Archive for October, 2012

2012 season statistics and reflection

With all that is happening in cycling right now, I definitely appreciate everyone who continues to follow my racing. I have never used any kind of performance enhancing drug, and it makes me sad/mad that so many of the stars of cycling from my generation have resorted to that during their careers. I think Phil Gaimon captured exactly how I feel when he describes Racer X at the end of this Velonews article. I will always love racing and riding my bike, so nothing changes for me in the wake of all that is coming out in the news now, other than a sense of responsibility to help promote clean sport. I’m not sure how or what difference I can make, but I’m open to suggestions and will continue looking for opportunities to help.

A picture is worth a thousand words so let’s start this long post out with a picture! My win at the Tour de Tuscaloosa road race to claim the Alabama state championship was definitely the highlight of my season. The inset pictures are the Alabama medals podium from Tuscaloosa as well teammates Boris and Kevin at the Pensacola stage race.

End of the season statistics
These statistics all run from October 31, 2011 until October 28, 2012 – 364 days worth of riding and racing. I define my racing/training season from the Monday closest to Nov 1 of the previous year to the Sunday closest to Oct 31st of the current year for all of these statistics and reports. The Polar Protrainer software makes it easy to calculate the statistics over the exact date range that I want to use.

Statistics Summary
October 31, 2011 – October 28, 2012

Statistic Avg Max Min Total
Weekly training time (hours) 25.68 40.87 15.4 1336.3
Weekly distance (miles) 389.8 648.6 255.8 20,271
Workouts per week (#) 12 19 6 632
Weekly climbing (feet) 44,199 89,354 17,936 2,298,327

For eagle-eyed observers who note that the climbing total is lower than that reported on Strava, I will give the same explanation that I gave last year: I am generating these reports from my Polar Protrainer software. I wrote a converter that converts Garmin .FIT files and .TCX files into the .HRM format that Polar expects. The Polar Protrainer software then applies a smoothing filter when it is calculating total ascent and other statistics, but I can’t figure out how to turn it off so that the statistics match up with Strava, which doesn’t apply any smoothing filters.

Some weekly milestone totals (from Strava):

  • 3 weeks with more than 500 miles of riding, including one 648.6 mile week
  • 25 weeks with more than 400 miles of riding
  • 26 weeks with more than 50,000 ft of climbing, including a week with 100,342 ft
  • 34 weeks with more than 25 hours of training/racing

Other statistical highlights (from Strava):

  • Approximately 640 different KOMs on Strava
  • A 249 mile mega ride to win the one-day Rapha Rising challenge with over 42,000 ft of climbing. I had some Garmin problems towards the end of the day and ended up losing 24 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing — but it was still enough to win the competition!

Comparison to past years
All years run from the Monday closest to November 1st to the Sunday closest to October 31st. This should result in about 365 days for each year give or take a day or two.

(per week)
Training (hours) 14.0/20.2 13.4/20.8 15.4/20.9 22.4/33.0 25.7/40.9
Distance (miles) 238.4/337.1 241.8/369.4 265.5/380.3 338.4/502.7 389.8/648.6
HR avg (bpm) 137/165 139/161 136/176 131/178 123/156
Workouts (#) 11/15 9/14 11/14 11/17 12/19
Climbing (feet) 12.7k/20.3k 13.5k/29.3k 14.4k/22.8k 30.7k/52.2k 44.2k/89.4k
(yearly total)
Training (hours) 726 698 798 1,167 1,336
Distance (miles) 12.4k 12.6k 13.8k 17.6k 20.3k
Workouts (#) 560 4451 546 580 632
Climbing (feet) 661k 677k 750k 1,598k 2,298k

1 When I first got my Garmin in November 2008 (which falls in the 2009 year), I was leaving my commutes as one ride. In other words, I would just stop the timer while I was at work and then start it back up for the return trip home.

Racing Season Summary
This season was another “best ever” season highlighted by winning the Tour de Tuscaloosa road race over a really strong field to claim the Pro/1/2 Alabama state road race championship, having my best finish ever in the Athens Twilight criterium (20th place), winning the 47 day Strava climbing challenge sponsored by Specialized (my 20th place at Athens Twilight was near the end of that competition), placing 11th in the elite national road race in Augusta, making the podium three times at the Georgia Cycling Gran Prix including third overall for the five day omnium, and doing well in my first real foray into mountain bike racing since high school and college (3rd at Southern Cross, 2nd at the Skyway Epic, 4th at the Barn Burner in Flagstaff, 39th at Leadville in Colorado, and 13th at Fool’s Gold).

