Fenner’s Total Performance Training Blog

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Archive for June, 2008

Last Weeks Epic rides and the Canada Cup

Posted by fenner on June 30, 2008

Well it was a great week of training all up with some epic style MTB rides and a good hard XC race at the weekend. The MTB epic is called Jumping Pound & Cox Hill and it was truely awesome again. Super techo, rocky, loose, rooty climbs and descents incorporated into a 80km round trip with plenty of elevation gain. I have made a small video and added some photos so that you can get a little taste of the magic that is the Canadian Rockies.

The weekends Canada cup was totally different, 40+ degrees hotter than any race I have ever done in Aus!!!! No shade cactus and desert like conditions. I was seeded on the back row of over 30 elite riders and it was bull dust city for 1 lap, crashing, running off track and not seeing a thing or the ruts or lines to take. I settled in however and worked my way through the field and up to 11th place by the finish. Not bad considering the start and the heavy week of training, I just missed out on some usefull UCI points, however this weekend it is a UCI cat 1 race so points go down to 20th place and I may just get enough to enter the World Cup round at Stromlo!! Fingers crossed.

More stuff to come and the promised update on the course for the Worlds, I am a little smashed at the moment and can’t see with all the dust in my mince pies.




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Canada Cup weekend

Posted by fenner on June 27, 2008

Well it’s off to Kamloops for one of the Canada Cup National series races this weekend. The training has been going fantastic and I have another great set of photos and tails to tell about the epics this week. I have had a recovery day today and boy did I need it, a great massage this evening and I head off tomorrow for the race on Sunday. I will be able to give a full update on Monday as well as the lowdown on the 24 Worlds Course that I rode on Tuesday evening, oh yes there is lots to tell and information that I know a lot of guys and gals out there will be chomping at the bit to get at.



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The Quintessential Canadian MTB Epic

Posted by fenner on June 23, 2008

Canmore – Jewell Pass – Baldy Pass – Skogan Pass – Canmore

Well what a weekend of riding that was. With the round conditions getting better and better with the warmer weather it was time to dust off the Specialized S – Works Epic and head out for some serious riding. On the Friday evening I finally hooked up with local gun and Kona sponsored rider Brian owner of the Bicycle Cafe in Canmore. Brian invited me to join him and local 24 hour specialist Leighton for a 3 – 4 hour MTB ride over near Banff on the Saturday morning. I was frothing at the opportunity to get out and smash it up so eagerly agreed to meet up at the shop.

8 am came around and we were heading off to Banff with talk of scoping out some unridden gems in and around the Mt Norquay ski hill with a ride back along the Goat Trail and a descent of the Reclaimer back into town for lunch and a soda. The climb up to the ski hill set the tone for the day and we unleashed the fury sussing out each others strengths and weaknesses. I pulled a hard turn to see how the guys were climbing and left it in the dog for good measure. Big Brian was easily equal to the pace and came through hard putting me into trouble. It did make me smile knowing that it was going to be a very good day of training indeed, as most of you know I love to suffer and smash it up on the bike. What came next was awesome and I cannot for various reasons divulge the exact trails we rode, but it was fully sick. A massive climb that made me realise that only having two chain rings on my MTB was not going to cut it in Canada, with super narrow techo single-track that required full concentration to negotiate was followed by an epic downhill super fast super flowing with rock garden sections and roots the full script. I was just buzzing at the bottom on the intersection with the Trans Canada. Unfortunately the memories and visions of that ride will only be remembered in my head as it was not the sort of ride where you stop and take photos. The whole ride then opened up into a Hammerfest with Brian and me taking turns to burn each other and ramping up the pace. Brian is a super solid rider and his descent of the Reclaimer was unreal. I couldn’t keep up with the big fella as he let it rip, awesome riding dude!

Well that was about it for day one and the promise of even better on Sunday. After a fantastic BBQ at Leighton’s on Saturday night we hatched plans for what I was told was the Quintessential Rockies Epic Ride.

Sunday morning brought a little rain and cloudy skies, what epic doesn’t have a bit of mud eh? We left Canmore at 9am and rode the Trans Canada out of town towards Calgary. After 20 km’s we turned off the road and headed up the first climb of Jewell Pass. This was a mainly double track rocky loose climb that gained good altitude for about 25 minutes, and then the real fun began. The downhill from Jewell was superb. The general picture is rocky techo type descents interspersed with off camber roots and drop offs, you need to keep your wits about you to drop them fast and a full suss bike is a must. This is what “All Mountain Bikes” were designed for and the Epic loved it, however and never missed a beat. From the bottom of the pass we crossed the 40 and headed up Baldy Pass. Some serious logging had taken place and Leighton was surprised by the level of devastation as we continued ever upwards the climb got tighter and tighter and increasingly more technical. Pushing only the middle ring made it a little harder but as I would say “Suck it up Princess” I cleared all the sections and really started to find my climbing legs. Finally we reached the top and it was amazing I was faced with a panorama of prettiness in the mountains.



