Sunday, September 30, 2012
Just to keep you up to date. You know how they say (the photographers mostly) that one picture is worth a thousand words? I was downloading clips from this morning's shoot of the Kitsap Color Classic and thought this 67 seconds through scenic Port Gamble objectively described the ride. Had it of been a test you might say (the writers mostly) that it passed with flying colors.
Whether you are a shooter or a scribe (or both) above is the 67.
The video, as well as being one of the shortest in the RCVman YouTube library, also puts us very close to our 200th vid. That, with any aloha at all, will take place in Kona next week. Which should be an exciting time, even though my race goals were shattered in August and dreams crushed in July. Not to mention shot down in June.
Back to the wood pile to chop more bio-mass for the coming rain and snow. My brick for the day was 90 minutes chopping wood, a 25:30 5,000 meters, and another 90 minutes with the ax.
No wonder I no race Kona.......
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Sometimes it is easier to chart the course for the future by looking at the past. Obviously how we got here is a direct result of where we have been. Here follows there. Accordingly if you want to direct your course, you access the present. I have found that it is much easier to get to where I want to be by accurately locating where I am now. I could be a thousand miles away, or ten feet. I truly believe that it is never as far as you think, and the only way to get there is to start. Right now. One step. Head in that direction. Bring what ya got, get going.
Think for a moment what this means to you in terms of your health and fitness, towards your achievement of goals, your happiness factor. What you ate and how much you moved is what you have right now. Exercise too little and eat too much and you have a weight problem. There are sub categories at play as well while we courageously (or not) fight the ravages of the aging process. That's the good fight. What types of food we eat and the intensity of our exercise are examples. There needs to be a healthy mix, balance and rest. Then there needs to be change. We need to add to the mix to promote adaptation. We grow stronger, we last longer, we appreciate and respect all this as it unfolds in the present tense, where we are, a day after where we were.
If we make good choices today they will assist in the growth of tomorrow. If we don't, we get to try again the next day. Until we get it right.
And then we do it again.
Until it is habit. What we do. Our healthy lifestyle. EXTRA ordinary.
Then we change it again, get out of THAT comfort zone and add more challenge, more heat, more drama and lots more awareness because that is the glue that binds. If you are not paying attention to this miraculous process you are missing the magic.
There has been major mojo magic taking place around us, 24/7/365. And I am not solely talking about since Thursday night.
A pictorial sample of the magic: Sunshine and shadows on my Japanese Maples. Pino's delicious vegetarian lasagna from VR11, a 14.08 four person TT, and college bike jerseys as Birthday presents. All here. It's where we've been. And where we're going.
Friday, September 28, 2012
We can learn from others. We SHOULD learn from others. That might be the true beauty of competition, that we get to see empirical evidence of our weakness'. Sometimes shown to us rather rudely, sometimes with great compassion. Most of the time somewhere in-between. Chivalry and good sportsmanship are important. As is the respect of your opponent. We have a saying in long course triathlon that one must respect the distance. In football you earn the respect of your opponents. You don't need to talk about it, tweet about it or taunt. You don't need to be the I in team. You merely go out and do the best you can, every minute, until done.
With focus, with passion, with presence. It becomes apparent very quick that these emotions, blended together, froth up an elixir of magical proportions. The 12th man becomes the energy of the cosmos, wearing the moniker of momentum. Strange and unexpected things happen when these elements are aligned. Miracles occur, legends are created and memories etch into the collective consciousness of all concerned.
We saw this twice yesterday. An event seemingly as simple as riding a bike indoors, provided fertile soil for a test of character. You know the scenario, we even practice for it, invite it for group rides and invoke it's power on a regular basis. We like to call it "the conversation". That dialogue when things get tough, when the "opposition" seems too big, too strong, too lucky for little you to continue. There is no hope. No way you can win. So why try? Let's just go home and try again, maybe, another time, the voice pleads.
Winning that debate, continuously, repeatedly, relentlessly, becomes habitual. It becomes your default value. It sharpens character and colors courage. It carries it's own unique reward, usually associated with an admirable, yet nuanced, glow of quiet confidence.
There is only one way to get it. You have to fight. You have to challenge yourself. You have to get beat up a little, understand pain, test your resolve.
And one day, one sweet day, the turning point comes. Your dues have been paid. The passage rites all passed. You present the correct combination of humility, appreciation and valor. Another step up the ladder. One more rung. Higher.
I find it fascinating that we have this wonderful opportunity every day. No matter where we are or how fast, strong, talented, or rich.
I learned a lot yesterday by watching my friends steadfastly ride an indoor trainer to improve their power. I was awed by an overwhelmingly outmatched college football team find a way to win. Those lessons I cherish. I like bold. I like challenge. I like breaking barriers, making something out of nothing.
I like watching and learning from others.