We did a lot of traveling over the summer, including a long road trip out to Arizona for a cousin’s wedding, that included the Barn Burner mountain bike race in Flagstaff and the three-day Tulsa Tough criterium series in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the way home. I had slightly disappointing results at the Tulsa Tough, but it was still one of the funnest weekends of racing the whole year — especially with the Tour de France like climb through the crowds every lab on Cry Baby Hill on the last day of racing. Another great adventure that didn’t quite have the results I was looking for was the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race. I ended up 39th but that was after bonking pretty bad about 75 miles into the 100+ mile race and struggling for the last 30 miles home. Still, the race itself was quite an adventure getting to race alongside two different world champions (Christoph Sauser from about mile 30 to mile 40 and Rebecca Rusch briefly on the powerline climb as she blew by me at mile 75). Altogether, I raced in ten different states this year (AZ, CO, OK, LA, MS, AL, TN, GA, FL, SC) over a total of 41 days covering 2,996 miles.

Map showing the locations of all my 2012 races (click to enlarge). Over 3000 miles of racing in 10 states. I just realized I acccidentally left Arizona off the map because I lost my Garmin during the Barn Burner race so I didn’t have any data from that race to pull into topocreator.

Finally, the graphs and charts!
Critical power curve for 2012. This represents an increase from 288 watts in 2011 to 305 watts in 2012. This is QUITE a substantial increase, but it’s mainly because I didn’t have very much power data for 2011 to base my 2011 figure on. It only takes one GOOD effort to push the curve up, and I believe that effort for me was when I set the Karl Daly KOM (on June 16, 2012). (click to enlarge)

Much of my training is “distance-based” in that I aim for a particular weekly mileage. (click to enlarge)

I also spend a lot of time focused on climbing … usually this my daily focus as I will set a minimum amount that I want to climb that day and then ride as long as it takes to hit that amount. As it gets closer to the end of the week, I see what I need to do in terms of mileage to bring me up to the desired weekly mileage. (click to enlarge)

I rarely think about total time when training, but I do concern myself with time spent in different heartrate zones (particularly in the off season and base training period). I want to make sure I’m spending the right amount of time in the “red zone”. During the racing season, the race tactics that play out govern how much time is spent in the red. I aim NEVER to get into zone 4 or 5 during training during the racing season since I am racing pretty much every weekend where I spend a LOT of time in those zones. (click to enlarge)

You can see when school is in session because my “number of workouts” goes up dramatically since I have at least two rides per day (my commutes) during the school year.

Two new screenshots this year from Golden Cheetah … both “metrics” graph which highlights my best power output for a given time. This is like a discrete version of the Critical Power graph focusing on some well-known time intervals.

Aerobic power (best effort over longer time intervals). (click to enlarge)

Anaerobic power (best efforts over shorter intervals). (click to enlarge)

And finally, finally, some more thank you’s
A huge thank you to first of all my beautiful wife, Kristine Toone, and my kids Analise and Josiah, my parents and all of my teammates, friends, and family. I’ll be working over the rest of the week on a separate post with more maps of all the places that we traveled, all the places where we have stayed for races, and all the places where I have ridden this year. In that post, I’ll thank people by name who have helped out so much. Just as last year, I’ll leave this exceedingly long post with just one more thanks – thanks!

October 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm 2 comments

Fall adventure family style

A family picture before heading out on the hay ride to the pumpkin patch.

We’ve gone to Old Baker Farm to pick out pumpkins and enjoy all the festivities for the past seven years. Check out our first visit in 2006. I left the house a couple hours ahead of Kristine and the kids to make it out there at about the same time. Nice ride out enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Lots of pics below, too.

October 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm Leave a comment

Fall adventure on double oak way

At the edge of the helicopter hill descent – me and Simon – you can see the ridges all the way out to Hugh Daniel, which blocks the view of the Double Oak ridge line.

I posted a message to Facebook yesterday that I wanted to ride out to Double Oak Way today, and three brave souls (Russell Fulmer, Simon Prentice, and Jonathan Soto) showed up for the first cold ride of the season. Temps never got much above 50 degF spending a lot of time in the mid to upper 40s. Combined with a stiff north wind, the temp made for a chilly ride. But the ride itself, was a great adventure.

I set the bottom of Old Montgomery as the starting point for the ride because I wanted to put my Strava KOM shootout effort in for the week. Russell had gotten there early and already put his effort in so he waited partway up and got this video of me on my effort to get the KOM:

My legs were feeling great initially, but I botched the switchback in the video and paid for it later because I had to dig deep to keep my speed out of the corner. I broke my old time by 24 seconds and Boris’s KOM time by 14 seconds. I set a new power record during the short 3 minute effort as illustrated below:

Critical power curve – KOM efforts highlighted – bulges in the curve. The only KOM I was going for on today’s ride was the Old Montgomery one. (click to enlarge)

Afterwards, Russell and I rode back down to the bottom to meet Simon and Jonathan to start our ride. We immediately began with the Cat 3 climb up Old Montgomery all the way to the high point on Shades Mountain on Vestavia Dr. From there we worked our way over to the Healthsouth Helipad Hill, which is where the photo at the top and the video below was taken.

