Category: Blog

Broken Arrow VK Course Updates for June 14

The Broken Arrow Sky Race organizers have posted on their Facebook:

VK drop bags will be available on top of Squaw Peak (at the finish line). It’s helpful to pack a warm layer here so you can hang out and cheer on the other finishers…. but please note that these bags have to be left at the registration tents no later than 830am! Remember … you’ll be cruising down to High Camp (another mile) from the top of the peak too.

I was curious about the descent, and that sort-of a little-bit answers it.

6/14/19 Course Update from Broken Arrow Skyrace on Vimeo.

And then a bit more on the ridge line conditions:

There are patches of dirt for sure and the entire Stairway to Heaven ridge line are dry ….
Remember that while there is a LOT of snow on the course it’s likely to be 80-degrees on race day. Essentially you’re feet will be on a winter surface while the rest of you will be experiencing summer.

So let’s see where I am in my training over the next few days. Remember that to me this is a “B RACE” which means it’s more important than a mere fitness-test race, which is coming up for me in July, but not as important as an “A RACE” which is my August event.

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Week Straight Out of Heck

So here I am, after what seems like a rest week. Last week we did some trailer camping with the whole family in Yellowstone National Park over the Memorial Day Holiday. Didn’t get any running in, which I expected. This week I led a NICA Utah Mountain Bike League Coach Training workshop and we had a high school graduation. I had to work around my teen racer’s training schedule. We had company and enjoyed late nights and eating out some.

That made it difficult to get in my normal 4 AM training sessions, and even the evening sessions were very difficult to slip in between other stuff. Zwift was taunting me, with the last two events in the Tour of Watopia just scheduled so poorly there was no way I could get to them. Fortunately I got in the first five, so got the special Kit. But I have to keep reminding myself I’m not training to be a bike racer, so I have to just let it go and train hard enough to ride with the team, and provide some cross training for running.

Quandary has been taunting me, with a first weekend of awesome weather since December. I had messaged the staff at the Broken Arrow VK about the recent snowpack, and they assured me that they’ll run in the snow, as fun as that might be. I figured training at Quandary would be a great way to possibly improve my performance and get my snow running legs back. Bad weather is irrelevant to that, since I can stumble along at 1 MPH in 40 MPH winds anytime without training for it.

We had scheduled a family trip to Quandary coming soon, and I’m nervous about the weather, again, stumbling along in high winds is just wasting effort and recovery time to prevent me from really training. I thought maybe I’d slip out alone this Saturday, but we have a family BBQ related to all the fun stuff we’ve been through the past few weeks. Since the weather is most likely going to be an issue next weekend, along with transportation issues, etc, it’s probably best to just not go at all.

Work has been “interesting” – yes that’s the right word. We moved into the new building on a temporary occupancy permit, giving us 90 days to finish the construction while we all sit here with marginal services. There’s no cold water. The fridges don’t work. There’s no place to sit and relax while eating. The desks are all criss-crossed with wires all over the place. A few select of us have our monitors pointing toward our micromanaging overlords so they can see when those of us not related to them are doing something other than buying Ferrari’s for them. Contractors saw and screw and chop and put ladders over our heads. Yeah. Fun fun. And the new location makes driving a little bit more troublesome, especially in the afternoon.

It’s really fun to take up a blog post on whining, and I have gotten in a few miles of training this week. Not as much as I would have hoped for a few weeks out from a race though.

I think I need to add in more long runs, which at my elderly shuffle pace means 2-3 hours for 8 miles or so at a decrepit power or HR output. I also need to get in some hill repeats, assuming I can get outside sometime. That’s been super tough with all the rain and snow and lightning and mudslides. I hope that spring time has finally arrived on the Wasatch Front.

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Broken Arrow Simulation

This morning I was planning on running with an evening ride. That was to interface nicely with a family member who was behind in their training and needed to start riding by 4:30 to get it done and off to their day commitments on time.

Broken Arrow VK Simulation

I decided to try a Broken Arrow simulation and set the Stryd app to 24% and thus the treadmill to 24%, and walked at about a 230+ Watt average power for 70:00 minutes.

