Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don't Fear The Ride

This ride scared me. As I look over my plan, this one looks tough. Making matters worse, I'm delayed. Don't start rolling out until after 7PM. I'll finish in the dark, but I'm undaunted. Although skeery this is one of my favorite rides because it works so well.

The first phase is simple. Set up just under threshold. Every third minute PUNCH IT! Short 20sec max effort then return to the just under threshold pace. This goes on for an hour. The just under threshold pace feels easy tonight. And the max efforts come off really strong. This is encouraging...

The second phase is two 10min intervals 110-125% over threshold. I pin the first one. It feels really, really easy. Whaaaa?? I resist the urge to peg the effort and keep it as planned. After a short rest, time for another interval. Same effort. This one feels harder. Glad I didn't peg the first one now! Although harder than the first, it's still doable. I rip this interval off. Scurry back to the house, down some dinner and straight to sleep... ah glorious sleep!

The legs are really opening up nicely. Power's coming up. Endurance has a way to go. This training bloc is going very, very well. Two more weeks then time to retest. Eager to quantify the progress.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Books for the Biker

During my injury downtime I read two excellent books.

Advanced Sports Nutrition by Dan Benardot covers all of the basics of feeding yourself. The book doesn't contain any secret formula for instant success. It's not a diet book. It's just a solid science-based outline of what to eat, and most importantly why. This book explains the role of each macro nutrient, vitamin, and supplements in sometimes painstaking detail. Beware, it's almost textbook like at times. But that's what makes the book so good. It's not a junk science guide to eating.

Cycling Anatomy by Shannon Savndol is per subtitle "Your illustrated guide for cycling strength, speed, and endurance." This book effectively illustrates each muscle group, explains that muscles' relevant role in cycling, and prescribes exercises for strengthening each group. The book covers the rider from head-to-toe including the all important core muscles. Cycling is more whole-body than I'd realized. Reading this book has been one of the motivators for increasing my crosstraining effort this year.

Both books are execllent reads for any cyclist looking for basic knowledge of how their body works. Neither provide dramatic revelations, but provide good background and reinforcement of knowledge most cyclers have cobbled together from many sources of experience.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday Runway!

Goal Sunday was a solid tempo ride. I decided to take a new route. This one is known locally as the "runway ride". Roughly, the route goes from the city's core up to the Bush Intercontinental Airport. New routes are always and adventure! The winds are howling from the north, with gusts from the northeast. At one point, look down and see single-digit speed. Mercy. What do you do when you're out of your zone, but going so slow? Keep riding out of zone! I put in more effort on the northbound portion of the route than intended. Takes more time than anticipated as well. Why they call it the "runway ride"...


Southbound feels riding downhill! Big boy gears all the way. Just a mile or two from the airport, I run into what at first glance I think is a dog...

Whoa! That's a goat! In the middle of the city! Do goats bite? Do they chase biker's like stray dogs? I don't hang around to find out. It's easy to forget how rural parts of Harris County are. Especially when just another few miles away is this view of the city scape from the Union Pacific rail yard...

As I near the end of the ride I'm beat. Tired of being in the wind. Odd how wind can make you feel so tired. It's a good ride. A bit more effort than I wanted, but worth it. Tomorrow's rest will be earned. That's a great feeling!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coming Back to Life

Legs feel remarkably good right now. The nice thing about coming back after a long layofff; progress happens fast! Every day the legs feel a little stronger. Almost bombproof. Tonights' ride challanges me. Two 20min threshold intervals, 30min at endurance pace with 10sec acceleration spinup at top of each minute, and for good measure three 5min max effort intervals. Topping it off, doing it in the rain.

Rain rides are always just a bit more satisfying. Perhaps because you start out with a valid excuse for not doing them, but do them anyway. Or maybe because you don't see anyone else out riding except for the occasional other crazy person.

Tonight's meal didn't go as planned. My plan was to grill some fish and shrimp. Shoulda checked the forecast, because it was raining. So, pan grilling the salmon and boiling the shrimp was plan B.

