Author: Peter Glassford

Cross is Coming: What Workout Should You?

Inevitably or eternally, #CrossIsComing, so when you decide it’s time to get ready for CX season what workouts are best for you to do?

The best workouts for one athlete may not be the best ones for you. Your friend, or your favorite pro, may be very good at high power, sprints and spend the summer racing road while you may be a time-trialist all summer with limited time to train. You may be much older or younger, or you may have a background in BMX-racing or no cycling background at all! We need to consider many factors when choosing our key workouts to get ready for cyclocross to ensure we have worked on our limiters.
Below are three general scenarios that athlete ‘types’ that you may fit into. I have included some workout ideas that you may want to include as cyclocross season approaches. I am not suggesting all of these be done in a single week, but you may very well find yourself spending a month on each of these ‘scenarios’ as you go through the cross season and your abilities and strengths evolve.
pary barriers
1) Technically limited, struggle with continuous but undulating efforts of cross
If you haven’t spent much time off-road, especially racing off-road than cross practice will be your friend, and getting skill coaching will also be valuable. If you can get riding on a cross course frequently, or setup some obstacles around your house, this will be very helpful.
Workouts that require you to alternate your output and skills will also be great. Micro-intervals where you ride hard and easy (15 seconds hard /15 seconds easy and 30/30 are most common). Most often these are done for 10-30 minutes and should feel very much like the unrelenting hard work of cyclocross!
Including running in these micro-intervals can be another way to simulate race situations and improve technique (once you have the basics down at slow speed with low fatigue). Try building a short loop that makes you ride hard for ~30 seconds, recover on a descent or set of corners, then dismount for a barrier and do a run up a steep hill, then do a bunch of corners back to the start of the short loop for a 1-3 minute repetition.
I usually do 1-5 x 1-2 min rounds together, take a 5-10 minute break then do another 2 sets. Mix very short and maximal efforts with longer efforts in another session in the week to get really fun and specific workout.
 
2016 0813 Eager Beaver 100 2.0

2016 0813 Eager Beaver 100 2.0

2) Struggle with ‘going all in’, starts, attacks, sprints 
This is common in endurance mountain bikers, gravel-grinders, Fondo-riders or time-trialists. Putting yourself into some criteriums, hard group rides or short cyclocross practice races will be helpful in developing the love of going hard!
Many times cross practices will include some start repetitions, which really help develop your ‘starting routine’ and your starting power. On your own, you can do this by practicing 6-10 short (10-20sec) start efforts from standing at the beginning of a few workouts each week.
If you are not a sprinter or struggle with maximal short efforts, it is worth putting a focus on this by doing a focused workout on sprinting or very short efforts with full recoveries (8+ minutes). It is quite valuable to get skill-coaching for standing and sprinting as your power can increase simply by learning the technique of sprinting.
These start efforts might be paired a workout that puts you on your limit and then makes you attack over that intensity. These might be called ‘over-unders’ or ‘threshold with bursts’ depending on the coach but basically, we want to ride at a hard pace and then surge for 15-60seconds before returning to that hard pace.
Start at 2-3 reps of 11 minutes (1 minute hard/4 min threshold/1 minute hard/4min threshold/1min hard). Use longer recoveries 5-10 minutes of light pedaling to ensure you will push the pace. While it is tempting to do this on cyclocross course it is best done on the road to ensure your power output is hard alternated with very hard, and to track your progress.
 IMG_5935
3) Great technical skills, low fitness, or tired/sick from a lot of summer racing
Did you spend the summer in the bike park, racing BMX, winning every criterium, or were you off the bike a lot for injury or vacation? If you believe you will be limited by your engine more than your driving skills then bias towards extended road-endurance sessions 2-3x a week. If your technical ability is sufficient this can be polished or maintained around the focused intensity days and/or at a weekly cross practice, which could be included after intervals, or for fit athletes with a lot of cyclocross skills, after some endurance road riding.
*If you are racing twice on a weekend during the cross season this can also be a nice way to spend your weekdays to provide enough recovery between weekends while maintaining some training load.
Once you are back to feeling good on the bike during these endurance sessions you can start to include 1-2 sessions of threshold intervals per week. Progress a set of 3 x 10 minutes towards a burly 2 x 20-minute session over 4 – 8 weeks keeping an eye on your intensity (more is not more). Recovery is 5-10 minutes typically.
sarh cross racing
In all of these scenarios, the focus/interval days will vary but these in all cases these couple of days should be surrounded by sufficient rest, cross-training and low end, steady endurance. 1-2 days of focused training (intervals/skills) with lower intensity and recovery will ensure you make progress in the desired areas. Work hard on the hard days then recover and allow yourself to improve!
Have a great cyclocross season!
Want to re-energize- Unplug, put airplane mode on, and immerse in nature's finest.