I managed to get in 2.8 miles, 3550′ of elevation gain, so right about spot on for the Broken Arrow VK. It was tough, and I’m sure it messed up my Stryd Power Center stats, especially for the Improve tab, but I need to figure out how to crank out 270+ Watts in 70:00 in the wild if I want to achieve my goals.

It also means my calculated CP (running FTP) of 222 is somewhat under-calculated. That means I should only be able to crank out 222 Watts in about an hour before it drops off. Yeah.

Power Hiking Watts

The big trade-off here is that it’s difficult to do this math in regards to power-hiking (fast walking) at 24%. In fact, outside in the wild my 750+ VAM efforts report less than 200 Watts. Anyway, it’s a pile of numbers to make charts and graphs and stuff to help me prepare. It’s all good.

Minor Injury

Managed to tweak my hip muscle moving my own desk items and chair from the old office to the new. Either that or crawling around under my desk trying to get it all connected with a working internet connection. It’s tougher than it needs to be. Especially considering how ridiculously over-priced the place probably is.

Evening Workout

Did a route in Watopia (Zwift) titled “Out and Back Again” and set a handful of PR’s. That was nice. My hip hurt a lot causing me to attempt really good posture to alleviate the pain somewhat. I also used my Selle SMP Hybrid Cycling Saddle which is a really good fit for me and my style of riding. I have another just like it on my main mountain bike. It’s padded just about right, and while it’s supposed to be a  “sit in it and don’t move” kind of saddle, there are actually a lot of positions in which it’s comfortable. Just sayin’.

I ride like this, for the most part in HR and power Zone 1-2 as my cardio when I’m doing higher wattage power hiking. Seems to have worked good over the last few months.

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Catching Up With My VK Training

Today was interesting, to say the least. Work has been a struggle, as we’re moving into a new building which is apparently an owners’ wet dream, but downgrading the employees even more than in the current building, if that’s at all possible. I won’t go into details, but right now we’re sitting elbow to elbow at kids picnic tables holding hands, singing Kumbya, and getting nothing at all done. The Google studies this nonsense was based on used interns (slave labor) and they believed that if they were super productive they’d get their own offices, but instead were let go at the end of their counter-intuitively productive runs.

That stress has been difficult to overcome, and has led to a reduction in recovery, which is an expected result. 
On top of that I’ve bumped up my outdoor running, shooting for various VK-Like ascents in the afternoon. In spite of the snow and slime and mud and muck and 30 degree spring weather. In both cases of recent attempts I’ve had to bail after 2400 to 2600 feet of ascent. One for a creek running down the trail and the other for slushy snow over slimy mud at the edge of a seriously 500′ vertical drop onto Hwy 92 up the Alpine Loop Road.
On Saturday I ended up riding the Eagle Race Course on my mountain bike, leading a group slowly around on a warm-up lap for a Time Trial attempt at the Varsity Team. Oddly that resulted in some awesome heart rate bumps, since it was effectively a maximum exertion full body workout that I wasn’t much used to. I haven’t ridden outside since December, except for the bike skills classes I lead for the Utah NICA League.
I’ve been doing a lot of Zwift, and even that has taken a hit lately with the outside steep runs added into my training. I’ve noticed that running up the hills, trying to emulate a VK, that I start getting slower and weaker in a couple of steps at 60, 75 and 90 minutes. I need to train around that, so looked at my Stryd to calculate what a good gap would be for a 90 minute effort, and decided that if I could get on the treadmill at 21% and hold it there at 220 watts for 90 minutes I’d be filling in one of those gaps.

[Stryd Power Center screenshots to think about]
Like I said, I had a bad night and worse morning, without really good quality sleep so I decided not to get up at my usual 4 AM and instead slept in till 5:15. Nice. But I’m really pretty well behind. So this afternoon after work I did it. Did 3.8 miles and 4200′ in 90 minutes at 21% averaging pretty dang close to 220 watts.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take my daughter to her Gymnastics Regional Meet in San Diego. While there I got to run at precious oxygen rich sea level and hit a one mile PR. Nice. It was inspirational. I also got to do some serious hill climbs in the area around Sunset Cliffs. 
BTW: I was watching Anime on Amazon Prime Video while on the treadmill and in the sauna. 

