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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

3 Posts tagged with the century_ride tag

As you know from last week’s post, I decided to start the VE100 Ride with bailout options. Those of you that are Twitter followers saw that I made it at least 64 miles of the possible 100 miles on Saturday. (Photo reposted below.)


My initial plan for the ride was to remain aerobic, or in Zones 1 and 2, for the first 50 miles. I was going to keep an eye on heart rate on my Garmin.


Learning #1, software updates:   I updated the Garmin software the day before the ride. I didn’t know the update would erase my settings for the display screens. I learned about the problem when the group of 12 was rolling out to begin the ride. I didn’t want to stop and mess with a computer so I decided to just ride by RPE and download heart rate data later.


At the first potential bail spot, I decided to go on because I felt pretty good. It was at this stopping point that I shared one of my tricks. Ron Kennedy had a thorn or piece of glass in his tire that he could not remove with his fingernail. I loaned him my safety pin to remove the debris and it worked like a charm.


Trick Shared: I have a safety pin attached to cuff of my cycling gloves. The pin keeps the two gloves together when not on my hands and it serves as a great tool to remove stubborn debris from bike tires.


We passed a couple more of my potential bailing points and I still felt good, so I decided to ride on. At just over 50 miles, there is a second major refueling stop. I felt reasonably good here, so I decided to go for the entire 100 miles.



At the 64 mile point, I’m packing a lot of clothes under that jacket (I swear it's not all winter fluff!) due to a 28-degree start temperature and a 57 degree finish temperature.




Bruce Runnels seems happy to be riding over a century today – 120 miles?


I did some experimenting with hydration and fueling. Hydration was primarily a formula of sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate and some flavoring (lemon juice or Emergen-C). I did have one Coke during the ride. Fuel came from solid foods, rather than liquid. I tried this technique because of a presentation I attended by Dr. Stacy Sims at the USA Cycling Coaching Conference last fall. I’ll do a separate column or post on this issue alone at a later date.



Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 3

Zone 4

Zone 5

Zone 3-5

Ride Time

Out Time




















You can see that this year’s ride was about 18 minutes slower than last year. The fastest ride time for the VE100 was 5 hours flat and we were very lucky with near constant tailwinds for the majority of the ride. We weren’t as lucky with the wind this year.



When I downloaded the data I was surprised to see so much time in the higher heart rate zones. I had over an hour more time at Zone 3 and above this year. I suspect that due do the illness and low training in recent weeks, I drove higher heart rates but had reduced ability to turn that into speed.


Learning #2:  When I am detrained, my RPE correlation to heart rate is not as accurate as when I’m well trained.


I decided to look back at training data from the last two years. I looked at gross weekly training hours for the week of the century ride and the five weeks prior.


Here’s what I found:


VE100 Wk

-1 wk

-2 wks

-3 wks

-4 wks

-5 wks




















As you can see from the chart, I’m down about 12.5 hours compared to last year. There’s not much anyone can do when they get sick except try to get healthy as quickly as possible.


Though I was worried the VE100 had the potential to make me sick or give me other injury issues, now that I’m out four days past the ride I can safely say that I’ve recovered well. In fact, I felt pretty good on Monday.


In the next day or so I will sit down and begin to plan training through mid-August. Looking at my current training status, I have some work to do before I’m ready to race…

744 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: heart_rate, century_ride, stacey_sims, sodium_citrate, sodium_bicarbonate

I am now faced with the same decision many of you have to make at one point or another in your training and racing journey. My fitness stinks, should I do the VE100 (Vernal Equinox 100 miles) anyway?


Within the past month, I had a block of travel and I got a cold. That translates to about three weeks with very little training. One of those weeks saw total training hours of 1:35 (a very weak 1:35 at that). My last long ride was March 6th (ride time 3:35, “out” time around 4:00 – 55.43 miles, 3,700 ft of climbing).


The VE100 is less climbing (3,100 ft over 100 miles) and will take about 5:15 ride time – that is if I’m lucky enough to have someone pull me around through a good chunk of it. If I have to do it solo, it will take longer.


Should I do the century or something shorter?



- A rule of thumb I use is that if you’ve done 50-80% of the time and/or distance within the last month, the longer distance is doable. It may not be pretty, but it’s doable.

- An extended long ride could jump-start my fitness, similar to a crash week of training.

- I will have people to ride with and that’s always motivating.



- There is some risk of overdoing it on this ride. (Saddle sores, knee pain, getting run down again opening up the door to another virus, etc.)