The 3 Essential Cyclocross Skills (VIDEO)

I worked with Canadian Cycling Magazine on 3 videos to help enhance your cross experience. These 3 foundational concepts are key to review for the beginner and advanced rider to ensure you are getting the most out of your efforts.

Book a one-on-one Cyclocross Skills Session with Smart Athlete Today

Email to setup with Contact Form HERE

1) Dismount – http://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/news/how-to-dismount-your-bike-for-cyclocross/

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUTUqG3YoSw]
2) Mount – http://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/news/mount-bike-cyclocross/
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOi6OdV3zj8]

3) Shoulder – http://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/news/how-to-shoulder-your-bike-for-cyclocross/

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5Qh_nKcGU8]

Want to re-energize- Unplug, put airplane mode on, and immerse in nature's finest.

Pick a Big Crazy Goal

What is Your Big Crazy Goal this Season and Why did you pick it? 

I did an Ironman last weekend. It was my first triathlon, which is sort of a crazy way to start doing a triathlon, but I like a good challenge and I had a lot of relevant experience that made a challenging (CRAZY), but doable goal.

 

I thought a post on WHY a mountain biker would decide to spend time away from his mountain bike to learn to swim, ride hunched over in aero position and run for extended durations on the pavement.

IMG_1162

Why and How can we pick BIG, CRAZY GOALS that will serve us well in the run up to the event, provide a great experience during the event and provide skills/experiences we can use in life and future adventures?

 

Do our goals serve to let us grow or do they create stress at home because we miss too many important family parties, picking the kids up at daycare, missing dinner with your family? Do our goals move us further away from other bigger, longer term goals?

 

For me, this meant considering if the time spent on swimming/running would hamper my ability to qualify for races or take me further away from being a ‘Consummate Athlete’, or have too much risk to health (ie. long term ankle/foot injury from running).

 

Crazy GOALS TO BOOST YOUR GOAL FITNESS

psyched for triathlon - peter with speed concept

For a mountain biker, it might be worth scaring yourself by signing up for a big 200km Gran Fondo. The time on the road building endurance and speed skill will boost your fitness off-road. For a road cyclist looking at Leadville or a marathon MTB race the pedal stroke, technical skills and time spent climbing will often make road riding seem more comfortable and easier to focus on the steady road efforts.

 

MEDIUM VS. LONG TERM

Goal setting can be belabored, it is easy to spend too much time dreaming of ‘when we get there’. A goal in the long-term, dream stage might be intimidating but if success is achieved along the way, as a consequence of striving for excellence there are many wins before the ‘big-crazy-day’.
Giving thought to the process that you will take to get to the big-crazy-goal will help you decide if it is a goal worth chasing. It is, after all, largely about the journey.

 

WHY did I choose Ironman as my Big-Crazy goal? 

 A) scare myself into learning to swim, not just ok but sufficient that I could swim for extended periods, save my life, adventure at something like a Mudrun/OCR, Otillio Swim-Run, go surfing or just float down a river. Swimming WAS a basic human movement I lacked and one I wanted to really learn … anything short of an Ironman didn’t scare me enough to learn.

 

DSC05040
Molly on bike during Ironman Canada

 

B) Molly (my wife) wanted to do another Ironman. She had done one about 5 years ago, but very narrowly avoided DNF and was a wreck for much of it and for a while after. She was a second test subject to design/adjust training for, and since we had a similar goal this also meant we could do more adventures (err… training) together.

 

The social side of the goal and the fact we were stacking some learning/coaching with some social/relationship time made this big-crazy-Ironman goal make sense. We were able to go to the pool together and take over a lane, do a lot of running/walking together, some strength and a little bit of riding. This is not to mention the comfort of traveling to and navigating the hectic race-week environment and logistics!

 

Most importantly I was able to run and swim with a few friends in preparation and we have made a big summer trip out of MTB Nationals, the Ironman and a CX clinic in Virginia that we have been planning and looking forward to for many months. This is a big part of why goals and goal-setting with consideration on the process are important!

 

 peter aero (2)
C) To Refine my aero position and look into tri/TT possibility and also understand demands for clients doing either discipline. Aero is becoming big in many disciplines, including mtb-xc, so why not force me to learn more. If a 2nd go at Leadville is in the cards–I am not saying it is–this will be very important as well.

