Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taking the dog out for a walk

Well not really
I was finally able to get on one of the new bikes after seeing Mr. Brockman over at Therapeutic Associates for the fits. I have another identical bike with some lighter components (wheels, cranks, fork). The bike in this photo will be the "training" bike, and the "race" bike will be pretty damn sweet. That will be saved for the important races (NUE Series events).

I put on roughly 50 miles and can honestly say that I am very impressed with the stiffness of the frame and the dual linkage suspension. Even for the first ride it felt extremely plush, however, once I log some more miles and the suspension has time to break in I can expect an even smoother ride. Due to the geometry of the bike I was able to fit on a Medium frame...yes I said Medium. Being that I am 6' 1" I never dreamed that I would be riding a Medium.

I have my first race of the season this weekend down in Arkansas (Ouachita Challenge 80 mile) so I will have more feedback to share and hopefully some good pics of the event.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rest and relaxation...or vacation

What exactly is a "recovery week"? Well, first off all it is a term used only in athletics. Do you ever hear a co-worker or your boss at work tell you that they need a recovery week? No, instead he or she will tell you that they need a vacation.
So do those two terms equate to the same thing then? I don't think so.

Here is my definition of a "recovery week" (as it refers to cycling) vs. a "vacation". Tell me your thoughts...

Recovery Week - A week to decrease mileage and intensity on the bike, almost to the point that you feel a bit guilty. A recovery period allows the microtrauma of training to heal. If done correctly other aspects of fitness can be gained as the main elements are healing. When the recovery week is over you should be stronger and ready to begin higher intensity workouts or do an event you've been training for. Recovery weeks don't necessarily have to be easy but they do have to rest whatever was targeted during the preceding workouts.

Vacation - A time (usually 1-3 weeks) that is spent either A) running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to see and do as many things possible, or B) sitting around and completely relaxing not doing anything. And the worst part about a vacation is that when it's over you feel completely depressed (the feeling you get when you realize that you have to go back to work). In contrast, once a recovery week is over you're dying to up the intensity and mileage. If you're not, then you need to recover a little longer.

There, I hope that this answers any questions about a recovery week vs. a vacation. Now if you hear your boss tell you that he/she is in need of a recovery week, most likely he/she is a cyclist. If he/she is not then you know you better be putting in some overtime.

The reason for this post is because I just finished a "recovery" week and am foaming at the mouth to race, and the week prior was on "vacation".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Health Tip #1

As promised, I am going to be listing several Health/Nutrition and Training tips throughout the season to help improve overall health and performance in which ever sport you partake in. Here is the first official "tip":

Help Improve Focus and Relieve Stress

Looking for simple ways to increase focus or relieve tension? Chewing gum may offer an easy solution. Research has shown that chewing gum may help improve alertness and concentration and help relieve daily stresses like driving in traffic or waiting in line.

• Many athletes and coaches chew gum to "stay in the game." And, some teachers have reversed school policies and encouraged students to chew gum during tests to help increase their alertness and concentration.

• Psychiatrists and psychologists suggest two of the reasons people chew gum are to relieve boredom and reduce tension. Chewing gum may also help people release nervous energy and provide an outlet for frustration and irritation.

www.eatright.org , www.gumisgood.com
*These statements are approved by the American Dietetic Association

"However recently, the ingredient known as sorbitol that is used in sugar free chewing gums have been linked to cause serious gastrointestinal problems".

January 21, 2008 by Beth Benson

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Long Hot Days in the Sun

The Arizona "Training Camp" is officially over. After spending a week down in Buckeye, AZ with the folks I'm back in Oregon only to see white stuff still stuck on the ground; and that would be snow.
The goal for the week was to log some long mileage day after day with moderate intensity. For the week I was able to log 400 miles and 17.5 hours on the bike. On Tuesday I rode from Buckeye to Wickenburg and back to Buckeye riding through the Vulture Mtns. for a total of 101 miles. I signed up for the Mining Country Challenge ride that started in Superior, AZ on Saturday. That was an amazing ride and well organized. It was a 96 mile ride thru several old mining towns that included over 7,000ft of climbing. The final climb back to the finish was a 1.2 mile 13% grade that was quite the leg burner. Both rides took exactly 5 hours and I averaged 260 watts both days.
Each day I began my rides in the early morning round 8am and the temps were in the mid 70's.

