Archive for bike racing

Performance Management Chart – Explained

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by brianestover

I explained a bit about chronic training load here. This post is going to try to give you a quick look at the Performance Management Chart (PMC) and some ways to use it. Below is a PMC. You’ll notice three things right off the bat. There is a blue line which represents Chronic Training Load (CTL), a pink line represents Acute Training Load (ATL) and the yellow bars or line represent Training Stress Balance (TSB).

Performance Management Chart

Performance Management Chart

The pink line or ATL represents your current workload, think of this as the what did I do day in day out and how much acute stress did it place on me. If you do some really long and/or hard workouts where you rack up a lot of training stress this line will go up in a steep manner. The yellow is indicative of your fatigue level and it moves more or less in opposition to the pink line. If you don’t workout for a few days the yellow goes up meaning you are fresher or more rested than you were while the pink line goes down representing your lack of daily stress. The blue line will move up and down slower and reflects your cumulative fitness or loss of if it’s moving down. Consider CTL as money in the bank, while the pink line is money you are depositing.

One of the things you can do is use the ATL and TSB then correlate that to how you are feeling. If the ATL line spikes and you are doing a multi-day hard block of training, naturally you will feel more tired as it progresses. If you are at -52 TSB you might not be feeling very chipper, at -89 TSB you might find yourself unpleasant to be around. At -10 TSB you may feel fine and at 12 TSB you might feel like you could take on the world. Taking what you are doing, how you are feeling, thinking about what’s happened in the past and looking at the trend lines can often tell you what might happen if you continue down the path you are on.

You can use the CTL to make sure your training is on track. Do you have some races coming up in 2-4 months? You can track the work you are doing on the blue line. The higher it goes the more you can do and the more likely you are to have a good level of fitness going into your race. If your blue line is dropping to the right and you are not tapering you should re-evaluate your training strategy or lack of. Of course for those Key Races, a drop in your CTL coupled with an increase in your TSB and a decrease in your ATL is a good thing. The key words are key races, not every race you do.

You might think of your ATL and TSB as short term snapshots and your CTL as the big picture. Or you can consider ATL/TSB as the path that you’ve ridden on your journey(CTL). You can do different things in your training and see how they impact those lines.

There are four training inputs you can manipulate: time, duration, intensity and volume. Each of these will impact the ATL, CTL and TSB differently. You can ride 3 hours and achieve a certain amount of training stress. Or you can ride 3 hours at a harder effort and achieve even more or you could go on a casual ride and accumulate a smaller amount of stress. Which is better? It depends. The higher your power output relative to your threshold the more stress you rack up per minute. Riding at 65% of your FTP is much easier and can be done for much longer than riding at 104% of FTP.

Within the PMC there are several variables you can track. If you are cyclist gearing up for TT’s you can track your peak power outputs over the specific duration you are going to be racing. If you are a sprinter you can track you maximal power outputs, or if you are a lead out type of rider you can track your power over 2-10 minutes or the duration you need to deliver your sprinter to the line. You can use this information to see if you are trending in the right or wrong direction. Are you producing a lot of peak 4 min power outputs months and months away from your targeted event(s)? The PMC provides a quick reference guide to tracking things like this so you can see if you are overcooking or undercooking or making a feast.

1 hour mean maximal power and long ride duration tracked

1 hour mean maximal power and long ride duration tracked

If you are a long course triathlete tracking your power outputs over longer duration’s will serve as a guide to help you plan your power strategy. If you have a lot of ironman duration rides between 190 and 205 watts, deciding that 230 watts is your goal power output for your IM is a recipe for disaster. Using the PMC helps take the guesswork out of what to do race day. You can set it up so you know exactly what power outputs you’ve done over the duration’s you are going to be racing. This allows you to be smart and give yourself the best chance for success for your races.

You can use the PMC to help you plan out what to do. If you did race X, Y and Z at certain CTL’s and your performance left you underwhelmed, you can use the PMC to determine what sort of workload might be appropriate to leave you overjoyed at the finish. If your CTL was 65 what happens if you do more training and get it to 101? What happens if you do more intervals or more easy rides to increase your workload? Using the various metrics in your PMC you can track some of these variables.

I’d advise you to play around with your PMC adding different data points until you have the information on it that makes the most sense to you for your racing. Use it to help you plot out what you have done, what you can do, review it to figure out what gave you the most fitness bang your training buck.

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Rocking at the Races

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by brianestover

It was another busy weekend of racing for Accelerate 3 athletes across the country. That also means it’s a busy weekend of me blogging about their successes at the races.

In California, Jeff destroyed his Wildflower course personal best by 45 minutes. Yeah, you read that correctly, 45 minutes. That’s almost 6 miles ahead of his old self. Talk about kicking your ass. He kicked his and was quite proud of it. He is all systems go for setting a new IM PB this summer.

Elsewhere in CA especially since I don’t know where Wildflower and Piru are in relation to one another, Dusty grabbed 2nd in his category and 4th overall at the Piru TT series race. When not training for triathlons he is turning into quite the bike racer…with a CTL to back it up.

In Knoxville TN, Rev 3 came to town. Chad grabbed 1st in his age group on the back of his 5th fastest overall age group bike split and ended up as the 14th overall age grouper. Not a bad way to kick off the triathlon season.

