Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prague, week 1, cycling, racing, 10m swimming

One week in Prague has gone by, and I wish I could be here longer. The cycling is amazing, few cars and lots of open road. No suburbs or secondary cities like Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Arlington, etc. Once you leave Prague, it's just a smattering of small villages that comprise of some houses and a few keystone buildings like the church, post office, grocery, etc. So the rides I have been on have been two of the best. I am looking forward to more rides next week. I have been on 3 so far since Monday. The weather is fine here, the temperatures stay between the mid-60s and high-70s, which is great, but it can rain often. CZ is not far from a permanent high over the Atlantic which just tosses rain clouds over Europe, and it is fairly active now. Unlike DC, it is hard to predict rain as it only takes a few hours for weather to travel this way, so only by looking at the sky can one make a reasonable weather prediction. Still, I will take the occasional albeit unpredictable rain shower over the humidity and heat of DC any day.

Here are two of my rides... the third was more of a test spin to make sure my bike worked properly. Speeds are a bit low as I have been riding with a guide who isn't in top shape at the moment, but I am still able to break away and get some good power in. But check out those climbs... it is no wonder the best cyclists come from or train in Europe. Today is a day off but tomorrow is another long one.

Running is good as well. I have a great place to run, Hvezda park, a building shaped like a star, that has several trails and dirt paths that can total over 12km if one is to cover the entire park, plus the trails and roads to and from.

I even participated in a race. If you may recall, I raced twice when I was in CZ two years ago and won both, earning a banana in one and wine in the other. I guess I have a reputation to uphold? Well, it wasn't upheld well this time. I raced in a 10k just hours after finishing a 2 hour hilly ride and the weather was humid at that time of day (6pm). I was glad to see some competition there, as they would help me make the race into a good workout, as I could feel this was not going to be much of a race, for me at least. I ended up 6th, with a time somewhere in the mid 34's. Nothing remarkable, but after a long hill ride, this was a great workout. I would love to run that fast after the bike leg at Nation's. The course was similar, relatively flat, but half on dirt.

Best part of all was that the race cost about 2 dollars.

Swimming hasn't been great as all I have is a 10m pool at my disposal, but I've taken advantage of it for one swim, putting in a 400m warmup, 2x (6x50 drill). 1000 hard, to total 2000m. 200 laps is about all I can stand. I'll get in some more swims, but it isn't too important. I can do some extra when I get back to the states after next week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Heading to Prague

I'm leaving tomorrow for Prague. I'll have Sicar in tow and a 10m pool at my disposal. This should be interesting... at least the riding and running will be good. Average temperatures at this time of year are high 60s to mid 70s, with occasional rain showers. I'm looking forward to some good long rides and continuing my bike training.

Speaking of that, it's been my June so far. Lots of cycling. All at least aerobic effort. And it's been quite good. I had a decent workout yesterday of 2x12min at high tempo effort. Couldn't use power meter because the battery in the hub died early into the ride. Lots of miles and efforts each week now.

Running is getting back there, I had a very solid track workout Wednesday after some pretty difficult (for me) Wednesday workouts where I suffered from a combination of fitness that wasn't quite completely back and the heat. Now I feel great on my long/recovery runs and strong at track. Also, I've been adding in an hour ride right before track practice. It warms me up a little but it also seems to be teaching my body to run fast even when the legs are a little tired. I hope this will really help me at Nation's.

Swimming, similar to running, hadn't been great since Columbia. I've been practicing a bit irregularly, but since last week I've returned to my normal swim schedule plus my lesson with Coach Ward. And my fitness has returned, as I put in 15x100 on 1:30, coming in at a 1:12 average. Granted this is not a terribly difficult interval for me, but it's nice to have the speed back.

So I'll try to post some "interesting" training that I do in CZ. Byebye.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6/1 -- Welcome to Dickerson

As I stated in the last post, this summer will be dedicated to cycling and building some form of mental fortitude for those times when I will be isolated from competition on the race course. I made Tuesday's ride the first solid solo effort.

Sicar and I (as I have racked ZeroZeroTwo for the foreseeable future) set out from the Rt. 28 Safeway and headed north toward Dickerson for a 75-80min ride. It was just us, some passing cars, the trees and a 8-10mph crosswind... and blistering heat! Not a cloud in the sky above, just the brightly shining sun. But the heat would be combated with 2 bottles of liquid and fierce determination to expunge a weakness that was revealed all too dramatically at Columbia. I focused on maintaining an aerobic (197-221w) wattage throughout the ride, and it wasn't too difficult, as Rt. 28 has lots of long rollers but no dramatic spikes in elevation. Kept around 209-212 for the duration (28.5 miles, made it to Dickerson and turned back), and it felt quite good albeit a bit warm even by the turnaround. In fact, the whole riding alone thing was the best part. I really got to pay heed to my own effort (via cadence and power) and to nothing else, save for staying out of the way of passing autos. It can be a little lonely, but I'll get to defeating those feelings altogether.

So if this ride was any indication, I'm in for a great summer of training and cycling, and I'm sure Route 28 and I will become quite familiar and close... the rides will only get harder, but if I can MAKE myself work in isolation as effectively, then I will be much better prepared come race day. I want to bike as furiously as I swim and run!

I'll be seeing that sign many times in the coming summery days.