Here is a sample of the work of my illustrious competition, there are many more. All very good stuff, outstanding. I am amazed at the scope and complexity of the products in my chosen field. Check them out and see:
Thursday, September 27, 2012
In this morning's class we went to extremes. I asked for standing climbing levels which represented effort in the 85-92% range. I also asked for an objective, or more accurately, an as objective as possible, rating of each. They were to be "only" 60 seconds in duration, and we were going to repeat them somewhere between the opening of each "classic country rock" song and its twangy conclusion. We also added another variable, that being the caveat of perception. How hard does this gear feel right now as we add muscular fatigue, mix in chemical change, pour on cardio taxation, all with the passage of time. We recovered in a cursing gear at 120 rpm. For an hour.
It was work. It challenged. It felt great with the interesting side benefit that the recoveries, in a respectable gear and at an very snappy frequency, seems by comparison, like a walk on the beach. How is that for progress?
Individually I was very pleased with the effort as it was my seventh session in four days and I entered our orange spinning room with a touch of trepidation. All of you know the feeling: Not sure I can do this today.
But we suit up, don game face and giver 'er a little hell. And you get to the start. You go. You bring the tools that get you here. You dance with the person who brought you. The two step is on, the fever is high, banjos are ringing' and endorphins fly.
This alone creates it's own momentum as the question, the test, shifts anything but subtly, to one of duration. How long can I maintain the output?
In the search for this answer we narrow our focus and hone our awareness. From the hour scheduled for the session, down to the 60 seconds of each hill repeat, to the very turn of every pedal rotation, every breath, every twitch of muscle fiber. The nano second of now. Here, powerful and relaxed, blood flow at an uncommonly high volume, temperatures regulated over a raging tributary of salt and water, in nuanced harmony with our place in the cosmos. Nothing else matters but this moment. This test, this challenge.
Passing that test is victory. That is winning. It has nothing to do with time, another person, or one team scoring more than the another, or some orchestrated, made for TV championship. You give your best, work your butt off to improve, adapt, grow and change. You stay in the process, aware, awake and thankful for the opportunity to be here and compete. Regardless of outcome, you do your best. That, to me, defines a winner.
Making the somewhat unorthodox segue from indoor cycling to college football, tonight after our Ferry to Bridge 14.08 time trial, my beloved University of Washington Huskies will take the field against the heavily favored Stanford Cardinal. Be all objective analysis, we should get slaughtered. They are bigger, faster, stronger, deeper. Last week they beat USC then the number 3 team in the country, while we beat a Portland State team that plays in a minor division. It could get ugly in a Jake Locker hurry.
Maybe each of the 22 Dawgs plays the game of their lives. They find some team mojo and suddenly the impossible looks 'do-able'. They start to think, 'we can do this', and work and play in the absence of fear, inspired to achieve a common, united group goal. They hit, they run, the block and they tackle. 60,000 people cheer wildly their every successful and hard earned yard. Miracles happen. Losing becomes winning. Success breeds success. Momentum is power.
Again tonight we go to extremes. Let's make it happen, lads.
Photo from Jake's final home game against UCLA in 2010, a 24-7 W for the good Dawgs.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The weather supposedly will hold for this weekends big ride, the Kitsap Color Classic. I plan on filming so if you see Bluey, a semi-vintage Volvo 780 GL with Trixie, my trusty, loyal and faithful fixie hanging on for dear life from the rear bumper, and a Contour GPS camera suctioned to the right front head light, go ahead and wave (or weave). As the testing continues, I am trying out a new long course capture technique, using a 12 volt battery adaptor to provide continuos power to the new 32GB micro chip. All meaning, that I should be able to film and simultaneously capture accurate and seamless elevation data, 64 miles in one take. Going to start around 11am or so, after another hilly big lap deuce, eight miles of running torture in Suquamish and into Kingston, thereby saving time and hopefully keeping riders in the field of view the entire course.
How about those two for classic examples of run-on sentences?
This afternoon I was forced into examination, once again, of a pet theory of mine. The one about losing actually masquerading as winning. Taking a cue from Hollywood, where conflict is king, I used the example of Rocky Balboa. Remember when Rock got beaten to a bloody mess by Apollo Creed? Of course you do. He could have quit. He was actually counseled to. The people that loved him begged him to quit. Once the hemorrhaging subsided, he was faced with 'the moment of truth'. He had to make a decision. Go home or get back in the ring. There was no other choice. Maybe is a weasel word.
You know what happened.
He started back in training. At oh-dark thirty. On a mission. At that very moment he transitioned from loser to winner. THAT very moment. Everybody in the world, Philadelphia included, knew what was going to happen. But the Rock still had to perfectly prepare for the rematch. That perfect preparation is what we call the path. The process. The sacred journey. Only to Hollywood did the outcome matter. Rock was a winner, and it took first losing to get there.
As many races as I have lost, as many battles as I have ended up on the canvas, and as many defeats, setbacks and disappointments as I have endured, one thing comes clear:
They make the success' and the victories sweeter. They keep me going. This attempt, at getting better, improving, staying in the power of the now, I believe to be the goal. Not the outcome. If I have done EVERYTHING right in preparation, the contest is a celebration. Until there is no such thing as losing. It's all the path to winning. A part of the process.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Fatigue is a brain-derived emotion that regulates the exercise behavior to ensure the protection of whole body homeostasis.
