like 7 a.m. early to avoid any kind of traffic. It is NOT a closed course, and there is traffic on 3/4 of it. In fact, there is one section that is approximately 200-300 yds long that uses Bristol Rd. There is a shoulder on Bristol Rd. for that section. But, you just don't want to be flying out onto Bristol Rd in a group. We'll probably have to have a ruling where nobody can pass or improve their position on Bristol Rd. Also, there are 3-4 speed bumps on the CB South access road that you should be aware of. They are the flatter/longer speed bumps...not the short/tall ones. Having said that, there is one speed bump that is short/tall but you can ride around it.

Also, there are a bunch of tight/technical turns (7 to be exact that are either 90 deg or close to it) that you should be aware of on the course. See the map, or better yet..go out and ride/drive the course.

Anyway, check it out..and if you're interested..email me. I think it would be a good interval workout for racers, or newbies who want to get used to riding in a pack and knowing what the pace of an actual Crit race is.