Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Who's da Mastah?"


Fun few days here recently.  Saturday had a descent ride with some folks on the team, a good mix of easy and hard efforts to get the legs opened up for the Jack Frost Time Trial. 

Note to those who decide to jump on the back of bridging efforts during training rides.  You don't get smart rider points for wheel sucking up to the break and then refusing to pull through in the pace line.  Training rides are where you do work.

Sunday we woke up to mostly dry roads and partially sunny skies.  So much for the 70% chance of rain that was forecasted.  Traci and I had packed the car the night before, so we were basically ready to go 30 minutes before we planned on leaving, and decided to just head out to Vancouver Lake.  I'm glad we did!  A pair of missed turns delayed us just a bit, but the parking facilities near the start line were limited at best.  We lucked out and found a tiny parking spot that the Mini was able to wedge into which was close to where the team had setup.

I'm not a big TT rider to start with, and I'm still working hard to bring my threshold wattage up to where it was last season and beyond.  As such, I went into the race having a few specific goals I wanted to achieve. 

  1. Pre-hydrated and warm-up effectively, including not wasting too much time between getting off the trainer to when my start was. 
  2. Maintain a stable blood sugar during warm up, race, and cool down.
  3. Hold off the my teammates starting 1:30m, 2:00m, and 2:30m as long as possible.
  4. Ride consistently at or above my current FTP, being careful to not spike the wattage at the start or at the turn around.
  5. Cool down and refuel effectively.

Was happy that I was able to nail 4.5 out of 5 for the event!  I started hydrating the night before and when I woke up.  My warm-up was good and not rushed, and I got to the starting area 15 seconds before they called my name to get in line.  Two minutes later I was rolling down the road for my first race of the season, a scant 61 days after my knee surgery.  Score +1

My fuel intake / insulin mix was enough to keep my blood sugars stable during the time trial, which is difficult since they tend to drop during long aerobic efforts.  I was very pleased with this.  I also didn't spike after the race was over, again probably due to this being an aerobic event rather than finishing with a major anaerobic effort.  Again, score +1

My teammates all caught me, with Johnny "The Rocket" Banks, who happened to be 2:30m behind me catching me about 30s after the turn around.  I didn't expect to hold him off at all and was surprised that he caught me as fast as he did.  He be strong.  Rob started 1:30m behind me and caught me just outside of 1k to finish and George caught me with maybe 300m to go.  Both finished about 10 seconds ahead of me.  Score +.25

Wattage for the race was right at my FTP for my 5m, 10m, 20m, and 30m average, and my HR was right at my threshold.  I basically rode exactly where I needed to be and had been training at.  I would have liked to have shown an increase in my FTP between the last time I tested and this TT, but I didn't ride below FTP, nor did I ride too hard and die in the last mile.  Score +.75

Cool down was good.  I coasted for a while with Rob and immediately noticed that my hamstrings were starting to get very sore.  Once I got spinning again the pain flushed out and I felt okay.  Rob and I rode a few miles down the quiet road and back, then I went back to the team tent to change into warm clothes and get a small snack.    Score +1

Legs didn't hurt at all that night, which was great because they really hurt now.  Monday night was cross training, and I've started to integrate legwork into my routine since my knee has healed up and the stability muscles are strong again.  A 45 minute core / leg workout with the kettle bell and a good foam roller session and I was tired.

Yesterday, I had my last PT session with Dave over at P.A.C.E and did more strength work.  At the end, I was barely able to do the exercises since my legs were beat.  I whined a bunch during the day to my other cycling buddies about the trainer workout I still had to do.  Lindsay was kind enough to tell me to quit crying.  She rules. :)

So I worked through the 2x20's at threshold and 3x4 VO2's with the help of Berry Gordy's "The Last Dragon", which is a great 80's flick.  It's packed full of great lines like "Kiss My Converse!" and "Don't bug me, fix your face." along with music by Vanity and DeBarge! As a reward for my work, with a minute and thirty to go in my very last VO2 interval the FedEx truck rolled up to my house to deliver a long awaited box.

Can't wait to get her out on the road.  Sho'nuff!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Beer needs us.


I'm not one to get on a political podium because I find politics has a tend to label people and polarize them when its been proven time and time again that the best work is done when with folks with various viewpoints work together.

That being said, I'm going to get up on my small blog podium and ask readers to take a few minutes to contact their local Oregon Representatives to stop Oregon House Bill 2461.

