Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Monday, May 27, 2013

R and R

 Whenever I hear someone complain about poor athletic performance, somewhere during the conversation I invariably hear “I have to train more (better, harder, longer, etc).  For years, I guess decades, I too thought that I could just “train through” a slump: push harder, beat myself up even more.  After many years of performance ups and downs I now realize that fitness is not simply a matter of training, but also equally a matter of resting and good nutrition.

One thing that constantly bugged me during my Ironman training was that I could bust my butt Monday through Friday and then go out in a long Saturday ride, or a ski tour with a relative couch potato who would either keep up with me easily or, worse yet, lead the charge.  I’d be huffing and puffing and they’d be waiting for me at the top of the hill.  I now see that I was broken down and exhausted while they were rested and ready to go.
Lance Armstrong
Even dopers need rest
The problem with hard charging amateur athletes is that we like to train like pros but we don’t eat or rest like pros.  During training pro bikers and pro triathletes sit around a lot, it’s either training or the couch.  Also I’d be willing to bet that there isn’t a pro cyclist/triathlete out there who doesn’t adhere to a thought out, pre-planned nutrition program: no eating from roach coaches or vending machines.

I have a big stage race coming up next weekend, not to mention Leadville in August, but instead of pushing it harder and faster this holiday weekend I’m taking it easy, getting in some light hiking, stretching, resting, recuperating, eating well.  I’ve been training and racing hard for the past twenty four months, and it’s taking its toll.  Time to get some rest.  Let’s see how it works out.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Half of Leadville

After forty eight miles on the trail I came to the darkness (more commonly known as the Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel), and all I had to combat the absence of light was my trusty Gerber pocket flashlight.

It's still cold in them thar hills, after four and a half hours of uphill riding I got to the cabin and immediately lit a fire to warm my feet.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stottlemeyer 30 Mile Mountain Bike Race

What a great day of mountain bike racing.  A handful of Cucina Fresca teammates and I made the annual pilgrimage over the water to Port Gamble and the Stottlemeyer 30 mile mountain bike race.  The trail conditions and the weather probably couldn’t have been better.  I lined up with the 40-49 masters, which was grouped with the Men’s Open resulting in a total of 190 riders at the line – a bit crowded. 
A bit fuzzy but it gets the point across
The thirty mile race is broken down into two super technical laps, which begin after an initial two mile ride up a well-maintained fire road.  My technical skills have improved exponentially since last year, but I remain one of the more technically challenged riders on the course.

For the first lap there were probably five or six guys thinking, “that damned Cucina Fresca guy is driving me nuts,” because I’d pass these guys on the ascents and the fire roads and then they’d run up my butt on the technical stuff, I’d let them by and then we’d just repeat the process in another mile.  Fortunately these guys all stopped at the 15 mile aid station, which I blew through – thanks to 100 oz of water and 6 scoops of Sustained Energy in my Camelback.  Note for Leadville: the Camelback is key.

Any experienced triathlete will attest to the fact that the clock speeds up any time you stop during a race.  I've had transitions that I swore were less than a minute, but when I go back and look at the chip time I realize that I spent three to five minutes trying to get my shoes on.  With this in mind I didn't stop pedaling for the entire race and I'm positive that it bought me at least five minutes.

I didn’t cramp until the final 100 yards and I knocked 18 minutes off of last year’s time, so I’m super happy with my results.  I feel on track for the 60 mile race on June 8th at Echo Valley and Leadville in August.

After the race we hung out in the sun drinking cold Rainier, eating hot dogs and listening to the local high school rock band crank out some pretty good cover tunes.   A good day in the woods.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Facts and Data

Just one short month ago I didn’t even have a bike computer.  I just rode by feel and at the end of the day I didn’t even know how far I’d ridden (unless I could poach the data from a riding partner).  Now here I sit with my new Garmin 505 linked to a Strava account pouring over my data and comparing how I stack up with the local competition when it comes to riding up hills (not too good as it turns out).

Biking, whether it be commuting, fitness, recreation or racing should be about having fun.  I mean biking is just simple plain old fun.  I was worried that too much tracking of the minutia associated with riding a bicycle would begin to erode the foundation of why I ride in the first place – because I like to damn it.  I’ve seen this in the Ironman world – folks get so wrapped around the axle of meeting some goal that they forget that this stuff is supposed to be fun, this is how we recreate.

So far I seem to be keeping the data in its place – as secondary to the actual riding.  I’ll just have to be careful not to have a heart attack going up Zoo hill just because I want to have the 160th fastest time instead of my current 167th status.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eat Yer Vegetables

So I finally broke down and bought me one Vitamix blenders.  I think that many part time yet serious athletes, such as myself, think of our fitness solely in terms of training: if we don't perform as expected we scream at ourselves "train harder you lazy bastard."  As I've aged I've come to realize that fitness is a three-legged stool with training, nutrition and rest all being roughly equal contributors.  Yeah when you're young you can eat nachos and party all night and still hit it hard during the day, but as we start to see more years behind than in front nutrition and rest become increasingly important.

I'm pretty good about eating my vegetables, I actually like broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower but when I look back on my daily intake of food I can't help but see a dearth of raw green vegis.  Enter the Vitamix.  Today I made soup for lunch, I threw in some broccoli, a carrot, a small cucumber, a quarter of an onion and a handful of kale along with about a half cup of water and blended until smooth.   Now I know that you can actually heat soup up in the super fast Vitamix, but I opted to just put it on the stove for five minutes.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper and some hot sauce and served it with a bit of crumbled cojita cheese.

Pretty good.  I think the onion kind of made it a bit tart.  Next time I'll either precook the onion or use a Walla Walla sweet.  We'll see how it fuels me at the races tonight.