A tasty meal, served with sourdough bread and spinach. It was a bit intricate for this night. Prep too a long time and leaves me feeling a bit time crunched. Sleep calls!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is March Too Late For... year resolutions? Yeah it's March. But my training year is just beginning. Spent some time thinking of two things on a long drive. The second being... 2010 has the potential to be a transformational year.

What will it take to make a special year? What exactly and specifically should my goals be? What is attainable? These were questions that meandered through my mind as the Texas countryside flew by. The answers fell into place. Not in ephionic moments. Peice-by-peice, softly, gently a few ideas fell into place.

I thought about interim goals. Some of my goals are lofty. Having good short-term goals help. As the "big" goal will be reached by doing the "small" goals along the way. I've never broken down my goals before. I've been scared of having lofty goals. Because, big goals always seemed so far away or too unattainable. Broken into small peices it all seems much more... possible. Milestones help.

Open questions remain. Obviously... can I do it? Will I do it? Will I stay healthy? Will I get injured? Will I have the support of friends, fools and family?

What exactly are my goals? You'll have to ask me in person. I'll tell you if I like you. ;-) I'm not adding to the staring line smack talk and pack chatter for my races ;-). But as the season progresses... stand or fall... I'll chronical it all here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Training Capsule

Base training isn't exactly exciting. It's boring. Reading about it is moreso! All that's going on right now... trying to put some miles back into the legs. I throw in some sprints here-and-there but none of them are planned. Just to keep the boredom away. *yawn* See told ya it's boring!

The elbow survived the week well! I think riding has helped. No soreness like last week. My ROM has improved more this week. Maybe it the constant vibration? I donno. One of my splints is a spring loaded affair that straightens out my arm. This week, several times I took it off, and compared to my left arm, matched the extension exactly! After an hour or so it's not as good. But with more use, and time with the splint it should get there. Looks like I'm going to get 100% of my original motion range back. Which is NOT common for this fracture.

Still have a way to go on strengthening. That's the limiter right now keeping me off the dirt. Not far away.

I have a bad habit of locking my elbows when I ride. Errr. had. One of the benefits I noticed this week... I can't lock out my right elbow! Atleast... not yet. HA!

MR2 Radio Deck and Speakers

The MR2 was built in 1986. Still has it's "vintage" radio.

Yes, that's a cassette. The last peice of equipment that I own that can play them. As you can see the display is weeping. The lights don't work. And no iPod interface. Time to replace it.

Luckily wiring isn't as difficult as it used to be. Now you get harnesses with plugs, as opposed to having to strip into the existing wiring loom like the "good ol'days".

Speakers aren't sounding too good these days either. Here's what comes out.

Twenty four year old paper, dual-cone speakers. Use your imagination. The replacement...

Cheep 4" two-ways. These aren't very good speakers. But it really doesn't matter. They are 4" speakers! They'll never sound very good without a sub. And there's no room for that in the tight cabin. These speakers fit. Barely, I mean JUST barely.

The replacement head unit...

The green matches the stock illumination perfectly. It's serviceable. An improvement for sure. With only 4" mains and the tweeters firing directly at the huge flat windshield.... the sound is quite tinny. Meh. It'll do.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Full Week?

Question of the day. Will my elbow stand up to a full week? Probably. Yesterday's rest day was needed. No splint, no riding, and I tried not to do too much with 'bow.

Today's ride was just over 90min. No elbow pain for the ride. No pain after the ride. No pain after the crosstraining. No pain after my rehab exercises. All is go as of tonight.

Back to wearing my night splint overnight tonight, and my dynamic splint tomorrow. Barring any surprises... I'm back to a full training schedule!! It's atleast worth a try, right?!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Elbow Update

Several have asked about my elbow. I didn't mention it in this weekend's entries. I'm wearing an elbow pad. Not so much to prevent another break, but the plate pokes through the skin pretty good. You can see it when I bend my elbow. My fear is falling and scraping it. Seems the sharp edge would just grate right thorough the skin. Something I need to ask Doc about on Friday.

No pain on Saturday. At all. I forgot my elbow pad. It was sunny. And I got a touch of sunburn on my arms, but burned pretty bad on the splotches where I had road rash. New skin burns easily.

