Category Archives: Training

Wednesday W’Intervals are go

Tonight’s Interval session is a go. Weather looks to be holding off until tomorrow, and the temps should be a bit warmer than the last couple of weeks. This week will be the 8 interval session, but we will add the Morris Rd Sprint as a 9th optional interval. No route change is needed, we just have not been sprinting that one.

Next week we will extend to a 3rd lap, making it 12 intervals for those that want a little ‘more’, but that will be optional for those that don’t want the extra oomph.

Wednesday Night W’intervals

Days are shorter.  The time change makes long after work rides difficult, particularly on open road routes. Our hard earned summer fitness is not something we want to lose, and being totally honest, we really want to make gains for our early season events next year. There is only so much indoor training we can stand, and even then while the benefits are there, it is just too easy to not put that work in.

Group rides are just more fun and interesting.

With the end of the summer riding season, most rides shut down until the spring time change.  During that off period, we like to change it up a bit. Instead of 20+ mile tempo rides, we are going to return to our winter interval training. 

Starting on October  16th ( yes, we are going to spin this up immediately after the regular WNR shuts down instead of taking a couple of weeks off this year ), we will start up our ‘W’Interval’ program. 

Wheels down at 6:45 PM. We will ride about 2 miles of ‘warm up’, and then start our intervals.  8x.25mile intervals, with .25 mile recovery in between, with a 1 mile cool down before hitting it hard for one last .25 mile all out sprint, then sit up, cool down and return to the cars.  Should be about 15 miles, and it WILL be a hard effort. 


Start: 5530 Windward Parkway Alpharetta, GA 30004.

11-01-2018 Wednesday Intervals are ON

Here is the evil plan. Let’s embrace the dark and do intervals anyways!

Eddie will be hosting the indoor trainer sessions at the shop, and those wil be more productive than what we are doing, but space is limited, and well, I’ve mentioned my dislike of the trainer right?

Winter Wednesday night rides are interval nights. Meet at the Alpharetta City Center at 6:30PM and go wheels down at 6:45PM, this should put us out after traffic has largely cleared out. We will take a nice easy 1.25 mile warm up down Academy St to Westside Parkway, where we will do our intervals.

Interval 1 – .5 miles from Academy to Cumming St.
Recovery – .6 miles from Cumming St to Morris Rd.
Interval 2 – .5 miles from Morris Rd to Webb Rd.
Recovery – .7 miles from Webb Rd to Avensong Crossing & back (U turn at end)
Interval 3 – .5 miles from Webb Rd to Morris St.
Recovery – .6 miles from Morris Rd to Cumming St.
Interval 4 – .5 miles from Cumming St to Academy St ( LTF Sprint )
Recovery – .5 miles from Academy to the first Avalon light ( U turn ) and back to Academy St.

From there, we can repeat the intervals if you are ready for more, or people can head back to the start.

A single lap is just short of 9 miles, and each additional lap adds a little under 5.5 miles.

Headlights and taillights will be required even though this is a reasonably well lit road.

So…. Who wants to join in with this crazy?


The subject is a woman and an elite triathlete, but I’ve seen some of the same personality traits amongst many age group athletes in running and cycling as well. It is a well written article, and hopefully can help people understand the need to back off on some of our obsessive behaviors.

The Condition That’s Quietly Sidelining Female Athletes

North Atlanta Winter Bike Sessions

With the end of the 2016 summer cycling season starting to wrap up, it is time to start planning for 2017. The number one question I recieve as a ride leader this time of year is both an obvious one, but also the one that presents an obvious problem, how to get in the work when light and cold weather become a challenge. In addition, Atlanta has a very good program available if you are willing to to drive an hour from the north side, and let me be right up front about this. I am not a certified cycle coach. Robert Wilhite is, so what he has to offer may be more coaching focused than what I am planning here, but the drive to his Winter Bike League is brutal and I personally love the group of people we have up here, so this is as much about enjoying the company of people that have built relationships during the season while building and maintaining fitness for 2017 so we can do it all again.

With that in mind, I wanted to layout what I am thinking, and let everyone make their own choices. A couple of notes before I get into the structure and schedule that I have in mind.


