Thursday, September 28, 2017

Open Water Swim in Lake Spivey

My swim training for Ironman Florida has been solely in the open water. I've been swimming in Lake Spivey across the street from my house. The distances have been roughly between 1 and 2 miles. My pace has remained about the same through the month at just slightly slower than 2:00 minutes per 100 yards.

This week I swam with my training partner Brenda Herrington. She's a task-master. She makes me get up early. During this training session I swam 1.7 miles in 1:00:08 with a pace of 2:01. A mile equates to 1760 yards. Brenda went a little farther, 1.79 miles, in the same amount of time. She's faster than me.

The surface water temperature before our swim

The view from the dock

Our escort Susan

The lake was slick this morning

The island straight ahead

A view of the north shore of the lake

Thumbs up!

Thanks for reading.

My Third Virtual Race on Zwift

I completed my third virtual race on Zwift this week. As with my two previous races, I think I raced well but didn't finish well. It's a lot harder than I expected. I can usually keep up with the leaders for a while but, as with this race, eventually I faded off the back. My times are respectable, I think, but racing in the B category is tough.

This race was on Zwift's virtual 2015 International Cycling Union (UCI) World Championship course in Richmond, Virginia. As with the other races I've done, this was a World Bicycle Relief (WBR) race so I edited my profile name accordingly.

We lined up for the start with the other riders. That's me on the light blue bike in the green jersey and orange cap.

I took a few snapshots of my statistics after the ride.

My ride uploaded to Strava.

If nothing else, these races tax me physically. I racked up thirty-five (35) Strava achievements during this one race. This is a course I've ridden forty-five (45) times over the past two years. I checked my results on Zwift Power too - 11th place.

Zwift Power (Zwift - WBR 4 Flat Lap #pst B) Race Results
Zwift Power lists my three race results.

Zwift Power Statistics for 3 races
Thanks for reading.

Bike Shoe Cleat Float Problem

I had some hip pain after my Wilson 100 ride last weekend. It was 102 miles with brand new shoes and brand new cleats. What makes it worse was that most of it was ridden in the aero position on my tribike. The pain has diminished over the past few days but isn't completely gone. I don't want it to continue and impact my running so I set out to investigate the issue.

I think I've identified the problem to the float of the Look Keo cleats I just installed on my new Lake Cycling TX312 tri-shoes. There should be 4.5-degrees of float with the gray cleats. I initially thought that I'd misaligned the cleats so I put my old shoes on my bike and check the distance from the center of the heal to my crank. I did the same with my new shoes for comparison. That's when I noticed that, although the cleats were the same model, the new cleats only moved with some force applied.

It's possible that the float issue will correct itself with more use. I'm glad that I noticed this problem well before Ironman Florida.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wilson 100 Century Ride

The 44th edition of the Southern Bicycle League (SBL) Wilson 100 century ride was on Saturday, September 23rd. The mass start was scheduled for 8 a.m. in Senoia, Georgia.

The night before the ride I put Look cleats on a pair of new Lake Cycling TX-312 (wide) tri-shoes. I just received the shoes in the mail that day and planned to break them in with the long 100 mile bike ride.

I had been coveting these shoes for years. In fact, it's probably been 7 years. I first saw them before I bought my now old Lake Cycling Hammerhead tri-shoes in 2010 but I could never find a retailer that sold the TX312s. I bought this pair directly from Lake Cycling. I took a few weight measurements to compare these shoes to my old Lake tri-shoes that fit like well worn bedroom slippers, and my light but less comfy Bontrager RL road bike shoes.

The weight of a worn size 42 Lake Cycling Hammerhead (wide) shoe with a Look cleat is 12 1/2 ounces

The weight of a size 41.5 Bontrager RL road shoe with a Look cleat is 9 1/2 ounces

The weight of a Lake Cycling size 41.5 TX312 (wide) shoe with a look cleat is 9 1/4 ounces

A side view of the TX312 shoes

The carbon fiber sole on the TR312 shoes
Without a doubt my new shoes look better and are far lighter than my old tri-shoes. I'm hoping the cool "Dual hook & loop straps with fast transition Push/Pull BOA L4 heel closure" makes my transitions faster.

