Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Premire News..

Hi Everyone,
Please join us at the Portland Community College Rock Creek Center* for the premier showing of the Race Across Oregon 2005 dvd. Allen and Teresa Larsen - who filmed, wrote, narrated, edited and produced the program - will be present with copies for sale. We will be opening the race and training camp registration at the party as well. Looks like we're going to have quite a crowd and we are looking forward to seeing all of you! Please don't hesitate to forward this on to anyone you think may be interested in attending.

Showing will be Monday, December 12, 2005. Doors open at 6.30PM, show starts at 7.00PM. DVD runs at just over an hour! Looking forward to seeing past and future RAO racers and crew!

George & Terri
Co-Director Race Across Oregon

Its Turkey Time Again..

Dam the food, its all so good and makes me so slow. In an attempt to ward off the pounds, the day of the big feast I went out and kicked it for a few hours. I crank out some quick flat miles. I headed out from my parents place, following the river down to Saint Paul, OR, home of a 4th of July rodeo and not much else. Then running short on light and with a light rain now mist down I kicked it back through down town Salem before turning in for home, the ride was good, dinner was better.

Saturday, I got out for a ride of a more respectable length, doing a loop through Mt Angle, Silverton, Silver Creek Falls, back through Salem, before turning in. The base miles felt good, I'm not sure exactly how far I went but my guess is something in the 70-80 mile range. Sunday, it was ~3 hrs on the rollers. Monday, it was ~2hrs on the rollers. Now if the fitness would only start to show itself.

Training update

I had a great week of training three intense days back to back. Being late November it is now fairly normally for weather in the valley to be some combination of an overcast sky, fog, rain, and cold; just the kind of weather that inspires me to lay down serious miles, indoors. A week ago it was Friday and it wasn’t raining. I felt behind on my training, when am I really not behind? After a brief thought towards Carpe Diem I grabbed the bike closest to me and headed towards Mary’s Peak. I did the climb keeping my heart rate in a high aerobic zone, it hurt. I don’t think it ever doesn’t really hurt but in June after bathing in the mythical waters of fitness for a few months it some how hurts a little less. The climb was good and the weather at the top (4,000ft) was amazingly significantly warmer then it is down in the valley! Saturday, the team held a practice TT session; the turnout was great in spite of continuing cold and foggy weather. For the TT session we road out on Peoria road, and did a couple intense TT’s up the road and then headed back in. Intensity wise it was good, I felt slow, I’d like to think it was all that extra resistance from the fog but I think more likely it’s my now over abundance of adipose tissue. After the TT practice the team headed back up Mary’s making it the second time I’d summated the peak in the last two days. The second trip up was more then worth it as the weather up top was even warmer then it had been the day before. Sunday those of us who’d made it up Mary’s did a recovery ride through Kings valley.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

RAO - DVD Party

Hi Everyone,
Allen has finished the RAO dvd. Those of you who pre-ordered will be receiving yours in the very near future. Allen's work is superb and you will be blown away by the quality of the program.
We'd like to host a showing of the dvd at Portland Community College's Event Center at Rock Creek. We're thinking Monday December 12 @ 7:00 pm but want an idea of how many of you would attend. Whether you've done RAO or not this is a fantastic show about bike racing. Please respond ASAP as we need to know if there is enough interest to do this. If you plan to be there please give us an idea of any friends, fans, crew members, etc that would also like to attend. Please forward this e-mail to anyone you think may be interested!
Co-Director Race Across Oregon

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Endurance Athletes - Just Say No to Creatine Supplementation

What is creatine? creatine is a molecule found inside muscle cells, in its active state creatine is bound to a phosphate molecule and is thus present in its active form inside muscles cells in the form of creatine phosphate.

When the muscle cells, do work, contracting, pumping ions, etc, muscle cells expend chemical energy in the form of ATP. To use ATP, the ATP gets broken into two molecules, ADP, a phosphate molecule, and in the process release energy. Each muscle cell has a very limited supply of available ATP and to continue to work past a second or so the ADP in the muscle needs to be “recycled”, rebind with a phosphate molecule and thus convert back to ATP.

There are a number of systems which allow for the recycling of ADP, creatine phosphate is one such system. Creatine phosphate works like a capacitor or battery for the cell, during moments of exceptionally high ATP demand. During anaerobic metabolism, creatine phosphate will bind in a one to one ratio with ADP to convert ADP back to ATP and release a creatine molecule. Later when there is excess ATP, ATP can combine again with the creatine to reenergize the creatine molecule and rebind a phosphate ion to it. The problem, or catch with the creatine energy system is that it is only capable of providing enough energy for a few seconds of exertion, and it takes hundreds of seconds to recharge.

Thus for the endurance athletes, who's primarily operating aerobically the creatine energy system goes entirely unused and further since the creatine energy system provides such a minute length of energy, the benefit from any increase due to additional creatine will also be minute. What is an extra 1 second of available energy? Where the cost, in terms of increased muscular weight due to the added creatine is always present leading to some research which shows endurance athletes perform poorer when subjected to creatine supplementation then subjects who didn't supplement with creatine.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chilling outside..

Ah I love winter riding. Cool clean air, the smell of freshly cut Christmas tree's, and frozen toes. Today a few of us hit the road for a couple of hours looping around up and down over the hills and roads around Corvallis. The intensity was a bit of a mish mash.. Some times hard, alot of the time fairly easy. But the jokes were flying and along with the feet so all was good. This weekend the teams planning on doing some good old fashion fitness testing before our staple team ride.

