Posts Tagged 'recovery ride'

Two’s company

I just didn’t have the energy to get up for the recovery ride after Tour de Montañas, so I voted to sleep in a bit and then hit the trail near my house for a quick loop. Sometime around 10am I actually managed to roll out of bed to try and get the deed done. Per usual routine, I invited the other half to ride as I suited up… and nearly fell over from shock when he agreed to accompany me! We checked his not-ridden-in-a-year tubes, replaced one, and then headed out to the Foster City trail.

There’s actually not a ton to say about the ride. I rolled without Garmin, so I don’t have any data and the +/-1 ft elevation gain doesn’t give a ton of challenge to walkthrough. The most interesting part of the whole event was really riding it with someone else, especially as that someone else was Charles – who I’ve been trying to get back into cycling on and off for two years! Riding is just more fun with other people (well, with cool other people anyway), and that’s doubly true on routes that suck. There’s nothing like chatting/singing/making fun of people to keep your mind off of terrible roads!

Anyway, we rode a 10 mile loop out to Seal Point dog park, back down passed our house, over to Chipotle for lunch and then home again. The trip was enjoyable despite the still-present evil headwinds, although I think we both learned a good “only after rides” lesson for the best burrito intake process. We did make it home (with food still in its proper location), and I think Charles enjoyed the run much more than the fail Los Gatos trail miles we used to ride in San Jose. In fact he ended up doing a couple solo rides on his own over the next week! Perhaps I’ll have a new ride partner sometime soon after all (…at least for the short rides!  …for now!).


Headwinds blow

As mentioned, I couldn’t make the normal recovery ride after our Half Moon Bay trip. After pulling a muscle, deep tissue massaging it and then going bowling… I figured my calf (and I) had done quite enough for one weekend. Of course, somewhere around 9am I started to feel guilty for skipping. I was awake. The loop’s pretty easy. I should’ve gone. Lactic acid was probably eating my muscles to death. I didn’t let anyone know that I wasn’t coming. And on and on it went. The other half of my brain (personality?) came back with a very cogent “but you don’t wanna re-pull my calf and get stranded” counterattack. After a good 30 minute mental struggle, I managed to prevent internal civil war with a compromise: I’d do a short, easy solo loop near the house. I’d still get to spin out the legs, but would be easily retrievable (by an unknowing Charles) should I accidentally break myself again.

I quickly suited up and rolled out. As you probably remember, there’s not much rideable area in my neighborhood, so I set out for the only viable destination near my house: the trail. Intending to keep the cadence high and the gears light, I downshifted a good bit — only to have to drop another 3 gears as the ever-present headwind smacked me in the face. I dodged pedestrians, dogs, strollers, kids (and a few slow arse people on bikes), all while battling what could only possibly be gale force winds. I managed to keep my speed up to an amazing 12ish miles an hour (on a route that has been proven to be +/- 1ft of elevation) before giving into the rational/lazy/superannoyed part of my brain somewhere around mile 4. I whipped around, took the tailwind and (carefully) sprinted for home.

Moral of the story? The Foster City trail, while convenient, is just not that fun to ride. Headwinds blow (literally), and slow people dodging will never really be fun. I did get a decent leg spin out, if only from the tailwind pushing me home… but the stress level certainly seemed too high to be true recovery.

FC Rec Loop

Riding blind

Wow. Last post was almost 50% shorter in average word count and still took forfreakinEVER to write. Gonna hafta go super minimalist style if I’m gonna get this one done before bedtime. Are you ready for this?!

Rode “recovery” ride. (Last week in quotes, first long ride next weekend.) Bigger group than normal – Yay! Garmin died in parking lot. Threw back in truck disgustedly. No data for whole trip. Annoyed. Rolled out. Rode slow. Saddle FIRE issues. Must exchange seat ASAP. Talked a bunch. Yay! Socializing didn’t distract me from pain. Boo! Probably shoulda skipped ride and traded in. Rode slow some more. Climbed …carefully, but in high gear. Good train on Alpine. Most agonizing Foothill stretch ever. Tried to ride with tail hanging behind saddle. Made it back, didn’t cry. Miss my data. Don’t like riding blind (with no numbers), and definitely not in hurty mode. Ate breakfast, waddled home. New saddle Monday for sure.

