Thursday, August 21, 2008

failing functional strength

I've definitely seen my core strength and overall functional strength dimish this year. I'm mountain biking much less, maybe once week if that, not doing any back stretches or ab work.

With the slight loss in weight recently, my muscles look beefcake but just trying to pick up my kids across a stream or move boxes makes it readily apparent that my functional strength has dimished. Riding feels fine for the most part, but short rides don't create that cummulative fatigue in the upper body that you can only get from a long day on the mountain bike.

Yoga, pushups, some basic back stretches are all in order. It's more just a mental hurdle to get it on my radar. I'm always bee-bopping back and forth full engagement from one thing to another and if it's not right in front of me then I forget.

the 1 gear dividend

Still not on any set training plan, just some rides here/there. Longest ride in a while has been about 2 hrs. Even though I'm not on any sort of schedule or periodized plan, I can feel the ebbs and flow in my riding. My personal cycles seem to work on an 11-14 day pattern.

On a good day, on a given hill I can pedal one gear higher at the same cadence, with lower percieved exertion. The good days only last about 2 days then it's back to normal till the next cycle. Creating these good days is a function of some hard riding combined with lots of rest. Too much mid intensity riding spread throughout doesn't seem to do much except stagnate the legs and create cummulative fatigue.

Instead I've been just riding but trying to get out of the saddle more and give it some pop while on a hill. And when the 1 gear dividend pays out, to try an take it and go to even one more gear harder to make it feel like it does when tired.

The limiting factor is not VO2 max or threshold power or anything like that. The limiting factor is how much discomfort can you put yourself into. For now, my discomfort threshold is just a little bit beyond a smile and into that slight grimace territory. It seems to be enough to maintain some semblance of fitness

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Middle Ring Optimization

For the past several months I have been riding virtually everything in the middle ring here on Brush. I went into the granny one time up at Mountain Lake and it messed me up :).

At first I thought I just try it to force myself to work harder and to simulate a tad bit what single speeding might be like. Middle ring and big cog is a fair amount lower than what single speed gearing though. My expectation was that my legs would get blown fairly quickly and it would turn into a grind on the climbs. However, I've been pleasantly surprised that it's doable and even made me climb much faster.

One reason it works is that my bike seems optimzed for the middle ring more than the granny. I've experienced this many times where the bike just lags in the small ring but tightens up in the middle. Another factor contributing to the success of this riding has been a new found technical capability that has been fostered from riding the rocks up at Mountain Lake

A week after riding up there I came back to Brush with this surging stutter pedal stroke on some climbs and technical situations. I was throwing the bike forward with each pedal stroke. When my right (strong foot) pedal gets to the top of the stroke, I'd thrust the bike forward and move off the saddle a hair performing a mini forward bunny hop as the pedal reached the forward position.

I was thinking that this type of movement would just take me anaerobic too fast, but for a short period I can pull it off. The net affect is that it saves my legs from blowing so I can keep turning the bigger gear without it becoming the grind. The ability to just slightly spin the gear vs mashing equates to good climbing speed.

So my experiment has now turned into a goal to try to keep doing it. Just for kicks anyway.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

those little sealing crystals..

It is time for some new dogs on the mountain bike. Pulled down a Nevegal that I've had hanging on the wall for months and mounted on the front with one press of the air chuck onto the Stans rim. It seated immediately. I love those rims.

But it kept losing air over a few hours no matter how much sealant I put in there or swished it around. I put it into my utility sink and found hundreds of micro bubbles coming out indicating that the sealant wasn't working.

I removed all the sealant and tried again. This time making sure to shake the bottle while inverted and also to use the scoop and scoop up some sealant, swirl it around and pour it back. The trick is to get all the little 'sealing crystals' off the bottom of the cup and into the tire. It even says so on the instructions on newer bottles.

Sure enough this helped a lot. It is still losing some air but nowhere near as fast as before. Can't wait to try it out. Things have been so so hectic around here for the last 3 weeks, I'm hoping things will settle down and just get back to some level of normalcy.

By the way. I'm on face book now. I feel so shallow. Invite me as your friend even though I don't know you just so I can have more friends and feel more fulfilled.

We should make a Morris follower group and a paleo diet for athletes sort of following group........

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Patch kit cement

I've got 5 tubes sitting on my workbench waiting to be patched. But almost every tube of that small patch kit glue is dried up. Found this
at Utah Mountain Biking Which is a great site with lots of content about working on bikes and some hard to find specialty items like disc truing tools.

On my commuter bike I used electrical tape for my rim strip and it was a little narrow. Twice now I've gotten a flat on the way home from the spoke holes in the rim getting exposed and cutting the tube. Needless to say I'm going to go back to no tubes here. But I will patch up those other tubes just to have them around.