Monday, April 29, 2013

NYC biking

We ventured to NYC for a long weekend and took to the bike paths for a little adventure. Adventure is an understatement especially on the Hudson or West side of the path. This is not a hammerfest, at least for me, I get my burn in hills of Northwest Connecticut. This was strictly a casual ride but the need to stay alert is priority 1. On a typical day you have walkers, runners, hybrids, mountain bikes, roadies, triathletes on TT bikes (with aero helmets no less), rollerbladers, hipsters, rental bikes and some bikes that I can't even begin to explain what they are. Along with this you have people of all levels riding side by side and going in opposite directions which makes things quite interesting. Some sights are truly priceless. You'll find activity on these paths 24 hours a day. Off the path in the heart of the city it's really a crazed experience riding side by side next to city busses, cabs, and pedestrians to name a few obstacles. At this point we're getting pretty good at navigating around the city and as a perk your bike handling skills improve or better improve as this is a crash course in being aware. Never ever a dull moment. I've read there's over 400 miles of New York bike lanes and paths and it's simply an amazing design and infrastructure. It's truly incredible how this city has evolved to what it is today. In between the droves of people on the west side path I shot a couple of quick photos.
A rare break in the AM path traffic
Into the city
USS Intrepid along the west side path

Monday, April 22, 2013

VO2max at Altitude

If you’ve ever trained or raced at high altitude it can be a physically humbling experience along with a decrease in performance. Headaches, light headed, sometimes nausea. The decrease in performance at altitude is largely due to the altitude-associated decrease in VO2max.  Because there is less oxygen available to the muscles at altitude your maximal cardiac output is lower so your VO2max is lower than at sea level.  The reduced VO2max at altitude is greater with higher level athletes because they exhibit a greater decrease in hemoglobin’s oxygen saturation.  In other words, the more an athlete has to begin with, the more he or she has to lose. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Paris-Roubaix - The Many Faces Of Hell

Sunday I watched the Paris-Roubaix race also known as 'The Queen of the Classics' and 'The Hell of the North'. No other race is quite like it.. This has to be the toughest single day race bike race in existence. It takes place in northern France near the Belgian frontier using many of the same roads built for Napoleon's armies hundreds of years ago constructed of cobblestones that are slick, rough, and sharp, 27 sectors of cobble stones in all. Race distance is 254.5 km (158.1 mi). Lots of Broken parts, crashes, broken Bones... brutal stuff. Mental toughness takes a front seat here seemingly more than most any other race. I've posted a video from the Blanco team on "faces before and after" and it pretty much tells the story.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Smart training

When you go outside for a run or go to the gym to lift weights, do you feel that you have to go hard for every workout?  While training hard once in a while does have its benefits, it’s more important to train smart.  For example, if you’re doing an interval workout on the track, you should know exactly how fast you should run to reap the benefits of the workout.  If you run too fast, you’ll add unnecessary fatigue to your legs without extra benefit.  For example, say you want to improve your maximal rate of oxygen consumption (VO2max), and you plan to run mile repeats at the speed at VO2max (near 100 percent maximal heart rate).  If running each mile in 6:00 elicits VO2max (and max heart rate), running each repeat in 5:45 will certainly also elicit VO2max.  But why run each mile in 5:45 when you can run it in 6:00 and still get the same benefit?  Running faster is not always better. The goal of training is to provide the least stressful stimulus that will elicit the desired adaptation.