Friday, July 23, 2010

Training Misfire

Rain again today. I'm tired of cleaning bikes! I wait it out, and around 7:30P it stops. I get dressed. Make my bottles. And it starts pouring again. I decide tho make the ultimate sacrifice. I'm going to ride the trainer. But before that, I must change the rear tire to a trainer tire.

This tire is hard to mount. But eventually... I get it. Hit it with the air, and... I've got a puncture. Probably from the mounting fight.

Off with the tire, patch the hole, remount the tire, pump it up, put it on the trainer. As I'm looking up my training plan I hear.... Piiizzzzzzttttt. Tire is now flat. Again. Oh boy.

Off with the tire. Bad patch job. Repatch the hole. Remount the tire. Pump it up. Put it on the trainer. I jump on the trainer and get through my plan's warm up.

The effort seems to be getting lighter all the time. I'm shift down several times to keep the same wattage... As I start my first power interval the tire slips on the roller. I'm not that strong, but the tire is that flat. Again.

Off with the tire. There were actually two holes and the second patch didn't quite cover it. Explains the first bad patch job. Patch the new hole. Remount the tire. Pump it up. Put it on the trainer.

Less than 5min into my "ride"... another flat.

Enough! It's rapidly getting late. I put a new tube in. Mount the road tire. This wasn't meant to be tonight. Off to bed. Somedays...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Drink Mmmmoore!

Today a coworker and I were chatting. He lamented not being able to exercise very much, because it made him feel so bad, and the following days. His description was classic signs of dehydration. I asked if he was a heavy sweater. He responded "how did you know?". I gave him some info that I've kept for reference.

With this conversation in my mind; I'm checking my sweat rate tonight. The process is simple weigh before ride. Ride. Keep track of how much you drink. Weigh when done. Add your weight change to what you drank, divide by the time, and you have your sweat rate.

Today is abnormally cool. Rain showers have sideswiped my side of town. I drink about what I usually do. Never feeling thirsty. With the cooler weather maybe I'm overdoing it? I'm home and run the numbers to a shocking result. I'm not drinking near enough. American College of Sports Medicine guidelines are no more than 2% body weight loss during exercise. I was right on the border of that -with lower temperatures. Remember - I never felt parched. It's true what the physio people say. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration need. I need to take my own advice!

The ride was good. Three sets of 30-30 intervals. Well, sort of. Just as was wrapping up the last rest period, a rider passes. Then another. Then about four. I've been caught by a group ride. Been a looong time since I've ridden with a pack. So I jumped on. Man I love pack riding! Takes concentration. The distration from burning legs, plus the desire to stay with the a pack make for fun and speed. A great day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Most Events Aren't Planned

Traveled to Muleshoe Bend on Saturday. As I approach the park, a long line of cars is stacked up. I get in que and awaited entry to the park. This happened last time I tried to ride here. That day I turned around and went to Pace Bend. But today, partly out of curiosity, I decide to wait it out.

The line doesn't move at all. It's not as if there's a delay at the fee station. It simply isn't moving. I wait nearly twenty minutes. The line begins to move, very quickly. Like there's no one ahead is stopping to pay. Confused. As I get a bit further I realize that the long line of cars isn't for the Muleshoe Bend park, but for a nearby camp. I've been waiting unnecessarily in the wrong que of cars. I will remember this next time!

I arrive at the park, I discover there is an adventure race going on. Their competitors are using the trails for the mountain bike portion of the race. But they are riding the trail backwards from the normal direction. This presents a problem because they aren't using the entire trail. Can't make a loop. And there are lots of people to pass on the trail. I really don't want to interrupt someone's race.

None of this is conducive to what I want to do today, work out some technical skills by repeating some challenging sections of trail. In the end, I decide to swap today's plan with tomorrow's plan - and do some hill repeats off the trail on the fire roads. Maybe I'll come back tomorrow? Or ride a short road route tomorrow? Or, or, or... so many good cycling options around Austin... I'll ponder this later. Off I go and shred the legs on the hills.

Sunday arrives. My appetite for riding isn't there. The legs are cracked more than I'd intended. And I've got some things to attend to. I don't ride this day, and that's the only pratical option for the day.

