Showing posts from January, 2018


A lot of my posts here have to do with how my body is failing to live up to its obvious potential. I'm so, so disappointed in it.

Mostly it's just when I'm sick or hurt, I'm pretty much focused on being sick or hurt. Ever since my children started preschool, I've been sick a lot. Ever since I took up the sport of competitive falling down, I've been hurt a lot. Mark Twain said, "write what you know." In my case, I may write a lot of complete bullshit, but I know sick and injured. I consider it peak form these days.

However, as I approach retirement and a serious curtailment of my access to socialized medicine, I'm trying to document as much as I can and investigate ailments that I previously ignored. For me, it's not about gaming the system as much as creating a baseline for the future. I "gutted through" a lot of stuff over the last 26 years, and I'd like to know how bad I screwed the pooch here. I want to know how much can be attr…

I Don't Know Where it's Hiding.

Last Friday I did what will hopefully be my last Air Force "fitness" test.

I'm old, beat up, and weigh more than I have in almost a decade.

One of the components is a waist circumference measurement. I usually don't have any problem maxing out the score on it, but I'm the first to admit the standard is a little weak. Screw it, I didn't make the rules.

I weight 15 pounds more than I did last year when I tested. Granted, that was after riding around Mississippi, so I was lighter than normal back then. Still, I'm probably a good 10 above my usual weight this time of year. I didn't check my waist measurement beforehand, because I figured it wouldn't be absolutely horrible based on how my jeans fit. More importantly, I just didn't want to know. I have enough to regret as it is. 

Last year my waist circumference was 34 inches. This year it was 33.5 inches. They used the same type of measuring tool (basically a spring-loaded tape measure) at the same poi…

Cut Short.

Some days it just doesn't go quite as I planned.

Some mornings I can't get moving. I'll laze in bed, hitting the snooze button so I can get 15 more minutes of pseudo-sleep or surf the interwebs on my phone.

Maybe I'll pop right out of bed, only to be attacked by a hacking fit or a pervasive sense of 'meh'. Sometimes I have to spend great amounts of time just getting my sinuses clear so I can breathe. Other times I'm walking around in a fog until the caffeine cuts through.

Sometimes the kids remind me halfway through my workout that we need to leave in 15 minutes for whatever before-school extracurricular activity they have signed up for.

Sometimes I just plain have trouble reading the clock and doing the math to ensure I have adequate time.

Whatever the reason, some days I just cut it short.

Usually I find that I push harder, knowing that the pain will only last so long. My averages and peaks go up, resulting in a similar Training Stress Score and a higher Intens…

Lacking Focus.

I'm looking at my last season of fairly reliable availability to go put on my underwear and go ride a kid's toy against other people with Walter Mitty-esque delusions. When I start my next career, I will be starting more or less at the bottom. As my goal is continued employment (and the making of the monies), I'm going to take what they give me, smile, then ask for more. Hopefully a perception of reliability will make them overlook my countless personality defects. This means I may or may not be available for any given race, and long-term planning is out the window

So, facing this variable future, a hardcore racer boy would make sure he went out with a bang. He'd throw everything he had at training and diet to ensure the best chance for results. He would as be focused and determined as a honey badger in his quest.

I'm finding it hard to muster that sort of drive this year.

A lot probably has to do with stress and its effect on my life. I have to prioritize my life, an…


Here are the facts (as far as I can tell):
Chris Froome tested for twice the amount allowed for the asthma drug Salbutamol after Stage 17 of last year's Vuelta.Salbutamol is a specified substance on WADA, which does not require a TUE for inhaled use as long as the user stays below the threshold.Salbutamol in high doses or ingested through other means has performance-enhancing qualities.Froome and Team Sky have decided to fight it, which could draw out the case for over a year._______________________________________________________________________ I think Froome and Sky have screwed up royally. He could have stood up immediately upon notification, taken the hit while maintaining his innocence, emphasized his "strong" support for anti-doping efforts, and served out his sanction during the off-season. At the same time, he could have worked with the UCI and WADA to determine if there were any extenuating circumstances that led to the positive, possibly leading to a clearing of…

Expensive Diagnosis.