Whelp… that about covers it. Loving the new format? Hope not! I feel so… incomplete. So few words written!! ARGH!!! The torture! Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it next time.  In fact, have a little food review to tide you over:

Brand Flavor Rated (1-10) Notes
Luna Sport Moons Blueberry 7 Tastier than expected, but nowhere near as awesome as the Pomegranate flavor. A little too sweet for me, but the texture/packaging/nutrition is all good.
Gu Chomps Blueberry-Pomegranate 6.5 My least favorite of the Gu chews. Not terrible, just worse than the others. I’m not sure I support combining blueberries and poms in general, so no big surprise that I don’t love this. Similarly salty to rest of line.
Luna Bar Chocolate Peppermint Stick 1 Peppermint.Coated.Catfood. I think this may be the worst rating I’ve given. Ever. I had to choke down a quarter of this terrible bar as I didn’t have a backup plan. Lesson learned: bring backups. Just… ew.
Accelerade Lemon Lime 4 Tastes like a saltier version of lemon lime Gatorade. And I hate gatorade. That mouth coating sliminess is just a no-go.
HEED Sports Drink Subtle Melon 5 Earns bonus points for being honeydew melow (as I severely dislike all watermelon flavored foods and candies). Pleasant taste to start, and actually subtle to boot. Pretty nasty long-after taste (like 30 seconds later), means I probably wouldn’t switch to it.

All spun up

Another Sunday, another “recovery” ride (still in quotes, as it was more than double Saturday’s distance). Our ever-growing TNT morning after crew met up at the Chain Reaction and rolled out just after 9am. We were a bit behind schedule leaving the parking lot due to both a couple latecomers and Don and I burning time (and zip ties) in an attempt to get my cadence meter functional. Honestly, my frustration with the thing has been pretty high. The meter has worked fine for 2 years on my other bike! How is it possible that it would take three weeks, 6 rides, approximately 20 black ties and at least 2 brains to get this thing up and running?! A combo deal of user error and curve-y bike frame action turns out to be the answer.

When we finally hit the road, the stupid meter was working and I decided to put some of my “knowledge” into practice by focusing on keeping my cadence between 85-95 rpms. (Knowledge goes in quotes since I was actually just taking the advice of one of my coaches… I can’t speak to its validity firsthand!) I shifted down a couple notches and really concentrated on keeping my legs spinning. Somewhere around three miles in, I realized that I was moving so fast that I had dropped the rest of my team. Wow! This fast cadence thing really works, right?! Wrong. As it turns out, one of group busted his chain immediately upon leaving the parking lot, and they’d all stopped to make sure he was OK to get back to his car. Apparently I was so “in the zone” working on my revolutions that I didn’t hear their cries (for me to wait up, not for help… thankfully). Yays for tunnel vision!

I pulled over and waited for the rest of the crew before continuing on my spastic spinning circuit. Once we’d all regrouped, I refocused on the goal… and darted away again. And that’s pretty much how I spent the first half of the ride. I quickly discovered that 90 revs per minute and my big chain ring don’t really mix well. Same deal for 90 rpm and my heart rate. I definitely felt like I was pushing less weight and going a bit faster… but was dropping energy much quicker than normal. I was grateful for the quick arrival of the rest stop, where I put a few new foods to the test.

Brand Flavor Rated (1-10) Notes
Gu Rocktane Vanilla Orange 7 One of the few fruit gels that doesn’t make me gag with chemical flavor badness. Tastes mostly like a melty dreamsicle (appropriately annoying stickiness included). Roctane supposedly has more cool stuff than regular GU (2x the salt, 3x amino acids, almost 2x caffeine, extra potassium), which I can only assume makes it even better for me… right?
Gu Chomps Orange 8 Probably best orange chewy thing yet. A bit saltier than the Clif version, which keeps it from being overly sweet (and is thankfully missing the odd chemical aftertaste).
Hammer HEED Sports Drink Subtle Strawberry 2 The only thing subtle about this drink would be its resemblance to anything strawberry. Tasted something like the aftertaste that you’d expect from diet strawberry candy… only watered down. Why can’t fruit drinks ever taste anything like fruit?!

The climb up Arastradero was pretty quick (although I discovered a completely inability to keep my legs churning anywhere near goal levels). Don and I had a great tiny paceline descent down Alpine – over 30 on the flats!  He then dropped off to wait for the rest of the group while I continued along with my spin-but-don’t-flail exercises. And that really was the rest of the ride. I tried to keep my cadence up and heart rate down, while traversing our well known route. The few conversations with team mates that I did attempt were punctuated with me either cursing my legs or cursing the bike’s still-terribly-clicky middle ring gear.

I rolled into the parking lot with almost the exact same timing as last week, and immediately (well, immediately after breakfast) left my bike to be de-clickified (aka serviced). I am happy to report that the cadence meter stayed functional for the entire ride, even if focusing on its data did nearly kill me.