- This isn’t an important race, but only a training event – is the risk worth the return?

- I don’t like suffering when I’m lacking fitness. (I don’t mind suffering when I’m fit. I know, strange.)


What will I do?


I’ll start the ride, remain aerobic, and decide along the way if I should do the century or cut it short. I have about four “bailing points” where I can head back home if I don’t feel good. The main question I’ll be asking myself along the way is…


By doing this ride, by going further, will it help my fitness and get me closer to my season goals or will it cause a setback?

719 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: century_ride, low_fitness, 100_mile_bike_ride

If you want a training plan (or a variety of new workouts) to help you achieve your 2010 goals, I have designed several resources to help you. Know that I wrote my first easy-to-follow training plan and subsequent first book because that is exactly what I wanted as a self-coached athlete.


Just give me a plan to follow so I can do the workouts when it fits my personal schedule and so I can make modifications to a plan to fit my personal needs.

Also know that all training plan are designs are based on the same foundation principles that help elite athletes reach their goals; then, modified to meet the needs and time constraints of non-paid athletes. The plans range from comfortably completing events to gunning for a personal record (PR) performance.


The plans are available in a couple of different formats – electronic, book and possible combinations. Depending on what you need, one format may work better than another. First, there are several plans available on Active Trainer. This format makes it easy to move workouts around and modify them to fit your personal needs. There is some device download capability and there is data analysis to help you evaluate your training accomplishments. Be sure to take a look at all of the free downloads available on that page.


Also available on the Active Network are columns and blogs to help self-coached athletes succeed.


I have written several books to help self-coached athletes succeed. Some of the individual training plans are available in the electronic format on Active Trainer referenced in a previous paragraph and in hard copy within a chapter of one of these books:


Training Plans for Multisport Athletes – A book containing 14 detailed training plans for triathlon, duathlon and X-Terra events. There are plans for sprint triathlons, Olympic triathlons, half-ironman distance triathlons and ironman-distance triathlons. In addition to shorter plans, this great training resource contains three, six-month plans and a year-long plan.


Training Plans for Cyclists - This book was written based on the large number of requests I received from road and mountain bike riders, who were familiar with Training Plans for Multisport Athletes. They too wanted a book laid out for reaching new endurance goals, maintaining foundation fitness and racing. This book contains 16 such training plans. The book is written so you can mix and match various training plans. Advice is giving within the book on how to mix and match, as well as how to modify individual plans if you are self-coached. There are ride plans for 30-, 50- and 100-mile (century rides) events. There are five touring event plans and five mountain bike plans. For the off-season, there are two foundation fitness (base training) plans. Explanations are given for Level I riders and Level II riders.

Triathlon Training Basics – This book contains four detailed training plans to help first-time triathletes prepare for a sprint triathlon or an Olympic distance triathlon. Two plans are designed for already-fit beginners and two plans are for currently-unfit beginners. There are also four plans per sport (swimming, cycling and running) for individuals wanting to train for a triathlon as a single-sport team member. The plans can be used in succession, helping you progress from a triathlon team member to a triathlete. The book contains strength training, stretching and bike fit photos to help you get started on the right track. (None of the plans are the same as those found in Training Plans for Multisport Athletes.)


Bicycling for Women – Great chapters “for women only” and five training plans to help you complete a 50-mile bike ride, a century, a 40-kilometer time trial or faster group riding, a multiday tour or improve your hill climbing skills. This book is written on the premise that women can, and do, ride fast. (None of the plans are the same as those found in Training Plans for Cyclists.)


Workouts in a Binder® – I created “Workouts in a Binder®” product and co-authored the first edition of swim workouts for triathletes, which quickly sold out four printings. These handy workout cards help athletes and coaches optimize workouts and are waterproof to prevent destruction from water, sweat and dirt. This product is so popular, the series has expanded and will continue to grow:

Workouts in a Binder® for Triathletes

Workouts in a Binder® for Swimmers, Triathletes and Coaches

Workouts in a Binder® for Indoor Cycling

Workouts in a Binder® for Runners and Triathletes


Successful training doesn’t have to break the bank.


1,048 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, triathlon, ironman, leadville_trail_100_mountain_bike_race, tri, bike_tour, 70.3, training_plans, half-ironman, sprint-triathlon, century_ride, base_training, olympic_distance, bicycle_training, triathlon_training_plan, mountain_bike_training