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Showing posts from February, 2018

Virtual City Limit Sprints.

Zwift's Watopia Island course only has a couple designated sprints. One's longer than the other and they're in more or less the same location in opposite directions. One takes me a little less than 11 seconds to finish, the other takes me about 25 seconds. A pretty good  loop of the island takes me about 15 minutes, give or take. So, if I only went for the established sprints during a loop of the island, I'd be sprinting about 4 times an hour.

The problem with this is that is doesn't help to develop a faster recovery from hard efforts. Chugging around at Zone 3, sprinting, then chugging around at more Zone 3 just isn't a great way to train for crits. It's more like a good way to train to get dropped. I don't need to train for that, because I'm already performing at an elite level when it comes to not being able to keep up. As I get older, it becomes harder and harder to bounce back from a big effort. By "big effort", I mean a lot of flailin…

Can't Place The Face.

After three weeks of illness and other conflicts keeping me away, I showed up to the Dome on Sunday morning. I arrived just as they were opening, and quickly hustled getting my bike off the rack, out of the 5F temperatures, and into a warmer environment.

I have to say the staff is nicer and more efficient since they re-opened. Big improvement. Also nice was that the walkers are no longer on the track with the bikes, meaning there are fewer conflicts and scary moments. We can run three-wide packs with room on either side to pass or be passed. It's nice.

When I first got there, I didn't recognize anyone. There were already several people on the track and suiting up, but none of them I could place. It was like traveling and showing up to a group ride or race- lots of people but you're the odd man out. Don't get me wrong, this is a very very good thing. More people means this thing is more sustainable and makes it more likely the Dome management will be more likely to contin…

I Wish I Could Say That.

I wish I could say I jump out of bed every day and rush to the trainer to knock out a structured workout.

I can't.

I hit the snooze button a bunch of times, pausing tiny fragments of '80s hits that may or may not end up as the day's earworm. I play games and surf bike blogs on my phone. Eventually I get up and get kitted up, but then I just sit mindlessly at my computer until the last possible second. Sometimes I go a few minutes over the last possible second, proving Einstein was right- time is relative.

When inspiration strikes, I get on the bike. I have the workout planned, but they're not the structured 5 x pukervals Janice used to schedule for me. No, it's more of a loose suggestion, like "ride relatively easy and then sprint occasionally" or "ride pretty hard until you don't want to anymore." Even with this low bar to clear, I generally don't follow the plan. Some days I'm not inspired to sprint, and end up grinding out a TT worko…

Past The Deadline.

Little late on this entry, so feel free to dock my blog pay.

Since I cut the cord and have gone to streaming TV, I watch a lot less of it. Part of it is that some of the streaming providers are slower than others, and that makes it hard to channel surf. Therefore, if I don't immediately see something I want to watch or the service is running a bit slow, I just bail.

My wife, on the other hand, is fully engaged with the binge-watching potential of our various streaming providers. She'll watch anything, and is currently going through the first few seasons of ER. Yeah, it's a problem. I'm not immune, and am currently going through the first season of "Westworld", but once I'm done with that I'll probably wait until "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones" comes back on. For the most part, I'd rather just take a nap these days instead of watching hours of mindless TV. It may be that I'm getting old.

I also don't have much acces…

Vacation.

On Tuesday I heard the NCAA ruled that theLouisville Cardinals would vacate the 2013 National Championship, because an investigation uncovered members of the coaching staff hired prostitutes and strippers for players and recruits. I always thought that was standard stuff.

Normally I wouldn't care about corruption and malfeasance in some bouncy-ball sport. Cycling has enough of that sort of thing to saturate my interest in such things. However, this particular instance is different.

This time it's Luke.

Luke is my cousin, my father's brother's kid. Because of the twisted nature of families and marital relationships and generations and military careers keeping me on the other side of the continent for the vast majority of his life, I think I've talked to him three or four times, and from what I can tell, he's pretty tall. I like to say I've had a profound impact on his life. I'm much closer to his younger brother, who skis and rides bikes.

