Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tried a new climbing workout yesterday, goes like this:
Pick a course with rolling hills. When you hit the first hill, stay seated and pedal at a high cadence all the way to the top. When you hit the next hill, choose a comfortable gear and stand all the way to the top--do not give up! As you hit the following hills, first sit, then stand, then sit, then stand all the way to the end of the course.
This was a challenging workout for two reasons. First, I don't normally stand for that long and so it drew on muscles I don't normally tax that much. This felt good, though, and I look forward to watching my muscles get stronger. Second, it is aerobically challenging. On two of the steeper standing climbs in particular I was very winded at the top and had to back way off in order to recover. This also felt good and I look forward to seeing my aerobic capacity increase. It's much better than last year already but this workout helped me to see I still have a way to go--that's exciting!
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In the world of professional cycling there are three "grand tours" every year, so called because they span a period of three weeks and cover over 2,000 miles each. They are the Giro d'Italia (May), the Tour de France (July), and the Vuelta a Espana (August).
Yesterday was stage three of the Giro and I was quite excited to watch it. It was my day off, I had paid to get both live and on demand access, and I just couldn't wait to curl up with my favorite drink and take it all in. The race was going quite well. There was enough climbing on the day to spread the riders out on the road and it was hard to predict how the stage would end.
But as the riders were descending a switchback road on their final approach to the finish line, a young Belgian named Wouter Weylandt loss control. It seems that he caught his left pedal in a wall and launched over the bars, falling about 20 feet down to the next level of road and landing straight on his head.
The race doctor just happened to be following Welandt's group at that time and therefore got to him almost immediately. But the trauma was severe. Unfortunately, television producers allowed images of the Belgian to be broadcast across the world--I can't imagine being the one who allowed that to happen--and without going into detail, let's just say the images were horrific. I knew, the announcers knew, anyone who saw the images knew he wasn't going to make it.
And he did not.
The doctors worked on him for 45 minutes or so right there on the road but sadly Welandt died and was later taken to the hospital by helicopter. This is the first death on a grand tour since 1995 and the first on the Giro since 1986.
Yesterday was a very sad day at the Giro and today will be too. The tour will go on but stage 4 will be a ceremonial ride rather than a race, and Welandt's team, Leopard Trek, will be allowed to cross the finish line first in his honor.
One way we can honor Wouter Welandt is reflect on our own death, on the brevity of life, and give whatever we have left on this earth to Him who created us. As the Bible says, "For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14). And again, "A voice says, 'Cry!' And I said, 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:6-8).
And the heart of the word of God to humanity is Jesus Christ. As the Bible says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God" (John 3:16-21).
I pray that the shadow of Welandt's death will drive many to the light of God in Jesus Christ. May the Lord be near to the Welandt family, the Giro d'Italia, and all those affected by this tragedy.
Monday, May 09, 2011
I'm an avid cyclist but just took up jogging this year for the first time. I completed the "Couch Potato to 5K" plan earlier this year and since have run many 5K on my own, but this Saturday I plan to run in my first official event, the Maple Grove (Minnesota) 5K, 10K, and HM.
I'm a pokey jogger, been coming in at about 34 minutes, so I'm not sure what my goal will be for the event. It would be great to break 33, but whatever happens, I just want to focus on enjoying myself and then I'm actually going to put jogging aside for the year as cycling season is now in its prime for me. After my big biking event in July, I'll add jogging back into the mix and work through an interval plan I devised to help me increase my speed and break the 30 minute barrier.
Any advice? I'd appreciate anything, and thanks in advance. Have a great day!
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Took an easy ride today after a couple hard and fast ones this week. I've worked very hard this winter and early spring to increase my physical fitness and cycling skills, and I kind of had to pinch myself when I saw that on this "recovery ride" I averaged 17.8 mph. In days past, that would have been a great outcome for a hard workout now it's just another day in the saddle.
It feels so good to see the fruit of my labor. Can't wait until an average of 19.0 mph, and then maybe even 20.0, is normal!
Hope everyone has a great evening.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Oh, it's such a beautiful day--70, sunny, slight breeze. A dream, especially for Minnesota. But I had to be up late working last night and only got 4 hours sleep. I'm exhausted and though this day is begging me to enjoy it on my bike, alas, I cannot.
Oh bright and beautiful spring day, I grieve your loss but await your kind.
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