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I know there are many coaches that love 20-minute steady state efforts at lactate threshold. Some cycling coaches will work toward 2 x 20 minute threshold efforts as the gold standard.


I have always preferred broken efforts or intervals. An example for cycling and running is 4 x 6 minutes at threshold heart rate, power or speed. Recovery intervals are 2 minutes long. A second example is one effort at 20 minutes with 5 minutes of recovery.

That effort is immediately followed by 5 x 4 minutes with 1-minute recovery intervals. I've found the average power output or speed is much better with the final effort being intervals rather than a second steady 20-minute effort.


One study supports my personal preference, showing runners using steady efforts improved running speed by 7 percent and those using intervals improved by 9 percent. It is important to note that both groups improved running speed.



Interestingly, VO2max improved by 10 percent in the steady effort group and only 6 percent in the interval group. In this particular study, improvements in VO2max did not correlate to improvements in running speed.



1,535 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: runners, steady_state, lactate_threshold, vo2max, cyclists

Sandman or Smacktalker?

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Feb 21, 2008


You know at least one Sandman and at least one Smacktalker, I'm certain. They exist in all groups, athletic and non-athletic.






A sandman is the same as a sandbagger. If you want to be politically correct, you can say sandperson. I have to say, it just doesn't have the same ring though. When I write sandman, I'm referring to an athlete of either gender.



A sandman downplays the training they've been doing and their athletic ability...that is until it's time to perform. Then, look out.



Some common sandman sentences:



Gee, I haven't done _a thing _for weeks. No workouts at all. I hope I don't hold you back. If fall behind,  don't wait for me.



My longest ride has been an hour. I hope I can survive this three-hour ride. Don't wait for me though, I'll be okay.



I haven't been training at all. Too much work, my fitness is terrible.



After the sandman has sandbagged a conversation, the proof is in the performance. The sandman kicks butt.



If you were to put a spy camera on a sandman, he or she can be found training much more frequently and longer than they have admitted to in public. Perhaps they are even "secretly" training.



Not to be confused with a sandman is a subaerobic person. More information on a SAP can be found here.






The smacktalker is at the other end of the spectrum and comes in two varieties. In either variety, the smacktalker looks you up and down, sizing you up. With a surfer-stink-eye appetizer, the sandman follows with a full course of how he or she is going to outperform you. Yes, kick your a$$.



Common Smacktalker sentences:



Gained a little weight, have you? If you were XX  pounds lighter, you might be able to climb (or run) faster. Good luck today.



I can beat you with both hands tied behind my back.



I push more wattage on my easy days than you do on your best days.



Put your money where your mouth is, let's bet who will be first to climb that hill.



Now, the smacktalker comes in two flavors, smoked and extra spicy. The smoke-flavored smacktalker is all smoke and no fire. They can talk a big game, but cannot deliver the goods in terms of performance.



The extra spicy smacktalker can deliver an outstanding performance and is more that willing to tell you about it before it occurs. Ouch.



What has your sandman or smacktalker said to get attention? (Please, leave out the person's name or just use their initials.) You can tell us about their athletic or office line(s).



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Two issues that have been in the news in the past week are stuck in my head - the possibility of contaminated water coming from abandoned mines in Leadville, Colorado and the probability of contamination in supplements.


First, the issue closest to home for me is the potential disaster looming in Leadville, Colorado. I fell in love with the mountain town in 2005 when I did my first Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. I've done some reading on the town, the history, successes and struggles. The National Mining Museum is located in Leadville and is worth a visit.


Leadville, like many of us, has an issue in that the very thing that makes us successful - has strong potential to be a problem. The mining industry that made fortunes (such as the Guggenheim fortune), supplied needed raw materials to many industries and helped provide community livelihood to the town, is now causing problems.


Before you go all high and mighty on me regarding the mining industry, take a hard look around you to see how many of the items you enjoy every day are a product made from the bowels of the earth.


That written, while the minerals such as gold, silver, and molybdenum extracted from the mines are valuable in manufacturing; poisonous chemicals are present as well. Leadville has been a Superfund site and 98 percent of the work has been completed.


More recently, within the past six months, a collapse was detected in one of the drainage tunnels causing a massive build up of water. This water pool contains over one billion gallons of toxic, heavy metal-laden water. If a blowout in the tunnel occurs, the water could spill out into the Arkansas River and would likely endanger the lives of over 400 Lake County residents.



The Arkansas River Basin provides over two million acre feet of water for Colorado agriculture a year, and is a key source of water for Colorado Springs, Aurora, Pueblo and the Front Range. The potential damage to the Colorado ecosystem is obvious.



The Bureau of Reclamation and the Environmental Protection Agency are working to secure the funding, estimated at between five and ten million dollars, to avoid disaster. More information can be found here.



I hope they can get the job done.



For the supplement issue, the study that was released in 2007 titled, "[Investigation into Supplement Contamination Levels in the US Market|]" made a big splash late last year on several news sites including Fox and USA Today. An excerpt from the report,



"Of the 54 samples that were successfully analysed by LCMS, 6 showed the presence of stimulant contamination. This corresponds to 11.1%. Of the 52 samples that were successfully analysed by GCMS, 13 showed the presence of steroid contamination. This corresponds to 25.0%."



(If you are unable to link to the actual investigation pdf, first click on the title of this blog, then access the attachment at the bottom of the blog.)



Manufacturing practices at supplement companies are obviously not up to snuff. A study done by the US Olympic Committee between 2000 and 2002 found that 18% of the 240 supplements purchased in the US contained steroids.



