Fit Recovery

CAUTION:

This blog is written in plain, fly-over country English. The Author reserves the right to forego nonsensical, feel-good gibberish.

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Ain’t nothin’ but a thing, chicken wing…

On Friday, my friends and I had an uproarious laugh that one of the guys on our bowling team had taken “the under” on me making it to Sunday for my 26 years clean and sober.

I add “clean” due to its increasing importance in the minor squabble over whether or not doing drugs amounts to a relapse or not. Most sane people can laugh that one off, but I didn’t add that for them. There are, sadly, some very sick people out there who won’t feel the full freedom of recovery because they’re too afraid to fully quit.

In any event, “the over” won the bet.

It’s a party, baby.

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The Silliest Argument there is for not Wearing a Cycling Helmet on a Bike: They Increase the Chance of Injury.

I read an article that touched a nerve. This is the last line:

Feel free to use your head as you see fit.

I commented on the article by adding, “Including as a means of stopping your bike”…

There isn’t much that gives me the vapors like the argument that a bicycle helmet shouldn’t be worn because it increases the chance of injury in a bike crash because the whole argument against helmets is predicated on the absurd notion that if one simply rides like a grandma, one won’t ever fall over because they’ll never encounter an unexpected situation. And the reason it drives me nuts is I used to think that way, right up until my eight year-old daughter fell directly in front of me – it was either I go down or I run over my little girl. I chose to go down and when I did, missed the pavement with my noggin by less than an inch. The fact that I didn’t split my mush was pure luck, nothing more.

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On the other hand, I know why the argument is made – and that’s what’s important; the ridiculous idea that a government should make helmets mandatory. Hell, the idea that a government can make wearing a bicycle helmet mandatory – or that politicians believe they have the right to regulate the lives of people to such a tiny degree is simply disgusting to me. This shouldn’t come as a surprise once you know I live in the United States. Most of us, at least those who paid attention in our history and political science classes, feel uneasy about government rule, as should be the case.

Actually, let me amend that paragraph… In Europe, South America, and Canada, over-regulation is expected. It’s the norm, so the notion that a population of people should be the petri dish for politicians bent on regulating the lives of their constituents to a point where all they have left to worry about is being happy and following all of the f***ing rules is nothing new. In the United States, it’s something of a turn (excepting California and New York, of course – residents of New York are so stupid they don’t know how to drink soda pop or put salt on their food. They need politicians to regulate those things for them… heh).

Before I go off on a tangent, which I’m precariously close to doing, I wanted to take a moment to interject some sanity into the discussion because if you don’t know how the argument works, you may end up believing something that simply isn’t true.

Let the silliness commence:

in NYC despite increases in helmet wearing they found the grand sum of zero safety benefit, in fact safety went backwards post helmet wearing and post rules for children. So we do know what happened after helmets became more commonplace. You can repeat this in every country you choose to look at incl UK where helmet wearing has increased significantly.

Zero safety benefit? We could call this, “what good people do with bad information”. Exhibit A:

My friend’s melon still looks the same after the accident that cracked his helmet. Here’s the helmet before the accident, lest someone gets the idea that he was a noob who didn’t know how to properly ride his bicycle:

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The jersey says “National Champion”, and it was actually earned. That’s not a “Fred’s Smokehouse Ride through the Park Champion” jersey. I’ve heard him explain that his helmet saved his life and I believe him. I have two more friends, both who cracked their helmets – one had a guy’s chain brake in front of him, the other simply passed out because he was dehydrated… neither had lasting injuries or repercussions because they were wearing a helmet. Zero safety benefit? To claim that is simply wrong.

Another favorite of mine is the canard that cyclists will ride in a manner more dangerous to their health if they wear a helmet; the old “they feel impervious to injury” argument. What a trailer-full of horseshit. The argument assumes that, if we’re not going to wear a helmet, cyclists will trade in their 15 pound race bikes for a beach cruiser with a bell and a basket on the front where we can neatly store our balls when we go for a leisurely cruise around the block to burn twelve calories. They assume a cyclist will turn into a bike rider if they don’t wear a helmet… Wrong.

That’s not what happens. We cyclists don’t trade in our balls for a leisure bike with tassels streaming out the handlebar ends. No, we ride as we normally would, just without a helmet. And the rare accident increases exponentially in severity. Instead of a broken collar bone, we end up with brain damage and the need for a nurse to change the diapers we now require because we have a tendency to crap our pants.

