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?
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.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve been in the Army for 23 years, I’ve been a paratrooper for 22 of them. If I’ve learned anything from 22 years of jumping out of military aircraft, its that you don’t make the weather decision until the weather forces you to. I planned to knock out 30-ish miles yesterday, over a route that had been bouncing around in my head all week, and I was determined. THAT being said…this looked pretty ominous…
As I said though, I was determined. So I rolled, and took advantage of a not insignificant tailwind for the first few miles, as I stayed on the leading edge of the storm. The entire time I was receiving weather updates via twitter, and the occasional admonishment from the wife for being dumb enough to try to ride in this…
Right around here, the skies opened up on me, and all the rain in the heavens fell at once. Rain isn’t automatically a show stopper, but this was so heavy I couldn’t see ten feet. I pulled into a gas station and hid under the canopy while the wind whipped at 30 mph and the leading edge blew through. Once that passed I was able to get going again in not much more than a sprinkle, and I figured I could still squeeze in 20 or so. As I came up on Jollyville Road, I realized it was dark again, and I checked the radar to find that I was about be hammered. I kinda waffled on my decision, thinking “it can’t be THAT bad” til lightning struck close aboard, like 300 feet away, and discretion took the wind out of my dumbassery and I headed straight home with a quickness. All said, I got in a bout an hour of actual riding, and got through it without being fried by a million of watts of nature’s love. The weather is beautiful today though, with a predicted high of 83 and no wind to speak of, so perhaps it was serendipity.