Monday, July 11, 2011
Thanks to everyone who responded to my blog and Spark Cafe post regarding my Achilles problem. Unfortunately, it isn't getting any better. I'm resting, icing, compressing, and elevating as much as I can but don't seem to be making any progress. It's only been a couple of days, though, so I'm still hoping for the best. I have 13 more days to heal before my big cycling event and right now it seems like a 50/50 shot to me. We'll see how things go.
In the next few days I want to say a few things about how I'm thinking about my injury. Problems like this are opportunities to focus on the right things and work on keeping a positive mental attitude. We cannot grow stronger unless we face opposition or resistance, and therefore trials like these are necessary.
I'm not exactly excited about this injury, but I am truly thankful to the Lord for it because he works all things together for his glory and our good (Rom 8:28). Hope you all have a great evening.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Nothing in particular happened, but after 220+ miles of bike riding this week my Achilles is really hurting. In fact, it's hard to even walk around. I didn't feel this after my ride, but last night i went for a walk with my wife and a good friend of ours, and later that night it really started to ache. By this morning I could hardly walk around and even now it's still pretty stiff.
I did a little research and plan to (1) put Ben Gay on it 2-3 times per day, (2) ice it 2-3 times per day, (3) gently stretch, (4) do gentle calf lifts, and (5) rest it as much as possible.
This is serious as my big cycling event comes in two weeks, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Blessings on your day!
Friday, July 08, 2011
Well, that does it--5 rides in a row, 224.13 miles, 13:06:33, average speed of 17.09. I'll say more about the final results of the week and how I'm feeling about it tomorrow or Sunday, for now I'll share a bit about today's ride.
I felt pretty good on the bike today but decided, like yesterday, to take it easy and only push when it felt good, being sure to enjoy myself along the way. I chose a route that's 44 miles and includes several long climbs, 3 or 4 of which are pretty steep. The route goes through two small towns which always suppresses my average speed because of stop signs, stop lights and traffic issues, but that's okay, the route is beautiful and a lot of fun.
The first half of the ride went very well, as I said I felt very good on the bike, and I so enjoyed the countryside as I rode along. I stopped at a Dunn Bros Coffee shop at the halfway point, 21.99 miles to be exact, and enjoyed a smoothie and a couple dark chocolate treats--my favorite! I then headed back along the exact same route and rendezvoused with my wife who was also out riding with a friend. That was fun. I then headed back home, giving all I had left to give, leaving it all on the field, and ended up coming in at 16.8 mph today. Slower than yesterday but given all the climbs and towns that was to be expected.
I had hoped to come in at an average of 18.0 mph for the whole week but I fell quite short of that. As I said, my final average was 17.09 mph which though short of my goal is still good.
Now, it's recovery for the next two weeks! I'll say more about my plan another time but for now I will say that the plan is (1) to ride about 100 miles total, mostly recovery rides, (2) walk most days at a moderate pace, (3) complete several core work outs, (4) hyper-focus on nutrition to ensure that my body, mind, and soul is ready for the 300-mile challenge in three weeks, and (5) sleep, sleep, sleep!!!
Thanks so much for reading, hope you have a great day!
Friday, July 08, 2011
Due to circumstances I wasn't able to take my fourth training ride in the morning, and as the day went on I thought I wouldn't be able to ride at all. I was actually happy about this because I could use a rest day and though I'd rather push through for the sake of training--the best coaches say that all the gains are found in pushing beyond present limits--I was willing to let this ride go and set my sights on tomorrow.
However, the Lord was very gracious to me and I was able to ride at 2:00 p.m. or so. I didn't feel great and knew for sure that I couldn't push hard for 42 miles--the length of my pre-selected route--and so I determined to make today a recovery ride and just enjoy the Lord, the bike, and the beautiful day it turned out to be.
The route was very simple--21 miles out, 21 back with stops at 10, 21, and 35 miles. As I went out, I set a pace of a little over 16.0 mph, average that is, and just let my body warm up. It didn't take long to notice that I would have a cross-head wind all the way out which, though slight, was there. it wasn't too strong though and I was glad for it because I knew it meant a slight cross-tail wind all the home.
