AZ Update!

It’s been a while!! Sorry for my long absence to anyone who’s been tuning in regularly. My only excuse is that I have been training really hard and have lacked both the time and motivation to put pen to paper. But, I am back, and will try my best to set aside time weekly in which to keep things up to date. First off, I arrived in beautiful Tucson Arizona 21 days ago on February 13th. Coming from the extremely cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing in Hamilton, it was a complete shock. I had a perma-smile on my face for at least the first three days. Going from spending 23 hours per day indoors under artificial light to being able to run in shorts and a t-shirt can best be described as a euphoric experience. Here is a picture I took on the first day and sent to my girlfriend to make her jealous (sorry babe!):

Tucson Day 1

Training has been going really well. I just finished an 18 day block that I think it’s safe to say was the hardest 18 days I have ever put in. I am now on a 5 day recovery period, and on Sunday I will commence another 18 day block. One thing I have been interested in testing is how much slower or faster my new bike position is. Unfortunately, I have yet to have someone snap a bike shot of me outside in the TT position, but here is a picture of me indoors in my new position, followed by me last year (in what I think to be a much less aerodynamic position):

Angle New

Angle Old

Using a free protractor tool, it appears my chin has dropped by about 5 degrees when measured from the centre of my hip. This means I have almost halved this space. In other words, much more of my mass is centred behind my head, and thus less surface area is hitting the wind. I figured I would see some “free” gains once I got out on the roads, but I wasn’t sure how much. On February 15th, my first goal was to see what a decent wattage output was good for. So, I decided to push 270w for 95 minutes and see what it got me. I did an out and back with a gradual uphill most of the way. Here is the results from the ride:

270w Ride

I was quite pleased. Usually to average 40kph I would have to push at least 300w. A friend of mine had told me that at about 155-160 lbs, with decent aerodynamics, you should be going around 40kph at about 270w. Thus, people have often been skeptical of my power numbers (including myself). In this ride I averaged 40.6kph at a 270w output.  I should mention that this ride was extremely uncomfortable, as I had been spending very little time in the aero-position up to this point. In a previous post I was asked a question as to why I don’t do my indoor workouts in the aero-position and I said that I am more concerned with the physiological stimulus, and later I will worry about adapting to the aero position. I still feel that this is important, but next winter I will definitely do a lot more workouts in the aero-position, as these past three weeks have been a huge shock to the system. But, I have begun to adapt. For instance, in my long ride last week (about 3 hours 10 minutes in duration) I averaged 276w for twice as long as the aforementioned ride, and yet my heart rate average was only 120BPM i.e. 14BPM lower than it was over a 95 minute duration, nine days previous. I would attribute this drop almost entirely to becoming more comfortable in the aero-position:

Adaptation to Aero

My running is coming along nicely as well. As promised, here is some Garmin data from an outdoor workout (Thanks to Erin for my sick new watch!):

Run Data

The total volume of the workout was 24 kilometers. I started with a 5k warmup. Then we (John Rasmussen and myself) descended three by a kilometer on two minutes recovery. They were: 3:10, 3:08, 3:06. Then I went straight into three by three kilometers on three minutes recovery. The first and last interval I intended on doing at threshold pace, and the middle 3k I intended on doing at 70.3 race pace. The times were: 9:24, 9:51, 9:17. I then cooled down for 5k. Considering I was 14 days into a hard training block by that point, I was happy with the result. Things are moving in the right direction with regards to running.

As for swimming, I am excited to announce my partnership with Miguel Vadillo, as my new coach. He was the 44th person to swim across Lake Ontario. Additionally, he was one of the top ranked Mexican swimmers and pentathletes (in the world!) in the early 90s. We have encountered each other many times in the past through C3 functions, but it wasn’t until I experienced his coaching here in Tucson that I knew he was the coach for me. His philosophy makes total sense to me, and he is very good at giving you drills and explanations that make you see the light of the importance of a particular element of the stroke for yourself. In other words, you are not doing something just because coach told you to, but because you truly believe you need to be working on that aspect as well. That to me is the mark of a good coach! In just a few sessions Miguel has been able to pick out many aspects of my stroke that need working on, and has been able to give me drills that make sense with regards to correcting those inefficiencies. Needless to say, I am very excited for this partnership!

All in all, training is going well and I am having an awesome time in Arizona. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the support of Richard Kniaziew, Cycle CultureC3-KineticoLouis Garneau, Eload, Saucony, Nineteen and CompuTrainer. Without your support this would all still be just a dream in my head! I should mention, that I am now enrolled in Ironman 70.3 Texas on April 6th, so I will be having my outdoor season opener in under a month. But I will post more on this as the time approaches. Thanks for reading and following! I promise to write the results from my swim experiment very soon!!! Here’s a pic in all my LG gear:

LG 1