Folks, you can buy stupid if you want, but don’t expect me to jump off the “stupid” cliff holding your hand – even if you do think it’ll be a soft landing.

No thanks.

Funny thing about recovery, you tend to get exactly what you’re looking for. There’s just one trick…

I went to a meeting with my sponsor last night. It’s an interesting time for us. He was hit by a truck in May, doing a good samaritan deed on the side of the road. He wasn’t in a car accident. He was hit by a truck going 50-mph. That he isn’t dead is a miracle in and of itself. He’s getting around on a walker now, and will shortly be progressing to a cane, but he still can’t drive. So once a week I pick him up and take him to a meeting. We follow that with dinner and some wonderful conversation.

Being able to spend a couple of hours a week with him has been invaluable. It’s an interesting time in my life and helping him while he’s helped me has been dynamic.

As the Title says, I get what I need in recovery, but there’s an “if” and I’ll get to that in a minute.

We read a story out of the Big Book last night, on page 499, “There’s nothing the matter with me!”

The last paragraph struck a chord with me last night. It made me smile:

You find that big people discuss ideals, average people discuss things, and little people-they just talk about other people. And you realize that if you put this all together, you get a little humility, a little tolerance, a little honesty, a little sincerity, a little prayer-and a lot of A.A.

A sponsee from a while back sent me a text this morning that he’s coming back after some road tests that didn’t end so well (do they ever?) and he asked if I was able to work with him again.

I responded that it just so happened I was in need of someone to work with, so it looked like it would work out for the both of us…

The funny thing about recovery, the trick, is you get exactly what you’re looking for… as long as you’re looking.

It’s getting close now:

Six Reasons why Using a Trainer is the BEST way to get Fit? Wait, Really?

I recently read an article over at Road.cc in which the author supports the conclusion that the lowly turbo trainer is the best way to get fit.

Forgive me if I don’t jump on the CycleOps M2 right off the bat… even if the author generally makes some good points. It’s safer, yep, especially in the winter months. Less prep time, less cleanup, yep again. Easier to hit target efforts and heart rates, check. No worrying about traffic, check.

Now, it wouldn’t be a Fit Recovery post if I didn’t go a little contrarian on the article. If there’s one thing that’s wrong with the world in which we live, and I mean this seriously, it is over-the-top hyperbole.

Indoor training can be more time efficient if you don’t have the luxury of 25 hours a week to ride your bike.”

Wait, twenty-five hours… a week?!

Okay, sparky, let’s hold on a second. I ride a ton for a working guy. I’m going to hit 10,000 miles this year (or get damn close) and I’ve only got one week the whole season where I got within sniffing distance of 25 hours. DALMAC weekend, during which I ride 380 miles with my friends in four days. I had 445 miles that week. Every other week besides that one, I was between 10 and 15 hours for the week. Even with prep and clean up, I’m not getting over 17 hours total for a normal week.

If it’s worth it, we should be able to seal the deal on the actual merits. We shouldn’t have to make $#!+ up.

Another fun point the author claimed, is that indoor training is fun. Look, the way I took the article, the author is trying to make the point that indoor training isn’t all bad – and it’s not. In the winter months, when it’s dark, cold and wet (or icy), there’s no doubt, a trainer can suffice for those few months. The new programs available, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy (etc.) go a long way to making the indoor training experience tolerable (I’m still partial to the old, Insert Star Wars movie into DVD player, crank Bose Digital 5.1 surround sound to 11 method), but let’s face reality here; compared to the great outdoors, with all of the bells and whistles, indoor training goes from soul-crushingly boring to livable… at best.

Indoor training is still what you do if you must. Outdoor training will always be preferable to knock off the rust.

