Sunday, October 30, 2011

Almost done.

Tomorrow's ride isn't a given. But it should be do-able on some very tired legs. I did shuffle the rest day, though, to align the back-to-back rides over the weekend. I did some saddle experimentation on the Highball. To do it. I laid out a short lap route. This would allow me to dump the Highball if any pain developed and swap over to the rhoadie bike. The route...


... bring a variety of surfaces. It includes the Green, Purple, and Triangle trails as well as a healthy does of tarmac. This is a great training loop. With enough sample of each surface to get a lot of tempo work on the tarmac portions and some trail on the trail portions.


Saturday I tried adjusting the pitch of my existing saddle. By mile 20... I was in the same painful position. Swap bikes, and finish.

Sunday I put a redundant Toupe' on the Highball. The thought here was that the sway-back of the Romin may be causing some of the problem with the more upright mountain bike position. The Romin works fine on the rhoad bike. The flatter profile of the Toupe' would give me another data point.


The weather this weekend has been ideal. Recent rains have helped pack the trails, which are in better shape.


As I hit CallOut today, my front brake is screaming! Sounds like contaminated pads. When I get out of Purple trail powerline section and back on the sidewalk... I try a good test...

... uh-oh. A swipe with the finger and... Another brake line leak. That's it for me and Shimano hydraulic lines. Warrantied or not, I simply don't want to fool with another go-round.

As I finish the first lap, the bum is hurting pretty bad. Not quite as bad as before, but still it's rough. All is not lost though, as I have a better idea on what I need to look for in a replacement saddle.

So... a few lingering problems. But I've shocked the body with some good volume. After a day or two of recovery I'll be able to evaluate where my fitness is, and where I want to go with next year. Overall, I'd call the last week a success.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stage 1A: 30 Miles, Much Butter

Couple of days off the rump. I'm recycling my seven-day "shock" plan. Tonight, like last week... 30 miles of self-paced riding. All was good, except for mosquites which are the worst since Hurricane Ike. Every person I saw outside was swatting. Joggers have developed this odd sort of arm swing coupled with swatting mosquites off their bodies. One 'speed walker' on the Height's running path had it down pat. Thank goodness for Doctor Tischeners!

By the light of the Lupine...


Confident I'll make it through the cycle this time. I'm staying away from the HighBall until I get the saddle issue sorted. Legs felt great last go round, and no reason to think they won't this time, too.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stage 3: Buddhertz

Today dawns with legs that feel good. Excited and hopeful for a long ride today. Target is 60.miles, self-paced.

I set out, and instantly I'm reminded of yesterday's ride. My butt hurts. Bad. It's not chaffed. No saddle sores. But it feels bruised. Turrible. I was a bit worried yesterday I was setting myself up for some real pain as my butt ached on the ride. I hoped it would 'heal' quickly. It hasn't. I carry on. Often aches and pains are present at the start of a ride. And often as the blood gets flowing and kinks work out things improve. I'm still hopeful.

Things do get better, but never comfortable. What is usually a comfy saddle, today is torture. I'm determined so I carry on. I stand. I shift my position. Nothing is helping. By mile fifteen it's too much. The spontaneous and unstoppable tears are a clear indicator enough-is-enough.

Stopping short sucks. Legs feel great. Capable. So I need to take a day or two off the saddle. Then I'll recycle through (without riding on the HighBall!). Now it's a personal challange!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stage 2: 20 Miles

Day two of shocking the body. I hop on the HighBall today. This isn't a long ride. Only a 20.mile goal. Today I pack the DSLR camera. Wanted to check out how it packs on the bike and to take some photos. I take the MKT trail all the way to downtown. After some wandering I find how to get on the opposite side of the bayou across from UHD.


There is an old pump station here. I stop for some photos...







The break is good. I'm about eight miles in, but my butt is starting to hurt. I reverse my path and head to the northwest up the White Oak Bayou trail. I turn around at Ella. My butt is absolutely screaming at this point. This is the longest I've ridden the HighBall on the road. On the trial, where I spend significant time out-of-the saddle I've not had any pain. But this long seated and I'm dying. I ride the last three miles home standing as much as possible. OOOuch.

I make my goal for today. Barely. Painfully. Proud that I didn't give up despite the painful arse.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stage 1: 30 Miles

Being back on the bike feels good. First day went acceptably well.

I really like Prolog bar tape. But their bar plugs suck. They catch on everything and tend to come dislodged.


Here's a tip. As you are riding and you notice the bar plug is loose... do not reach down and smack it with the heel of your hand to drive it home. ; )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shock and Awe

With almost a month of little riding, and no structured training... my motor needs jumpstarting. Seven days, seven rides. Designed to shock the system back into life.

Stage 1: 30.miles
Stage 2: 20.miles
Stage 3: 60.miles
Stage 4: 60.miles
Stage 5: Rest day
Stage 6: 60 miles
Stage 7: 40 miles

Re-evaluate where I'm at when done. Not a tremendous amount of miles. But starting from slackerd condition... it won't be a cakewalk either. All rides are self-paced. Whatever speed I'm comfortable at. However long it takes. One of the few times I'll ever use a mileage goal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Remember Your Manners

It's not nice to laugh at other's pain...

... I can't stop watching this. And laughing every time..

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Lights

A long, but un-hurried ride on the trail in the dark. Nothing special. Just glad to be on the bike. Here is why it pays to have good lights...


That white speck in the middle... is a huge spider busily setting up shop along the trail right before a root drop. Saw him just in time. A swipe with a branch and I was on my way.

Lupine lights are the beez kneez.

And no ride would be complete without a call to 9-1-1. As I neared my house I smelled something burning. My first thought was "hey someone's lit their fireplaces". Wait a second, it's in the 80s. With the drought, no fires are allowed. Why is someone burning stuff? By this time the smoke was enough to show up in my headlight. This was really strong. I glanced over and a dumpster behind a nieghborhood church was ablaze. Surprisingly the neighboring residents weren't out. I called and the fire truck showed up nearly instantly and put the fire out.

Firetrucks are the beez kneez, too.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

13 Days

Unplanned. Unscheduled. Unwanted. Thirteen day layoff.  Uggh.

Today... back on the saddle for a wandering ride. Three hours. No goals. I just wanted to be on my bike. And it felt gooood.


A couple of things became clear today. The better your fitness the faster you lose the peak, and stress is like a fitness eraser. I've spent longer periods away from the bike. But I lost more fitness than usual. Partly because my fitness was pretty good going into the break. But primarily I think the stress level causing the break was a strong factor.

Interestingly, there isn't much published research on the effect of stress on fitness. The other direction... the reduction in stress as physical activity increase is very well documented however. Does stress affect the ability to acquire fitness? This was the best study I located... PDF file link. This one about the effect of life events on injuries was also interesting. Athletes tend to get injured more when stressed out about life events. PDF file link.

For my n=1 sized study... stress appears to be a strong fitness antagonist. Looking at today's data... in a mere two weeks I've quantifiably lost as much fitness (%-age of specific power), and gained as much weight as I did during a four-month long (but low stress period) injury layoff. These are quantified numbers. All this has me trying to devise a research method to test this. It's not an easy experiment to design.

Stress creep from the office into personal life is always a bad thing. This is going to mean missed races. Going to set priorities a bit different for 2012.