Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mileage PR

I just wrapped up another week of cycling, which ended in a weekly mileage PR of 169 miles:

MON: 32.2 mi, 1:48:20, 313' vertical
TUE: 57.4 mi, 3:34:35, 1371' vertical
THU: 40.4 mi, 2:14:03, 482' vertical
FRI: 39.0 mi, 2:19:24, 902' vertical

TOT: 169.0 mi, 9hr 56 min 21 sec (17.0 mph avg), 3068' vertical

Tuesday's ride (with Tom) included loops around both Newman Lake and Hauser Lake. Newman is a challenge due to some pretty good climbs, but this week it was even more of a challenge because of the road work I wasn't aware of before the ride. They had laid down chip seal for about 1.5 miles on the northern side of the lake. That slowed us to a crawl. For some reason, the rocks kept sticking to my tires and getting stuck under my brake levers just above my tires. Other than that (and a stiff headwind on the way back), it was a great ride. Monday and Thursday were pretty standard Centennial Trail rides, but on Friday I decided to ride from my house, which meant I'd have a nice climb at the end of the ride. It's only the second time I've ridden that climb, and I was much more prepared this time (I'm 8 lbs. lighter and in much better shape). Not to say that it was easy. It's still a pretty grueling climb for me. It'll be a nice gauge of my strength and fitness in the future.

Speaking of which, I've really felt a boost in fitness the last couple of weeks. Summer is half over, so it's nice to finally "feel" like a cyclist. By the time the Coeur d'Fondo comes around (I'll be doing the 108 mile Gran Fondo, around lake Coeur d'Alene, on Sept. 26th), I should be ready. There's a lot of climbing on that ride, so I'll have to step up my game in that department leading up to that ride. Next year at this time, I fully plan on being a monster on the bike. Mark my words, I will never allow myself to get out of cardio shape again, like I did in 2014. If it's too nasty to ride outside during the winter months, I'll be burning up my trainer and catching up on some Netflix garbage (maybe I'll save season 5 of the Walking Dead for such occasions ;-)

Yes, this is still being written by The Resurrected Runner, but I think I'm slowly morphing into a cyclist. If and when the day comes when I can run again, it'll be as part of a program that contains plenty of two wheel workouts. I might even throw in some swimming again if the mood strikes!

So, if injuries are keeping you from one activity, find another one that keeps you fit and healthy. No excuses!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Another Good Week In The Books

It's hard to believe how fast this summer is flying by! I've been doing my best to get out and enjoy it while it's here.

Last week I manged to get out for three rides. I rode with my friend Tom on Tuesday. We recorded 56.3 miles which included a nice hill climb on the Riverview Drive/Highland Drive loop, just southeast of Post Falls, ID. The loop itself isn't terribly long, but it contains several rolling hills and one pretty big one (relative to what I've been riding). The loop ended with a very fast descent. I'm not terribly confident in my descending ability (and always nervous about loose gravel), so I usually tap the brakes occasionally just to stay somewhat under control. Still, we were doing over 40 mph. down the hill!

I did a solo ride of 32.3 miles on Thursday (flat and sort of fast), followed by another solo ride from Argonne to Coeur d'Alene and back (60.6 miles). I felt a little knee soreness during the last two rides, especially when pushing and/or climbing. With the Coeur d'Fondo coming up in September, I should probably invest in a professional bike fitting. I'm sure some adjustments are in order.

I did avoid any cramping this week. I started using Succeed S-Caps, along with my gels and drinks I had been using. While I felt little hints of possible cramping in my legs during a couple of rides, it never happened.

I also feel like my fitness has taken a jump the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure if that's because I've started doing a little climbing or not, but I notice that I don't get winded very easily during rides now, unless I'm really hammering. I seem to recover a little quicker, too.

I also did one run with the dog last Wednesday (mostly on dirt trails), to check in on my knee. There was some pain, but it wasn't terrible. However, my knee ached for a day or two after the run, so I still probably shouldn't run on it.

On Saturday, my wife, oldest daughter and our dog all set out on a family hike on some trails we didn't even know about, prior to my internet research. They're only about 20 minutes from our house, but they feel like they're out in the middle of nowhere. We intended to hike about 5-6 miles, but we got confused on the unmarked trails and ended up hiking 10.4 miles in the heat. We ran out of water, and my dog decided he was going to plop down in the shade several times as we were walking. During the hike, he drank all the water in his bottle and some left in mine that I saved for him. I was a little worried about him, but he made it, 3 1/2 hours later! I looked at our course on Strava and I now know the right trails to take whenever we do the hike again.

Thus ends my boring rambling. Get outdoors this week and sweat!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Hills Are Alive

Last Friday (July 10th), I met up with my friend Kenny in Couer d'Alene to ride the Olympic triathlon bike course (he's doing the race next month). It's a pretty hilly course, and one that I've never ridden. In fact, I've never ridden east of Coeur d'Alene at all. We set out from the park, by the beach, and rode east along the north shore of the lake, turned around and worked our way up some pretty challenging climbs. We misread part of the course and ended up going down and back up a steep climb, which added to our total elevation gain (almost 1900' total, over 26 miles).

I learned an important lesson on this ride. Instead of trying to hammer and fight my way up the hills, I geared way down and backed off the effort just enough to not get too winded, nor build up too much lactic acid in my legs. That meant slower climbing, but it also meant not blowing up. It made the climbs more enjoyable and eased the feeling of dread I usually get when there's a hill to ascend. A combination of seated climbing and standing on the pedals seemed to work well, too.

I have a long way to go as a climber, and I know there are much harder climbs that will still kick my rear, but it's nice to know that I can work the uphills in a way that doesn't wipe me out.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Heat and Leg Cramps

Last Wednesday (July 1st), I rode 58.5 miles with my frequent riding buddy Tom. We rode out to (and around) Hauser Lake, just inside the border of Idaho, which was a beautiful area. Even though we started riding at 9:45am, it was hot. About 40 miles into the ride, I started feeling my left calf spasming, like it was getting ready to cramp. I ate a gel every hour or so and drank both water and Powerade, but the heat was starting to do a number on me. We stopped briefly just 3 or 4 miles from the end of the ride, where I dismounted and stretched. We decided to just spin easily to the end. It was working until a mere half mile from the finish. At that point, going up a slight uphill, both of my quads violently cramped, causing me to jump out of my saddle. I couldn't bend my knees and was in a good deal of pain. I managed to lean over and get off the bike, roll to the side of the trail and lay down. Tom gave me a couple of electrolyte/sodium capsules. They seemed to kick in fairly quickly, allowing me to hop back on the bike and finish the ride. It was close to 100°f at that point. Once home, I took a 15 minute ice bath.

It was a challenging, but enjoyable, ride. It's becoming obvious that my body doesn't deal well with heat. Whenever I've had cramping issues, it's been on hot days. I just purchased some S-Caps, which I'll be taking during hot rides from now on.

Train hard, but train smart!