On getting back home I fixed up my new all time favorite recovery beverage. Here's the recipe, so you can try it at home.
1 - Scoop Hammer Pro Whey
2/3-3/4 milk
1/3 to 1/4 Luke warm coffee that you made for breakfast..
Mix it all up with a fork and what do you get a recovery coffee! Yum!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hold, Hold, Hold

This quarter, I've been taking courses in Statistics, Statics, and Anatomy. I'm finding them all fascinating. When my advisor told me I was going to be taking some Anatomy, I thought it would be mostly memorization, (the clavicle and the scapula connect at the acromion). Well, indeed the course has been very much that but it has also contained a very nice dose of basic physiology. I'm finding the physiology aspect particularly intriguing as it both explains and suggests things that I can do on the bike to kick it just a little faster.

First on the list of things from physiology I wanted to share was some inside info on isometric contractions. Isometric contractions are muscular contractions which involve no external movement of the appendages. When you plant your feet firmly and push against a wall you perform an isometric contraction, when you carry your groceries your arms perform isometric contractions; they don't move, but the muscles do contract. Well, during an isometric contraction your muscles obviously do perform work but since there is no external movement, the muscle forces get redirected entirely internally and pull against the tendons and other connective tissue. Here is the real kicker, when released, the loaded tension in the connective tissue, tendons etc, will accelerate the limbs faster then what is normally be experienced under a muscular contractions. So, next time your on the TT starting line go ahead and load the legs.

Training Update

So, in the last week, I've been feeling a bit behind on my training. Friday the rain bike and I went out for a 2 hr around the staple Decker road route. On my way back I stopped by the cycling team’s presidents house, yes it is white, dropping off a check for some parts for my new TT bike. It hurt to write the check. But come NWTTS season, the bike will be well worth it. Then it was back to Hollywood video to pick up that nights rolling entertainment. On arriving home there was time for a brief snack. And then it was on to the power cranks & rollers for ~160 min of good ol'e power cranking fun. I must admit that the power crank wasn't completely contiguous as periodically I'd hop off to eat a little something. After the power cranks, it was time for a real dinner, chicken, veggie’s, and my hammer whey protein shake..

Saturday, there wasn't too much in the way of riding as it was dad's weekend here at OSU.

Then on Sunday, I snuck out for around a 2hr ride, went to the lab for a bit of lab work, then it was into the weight room for some core strengthening. A walk home and a fruit smoothie later, I was on the power cranks & computrainer for one final hour. The computrainer session really hurt. And then it was dinner time, spaghetti with a little Hammer Whey in my mom’s homemade red sauce.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

RAO - Presentation

On the 22nd of November I'm going to be doing a presentation for the Salem Bike Club, the bulk of it will be on RAO, but I also expect to talk briefly about, Fireweed, Ring of Fire, nutrition, training, etc. Everyone's welcome, and please bring questions.

If your interested in attending, see the Salem Bike Club's website for more info.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Weekend update..

Wow did the rain come down yesterday. This time last year this time in Seattle things were still quite dry, but even if it isn't officially winter yet, it sure feels that way now. On Friday NPR was reporting 70+ mile gusts off the coast, and with a torrent of rain due in, I opted for a marathon indoor power crank fest instead of freezing out side. I ended up putting in around three hours, working my way through the 4th DVD in the Lost series. Been busy most of today, with school related stuff, but if I get the chance I'm going to try and get into the gym, for a few hours.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

RAO - 2005 Trailer Posted..

You've read about it. You've dreamed it.. Now watch it..
Cascade productions has posted the trailer for the offical 2005 RAO video

Watch the trailer: http://www.cascade-pro.com/v_home.htm

Friday, November 04, 2005

Power Cranking a Year Later

A little over a year ago in August of 2004 I started to train on power cranks. Power cranks are essentially a training tool that work to improve on bike efficiency by forcing the cyclist to spin perfect circles. To do this the cranks are attached via clutches at the bottom bracket this connection makes it possible for each crank to deliver power independently. In neutral position both crank arms hang down at the 6'oclock position. For more background on them check out www.powercranks.com.

Now on to my experience. If you have read the literature/marketing on the power cranks website you will see some pretty amazing claims. Huge power improvements through massive improvements in spin efficiency. The question, are these improvements real? When I first started training on the cranks I got lots of questions, do those things really work? My answer at that time was, that I wasn't really sure, I'd just started training with them so it was basically to soon to see. But my initial impression was that their impact on my cycling could be substantial. Before starting to train on power cranks, I was easily riding a 100+ miles a day, but after putting power cranks on my bike I could only manage 5 min on the bike before I was in too much pain to continue.

I persevered and after a week on the cranks I could manage a very difficult hour and by the end of a month I was up to a very hard 80 mile days. I continued to train on the power cranks all through the winter, and spring, it continued to get easier. I only switched back to normal cranks right before RAO.

The training philosophy behind the power cranks is that they force you to improve your pedal stroke. But what happens when you go back to normal cranks? Do you revert the older less efficient style or does power crank training successfully make a physiological modification to the pedaling style that carries over?

For the entire summer, I jumped from one race to another, RAO, NWTTS, Fireweed, ROF, and as such the power cranks only found there way back onto the bike this last week.

Tuesday night as I was tightening the crank arm bolts down I thought to myself, this will be the real test did my pedal stroke change? If it had reverted, my hip flexors should have atrophied, and they should be again very difficult to pedal. But, if I hadn't reverted back, then it should be relatively easy to turn over. This was going to be the real test; did last years power crank training have a lasting improvement on my pedal stroke?

To be honest, I was prepared for the worst; I expected it to be very difficult to turn the pedals. It took me a little longer then when I was in the heart of my power crank training last year to get started on the rollers, but once started it was relatively easy. My pedal stroke was vastly better then where it had been a year ago! Yes I'm convinced that power crank training does improve the pedal stroke and with a training the improvements carry directly over back to regular cranks! At least it did for me.