With the season wrapping up, and a plan to get better for the next season, this would be a good time to get in touch with your fitter and schedule a follow up, or schedule your first if you’ve never been professionally fit for your bike. Yes, it will be relatively speaking, expensive. However the cost here is less than many of the other solutinos we throw money at to be more comfortable, and faster on a bike. In many ways, everything else riders wish to accomplish on a bike start with the fit. Sadly, a good fit can introduce position changes that incur a short term slow down as muscles adapt to new body positions. We are blessed here on the north side with several good options.

  • Eddie O’dea @ Endurance House
  • Curtis Cannon @ Cannon Cyclery

Both of these gentlemen are well respected in the area.. I obviously have a preference, but these are two of the most respected in the area.

What makes this so important to do now is that most of us arr in the best shape we’ve been in this season. Our bodies are best suited to adapting now, and with the work of the winter, any short term losses will turn into net gains by the time spring rolls around.

Indoor Trainer

While not required, an indoor trainer will make staying fit, and increasing fitness through the winter. Part of the plan for these Winter Bike Sessions is to leverage one or two indoor virtual workout(s) a week. Any indoor trainer will do the trick, but to really maxmimize the experience and the benefits, a Smart Trainer does make the experience more enjoyable, particularly when paired with Zwift.

At the high end, the Wahoo Kickr and the Tacx Neo are probably the most approachable and readily available in the area. Personally, though I really like the Neo and the way it is built, when it comes right down to it, I don’t like training indoors enough to justify the cost. Instead, I use something in the middle of the road, and it remains my top choice/recommendation for a couple of reasons. The Tacx Bushido hits a great middle ground of smart functions and price. It also has the additional benefit of not needing a power plug making it portable. It is also a dual band unit that supports both Bluetooth and ANT+, so it can pair with a Garmin for logging, as well as to a computer, phone or tablet to control and record workouts.

The last thing to think about here, is that while the indoor workouts will be defined, and could be performed without anything but the trainer and stop watch, there is a nice mental shift that keeps things social when you add in the virtual training game that is Zwift. As a part of the Winter Bike Sessions, the plan is to hold a corresponding virtual group workouts on Zwift.

Session 1 – Baseline, Bike Skills and Climbing

Dates 10/31/2016-12/11/2016
Target Event Ridley Master’s Underwear Ride – TBD (12/11/2016 estimated)
Optional Event WBS 1st Annual New Years Eve 3 Gaps Ride (12/31/2016)

The first session it intended to focus on finding a base line for where we are, then to build from there work into some specific bike handling skills before really starting the prep for some climbing skills. Since this block will be the first after daylight savings time comes to an end, it will also be the one to challenger our collective time and daylight management skills.

Week 1

Monday – Ride – Speed Work: Intervals 4 ( Group Event on Zwift )
Tuesday – Run (Optional) – Tempo 2 Miles
Wednesday – Core (Optional) – Plyometrics 45 minutes + 500 yard swim
Thursday – Ride – Steady State: 1.25 hours with 2 up tempo spins
Friday – Run (Optional) – Speed Work: 3 miles with 3 short intervals
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Ride – Long Ride: 2.5 hour 70% effort

Week 2

Monday – Ride – Speed Work: Pyramid 3 ( Group Event on Zwift )
Tuesday – Run (Optional) – Hill Repeats x2
Wednesday – Core (Optional) – Pilates 30 minutes + 1500 yard swim
Thursday – Ride – Steady State: 1.5 hours with 3 up tempo spins
Friday – Run (Optional) – Speed Work: 3 miles with 1 long intervals
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Ride – Long Ride: 3 hour 70% effort

Week 3

Monday – Ride – Speed Work: Intervals 6 ( Group Event on Zwift )
Tuesday – Run (Optional) – Tempo 4 Miles
Wednesday – Core (Optional) – Plyometrics 45 minutes + 1000 yard swim
Thursday – Ride – Steady State: 2 hours with 4 up tempo spins
Friday – Run (Optional) – Speed Work: 4 miles with 3 long intervals
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Ride – Long Ride: 3.5 hour 70% effort

Week 4

Monday – Ride – Speed Work: Pyramid 7 ( Group Event on Zwift )
Tuesday – Run (Optional) – Hill Repeats x4
Wednesday – Core (Optional) – Pilates 30 minutes + 2000 yard swim
Thursday – Ride – Steady State: 2.5 hours with 5 up tempo spins
Friday – Run (Optional) – Speed Work: 3 miles with 2 long intervals
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Ride – Long Ride: 4 hour 70% effort

