Loser on a Bike: Week 3

   Week 3 is in the books, so as I sit here watching Paris-Roubaix coverage on VS, I’ll reflect on what (if any) progress I’ve made this week.

   I attended my daughters sports banquet on Monday night and didn’t get in until fairly late. I went ahead and knocked out an abbreviated strength routine shortening it from 45 minutes to 30. I can definitely tell that the strength training is helping. I’m feeling stronger every day.

   Tuesday’s ride went off without a hitch. It has been very windy here lately and Tuesday was pretty cool, but the sun was shining and it was a good ride. I took a route that covered about 20 miles instead of my usual 15 mile loop. A lot of the roads on my normal routes are asphalt that have been patched over many times. They are some of the roughest roads I’ve ever seen, but my bike has been handling them well.

   I was extremely hungry all day Wednesday and I couldn’t hardly shake it. I stuck to my plan in making good choices although I probably ate more total calories than I have been. Strength training was good Wednesday evening getting in my normal 45 minutes of strength and about 15 or so of stretching and rolling out with “The Stick”. At this point the week was going according to plan and fairly routine.

   Thursday was where it got interesting. In my job, I have an opportunity to work from home for a lot of the year. I do have an office, but I usually operate via cell phone and laptop w/ air card. The job gets very hectic during May/June and I spend a ton of hours out and about meeting with producers. So for now I have been pretty much working from home, which is great because I can get in a midday ride instead of riding in the evening. Pre-ride I ate a small bowl of oatmeal, had a bottle of water and a cup of black coffee around 8 am. I finally got out the door somewhere between 11 and 11:30 am taking nothing with me but 2 bottles of water. I had decided to do a 26 mile route, so off I went. There was about a 15 mph wind from the Southwest that made the first 4 miles pretty tough. After warming up and settling in, my Garmin went off letting me know it was time to start on my fast pedal intervals. It was very difficult for me to keep my cadence up over 90, but I pushed as hard as I could. Each successive set of intervals got harder and harder, but I pushed until I couldn’t push anymore. At some point, I gave up on keeping my cadence over 90 and just tried to keep it as high as I could. Early into the ride, my front derailleur cable came off and I had to stop briefly to fix that. About 1/3 of the way into the ride, I started getting a vibration from the rear after I had left the bad roads. When I reached the halfway point, I stopped and discovered that a few spokes were lose, so I broke out the multi-tool and tightened them up, trying to get the wheel as true as possible on the side of the road. It rode okay, but I still felt a little vibration on the return trip. After the intervals were over, I hit my long downwind stretch and let it fly. I knew all the work I had done into the wind would be worth it when I hit that point. Man that was a lot of fun! By the time I made my last turn toward home I had about 3 miles left and was again into a strong head/cross wind. About 1/2 mile into that stretch, I hit a wall like I couldn’t believe! I lost it all over the side of the road and just felt like laying down. After finally regaining my composure somewhat, I got back on the bike and started pedaling telling myself “One foot over the other” over and over again outloud. It was all I could do to get back to the house.

   Man what a relief it was to be back home! I immediately got something to eat trying to recover after which I stretched out and just laid down for awhile. Later when looking at the data from my Garmin, I realized that my average heartrate for the whole 2 hour trip was 159! Wow…89% of my max for two hours? I really wasn’t sure how to take that. I sent Al a message to which he replied that as a cycling coach “NICE!”, but as a trainer I might want to back off a bit and maybe see an MD to make sure everything is good. I had absolutely no pain, just felt like I had left it all out on the road for that days ride.

   Friday was a rest day, so I took a 2 mile walk around noon and also stretched and rolled out for about 30 minutes. I took my bike out to my woodworking shop and started cleaning and adjusting. By the time I was done, it was shifting great and my rear wheel was truer than I thought I’d be able to get it. I was feeling really good for the week and planning a 40-45 mile ride to the Missouri/Arkansas state line and back on Saturday.

   Saturday morning, I ate some oatmeal, fruit, had a cup of coffee and some water. I also had stashed away some Cliff bars and was taking a bottle of water and a bottle of sports drink with me. I wasn’t planning to hit the wall on this ride. As soon as I stepped out, I sank…The wind was absolutely howling! After thinking about it for a bit, I decided to change my route and just do about half of what I had planned. If I had done the state line trip, the first 22 miles or so would’ve been headfirst into it. Maybe I need to HTFU, but I just couldn’t do it. I worked my butt off on this ride as well, but I paid a little closer attention to my HR trying to keep it down. I backed off when I needed, concentrated on deep breathing when I needed and when all was said and done, I was able to keep it to a 149 average. I absolutely felt great afterwards. In looking at the weather upon return, we were under a wind advisory with 25 mph sustained winds and gusts to 40.

   So what was the final tally for the week? Two pounds. That brings the total now to 15 lbs in 3 weeks. It seems like I worked awful hard for those two pounds, but to be honest, I expected the weight loss to fall off last week. In the past, I have always been able to drop a large number of pounds the first week, but week two is usually a lot less. I was really surprised I lost more in week two than in one. Two pounds is great and it is right in the range of what I’m shooting for. My goal is to lose 1 to 3 lbs per week to keep from taking it off too fast.

   Some other markers worth noting: 1) Already down one jeans size. 2) Resting heartrate has dropped from averaging 75-80 bpm to 65. 3) Blood pressure has dropped from 139/80 three weeks ago to 111/64 today.

   All in all I am feeling great and look forward to many more great weeks, months and years! Thanks again for all the help I’ve received from everybody, I feel honored to be a part of such a great community!

   By the way…Man there are a lot of wrecks in Paris-Roubaix!