The weather forecast for the Wilson 100 called for a high temperature of the day around 86-degrees. My small group started about 30 minutes early, before it got hot. The group consisted of me, an old fart with a penchant for signing up for things before I'd fully thought them out, Brenda Herrington my Ironman Florida training partner and the de facto leader of our little band of brothers, Bill Strang a 50-something year old rider with the heart of a 25 year old, Barry Snell a dude who's so nice that you have to thank him for the pain he's inflicted after he's done pulling, and William Ortez a quiet rider who should complain, but he doesn't.

2017 Wilson 100 t-shirt artwork (front)

2017 Wilson 100 sponsors (back)
Before the ride I checked-in at the registration desk. I got my t-shirt. The t-shirts are short sleeve soft 65% polyester and 35% cotton blended fabric.

I hit the port-o-let to evacuate the bowels like a zebra on the Serengeti being chased by a pride of lions. I arrived so early that it was still pretty dark and there was almost no line for entry into the blue plastic poo shacks. The port-o-let on the right was empty and I entered eagerly. I had to get some business done before my 5 hour ride. When all was said and done it was as though a Smurf had been massacred inside. I'll not elaborate. I exited nonchalantly.

Ten days earlier I downloaded a turn-by-turn cue sheet from the Wilson 100 website. I used that sheet to created a gpx file on Garmin Connect which I uploaded to my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt bike computer. I also shared the file with my friends on Facebook. As we rode that morning I called out the turns, for the most part. I might have missed one here and there. It wasn't until mile 74, as we entered Zebulon, that we encountered a discrepancy in our directions. Brenda saw a route sign that directed us to turn left onto Hwy 18/Concord Road in the Zebulon Square. My bike computer told us to go straight. We circled back through the town square to make sure we were on track. Barry checked the cue sheet he'd gotten that morning at the registration table. It also had us going left onto Hwy 18. So that's the way we went. My bike computer proceeded to go berzerk trying to tell me I was going the wrong way. The road was marked though and as we rode on we felt more confident of the route we'd chosen was correct and I felt less confident in guidance from my bike computer.

The cue sheet and bike computer routes synced up again outside of Zebulon. We stopped at the rest stop in Concord just as they were setting up. We were the first riders to get there and, from what we heard, 15 miles ahead of the next riders on the route. It wasn't until about mile 80 that we were finally passed by a group of four speedsters.

We finished the ride with an average speed of 19.1 mph. I didn't use the auto pause feature on my bike computer. Our overall time was 5:20:12. Our moving time was 5:00:53 and our average moving speed was 20.3 mph. The Wilson 100 is a hilly course. We had 4,397 ft of elevation gain. None of the hills were too daunting though.

After the ride Brenda and I went for a little run through Senoia. It was a very little run, 1.3 miles, for me and a longer run for Brenda, 4 miles. Senoia was bustling with tourists on Zombie tours on Saturday. The Walking Dead is filmed there.

When I got home I checked the route again. I was concerned that I'd shared the wrong route on Facebook and might have sent some of my fellow riders into oblivion. I appears as though the route I downloaded only a week before the ride was the 2016 route, although it wasn't marked as such. The online cue sheet I checked on September 24th must have been the 2017 revision because it had the turns that were posted and marked on the road. I later corrected my Garmin Connect Course file to match the new 2017 route.

