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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cold Turkey

Right now, as I type this, it is -15 degrees outside with ice fog.  Cache Valley is famous for ice fog.  The following definition is from NOAA:

Ice Fog

(Also called ice-crystal fog, frozen fog, frost fog, frost flakes, air hoar, rime fog, pogonip.) A type of fog, composed of suspended particles of ice; partly ice crystals 20 to 100 micron in diameter, but chiefly (especially when dense) ice particles about 12–20 micron in diameter, formed by direct freezing of supercooled water droplets with little growth directly from the vapor. It occurs at very low temperatures, and usually in clear, calm weather in high latitudes.

Pogonip.  Now there's a term you just don't use everyday.

Cache Valley is also famous for another reason.  Our air becomes stratified in the winter.  These inversions set up for days, often giving us some of the worst air quality in the country.  Small particulate matter (PM2.5) values get very high and the air turns a brownish yellow.  Today the values are low.  Tomorrow they will be getting into the Moderate range.

My training plan, which is written in stone and religiously followed, calls for a two hour gravel road (snow covered) ride today, with a good warm up, an hour of just-below-tempo (about 75%), and three sets of telephone pole intervals for good measure.  What's a telephone pole interval?  I start at a pole and go hard (95%) until I pass the next telephone pole.  I spin easy and recover until the next pole, then go hard again for a distance of two poles, then spin for two poles.  Then, go for three poles and recover for three poles.  That is one set.  It's my easy way of doing the old Eddie B. short stair-step intervals.  It is very important for cyclocross.  Long intervals don't help me.  People who say they do 5-10 minute intervals are really only doing tempo intervals.  Who can go 95-100% for 5-10 minutes?  Not me.  But I'm real good for 50 seconds.

At -15 degrees, an outdoor bicycle ride is out of the question.  My toes and fingers would freeze within 20 minutes.  It just can't be done.  But, right now, looking out my big front window as I type this, there is a person running up the hill.

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