The family and I are heading out on vacation – and this year I’ve got a bike rack, so at the very least the road bike and Mrs. BgddyJim’s mountain bike are heading for the hills – well, technically the mountains. We’ve got a couple of days in the mountains of northern Georgia followed by a week in the Smoky Mountains. I’d rather take down both road bikes but the reality is the misses just isn’t ready for mountain climbing on a 52/42 double and a seven speed cassette (I don’t know if I’d be able to handle that).
This will be my first foray into real climbing and I’m all kinds of fired up about it. On my ride today I got my front dérailleur tuned in so all three rings are shifting like butter – I had the top two shifting smoothly but I neglected the small ring because I never use it. I also picked up a new tire. I hit a rock or a railroad tie at some point and busted a couple of belts on the Gatorskin I’ve been riding on… Under normal loads I can’t even tell it’s got a small imperfection but I’m not about to find out the hard way that at 55 mph it’s got a terrible wobble to it.
I am, however, trying to convince the wife that I should bring my mountain bike too, lest we get an itch to go mountain biking as well. We’ll be staying on Lake Nantahala and I’m under the understanding there’s some pretty good mountain biking in the area. I’ll also be contacting a few local bike clubs such as the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen, to see if I can get in on a ride or two.
I wrote a post back in April in which I listed the ten bloggers I’d most like to ride with. Aaron over at Steep Climbs made the list and I left him a comment on his blog that I’d be heading his way, unfortunately the timing just won’t work so I’ll have to try and work that in another time.
I had a few concerns about heading out on vacation because the timing just isn’t very good – I’ve got a lot of work to attend to, but truth be told, there are a couple of other factors that weighed heavily in my decision to go. First, on the advice of a good friend, my kids should know more about their dad than “he wakes up real early and goes to work and falls asleep real early so he can do it again”… I’m a better father than that, but the point has merit. Second, I’m tired. Even if I work a few hours each morning before going out for a ride (which is the plan), I need a break so I can come back recharged.
Now it’s time for the preparation to begin…
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a study on sedentary behavior that states that if we have a day job that requires us to sit more than three hours or watch more than two hours of TV a day we’re shortening our lives by 2 and 1.4 years respectively.
First, there are several flaws in the thinking that go into that study. Beyond that, the discussion section says a lot – and it would make sense that the journalists reporting on this in the major media outlets didn’t bother to read the fine print, because they’re misreporting the conclusions:
“The PAF provides a theoretical estimate of the effects of a risk factor on an outcome at the population level, in this case, all-cause mortality. The results indicate that sedentary behaviours are accounting for between 1.4 and 2.0 years of life expectancy at birth. This should not be interpreted to mean that people who are more sedentary can expect to live 1.4 or 2.0 years less than someone who does not engage in these behaviours as much. Life expectancy is a population statistic and it does not apply to individuals.”
I average 55 minutes of what they call vigorous or rigorous physical activity each and every day during the spring summer and fall months… That’s 1,675 minutes and some change in a month – and I went off of my actual average as tracked by Endomondo, this isn’t a guesstimate. The upper level recommendation by health experts in our glorious government is 675 minutes at my level in a month… I exercise, rigorously, an additional 32.78 minutes, every day of the week, above what the Department of Health and Human Services recommends. I hardly fit the mold of “sedentary lifestyle” even if I do sit for 8-10 hours a day and watch an hour or two of TV before I crash.
UPDATE: Oops when I did those averages – the 1,675 minutes per month of rigorous exercise – I messed up. I only counted “Cycling Sport”. I left out Running and Mountain Biking, so I’m actually about four to seven hours short for each month…but you get the idea.
To recap, I’ll die of a Buick in the rectum (Rectum? hell, it damn near killed ‘im) before a heart attack. I’m certainly not sweating this study.
The US health.gov guidlines are here: Page vii reads:
“For additional and more extensive health benefits [this is the high level, above and beyond the initial set that the government recommends], adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.”
150 minutes a week, 4.5 weeks in a month (give or take)… gives you 675 minutes a month.
Oh, by the way, the activity that the study gives as an example of what won’t counteract the findings of the theoretical estimate is jogging. By definition, they’re going off a zone one jog for 30 minutes, about 2 to 2-1/2 miles. I run four miles in less time than that – and when I’m out riding (except recovery ride days of course), I work harder than that in the first six minutes of a 50 minute effort.
It’s all in your definition of the word “is” folks.
I’ve always had one problem with the whole rest and recovery thing… In the TdF coverage yesterday, Bob Roll stated that he always had trouble with rest days – that once you got the motor running at such a high level it was tough to shut it down for a day and then start back at the same level.
Now my fitness level is obviously nowhere near that of a cyclist in the Tour, but I wonder how much we amateur athletes deal with the same issue. I know I’ve come to the conclusion that a day off does my body good, but I still wonder how necessary the recovery time is. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those evolving issues with me.
Here’s the problem: I’ve got an Olympic Tri on Saturday but my wife and kids are heading up to my mother-in-law’s house for the weekend… I’ll have the house to myself tomorrow – so do I take Friday off, as I’d planned, or do I go for a long ride Friday evening anyway?
Ah, now that’s a good problem to have. I imagine the long ride Friday followed by the Tri on Saturday is going to win out over a day off.