When I finished my rides, Jenny and I took advantage of the swimming pool and hot tub conveniently located at the Sage Center in my folks community.
Besides training, I was able to check out some pretty cool sights and sounds of Arizona.
On Wednesday we all drove up to Sedona, AZ to check out Montezuma'a Castle. The history behind this is pretty fascinating and hard to imagine how those Sinagua Indians actually lived in there for hundreds of years. In 1400 AD they disappeared and now the remnants of the castle still stand.

This house in Sedona belongs to the guy who invented Lasik surgery...I guess you could say he did alright.
The background of this photo in Sedona almost looks fake

On Thursday, we checked out a Spring Training baseball game that featured the Royals vs. the Mariners. The best part of the game was the person throwing out the "first pitch". Believe it or not, my dad was asked to throw out the first pitch...and he threw a strike! In front of family, friends and thousands of fans, my dad was in the spot light for about 2 min. Pretty cool.
With a good solid week of training the legs feel pretty tired. I'm anxious to head down to Arkansas in April and see how the legs will respond during the Ouachita Challenge race, the first of the season. Now I just need to get the bikes ready...pics coming soon

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Health Nutrition / Training Tips

Beginning very soon I am going to be posting several health/nutrition and training tips to help improve overall wellness and athletic performance. I will be sharing my own ideas and also referencing ideas from other sources. Who knows, you might actually learn something new.
Here is a sample of what you can expect:

Adding More Purple into Your Diet

Concord grape juice (not surprisingly) belongs to the purple family. Recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) revealed that people who consumed purple/blue fruits and vegetables on a regular basis had a lowered risk of metabolic syndrome. (Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which a group of risk factors for heart disease, including stroke, and Type 2 diabetes occur together)

5 Easy Ways to Adding more Purple into your Diet

1. As a rule, high-fiber, low-cal, filling real fruit is always better than fruit juice. Toss blueberries into your morning breakfast cereal, or purple grapes into your salad.
2. If you feel like a glass of juice, try concord grape juice. Make sure to check the labels and look for 100% concord grape juice instead of grape juice blend.
3. Add raisins or dried plums to your trail mix.
4. Use grape juice in replacement of red wine in your cooking. This results in dishes with great flavor minus the alcohol. Perfect for everyday cooking!
5. Try roasting or grilling sliced eggplant

Written by Gloria Tsang, RD
Published in November 2007

Friday, March 6, 2009

Training Camp

On Monday Jenny and I are heading south in search of warm temps. With Bend's weather still toying with winter (40 degree temps and snow) it is the perfect time to get out of town for a few days. This will make the second year in a row that we are heading to Arizona in March for a late Training Camp. The camp will include lots of mileage and lots of hill work and lots of rest and relaxation (hopefully by the pool). I'm hoping to log at least 20 hours on the bike during the camp. Looking at the 10 day forecast brings a smile to my face; absolutely perfect weather (mid 70's and sun).
Jenny and I are heading down for a total of eight days. Next Saturday, I will be participating in the Mining County Challenge ride. It's a 96 mile ride that starts and ends in Superior, AZ and includes 7,000ft of climbing with several 10-15% grade climbs. The event is sponsored by the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club and is now in it's 17th year. I'm sure I will run into some people who have done it every year since the beginning.
This will be the final week of high volume before switching gears and focusing more on higher intensity workouts. The first race is less than one month away and I am looking forward to it. I will be heading to Arkansas to compete in the Ouachita Challenge race. I am dong the 80 mile option which sounds pretty challenging. It will be good to gauge the fitness at that time and work on some of my limiters. I'm sure I will see dome familiar faces at this event as it is becoming quite popular.
Now...here's to a chilly Bend ride Saturday morning!!!