Anyway, just thought I’d take a few minutes here to catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately. I’ll try to spend more time here in the next few months as I prepare for my most important races and events this year.

Please subscribe and don’t miss the next few posts, okay?

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Can You Use Stryd in the Snow? Check this out …

My plans for Saturday changed suddenly when I needed to give my wife and daughter a ride to the University of Utah gymnastics meet that afternoon. My wife asked if I could do Olympus in that time. I doubted it, but figured I could do Grandeur, a peak at the junction of Wasatch Blvd and I-80 and much closer to the UofU campus.

Standstill Traffic on I-15 in Salt Lake City
It had snowed a lot in the few days previous. Salt Lake City was nearly shut down by the storm. I checked Strava and found that some groups had already been up Grandeur that morning, so what the heck, gonna try it.
Stryd pod, right foot, hiding under laces, in orange clip, near the beginning of the hike
I wanted to try my Stryd footpod outside on a steep slope with my Suunto 9 Baro. Pairing in the parking lot at the trailhead was pretty easy. I had had difficulty before pairing to a Suunto HRM strap but it seemed to work out okay today also. I used the orange clip, figuring if it fell out of the clip I’d be able to notice more quickly and perhaps rescue it in the deep loose snow.
The snow turned out to be much more loose, and the trail less defined, than I had anticipated, so my pace was about 40% slower than I had hoped. I checked my watch, in “Trail Running Power” mode and saw that the Stryd was sending info, which was comforting, as I wasn’t sure how slowly it would actually allow me to go and still track. The UA Hover shoes supposedly won’t work below 11:00 pace, which means they’re worthless to me.
As I neared the summit the snow became quite deep in drifts, up to waist high wading, and the wind kicked up, and the snow started falling. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to see the track back down, especially with the really flat lighting. I had to slip into my down jacket since I was dressed so lightly, thinking I’d be moving quicker.
At the top it looked like there was a trail running event (RUFA) coming up the back side, with a tent to check in at. They asked me for my number and I told them I’d come up the front side. The way down was a lot more difficult. The snow was loose enough that I ended up skiing down on my heels much of the way, despite the Kahtoola Microspikes. I was really glad I’d brought my trekking poles. Even then, I fell once and slid a ways before stopping.
Stryd footpod, right shoe, covered in crunchy snow crystals, at the end of my hike
Finally at the car, I had to dig my Stryd footpod out of the encrusting ice and pop it in my pocket. I synced it with the Stryd App so that I could check it out later.
Verdict: Sure, use the Stryd footpod in the snow. The clip held it in even bashing through the snow on the descent and in spite of the snow crusted around it.

I arrived to pick my family up and take us all out to eat on the way home. Great fun day out for all.
Here are some stats synced from my Suunto 9 Baro to my Strava:

Stay tuned for a video demonstrating some of the tools and techniques discussed in this article.

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Stryd Tech Support Question About Incline Speeds

I have been curious about using a Stryd pod for a little while now, especially with Zwift, since it might pair more consistently than the Zwift Pod, or my Wahoo Tickr Run, or my Garmin Pod or my Adidas Pod, none of which are really accurate, or connect consistently.

As a side bonus, if I use the Stryd App and sync to Strava, I can get in my usual steep treadmill training and out in the hills maybe figure out a way to more efficiently move in the mountains. You know, with the Run The Rut Lone Peak VK coming up in like 30 weeks.

After reading this

I was curious, is there a maximum incline or minimum speed that Stryd will accept for incline training on a treadmill?

It might be typical for me to set a treadmill at 22% at 3.2mph give or take a little.


Charles Miske


(Stryd Community and Help Center)

Jan 23, 09:36 MST
Hi Charles,

Thank you for contacting Stryd. Let me try to help you!

The Stryd app allows an incline from -50% to +50% and there are no restrictions on pace. At 22% incline and 3.2 mph, Stryd will still work!

Let me know if you have additional questions!


So yes, it looks like it will do what I want it to do. More later folks!

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