THAT is a terrific opening statement. The entire article here. Do you find it true? Do you see it as an objective snapshot of our main objective? Does it make whole-system sense to you? Or do you hold to the belief that fatigue is some evil combination of cardio overload and muscular failure caused by over work?
Let's look a little closer. A brain derived emotion. Like love? Like anger? Like the sheer joy we discussed yesterday? Like our tribe's insatiable persistence for war? All brain derived emotions, si?
Begging the question: Who's in charge here?
I'll toss a dart and suggest that YOU ARE.
It's your call. You wanna be happy? Be that. You wanna be in love? Go there. You wanna run effortlessly for hours? Begin.
This fascinating article excerpt from Smithsonian Magazine on Davie Byrne's book, How Our Brains Process Music, brought up several important points. One that I found particularly interesting was on mirror neurons. As in 'When you're smiling the whole world smiles with you'. Additionally he cites studies done about athletes watching other athletes doing what they do. Our mirror neurons fire (become active) simply be our seeing someone doing something we admire, understand and respect. Next time we do a 2x20 set in the HoM take a look at this phenomenon as you ride and watch. You mimic the motion. Assuming of course that the motion is strong, graceful and with impeccable form.
I find this amazing. And true. And in complete harmony with why we do what we do. That sheer joy thing again. Only this time to the beat. As a brain-derived emotion. Whole and complete, self aware and in the groove zone. I will TELL you when fatigue is here, further it will resonate at a frequency several octaves above our current ability to detect it's aural harmonic. Also known, in some circles, as Burning Down the House.
Which is, perhaps the closest I can come to making comparisons between Mr. Byrne and my humble self.
Monday, September 24, 2012
HEADS: Hardship, in forcing us to exercise greater patience and forbearance in daily life, actually makes us stronger and more robust. From the daily experience of hardship comes a greater capacity to accept difficulties without losing our sense of inner calm. Of course, I do not advocate seeking out hardship as a way of life, but merely wish to suggest that, if you relate to it constructively, it can bring greater inner strength and fortitude.. Dalai Llama
TAILS: There is only one reason to do anything: to announce
and declare, express and fulfill, become and
experience Who You Really Are.
Do what you do, therefore, for the sheer joy of it,
for sheer joy is who you are. Do what you choose,
not what someone else chooses for you…Neal Donald Walsch
Hardship and sheer joy, opposites, enemies, odd bedfellows, or strangers in the night?
Not quite right, lotsa gray. So I will take none-of-the-above.
And suggest that they are the same. Two sides of the same coin. Yin and twin yang. Night and day. You in happy mode and you sullen. The fact that you ride your bike pushing a bigger gear or ride it at 122rpm, still necessitates the actual turning of pedals. You ride. HOW is another matter.
Imagine no hardship. No challenge. No problems to solve, headaches to cure or obstacles to avoid. Not a lot of growth in that scenario. Fact is, sounds pretty dullsville to me. I like the fact that today will be a test. How long can I maintain my awareness without falling prey to myriad distractions? How do I move closer to my goal? How do I handle this perplexing petty problem that has (because of my unwillingness to address it properly), taken up permanent residence in my consciousness? How do I manage, cope, thrive?
Because please remember folks, when we signed up for this course, it added the footnote……no matter what. THAT means despite hardship. No excuse will do. None acceptable. Sorry. That is the game, those are the rules, and that is the way we play. It's HARD. OK?
If it was easy it would have zero value.
Calling tails as the coin falls to palm, the sheer joy factor means once you accept the "heads" premise, everything, yes, everything has inherent joy. We spin for that reason. Ride for that reason, run for that reason and love for that reason. We seek challenge for that reason. We solve problems and create jobs. Or create laughter at the very least. The only thing we expect of others is that they do likewise. Can you imagine a world filled with sheer joy? We have plenty of hardship, simply look around, but what would happen if we were somehow able to rise above the din and smile despite the oppression, work together to create a better space and appreciate the challenge as we smile our way through the swamp?
Heads you win. Tails you do too.
That is the only way it is going to get easier.
It's your call.
I spent all day yesterday, instead of working on the you-know-what, working on this graphic for a client. The union hall was closed on Sunday so I had to be photographer, model, grip, best boy, designer, developer, colorist and janitor. Not to mention driver and caterer. What I found out was that sometimes hardship, even with the sheer joy of creating, merely creates additional hardship.
At least I get to keep the socks.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Finishing the final render of the sample video shot on Vashon Island Thursday. I'll have that posted by close of business today, all for your viewing and motivational pleasure. It was a most educational 80 mile jaunt around Vashon, seeing first-hand almost the entire island as laid out by the VIRC, Vashon Island Rowing Club, sponsors and organizers of the P2P, passport to pain ride, all 10,000 feet of gain. Looks like something wacky to do come next September.