If you take supplements, know that they are NOT controlled by the tight standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).



Buyer beware.






1,090 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: steroids, steriod_contamination, contaminated_supplements

Love Town

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Feb 14, 2008


I grew up and currently live in Loveland, Colorado. Yes, the sweetheart city. Love town.



Valentine's Day is a big deal around here. In 1947, the Valentine remailing program began. The largest of it's kind in the world, people send their Valentine cards to Loveland so they can be stamped with the special Valentine cache and remailed to anywhere in the world.



If you want to have your Valentine stamped next year, put the appropriate postage on it for the final destination. Put that envelope in another envelope and send it to:



Postmaster Valentine Re-mailing

446 E. 29th St.

Loveland, CO 80538



Each year a contest is held to determine the winner of the Valentine cache (for the stamp), the poem (used inside a special card) and the cover design for the card.



The 2008 stamp cache reads:



"From mountains high to lakesides blue, this heart's from Loveland so dear one, to you!"



It is reported that more than 200,000 cards and letters were handled in 2007,  from more than 100 countries. More than 12 million valentines have been re-mailed since the beginning of the program in 1947.



You can find more information about the program at this website.



Happy Valentine's Day ~



802 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: valentine's_day, loveland_remailing_program, loveland

2007 Turd Trophy Awards Gala Party...sounds fancy doesn't it? It wasn't too fancy this year, we gathered in my driveway to get the trophies before riding to Estes for our February 2008 goal. Not too much of a fancy celebration this year...but there are some good ideas for next year.


Below is a shot of several of the 2007 Estes or Bust award winners. Left to right are Peter Stackhouse, Diana Hassel, Scott Ellis, Todd Singiser, Jo Campbell and me. Missing from the photo are Lee Rhodes, Pam and Kirk Leamons. The elk commissioned Pam and Kirk to make the 2007 trophies. A close shot of the 2007 trophies is below the group photo.
















Riding from Loveland to Estes Park is my favorite ride. I love the Big Thompson Canyon. When we were riding to Estes yesterday, I was admiring the ice formations on the river. After the ride, I had to drive back up the canyon to get some pictures and video of the Big Thompson River. Several sections of canyon are included in this video link: (no longer available)



The road to Estes parallels the Big Thompson River. The road used to be right next to the river and that changed after the destructive flood of 1976. A short story can be found here with futher information available through the links on right column.


To be treated with respect and caution in bad weather, the trip to Estes on a bike is still awesome.

1,516 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: estes_park, turd_trophy

Gym Pet Peeves

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Feb 7, 2008





Since the temps in Colorado have been...well...brisk this week, it has been back to indoor training for me. Although not my preference, it's good for me to do weight training. I did more weight training than "normal" last year and it paid dividends later in the year, I believe.



At the gym, I mind my own business and get the workout done. I understand some people like the gym for the social aspects, which is fine as long as they are conscientious of slowing other people down or hogging machines. At my gym, this hasn't been a problem.



What is a problem is that a couple of people that enjoy their perfume, cologne and or very, very fragrant body lotion also think everyone else should enjoy it as well. Holy cow people, tone down the volume or don't wear that stuff at all. It's too much, really.



Overbearing fragrances at the gym is one of my pet peeves.



My second pet peeve is for people that leave five, 45-pound plates on each side of the leg press machine. Look, you put them on there and it is great for your conditioning if you also remove them. It is also a polite thing to do.



What are your gym pet peeves?



1,678 Views 19 Comments Permalink Tags: health_club_pet_peeves, gym_pet_peeves


I have had two people ask me this question in the last week, "What are you training for?"



While I do jump into some events now and then, my stock answer is, "Life. It requires tremendous endurance."



Really, I maintain a certain level of fitness so I can do the fun things I like to do, pretty much at the drop of a hat, and enjoy myself. I also believe that keeping a certain level of fitness gives me the quality of life now, and is an investment in my future quality of life.



When an event sounds fun I might rearrange my "training" to better suit a particular event. That written, I'm really training for life.



1,015 Views 4 Comments Permalink

Last Wednesday I traveled to San Diego to do some video work with the content team at the Active Network and meet with the Active Trainer team to see the planned enhancements to Trainer. It was great fun seeing people I've met during past visits and also meeting people I've communicated with on the net or via phone, but hadn't met until last week.


The video content will boost the Active library of skills, drills and tips for the Active audience. In the next few weeks look for video clips and tips on several topics; including how to improve your transition time. Maybe you can cut your T-1 time in half like Jesse? Jesse is the content manager that spiffs up my tri and cycling columns for public consumption each month and he agreed to be one of the models for the videos.


Belle demonstrated what it looks like to ride a straight line when checking over her shoulder for traffic or other riders in one of the video clips. She also agreed to be one of the video models. It was fun to meet her because we are working together as part of the "Get Active" program to get her ready for the Wildflower triathlon.



We did as much video and voice over work as we could in a day and a half. If the clips turn out as well as I expect, thanks to the work of Todd Lynch, there is more work to be done.



On Saturday night I was invited to join the Active team at the Annual Competitor Endurance Sports Awards. It is a fun event held at Sea World after hours. The evening begins with the game pavilion. Jon Belmonte, while holding three gigantic stuffed animals, kept trying to convince me how easy it is to toss a ball into a narrow-topped jug. Apparently I need some training in gaming skills. I finally convinced Mike Coleman to play my game card so I wouldn't go home to the dog without a stuffed toy.



Below is a photo of Toby, Jesse and I at the end of the banquet. Handsome gentlemen, don't you think?





893 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: competitor_awards, competitor_endurance_awards