In NC, Jenny, James and a friend teamed up to smoke the White Lake half race. They went sub 4hr and every member of the team turned in the fastest team split. Notable was James 2:08:58 bike split. It looks like he is showing some of his bike fitness. James turned around and raced the White Lake sprint on Sunday. He earned some valuable IOSNCTS points by finishing 2nd overall. He also earned some good karma points by plucking a cat off the road so it didn’t get run over. He “may” have left some watts out on the road from Saturday’s bike but all in all it was another solid weekend of racing for him.

A Weekend of Racing…Well!

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2012 by brianestover

It’s the first big weekend of racing on the East Coast. Kerry went back to St. Anthony’s Triathlon. Last year, her first year in the female 30-34 age group she won the age group. This year saw a repeat of that performance but with a faster time. Which is never shabby.

Kerry 1st place F30-34 St. Anthony's Triathlon

Up the coast in NC, James and his race ready steed showed up at the Huntersville Sprint Triathlon.

James Haycraft's race machine

James posted the 2nd fastest swim, then topped the field with the fastest bike and run time to comfortably break the tape for the WIN! This will earn him some valuable points towards the overall title of the IOS NCTS.

Moving west Billy Oliver captured 7th place in his Age group at USAT Duathlon Nationals by posting a faster time then he put up last year on this course.

Finally even further west, Dusty grabbed 3rd place by half a wheel in the Chuck Pontius Crit. He took all he has learned over the previous races where he’s tried to break away every which way is possible often to be caught just before the line. Today he raced tactical and grabbed a podium spot.

Lots of races and lots of top places. That’s the way we roll at Accelerate 3!

5 Races, 3 Wins.

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by brianestover

It’s been a busy week of racing for two Accelerate 3 athletes. James and Jenny kicked off this weeks racing on Wednesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Time Trial Series. It was a evening of firsts for Jenny. First time trial, first time riding with an aero helmet, first time riding a disc wheel, and first time winning her category at this race. She also turned in the 3rd fastest female time on the evening.

James is no stranger to this race series. In fact he is the course record holder for M25-29, still, and won this category again while turning in the 8th fastest men’s time on the evening.

Fast forward to Saturday and the next race was Belews Lake International Triathlon. Jenny lead this race from the starting gun to finishing line to record her second win this week. Her margin of victory was just over 2:10. She racked up some valuable points in her quest to repeat as Inside Out Sports NC Triathlon Series champion.

Jenny Leiser's Champion BobbleHead trophy

In the men’s race, James was facing some stiff early season competition. He got out of the water just outside of the top 10 overall. Using the 5th fastest bike split of the day, he motored his way up to fourth place starting the run. He then used the second fastest run split of the top 10 men to move onto the overall podium grabbing 3rd OV and gaining points towards the IOSNCTS.

On Sunday James turned around and traded in his TT bike for his road bike. He raced a Cat 3/4 crit where it looks like he grabbed a spot just inside of the top 10. He had to expend quite a bit of energy to bridge up to the main breakaway. In the final sprint all the racing miles in his legs showed up.

James Haycraft

James in the break

If You Can’t Run….

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by brianestover

Then ride your bike. A lot. Besides a little extra riding never hurt anyone but the people you race against.

In that vein, since I have President’s Day off, I decided that four days of a lot of cycling wouldn’t do me any harm. Friday was a short little interval ride that lasted all of 31 minutes. Saturday I cruised through 70 miles in 3:26 on the (hopefully) old TT bike. Sunday was a nice ride over Twin peaks and up Picture Rocks for 3.5 hours. Today I rode 80 with Accelerate 3 athlete James Haycraft. You’ve got to keep the kids in line and going up Mission rode I made it a hard 58 minute effort. We rode at 90+% of FTP for that portion. Thankfully he was able to pull me back home. When your legs detonate they detonate. After a bit of a break I was able to do some more work on the trip home.

Pee Break

This was probably the most solid three day block of bike training I’ve done in 6 months, maybe more. If you want to count Friday then it’d be a solid 4 day block. Total for Saturday through Monday was 209.62 miles + Friday’s 9.75 miles which gave me 219 for the four days. 11.9 hours of riding of which 11.4 were done Saturday through Monday, This netted me 800 TSS for those three days. 838 TSS over the four days. Now it’s time to destroy James in some Halo!

Another Race, Another Win

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2011 by brianestover

In today’s Blythewood, SC Spring Omnium, James grabbed another win!

It was a 30 mile circuit race, mainly on flat, technical streets with a short 1.5 minute climb then a 400 meter flat, straight shot into the finish line. Coming into the last lap, James was sitting in the third spot as the lead group crested the climb. He punched it over the top to lead out the long sprint. The chase was on, James is in the lead, the rest of the Cat 4 field is pounding their pedals in frustration. James moves well clear of the field to grab the win!

Starting the Winning Move...From the Front

This marks his second win this season bike racing, out of two races, and it was his last race as a Cat 4. Congratulations to James on notching another win and getting more then enough points to upgrade to Cat 3.

It’s Just Not Fair

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by brianestover

It’s just not fair to others. While it’s atypical to have this many athletes racing during this time of year, it’s not atypical of them to grab good results. For the third weekend in a row an Accelerate 3 athlete grabs a podium. This time James grabs THE top spot!

James notched Accelerate 3’s first overall win of the season at the Donaldson Center Road Race. About eight miles into the 35 mile race, he sticks his nose in the wind to intitiate a 3-man break. Normally when a 3 man break goes 8 miles into a Cat 4 road race, it’s coming back. Unless of course you’ve got James doing more then his fair share of the work. Then it stays away. With the three of them clear of the group, it comes down to the final sprint. It’s always easier to sprint against two other people then twenty others..as James proves.