As mentioned in our equally wacky 90 minute portage to pain spin this morning, we need to become better readers. As in reading labels. I was presented with an immediate guffaw with the mention that low-fat yogurt contains 32 grams of sugar per serving. And I must now post the correction. I was wrong. IT IS ACTUALLY 35, not 32 grams of the evil powder. Meaning, that if weight loss, or control, is of high importance to you, as it should be, when in doubt - check it out. I think you will be amazed at the places it will show up, wanting a permanent place to hang.
Like in your house.
Being this the first day of Fall, let's reaffirm our commitment to keep on the path of progress. It is a three-fold path, eat good, work hard, manage stress. Often we can make huge gains simply by adding or subtracting one item per group.
Lose the sugar
Add intensity or frequency
Friday, September 21, 2012
Again today I was reminded of our (more specifically, my) need to keep a constant vigil on the path of (well, you name it: Life, Enlightenment, Fitness, Self Awareness, Fame, Glory, Meaning, Riches, Happiness). Whatever path you are on this very moment will undoubtedly have some degree of failure, setback, challenge, defeat, sadness, loss or sorrow today. Have your found this to be true?
I sure have. I am constantly reminded of my need to re-define failure. The meaning evolves. With more data, more experience and more, ahem, wisdom defining the tweak.
Please allow me to illustrate.
Have you reached your fitness goals?
Are you currently operating at 100% efficiency?
Are you where you want to be in life?
Are you deeply and sincerely happy?
Do you know who you are?
Are you serving your highest calling?
Are you helping others, leading by example?
Do you have one bad habit you would like to lose?
Are you the best you that you can imagine?
Are you living fully?
If you answered no to any of the above…..
Welcome to the path. This process. Our time together. Your quest, this journey, the epic adventure of your life, and mine.
We have work to do and the clock is running my friends. We are being chased by the demons of time, fire breathing dragons determined to engage us in a battle to the death. Spiked club wielding monstrously strong Orcs intent on separating your head from the rest of your body. Our magnificent fears. Ravens in the night quoting Poe foretelling doom, torture, pain and eventual termination of heartbeat. How Poetic.
Let's quickly re-define failure then, shall we? Losing is not failure. Taking a wrong turn is not failure. Defeat is not failure. Getting lost is not failure. Falling is not failure. Injury is not, soreness is not, pain, suffering, heartbreak and foreclosure either.
The only failure is quitting. Everything else is part of the path of growth. Learn the lessons. Face your fears. Engage the dragon in combat. Be strong, be courageous, be happy. Laugh some. Cry if you need to. Firm your relationships. Be heroic. Stand your ground. Create.
And by all means keep moving. Onward, upward and forward. Persevere. Don't stop. Ever.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Sixty seconds to tell the story. I'll admit Hollywood does it better, but only at the BAC can you ride this TT. Starts Monday at a House of Mirth near you. Sign up here.
Far Away Entertainment theatre. If you thoroughly read this morning's post you will obviously know that you are on your own when it comes to buttered popcorn.
From Ideal Protein.com: Our protocol restricts sugars (simple and complex) until 100% of your weight loss goal is achieved…why? Because, as long as sugar is being consumed, your body is not burning fat. It really is that simple. Remember, the first source of energy is derived from glycogen (carbohydrate) reserves. Therefore, the core principle of the Ideal Protein Protocol is to deplete the glycogen (carbohydrate) reserves completely, in order to compel the body into consuming its fat reserve to burn calories.
From Hive Health Media: Even in human studies, those who were hitting the gym and sticking to a tight schedule of exercise lost significantly less weight than those who gathered with groups of people and played games or social sports. The social aspect of team sports seems to increase metabolic rates. This means that not only is the exercise more effective but it actually takes less energy to burn more calories and reduce fat.
Putting it all together is like building a house. You need masons for the foundation, electricians to connect the conduit, plumbers to ensure proper flow, framers, roofers, painters, landscapers, and a myriad of additional crafts and trades to complete the architectural rendering. In other words, building the dream. Our metaphor, as always, is in your body, good health, optimum fitness and, where applicable, faster racing times.
In the process we have isolated three vital components. They are:
You have heard of them. Today's blueprint considers the interplay of weight management to time spent in training. Or in layman's terms, how sugar is keeping you from that dream house.
As a timely testimonial, one of our spinners recently took the summer off. She took it outside, enjoying sails on her boat, walking the dogs and vacationing in Hawaii. All this after a solid six months of high intensity spinning. You might expect a slight increase in body mass. BUT, as a result of her strict adherence to a low sugar, high protein diet, she shed 20 pounds in just 90 days. Proving, once again, the importance of ALL THREE components. You can be the most active participant of group fitness at your club, but if you don't practice good dietary protocols, your net net will be less than satisfying. Like having a thatched roof on your ultra-modern-green-solar mansion on the lakefront. You can be ox-like strong with zero range of motion, or rail thin with zero endurance, or average with zero vitality, or super rich with zero soul and addicted to meds, IF NOT COMPETENT IN ALL THREE.
