Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Houston, we are having too much fun...

I have been putting in some awesome training!

My Strava information over there --->>  contains the numbers, but I can tell you that there is way more to it than just a bunch of miles, watts, altitude, or time!

Saturday Allison and I took off on the road bikes and roughly rode towards Oceanside.

Mountain bike racing starts in like a week and a half and I am super excited for to be representing a great cause when I pedal.  If you or someone you love has ever suffered the impact of cancer you know how important detection is.  Feel free to use the link over there ---->>  to donate to Mammograms In Action who funds cancer screening for those that otherwise might not be able to afford it.  If you use my link I will get "credit" towards supporting the cause, but the important part is that we all do what we can to help out.

 I would have donated a little more this quarter, but I just purchased a bunch of Ensure products for my dad to help him in his fight against lung cancer.  He can't talk anymore, but his wife told me that all he can eat is Ensure so I sent him a case of this...

 I was looking at the Ensure products and remembered that my dad always loved butterscotch pudding so I sent him a case of this...

My dad and I don't have the greatest relationship, but he is still my dad.  I hope he finds the strength to beat cancer.

Back to the riding...

It was a great day and we zig-zagged a bunch on the way back hitting up Sleeping Indian and then going back through Bonsall.  I love riding bikes with my wife!!!

After we rode we feasted at Freebirds.  So tasty!

Sunday we rode on the mountain bikes and had some company in the form of another aspiring Pro racer.

I was carrying spare gear in my uber awesome Ergon pack in case the weather turned bad or we needed spare tubes or a pump (I think I can almost fit my Volkswagen in there).  Unfortunately I didn't have the parts to repair the broken rear derailer cable that snapped later on in the ride leaving me with either 26-11 or 39-11 gearing.  My knees were not stoked...

My hands on the other hand have been stoked lately though with the addition of the new Ergon gloves.  The HX1's I have been using are extremely comfortable, super light, and airy feeling!  Highly recommended!

Having another rider along gave me a great opportunity too.  I really enjoy the few opportunities that I get to help someone, other than Allison, improve their riding.  In this case there was a marked improvement in descending immediately (bike setup and technique adjustments).

It was a blast shredding dirt trails and watching two very fit and talented women kicking up dust.

After 4.5 hours of riding on the mountain bikes...

The weekday interval workouts have really started to ramp up.  Despite the pain and anguish they prepare us well and are a sure sign that racing is close!  So before we know it I will be writing race updates here on the blog from the first few mountain bike races of the year.  Regardless of finishing position I feel I am as well prepared as ever and I hope everyone else is feeling the same way!

See you at the mountain bike races!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Biped, Rock, and Roll!

The last week was an "off week" for Allison and I.  Something that is probably typical of athletes like us, we are not so good at these.  In fact I am fairly certain I completely screwed it up, but I had fun!  Hopefully it doesn't hurt my performance, as we all know "it's all about performance"!

Here is what I did:
Monday: Short run/walk (3.5mi) with body weight exercises at the playground.
Tuesday: 2hr Easy spin
Wednesday: 2+ hr MTB
Thursday: 1.5hr Run (8.7mi) with body weight exercises at playground.
Friday: 1000m swim (26min)
Saturday: 3.6mi hike (1hr) and a couple of hours of Indoor Rock Climbing
Sunday: 3hr MTB

What causes me to do such a crazy week when I am supposed to be on regen?  Easy.  Weight.  If you know me at all you know that I battle with my weight.  I am oft to say I am a "fat man trying to be skinny".  So at the beginning of the week when stepped on the scale and it told me I was nearly at "race weight" I smiled broadly, then I scowled.  How to limit my losses (gains actually) through the week?  Starving myself isn't conducive to recovery!  I was definitely in desperate need of recovery too.

The previous week I had aggravated my achilles and it was causing me to load up on Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) and I was fighting some other issues (right knee issues and a saddle sore from forgetting to use Endur-It, dumb Justin!).  Tuesday it seemed my achilles was okay again, but the saddle sore was making riding impossible by the end of Wednesday.

Faced with three days off the bike to try and let my posterior recover I kind of went nuts on Thursday.  I ran, then I ran fast for me (two 7:40min miles), then my right knee had some issues (lunges of all things fixed the issues), then I ran more before doing some body weight stuff, then I ran.  It was kind of crazy, I was really enjoying the running.  I fully blame this whole running thing on the book I am reading "Born to Run".  It makes me want to go out and run down a deer!

I figured that some swimming would be good on Friday but couldn't pull off the Bike-Swim-Bike so I had Allison drop me off at the local pool while she ran errands at lunch.  It was a good workout, swimming is such a great way to spend lunch when the weather is nice like it has been!

Saturday Allison's coach said no bikes.  I came up with all kinds of crazy ways to spend the weekend off the bikes but was shot down on all fronts.  It turned out she came up with a stellar plan, so I am glad I got shot down.  First we hiked and then we climbed.  Awesome day!

There are awesome women everywhere, but I wanted to point out that these two are off the frickin charts.  A book could be written highlighting their achievements and comparing and contrasting them as athletes!  I look forward to seeing/reading/hearing about them taking over the world in 2012!!

First we marched up the hill, and then after meeting up with Dan we marched to find some grub!

Allison doesn't look pleased about not getting to partake in the tasty burger joint...  her choice not mine!

After grubbing we went climbing!

Allison was a frickin natural!  No real surprise, I think she would be good at anything she wanted to do.

It was fun but exhausting on our wimpy cyclist hands and upper bodies!

