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I felt weird yesterday afternoon getting my bike and kit ready for the ride. All of a sudden, spring showed up… and didn’t even get a fair look over her shoulder as summer started shooing her out the back door. It was 30° warmer than the last week and 50° warmer than the week before that. 84° (28 C)! Unfortunately, someone forgot to turn off the fan.
I knew we were in for some ugly, a heavy wind always sucks.
The warm-up was comical. Fifteen miles per hour into the headwind wasn’t easy, then on the way back we were soft-pedaling at 25. This is never good news for the actual ride.
We started out as a fairly large B Group that got shattered within the first two miles into the headwind, and it devolved from there. We picked up for A guys along the way and once we hit the cross headwinds, everything got messy in a hurry.
I held on for fifteen miles, when I became overwhelmed with the urge to blow my lunch all over my top tube. I let the group go and took it easy for a few seconds. That wasn’t the end, though. Surprisingly I came back a lot faster than anticipated on the way up a couple of hills (again, dead into the headwind), so I hammered back to the group. I figured I’d be okay once we hit the tailwind – which ended up being a straight-up crosswind, with nowhere to hide. I told my buddy, Chuck I was puked out and slid off the back.
I was down to 14 mph to catch my breath and I did not feel well. It was the heat after riding in all of that cold. I was dehydrated after just fifteen miles.
I caught another guy who works for the post office as a walking deliveryman and we rode together, helping each other out in the crosswind, until we caught up to the group at the regroup spot at the 20 mile point (of 30). I thought about letting them go but I was starting to feel a little better so I latched on and rolled out with the main group. We had a tailwind (in one form or another) for the last ten miles and it was fast. We maintained 24-28 mph with stints almost to the mid 30’s at the sprint. I didn’t bother going for the sign. I was just happy to be in the draft.
We wound our way towards home at a spectacular clip and I held on till the last few miles when I started feeling queasy again. I slipped off the back and let one of the other guys who’d fallen off catch me. We rode the last three miles together, with a cross tailwind, between 22 and 26 mph – pushing the pace, of course, but enjoying the push home at the same time.
As we neared the finish line, I started ramping up the pace. 24… 26… 27… I had no idea why I was doing this. 28… and I launched for the sign just to get my sprint in. At 35 mph. Even with a tailwind, that was really humpin’.
I managed to fire down a Coke (which helped immensely), a salad, and a few slices of pizza at the monthly club meeting but I wasn’t feeling right until I got home and drank a quart of water and a glass of Gatorade. I wouldn’t say I’m right as rain this morning, but I do feel better, at least.
I’ll have to figure out, over the next couple of days, where I went wrong last night. I never bonk out that bad… and I didn’t like it.
I know, you read that Title and thought to yourself, “Well self, I’m in for an even-handed look at exactly how much cycling is too much for the body to handle”. See, that’s because you know me as an even-handed, level-headed kind of guy.
The answer is very simple, and while I could give you a very simplistic algebraic formula to figure out just how much the body can handle, a lot like the equation to figure out how many bikes one needs, it ends up working out to; more miles than you’re currently riding.
That’s neither even-handed nor level-headed. It isn’t right, either – though it’s close.
The proper number of bikes in one’s stable is said to be N+1, N being the number of bikes currently in one’s stable…
My friends, I don’t care what equation you use, that’s enough bikes for someone who doesn’t have a personal mechanic to take care of all of those freaking bikes! Once you figure in my wife’s four bikes, my kid’s bikes… well folks, at some point you just have to say someone can stick that formula where the sun don’t shine!
could should be said for some over-simplified formula that says dryly, “Um, more miles” – as true as that could be, there’s no need to be obnoxious about it, eh? See, mileage is finicky. If I can ride twelve miles a day, surely I could do fifteen, and if I could do fifteen, why not twenty? Then let’s kick it up a notch on the weekends, and shoot for between 120 and 160 total miles for Saturday and Sunday.
How about days off? I’ve taken two so far this year. January 15th and last Friday for my wife’s birthday. Simply put, I don’t burn out (or at least haven’t yet). On the other hand, I’d rather not find out what it takes to burn out…
I would argue all day long that early in one’s foray into cycling, days off are a necessity. Building one’s fitness up, and more important, getting one’s bikes set up to work for their body, taking time off helps the body transform until one doesn’t need time off any longer. I simply don’t need days off like I used to, nor would most people.