 

** BIG thanks to Trek Toronto for helping get me on a very fast SpeedConcept for the event, I am going to have a post on all the gear I used in the coming days (will link here)**

 

IMG_5542
Getting my position assessed and working on aero with Scott Kelly / Dundas Speedshop

 

D) Coaching I like to know what athletes are going through. I can’t know every event but I pride myself on the range of movements I know well and this helps me build better training for clients. With more clients coming to Smart Athlete from the Tri-world to develop their bike/run I wanted to immerse myself in the training, literature, tools, tactics and race environment.

 

Through the Consummate Athlete Podcast, we had several guests provide really great information about doing your first Triathlon, going faster in one of the sports or learning the sports. Carolyn Gaynor talked about guiding visually impaired cyclists through Ironman, Rich Pady walked me through each sport and transitions, Terry From Total Immersion talked about learning to swim for beginners and

 

   Check all the episodes that mention Ironman HERE

Being able to chat with new coaches I wouldn’t usually chat with (i.e. swimming or tri specific) was a great experience. There are always concepts, technologies and, well, awesome people, in areas outside our usual. Pushing our boundaries in sport and being open to learning is awesome if you think about it this way.

 

tribike pumptrack
Specific Ironman Bike training in Bromont, QC

 

So that is the story. I did it, I am done with triathlon but the year of adventures, skill acquisition, reading, new contacts/friends and training methods I can carry forward into new adventures, challenges and projects made this Big-Crazy goal well worth the investment and discomfort. Hopefully, this post will help you choose a great-big-crazy-goal this coming year.

 

So what is your next Big Crazy goal (and what are the benefits of completion and the process)? 

Feel free to tell me about it here, if you have questions or doubts. With some planning, many wild goals become much more accessible than you may think!

How to read long title on training peaks mobile app

I am getting some feedback from folks on using the mobile app, which is great because it means folks are using the mobile app and logging comments/workouts more!
The Issue
I will occasionally (often) use the title of workouts for extra notes specific to clients (wattage, reps, pace etc).
This is great, but the title gets cut off when you hold the phone vertically so clients miss or at least can’t read the whole title and then go to the desktop website (or check their emails).
Don’t go on a search it is easy to see the full title!
Image-1
Portrait’ or ‘vertical’ phone orientation – see title is cut off
On the training peaks mobile app you can ROTATE YOUR PHONE to see long titles and expanded views of the calendar, graph, workout window. 
Image
(rotated phone – screenshot with full title w. pace )
The Mobile app is great for checking workout on the go and for logging those valuable comments,
  *get the training peaks mobile app on itunes or android here
hope that helps!

Banish Race Day Nerves

One of my latest articles on MapMyRide/MyFitnessPal is on race nerves and how to optimize your ‘excitement’ for race day.

It goes through visualization techniques, avoiding common mistakes that ‘back of the pack’ riders make, developing a routine and training for Race demands.

Remember the goal is not to avoid being nervous but to focus your energy on the elements you can control and reduce the number of things you have left to chance or that you are unfamiliar with by preparing for the event and its demands.

Check it out in Full on MapMyRun 

Troubleshoot Popular Power Meters

One of the trade-offs with power is that we must deal with having electronics strapped to bicycles that undergo tremendous forces and extreme conditions (temperature, precipitation, altitude, dirt, sweat and a few other possible bodily fluids …) You wouldn’t expect your iPhone to survive so be ready to deal with some device troubleshooting and do your best to protect your power devices.

Trouble-Shooting for Power Meters

  1. DO NOT take it into bad weather – cold and rain especially, just leave it at home.
  2. If it gets wet dry it out ASAP, take any covers off and put in front of a fan for a few hours.
  3. Calibrate daily – yes daily.
  4. Change the battery
  5. Calibrate again
  6. Calibrate with another device (use a friend’s)
  7. Connect it to the internet and see if there is an update to the firmware.
  8. submit a ticket to the company to have it refurbished (usually not that pricey)

Power Tap Wheels

Power Tap Wheel Links / Support 
https://www.powertap.com/support/faqs/hubs-wheels
 
Manuals for Power Tap Hubs => https://www.powertap.com/support/user-manuals#hubs-wheels
 
Send back to Powertap => 
  1. Call or email PowerTap Customer Service (1-800-246-5975 or support@powertap.com)
  2. Warranty Info https://www.powertap.com/support/warranty

Stages Crank Based Power Meter

1) have you re-zeroed torque and got offset number?
 
2) updated firmware?
 
