Surgery day

I’ve been putting this off for months, actually for over a year, but I’ve finally gotten it scheduled and today is the day. It’s not a big procedure, but the injury itself and subsequent secondary injuries have had a huge impact on my core strength, to the point of having basically zero core specific training for over a year.

I’m treating this as a reset time, with basically zero expectations beyond a hopefully steady improvement for the next few months. I’ve got a few lose goals if all goes well, recovery wise, something simple like finishing a 5k this spring (late spring), and maybe doing a 50 mile gravel ride late this summer.

More soon.

Everyone is sick

Tonight is a hot toddy night

Two winter spice tea bags,

2 Tablespoons of local honey (local is important for relief) but not essential for flavor

2 oz of whiskey (you can omit if you abstain- thoughts on alternatives?)

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Brew in a teapot for five minutes then separate into two tea cups and enjoy.

The liquor is traditional and has some effect for sure, but let’s be real, the local honey is the long game if you’re dealing with allergies, and if you’re in Texas, you’re dealing with allergies.

Third day of the year (or day 3 of my slow death)

My baby girl (actually my oldest daughter) got home from Germany last night, which put us all back here under the same roof for the first time in a while. It’s a great feeling, though everyone is still on different clocks, and since some of us are sick, it’s even more exacerbated. Myself and the wife both napped all afternoon today, and my oldest son, who was the only one as sick as I am, has yet to even rise and it’s pushing 3pm.

I had plans to spend this week rehabbing my cross bike for the coming weeks, and those aren’t out the window yet, but my time available has diminished. I renewed my bar tape with some black Supacaz, which I picked up at the Peddler Brushy Creek. I had wanted the blue stars, but sometimes you get what they’ve got. I’m a full on convert to this supcaz stuff, it’s fantastic. It’s replacing some lizard skins Dsp which cost the same but compacted quickly, and the surface finish tore within about two months. If you read the product descriptions for each, you’d think they were similar, but. The supacaz is much denser, and didn’t pack down on my road bike despite being almost a year old. That tape was still in such good condition that I wouldn’t even have replaced it if I hadn’t done some handlebar swapping. Say what you will about the product name, (super kush 😉🤙🏼) and some of the styles, it’s really good stuff that I have on all my wrapped bikes now.

I also picked up some 43c Panaracer Gravel King’s to replace the 32s I’d been running all year. I really waffled on this because I knew I wanted a wider tire on it since I’m not racing this season, but a few times I had wished for more bite when I was single-tracking it in loose stuff. I had considered the WTB Nanoraptors also in 43, but ultimately I decided to get the G’kings for the set of wheels I have and I’m going to grab a set of aksium 1’s to set up for more spirited off-roading.

Thinking out loud…Renew at YMCA?

I’m trying to decide right now whether to renew my YMCA membership here in the new year. I find I really just use it for the pool access, and on occasion my son and I use the weight room. Those are all valuable items on their own, but the membership for a family runs me almost 97.00 a month, and I have question whether we get that much value. While there is no way to put a dollar figure on all things, I suspect we use the facilities maybe ten times a month. I think possibly the most valuable thing is the time with my son, and now that he is 15, he can go on his own. He asks on the regular to go to the gym, but I’ve been putting together a lot of what we use there in the home setup. It’s just more convenient. We can now ride our bikes up there, which would be a plus when it isn’t bitterly cold outside…

In the end, I think the time with Jack makes it worth the cost.

It’s been a while.

I have too many pages that start that way. I’ve been keeping this all up to date. I’ve just been doing it in day one and medium instead of here. I’ll slowly bring those posts over to this blog to keep it as my “blog of record” 😀.

When last we left you, I had just been dealing with the trials and tribulations of being in the military during a domestic disaster response. Hurricane Harvey pretty much wrecked my winter training plans, with 58 straight days of steady operations. Immediately after that we rolled into dealing with the events in Puerto Rico, which we also established a response headquarters for. Now normally this would be a dreary post about how I had big plans and goals that were not met due to reasons, but this one is different. The statement I just made is true, my training plans WERE derailed by Mother Nature, but the silver lining is that I realized that I had to make some changes to get things back on track. There were some mindset switches, some (expensive) purchases, and some simple physical adjustments. Together they are putting me in a very nice position for this winter, and the subsequent spring training season.

My original intent had been to supplement my lost miles with commuting days, as I live about 15 miles door to door from my office. I did this most of the summer and it was the right answer at the time to keep my base up. I usually commute on the cross bike since it’s roadie enough to facilitate the ride in good time, but off roadie enough to keep that ride fun and give me options for areas that aren’t in the best of condition. Once winter weather set in, along with the time change, my willingness to get up and get rolling at 6 am when it’s 38 degrees outside pretty much dropped to not. I knew this was coming and in early December I bit the bullet and bought a smart trainer. Specifically I went with the wahoo KICKR, based on great reviews, and a strong testimonial from the Ironman in my office. He did a lot of his training in advance of the race on his KICKR and he had nothing but good to say about it. So combined with wahoo’s great winter sale, I went all in.

<<<<<<
e got another post setup with my thoughts on the KICKR itself, but suffice it to say here that it exceeded all my expectations. Depending on which companion app you're using, it's either an absolute blast to race with friends (Zwift), or a dead serious training tool (trainer road) that has already shown me improvements in my overall fitness. One unexpected benefit was resolution of a few nagging fit problems. Using the bike on a solid trainer for a while or me to identify and resolve a couple saddle and bar issues that have me super comfortable now.