So, when it turned …

A Little Hippy.

The other day I was walking down the hall with a co-worker. Someone came up and mentioned we were limping on the opposite sides.

"She completes me," was my reply.

It's worst on Mondays, after a Sunday full of Mighty Mite adventures. Standing up from a seated position is a two-part process. The first part gets me 90% upright, and then a quick wheezy grunt takes the rest of the way. This, of course, requires a good amount of pre-loading with pills to accomplish. There. I said it. I dope so I can competitively stand.

Most of the time the trainer helps loosen things up. Unless I overdo it. I overdo it a lot. However, if I don't ride, I stiffen up to the point that people veer away to avoid catching whatever it is that's making me walk in that manner.

Today I'll go back to Physical Therapy to get beat down. I'll probably feel it for days, mainly because I haven't been doing all the exercises they've given me. Part of that was that I got out of the habit wh…

Nothing I Can Say.

I started to write a post about gun control, but erased it.

I mean, what's the point? Positions are so entrenched that no blog, even one as supremely influential as this one, will change a single mind. Everyone seems to have already decided, so therefore nothing will change. All that happens is that we move a little further apart, so that any points we can agree on are lost behind our respective walls.

For the record, I don't own a gun now, but I have in the past (and very well could in the future). My abilities with a firearm are surpassed by my bike-handling skills, which is to say they suck. Thanks to horrible eyesight and general impatience, I am a terrible shot. Well, not terrible, since I qualified for years on the M-16, but bad enough that let's just say that a slot never opened for me on the US Biathlon Team. It's just as well, because dedicated target plinking never really floated my boat. Neither did hunting, although I did find I enjoyed the camping part. That…

Yeah, Should Have Known.

Two days after the rapid weight loss I jumped on the trainer ready to continue my dramatic recovery.

It didn't work out that way.

My legs, depleted from a lack of fuel and the previous day's workout, just sorta flopped around for an hour. There was no short duration power. There was no long duration power. There wasn't any power at all.

I wasn't disappointed in this lack of performance. It was only logical, and given how quickly (relatively speaking) the whole unpleasant experience was over, I was almost thankful.

The next day I bounced back, thanks to plenty of sleep and food. Glorious food. Food that stayed where it should be and absorbed into my starved muscles. That was exactly what I needed, and it was nice to know I could recover and continue. These days it's something I no longer take for granted. I'm more accepting of my limitations, both of the temporary kind and those that are with me for the long haul. The list of the latter seems to grow larger every da…

Dusting Myself Off (Again).

The day after I lost a bunch of weight in a rapid and completely unhealthy manner, I woke up, kitted up, and jumper on the trainer. I wasn't expecting much, and from what I can tell, I delivered.

Actually, given how little glycogen (or anything else) was left in my body, I was pretty happy with what I did manage to put out there. A couple sprint efforts, a couple longer pulls, and a whole lot of 'meh' was about all I had in the tank. All things considered, not too bad.

Sooner or later, I'm going to stop having to get up, dust myself off, and get back into the game. Either I'm going to stop falling down and getting sick, or I'm going to admit the obvious and add this to the long list of activities that I am unsuited for. As I am not particularly intuitive or intelligent, it will probably take me a long time to come to the latter realization. I'll just keep hammering my head against this here brick wall. It may not be particularly comfortable, but it is familia…

Fragility.

Somewhere in the midst of depositing seven pounds of body weight in my bathroom the other day, it occurred to me that my health is much more fragile than it once was.

When I was young, I never got sick. Sure, I pretended to be sick to get out of school for a day or two, but actual sick wasn't something I did a whole lot of. The only times I saw the inside of the hospital was when I broke my thumb jumping my bike (the front wheel came off mid-air, so not much I could have done about that), the occasional twisted ankle in soccer, and that time my appendix blew up.

As I got older (and fatter), I'd throw out my back or something stupid like that, but that was about it. My health wasn't good in my late 20s and early 30s, but I wasn't sick.