I recently had a high-resolution MRI done on my head. After a lifetime of taking what we used to call "dingers" where I'd see tweety birds and then get back up and play some more, I figured the current and more ominous designation of "traumatic brain injury" necessitated me seeing if I had done any serious damage.

I'd had one done after my car accident, but I guess the technology is much better these days, and I had cracked my helmet pretty good when I went down in the fall. I'd rather know what I was dealing with before I followed the proud NFL tradition of killing my girlfriend and our unborn child because of accumulated head trauma. If I were a betting man, I'd wager my wife would be really pissed at me, so it's best to head this one off at the pass.

I got my results back yesterday. I know it will surprise nobody when I say that they found nothing but a lifetime's accumulation of bile, bitterness, and regret. No visible damage, though. I gu…

Digging Myself Out Of A Hole.

It took six days of inactivity to wipe away a month of work.

All of that steady progress, and a case of the sniffles (and body aches and hacking coughing fits and...) knocked me back on my ass.

Now I'm just trying to start climbing back to a reasonable level for this time of year.

If I really think about it, getting sick in January is much better than getting sick in March or April. Ever since I first welcomed the germ monsters into my home, I get hit with one plague a year. If this is it, and I have a string of reasonable health running up to race season, I'll be happy.

It doesn't do much for the motivation, though. Seeing hours of sweat negated that quickly never is. I know in reality that the impact is less significant than the squiggly lines might indicate, but I tend to latch onto whatever stimuli I can to motivate myself to crawl out of bed early in the morning. Squiggly lines that have some abstract correlation to performance are as good a carrot as any, I guess.


Rebounding From The Rebound.

After two days of less-than-encouraging trainer workouts, the plague knocked me down again. Maybe I had tried to come back too soon. Maybe it was the germ factory that work has become. Whatever the reason, all I wanted to do was down a gallon of cold medicine, crawl into bed, and sleep for a week straight.

So, I took a couple more days off of the bike and tried to get better. It worked, to a degree.

When Sunday morning rolled around, I was healthy enough to get up for the 7:00AM road bike session at the Dome. I eased into it finding my legs and rediscovering what it was like to ride a bicycle that actually moved. When I tried a few efforts, the legs felt good, but my sinuses started flowing heavily very time I went above 250W. I'd latch onto a train for a little while, then have to pull off so I could go blow my nose. Oh well, at least I was moving.

I had to leave early so I could get to Mighty Mites. It was a relatively cold day on the mountain, made more so by the water that the re…

Don't Rush It.

The last two days I bailed on workouts early.

I got plenty of sleep and didn't feel any worse initially than I usually do, but a few minutes in I knew it wasn't going to go well. Nothing was going to change it. I had a sprint or two in me, and that was about it. Riding 'meh' for an extended period just doesn't do it for me, so I took my ball and went home.

I don't want to prolong this any longer than I have to. I can put my head down and gut through it, but that will just make things worse. Right now I'm maintaining my squiggly line equilibrium after a week of losses, so that's going to have to do.

Today I was light-headed for a while afterwards, and that kinda scared me. It tells me this could drag on for a while. Of course, my list of targeted road races for January and February is pretty short, so I think I can adjust my schedule to accommodate a minor hiccup or three in the interests of long-term health.

That said, sometimes it's hard for me to tell…

Not Bad, Not Good.

Monday went better than Saturday.

I woke up feeling not completely horrible, which was an improvement. The hacking cough, while less frequent, still clung to my wheel like an unwelcome drafter. The general sense of fatigue still wrapped my entire body. I wanted nothing more than to spend yet another day in bed, but it was time to start moving before I grew roots. Nothing major, but I needed to see what was possible and sustainable.

After sitting around in my kit, I finally forced myself onto the bike. It's probably going to tweet #MeToo, because I don't think either one of us were really interested. I started off slow, but eventually I discovered it wasn't quite as bad as it was the last time. I even went for a couple sprints, just to see how bad I could make things. The first one went well enough, but the second left me barely able to pedal. I took the hint and rode easy for the rest of the time.

When it was time to stop, I unclipped, stepped off, and draped my body over the…

Not The Brightest Move.