Week 5

Monday – Ride – Speed Work: Intervals 6 ( Group Event on Zwift )
Tuesday – Run (Optional) – Tempo 4 Miles
Wednesday – Core (Optional) – Plyometrics 45 minutes + 1000 yard swim
Thursday – Ride – Steady State: 2 hours with 4 up tempo spins
Friday – Run (Optional) – Speed Work: 4 miles with 3 long intervals
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Ride – Long Ride: 4.5 hour 70% effort

Week 6 – Event Week – Lighter Load

Monday – Ride – Speed Work: Pyramid 5 ( Group Event on Zwift )
Tuesday – Run (Optional) – Recovery 3 Miles
Wednesday – Core (Optional) – Pilates 30 Minutes + 1500 yard swim
Thursday – Ride – Steady State – Steady 90 Recovery
Friday – Walk – 30 minute walk, leisure pace keeping loose
Saturday – Ride – 60 minute light spin
Sunday – Event Day – Enjoy, and trust in the training. No breaks over 5 minutes to keep from tightening up.

Playing in the Heat


Alright folks, it is officially “summer”, and apparently mother nature heard the calendar roll over because the temperatures are soaring. Sadly, it got hot fast, so none of us have had a chance to adapt yet. It will take a few weeks for our bodies to switch into summer mode, so in the meantime, we need to take some steps to protect ourselves in our training.

Unfortunately, we already have a reminder of just how bad it can be if we don’t with the sad death of an athlete in Phoenix this week. Personal Trainer dies from Heat Issues while Riding.

Some tips for dealing with the heat in your training:

Move Workouts to Cooler Times

If you can workout early in the morning before the heat ramps up, this may be your best option. Some of us cannot do that, so we have to work out some other strategies.

Move Workouts out of Direct Sunlight

Fortunately, we live in a fairly lush area of the country where we have some options that will let us get out of the sun. Greenways and single track trails make for great alternatives for run, or mountain bike days.

Swimming is always a Good Alternative

Working up a sweat while staying cool? Sounds like a plan. While some may not like swimming, a good swim is an efficient calorie burn and works great for helping the body strengthen and maintain fitness on days when a ride or run just isn’t in the cards.

Wear Smarter Layers

Sunscreen is fine, but it does nothing to keep you cool, and has even less value at dealing with the heat, and some of them are actually counter productive in the heat, though we do know that sunburned skin doesn’t cool as well as healthy skin. Fortunately we have options. With the lightweight technical fabrics available today, we can get better heat management by adding a layer. Sun sleeves, sun shrugs, and even leg sleeves all provide excellent sun protection, and with a little bit of water, also become excellent cooling for the heat and sun.

There are a lot of sun sleeve products out there. Even the big vendors like Nike and Under Armour offer sun sleeve products. That said, most of the big cycling specific vendors offer some better products, as they have grippers and designs that work better with cycling gear.

Protect the Neck

Unfortunately, the back of the neck remain exposed in most of our gear, and good options for protecting that are tougher to come by. On the hottest days, one of the cooling neck towels carried in a jersey pocket that can be dampened and put on the neck for those long hot stretches that are just unavoidable can work wonders.

Nutrition Matters

Sadly, the message of ‘hydrate’ does not quite cover the heat. Water is critically important, but heat saps more than just water, it also saps electrolytes. Nothing will expose the loss of electrolytes faster than heat. While Gatorade type products are often consumed, they usually contain too many sweeteners and we tend to guzzle rather than sip.

A better approach for most people is something geared more towards endurance athletes, like the Gatorade Endurance products, or Skratch Labs, or Infinit or other options. Some will still need more electrolytes than even those can provide, and may need to supplement with something like Base Salt or Hammer’s Endurolytes.

No matter how you take them, the most important thing it to start taking in fluids and electrolytes early and often rather than later and in large quantities. The big challenge with all of this is that there are limits to what a body can absorb, and the extra is lost as waste. If an athlete waits until they feel like they need fluids or electrolytes, it is too late because the body can absorb them fast enough to make a meaningful difference.