Up next this week? Our first hill repeats of the season! Stay tuned…

Los Altos Recovery Ride 6_14

Fired up

I met up with Julie, Coach Don, Wendy (another mentor) and Janice (an ex-teammate) the day after our kickoff for the very first recovery ride of the season. Of course, this early in the game, the “recovery” distance is longer than the actual rides… but a temporary renaming is bound to confuse people. So, we congregated at the Chain Reaction parking lot to and prepared to ride – obvious misnomer ignored. 

Coach Don, utterly distraught over my lack of proper Garmin data, circled up to chat over the “Problem of the Missing Cadence.” As mentioned in the last post, we quickly discovered the source of the issue, and, thanks to Don’s handy set of tools and zip ties, solved the missing pedal button in mere minutes. When we all hit the road a few short minutes later, my computer treated me to a “wheel size calculated” message, which assured me (falsely) that we’d rectified the problem.

The reigned in pace of Saturday’s kickoff ride had barely whetted my appetite for bike time. I hit Foothill feeling strong, and immediately jumped my pace up to take the lead of the pack. And that’s pretty much where I stayed (usually less than a light’s worth of gain ahead) for the rest of the ride. I fear that I wasn’t super sociable for most of the trip; conversing mainly at stoplights and then at our rest stop. But my body was screaming to “gogogo” (even if, for me, that translates to a mildly unimpressive 15mph)… so, I went!

About midway through the ride, one of our other participants, Butch, caught up to us and rode with the group for awhile. He pulled Don and I down an excellent speedy stretch of Alpine before breaking off to join his family for breakfast. For the record – my “fast” more resembles those two’s “moderate pace”… but man was it fun chasing their tails! I made a break from the group again as we rode through the Stanford back to Foothill stretch, and spent the rest of my ride leap-frogging some snarky iPod-sporting dude in a club jersey. Side note safety tip: don’t ride with headphones in your ears people – it’s almost impossible to hear anything at 20mph without adding likely terrible music to the mix! 

Sadly, my pace slowed considerably in the last 3-5 miles of the ride. You remember that “Oops forgot to downshift out of the giant gear before that stoplight” knee twinge from a few weeks back? Yeah… that bad boy is still kickin’ around. I’ve been suffering an intermittent joint clicking ever since, but (oddly enough) it usually only presents when I’m going from standing to sitting or vice versa – never when spinning. Or, more accurately, “never when spinning” until I push off a couple times on that leg in too high of a gear! Pair that with a breakfast devoid of key vitamins (potassium) and you end up with a killer “broke knee and ready-to-seize-on-the-next-big-pull-up calves” combo deal. So I grudgingly eased up, and managed to eke out an average speed that will still 2-3 mph above my last few shots at the same loop. Woohoo!

Now, in case you were worried, I assure that I have not been lax in my food reviews despite our current short rides circuits. I couldn’t justify much food on the 15 mile stints, so I had to gather a couple weeks of tests before posting. No standout performances to speak of… but a few solid “middle of the road” competitors. 

Brand Flavor Rated (1-10) Notes
Clif Bar Mini Crunchy Peanut Butter 5 Driest of the three mini bars means an overly “granola-y” texture. The peanut butter flavor is actually suitably subtle, but oddly sweet. Not terrible, not fantastic. Just a bit …blah.
Gu Chomps Cranberry-Apple 8 Pretty much exactly the same rating as last Gu chomp. Good texture, solid flavor (with an unexpected salt kick on the back end). Interesting to note that chomps have the highest complex carbs, amino acids and potassium levels of all the major blocks. Perhaps this offsets their annoying giant packaging?
Cytomax Lemonade 6 Basically a watered down tart lemonade. Slightly weaker than the orange version, but still fairly tasty. 
Luna Sport Electrolyte Splash Lime-ade 4 The oddest combination of a very watery, very sweet limeade on first taste… with a surprisingly salty finish. I didn’t hate it… but I didn’t much like it either. I think the tart component was totally missing (which is typically how I trick myself into drinking my regular water).

As for the ride data, this should be the last week that cadence is missing. It turns out that the pedal sensor was too far from the frame reader, although it was close enough to the wheel monitor — hence the “wheel size” message. I just spent a good thirty minutes or so futzing with the positioning out in the garage (In the cold. And the dark. The things I do for you people!), so hopefully we’ll be all set for tomorrow’s timed ride.

6 7 09 Recovery ride

The Light Fairy Shines on Some

Namely, the quick. Julie, Hilton and I set out to ride the Los Altos loop yesterday. I’ve ridden this area an awful lot (we typically use this as the “recovery” loop after long rides during the training season), but don’t know that I’ve ever really described it much. The route is a pretty easy 23 miles with very little climbing, a great rest stop at an open space preserve, and long stretches of flats along the Foothill Expressway. Now Foothill is one of *the* most popular roads for cyclists in the area. It boasts a very wide shoulder, access to several of the more popular climb routes nearby, and generally pleasing scenery. Annoyingly (and somewhat surprisingly given its popularity), the road also seems to have stoplights placed every hundred feet or so.