Sunday morning Allison finished up the fit on her new race bike... and as you might be able to guess it was awesome to get back on the bikes, on the dirt, on Sunday!

First ride back on my 2011 Epic.  So much fun!!!!  It isn't a new race whip, but it is bad ass!!!!

It was a fun week, if not quite as restful as it should have been, and now I am looking forward to getting some really solid training on the bike!  First race is almost here!  The course at Vail Lake will be fun!

Get some!  BRAAAAAAAP!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Solid Weekends are What Base is All About!

This past weekend worked out to be just about ideal.  It would have been perfect if I hadn't been milking a weird pain/injury, more on that later.

Saturday we got up early and clattered in the little TDI over to the Laguna Niguel Rock N' Road store for the start of the Sweethearts Ride!  We showed up sort of on time, actually we showed up late, but we did have a good excuse that we drove really far to get there...

The turnout was awesome!

There were quite a few Bikes for Boobs Advocates along for the ride which is great to see!  I rode in the middle of the pack and chatted with some awesome people while Allison sat on the front and tried to get as close to her assigned training wattage as possible.  She is a silly girl, but she has high aspirations!  When we hit PCH the views were stellar and the pace broke up the pack a bit.

At the distal terminus of the Sweethearts Ride the Bikes for Boobs Advocates that were present set out to finish the 4 hour training ride with their Top Pro.

Proud Domestiques flanking their leader!

Cycling is such a beautiful sport in part because of it's individuality, and the unique sacrifices made by team mates who are not usually given their due credit.  I love riding bikes!

The four of us cruised in spectacular weather with beautiful coastal views killin' KJ's! (I actually killed about 2.4 MJ's)

After the 4 hour ride Allison decided that with Love being the theme of the day she needed to get more intimate with her new race bike, BG Fit style.

We headed over to the Mission Viejo Rock N' Road store and spent some time with their fit experts!

The drive home was brutally long due to a traffic accident on the twisty mountain road, life is so full of silly inconvenience.  Once home I prepped the Super Bowl Crockpot of Pulled Pork Goodness and we hit the hay.

Sunday was another big day!  4 hours on the mountain bikes (YAY for dirt!) and then Super Spectating of the Football kind!  First we ride...

We saw a ton of friends out on the trails at Vail Lake!

So much fun blasting around on the dirt.  We did some moderate intensity climbing and some rip roaring descending.

At the end of 4 hours and 50 miles on the mountain bikes (after nearly 70 road miles the day before) I was feeling a bit spent.  Beer me!

Had a Hangar 24 Double IPA and a fabulous dinner while watching the Patriots blow it in the Super Bowl.

Now to that nagging injury thing...

My right Achilles tendon has issues every now and then.  It got to be super painful on Saturday.  I loaded up on Ibuprofen though and Sunday the sheath seemed to release some.  This is a strange injury and seems to come and go with no apparent trigger or resolution and has reared it's head a few times over the past couple years.  It bums me out because I wanted to run on Monday...  oh well.  Glad for a rest week now and can't wait to get back on the volume after a nice recovery period!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Mix it up!

A recent thread on MTBR asked some questions about training for 2012 and was a great thread in my opinion.    One of the questions was, "What are you doing differently?"  This is a very good question to ask because assuming that you can raise your game each year, or make some improvement, and you didn't achieve it previously, then it is likely that to reach your personal best or full potential a new stimulus is probably needed.

Now I am not a coach, just a previously fat guy that:

1) Wants to be healthy.  I have authored previous blog posts about running scared from the fat man in my rear view mirror.  I want to stay this way for the long haul, and that might best be achieved with more cross training.

2) Wants to be able to keep up with my wife on a bike.  If you know my wife, or have seen her on one, you likely understand that this is no small task and one which requires a high level of fitness.

3) Wants to compete.  I enjoy competition and would like to attain my own personal best, my full potential (whatever that means, it isn't a hard stop at the end of the road that is for sure).

So what am I doing differently this year?

Of course I am still riding my bike.  I am trying to carry the momentum from last year that was spurred by my comeback after breaking my neck.  I am also doing some new stuff like trail running!

I am really enjoying the trail running, and am grateful that I stumbled onto these puppies which have changed my world (or at least the one that revolves around the pain in my right foot!).

I am currently reading Born to Run and wish that I had read this book earlier and tried the barefoot/minimalist thing long before now!

In addition to the trail running I am doing workouts like today's Bike-Swim-Bike.

What is that?  Well I roll from work on my lunch break just like any other day.

Always nice to have someone to roll with!

But when I rolled out today I had some extra items tucked into a plastic bag in my jersey pocket.

A key ingredient to this whole equation is that pink water bottle.  Only it isn't a water bottle.

It is a very convenient lock to help ensure my bike stays where I left it when I go change like Superman into my other fruit-suit for aquatic activities.

Allison doesn't participate in the swim portion, see you later beautiful!

So I take my leave of my wonderful wife on wheels and put on my suit for the wet portion of the workout.

After that this is the "road" ahead.

Beatiful day for a bike...  er...  swim!

So after swimming for 20 minutes solid I then switch back to my land based fruit suit and pedal to reunite with my Two Wheeled Wonder Woman.

Together we spin back to work... complete our day of cubicle life.

So that is what I am doing differently.  I have hopes that it will help some as I prepare for the year ahead, but I am sure the alternate training stimulus is good for my health and well being.

This weekend should be a good one.  Big road ride, part of which will be with Rock N' Road Cyclery on Saturday...

...and a mountain bike ride before the Super Bowl on Sunday!  YEHAWW!  See you on the bike!