I really like the combination of high intensity exercise coupled with a low sugar diet and daily reconnections to spirit. Pretty simply right? For the sake of an example let's consider today. In a rollicking class (where I had the honor of sharing a story of my dear Mother) we considered some math. That our 60 minute session represented 4% of the day. Now that we are firmly on the path to the other 96%, I plan on a low fat, low glycemic, high protein, plant based fueling strategy to control my blood insulin levels. There will be a run session (an easy 5K) and a leisurely 10 mile bike ride. Business will be conducted between those events (I will try to get smarter, learn something pertinent and new) and every hour I will stop, stretch, and metaphorically smell the roses. I will look, see, touch, feel, thank, serve and assist. I will sincerely add gratitude to the emotional mix, and send a cosmic I Love You note to someone special.
I believe that with practice, this can become habitual. It will eventually morph into the 'us' that we first saw as a picture in a magazine. That vision of the 'new and improved" us we dream of and long for. Something wholesome and positive to dedicate our efforts towards in building that new dream house.
(A very, very, VERY fine house. With two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy, 'cause of you).
We nailed the 4%, now let's get after the 96: Mind your Spirit.
This shot at 0445 this morning brought a smile to face and oven-like warmth to my heart.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
A couple of Public Service Announcements today. Actually the same one shared two different ways.
Way one: Video from Sunday's shoot. It got a little chaotic out there on the highway, congested, two-way, riders, runners and drivers all negotiating for the same limited space, some moving at relatively high rates of speed. In this case we made it through unscathed, but throw a roller-blader (or skateboarder or vagabond hitchhiking gypsy) into the mix, and look out!!!!
Way two: A reminder about the percentage of time we actually spend doing all this. Not very high. Four percent of your day. That's it. What would happen if we upped the ante to five?
A few things to think about today. Awareness and time.
We start the indoor time trail using the featured video in the CompuTrainer-Multi-Rider Center at the Bainbridge Athletic Club on Monday night at 1900, 7pm. You can sign up on our FB site, call the club or use the comment feature at the bottom.
Let's be safe out there and ride hard in here.
Monday, September 17, 2012
A few shots from our BI to Poulsbo and back shoot/ride yesterday. I am rendering the "A" cam footage and should have the video as well as CompuTrainer Multi-Rider course profile ready to go later today. BUT……
It appears as if we are getting some bonus sunshine this week, and with the official start of fall on Saturday, it would be criminal to take it indoors when we can stay out and play a little while longer. SO…..
We are scheduling another ride/shoot for Thursday. This time we'll do the Big Valley TT course. All willing to participate, and I need a driver too, should contact me asap or sooner. To try to keep vehicular traffic to an absolute minimum (something we failed at yesterday) we'll aim for a 1300 start from the Chevron station on BV and Highway 3, WITH…..
The footage and course data becoming the second indoor time trial event of the fall, immediately after the "Bridge and Back" TT shot yesterday and beginning next week indoors, BECAUSE…..
It will be fall. Cold, dark and unsafe and any speed. WHICH IS…..
All for today because I have a dump truck load of work to do. Have a great day. OUT.....
Bob, Garry and Tony rode the 26 miles from Bainbridge to Poulsbo and back yesterday in front of the Volvo cam car (Bluey). Thanks guys, great job.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
We considered the profundity in the statement, "Movement is the process of the Universe", this morning in our 90 minute Sat sit session. although, truth be known, there wasn't a lot of actual sitting involved. If was mostly work. Mostly hard work. 10 seconds of 99.9% RPE, 10 seconds rest X3. And then a ten minute recovery, 2 of 3 standing. There was challenge. YOU KNOW what 3x10's feel like ONCE. Try them every 10 for 90 and gauge the results!
More truth be known: I love intervals. They freaking hurt. I like them because i know they have value. They will make me stronger, fighting the reality of and fending off the fact that I am losing muscle mass every day, and will be for the rest of my life - and if I don't take immediate and effective measures to counter I will, in a very short time, be physically unable to perform to my expectations. And this means across the board gentlemen. Intervals are life. Go hard, take it to max, hold, rest, recover and repeat. In between please fuel properly, manage your stressors and relentlessly affirm the good.
We also talked about the practice of mastering the movements, indeed becoming Masters of Movement. Adding speed, grace, power, focus and sustainability to the mix. Moving along the time line of the process. One day after another. It takes some discipline. You have got to want it. And appreciate the path. One must respect the challenge and surrender to the goal. Every day. There is so much left to do, so many places to see, so many hearts to change, games to win, victories to celebrate and disappointments to assuage. This trip has already been long and strange now it is time to put our collective wisdom into play for universal good. Let me make this clear: The world needs us. We are leaders. We can sway sentiment and manufacture consent. We are Masters of Movement, the Sultans of Spin. Way more important than job creators, we manufacture energy. We fuel the spirit like decaying dinosaurs fuel your car. The difference of course being that we share this non-polluting positive, constructive energy with our friends and family for free while Big Oil banks record, and obscene profits exploiting our dependencies and addictions.
