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David LeFebvre's Pan-Mass Challenge

News / Training Updates 2007

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2007 Training Updates

JULY 31, 2007

I only got out on the bike once last week. Blame flat water (irresistible for rowing...) and a trip to Colorado. I also was nursing a pretty disgusting head cold, the upside of which were some pretty spectacular snot-rockets that could down a large cat at twenty paces! Anyway, this week I am tapering down a bit so I'll be fully rested for the big ride this weekend. I leave for Great Barrington, MA on Thursday and early Friday morning, we will drive to the Hillsdale, NY to start our Pan-Mass.

Last Wednesday Jeanne, Gretchen and I headed to Pagosa Springs, CO for the wedding of our friend (and Jeanne's college coxswain) Laura Simon, to her fiancé Sean Rich. The wedding and reception was on their property and coincided with Jeanne and my own 6th anniversary -a good omen for teh newlyweds for sure. The town itself is at elevation 7092 ft and about 20 miles **downhill** from their property. The air is pretty thin!  Cycling was out (they live 10 miles away from the nearest paved road), so I went for 70-80 minute runs. I didn't think the elevation affected me until I calculated how far/fast I ran. For me, an “easy” run is usually 8 minutes per mile, I was chugging along at 10 minutes per mile. However, the dry air and mild temps made it very nice.

It was a “working vacation” as we went early for the express purpose of helping Laura and Sean get everything set up for the weding and also to help get their homestead off the ground. They have a huge and incredibly beautiful piece of property and are living in a trailer until they can get their home built. We helped build their chicken coop and greenhouse.

The wedding itself was a big reunion for Jeanne and all her college friends. Lots of fun! The food was great -which made the whole expereince great for me...

So, back to the actual training for the Pan-Mass.... Today I lifted weights and tomorrow will be a light ride followed by some bike maintenance. Thursday will be travel day. I will be eating as much as I can and trying to get a lot of sleep to get ready for the weekend. I can't wait!!!

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I would love to see you at one of the may water stops along the way.



JULY 24, 2007


Last year I didn’t get in that much cycling time prior to the PMC for one big reason: I am a ROWER. When the water is too nice and flat to ignore, I completely forego the bike and enjoy the water with no regrets. This year, I have been training on the bike a lot more than last not because of some new found love for the bike, rather it has been awful windy. Whereas last summer was one of the best for rowing –at least weather wise- this year has been about the windiest I can remember. Last year, I would row on average 3 times a week and ride just once. This year, I hadn’t got out in a boat at all. Until last week when the wind finally ran out of gas.


Going over the BU Bridge on my way home, I always check out the river. If it is flat and calm, I row. If it is choppy, rough or simply not “ideal” I will ride. I love both sports, but vastly prefer rowing to cycling for more reasons than I can put down here.


The water was so flat last week that I couldn’t resist. I went out 3 times and was able to get some valuable training in. I was reminded of how pleasant it is to row in light rain as opposed to how miserable it is to cycle in the same weather. The rain / mist just makes everything easier. It keeps you cooler, eases breathing, the water flat… In cycling, the rain just makes you soggy, dirty and itchy. Plus it is horrible for the bike. All that grit gets into all the moving parts…


I did get out for a ride early in the week with Andre Reid, one of my former rowers. We went for a pretty leisurely 35 mile loop. He had a GPS that he was able to download our route HERE.


This week I am going to be forced to improvise my training quite a bit as Jeanne, Gretchen and I are headed to Colorado for a wedding. I lifted weights yesterday and  will get out for a 40 mile ride today. Tomorrow we are traveling and the rest of the week will be improvised. Since the wedding is at 7000ft above sea level, I will get the added benefit of some altitude training –so I should be turbo charged the following weekend for the big ride!





JULY 13, 2007


Lake George was very nice –better than I expected. The weather was incredible and the kids all had a blast. We went to Magic Forest which was like a time capsule from the 1950s. It was an ideal place for small kids with lots of gentle rides, plenty of shade and light crowds. Even though all the rides are nearly 50 years old, they look like new. The park itself is small enough that you can see just about everything in a few hours –perfect for scheduling it in around nap times. There were no lines so we could just go up to the ride and get right on! It was very affordable too -$14.99 each I think.


