Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time to get fast!

The weather is finally starting to cooperate a bit here in Indy and more and more cyclists are hitting the road. The clock is ticking for the real racing season so now is the time to get some speed in the legs - before you get dropped.

Here are a few quick tips to help build some speed on the quick:

Ride with people faster than you - An oldie but goodie. Move your butt near the front of your next group ride and push to stay there. Hang on as long as you can and get a great workout from it. You can add in some intervals off the front or drift back and chase to increase the pain if the group is not hitting the speeds you need. Remember - you have to ride faster than what is comfortable to get faster.

Do a max effort at least once on most of your rides. I mean MAXIMUM effort, not that sorta fast stuff. Efforts that make you want to curl up in the fetal position for a few minutes. I like to hit the Nebo Ridge group ride on Tuesday to get in a good, fast group ride. Even if you can't win the sprint, contest it to the best of your ability and push your body into a real max situation. If you have a power meter, these are the times to try for a new 5, 10, 20 sec max power. If you have any juice left in the legs, do a few more sprints on the way home to really drain the legs.

If you have races planned, try to ride the course and push the parts you know will be fast during the race. If there is a hill, do repeats until you know every nook and crannie. Practice sprinting for the line (see above) and make the workout harder than the real race. Having this confidence will make you faster on race day.

Get out and ride! - Coach Kevin

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ramblings in the off season

The holidays are always a challenging time for me. Over eating and cold weather tend to ruin my form on the bike. This year (like most cyclists) I vowed not to let it happen!

On Christmas Day I was happy to find some new cycling DVD's under the tree with my name on them. The DVD set boasts of a 12% increase in power. Who doesn't want 12% more power??

So, with my trainer set up, and a little motivation I began my new indoor training program. While I found the actual video and music content of the series quite lame, the workouts were challenging and I enjoyed them. On off days I've been riding the rollers for 1-2 hours and really working on improving my spin to eleminate dead spots.

So what were the results? I saw my 8 minute power test go from 251NP to 289NP. That's a 13% increase. 13 is 1 better than 12 (insert SpinalTap theme). During this time I've also dropped about 10lbs of holiday goodness from my gut. Another 10 and I'll be at my race weight.

I took 1 week off the bike after completing the series. I plan to run through it again with my new power zones configured. We'll see if another 12-13% is obtainable.

One of my goals for 2009 is to raise my TSS/d score to 60+. As of today, I'm sitting at 36.3. A 60 would be higher than I've ever achieved in the 4 years I've been training with a power meter. Can I raise it that high? We'll find out. Keep an eye on my progress with a shared spreadsheet at:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

First race of the season - Indoor Time Trial

High blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, constant checking of your gear... these are just a few of the wonderful sensations of RACE DAY! On Saturday the 21st of February we held an indoor Time Trial using Computrainers for Two Wheels Cycling clients at Anytime Fitness in Zionsville, IN. 13 brave souls came in for 10K of pain. The 6.2 mile course is rolling and never gives you the chance to settle and find a steady rhythm. A real test of cycling fitness.

Bill Olds set the early time to beat in the first wave with a 17:05, just a tick under 22mph! James Clary and John Hixon were hot on his heels starting the day off on a high note and putting the pressure on the rest of the field.
The second wave saw Paul Harrington turn himself inside out to better his 08 spring time by a second. His time of 16:44 was the first sub 17 min time of the day and it was going to take a superb effort to best the time.
More times in the 17 min range were the order of the day and Paulie was looking good in his Heineken jersey.
Chris Janak, a regular to the advanced cycling indoor classes for the last year had no idea what to expect since he has only been riding for the last 15 months or so and just got a road bike last summer. After warmup up with some weight work in the gym he got on his Specialized and shot off the start line incredibly fast. Everyone was watching and waiting for him to crack and slow down. The crack never came and he posted a blistering time of 16:26, just shy of 23mph!

The final heat saw Rob Meinzer jump in for another race againt Jay Dunbar and myself. Jay set a new PR for the course registering another sub 17 effort, good for third on the day. Rob stayed within 30 seconds of his earlier time - well done. What about your fearless coach? I snuck in under Chris's time with a 16:05. All in all a great day for everyone and some strong motivation for the spring.

On a side note, Wendell Hyink ( the 63 year old Two Wheels super client and poster child for masters athletes everywhere ran a 16:57 on this course a week before winning his age group at the early season 24 hours of Sebring bike race. Wendell posted 344 miles (a new PR) on a windy day that saw low numbers from the entire field. Wendell also exhibited some incredible sportsmanship by helping fellow racer Larry Ide after a crash at 2AM. Look for lots more from Wendell this year as he chases the UMCA Ultracup series title!
Good Riding - Coach Kevin

Zionsville Indoor Time Trial #1
Chris Janak
Paul Harrington
Jay Dunbar
Bill Olds
Rob Meinzer
Brian Robinson
James Clary
Rusty Denton
Paul Schenkel
John Hixon
David Norris
Tim Wiley
Kevin Koval

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Long time - no blog posts. I could talk about all of the things that happened since the Spring but I want to get right into TESTING. Not the MCAT's or SAT's but performance testing of yourself.

I'm sure you have heard the definition of insanity - repeating the same actions but expecting different results... This still seems to be the most common mistake I see people making everyday with their physical endeavors. Our bodies simply adapt too quickly to the level of stress we apply, causing our fitness to plateau. You've heard it all before right? What ever can you do??

You MUST have an idea of what your body can do. On the first day of wrestling practice in H.S., the coach lined everybody up to see how many pushups and pull-ups you could manage, noting the results for everyone. We also ran a 1/2 mile for time. Looking back I realize he wasn't so concerned with what type of number you put up that day, he wanted to see improvement over time. A month later at a retest, the 25 pushup guys from day one were in the 40-50 range, or they were running stairs. The slow runners had to run more (which they did at an even slower pace, guaranteeing they would not get faster - more in the next post). Simple concept that most of us do not do enough.

Let's focus on cyclists - If you have a power meter, you can test all sorts of performances very easily. From max power on down, the Mean Maximal numbers for specific times are great ways to measure your fitness and improvement against others. If you don't have a power meter, time over a set course/distance (e.g. Time Trial) works best. You add the factors of wind, weather, etc. but it will be a good comparison of your fitness improvement.

At Two Wheels, we require an initial test with clients on the computrainer before we can create a training plan. Depending upon your goals, the numbers you want to focus on will vary. Racers should know max power, 20 sec, 1 min, 20 min and FTP. If you fancy yourself a sprinter, the big max # will help but the 20sec power will win you the race or sprint for the town sign. Breakaway riders will have a big 1min to make the move and strong 20min and FTP to make it stick. TT'ers will be focused on the 20min and FTP (think 40-60min power) to get up to speed and stay there.

Most important - if you are training x number of hours each week and you retest yourself only to find that you have not budged your numbers (remember the insanity reference) YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR TRAINING ROUTINE! The P90X program calls this muscle confusion. Unfortunately in cycling, the muscles have to work the same way. Becoming a good kickboxer will make you feel better but probably not help you ride faster. The easiest way to shock your body is to get out of your comfort zone. In the gym this is easy - just pick up a heavier weight or do some extra reps. On the bike there are numerous ways to achieve this effect. I'll go over some in detail later this week.

Good Riding - Coach Kevin