The next downhill was the best yet and the most technical super loose shale with rock drop offs tight boulder lines it had it all and then some. I couldn’t get enough. The bottom had been washed out by flooding and we carefully picked our way through the river rocks to continue the descent on more buffed earth and nearly hit a bloody great Grizzly Bear that ran across the train in front of us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After changing my bibs we were on our way again. We crossed the 40 again and headed up Skogan Pass from the Nakiska Ski Area. A brutal 40 minute climb that really opened up the lungs, I loved it and I have started to really feel the climbing legs come back. With the summit came the last super fast descent back to Canmore on mostly double track. I had the only fall of the day when the trail went from being solid to 4 inch deep mud and proceeded to endow me over the bars at 40km/h into the stinky mud

:o( Not a happy Fenz I can tell you, only the pride was damaged however and a little scraped knee.

In total the day ended at 5 hours of riding with around 8000ft of climbing and some amazing memories.

This next couple of weekend are Canada Cup National series races so I will give a full race report. The final draft for the Worlds 24 Hour Course is not yet finalised, however I will update as soon as I can with a GPS map of the loops and some power data to go along with it.






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Recovery day downhill fun on the Reclaimer!

Posted by fenner on June 21, 2008

Today was a recovery day with about a 50 TSS day of easy mountainbiking and fun, nothing to hard but still turning the legs. I left the house and headed up a 12 minute climb (real easy) to the Spray Lakes and then hit a descent called the Reclaimer. It’s awesome and whoever made should get a medal, it’s tight rocky and steep at the top then it opens up into fast bermed corners with amazing flow. It is a real arm pumper and you finish with a great big cheezy grim on your boat race. I used the helmet cam and have added some cranking tunes so turn up the speakers and enter Fenners World of Carnage;o)

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The effects of Medium Altitude in Canmore

Posted by fenner on June 19, 2008

Well then it’s been an interesting couple of weeks in Canada, with the initial poor weather playing havoc with my training then what I consider to be the effects of medium altitude on various physiological systems. The initial bad weather was actually a very good thing that allowed recovery from the long flight and subsequent jet lag. I had planned it to be a recovery week as I had anticipated some down time from the aforementioned travel. After a week I travelled up to Canmore eager to get out and do some riding and it is in this analysis of training rides that interesting findings have been uncovered. It has been a long time since I studied the effects of altitude on various physiological systems such as,

  • 1. Athletic performance (Training and racing)
  • 2. Recovery
  • 3. Sleep

Canmore sits at around 4500ft or 1500m and should be considered medium altitude. It is easy to dismiss this as not a significant altitude to have an effect on performance, however the SRM tells a different story. Up until day 12 I was around 30 watts down on sustainable FTP at any given duration. Efforts at or around current sea level FTP (360 watts) felt more like VO2 max efforts. My long ride average powers were around 200 watts down from 230 – 250 watts that I was averaging for 4 -5 hours at sea level. Average speeds, however, were up from again around 32 -33km/h for a 5 hour ride to 35km/h on a far lower average power, the air is thinner and therefore I am faster.

Recovery and sleep have also been a lot more difficult, getting into a regular sleeping pattern has been harder than I remembered from my snowboarding seasons and the legs have not been as fresh and quick to recover.

All in all after 2 weeks I am finally feeling as though I am getting near to normal. My FTP is creeping back up to normal although I still think it’s around 10 – 15 watts down on sea level, I am recovering better and am beginning to step up the training for the next 4 weeks before I taper for the worlds.

I have included a screenshot of my PMC Chart from Training Peaks pmc-chart-17th-june-20082  It shows my season to date and this last volume phase of training is starting off a CTL of 115TSS/day. I am looking at beginning my taper with a CTL of 140+ and can then afford to lose 10 – 15 points and come into the champs super fresh and raring to go +30 TSB. This also means that after 12 hours of racing my TSB will only be at -30 and I have produced some big numbers at -30 so that’s still in the ballpark for good legs.

I would like to thank Dr Wade Knez from the James Cook University in Cairns for his knowledge and help with my prep for the worlds his regular skypes and detailed discussions and feedback on Nutrition and Altitude has been invaluable. Thanks mate I look forward to working with you in the future:o)



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Epic rides in Canmore

Posted by fenner on June 18, 2008

Well then the exploration continues on the roads and trails around Canmore and oh boy are the trails ever good! Sunday I was taken on a 3 hour MTB ride over to Banff and back on a 50km loop. It had a little of everything in it with a long rooty traverse along the Bow river and a quite insane descent from the top of the Spray Lakes. It was awesome and whoever made it deserves a medal for its technical level and flow. One of the best I can tell you and I can’t wait to throw a few of the guys down it when they get over here. Willo, Clackers you are going to be frothing guys. The trails are drying up real nice with daytime temps in the mid 20’s.

Monday was a recovery day so I just did a short ride into town as I blew my rear shock on the descent!!!! Local shop’s prediction 3 weeks for a new one @#$%!!!! A quick call back to Simon and Jen at Total Rush and a new shock was in the post, thanks guys you rock!  