Then it was onto a long 280 section taking us to the Hugh Daniel climb up and over into the valley at the base of Double Oak Way. The climb started out well (video below), but shortly after the steep part and rolling section, Simon had a stick kick up into his rear wheel lodging itself between the spoke and the non-drive chainstay. The stick not only broke a spoke but also cracked the frame. Because of how out of true the wheel was after breaking a spoke, there was no way for Simon to ride his bike. Nearly a mile behind a closed gate meant a mile of walking for Simon. So the rest of us took off back down the mountain to head back to Mt Laurel where we figured we could find a wheel to borrow from the scheduled group ride that was just finishing. I carried Simon’s broken wheel down and then returned with a loaner Campy wheel, which Simon was able to ride down to wait for someone to come pick him up.

During the wheel exchange (behind the gate), a property patrol vehicle came down and kicked us off the property. It was at the really steep part of the climb that the patrol agent was talking to us, so John pushed past not realizing what was going on — meaning that he was the only one of us who ended up making it ALL the way up to the top of the mountain. Luckily, the patrol agent wasn’t interested in going after him and turned to go patrol some of the trails on the property. After we all got back together, we headed over to Old 280 to do the Ebsco parking lot climb. Then we turned around, descended 280 past Lee Branch, worked our way across 280 (backwards at one point), navigated a hilly route through Meadowbrook, left out the back entrance to the Spain Park baseball fields cut-through, flew down Caldwell Mill to the Cahaba River bluff wall, climbed up to Dolly Ridge and then continued climbing on up to Vestavia Dr before descending down to the Brookwood Dental launchpad office cut-under (you ride under the office building, which is on stilts), through the apartments and finally back down Old Montgomery back to the start. I said good-bye to Russell and John before turning around and heading back up and over the mountain get home. What a ride!

October 28, 2012 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

I am officially a Friend of the Great Smokies…

Friends of the Great Smokies newest team member – me!

I am officially a Friend of the Great Smokies — both literally as a member of the FGS Cycling race team for 2013 and figuratively as someone who loves to spend time in the beautiful high mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. I am no stranger to the Smoky Mountains with my Gatlinburg and Clingman’s Dome adventures in 2006 2009, 2010, 2011, and coming up in just a few weeks here in 2012 and also with my end of the season epic adventure rides in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 I love spending time in the mountains.

I will be joining John Hart (Nashville, TN), Jeff McGrane (Knoxville, TN), and Kurt Page (Murfreesboro, TN). We are already looking to our first training camp sometime this winter — where I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone on the team. We complement each others strengths really well with all the disciplines of cycling well represented — climbing, sprinting, time trialing, and all-rounding.

Sponsors for 2013 include FGS, Litespeed, SRAM, Zipp, Enve, Michelin, Rudy Project, and Primal Wear. Primary shop sponsor is MOAB (Outdoor/Bikes) for the Tennessee guys, and for me here in Alabama, Craig at Brick Alley is keeping me and my bikes up and running.

October 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm 1 comment

Tour de Cullman 2012

Carson took this great photo of Boris and me approaching the Skyball KOM for the second time.

Saturday marked another great end of the season ride/race/party at the Tour de Cullman. The ride starts out as a motor-cycle led neutral social ride before we hit the start of the 18 mile race portion of the ride. It was fun meeting people and catching up on a year of bike racing. As you might imagine, the Lance Armstrong saga dominated a lot of the conversations going on during the ride.

Once we made it to Co Rd 26, the green flag was dropped and Philip Thompson set the early pace at the front. We got into a short rotation before making the left onto Co Rd 11 where the race really gets started with a steep 1K, 9% average 15% max wall. Boris lifted the pace at the front causing the group to explode. Only Stuart Lamp, Darrell O’Quinn, and I were able to keep up with Boris across the top.

Shortly before the next intersection, Stuart came off the pace. Darrell hung tough through the rollers before another surge by Boris saw the lead group whittled down to just me and him. We worked together well through the steep rollers heading downhill towards the Warrior River. But it was no holds barred once we turned right onto the final 4 mile skyball climb. We set a pretty good pace up the climb with not quite as strong a headwind this year. Then when we hit the always steep Fat Dunn road, I surged and Boris couldn’t quite hold my wheel. I turned on the gas even more as we hit the dirt and eventually extended that lead out to 1 minute by the end. I was able to get this video of Boris coming in for 2nd:

Here is my annotated power map:

Tour de Cullman 2012 power map (click to enlarge)

My four best times on the Skyball KOM – this year’s was the fastest!

And here are some more pics and videos from a great day of racing, riding, and having fun.

October 22, 2012 at 6:56 am 1 comment

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Jefferson county. Most of this ride was reasonable, but the last 2 hours were like an inferno. Beautiful view from the cliffs.

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Brian Toone

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October 2012
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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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