On Sunday, there was a bit of dull pain while riding. Feeling like joint pain, more than tendonitis. I've been doing well with my strengthening, but the joint has not experienced any shock loading. By Sunday night... the 'bow was quite sore and stiff. My ROM was way down. I didn't wear my splints, to give a rest.

It's better today. Today's a rest day, so this fits in well. I hope to pickup a full-time training schedule this week. But given that 4-1/2 hours of riding left me this sore, I may limit my action. I'm monitoring carefully how it bounces back from this weekend.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday's Ride

Today's plan similar to yesterday's. Easy pace 2h30min. Jumping on the MKT trail. This is a rail-to-trail line. It opened a few months ago, my first time.

Lots of folks out today. The trail is OK for rec riding. No good for training. Too many cross streets. Hard to imagine this being an active rail line through the middle of the neighborhood. This is just before the White Oak Trestle...

The trail then runs next to the Sawyer Heights Target, and continues eastward...

I thought the trail went all the way to downtown. It doesn't so I double back, head down Sawyer Street to Memorial Dr, then pickup the Buffalo Bayou trail there, at the Mazola Disc Golf Course...

This trail does go into downtown. I ride the west side of Buffalo Bayou all the way to University of Houstond Downtown, then double back.

Then double back and cross they bayou into the CBD...

This puts me right into the center of downtown.

Nice contrast between greenspace and metroscape today! I zip across downtown, and take a second to watch the boats at Discovery Green...

A pass by Enro*cough*Minute Maid Park...

I cross back via the Elysian Street Viaduct, and pick up the White Oak Trail, at Stude Park...

I haven't met my time goal at this point. Close enough. I turn for the house. I'm hungry!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rehabbing The Base

One of the nice thing about living on the Gulf Coast is year round riding. You get to keep you fitness base. For the injured... the base must be rebuilt.

I'm taking this base period as part of rehab. It's not easy. I quickly bore doing long steady rides. But... this is what I must do right now. Controlling my stratospheric exuberance is my challange. Just as I started wwith only about 20° of movement on the elbow, I must start with really low intensity riding. This injury has improved my patience.

Today's plan is simple. Two hours at my L2 endurance power zone. Oh, and not falling! HAHA! The weather cannot be better. Truly a gift from doG.

I never would have expected it but I get a bit sunburned today. Hmm... My tan has weakened.

No doubt this base periodio is needed. The last 20min take a lot of effort. I return home, tank empty, and nap.

But my day is not yet done. This was on the car when I bought it.

Always hated it. My knuckles hit the turn signal and cruise stalks.

It cramped my knees. Blocked my view of the speedometer, positioned the wheel too far from my body. I could get the seat distance right for my legs or my arms, but never both.

Here's the replacement. Snagged this off of a 1987 MR2 in the junkyard. Despite the fact that my MR2 is an '86, (the differences are very minor), it fits perfectly and is in great shape.

The "new" wheel is just slightly larger in diameter. I presumed it would hit my knees worse than the old one. Nope. Since I sit 'knees high' setting the wheel back gives me a lot more clearance. Heel-and-toe shifting should be way easier now. Huge improvement all way 'round. Now I just need to get rid of that hideous shift knob!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

118 Days

Today's the day. Unplanned. Unapproved by doc. But the weather was too good and I'm ready. My first real ride since November 4th 2009. 118 days to be exact, but who's counting?!

I'm a little fatter. Ok a lot. Had to add some air to the rear shock. Oh the shame. I'm a lot slower. A bit unsure of myself. The adage "You never forget, it's just like riding a bike" is true with regard to balancing and unconsciously countersteering against gyroscopic effect. But not true with regards to the legs... which have long forgotten how to pound out hours of pedal pumping power.

Does anyone doubt that core strength is important for cycling? They need to try it with one arm unable to field it's full load. I would NOT want to climb anything bigger than an anthill right now because I can't pull with full force. Until you can't, it's hard to realize how much you push/pull and twist your body between the arm-to-shoulder-to-hips-to-legs.

Not anywhere near 100%. But rehab now includes the bike. That makes me happy.