Watching the TrainingPeaks squiggly lines trenddown instead of up was too hard, so at the first parting of the flu clouds, I kitted up. I walked downstairs and sat down in my computer chair to put on my shoes. Three hours later I actually got on the bike. I literally sat there, fully kitted, for three hours. 

My body was trying to tell me something.

Eventually I was able to ignore it, and I went into the garage to see if I could make the pedals go roundy-round. It soon became evident that I could, but it wasn't all that easy. In fact, I would say that was the hardest 75 minutes of Zone 2 riding I've ever done. When I got off, I felt dizzy. I could barely walk. I started coughing uncontrollably, and pretty much crawled my way out of the garage.

The rest of the day was spent hogging the Christmas hammock and counting the minutes until the next round of medicine.

I should have listened.

The next day, Sunday, I didn't even consider going to The Dome. I wasn't conta…

It's Bad.

Last year I got the flu, toughed it out, and got my whole cubicle farm sick. 

This year I went in early, found out I had the flu, and was put on quarters for a couple days.

When the two days were over, I called up my boss and told him I was taking a day of leave on Friday so I wouldn't get anyone outside of my family sick. That's when I leaned two things:
My boss was now showing symptoms, and several other people within the organization were also sick. The bright side to this was that, unlike last year, I was not identified as Patient Zero. Someone else took up that mantle, and I am merely a victim this time around.We already had Friday off. I have to be pretty sick not to realize there was a PACAF Family Day coming up. I had even forgot about Martin Luther King's birthday on Monday. I was flat out of it.I decided right then that I was skipping Mighty Mites this week. Even if I felt 100% better, I would still be risking slowing my recovery by playing  on the hill. As sick as …


I just finished day three of the flu, day two of not getting on the bike.

The only virtual world I'm frequenting is Netflix.

The intervals I care about are the times between medication doses.

All I need to do to make myself hurt is brush up against some air.

This sucks.

I had just leveled off onto a sustainable training volume/intensity on TrainingPeaks, and now I'm watching it dribble away. The Type A side of me wants to get on and only do an "easy ride" to slow the plummet, but then I move and am reminded why that isn't possible at the moment.

Mainly I just sleep.

I'd like to believe that I will be well-rested when I get back, but the truth is that I'll be stale and still recovering. I'll probably take weeks to get back to where I was. That's the brutal reality I'm facing. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to bed. Typing hurts too much.


A couple days ago I started coughing at work, which is never a good sign.

Yesterday morning I woke up to alternating body aches and sweats, and the hacking cough had gotten much, much worse.

Yesterday afternoon I went in to see the doctor, and they shoved a q-tip up my nose and then told me I had the flu.


'Tis the season.


Every year for the past 26 years, I've done some form of a fitness test.

Early on, it was a bike test and a height/weight test, the former I was perpetually in danger of failing. It wasn't so much the concept of riding a bike or even my general fitness (which was starting to take a dive), but rather simple test anxiety. As soon as I would get on the stationary bike and words like "bike" or "test" were mentioned, my heart rate would shoot through the roof and I'd fail before I ever started. It would just be outside of the expected parameters, and the algorithms just wouldn't adapt. It wasn't a rare occurrence, and eventually methods were developed to "beat" the test. Mostly it was about breathing control, not fitness. They fiddled with the program for years before abandoning the bike, because it just wasn't an effective gauge of how "fit" a person was.

Replacing it later was a run, pushups, sit-ups, and an abdominal measurem…

Winding Down.

As I approach the impending life change facing me over the next year, I am forced to confront how the parts of my world that I sometimes took for granted will be impacted. When it comes to recreation (which my world centers around), this impact will be most pronounced.

This will probably be my last season coaching Mighty Mites full time. I may fill in as I can, but I won't likely be able to commit to a full season, since I have no idea how many days I will actually be in town for or otherwise occupied. The low man on the totem pole takes whatever is thrown at him if he wants to stay employed, and there will be a few years where I'm in that position. The real downside of this is that I won't be on the hill with the kids, and the time I spend with my daughter in this manner won't be as frequent. She would have only had one more year with the program anyway, and I don't think she's interested in being a serious ski racer. Instead, whenever we can, we'll ski tog…

Under The Big Top?