There is plenty of details on the Bill and what you can do to stop it to be found here.  Take 15 minutes of your day and write your Representatives, write the House Revenue Committee, sign the online Petition.

Some of the information found about the bill states that the tax is going to be on beer brewed in the State of Oregon, however a reply back from my local Representative Chuck Riley says otherwise:

I am very concerned about the impact a beer tax could have on the local beer industry, which is why I support exempting the products of small breweries that sell fewer than 125,000 barrels annually in Oregon.  This excludes most Oregon breweries from the tax. Eighty-eight percent of the beer consumed in Oregon is produced outside of this state, and increasing malt beverage taxes on breweries that sell more than 125,000 barrels annually in Oregon would level the playing field so that small breweries can compete against higher volume, less-expensive beer. Only about five or ten cents per beer would be added to beer sold in Oregon by large breweries such as Anheuser-Busch and Coors.

I would like Oregon taxpayers to recoup some of the millions of dollars we spend each year on alcoholism-related illnesses, underage drinking, and drunk driving. Fetal alcohol syndrome continues to rise in children born to teen mothers, costing Oregon $12.4 million per year, and the cost of alcohol-related problems to cities and counties far exceeds what they receive from Oregon Liquor Control Commission revenue. Most beer tax revenue will go to cities and counties for law enforcement, with the remainder going to fund statewide addiction prevention programs, treatment facilities, drug court expansion, drug-free housing programs, and Oregon State Police.

I've already written him back asking for further clarification on the points of the bill because I'm unable to confirm or deny a number of items he's addressed.  We'll see if I get a response back, or if this was just a form letter.  125K barrels is like a half a million kegs annually, so something makes me think he just pulled numbers out of.. well someplace.  While I do agree substance abuse and prevention is an issue worthy of funding, I'd hedge a bet the vast majority of those binge drinking teen's we are trying to protect aren't dropping eight bucks on a six-pack of Oregon Microbrews when they can get a case of some macro-brewed crap for a few dollars more.

Anyway, our friend Beer needs us.  Give it a hand!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Terms of Anti-Endearment


A stiff neck, a knot the size of quarter between my shoulder blades, and sore hamstrings.  All gifts from my lovely TT bike.  I call it torture, my coach called it "adaptation".  Regardless of what it's called, I've got less than a week to get used to it / over it, and put out a solid effort for Jack Frost Time Trial.

For some reason I thought the race was one more weekend out, you know the last Sunday in February.  Oh, that's right... February only has 28 days.  Dammit!

This weekend was brutal.  I got an unexpected bonus day off on Friday as a reward for a very stressful release week we had, so I hit the Friday morning ride out of LB.  It was cold and damp and windy, but not raining.  The two hour effort felt like three, and my legs were still dead from Wednesday's PT session were Dave shredded the muscle fibers in my legs.

Saturday had a long group ride on the docket.  We planned on doing 3 hours at tempo / endurance and ended up doing 4 hours with a lot of steady efforts.  Normalized power for the entire ride was just baaarely below my threshold wattage range, so I was really happy but exhausted.

Sunday morning was pouring when we woke up.  I jumped on the TT bike on the trainer to do some intervals and lasted 45 minutes.  Boo.  Later in the day the sun came out in all its glory, so we suited up again and went back out, again on my TT bike.  I lasted about an hour which were broken into four distinct time blocks. I cursed the bike's existance, started planning my post to the team list about having it for sale, stopped in North Plains, and finally had a stretch where I felt strong riding it.

Its now Tuesday and I'm exhausted.  I don't know if I'm fighting something off, or if the Symilin I'm taking is making me feel crappy.  I know the stuff is working.  Food doesn't seem appealing to me even at meal times or when I'm hungry.  I guess that's good in some ways.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rest Week Randomness


I'm pretty sure a few days ago I rode for 3 hours in close to 60 degree weather.  Although you wouldn't know it from the snow that's falling right now.  I won't complain too much however since the weekend is going to be sunny again, and we had a gorgeous ride this past Saturday with the team.  A few more months and us Portlanders can start complaining about the rain interrupting our Spring sun instead of the snow interrupting our Winter commute.