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ed to renew my commitment to total body health with yoga four times a week added to my already minimum of 20 minutes daily spent in meditation. During the first few weeks of the new year, I will add about 5 miles a week of running with an eye on completing a 5k in March for my birthday. I don't have any lofty ambitions for my running, I'm taking that totally on a try it and see level, as I haven't run with any real intent since about 2012.

I have some detailed posts for each of these that I will put up over the next few days as time allows, and I'll link them from here should anyone be interested enough to take a look.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a good ride.

Harvey Damp

The Hurricane known as Harvey put a bit of a slow down on my riding here lately. Thankfully we’re far enough up in central Texas that we didn’t get a ton of damage ourselves, just some fallen sheetrock due to water penetration on the house. Certainly nothing like what our friends and families in Houston dealt with, and are still dealing with. However due to the nature of my job, I’ve been basically locked in an emergency response cell 18 hours a day since the 24th of august. We slowed down a little last week and I was able to squeeze in a few rides, and as of Friday, the mission has been scaled back to the point that the bulk of us have returned to regular ops, which means this week I’m back to life as I knew it before.

I commute about 35 miles a day, with 12-15 inbound and 17-20 home, depending on the route I follow. I drive my truck in on Monday, with the bike and most of what I’ll need all week in it. I use it as a base camp of sorts throughout the week, and I drive it home again Friday evening. This allows me to have my vehicle at work when I need to make runs around the post and such, and in between I pick up about 150 miles on the bike. That leaves me 50-70 miles on Saturday to get a solid training ride or a laid back fun ride in over the weekend, and fall roughly in my 200-225 mile per week goal.

Time to ride

If there was one thing in the world I could have more of, it would be time. I could live without more money (though that would always be nice), I have all the love I need thanks, but what I dont have, and can’t seem to ever get enough of, is time. I’m reasonably disciplined with time, twenty three years in the military has a way of doing that for you, and I also know that you have to carve out the time you need for yourself, as no one ever seems to come to me and say “Dave, I have an extra hour for you, do what you like with it…”.

I’m willing to bet I’m not the only person who feels the weight of time, as when I read other folks blogs, and book reviews, and even just the buzzwords populating the net they mostly relate to needing more time, or compressing more into the time you have. Chris Carmichael seems to be doing pretty well for himself with his “The Time Crunched Cyclist” book (though 6 hours is pretty slim…). I have four kids, a wife, a career, and a few hobbies, since haters be damned, I feel pretty strongly that one shouldn’t live to work.

The point of this post is that over the last few weeks, I’ve lost the fight for time. Despite my wife’s urging that I go for more rides (a. shes good to me and cares about my health, b. Im a dick if I don’t ride often enough) I have ridden precisely twice in 17 days. Once at Huntsville State Park, and once locally for just a little exercise in sweat production.

Heat

As the title says, the heat has a been a real factor here in the ATX lately. We’ve just had our 11th day over 100, and the number itself isn’t the most revealing, with heat indices over 110 most of those days. I’ve been training in the morning a bit to take a little of the bite of, but I also feel that acclimation is probably the real answer, however at what cost to performance? That is to say, from a training economy standpoint, am I better off spending an hour in the cooler morning weather where my performance numbers will be better, or spending it in the afternoon where my numbers will be down, but I’ll be acclimating to the weather that ismsure to continue? 

100 mile weeks and the pain that comes with them…

Two weeks ago I capped off my first 100 mile week this year. It may not seem huge to a lot of people who read this, but it was a really big personal mile stone for me, as I’ve struggled to improve my training over all. Earlier in the year I had an 80 mile week but that was a case of too much to soon, as I was crushed for two weeks afterward. I decided to accept the reality that I’m 44 years old, and for all intents and purposes have been off the bike for a few years. I created a loose training plan based on one of the various “beginner” programs out there. Make no mistake this was a huge smack in the ego for me, I am a cyclist who used to do 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. That was a different life and though the mind was willing, the body was… a little less. So I eased back in. I took special care to avoid injuries, I warmed up, I stretched, I controlled hydration, and I took recovery days, maybe too many recovery days 😉.

Other than a little back tweak last week, and some very minor knee aches, I’ve been remarkably pain free for the last few months. My back has been troublesome over the years, 22 years of jumping out of airplanes has taken a bit of a toll on my spine, I have some spondolosis, and in August of 2012 I broke three cervical vertebra, which put a little hitch in my giddy up to say the least. One exception to this is a new problem, my left shoulder. Last week I did 40 miles on the Trinity River Trails in Fort Worth and by the end my left shoulder was about a 7 out of 10 on the pain scale. I’m not sure where it’s coming from exactly, I have had a few problems with this shoulder over the years, when I was last in Afghanistan I had to have a few cortisone shots to keep on keeping on, and they did help, but it never truly went away. In any case, I think it’s something I can get under control, maybe a little fit modification will help, or perhaps a little strengthening in the surrounding area. 

Last week was an 80 mile week, with a little built in rest, with the idea being that I will push back to 100 again this week, and then run an ftp test next week to see how I’ve improved over the last test I did in March. I plan to have some basic fitness tests done here soon, body composition, VO2, one or two others at the UT Sports Science center, just to establish a first year baseline, to keep an eye on myself as I age, fitness wise. When I was younger, like most people, I just bull dogged my way through things, and dealt with the ramifications through the magic of the youthful body, and the reality is that I just can’t do that anymore, nor should I try. I’m watching my diet pretty closely, I’m trying to get more sleep, and I’m drinking a lot less. I still enjoy a glass of wine or two a week though, let’s not get crazy. Incidentally, I also went over 1000 miles for the year last week. 


More to follow as this thing progresses. 

Thanks for reading.