Sunday, June 24, 2007

Finally getting the legs back

Today I finally had a really good ride. I'd been getting a little worried because since the end of May and the Mountain of Misery I just haven't felt that great on the bike at all. It hasn't been because of lack of rest either.

After the MOM my focus diverted a significant amount to more work/career issues. So biking has been in the back of the mind a little. I am proud though that in these last few weeks I haven't let it just fade away though. I'm trying to follow my plan and just do the workouts as best possible. Oftentimes, the workouts in the basement took precedence over riding outside in the incredible weather we've been having. In fact I rather wanted to just do a set workout and have something to check off.

Today was a 3hr mountain bike ride. Starting out with a run up OF. Always need to go for a time on this run. Forced myself to stay in the small ring until the mid section of the climb. 1 second improvement on PR! 16:02. I was totally stoked because while I was in difficulty I was not subhuman at the top as in past PRs. Which makes me confident that meeting a goal of sub 16:00 is doable. However the last few weeks I'd been wondering if I'd ever get close to my PR again.

Of note is that I'd just repacked my bearings in the Azure. But when checking my sag it hardly even seemed 25%, but it did feel plusher. This is more evidence to me that while counterintuitive, softer more supple rear suspension can be faster.

After this I was just rolling all over Brush. Up down, around. Royale, then back and did down Royale again for time. Up dodger, up Beast, down Sidewinder, Some gap here and there...

My skills practice is definitely starting to pay huge dividends. I'm just feeling very solid in my body positioning and railing a few corners here and there. The body position and cornering development have to be done with cones in the parking lot. It's way too hard to try and work on this stuff on the trail, as you can't cocentrate while in a survival mode.

Keeping my head level is something that seems to be developed better on the trail, but more so on easier flat trails. My goal is to not even look at the trail, but rather keep my dead on vision at a point about 4-5 feet off the ground. We are almost always in the trees here so I'm looking at about 4-5' on the tree trunks. I'm striving to see the shape of the trail in my peripheral vision. Also I'm trying to swivel my head in the direction of the exit of turns.

Braking is something that I'm still struggling with. The key is do do all my braking before the turn. Once in the turn I'm trying to lean and separate from the bike. In order to do that with with saddle at XC height I've got to get to move my body forward. Which is actually a good thing as it weights the front wheel more. The bad thing is that if I grab some brake in panic mode with my weight already forward I pith forward even more...not good.

On the last downhill of OF I tried something different. I pulled out an allen wrench and lowered my saddle by 3-4 inches. Haven't done that in more than a decade. At first it felt really awkward. I seemed to bias my weight to the rear more which messes up front traction a lot. It started to feel a little more comfortable the farther I went. But one thing that shocked me was the incredible strain on my quads. Not sure if it was from some of the pedalling performed while on the low saddle, or because I had no support at all from the saddle going downhill. But the quads were really burning bad.

My time wasn't very good at all. I'm thinking this is one of those things where I would get worse before I got better. Obviously there is something to it or all the downhillers, freeriders, dual slalom people wouldn't run low saddles. But I must be just so used to XC height that I've adapted somewhat. Again, I just seemed to bias the weight too much to the rear I guess because I could given that the saddle wasn't in the way at all.

At home my legs were just throbbing. I mean deap seated pulsating pain that I haven't felt in a while. Similar to a toothache or other deapseated dull pain I started to get fidgety almost like a panic attack. Tried something I'd read about in the newsletter.
Cold Bath:
"Next, as soon as you get home, run a bath of cold water. It doesn't need to be ice water, just cold tap. Fill the tub so you're covered up to your hips. Wear a sweatshirt to keep your upper body warm.

"Most of the damage you receive from a long ride results from cell membranes swelling and then breaking down and spilling their contents. You actually continue to swell for some time after you get off the bike. The cold water will reduce the swelling and limit further damage. Try to stay in for about 20 minutes.

"A cold dip is much better than an anti-inflammatory at this point. Even though the anti-inflammatory will make you feel better, the blood thinning will allow more cell contents to spill out of your damaged cells.

"After your cold bath get a good balanced meal -- carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats. Then get your legs up and stay off your feet.

I didn't stay in 20 mins but my legs did feel much much better when I got out.

other notes
left leg muscles still hurt a lot. Left knee hurt a little especially when trying scrape back on the pedal. This is putting the kybosh on my latest kick to set up a singlespeed.

Listened to the Ipod today. It was fun though doesn't seem to be any more focused than riding with a song going through my head. A few times the right song was going on a downhill and it just felt like playing.

At 2 hrs before. Started on energy drink as soon as I was on the bike. Started to get some reactive hypoglycemia. High sweat rate, light headed and tingly feeling in arms/legs. Passed within 30minutes. I seem to do better with a larger meal and 3hr time delay before riding.


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Keith said...

I've had some good results from "contrast showers" also. At the end of my normal shower, I alternate between hot and cold water. About 45s cold, 90s hot for 3 or 4 cycles. You'll find more information if you Google it.



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