Mastering the movement doesn't mean getting comfortable in the driver's seat or in the rocking chair. Any idiot can do that. It means using the God given gift of your physical body to move that mass through time and space. Walking, running, spinning, cycling. Move it. Get good at it. Improve it. Streamline it. Rest it when necessary (like after hard sessions). Give it high quality nourishment. Love it and enjoy the process. Assist others to become masters.
Here is Chris Carmichael's take from this morning's newsletter addressing a similar situation.
I finally did it! Even as my weight came down and my fitness improved, I’ve struggled to ride Cheyenne Canyon in Colorado Springs in under 20 minutes. I used to live at the top of the canyon, so the 3.1-mile long, 1200-vertical feet high ascent was my climb home. Way back when, in the years much closer to my pro days, I could ride the climb in well under 20 minutes. In recent years, I’ve been somewhere between 20-22 minutes, but never under 20. Until this week!
Earlier this week I rode the climb in 19:41! To put it in perspective, really good amateur racers can do it in about 15-16 minutes and Tom Danielson holds the record at 13:34. But for a nearly-52-year-old guy, I’m happy with anything under 20:00.
The question is: why now? Where did I make the improvement necessary to finally reach my goal? Here’s how I did it, and how you can get faster on your favorite local climb:
1. Intervals: No surprise here, and nothing all that sexy either. Just straight-up hard interval work. A few years ago I realized that, despite many years of mileage in my legs, I needed max-effort intervals in order to achieve measurable improvements in my climbing speed. If you’ve been riding for many years and you seem stuck at one speed, consider short, very hard interval work. I’ve been doing 90-second intervals on a 9% grade, with about 90 seconds recovery between each.
2. Plant-based diet: I refuse to be an extremist with my diet, or to recommend extremist diets to athletes we work with. I do believe, however, that a significant shift to “more plants, fewer animals” is good for both performance and health. Keep in mind, eating for good health doesn’t automatically translate into eating for optimal athletic performance. As an athlete, it’s important to think about performance nutrition first (what energy and nutrients do you need for optimal performance and recovery?), and then source your food in a healthy way (fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole foods instead of processed, etc.). For me, this dietary shift has helped me lose 10-12 pounds (I’m down to about 158 right now) and have the energy necessary to maintain a higher training load than I have in the past 10 years.
3. Endurance Blocks: This year I had the opportunity to race Trans Andes (6-day mountain bike stage race in Chile) in January, ride the Amgen Tour of California Race Experience (8-stage race) in May, and ride the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Race Experience (7-stage race) from August 20-26. My personal-best ride up Cheyenne Canyon came about 15-16 days after the final stage of the USAPCC. Following some recovery time after USAPCC, that’s just about exactly when I’d expect to see a nice boost in power at lactate threshold from training block that big.
4. Power-to-Weight Ratio: All of the factors above came together in my power-to-weight ratio for a 20-minute effort (remember, PWR always has to be expressed for a specific timeframe. It’s always higher for shorter efforts and declines as efforts get longer.). The day I rode a 19:41 on Cheyenne Canyon I think I weighed 158 pounds (71.8kg), and my average power on the climb was 287 watts. That’s four watts per kilogram (OK, fine, 287/71.8 = 3.997 for you engineers). Now, is 4 w/kg going to win me any hill climbs? No, probably not. But consider this: when I was somewhere between 7-10 pounds heavier, I rode up the same canyon and pushed 288 watts, but I reached the top 90 seconds slower.
5. New Bike: Ok, maybe there was a fifth reason. For the record, I set my PR on the second ride on my new Trek Madone 7. I'm not going to give the bike all the credit for my performance, but it certainly helped me get the power down to the road. If you haven't tested on out yet, go do it. It's an awesome bike!
And lastly a 29 point (all inclusive) list of the things that keep us from forward movement, action or the creation of energy. I like it.
In closing, tomorrow, Sunday, I would like to capture some additional test video of a group ride. we'll start at 0800 from the Bike Barn up from the Ferry Terminal and ride to Poulsbo and back. You are all invited. Let's move.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Had an hour of free time this afternoon, so I took a cruise out east on I-80 from Reno. Didn't take very long to spot the Legends tower advertising everything available in the universe in one location (and free parking). Wandered around till I found the gigantic Scheel's All Sport store. And friends when they say all sports they aren't kiddin'. A 65,000 gallon aquarium greets customers in front of a Ferris wheel branded with suppliers, manufacturers and sponsors logos. You could ride in the Adidas or Remington coaches if you had the desire. I was in no hurry, hands behind back, strolling and looking, done with the frustrations of the early morning meetings. I was asked on at least five occasions if I needed help. I was somewhat disappointed that with the plethora of choice in retail, across the board, in, as advertised, all sports, they did not carry the CompuTrainer line of Real Course Video training products. Yes, perhaps I DO need some help.