The riding in the area was very nice. We all decided to go for a ride on the bike path that goes from Lake George to Glens Falls. Jeanne and I rode a total of 14 miles –but since I was towing Gretty in the trailer it was a pretty good ride and about 80 minutes. The next day I went for a run on the bike path. Very nice.


Tuesday of this week, I had planned a ride of 50 miles, but my legs just felt like jello. The road felt very heavy and slow. Plus it was just so hot and muggy. Then I got a flat and that was enough for me to heed to cycling gods and cut the ride short to just 35 miles. I am not sure why I felt so drained –not enough rest? Not adequately hydrated? Bonk? Probably a little of all those things.


The other days were without incident and pretty fun. I have been dealing with a nagging tight back that is hindering my breathing. I don’t think it is related to the bike or my position since it tightens up after a run or lift or row. Stretching seems to alleviate the tightness and loosen up my breathing. I would really like a long professional massage to really loosen things up!


I am riding on Sunday with one of my former rowers. He is getting the cycling bug too so it should be fun.




JULY 3, 2007

I got out on the bike 3 days last week and lifted weights twice. It was HOT last week. Temps in the high 90s and plenty of humidity to make it memorable. So the 35 mile "medium" ride I had planned for Monday was considerably harder, and the 60 mile "hard" ride on Wed nearly killed me! Still, at least on the bike there is a breeze. You don't realize how overheated you are until you stop, then BAM! Because of the lower velocity in rowing, you are very much aware of the heat!

I lowered my handlebars another spacer and will leave it here. I can complete a full training ride in the drops, but my lower back is usually pretty tight the next day. I am getting old! Other than that, the bike is riding great, but I need to make a slight adjustment to the rear dérailleur as shifting is not quite as crisp as it should be. Cable stretch....

Yesterday and today the weather was absolutely ideal for cycling. High 60s, low humidity, and clear. It was great.

Later this week I am going to Lake George with Jeanne and her family to celebrate her parent's 40th anniversary. Looks like there is a lot of good cycling to be had in the area. The only consideration is that I probably won't be able to get away for a 3-4 hour ride alone, so I am bringing Gretty's trailer. No real training rides, but definitely resistance riding!




JUNE 21, 2007
Tuesday, I didn't ride but instead ran the Harvard Stadium. I would like to point out that even after 20+ years of running up and down those steps, it has gotten no easier! This remains one of the most intense workouts in the world. It will humble anyone. Brutal in its simplicity: just run as fast as you can up the 33 "steps" (actually the concrete benches) of each of the 37 seating sections. Try not to puke. Enjoy total jelly-legs for the next several days!

Yesterday I was planning on going on a group ride with a bunch of guys leaving from North Cambridge, but I had to take care of Gretchen. No problem! She loves riding in our trailer and wearing her helmet! The only problem was to keep up with the other riders. Since the riding level of the group goes from total novices all the way up to pros, I figured that I would just ride with the slower guys. Gretchen loved it! And I found that riding an 80 pound bike is a lot more work than a 20 pound bike.

I lowered my bars one spacer and forced myself to stay in the drops more than I was comfortable with. It does make a big difference that is noticeable on my speedometer. Getting "aero" in the drops is definitely faster!

I lifted Monday and today. Tomorrow will find me going for a long ride. 


JUNE 15, 2007
It may seem that I have got off to a very late start this year -and at least with regard to fundraising, that is true. While I have not been in the saddle all too much, I try to maintain a high level of fitness year round just to keep sharp for my job as a crew coach. I workout 6 days a week all year -just not on the bike.

I have started "for real" this week with three rides and two sessions in the gym. The other workout was on the water in a single scull -I reserve the right to blow off any bike workout if the water looks too enticing ;-P

The first two rides were just shy of 30 miles primarily on the minute man bike trail. I forgot how hard it is to ride the flats -no coasting down hill! The goal of these two rides was to re-familiarize myself with the bike. I had to raise my handlebars as my lower back flexibility is not there yet. I plan on lowering it one spacer per week until I get it back to where it was at the end of last year.

The third ride was a 37 mile hilly ride. Lots of fun! This ride reminded me how frustrating it can be trying to get a solid training ride in while living in the city. Basically, there is not a lot you can do inside route 128 thanks to traffic. Stop and go at every light. But once you are outside 128, the riding is beautiful. Hard to believe you are just ~10 miles from downtown Boston!

Anyway, the bike feels good. I love that rig!

More to come soon!

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