Wednesday, August 11, 2004

First Post

First post on a blog. This is mainly to document my cycling/training, but I'll fill it with whatever comes to mind.

The Title stands for
  • MWC (Married with Children)
  • FTJ (Full Time Job)
  • NGT (No Genetic Talent)

    I guess a little background and introduction is in order. I'm 36, married with two wonderful boys (one just turned 6 and the other will turn 4 in September). Full time job, and also just a regular athletic joe. In fact less than regular, basically no genentic talent, so I've got to try harder to reach a level that others can get to with less effort.

    Anyway, I've been into cycling since 1988. It's been something that has been instrumental and central to my life since that time. It is something that encompasses almost all parts of my life. It brings happiness and joy, as well as frustration and sadness. Unfortunately, it has become one of those things that, as a friend described, is an EGO INVESTMENT. I am ego invested in this sport. So if I do poorly, than to me it reflects on my self worth. Which is of course isn't as it should be. But that's the way it is like it or not.

    I'd never been all that great at mountain bike racing, but I just kept doing it. I even met my wife at a mountain bike race. It's a good story remind me to tell you about it sometime. Cycling was our life, our friends were cyclists, all weekend trips revolved around cycling, etc. However, when our first child came that all changed. It became readily apparent that I couldn't continue to place training and racing as a priority. So I sort of just let it go. I said, "hey, have fun, ride to smell the roses, and to enjoy the outdoors". Ok So I did that.

    And you know what, I got slow. It sucked. I coughed up a lung every time I climbed any hill. It just wasn't that fun anymore. I missed being fast enough to have fun.

    So I changed my plan, I said, ok let's train enough to reach what I call the Speed of Fun. The speed at which you are going fast enough to be having fun, where you can climb up some hills fast enough to hold your momentum, and where you can power out on the flat singletrack and be flying.

    I found a great training philosophy pioneered by Dean Golich and Dave Morris involving Block training. Basically two to three days hard in a row, maintaining intensity but decreasing volume through the block followed by rest. It worked so well into my life. Hour here, go balls out, 45 mins next day balls out, 1/2 hour next day balls out. Followed by 2-3 days of nothing.

    Perfect for my new life of Married with children, and ability to focus hard for a short time, then let go.

    And you know what, I got sort of fast again. It's all relative by the way. Fast meaning fast for me. And all was good, it was fun again. I could ride hard and enjoy it. But for an hour!!

    Another by product of MWC, was this mortality complex. I got so much slower on the downhills. I didn't want to get hurt. One reason was that getting hurt could affect my ability to provide for my family. The other reason is more comical. My wife got pissed off at me one time when I crashed. It was so funny. I'm bleeding from my nose, and scraped all over and she is ticked off. First words out of her mouth were, "Now you won't be able to help out".

    It was pretty funny when you think about it after the fact. Anyway, it sucks that I've gotten slower but I'm getting older, not as spry shall we say, take longer to recover, etc. It doesn't bug me too much, cause I've opted to emphasis more climbing than the downhilling now. However, it is starting to get better. I put a new fork on the bike. Manitou Black SPV 80, which helped slow the front end down a little bit, and I went to the Stans tubeless conversion which allows me to run lower tire pressures which has smoothed things out some. And of course, I'm just riding more than I used to which is really the main reason why I've slowed down. When you go from 5 days a week off road to 1-2 that tends to happen. Duh.

    Fast forward a little. 2 kids now. But things are a little easier. How about trying to race again. So I set up a training plan in earnest. Trying my best to follow a program as outlined in Dave Morris' book Performance Cycling
    Which you can find at amazon

    Yeah, I wrote the first review of it. I LOVE it. I am thinking really hard of hiring him as a coach for a year.

    So this year I've been on the program since Nov 2003. The problem was the 1 month period of long endurance rides happened to coincide with a pitiful winter. So I sort of half assed that part of the program, and paid the price come the first race in April.

    This on series up here is sort of screwed. You have an April race, one in May then nothing until August again, then it goes into October, and there are some other cool events in October. It's hard for me to figure out how to plan out the whole season, where the endurance phase is actually during a time when I can ride based on the winter, and where I'm not going to be indoors all day during when the weather gets nice. I might just bag the first April race next year, I'm not sure. I either want to be raring to go for that April race, which means starting the off season in September and missing out on the October events, or start the off season in Nov, and be doing endurance rides in March and indoor work in May.

    Anyway, it's August now, and I'd only done that one April race. Problem with doing only a few races, is that you only get a couple of shots at the glory.

    I've got a big race coming up this Sunday. Massanutten Hoo-Ha. I'm pretty nervous already. The main thing I'm thinking about is to just worry about those things that are in my control.


    I'm trying to think of little mantras and things to think about that I can say in my mind during the race to mantain focus. One of my bad habits is to be in the middle of a race and start thinking about the training I'm GOING to be doing next year so that I am not sucking wind like I am in this race. Not a good thing to to be doing in the middle of a race.

    Why is it so hard to be able to concentrate and focus for as small a period as 2-3hours.

    We had just gotten back from a week in Salt Lake City and Yellowstone Park. I got to ride for a few days there. At Altitude. My legs felt fine, but my heart /lungs hurt bad. It was so awesome coming back, I feel incredible.

    Yesterday I did 1 hour on the mountain bike and rode awesome, felt a little awkward on the technical sections but had lots of power.

    The rest of this week will be easy riding, combined with some short intervals to stay sharp, with a full day off on Friday.


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