All sports but not all products in all sports, evidently.
They also had a taxidermy display, oddly separating the gun section with the NASCAR section. For a guy who carries a distaste for zoos, imagine my appreciation of a zoo with captured, gutted and stuffed animals! But there they were, looking for the most part, a touch agitated that even in the hereafter they were still misunderstood. No peace in the animal kingdom when you stand between the NRA and auto industry!
I have been trying to think of a clever caption to use with the two shots above. Seriously I have never seen a saddle the size of the one shown. So as I sit and wait for the boarding of flight 1449 to Seattle and the end of another attempt at job creation, I put it up for grabs. YOU write the caption.
Winner, as determined by the RCV editorial board of trustees, will select the best. All decisions are final, void where prohibited, must be 21, and one entry per household.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Questlove. The header is, appropriately enough, GROOVE, he says:
"When there's something you love and you're good at, you give your life to it. It becomes a spiritual thing, a joy thing. For me that's music. For the guy in Jiro Dreams of Shushi, one of my favorite movies, it's making sushi. He's got this little restaurant in Tokyo for like, 40 years, and it only holds 10 people. I'm having my next birthday there because I want to experience his joy."
Even though that beautiful statement needs no additional comment, the veteran VBA will immediately recognize it as a variation of one of our more prominent themes. We do what we do for the same reasons. To experience the joy. And regardless of your religious allegiance, it IS a spiritual thing. It is us being the highest, most self aware us we can be. And that means effort, and focus and work. Because it can't just be about mind and body, there is more. There is the spirit, our soul, and the joy we experience when all three of these come running down the same street, arm in arm, laughing, singing, banging out a 16/9 groove or making sushi.
Once you've been there, you want to keep coming back. Because of the sweetness of that spot. The place we enter when the BIG THREE are in alignment. Perfect alignment.
In that space there is no worry, no anxiety, no bigotry. Art and science blended to a perfect elixir of energy and peace. There is no one to be with and no one to be against. You are complete, whole and perfect. Even if it's just a snapshot, one frame of 60 per second, frozen in high definition. There is resolution and color. Crisp focus. Jackson Brown once sang about the moment of capture, when his camera happened to find 'you' with just a touch of sorrow in your eyes. A perfect imperfection. And we grow through these sorrowful moments to emerge stronger and lighter on the exit end of the tunnel. Life is like that. We practice the groove, perfect it. Experience the joy and hold on to it as if it were essential.
Because it is. What is essential to our lives is everything that brings us closer to this joy. It is found in servitude and work. Helping others up the same hill that we struggled up many months prior. Sharing our love. Seeking same. Making sure that of the BIG THREE, our spirit is on the same train with mind and body.
THIS is something we can love and get good at. Tickets please.
Pix of Questlove and my Altima rental car loaded (please note the dual cams) and ready to shoot this afternoon in North Tahoe. It went without a hitch. How could it not with those three passengers aboard? More on this later.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Nothing is ever solved, or created, by standing still.
Movement is the process of the Universe. So move.
Do something. Anything. But do not stand still.
Do not remain "on the horns of a dilemma." Do not fence sit.
Do something. Anything. But do not stand still.
Do not remain "on the horns of a dilemma." Do not fence sit.
Put your foot down on one side or the other,
swing the opposite leg over and start walking.
You'll know before you take ten steps if
you're going in the right direction.
swing the opposite leg over and start walking.
You'll know before you take ten steps if
you're going in the right direction.
Not to decide is to decide.
Try to not make choices by default.
Try to not make choices by default.
The above was sent to me this morning by Neal Donald Walsch. I like it a lot. It is applicable in myriad ways. It prompted me to consider some tangent abstracts that have been falling around my head, much like in this very nicely done short video on Newton's Laws of Physics.
One idea is that we are in constant application of this movement. As it applies to inertia and plays out in our motivation. Many years of testing and training has taught me that my mojo is in direct relation to my desire to create inertia (energy) and sustain it.
With the key component being the pre-contemplation. The old 'what's in it for me?' question. Because sometimes that is a rather astute question. Someday we just don't feel like blistering a 5K or nailing 250 watts for twenty minutes. Some days we feel more like pulling the down comforter up to our nose and indulging in another fantasy. Or hiding. Not facing our fears. Defaulting to nothing.
So we force the issue, jump-start it. Until the act of movement, initiated by our practice of healthy choice, becomes habit. We simply get it goin'. We go. One step. We put our arse into gear. It doesn't have to be a high gear, simply enough power to initiate the trip.
And then we continue. Will and inertia. We push, pull or pedal our carbon and fiber mass through time and space. I move therefore I am. I do. I will. I go.