I got this wacky idea a few years ago that if there were people who could ride 70,000+ miles in a year, riding as many as 200 miles a day, each and every day, why couldn’t I ride fifteen or twenty without days off? The pros, in the middle of the biggest bike race in the world, still spin on a trainer for a few hours on their rest days (two in the 21-day race)… What is all of this hub-bub about days off?
My friends, put simply I have been unable to find my limits because there aren’t enough hours in a day.
While I do run into tired days and days that are packed with too much to shoehorn in a ride, it’s rare that I am required to take a day for physical reasons. For the tired days I simply ride slower than normal, say 20-25% slower, and I’m fine.
Now, for those who have stuck around this long, I’m going to go somewhere dark, somewhere I normally won’t tread…. When we read tips and articles related to fitness, almost to a ridiculous degree, rest days are pushed as a matter of requirement yet we hear so often of people who push themselves to extremes – why the disparity?
It’s either, I need to take between one and three days a week off, or there are people out there who can go 70,000 miles in a year – or the pros who can go 21 of 23 days at close to max effort and still choose to spin their legs up on their two rest days. What gives?!
For other activities like running, lifting weights, activities high on impact, there’s no doubt the body needs recovery time. For cycling? My friends, if attention is paid to proper nutrition, electrolyte replacement, active recovery days and above all else, bike set-up and equipment, days off go from “I need a day off” to “I’ll take a day off next week”.
My answer is, “I don’t know, how much time do you have?”
I’ll leave you on this note; Many people like to say “listen to your body”. While I don’t disagree, when it comes to cycling I would add a little “don’t sell yourself short” to the saying: “Listen to your body, just make sure it knows you’re the boss.”
It never ceases to amaze me, that little weight drop when the outdoor miles begin after the big thaw…. Chuck went to Arizona for a month and it appears he sent us some nice weather.
Saturday was a peach of a 32 miler, Sunday was way too windy for cycling, and I played a little hooky at lunch yesterday because it was almost 50 degrees. The sun was so brilliant, I thought I was in the wrong state.
If you remember that photo of our front yard half-flooded the other day, the photo above shows that the rain soaked into the ground pretty well. Let’s just say our water table is replenished. After yesterday’s short lunch time ride I showered up and got dressed, only to realize I needed a belt. As long as I choose my food wisely, cycling is like cheating. Just one more reason to love riding – cycling ROCKS!
I walk into the gas station for a cup of coffee to sip on for the trip to the office… and there it sits, looming in the corner, whispering sweet nothings at me – it’s the donut display.
Of course it’s not whispering anything to me, the donut display case, because donut display cases don’t whisper. They don’t talk, they don’t wink, they don’t do anything humans do. They just sit there and, with those beautiful rolled and deep-fried pieces of sugar-coated chunks of goodness, look good.
The whispering and temptation are all in my melon.
And you’d think, after all of this time, after all of the years, the thousands of posts, millions of words, 45,259 miles, the diets to stay at my riding weight… you’d think it’d get easier, right?
But do you think it’s easier or harder to walk by the donut display in the morning without reaching in and grabbing a cruller after all of that? At this point, who really cares? It is what it is.
As I get older, it’s almost comical how much more careful I have to be with my diet – it also doesn’t help that my daughter and I have become Food Network junkies and actually try recipes now… Eating boring food isn’t such a big deal, but when food becomes vibrant, excellent, even restaurant quality at times… well, pushing away from the table becomes a little trickier – especially when you take into account my ridiculously active lifestyle.
Still, as the saying goes, “you gotta dance with the chick who brung ya” (actually it’s a bit more crass than that, but you get the idea).
Things could be worse, though. Taken in context, this little problem isn’t even a blip on the screen. I’ll walk into the gas station this morning, plop my buck on the counter and walk out with my cup of coffee – and maybe I’ll flip the bird to that donut display. One thing is for certain, I’ll be walking out without a cruller.
No matter how crazy life is, mine is still really awesome, and being fat would make it suck a whole lot. It doesn’t get any easier, I just have more to lose…
I’ve been on a fairly radical diet for a couple of weeks now. It’s radical in its simplicity, of course, certainly nothing special. Here, scooch in closer… I’ll whisper it to you.
