Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time for a change! Or not.

With fall upon us many riders are gearing down a bit and looking at a few last events or maybe some slightly more socially focused riding opportunities.  Those engaged heavily in 'cross racing certainly don't fall into this group, but shift the schedule a couple months and they'll be ready for a little down time too.

Of course much has been said about there not being an "off-season" especially for Master's athletes and I'd have to concur.  In fact, unless you're lucky enough to be in a position that allows for some pretty big volume over the past 3-6 months you may not want to back down your weekly hours at all.  I've often found that for athletes with full time jobs and kids and a spouse and a second job and some social life or some combination of those factors we're already making the most out of pretty limited training time. 

Often in these instances backing down training volume just isn't necessary.   Of course, it is different for every person, but if you're at 5-8 hours of training per week and are working in recovery when necessary you might not be stressing the system so much that you can't keep putting in the same amount of volume all year round.  Just because pros and even high level amateurs drop back in volume this time of year doesn't mean you should do the same.  Train for you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

To InterBike and Back

Way busy time last week as I packed up the High Speed Cycling/Iron Cross/Trans-Sylvania Epic/Power On Coaching conglomerate and headed west to Sin City for some Big Pimpin' - mostly of TSE.

The response was fantastic.  I'm really excited about where we're going with the TSEpic and it also got me more pumped about Iron Cross and the Rattling Weekend too.  The trip has given me all sorts of ideas and motivation to keep pushing forward on those events, motivation which admittedly can be a bit tough to find now and then when much of the promotional juice is sopped up by that huge sponge that is Trans-Sylvania.  So lots of good reasons to get out there!

I didn't get to see a whole lot of new training technology out there, but there were a few things that look pretty intriguing though I'm waiting to hear a bit more first!

Power2Max is a new power meter hopefully coming on the scene that may be the most affordable crank based option if you already happen to own a compatible crank (one with a removable spider).  Affordable is great as long as it gives you everything you need from a powermeter.  Of course, the claims are great so it remains to be seen if it all works in the end.  This

PowerTap (links to article by VeloNews) is offering this new gizmo that is claimed to be able to calibrate power and HR closely enough that you can "train with power" by referring only to your heart rate data.  I have my doubts on this one.  I can see it working in some situations - in fact there are workouts that I find are most useful with HR primarily.  But there are still enough instances and issues - HR doesn't react the same when fatigued; short sharp efforts, HR to power lag - that this device is coming with a big asterisk and needs to be well understood by any user.   On the plus side, I do like the new Joule units (pictured above) coming from CycleOps - both offer some great data like TSS, NP and IF and one is offering GPS recording for later download.

Garmin bought out Metrigear a few years ago and lots of folks have been waiting to see what the promising Metrigear technology would turn into with the resources available through a giant like Garmin.  I think the results -the Garmin Vector - are a little underwhelming, and I'm taking a watch and see position on this one.  I do like some of the ideas behind pedal based power - certainly right/left power breakdown could be very useful not just to training but also to overall muscular balance, bike fit and even injury diagnosis.  The problem is that, so far, Garmin is offering one pedal system and it is their own system that appears to be a low end pedal body on a very high dollar pedal.  (BTW, initially the Metrigear meter promised lower cost...)  My hope was that the long delay between the purchase of Metrigear and the Gamin Powermeter launch meant that we'd see a myriad of axle options to fit just about any pedal be it road or mountain.  What we get  At the same time, this pedal has prompted Garmin to add NP, TSS and IF to the Edge 500 and 800 displays, but it seems like that might only work with the Vector so the Joule may still be the best option.

And I have to say that I really like the look of the new Genius "virtual reality trainer" - lets just call it a fancy indoor trainer shall we? - from TACX.  This thing merges video gaming and indoor training like nothing before.  The graphics are impressive and you - no kidding - can actually steer this thing with your bars/front wheel (for an added fee of course!).  I still prefer riding outside in "actual reality" but I know my life makes doing such a lot harder than it used to be.  No doubt, the more lifelike that indoor experience is the more people will use it.  I also like the idea that I could even ride with or race against friends in other states and coutries on-line now and then.  Well, except those friends in places like Arizona and San Diego - group riding with those kids may require a January trip south and west.