As this time passes an interesting thing happens at a critical crossroad. We start to 'get it'. We add focus, awareness, joy to the mix, now teeming with happy chemicals, and we are moving a heck of a lot faster, with power and grace, LOVING EVERY MINUTE of the ride. It is no longer painful, but a specific response to life's nonpolluting and organic energy moving through. We ask for more. We seek knowledge and structure as fuel, we do the little things because we recognize their magnificent contribution to the whole. We serve a higher horsepower. There is no distraction and nothing else more important. This might be love. Where it will end we know not, but...
We know it is headed in the right direction. There is no doubt. THIS IS IT.
And then its gone. Woosh. We are left in a sweaty void, heart beating with muscle memory of a cut-away sample of the power in freedom. Your life in the fast lane. All you can be. Unconditional and selfless. No matter what. Regardless. We rest, recover, re-build and repeat.
From survival to service. The very process of the Universe.
All you gotta do is start.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Forty-eight days without rain fell just three short of the record. Crazy. That rather interesting streak was set in 1951. We almost made it. I am, of course in reference to the Seattle area draught (measured at Sea-Tac), that ended around ten last night. As my old friend Emmett Watson was fond of reminding his readers (and they were many), don't tell anybody. The last couple of weeks have been spectacular, several times causing me to think that if this was the norm there would be another million people living amongst us. So we take the rain with the understanding that it does more good than harm. Except when it rains REAL hard and I have to find my bucket stash.
I managed a return to the hills yesterday, getting in an eight miler of relentless rollers on the route known as THE BIG LAP. As we finished this mornings spin session I was reminded of the toll that hills take on one's quads. It is also pretty amazing how quickly we can lose optimal fitness, or race readiness, if something causes an interruption to our schedule. In this case, and in my defense, I was trying to get some work done around this disaster area known, affectionately, as home. Long, sunny days help.
What doesn't seem to help is the latest round of dietary testing currently underway. As outlined a few days ago, I am making a concentrated effort to refine the 'when' of my diet in conjunction with the 'what'. Meaning that bread, processed carbs, high-glycemic, modified, fortified, or anything dramatically altered from natural and organic, is out the window like a box of bad habits. That, and the main meal, Mr Big, will be at noon instead of at night. In day one I am finding this a struggle as even after yesterdays run and this mornings ride, my appetite was nowhere near demanding a plate of spaghetti or a pound of potatoes. Odd.
But typical. I find that with most things my initial reaction is based on nothing but my bias. I have been conditioned to react to any given circumstance by pre-tested, pre-approved responses. Not always good. It is limiting and not very adventurous. Not to mention constricting, binary and bigoted. The great radio talk show host, Laura Lee used to say that our minds work best like parachutes, open. She also liked to say that they, our minds, need to be open, but not gaping. Sometimes I feel like I am about to fall into the great pit of the deep and bottomless gape.
Yes, change is hard. We are creatures of habit. For reasons I do not quite understand, we like to do the same stuff over and over again. Even if its harmful. I guess there is safety in that. Not a lot of risk. Cost-benefit analysis working in turbo-charged reverse.
I read a quote the other day where a terrifically talented marathoner said that the reason she runs is that running is cheaper than therapy.
I had the same thought as I grappled up Devil's Dip for the second time yesterday.
I must be crazy.
Sunny days helped progress on the, now lit from above, pizza oven and frog fence.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I am going to make this a big week. Simply because it is up to me, as captain of this platoon, to set the course. I am free to choose. Fair winds, following seas or impossible odds are not essential elements. They merely provide color, drama and challenge. Bullets will fly, skills tested, blood spilled. As my friend Ian Anderson was fond of saying, Nothing is Easy. If you want easy, stay in bed.
The decision to make this a big week in based on necessity. It has to be. Sales elements need to be put in motion, irons set precisely into the fire, consensus to build, deals to close, creative caps to don. Bridges to take. I need to shake up, plant seeds, and establish a solid partnership or two. In some circles this is called a joint venture, in others a strategic alliance, and in extreme others (there are a lot of others it seems), a synergistic vertical integration.
Yes, I need some work. And if it is to be, it is up to me. No one is going to drive down my gravel and dirt road and knock upon my door begging me to join their team. No one yet has called in inquiry as to my availability. I have no lawyer screening calls or an agent taking bids. I act as my own receptionist. I am also the janitor and chief financial officer. And while performing the tasks of the former yesterday, I held an impromptu ways and means face to face with the latter. Resulting in the facts that the company needs both more cleansing and more operating capitol. Dirty business comes clean! What was once propaganda is now truth.
Acting on this revelation, the directing board immediately began to clean house. The janitor replaced the CFO and the Supervisor of Facility Maintenance is now the Director of Marketing. All support staff was let go and all leaves cancelled, effective immediately. It is time to get lean and mean. This economy does not play nice. It is war. The big one.
And I plan on surviving to tell the tale.
Do you remember the scene from Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks is laying wounded on a bridge and with his last few breaths continues to fire rounds from his sidearm at a German tank? I think I remember having my heart in my throat the first time I watched Spielberg's epic portrayal of courage under fire.
I am going to keep that scene in mind this week.
Because, much like another Hanks film It needs to be Big.