Most days the lights don’t really matter. If you make one and keep a pretty steady pace… you’re likely to make them all. If you’re really lucky (or remembered to sacrifice that goat), you get to giggle at the angry faces of all the “super fast” racer types that ZOOOOOM by you at warp speed only to get caught again and again at each intersection. Yesterday, however, Lady Light Fairy was not on our side. Or, more accurately, was only on the fast people’s side (maybe they have better goats?). We rolled out around 10:45 and hit Foothill at a brisk 18mph pace. Hilton must’ve been feeling pretty good, because he dropped us in the first 3 miles, and with the light gods blessing, was out of sight in no time. Julie and I limped along behind, catching pretty much every single stop between the start point and our first turn. We didn’t even try to catch him after the third cursed light.

The three of us had a quick exchange upon leaving Foothill, in which Hilton yelled “Meetcha at the rest stop, I’m going for some extra punishment today,” and then we split up again. He took the extra climbing miles, while Julie and I opted for the no-cars route along Old Page Mill. Surprisingly, we all pulled into the Arastradero Preserve around the same time for a quick break. I took this opportunity to share my food experimentation tactics with my two unsuspecting (or overly forgiving) ride buddies (you do remember all the samples I bought, right?!). Pretty sure the definition of friendship is being able to say “Wow, this is terrible… try it” — and having them do so willingly. Twice. Separate foot post incoming soon!

The little climb through the preserve went surprisingly quickly for all involved. The three of us regrouped on Alpine for “the best part of the route,” which is basically a few mile stretch of very fast, slightly descending, well paved road. We rolled along at a good clip, despite being nearly killed at least three times by Biker Bees (fast riders who announce their presence only by the buzz of their tires – with no understanding that a quick “on your left” is less likely to kill their pace than the accident we’re gonna have upon collision). The headwinds coming back around Stanford and then back on Foothill slowed the… ummm… less in-shape (insane?)… of us considerably, and our group ended up splitting again for the remainder of the ride. Still, we all rolled back into the parking lot in pretty close time — and regrouped for shopping and food fun. Overall, a good “getting back on the bike after two weeks slack” trip.

Motion Based ride data

Spring Not-So-Rigorous Training

It is that time of year. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming. The weather is warm, but not yet too hot – and all around town people are waking from hibernation, hitting the roads and starting to burn down those insulation layers. The cyclists (and probably all manner of other sports-types) are out en force and, despite lack-of-posting evidence to the contrary, I’ve been one of them. That’s right, for roughly the last 6 weeks running, I’ve been out riding at least once a week!

Now my regular readers (do I still have any of those?) might scoff, “She always posts rides! With charts! Where’s the proof?” My TNT buddies might retain a healthy level of skepticism – “I haven’t seen her on a single Mayhem or TNT ride in months.” And you’d all be right. To the latter point, I’ve been branching out in my riding buddies and tackling shorter rides with smaller groups of friends. It’s not that I don’t love you all anymore… I just couldn’t fathom breaking a five month hiatus with a 140-person, 60+ mile spring team buddy ride! If I’m going to fail miserably, I’d like to keep the audience small. Or nonexistent. So I’ve been rocking 12-25 mile rides solo or in a pair. I have tackled the recovery ride loop a couple times and even went so far as to take my new (and likely soon to be ex) friend on a voluntary hill repeats ride! Well, voluntary on my part… not so much hers! I’ve also been rocking spin class once a week to build up ye ol’ climbing muscles and that cardio fitness, and expect to be in tip-top summer cycling shape in the next month. Well… at least I aim to be.

But what about the former argument? Where have the blog posts been?? Sadly, my laptop had the technological equivalent of a stroke and, due to a high degree of fail on the part of its should-be support staff saviors, it was completely out of commission for about three weeks. Now… this doesn’t *completely* excuse a lack of posts, but was definitely a large contributing factor. The problem has since been rectified. My laptop has returned (brain replacement surgery was successful) *and* my shiny new desktop is here and set up. I should have the Garmin software installed by the end of the week and all will again be right in the “blogs at length about rides and random details” world. A backlog of links, graphs and maps will all be available soon!

As a side note: blogging from one’s iPhone is an utterly ridiculous undertaking, and I will be placing a link to the “Support this blog – buy Jamie a netbook” fund soon.

What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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