I don’t eat much. An apple and banana for breakfast and a power bar for luch, then I eat a sensible dinner.
To break it down, I’ve got 100 calories each for the apple and the banana. 300 for the granola bar, and figure 1,000 to 1,200 calories for dinner. Do the math, that’s 1,700 calories a day.
My intake, adjusted for my active lifestyle and that it’s winter, is 2,750 calories, give or take. That’s a deficit of 1,000 calories a day over 14 days… 14,000 calories /3,500 is 4.
Here’s the problem: That first two weeks sucks. Getting used to limiting lunch to a few hundred calories is not easy or fun.
Another thing that sucks is that I’m not a happy fellow after my 5pm ride. I have to eat, and fast. My wife has had to be a bit of a saint too, and she has.
The cool side of that though, is that after that second week it gets easier to stay on the path – and the weight reallt burns off when it’s easy.
So, call it two more weeks, maybe three and I’ll be ahead of the Spring game… and none too soon – I wanna ride (even if the weather isn’t cooperating yet)!
They say to drink a lot of water, I just filter mine through ground coffee beans first… Thanks Again, California. You give New Meaning to the Phrase “Stick in the Mud”… Ya Dopes.
Trigger (heh) warning: I don’t particularly like California or Californians. I don’t like their arrogance or the fact that, somehow, they’ve come to rely on politicians who continually screw up all things good and happy, causing everyone to hate everyone else. This post will reflect that disdain for politicians, Californians and other general sticks in the mud. This post will not be my fit in my usual PG category posts. You have been trigger (heh) warned.
California is at it again, taking the best in life and exploiting it to remove all of the joy and happiness, bastardizing scientific research in the process… and all in the name of your safety. It’s kind of what California does (that gives me an idea, but we’ll get to that in a minute). In California, nobody can ever be happy, people must live on the screwed up edge of: “We must do more! We MUST remind the people of how necessary and brilliant we are!” I don’t like California because its idiocy tends to infect the rest of the US. When they threaten session, I say they can’t get there fast enough.
In fact, did you know the self-esteem movement, that which has likely led to more unmarriageable men than any other single “idea” in the history of humankind, can actually be traced back to California? Better, and not surprisingly, the science that was used to back up the need for changes to the education system was skewed and manipulated to support that lunacy.
Well, California is at it again, this time training their keen brand of idiocy and ignorance on coffee.
See, according to California’s “Council for Education and Research in Toxics (CERT).” coffee causes cancer (specifically a chemical created in the roasting process). Now, if you don’t know already, the study used to suggest that there may be a link to the chemical and cancer was conducted using the overdose method, where testers take the maximum tolerable amount of a chemical and inject it into a small animal. If the small animal gets cancer, bingo. The rub is that the small animal would have to inject something like the equivalent of 486 gallons of coffee a week into its body to cause cancer. Then you have to adjust that to human proportions… And folks, I’m not over exaggerating… I’m under exaggerating. In other words, there’s just no freaking way.
In fact, and let this sink in for just a second, The American Institute for Cancer Research lists coffee as a food that fights cancer. Allow me to channel Samuel L. Jackson for just a moment. Mother f***er, click on the mother****in’ “Research” tab. I’m not even going to copy and paste the quote, mother****er. Better, have a look at all the cancers coffee is shown to fight. Hey, here’s a mother****in’ idea, what does the World Health Organization say about coffee? Well, let’s see:
The World Health Organisation has cleared coffee of causing cancer
So, in other words, everyone else on the freaking planet has discovered that coffee is actually good for you, and in many cases decades ago, but that’s not good enough for the anti-science fun police in California. They’ve deemed it necessary to make convenience stores label coffee as a possible cause of cancer.
Here’s that idea I wrote of earlier…. How about a little truth in advertising, there California? I want the next commercial from the tourism board of California (whatever that bureaucracy is named) to include a disclaimer that while California may be one of the more beautiful places in America, its political apparatus foments hatred and division of its people by constantly attacking happiness itself and that human contact should be kept to a bare minimum lest you accidentally bump into one of those who support a life devoid of happiness and are infected with that resident’s penchant for supporting those attacks.