Then, in my mid to late 30s, just as I started to get in some kind of physical shape other than round, I had to go and introduce kids into my life. Young kids. Young, germ-infested kids. Kids on the cutting edge of weaponized illness technol…

Another One.

Yesterday the youngest gifted me with whatever bug he's been fighting for the last three days. To spare you the details, I lost seven pounds, but somehow I don't thing this is going to do much for performance. Fortunately, I bounced back quicker than he did, so I get to go back to work.

Um, yay?

Taking It Less Seriously.

The other night, as I waxed my daughter's skis for a Mighty Mite race, I reflected on how at one time this simple act was an obsessive ordeal. I used to take the tuning of skis very, very seriously. I dumped a lot of money into waxes, irons, files, guides, and all sorts of stuff nobody outside of the World Cup really needs. I spent hours upon hours honing edges until they were mirrors and would cut glass from across the street. At one time, my usual edge prep required the progressive use of eight different files and stones. Then came waxing, with all sorts of space age waxes and overlays designed to make them glide effortlessly. All of this was necessary, I told myself, to make myself as fast as possible on race day.


You know what? After all of that, I still sucked. A dog dragging its butt across the carpet was faster than I was in the gates, and that dog probably spent less time prepping than I did.


Eventually, I stopped caring. Waxing was something I did to protect the skis, not s…

Old Man.

I went to Physical Therapy last week, and they put me through all sorts of exercises designed to make me hurt worse. Fine, that's part of the game I guess. The next day I was more or less back to normal.

The next day, I moved all of my stuff to another office at work down the hall, which didn't amount to much real lifting. I did some minor re-arranging and cleaning. I was on par with what passes for "good" these days.  

The day after that I did more re-organizing in my new environment. Nothing heavy was moved and nothing strenuous was accomplished. I picked up the kids after work, drove home, and hung out with the youngest in the hammock. Two hours later I climbed out and was immediately struck by my inability to stand upright. My lower back, from my right hip to my spine, was locked up and looking for any excuse to make me cry.

I'm not sure the physical therapy is doing what it's supposed to do.

I crawled to bed and found a position that was stable and would hop…

Some Days.

Some days I think to myself, as I drive home from work, "you know, maybe I should get on the trainer and knock out a short workout."

You know what? I rarely ever do. 

I climb out of the car, and somewhere between the driveway and the front door all motivation leaves me. I just want a nap.

Today I had those thoughts, but that was after physical therapy. I should have known. Lots of core exercises and stretches to loosen up tendons that have never, ever responded in any meaningful way to stretching. By the time I got home, I had just about enough energy to make it to the hammock in the living room. 

Yes, the family has still refused to let me take down the hammock, and it seems to have become a permanent fixture, more popular than the expensive leather soda and chair that everyone used to fight over. Now, it's a cheap hammock that gets its load capacity tested each and every day.

I did my workout this morning, and didn't cut any corners. I warmed up on the bike at physical …

Nothing To See Here.

Apparently I scheduled two posts for yesterday, leaving today with nothing. Oh well.

I could quickly scrawl out a post about phlegm and old man problems, but I think I'll spare you that today.

It snowed a few inches yesterday. My fat-biking friends will be out playing and enjoying this latest addition to what we now call "winter". I hope some of it lasts until I can get to it on Sunday, instead of the scraped-off bits we've had lately. The good news is that the sun is out more, so the flat light of January will give way to the more reliable sun of February and March. The best skiing of the year is likely here, and I hope to have my little band of Chipmunks, or as I call them, "Monkeychunks", out on the steeper and more challenging terrain of Alyeska. Scare the hell out of them, then have them ask me to do it again.

However, right now I have to get on the trainer. Priorities...

Well, That Was Fun.

The other day I was almost involved in a VIP visit. Let me say right off the bat that I was not thrilled about the prospect. I normally hate people as a rule, and important people just are more trouble than they're worth. I'm sure they do very important things, but I just wish they would do them somewhere else.

