Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grimes Mill

The last couple of weeks I have been in the Lexington, KY area for work. For those of you who don't know I went to school at the University of Kentucky and spent 6 years in Lexington. Yes, 6 years.!! To my defense my degree was a 5 year program. Anyway, while at UK I was on the cycling team and fell in love with the roads surrounding Lexington. Roads consisted of beautiful rolling terrain that connected and weaved between the horse farms. On the south side of Lexington the roads near the Kentucky River provided the option of riding some tough climbs a couple of miles in length. My plan had been to rent a road bike, but unfortunately I couldn't find a shop with rentals. SO today, I had some time to spare and decided to drive out and check out one of my favorite roads. The road is called Grimes Mill http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2124878 and is a beautifully narrow and tough stretch of asphalt. The road is only about 4.5 miles in length, but has everything a cyclist wants in a route.

Grimes Mills starts off as flat section of road, lined with dry laid stone fences, and beautiful farms.

After crossing McCalls Mill (another great road) the pavement dives down towards Boone Creek. The road is winding, and a the bottom is one of the steepest sections of pavement I have ever ridden.

Once at the bottom, you are in a steep walled valley, formed by Boone Creek. This portion of the route is very dark, and cool due to the minimum sunlight. After crossing the creek on a very old bridge, you approach the climbing section of the road.
The climb starts as you make a right turn on a super steep switchback. The climbs is stair stepper type about 1.5 miles in length. The first section of the climb is very steep, followed by less steep drag leading into a downhill. The downhill then goes directly into a steep kicker climb. I remember always blowing up on this section. I always wanted to ride the entire climb with some of the good climbers on my team, and this section would always do me in. After the steep section the climbs drags on for another half mile.
At the top the road is rolling with a fast downhill section that opens onto a beautiful clearing. At this point Grimes Mill roller coaster is almost over. On a normal training ride back in the day this would just be the start; Grimes Mill intersects with another road, Athens Boonesboro, that hase some tough climbs and connects to even more beautiful riding options. Man, do I miss these roads!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sir Yes Sir!!

So I haven't had a coach since I was senior in high school running cross country and track. My entire cycling career has been self coached, taking what I knew from running and tryijng to translate it to cycling. This was all done with mediocre results at best. Fast forward 15 years to June 2008, and I finally decided to have a real training plan set up for the remainder of the season. To help with the coaching I have enlisted Brian Conant, a top local cross racer, and a very energetic guy and cross race promoter. He has coached several local racers to some great results, including a collegiate national title.

My reasoning for enlisting Brian was that the last couple of years I really felt like I had no real way of telling if my training was helping. Yeah, I could look at my power #'s and see changes, but the minuitia in the training was something I didn't have the time or desire to understand. For instance, this week I was scheduled to do LT intervals. After the workout I sent the info to Brian, and he quickly pointed out that my wattage was all over the place, and not consistent. This casued my last two intervals to be lower in power than it should have been. This is something I never would have picked up on my own, but on Sunday the same workout was done at a much more consistent pace, and I was able to complete the workout within the correct power ranges, getting the full benefit of the ride

Another benefit is that with all the traveling I have been doing the last month it has been great to have a coach to help set up my training around my schedule. It makes it much easier to stay in shape when I don't have to worry about coming up with workouts, but just doing the work on the bike. So over the next several months I will be providing updates on my training and hopefully the improvements in my performance.