Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stress Damage

After returning from a long working road trip, today's ride plan was a 2-hour endurance ride. Things didn't go according to plan. My heart rate was through the roof! I got down to 8-mph trying to keep my heart rate within Zone 2. Usually, I'm hovering around 18-mph for that heart rate. What's up?

My stress level! The most obvious sign was when I turned my head to look for traffic over my shoulder. It pulled me off line. The neck muscles were that stiff.

I looked up a previous ride in my training log that matched duration, average speed, and environmental conditions. Previously, my average heart rate was 138. Today it was 153! All other things being equal stress was worth 15-beats per minute. Wow! It's striking the effect stress - a mental/emotional factor - has upon our physical well-being.

Without today's ride I would not have recognized the physical ramifications of a stressful day. I'm not the most self-aware person. But when training, the symptoms are on full display. That's a healthy feedback. Makes me wonder what kind of damage I've done myself from years previous?

The good news is my training ride did a lot of good. I felt stronger, and better, at the end of the ride than when I started. Most importantly, I felt much looser and de-stressed. My heartrate was closer to normal by the end. A sure sign of reduced stress! It's great to see physical activity balancing out the daily stresses of life.

Today's ride was a good reminder (feedback) to not ignore the stressors in life, but find effective ways to cope. I'm off to do some yoga now...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Learned Two Things Today

First, the large CO2 cartridges that barely fill an MTB tire contain enough gas to blow a roadie tube clear off the rim!


Second, doing the above will bring a very inquisitive hotel manager to your room pretty quickly!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Road Junkie

I'm on the road this week in Houma, LA. Before leaving Houston, I installed some bike brackets in the bed of the pickup for holding the bikes. Both were transported snuggly in the back for the trip.

Arriving at the fabrication yard down here both bikes were in the truckbed. I was meeting with my fabrication superintendent, and the crane foreman when someone passed outside the office giving me a suspicious look. He passed two more times, each time with a keener look. Then he passes and says "Psst. Hey, do ya'll know who that tan truck is for outside." Me thinking, I was parked in a bad spot quickly spoke up, "Yeah, its mine..." And the guys says "Tomorrow 5 o'clock we meet at the archdiocese for a group ride." It was a strange vibe. Like how an addict invites someone to an AA meeting. Or a dealer, recognizing a junkie makes an offer of a hit. A "I know you need some of this" invitation.

A unique comraderie felt across complete strangers recognized only by a bicycle stowed in the back of a pickup. I do believe cyclists to be an honorable group - stereotypically.

Eating. Damn the food is good out here. And not very training oriented! I cleaned the local Rouses grocery out of all the Abita Restoration Ale they had on the shelf. AND went back the next day to to see if they restocked. They hadn't. Domage.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

In The Loop Ride

Today was an endurance pace ride through out Houston. Here's a map of the route...

The route takes me north of downtown. Here is the skyline from the Quitman St. Bridge. That's I45N coming at ya'.

The route goes all the way across downtown. Getting through downtown on an early Saturday isn't too bad. Helps to time the lights right. Went south to Hermann Park.

I've never understood this feature. It's a straight ripoff of the Mall in DC. Complete with a minature Washington Monument. Is it supposed to be? Or is just completely unoriginal?

Anyway, from there, I went back northbound back to downtown and across Allen Parkway.

I ran into a somber scene on Heights. There were people outside of the Art Car Museum adding to the memorial of the recently killed (by drunk driver) curator...

Now that car! That's Art baby! I did the shim-sham-shimmy via 12th Street over to TC Jester and the White Oak Bayou trail...

I went all the way up to 43rd street and headed back east...43rd turns into Crosstimbers which is the home of Flying Saucer Pie Company. The pies from this place are YUM!

After a winding trip down Fulton to Airline it was time to take a break and get a bite to eat at the Spanish Flowers Restaurante'. Yum! Then it was the short two-block trip back home!

Nice route. Don't think it would be too good on a week day, but for a weekend ride, it's perfect.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Back on the Roll

Today's ride was brought to you by the letter A, and good nutrition! No bonks, no problems. No stress, no worries - its FRIDAY. Perfect weather. Keller Williams' "The Best Feeling in the World" randomly popped up on the iPod as I pulled away from the driveway. Appropriate! I took a second to be reflect on how good life can be!

The plan called for a light spinning day. But, I missed the anerobic intervals from yesterday. I did them. T'was good filling the lungs full of air. Some serious huff-and-puff before it was all done. Refreshing and tiring all at the same time. Then I did the speed work planned for today.

Tomorrow morn I'm doing a long endurance ride that goes all over the inner loop. Should be fun!


You might have heard it if you were in the vicinity of 14th and Durham yesterday afternoon. It was the sound of me blowing up! I stopped for the traffic light on my afternoon ride. As I put my foot down I realized I felt like I was drunk! Almost dizzy and a stomach that was doing dances in my belly. Uh-oh. How does one bonk a mere 3-miles from the house? By not eating properly that day!! I'd only had about 450-calories, most of that for breakfast, but somehow thought I'd be OK. Dumb on my part.

I downed two Clif Shot gels to no effect. An immediate turn to the house was all I could manage. The anaerobic intervals didn't get ridden. It was couch time after a cool shower and a nice big fat meal!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm A Pavlov Dog

Been off the bike for my rest cycle. With JazzFest and some tragic events in the rearview mirror, today it was time to get back into the saddle! I glanced at my heart rate monitor as I strapped on the helmet. Hmm... its 15 BPM above normal! I truly am excited to be back! Cool how the body follows the passion (or pains) of the heart!

Today was a simple 2-hour base ride. Boring, but necessary. The knee was stiff and balked at any heavy load/low cadence combo. My muscles felt good and curiously strong. What they say is true. You really do gain strength when you rest providing you've done the training beforehand.

Tomorrow it ramps up to a tempo ride, then some short intervals to see if there's any pep in the engine.