In this case, the Vice President was dropping by for a visit on his way to the Olympics. A week of high-level planning with senior-level officers either trying desperately for face time or simply trying to ensure nobody screwed up and a contingent of Secret Service guys eventually filtered down to me. Non-essential personnel in the facility were sent home early, and I would have gladly gone with them. No such luck. My role was to let the Secret Service into the nooks and crannies of my building beforehand and then make myself scarce. Something would have to go very, very wrong for my role to be anything more than that.

I'm not huge on celebrities, so the thought of no…

Climbing Again.

It was surprising how much a few days of the flu and a couple of weeks knocked down by a sinus infection affected me. However, the squiggly lines finally leveled off and I started pushing decent watts for longer durations. Not like I was before I got sick, but at least I'm building again.

My performance charts are kinda like the stock market. Every once in a while there needs to be a correction. Like the stock market it's usually unplanned. One day everything is cruising along nicely, then the next day an errant virus or tweet sends everything into a death spiral. Eventually you level out and start chugging away again, promising yourself to be more careful next time. You won't breathe when you go to pick up the kid from preschool or bet so heavily on Bitcoin futures. But you will. You'll get careless, and before you know it you'll be knocked on your ass again. You get up, dust yourself off, and climb back into the saddle. You're a fucking moron.

The older I get,…

Wound Up.

Saturday night I just couldn't shut down my brain, which rarely happens. Usually I have trouble engaging it. As a result, I didn't fall asleep until 4:00 AM, which meant waking up at 6:00 AM Sunday morning to ride at the Dome wasn't going to happen. Sure, I woke up when my alarm went off, but it took me about a microsecond to decide to set the alarm for a later time and just skip riding.

Don't get me wrong, I wanted to ride with the gang, but I needed as many seconds of sleep as I could get for Mighty Mites. Some ball sport game thingy caused our schedule to be adjusted, so we were going to ski straight through lunch and finish early so people could cheer for their team to move the thing to the other thing. Normally this wouldn't be much of an issue, but temperatures were in the lower single digits and my hardcore little band of miscreants were complaining of frozen feet and other trivial things.

The Dome would have to wait another week.

I had trashed my legs the d…

Making It Worse To Get Better.

Twenty three of so years ago I was sleeping on a cheap futon every night. My then-wife and I didn't have much money at the time, and the furniture we had was less than impressive.

As a result of sleeping on that futon, the muscles in my right arm grew so they pinched off a nerve cluster in my shoulder. Every once in a while, a searing pain would shoot through my shoulder. This was especially fun when I was driving 70MPH on the highway. It was debilitating every time it occurred, and kinda scary for a young kid who had up until that point been more or less invincible. Even an exploding appendix hadn't dropped me. This was before years of chronic back pain and other accumulated ailments taught me my own mortality.

I went to the doctor, who gave me a bunch of 1000mg Motrin horse pills and sent me to physical therapy. Not knowing any better, I went.

When I got there, I was assigned to the only guy at the clinic with less medical experience than I had. He started sticking electrodes o…

Even Air Really Pisses Me Off Right Now.

I woke up this morning extremely irritable.

I tried everything that's supposed to level me out, and the futile remedies just made me angrier. I played with my idiot phone for a while, and that likely just made me even more agitated. I stayed in bed too long, just to pile on my bad mood.

Eventually I got on my bike. I didn't have time for my planned workout, so I was in full, veins-bulging Hulk mode when I started turning the pedals. I wanted to smash, so I did.

My anger fueled my first lap on Zwift, which ended up being a 30 day personal record. I also took each of the jerseys as I went, which is extremely rare for me. The sprint jerseys? Sure, that happens often enough, but the climbing and overall jerseys don't come my way that often unless the course is completely empty. Since I don't consider a jersey "valid" until I at least hold it for a lap, the fact I had them the entire time indicated the times were fairly decent (or the other 2,000 people online were s…