Training has been progressing along nicely.  Last week was a rest week for me, and I spent about 95% of my in-saddle time in endurance and active recovery zones.  I did my late winter / early spring maintenance to the Felt, changing out the BB (after getting the housing refaced), cassette, chain, and degunking all the other drivetrain parts with Simple Green and some elbow grease.  This week I'm back to threshold intervals, building to the goal to hit Jack Frost TT in two Sundays for a hard effort, and make my 2009 road debut at Piece of Cake at the end of March.   Need to get those 5 to 20min average power numbers up!

The team is gearing up for the 2009 season,  with a small handful of the team spending the week in Arizona at a training camp.  Check out Heidi Swift's blog for some awesome articles about the experience.  We are already making plans for next year.  The race season kicks off with Cherry Pie this Sunday.  I really would love to join them on the road, but I know I wouldn't be much help right now.  Unless a miracle occurs and we get our Team Edition Velo Vie rides this Friday, I'll probably contribute to the team by lending big Ron my Felt.

Last week I also started up a new medication to work in conjunction with my insulin pump.  It's called Symilin, and its a lab created form of the hormone amylin.  Type 1 diabetics don't make any insulin, but they also don't make a lot of amylin.  Amylin tells your liver to stop putting sugar into the bloodstream, lets your brain know you've had food, and tells your stomach to digest stuff.  Pretty important stuff!  Not having amylin in your system basically means you have a huge appetite even though you've eaten, and your blood sugar will go up a lot due to the intake of food plus the liver not shutting "off" for a short period of time.   I don't know how many times I've had a huge meal and still be hungry afterwards. 

With the addition of the Symilin injections before the meal, I'm eating a lot less, and my post meal blood sugars are very stable taking half the insulin I was taking for each meal prior to starting Symilin.  I'm still in the building phase of the medication, so I have to be very careful about getting super low blood sugars but so far so good!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Gift of Long Shadows


Yesterday marked the first after work ride of 2009.  We are getting some unseasonable clear sky and warm temps this week, and it was about 60 when I ran home early to attend a meeting which I thought was going to run later than 4pm.  As luck would have it, the meeting got out almost 40 minutes early, (a testament to how good the PM on my project is!) 

Since Traci works from home most Wednesdays and her day had wrapped up already, we decided to do our workout today on the road.  Clad in my team kit and windbreaker, but sans knee warmers, we rolled out to do a little over an hour at endurance wattage. 

Once we got on the open road, it was hard not to smile.  The sun hung low in the sky and warm on the skin, casting two long shadows across the road.  A pair of tall riders clad in all black matching our pace and posture. It was a struggle to stick to the workout, to not leap out of the saddle and try to outrun our companions.  Controlling the desire to stretch the legs under the waning rays of daylight, we turn back home happy to enjoy the gift.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh sweet rest, how I missed you.


Today is the first day I've had off the bike in close to two weeks.  A steady dose of Endurance, Tempo, and Threshold intervals have torn me up to the point where I am a ready to sit on the couch and be a sloth.  Both my wife and I are fighting off the lingering crud that seems to impact most people in an office place this time of year which just seems to sap your energy.  It took some goading from teammates to get out yesterday for a freaking recovery ride....

The good news is that all the work is paying off already.  Knee recovery is doing very well and the muscles are getting stronger every day.  My fitness is catching up to where it needs to be and I'm at least able to hang with the team on our rides the past few weeks.  I hope to be back to where I was last year by mid May.

In non bike related news, holy cow what a game.  My mom is from Pittsburgh and my dad went to University of Pitt for his Masters degree, so I grew up in a Steelers household.  That coupled with living in the Boston area during the 80's and 90's where the Patriots were so bad the games were blacked out meant that Pitt was my favorite NFL team growing up.  While I don't watch the NFL all that often, I still follow them and I was excited to see them win their 5th title a few years ago.  (In an interesting twist of fate Dennis Dixon, the former QB from Oregon, was drafted by them this year so I paid them a bit more attention to see if he played.)

This game had all the makings of a historic clash.  AZ was the first 9 win team to make it to the big game in years.. Warner having a resurgence.. the Steelers' defense doing what it does year in and year out.  This was one year the game held my interest over the commercials!  (Which I think were really bad this year.) The last 5 minutes of the game had my heart racing.  I thought AZ had finally figured out the Steelers vaunted D and the Steelers offense had burnt its last match in the third quarter.  But like sports have done so many times in the past, the greatest stage creates the greatest comebacks.