Archive for May, 2009
So Bernard Kohl “retires” and takes a parting shot saying that you can’t compete as a pro cyclist without doping.
Dumb words from a dumb guy. I guess it never occured to you that you just weren’t good enough?
On one of the climbing workouts in the Do The Tour…Stay at Home series from 2006, Bob Roll tries to motivate you by saying that if you don’t keep up, he’ll “drop your sorry ass like a sack full of anvils”.
I was at a work conference most of last week, and riding wasn’t a viable option. My time was spent presenting and sitting in on training sessions and eating a lot. I rode the Saturday before (the 9th) for a paltry 1¼ hours (26 miles). Suffice it to say that when I got back, I needed to get some miles in.
I was psyched that on Friday afternoon the weather was perfect. As I like to say, it was “room temperature” outside – 72°F and wind under 5 mph. I left work at 2:00 eager to ride, but aware that it would be wiser to keep the length of the ride low so I don’t shock my body too much (Achilles and knees, I’m looking at you).
For some reason the granola bar (and water that accompanied it) I had as a snack 2 hours before sloshed around in my stomach to no end. I felt awful. I made it 20 minutes in before I caved and figured this was a lost cause. By the time I got home it was a pitiful 48 minute affair not even hitting 15 miles. Feh. I felt like a sack of anvils.
Tomorrow is a new day. The weather is cool, but not windy. I need to get a good, solid endurance ride in soon. I can’t see myself riding over 2 hours tomorrow, but I want to feel good by the end. I need to shake the voice of Bob Roll out of my head and replace it with Phil Liggett telling me that I’m dancing on the pedals.
The axiom among physiologists is that fitness is not gained during the activity, but as a result of the activity. During the trainer season, I put a conscious effort into avoiding workouts on consecutive days. During the outdoor season, I try to stick to this as much as the weather and yard work obligations allow. Good recovery is just as important as a hard effort.
And I’m feeling it.
After some fits and starts getting acclimated to the changing spring weather – windy and 58° to sunny and 90° – I’m harvesting the results of all that work. I got in a two hour ride covering 39 miles and 18.5 mph average, and I felt great at the end. I was flying up hills and motoring on the flats. It was a perfect-feeling ride.
Today, a day off the bike, I have an energetic feeling in my legs that is all too rare after a good effort the day before. These are the days I sit back and realize just how much I get from riding – the leaner frame, the better sleep, the attention paid to my diet, and (quoting Fred Matheny) the post-ride calm of a Zen Master.
Perhaps greatest of all is the mental lift. Kim West said on his show last week that he starts feeling better as he rolls down his driveway. Everything else just doesn’t matter any more. All the crap at work, annoying drivers, aches and pains, stupid doping stories, A-Rod, all of it. Just give me some decent pavement and it all goes away. It’s astounding what this simple machine lets me do.
Yeah, it’s like that.