Between the weekend on-the-fly plan changes and being off the bike with a sore neck earlier in the week, this week's training metrics look more like a rest week than the build week intended. But sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Back on Bike. Last night's ride was late, but successful. A couple of blow out intervals, followed by 1h30min at tempo pace with maximal 20s sprint every 5min. A great ride for evaluating fitness. One of the things I look at is how fast my HR falls after the sprint efforts. Recovery was extremely fast. Being fresh helps, but compared to when I rode this plan earlier in the season... my fitness is clearly improving.

Some neck twinces but nothing serious. Giving it a bit more time before I pull the trigger on an imaging work up.

I'm itching for dirt. It's not pica, just want to get out of the traffic and the forrest!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tilt and Pan

Head now tilts and pans without winces of pain. Not quite 100% but well on the way. Kinda like the feeling after too much lift. Training returns tomorrow. With some dedication I can salvage a good week.

Felt good enough to wash the rain grit off the bike. After four straight days of riding in the rain, a prodigious amount of grit and grime have accumulated. My drivetrain could best be described as "crunchy" sounding. It's a fine sandy grit. Hazmat for moving objects. Way worse for the mechanics than large globular mud.

Unfortunately, my water hose is out of service for some on going construction. So...

... should be on one of those "you know you're a cyclist when..." lists.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I've done something terrible to my neck. Not sure what. It started like most neck pain. Like I slept on it crooked or something. No big deal. But Thursday to Sunday thing got steadily worse. Sunday morning... I could barely get up to pee. Some pain meds and treatment from a physician friend have helped. Still not right. Call to my ortho clinic tomorrow. Off the bike until something happens.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rain Grit and Grime

Rainy evening. With a long ride on the menu, and a forecast of rain until Friday... riding in the rain is the only option. Even resigned to getting wet, I delay my start until well after dark waiting for the flooding to recede and lightening to move on. As I roll out I remember about three things I was supposed to do this evening. They won't get done. It will be after 11pm before I'm done tonight. Leaving time for only shower and bed upon my return.

As I ride I ponder a question. Does one need to take a shower after riding in the rain? The question is answered upon my return. I'm covered in grit and grime flung from the wet roadway by the tyres. Ah-ha! It's a productive ride. Near three hours of tempo-threshold crossovers. Sleep comes easily tonight.

Another rainy day tomorrow. It's a two-ride day. It's starting to take toll. Rain riding is hard on the hardware. Some serious bike maintenance and cleaning are in order. After the tropical storm passes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weight Diagnosis - Or, Why It Pays to Be a Nerd

Small amount of panic last night, as I set a high-water mark on the scale. Haven't been this heavy in a looong time. Yet at the same time I've felt like I've been losing weight. What the heck is going on here? How can I be gaining and losing weight at the same time?

I track my weight daily, mostly. Sometimes I skip a day or two, but just interpolate between. It goes into my training log and spits out a graph. The graph tells the tail...

Seems like there is a strong periodic function at work here. A strong peak followed by a decline, denoted with the red arrows. Roughly correlating to a week in period. There's no denying it. I know exactly what it is. Weekend eating.

You can see how it starts. Went off the training plan and saw a rise on the scale, but it (mostly) went away. "I got away with it". Repeat the next week. Since the spike seems to go away during the week... I'm tricking myself into believing I'm losing weight. Fresh off a perceived "weight loss", I think "I can have this ____, I'm losing weight and did a long ride today." The problem is... I'm not losing as much as I'm gaining as the blue trend line clearly shows.

This is how weight creeps up over a period of weeks, months, years. Insidious.

This is advantage of a detailed training log. It's not about numbers -it's about understanding. Spotting changes and trends in you body, and develop plans to address the changes if negative, or celebrate them if positive. I sometimes question the need for it. I often don't pay any attention to the detailed graphs, etc. But this is the perfect example of why I keep the info...

I'm a lot less panicked than last night. Now that I know what's going on... it's clear what changes I need to make to arrest the gain. I was thinking I needed some sort of draconian change to reverse this. A crash diet or something? But I really don't. Only need to be more careful with my weekend nutrition. Rather than creating a drastic panic-inspired swing, I can make a small modification to my lifestyle that pays off over time. Much healthier than doing crash dieting.