Sunday, March 27, 2011

Things taking shape

Some early planning...
With the race approx. 80 days away, I pulled out the course map to re-connect with what I've been training for. I hadn't seen this map since I registered, thinking I would focus on training and not get distracted with the event itself.  (Good thing- that's a long ride.) 

Feeling good about my training overall, I thought it might be time to get some of the planning for this trip out of the way.  So it was off to where I locked in flights. Leaving NY on July 14th, we will fly to Lyon, France arriving on Friday, the 15th. With the race on the 17th, it gives us almost 2 days to travel a only few hours to the town on Issoire, where it all gets started.  Booked our return from Paris on July 25th, the day after the TdF finale. We booked 2 VIP tickets that allows us access to one of the grandstands along the Champs Elysees to watch the final showdown while the real racers fly around 1/2 dozen to a dozen times.  So, other than the flight there and back, my event and the TdF finale, we have left the remaining 7 days free for travel.  

With that in mind, I put in a call to a French cousin of mine, Marcel (my mom is French, hence the french relatives), who lives in Aix en Provence, an area in the South of France just north of Marseilles. (See the "A" on the map to the left.)  I hadn't seen or talked to Marcel in almost 20 years (I think he must now be 55 or 56?). Once we got on the phone, it was as if we picked up where we left off in our last conversation so many years earlier.  I wanted get his thoughts on where we should visit for the remaining part of the trip.  He's going to provide us with some suggestions, but I think we're going to drive south to Marcel's home and stay with him for a day or 2- all to be firmed up later.  (If you have any suggestions, please send me a note!!)

My elbow is going through some weirdness. I thought physical therapy was going really well until almost 2 weeks ago. The Doctor had me stop doing physical therapy for a week or 2 as I was/am having noticeable pain in the elbow- actually, I'd say my elbow feels like it did right before the surgery. Not sure that's normal/abnormal, but I'm hoping that I'm just passing through a phase on to more healing.  We'll see.  Truth be told, it's supposed to be a full 4 months before I'm better so I'm only really a bit over 1/2 way there. Hopefully I'm just jumping the gun and simply need to be patient.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Quentin Field-Boden, the author (and my "virtual" coach) of the training plan I downloaded through  (In my last blog, I mentioned that I downloaded a workout plan that was created by a coach specifically for L'Etape.)  Quentin's been extremely helpful and responsive in answering many of my questions. (Click here if you want to read his blog or follow him on twitter.) That's it for now- train hard, eat well, get plenty of rest and most of all, get outside!

Monday, March 14, 2011

L'Etape is back on!

Didn't think I've been gone this long.  Wow. Over the last three or so weeks, I've been focused on my physical therapy and my training. A few last minute travels to the west coast have made keeping to the training plan a bit challenging. Doing the best i can with this.  Since last time I blogged, I've adopted a full-on training plan based on Power (vs. Heart Rate) with the help of a power meter. Until I got into the science behind training with power, I didn't fully understand.  To summarize it really simple- whereas heart rate tells you what your input is, power tells you what you're output is, which is key. With this, you can truly know how much work you're expending in a given workout. This, coupled with an incredible free online software-, has really quantified this training thing for me.  (The software was created by the top experts in endurance and strength training.  The science is really amazing.)  Still reading and re-reading the materials in Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggans' "Training and Racing With A Power Meter", considered the bible in this field.  Will report back and post some cool data/graphs in the next month.

You recall me saying how a new client had planned an event that I needed to attend on the same weekend I was to do L'Etape?  Well, the event just got rescheduled two weeks later in July; thus L'Etape is back on!  Trust me, the other event I was going to substitute in- La Marmotte, isn't a joke. Certainly one could say it's a lot more difficult in many respects.  But, I've always wanted to ride a Tour de France stage, and unless things change again, it seems as though I'm getting closer to fulfilling that dream.  Knowing that things/life can change at any moment, I'll keep my head down and keep it all moving forward one step at a time.

Be back soon.....