Listen to Your Body

At the end of it all though, is do not ignore signs of distress. Heart Rate, Breathing, Vision, etc. Any sign of heat related fatigue needs to trigger your warning bells. Do not ignore those, because once the fatigue starts, it can get to a critical point in a very big hurry.

Fitness is not an accident

Way back when, before I cleaned up my own lifestyle and got back on the bike. Before I started running, before I stepped on the scale that fateful day and had my “whoa” moment, I often looked at some of the slim, fit bodies and blamed genetics. Like many people, I wanted to attribute my body type to genetics, and let my failures to manage the bad things that my body type exposed be lumped into that genetics thing. Like so very many people, I assumed that most of the “pretty people” were just blessed with great genetics. What I now understand is that yes, they may have been blessed with great genetics, but the level of work that it takes to maintain what we are born with is no accident.

In so many instances, our bad habits are formed at a very young age. Those early years set the stage for our life long struggles, as we build habits that are inhibitors to the work of living fit. Personally, I struggle with an addiction to caffeine in the carbonated, cold variety and a raging sweet tooth. I love chocolate, preferably in large quantities, served with an ice cold soda. These are bad enough, but some other lifestyle things only make it that much harder to keep fitness. I work a desk job where I sit for 8-10 hours a day. With kid schedules, I will often spend another 2 hours a day in a car. Factor in meals and sleep, finding time to get in a good workout is tough.

Over the last couple of years, it has become harder and harder to maintain the discipline required to get those workouts in, and my waistline shows it. That is the hidden part of the fitness equation. Getting fit is hard. Staying fit is harder, as the demands of life intrude upon the demands of training.

In the past, it was a little easier for me, as I used my commute to the office as part of my daily workout. For the last year, some schedule changes have changed that because I have had a passenger. I haven’t been able to ride the 4-5 days a week of the past. This has impacted my base fitness, as well as my ability to get in the volume of work I needed, to overcome some of the bad habits I hadn’t been able to kill off.

So now it is time of fix some diet issues that were masked by the volume of work being done, while also reworking some schedule to fix the issues.

Sharing the Trail

Haw Creek Park MTB Trails

Haw Creek Park MTB Trails

Trail running is some of the best run training you can do. Even if you do your racing on the roads and never want to trail race, running the uneven surfaces of trails is still something that should factor into the training plan. There are so many reasons, some physical, some emotional. Physically, the uneven surfaces improve balance and strength. The obstacles in the trail help form better stride habits. The short ups and downs of a trail will force stride adaptations that will help deal with road imperfections on race day. The softer surface reduces impact and repetitive stress injuries. The shade of the trees reduces the impacts of the sun on your body. Running through the woods evokes something natural and almost primal in your mind. Enjoying nature, and the sights of a trail run are fabulous ways to rediscover the fun that is running.

Running can be great fun, if we allow it to be. Sadly, too many people associate running with sidewalks and greenways, or tracks and laps. When running is confined to artificial spaces, much of the joy of the experience goes away. Running is not an easy sport. When there is nothing to focus on but the discomfort of the run, it becomes exceptionally hard to enjoy. Fortunately, trails provide a great solution.

There are some good trails to run, but these days, many of the best trails are not being built and provided by runners and hikers, but are instead being built and maintained by the mountain bike groups. Some of those trails are closed to runners, but the ones that aren’t, they are fantastic places to run.

One of my favorites in the area is a little 3 mile loop at a park called Haw Creek. It is a perfect little loop to run. Like so many in the area, it is built and maintained on county park land by the local mountain bike organization. Fortunately, they are willing to share their work with us the walkers and runners.

In this situation, we the runners and walkers are the ones that need to respect those that made this happen. It is the rare case, where the pedestrian does not have the right of way. Sharing the path, we need to remind each other to be courteous to the cyclists. Follow the signage, to run and walk counter to the daily flow of the bikes, as most trails reverse directions on a daily basis. In addition, keep a headphone out so you can hear the bikes and give them due space as they pass.

Like on the roads, we can all coexist if we simply extend a bit of courtesy. If we do not make the effort, we will lose these facilities on both sides. The bike organizations will stop building and maintaining, and the park administrations will stop allowing them if these areas become conflict points.

So please, runners and walkers, let’s make a concentrated effort to support organizations like SORBA and RAMBO in their efforts to build the trails, but also to respect the users and donors that have made them possible when they are sharing those facilities with us.