Friday Night Ritual

Another Saturday rolls up on me fast. Labor Day Monday’s tempo ride was awesome and I was happy to see that my power numbers are on the rise. The balance of the work week finds me in the gym on a Wednesday night which was a prelude to a difficult and failed attempt to complete 2 X 15 minutes of Threshold intervals on Thursday. It’s a little hard to take but I am learning to let these things go.

My Friday night ritual starts with a rather intense hour at the gym. “Basic Pushing and Pulling” is what my trainer calls it.

Yes, I said trainer.

No, I am not headed for the Nationals nor do I have any delusions of grandeur.

If it were not for Thomas I would not make it to the gym consistently if at all and I certainly would not work beyond 30 minutes at the intensity we work at for a full hour. He is the best trainer I have ever contracted, knowledgeable, serious and devoted to me for the entire time I spend with him. Thomas is a quiet gentleman that leads by example rather than bark orders from the sidelines and knows when to push me hard or when to modify an exercise to meet my current fitness level. His depth of knowledge and experience affords him the capability to train a client to meet the client’s needs rather than stick you in a “one size fits all” training plan. He does however emphasize all our work outs around muscular balance thereby reducing the potential for injury and maximizing my potential for power. The excercises he encorporates are sometimes complex which makes them difficult yet all the more compelling. He the architect and I the brick layer have together built a structure that I can rely upon during my training on the bike.

Besides……despite statements to the contrary…… girls like guns

and an Andy Schleck wannabe I am not.


The ritual continues with basic bicycle maintenance. It is important that everything is working properly during a Saturday morning group ride as nothing ruins a good ride faster than a crash caused by a mechanical or being dropped for the same. The majority of maintenance one must endure is cleaning the bike and drive train. Throw in an occasional adjustment to a derailleur or brake cable and you have it covered.

I live in a high-rise condo so access to an outdoor faucet or garage to clean and maintain my machine is non-existent leaving me to maintain my bike in the living room overlooking Biscayne Bay and South Beach. To facilitate this work I set up and secure my bike on a Park PRS-20 Repair Stand , wipe her down with a Velo-shine wipe, clean the chain with a Park Cyclone Chain Scrubber  and Finish Line Degreaser, and wipe the chain with a standard bar towel. I give the degreaser a chance to dry before applying Chain-L chain lube. This whole process takes maybe 10 minutes when I am focused but distractions like the finishing sprint at the Vuelta or the death of another terrorist type on Strike Back tend to prolong the activity. So I give myself a 30 minute block of time at least once a week or every 100 miles for basic bike maintenance. You should too.

This Friday I had a little extra time and energy so I laid out my kit, gear and nutrition in preparation for the morning’s ride.

Good thing too.


“Just go out for an easy one”

These are the words I tell myself whenever I lack the kind of motivation that has me strip down, pump up, kit up and go. An easy spin has me over the Rickenbacker in less than 25 minutes. It is now time for my 4X 8 minutes of big gear training. I call them interval training wheels.

My 1st attempt at an interval quickly turned my legs into two swollen balloons. Insert Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, here. This feeling is unique. It is not the kind of pain induced by a long hard effort. Like when you are pulling at the front straight into a headwind and even when you try to peel off… no one comes up; you suck it up and you push through. In fact, there is no pain at all. No pain and no power either. You just can’t make a go of it. It’s like driving an old jalopy in need of a motor rebuild. You press on the gas… and nothing.

I know this feeling. I have had it before……”Your legs are blocked” says Simon back in 2011.

What kind of new age, acupuncture, or yoga voodoo are you trying to sell me?

“You need to do some 6/24’s”, he adds.

Next day I go out and do 2 X 5 min of 6 second sprints with 24 second recovery. The following day, Voila, I’m doing 2×20 minute threshold intervals like a Belgium on Pave.

So tonight, it’s 2x5min 6/24s and we will see what tomorrow brings.