Thursday, November 26, 2009

'Cross is...

This makes cyclocross look so stupid that it's just plain fun(ny):

And this just makes it look plain-ol' stupid:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Inside my Cornucopia

For my great marriage, first and foremost. For better health than this time last year, and a rockin’ fast bike I didn’t have a year ago.

For stepping out to go to work and smelling trees and earth and air – not cement.

For a new gym membership, giving me something besides <> rollers to use for workouts during the winter. And for the terrific new feeling of cross-trained fitness.

Countless long rides in one of the most beautiful places in the country. And my big-climbing metrics this year, the furthest and highest I’ve ridden since the early ‘80s. And especially for the prospect of my first century ever next year.

For a greater acceptance of my puzzling new health limits since I reached my mid-40s.

For the first job in my fairly seasoned life in which my reservations are outweighed by my appreciation.

For this changeable, puzzling, thrilling thing they call Life.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

'Cross Funnies

Quick, before everyone in the world starts creating and posting their own one-button animations, go here and laugh your tuches off. It's about cycling, I promise.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Intensity and Immunity: New Research

As I've documented recently, I'm experimenting with my first real off-season, during these cool-to-cold months leading up to the Solstice. My body seems to be appreciating it. So far -- insert loud knock on nearby wooden furniture here -- I've been far stronger and healthier than last fall. Better sleep, better immune system (despite working in a community mental health center where 80% of my clients are children), better overall energy and mood.

One aspect of my program is workouts that are more frequent, but shorter and less intense. I would classify them as "light to moderate." Clearly, this fits in with the typical off-season/base-season thinking regarding building a cardiovascular fitness base. But I also have been doing it on the theory that light exercise improves overall health and immunity -- especially handy during this cold and flu season -- whereas intense exercise improves fitness (and, of course, fun), but at a cost to overall health, especially in the immune system.

This, too, is a pretty common idea. But I haven't tried it before. Too stubborn or dumb or something. Well, so far, it's been paying off. Well, today I read of some very interesting research that supports all of this, and takes it one step further: Heavy exercisers are more likely to get sick (in this case, contracting the flu) than even those who don't exercise at all. I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty good about my off-season plan today!

So, get out there and -- take it easy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Last Word on Knees

LinkI've become something of a connoisseur of articles on knees. You know -- that concatenation of bone, ligament, muscle and tendon that separates your shins from your thighs? Endurance athletes tend to have a lot of trouble with 'em. I'm certainly no exception, as Velophoriacs know too well from early posts here, detailing part of my odyssey with knee issues.

In my Firefox bookmarks folder, I must have over forty articles on knees: Physiology, strengthening, stretching, self-massage, blah, blah, blah. But ever since I recently bought a nice pair of running shoes and started fooling around with trying to run again, I've done a bunch of research on knees in the running literature. That's when I found this gem. I was surprised; I'm disappointed by Runner's World's tendency to print quickie sidebars entitled something like, "Five Tips for Joint Health." Useless. Nonetheless, this full-length piece is the best (and most enjoyable) summary of all the thinking, past, present and cutting edge, about knees I have read so far.

If you have any good ones yourself, feel free to post in the comments section.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Crossing Paths and Cyclocross

Wonderful bike-related incidents in the last two days: A first in-the-flesh meeting with No One Line, who has moved to my part of Massachusetts (lucky me!) and a visit to the Cycle-Smart International cyclocross race in Look Park (in Northampton, MA) where local boys Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll once again laid waste (as Sri Bobke would say) in the Elite division.

That last race was all I was able to make, but it was great fun, including an insane rock-and-root-strewn run-up, where I stood with No One Line and his friends, cheering and ringing a free cowbell from Mavic (score!). As fun as it is to watch, I never fail, within the first 30 seconds of attending a 'cross melee, to have the same reaction: "This isn't what bikes are built for!" All the more amazing then, no? As NOL put it, those guys are "lean and mean, but all fast-twitch." The wattage level they put out for a solid hour is amazing.

The whole retro-boho-beer-sippin'-facial-hair-and-handmade-cycling-cap-sportin' 'cross culture was on full display. With one foot firmly on the road to geezer-hood, I love being around the energy, creativity, haughty self-consciousness, and pure athleticism. A heady mix, delightful for short bursts of time. It was a lovely day for 'cross: 50 degrees and sunny. Well, okay, the wannabe Belgians probably would have preferred 40 degrees and raining, but it was sure a good day for standing around watching other people burn up glycogen like it was goin' out of style...

Stop by tomorrow -- a beautiful day predicted and more cycling insanity for those willing to pay the measly $5.00 parking fee. Me? I'll be out on a ride, inspired by the studs I saw today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Giro Promoters Lose Collective Minds

First they move the Tour of California to May so it conflicts with the Giro (?!?#$%?), now this absurd proposal.

It's enough that winter is coming. Do they have to mock and torment us so?