3) replace battery
 
4) Submit a ticket for repair/refurbish 

2017 Bike Skills Sessions

cx-clinic-in-virginia-august-28-2016-molly

View the entire Smart Athlete Calendar on Frontdesk

Or Email with interest in one of the sessions peterglassford@gmail.com

 

-> more dates pending and by request

IMG_0202

Pre-Rides & Skill Sessions at Race Venues

 

-> Ontario Cup #7 – Provincials Sir Sam – Friday, August, and Saturday, August

Private/Semi-Private Sessions

Available around any of the times/days specified above and below at same venues or by request.

jouko racing - clients

Gravel and MTB Marathon (Leadville) Skill Group Rides

 

-> Collingwood  Guided Hill reps and rock skills – Sunday, June 25th   – 2hrs, all welcome

lap dogs clinic 3

Collingwood Cyclocross Prep Weekly Sessions

 

Testing

Fridays in Collingwood or by request at your home or Trek Store Toronto

Testing can be indoors or outdoors depending on your goals and limiters.

at Active Life Collingwood – Book Now

 

What I Wish Clients knew Before Training with Power

This is an ongoing list as more and more clients train with power, power becomes cheaper and more questions get asked! Please feel free to email me with things I have missed or questions you may have.

Having power doesn’t mean that all other metrics are useless (RPE, Heart Rate, VAM etc.) 

I wrote an article for MyFitnessPal about using both HR and Power (and any other metric/info you can use … including your brain!)

Power can be wrong, misleading, depressing, not available, frustrating … be prepared to take a breath and carry on like you would at a race–or like you would have before power. 

I have been there. Pushing really hard, thinking everything was going well then a glance down at Mr. (or Mrs.) power meter makes me want to curl up in the ditch and phone home for a pickup and some hot tea.

Focus on doing the work, recovering well and using the data you have to move forward. While the power meter ‘doesn’t lie’ it very well can be set-up wrong, miscalibrated or, more importantly, your perception of what you SHOULD be doing is off. I talk about the idea of setting realistic FTP or thresholds in this Consummate Athlete Podcast episode. 

Capture- paul dashboard hr and power and tss

Don’t forget you still need to steer around the Trees (or jump pot-holes)

Too often clients forget the technical, tactical, mental, preparational and the multitude of other factors that influence a race. Your CP20 or best 20-minute power is not your race results and often the people with the best power tests are not the best on the race course (also your cp20 is not your threshold / FTP). Use power as one aspect of your preparation.

Power doesn’t always go up in tests or workouts. You still can complete a workout if power isn’t what you think it should be.

You can learn about setting and updating heart rate and power threshold in this article.

Steve Neal and I discuss power testing and nerves in this Consummate Athlete Podcast Episode as well.

Testing in the field or with a coach can be helpful to understand what zones or power levels you should expect to ride at. Read more about testing

Generally, avoid riding your power meter in rain/cold … think of it like an iPhone w. no case 

This is less of an issue as the devices get better BUT I would still avoid riding through rivers where possible. Same goes for temperatures below freezing. Some power meters are easier to do this with but it may also mean riding a winter bike outside and leaving your ‘power meter bike’ on the indoor trainer.

Buy extra batteries now and start a routine to charge your devices to avoid ‘losing’ them mid-workout or when traveling. 

Learn to calibrate and do it every day to avoid misreadings.

Want to learn more about your new power meter and training with power?

Book a phone consult to discuss all your questions – Easy to schedule with Front-Desk 

4 Videos to help you with indoor rollers

It is the season to ride indoors … a lot!

Here are 4 videos to help you master rollers and work on Bike SKills in the winter. A winter riding rollers will help you do more volume, enhance your pedal stroke, build balance, integrate yourself with your bike. The key is learning how to apply pressure to your seat, pedals and hands to make the bike move under you and maintain balance. Have fun!

Any problems shoot me an email (peterglassford at gmail .com) (can include photos or videos of your setup and even you riding if need help / troubleshoot)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lC98HimakE]

Dismount Indoor Rollers (with style) – Ep83 – Bike Skills Project …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lC98HimakE
Dec 29, 2012 – Uploaded by Peter Glassford

Looking at different ways to get off of your bike while riding on rollers . See 


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTNOnFI6rV4]

Getting Going on Rollers – Ep71 – Bike Skills Project – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTNOnFI6rV4
Dec 17, 2012 – Uploaded by Peter Glassford

 


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNsejaeLs9Q]

Falling off Rollers – Ep72 – Bike Skills Project – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNsejaeLs9Q
Dec 18, 2012 – Uploaded by Peter Glassford

 


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9mFZMEzn7I]

Roller Setup Tweak – Ep73 – Bike Skills Project – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9mFZMEzn7I
Dec 19, 2012 – Uploaded by Peter Glassford

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