The Wilson didn't seem as well attended as I remember from the last time I rode it in 2013. My club, Southern Crescent Cycling, didn't have the organized participation that I'd seen before either. That could have been due to the 6 Gaps ride in north Georgia being on the next day. The registration fee has gone up since 2013 and they implemented a wrist band policy to verify riders had paid the entry fee. Not everyone paid in 2013 and that still holds true today. As a non-SBL member (this year) I paid $55 to register and added a $5.72 fee on top of that. Sixty dollars might be a bit steep for a t-shirt, 3 pickle slices, some ice, and half a PB&J bagel. All those thoughts of routes and fees would go out the window if I had to use the Support and Gear (SAG) wagon. We didn't have the need for SAG support but the van did stop to ask if we were okay after we'd stopped briefly on the course to reconfigure our water bottles, etc. I left Senoia with 4 bottles but I forgot my Gu flask. My flask was still in my truck after the ride. That could have been a big fail. Fortunately, I didn't forget my Endurolyte salt capsules and a Clif bar.

All that said about the ride and my new shoes I'm sad to report that afterwards I've got a little post ride hip pain. The cleats on my new shoes might need an adjustment or be replaced with some cleats with more float. I used the gray cleats which, according to the Look Cycle website, have 4.5-degrees of float.  Cleats come in 3 float options: 0 ° black, 4.5 ° gray, and 9 ° red. It could just be that I need more time in the saddle in the aero position and less time on the trainer. I didn't get any blisters though!

I also used my new Saris Freedom 4 bike rack for the first time. That's a whole lotta bike rack.

Next time I'll get some pictures.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My First Virtual Bike Race

After almost 2 years of consistent bike trainer rides on both the former CycleOps Virtual Training (CVT), now Rouvy, and Zwift I've finally completed my first virtual bike race. This also counts as my first bike race of any kind. I have to say that it was much tougher than I had expected. I chose the Zwift World Bicycle Relief (WBR) 17.1 mile long London 4 Lap Flat course race because it fit my schedule, I had planned to ride at that time of day which was 2:30 p.m. for me. The WBR races also seemed well integrated into the Zwift application, they're easy to join, and have Zwift community support, i.e. Zwift Power for results.

Before the race I completed the pre-requisite spindown on my Wahoo Kickr smart trainer. My weight was already correct in the Zwift application. The last thing to do was change my screen name to include "WBR (B)" so I could be identified in the results. The "WBR" was described previously. These races try to bring awareness to World Bicycling Relief's efforts to supply bikes to the needy. The "(B)" represents the category in which I would compete as indicated by my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) divided by my weight in kg divided; 200 / 61.2 = 3.27.  The categories are as such; A 4.0wkg+, B 3.2wkg+, C 2.5wkg+, and D 0.1wkg+. A w/kg number of 3.27 puts me just barely in the B category.

26 seconds before the race start with some of the racers listed on the right

Racers lined up. That's me centered in the  green "25 RIDE ON" kit.
The race was on the Zwift London course and included 4 laps on the flat route. Power-ups are legal to use and all riders must use a road bike - no TT bikes. There's no warm-up lap for this race. When the race starts - it's on!

After the race I had a chance to review my results. My Strava (and Garmin Connect) rides show about a 2+ minute slow pedal cool-down as part of the ride so my speed and heart-rate averages are probably shown lower than they were during the actual race portion of the ride. Zwift Power shows just the race information.

Zwift ride overview

Zwift ride report  - General

Zwift ride report - Timeline

Zwift ride report - Critical Power
I upped my FTP from 200 to 204.

New FTP watts score after race
The results are displayed on the Zwift application after the race. Of the 33 participants I came in 17th overall and 6th in my category. There were only 6 Cat. B riders who completed the race. I came in last but, it was still fun. As my wife said "how many of those racers do you think are in their 50s?" I don't know the answer but I doubt there are many so I'm happy with my results.

Race results on Zwift
The results are displayed on the Zwift Power website. Twenty-nine of the thirty-three riders that started the race actually finished. Four riders did not finish.

Zwift Power race information

Zwift Power race results
After I reached level 25, the highest level on Zwift, my goal shifted to climbing enough virtual mountains to attain the TRON bike. The virtual bike with glowing wheels. However, after having completed my first race I think I might have to try a few more. There aren't too many things that will pump up your competitive spirit than trying to beat the crap out of some young buck on a bike. It's all in good fun of course.

Thanks for reading.