Saturday, October 31, 2009

Indoors is Good

Ages since my last real post. Part of the reason for that is the weird experience of having an actual burn-out this fall.

Since my training for the first two years was constantly interrupted by injury or illness, I ended up effectively training for two straight years –when not actually riding, I was obsessing about recovery, how/whether to ride injured, and pining for the bike. Hence the full-on burn-out this fall.
The mental burn-out (accompanied by good physical health – a rare combination for me) has afforded me the luxury of cross-training, something I’ve been wanting to try since I (re-)started cycling. I’ve been enjoying fiddling around with running, to very mixed success. I love it, but my knees are rebelling and it looks like I’ll have to pull back a lot.

I’ve also been enjoying my new gym. Most folks complain about how boring the health club is; I have a long history as a gym rat. I spent a good portion of my very expensive liberal arts college career in the rather low-rent campus gym, pumping iron and talking technique with linebackers twice my size. Some of my fondest college memories.

What’s more, I don’t mind being on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes. I tend to thrive where others die of boredom. It allows me to get deep into a movement groove and get a serious, finely-tuned burn going. (I also am working on a theory that it is great cross-training for the bike, because it works hardest the muscles that I increasingly find useful for biking: the glutes and lower back). Road cycling is much more fun and stimulating, but it rarely allows that deep groove, what with all the hills, curves, potholes and scenery here in Western Mass.

Best of all, when I got on the bike last Sunday after a couple weeks of this, I rode harder, longer with more excitement and less fatigue than I have in weeks. So, for right now, I’m enjoying the cooler, wetter weather. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to despair when it’s crappy out. I have a powerful workout waiting for me seven minutes away in a warm, dry, inexpensive, stripped-down-but-totally-functional place.

Come January, I’ll probably be sick of it and dying for a road fix. For right now, though… I can watch college ball while I’m maintaining my VO2 max.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back in Love Again

Out for a brisk one-hour-plus in with temps in the 30s/40s today. My first time on a bike in two full weeks, the longest voluntary break I've taken in the two-plus years since I got back in the saddle. I'm very, very happy to report I enjoyed myself. I was starting to feel... well, nothing, really... while riding in late September. Mind you, I had crazy fitness, zooming all over the place and motoring up hills, but I just wasn't enjoying it. At all. Guess I finally strung enough healthy months together this season to actually do a bona fide burn-out -- my first. Hey -- I'll call that much health a milestone!

Today, I found the corners of my mouth sneaking upward as I dashed down a local descent. It was a relief. I remember the years when I lived, breathed, ate and slept guitar. Every once in a while, I'd have a period when I just couldn't look at the instrument any more. I would take a few days off, then a week... and start to get paranoid. Had the magic jumped the last train for the coast? Would I ever find joy in the wood and strings again? It always came back around if I gave it enough breathing room. Hopefully, today proves the same dynamic true in my relationship with the bike.

I have been working out, though. I joined a gym for some aerobic and resistance work. I hope it will tide me over the icy months -- and delay the day I get on my @%#$ rollers until at least the new year. And I've been tentatively trying some running. I adored running as a young adult, but my knees are very, very finicky these days. Hope I can extend my jaunts to something worth suiting up for.

But today, I celebrate the velocipede!

Down to the Bone

Another article on the very important topic of bone density loss in cyclists. Informative and brief.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Passion and Profession Collide

It's often not pretty when I find that my profession -- mental health counseling -- has appeared in some other field of life I love.

Condolences to Franck Vandenbr0ucke's family. And a word to the wise: If you are in psychological pain, reach out. There are professionals everywhere.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Michael Barry Loves the Radio Ban

A very well-written and intelligent summary of one viewpoint on the UCI proposal to ban radios from racing.