The One, Simple Inescapable Truth about Training to Ride Faster on a Bicycle

I can still remember my first ride on my brand new, never been ridden until I rolled it out the door, Specialized Venge.  I had just removed all of the useless weight (reflectors, etc.) and set the saddle for height and fore/aft position and pumped up the tires that still didn’t even have a scuff on them yet (after the photo session, of course – it’s only brand new once).  The moment of truth had arrived…

I donned my finest kit, strapped down my shoes (I had Pearl Izumi Tri shoes at the time), put my helmet on, and rolled out.  I started fairly easy at first, not wanting to wreck the ride by pushing too hard, too fast, and too soon… sounds like a tragic comedy, actually.  Coming up my favorite stretch of road (at the time), I was absolutely flying.  Faster than I’d ever gone on that section of road.  A wry grin stretched across my face as I pushed harder on the pedals.  My first ride on a real, honest to God, super-bike…

And then it hit me.  I had no more excuses.  If, from that moment on, I wasn’t fast, it was the fault of the engine.

It was a sobering reality.  When I set out for my first ride on my brand new super-bike, the last thing I was expecting was an “oh shit” moment, but that’s what I got.

I didn’t know it back then, but I did have a few small excuses left.  The Venge was a bit heavy out of the box and the wheels that came on the bike were cheap junk, but today all of my excuses are out the window – I literally have everything an amateur cycling enthusiast (with a mortgage, a smokin’ hot wife, and two kids) could want in a bike:

As a member of the B Group in our club, having gone from an average on the exact same course, over 30 miles on Tuesday night, from 20-1/2-mph to better than 23-mph (we were toying with 23-1/2 at the end of this season), there is one simple, inescapable truth about riding fast; if you want to get fast, you have to get used to pushing beyond your comfort zone.

I have my limits, of course, and I think that’s a good thing.  I have a solid core of friends I like riding with and I don’t feel it’s necessary to get much faster than they ride.  In the end, it’s all about being happy, anyway.  I had to pay the piper in puke to get here, though.  There are months spent on the trainer, pushing harder gears than most normal folk would bother putting up with.  There are the spring miles used to get ready for our first 100k of the season at the end of April that we like to do at a 20-mph average…  There are entire two or three-hour rides where I’m thinking, “Dude, why do I do this to myself!?”  When I’m down south, on vacation in the mountains and rather than sitting back and relaxing, I’m hammering up the steepest damn hill I know of so I can get back home and be a little stronger on our version of “hills”.

Most people who struggle to ride fast think the folks at the front are up there hammering the group down the road, passing bon-bons back and forth, talking about the latest market changes and the fed’s quarterly plan for the interest rate.  Nope, they’re struggling too, just like everyone else.  Some have just learned to push through it a little better than the average bear.

While all of the trinkets and do-dads are worth a mile an hour (maybe 1-1/2), in the end, what really matters is the engine.  A high-end bike won’t fix low-end legs©.

 

The Key to Cycling Fitness is to Want To when You don’t Want To

A blog friend of mine wrote a post about his journey to finding fitness yesterday and it inspired me a little bit.  While I don’t ride every day, I do ride a lot – enough I don’t have to worry about riding in the rain as those are limited to about a day or two per month between May and October.

What’s important is how I’ve maintained the “want to” over the last seven years (seventeen if you want to lump in the running years) – especially on those days where I don’t really want to.

The author of that post had it and didn’t quite know how to put it together…

Once I get out the door, I love riding.  Once the pedals start turning, I’m almost always glad to be on the bike.  The trick is to get suited up and get out the door.  After that, it’s gravy.

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And so Winter Begins… It’s Time for some Easy Miles

Winter has begun, more than a month and a half early. We’ve had our first snow already, and the temp is regularly below freezing… yesterday we were well into the “feels like” temperatures. It “felt like” 20 (-5 C) when we would normally ride, at 8am. My wife and I rode our trainers.

With all of the hard work of the season done, I’ve been looking forward to some easy spinning anyway….

For the longest time I’d get right into trainer season and I wouldn’t take any time off. I’d push hard gears and put some decent effort into trainer time all winter long. I switched up last year, though. I decided to go easy after the night ride (first Tuesday after the time change in November) until we hit the New Year Holiday. I got to thinking, it just doesn’t make sense to ride hard twelve months out of the year, so I decided for a couple of months, I’d take some time to enjoy gravel riding outdoors if I had the opportunity, but for the most part, the hard riding was over.

I’ve gotta tell you, after all of the training and effort, it’s quite nice to have a couple of months where it’s just riding for the fun of it.  I think that’s how it should be for my anniversary month, anyway.  Just enjoying life as it is, rather than trying to push through it.

DALMAC - 2016 The Wall

July 2013 Lake Burton, Tiger, GA

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