Today was another volume day with 180km ride to the pass up to 2200m. I was flying along for 150km until I hit the headwind from hell back to Canmore. A full blown gale in the boat race, uphill has a habit of making you chew the bars after 150km but all is good now. Stats for the ride 180km with an average speed of 33.4km/h it was higher and I was frothing but the gale sorted that out. Average power was 220 watts with Normalised power at 248watts ( Normalised power is the actual physiological cost of the ride and the probable average power that could have been sustained if it were a flat ride) In total I burnt a little over 4200cals and had an average cadence of 88rpm.

I have finally downloaded the youtube video of the road ride so take a peak the MTB course will be next up with as much detail as I can of the actual course so stay tuned for further updates.

Cheers and I will see some of you very soon :o) Fenz

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The Nordic Centre MTB Course

Posted by fenner on June 15, 2008

Well now the rain has stopped its been time to dust off the S-Works Epic and hit the trails. A local legend Shorty took me for a spin and tour of both the 24 Hour Worlds course and the impending Canada Cup course at the Nordic Centre. Well this is certainly going to be the real deal 24 Hour Worlds that is for sure. There is a good amount of climbing (think Stromlo vert) with some sections of loose rocky ground that may require dare I say it (cause I don’t have one on my bike) a granny ring. The techo downhillsare really rocky and rooty I would say a Majura Pines on steroids would be a good description (the section at Majura of the old downhill trail with the multi line option is similar. I think Blairy said CORC used it on the last race there). The roots will be a problem if it is raining as many are off camber and angled across the trails. There will be plenty of double track for feeding which is a bonus and expected temps will be 25 – 30 degree daytime with near freezing night time temps, however as one local said Mountain weather is all over the place so my recommendations to all riders is bring every type of clothing for all conditions possible. One good point is that over here in July there will be only around 7 hours of darkness not the usual 12 we have to contend with in Australia. I am going to take the helmet can up today and get some video footage up of the trails so stay tuned for further updates.

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Great day of training in the sun

Posted by fenner on June 13, 2008

Again bloody awesome ridingBloody AwesomeWell after what has felt like an age the sun has come out and todays ride was awesome 170km jaunt into Kananaskis country, following the highest road in Canada up to 2200 meters. 20 degrees little wind pleanty of climbing and very little traffic all in all a fantastic day to be on the bike. The stats for the day were 170 km withan average speed of exactly 33km/h. Average power 200 watts with normalised power up at 235 watts. Cadence was low at 82 rpm, so I am monitoring if I may be a little tired still from the travel and big weeks leading up to traveling over here. I am monitoring all the other signs and all is good.

I am hoping to ride the Nordic Centre tomorrow and get a feel for what the 24 will be like, I am very excited. I have made a video today but am having trouble uploading it onto youtube so a few photo’s will have to do for now:o)

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I have arrived in Canmore

Posted by fenner on June 12, 2008

Well I have arrived in Canmore, where it is all going to happen. It’s been a great day (It has however still not stopped raining and only 6 degrees!) and I have hooked up with the course designer Ryan Draper from Rebound Cycles. He is a super cool guy who has pleanty of riding under his belt with 5 Trans Rockies, 3 Cape Epics and a Conquestidor, a hard man for sure. I am looking forward to riding the 24 hour course that he designed with him and getting all the lines super sussed out. He has also given me the link of the distributer of Saris Powertaps who has a demo MTB wheel ready to go. This means that I can get some laps in of the course and work out some quadrant analysis data for the event. This will really give us the neuromuscular demands of the course and therefore means that I can fine tune the final 6 weeks training to match the demands of the course :o) Happy Days.

I am staying with a great lady called Barb who has rented me a room, she is a friend of a friend that Sally and I know from seasons snowboarding in Canada. It’s a super cool place 5 minutes ride from the Nordic Centre :o) Again Happy Days. The weather is due to break tomorrow and the sun will come out so the 3 hours of intervals I did on the Fluid trainer Ruben lent me (another super cool guy from Rebound cycles) can take a back seat as I explore the Rockies. I have a 5 hour ride planned for tomorrow with a TSS of 300 so a tough day at the office. It will be consist mainly of longer SST intervals of around 310 watts. 4 x 40 minutes should do the job.

Well that’s all for now some power meter data is just around the corner and I am looking at spreading some light on Quadrant Analysis so stay tuned.

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The first few days in Canada

Posted by fenner on June 9, 2008

The snow is still falling!Its bloody cold Bruce!The very next day it was snowing!!!Well the Fenzmeister has fullt arrived in the balmy hot conditions of Canada! I did a 3.5 hour ride today and got quite wet and very cold. I have been in Aus for to long and have officially become soft so have ordered an extra large can of harden up from the local Wal Mart! I did a very cold but great hike with my old boss and friend Bruce Hendricks yeaterday with a group of his students. It was snowing when we left the bus and there were several inch’s of snow at the peak!
I hope the weather inmproves as I have some big big rides planned and it will be a far harder job doing 8 hour in the snow;o)

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