Recovery Rides

For the past seven weeks, I have been training indoors. Up at 5:30am. On the bike by 6:00am. Ride for more than an hour. Some days, the rides are really, really hard.

Lots of suffering,

And then there are recovery rides. Easy spinning.

Train hard on the hard days. Take it real easy on the easy days.

On Zwift this morning, the sunrise was timed perfectly to my local time. The above screenshot from my Zwift ride was taken just as I started my descent in the beautiful island paradise of Watopia.

Felt awesome spinning today.

Zwift on Apple TV

I was a beta tester of Zwift on Apple TV although from beta to release was exceptionally short, only a matter of a few weeks. At least for me. I suspect the team at Zwift was busy on this one for a lot longer.

I love riding on Zwift. As a form of augmented reality, the game really does draw you into the experience of riding in a way that is very engaging.

I currently use Zwift on a laptop and I use Zwift’s app on the iPad to help navigate common commands while riding — it can be a bit challenging leaning over to the laptop and trying to tap on the keys while maintaining pace on a bike. I have the iPad on a stand within easy reach of my hand.

Zwift on Apple TV makes things a lot simpler from a connectivity perspective assuming that the sensors on the bike and on the trainer can all communicate via Bluetooth. Bring up the app, pair the sensors and the game now presents on a really big screen.

Fewer wires, larger displays.

Zwift also gave me a new Parlee ESX bike:

 

Unfortunately, as a virtual machine, it only works in Zwift.

Best Exercise For Aging Muscles

Particularly pronounced in cyclists:

Many of these affected genes, especially in the cells of the interval trainers, are believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells; the subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria — an impact that was particularly pronounced among the older cyclists.

It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense, says Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s senior author. In fact, older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did — suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise.

From the New York Times.

Colnago K.One

My friends at Colnago decided to let me know about their new machine, the K.one. This is the fastest Colnago frame if I want to ride at speeds faster than my age — which is getting harder and harder each year now.

From their website:

The new Colnago K.One represents pure performance – pushing the limits of speed. The K.One is the fastest Colnago frame for cycling at speeds above 50 km / h. The frame was developed in the wind tunnel, building on the information gained during the development of the Concept, Colnago’s aero road frame. The K.One offers total aerodynamic integration, adjustment, and customization thanks to solutions designed to facilitate ease of set-up and precision bike-fit.

Super bikes come with super prices. I suspect the K.one tricked out like the photo above is somewhere north of $10,000, probably closer to $15,000. Before taxes.

I have two Colnago bikes, one carbon and one steel. The steel bike is built off the Master X 30th anniversary frame. Whereas the K.one looks like a stealth bomber, the Master X has a timeless, classic design. And the feel of steel. I love riding that bike.

Watching. Always Watching.

I received the following email this morning:

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:16 AM, The Team at Zwift wrote:

Hey Richard,

You made it out of the jungle. Nice work!

Did you enjoy the ancient ruins? Did you see the sloth? You’re among the first 12k Zwifters to explore the Jungle Expansion. We’re happy you had a chance to try it.

Cool. The team at Zwift reached out to me. At first glance, it all seemed so human. Personalized. With some context and a few questions thrown in for good measure.

And then it dawned on me. This was machine generated.

I know. So what? What difference does it make that a machine sent this out?

In the digital domain, it is becoming more difficult to determine what is, or is not, human. And, for that matter, whether the source is genuine or not genuine.

Technically, the email should have been worded this way:

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:16 AM, Zwift Artificial Intelligence Self-Learning Algorithm Machine 24.45.67.88 generated:

Notice to Zwift Rider Richard Cleaver:

Zwift Mayan Jungle Ride completed at 6:01am, Saturday, October 28th, 2017.

Please complete an online survey of your ride experience. There are 12,000 Zwifters receiving this invitation to participate.

And remember, the Zwift AI Self-Learning Algorithm Machine records everything you are doing. It is watching you. It is always watching you.

Okay. A bit dark perhaps.

I’m still happy that the team at Zwift reached out to me. I love their service. Even if the email was automatically generated by a machine!

It’s the thought that counts right?

Time to Zwift

Most of my riding is now taking place indoors. Increasingly with Zwift.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love the Sufferfest videos but they are a very different experience. Zwift feels a lot more immersive to me especially now with group workouts.

And, if I am going to get on a bike at 6am to ride hard for an hour or more, immersive is good.

I just started a 12-week program and that should prepare me well for the ultimate pain and suffering indoors: the Tour of Sufferlandria.

That nasty little event will be coming up in early February.

Higher Wattage

Nothing like spending some time with the Doctor. In this case, a virtual doctor, using Rubber Gloves to check on my progress.

I had to go full out for 20 minutes on the bike this morning. And by full out, I do mean full out. At my age, 60 in a few days, my maximum heart rate is estimated at 160 beats per minute. Although I can go harder than the estimated max. I held 165 bpm for most of the 20 minutes. No heart attack although that 20-minute interval was unbelievably hard. I’m still not sure how I got through it.

My wattage started strong at around 300 watts and then averaged down to about 220 watts for the interval. My FTP was adjusted from 180 to 211. And what, pray tell, does that mean? Aside from a pretty impressive 31 watt jump from the end of December?

More suffering.

The higher the FTP, the harder the ride.

Rule #10: It never gets easier, you just go faster.

How my friends at the Sufferfest describe the Rubber Glove ride:

Ah, the old-school days where you just used to bash yourself into the ground day after day hoping it would make you faster. As fun as that was, it wasn’t effective and few have the time for that. With jobs, families, and a life outside cycling (gasp!), we need to make the most of our training time.

Now, heart rate monitors and power meters allow cyclists to establish fitness thresholds and training zones. The threshold, called your “Functional Threshold Performance (FTP)”, can be used to train more effectively, precisely following training plans and getting you fitter, faster and more powerful in less time.

Establishing your FTP requires that you take a fitness examination of sorts. Typically you ride at your absolute limit for a set period of time, take your average effort over that period, subtract a bit, and you have your Functional Threshold Performance (FTP). Our FTP test video, Rubber Glove, is the best in the world, helping you get the most out of yourself.

With a workout designed by Dig Deep Coaching, you get a solid warm-up, some high-cadence drills and then it’s straight into a 20 minute maximum effort interval. Clear instructions will pace you to get the most accurate FTP possible. Once you’re done, we’ll tell you what your new power FTP should be.

Rubber Glove is tough.

Certificate of Completion

With the Tour of Sufferlandria having finished, I will start my 10-week training plan for the outdoor riding season. Although, with luck, I hope to be back on the roads late March or early April.

Two days of recovery before some light spinning tomorrow. Back into harder efforts this weekend.