Word is the Dome is back open, and cycling is on the schedule for 7:00-9:00AM next Sunday. 

I have no idea if this is true or not, because the advertised number on their Facebook page was forwarded during operating hours to another number which then went to voicemail. There is no online schedule I could find.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I really hope it returns. I looked forward to the time I could spend with fellow roadies each Sunday, before I had to leave early to get to Girdwood for Mighty Mites. It's a great change from the trainer. Even showing up with completely cooked legs from a week of intervals, I'd still happily wake up early, pack the bag, load up the bike, and drive to the Dome for an hour of roadie therapy.

Sometimes I'd sit in the car because the staff hadn't shown up yet. Sometimes they'd show up after a while, reeking of a night poorly spent. Sometimes they wouldn't show up at all during the road bike hours, with no indication on the …


I generally follow a few different cycling bloggers, because somebody has to read it. Might as well be me.

Over the years, I've noticed, as a general rule, my posts are shorter than theirs.

Some bloggers post less frequently, allowing them more time to ponder and expand upon their theme. I used to post less frequently, but I don't think the quality was any better. There were just more shitty words strung together in a given post. There's only so much crap, even in someone like me, so when I upped the frequency I had to meter my feces to spread it evenly. If you want a blog to grow, you can't dump all of the fertilizer in one spot.  

Others post the same amount or even more than I do, yet each post is longer. Some manage to make me laugh, pause to consider their point of view, or scream profanities at the screen, as is my wont. They also have a way with words and the ability to craft their posts into something actually readable. I marvel at their engagement with the world…

Making the Change.

It's the little things that count.

I've always thrown my dirty cycling kit in a pile at the foot of the very nice but never used rocking chair, which is itself piled high with other stuff and therefore unusable. The primary benefit of this system was it was simple and required no expenditure of funds to implement. A downside was putting your bare foot in the middle of a soggy chamois in the middle of the night as you navigated the dark bedroom towards the bathroom. No system is perfect, but this one did the trick for years.

In my constant search for marginal gains (AKA gray area doping), I decided to start off the new year with a renewed focus on process improvement. In other words, I went to Walmart and spent the five bucks on a small laundry hamper. It's blue, which I'm sure will be significantly more aerodynamic in wind tunnel testing when compared to the white model.

I might one day wistfully long for a simpler time, as my night-time strolls will no longer require cat…

Setting The Standard.

On January 1, 2018 I didn't get on my bike at all.

I slept in until my wife made me get up and go to the store. Upon return, I stumbled around a while and then went back to bed. Eventually I walked out to the living room and party my wife was hosting, Shoved a few handfuls of finger foods in my mouth, and then went back to bed.

When everyone was gone, I got back up with considerable prodding from the wife and set up the hammock and its frame. This humble present, addressed to nobody in particular and purchased on a whim when I noticed it was on clearance on Amazon, jumped to the top of this year's most popular Christmas gift list. Heated arguments have erupted over who gets to be in the hammock, which is the gold standard indication for gift quality. Go figure.

When all was said and done, I went back to bed for my marathon sleep session.

If the precedence set on the first day of 2018 s any indication,
My fitness is going to suck this year.I'm going to be fat.I may or may not …

Maybe Another One Will Do The Trick

I didn't write a New Year's Day post. I took the day off. You get what you pay for.

Last week was a Recovery Week, so I tried to back off and let my body rebuild. By "back off", I mean ride as hard as I could sustain before my legs gave out and I was forced to pedal squares for the rest of the workout. Day after day, I would stick to this scientific plan, with the faint hope my legs would come around. They never did. 

I tried pedaling harder, but they only got worse. I tried really stomping on them, and the same thing happened. I strained mightily, generating more sweat than watts, but for some reason my legs never snapped back.

What the fuck? I went to all of the hassle of designating the whole week (not just a couple days) as a Recovery Week, and laid out all sorts of easy workouts that were designed for active recovery. Not that I stuck to them, but it's the thought that counts, right? All of that careful planning, flushed right down the drain. I tell, it isn'…