So I reached the halfway point at 16.2 mph and enjoyed a mango-something smoothie at a locally owned coffee shop. It was a really nice stop, actually, and I'm thankful to the Lord for it. Soon enough I set out again and felt good so I set a bit higher pace, which increased even more as I felt that wind at my back. When I had about 16 miles left to go, I felt good and decided to do some 3/2 intervals, that is, lift the pace for 3 minutes, recover for 2, lift for 3, recover for 2, etc. The more of these I completed, the better I felt and the faster I went.
Bottom line, I hit home at 17.0 mph which means that I averaged 17.8 on the way back, and over 18.0 over those last 16 miles. I actually didn't care about my average speed at all today, but it sure felt good to produce that kind of average speed when I was riding at a recovery pace for 26 out of 42 miles.
The word for today: my pace was lower but my joy in the Lord was high! I feel so grateful to him for the gift of riding, and I'm eager to take my final longer training ride before the TRAM.
Thanks for reading, hope you have a great evening or morning or whatever it is for you!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
The first half of my 40 mile journey started out well. The course was great, the weather was perfect, I was riding well and feeling better than I have all week, and I came in to the 17.5 mile rest stop at a decent average speed given that I had some long and challenging climbs and a slight bit of head wind. I was really looking forward to hammering on the way back and seeing if I could hit 18.0 for the day but when I made the turn so that the wind was at my back I felt dragged down, like no matter how hard I pushed I just couldn't make the bike go. I was bummed, very bummed.
But what could I do? I've worked hard all year and I just am where I am, so I decided to set my goal for the day aside and just enjoy the ride. Right about that time I started catching up to a U.S. Postal truck which is always fun out in the country but just as I was about to make the catch I noticed the prominent signs: "No Thru Traffic." And I noticed the dirt road where once there was asphalt.
If I were to turn around, it would mean many extra miles trying to get around the construction (because I was in the country) so I just rode onto the road and asked one of the construction guys if I could go through and he graciously said yes. I ended up riding, and sometimes walking, on that road for 2-3 miles which was actually kind of fun but I was glad when it was over. In order to make up for the lost miles, I rode up a side road for a mile or so and then turned around and tried to hit the gas again.
But immediately I could feel that I just didn't have it in me so I settled back into the "just enjoy the ride" thing. Not long after I settled in I realized that the road construction had distracted me and I missed a key turn. So I tried to make another way but not knowing the roads that well I got turned around a time or two. At one point I actually said out loud, "Can this get any worse?" and then immediately thought, "Don't think that!"
About half way down one of the detours I took, I began to hear a funny noise in my front wheel or so I thought. It went away so I figured it was a twig or something, but then I heard some other strange noise followed by a kind of shrieking which was loud enough that I heard it over my iPod.
I stopped and as soon as I looked down at my back tire I saw why I was having such a hard time producing speed today: I had left my saddle bag open and my extra tube had fallen out and actually wrapped itself around my back tire, and what is more, somehow got in between my tire and my brake pad. Wow, that was really weird--eleven years of road cycling and I've never seen anything like that! I laughed so hard i thought I was going to pee my pants. I couldn't believe it.
So I unwrapped the tube and went on my way, noticing immediately that I was able to ride a bit faster without it wrapped around my back tire! This was very encouraging to me and made the rest of the ride a lot more enjoyable.
However, I still had some issues finding my way back home. I wasn't lost, rather, I was trying to figure out how to get where I needed to go without riding on Highway 169, a road on which it's legal to ride but not safe--the speed limit is 65 so you know what that means. I did eventually figure it out and make my way back to familiar roads but by this time my average speed for the day was trashed so I pulled up completely and just enjoyed a recovery pace ride the rest of the way home.
My final average speed was 16.8 mph which is acceptable given the massive weirdness of this day! I look forward to another adventure tomorrow but hopefully a bit more predictable.
Hope you have a great day!
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