Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Surviving Race Report Void

Post-posting update: Go read Rosey's unusually verbose thoughts about growing cross, they are good, so good I haven't figured out how to respond to them yet.
[/end update]


It's safe to say that the last 12 days proved I'm nothing without race reports. It's one thing to sneak the odd non-race-report item into a 4000-word essay about a mountain bike race, it's another thing to build that non-race-report item into a 4000 word essay. There's a length requirement for these things, right?

My desire to crush souls on snow, despite the fact that I did zero dryland training and didn't even get on skis until December 20, has already caused some problems. I'm up to, let's see, 9 days on snow and there has been zero progress in how I feel. Linnea and I hit the snow for 3 straight days over New Year's, and by the last day I was completely useless, not getting stronger at all, I just wanted to walk up hills until we hit two hours and I could legitimately quit and go back to sleep. Is it possible to go from zero to overtrained in two weeks? Probably. I feel exactly the same as I did in February 2007.

So anyway. We're backing that off a notch, which -- now that the holidays are over and all I have is Weston -- shouldn't be too hard. Luckily the Tuesday night races start tonight, which will both create blogging fodder and answer the question, "just how bad is my fitness?"

If tomorrow's post is "so I just won a Tuesday Night Race" then I am sorry for wasting your time with my whining.

Elsewhere, on the obligatory-January-cyclist-self-improvement front, I have two New Year's Resolutions to share. Many people have real, important, serious goals for 2009 and are making positive changes in their life to achieve them, which is great, although why we all wait until January 1st to get our shit together escapes me. I actually came up with this stuff on January 3rd, anyway.

Without further ado, my grand and illustrious goals for 2009 are:
1) Drink three glasses of water a day. It's a sad truth that programmers love the coffee, and I'm no exception. By some weird coincidence, I also often find myself heading out for training rides/Tuesday night races thinking "man I'm dehydrated." Perhaps if I can get the thought "I'm thirsty, I think I'll refill this coffee mug" out of my brain, I can solve this problem.
2) Be able to do 15 pull-ups without stopping. There is no good reason for this except that I read a fasterskier article where the author, a former pro, said: "Pull-ups are the essential part of my week and a good indication of my upper body strength. If I can do sets of 15 each week, I know my arms will be there when I need them in a race." Of course, I have never been able to do 15 pull-ups in my life, never mind sets of 15.

This is my favorite idea of all time, because almost everyone who reads this is a cyclist, and thus has the upper body of a T-Rex. So 15 pull-ups is as intimidating to you as it is to me, and more importantly, when I reach this lofty goal -- you might say something like, "Pullups aren't going to make you faster on a bike, moron" but you'll be thinking to youself "oh god I'm so weak and pathetic."

Lastly, to fulfill the non-race-report-blog-entries-must-be-three-unrelated-items quota, I've been riding a fixed gear to work for over a month now. Sadly it is not Miriam's Sweet Fixie or even a "sweet fixie," but it's still my fixie, which is pretty cool to me. After a month of bouncing my knee off my chin when I try to stop pedaling, I've mostly got it down.

It's a brand new Surly Steamroller, acquired from from IBC for the right price. I would have taken a picture of it, but that's a bit too velospace-y, and besides it looks just like the one in the link, except it's a nice poop-brown color and has brake hoods and fenders. As always, the bike and its accessories were assembled by Thom P, who is so good at his job that my bike mechanic skills are rapidly atrophying.

After riding home through 4 inches of packed snow back in that big storm we had, aka longest-sandpit-ride-ever, I can safely say that this bike is wicked, and that pushing a fixed 2.5:1 ratio on 23 mm tires through snow is stupid, but in a fun way.

So now, when you find yourself saying "how'd that mountain biker get such a buttery-smooth pedal stroke??" -- you'll know the answer.

12 comments:

Big Bikes 1/06/2009 10:58 AM  

I hate the pull ups, you can't hide from their truth. You can do sets of 20 push ups even if you haven't done them in a while (in my case three months, oops), you get tired, you lock out your arms and rest, then do another. The pull up though...you just hang there, swinging like an idiot with no chance that you can rally to do another.

I don't know how much they benefit a normal cyclist, I do them solely because I spend a whole lot of time pulling up on my bars while climbing. "Picking daisies" as they say.

Luke S 1/06/2009 11:11 AM  

In 3 months I've gone from 2 pullups to 8. Yeah.

gewilli 1/06/2009 11:13 AM  

point 1 on the coffee...

it ain't dehydrating you...

but certainly replacing the "i want more coffee" with a big glass of water is a good way to determine if you body really wanted more coffee or just the liquid carrier...

4000 words... shoot I don't expect anyone to read that stuff over there anyway, figure if I toss up a couple thousand words people will scroll down until they see a picture and go onto your blog or something with good well written content...

Colin R 1/06/2009 11:24 AM  

Luke - I have trouble responding to that without using the phrase "fat bastard"

G - I had to link you there because you're the only person who writes longer stuff than me :)

Hill Junkie 1/06/2009 1:43 PM  

>"just how bad is my fitness?"

Code phrase for "the rest of ya better bring your race skis!"

G-ride 1/06/2009 5:43 PM  

I used to knock out about 40 at a time when I was still actively in the Marines. 20 is required to pass the physical fitness test. They really are not hard with a little technique, especially for a skinny biker. You do have long arms though. Helps to be short.

Funny, couple years ago I was at the fair and passed the Marine recruiter setup. They were giving out free t-shirts to anyone who could do 20 pullups...I had not done any in at least 10 years, but, of course, dont challenge me.

I knocked out 17, hit the wall, and then eeked out the last three. Boo yah.

I was pretty sore the next day, they do mess you up.

Eh hem. Sorry to clutter up you blog with that nonesense...back to the skid steer.

Cosmo 1/06/2009 9:28 PM  

I'm a huge proponent of skinny tires in the snow. You can't get traction or keep momentum with fat tires in the mashed potato slush. Once you get a feel for how to coax the front end into going where you want, 25s are a blast.

I rode from Winter Hill to Fenway and back during the big storm this December. Only other guy I saw on a bike was walking.

I'm also with you on the 40/16. But I'll take a Cross-Check because I dig v-brakes.

Colin R 1/06/2009 9:33 PM  

Oh yeah, skinny tires own once you're at the slush point. The really hard times I've had were when it was windblown, hardpacked snow, and my 23's were breaking through it.. but not straight down... and only some of the time. It was so sketchy, especially when cars were involved.

So a cross tire would have been great that time.

trackrich 1/06/2009 10:06 PM  

I may hate pull ups more than you because 1) I weight about 50 pounds more than you, 2) my arms are twice as long as yours, and 3)think of something weaker than T-Rex arms... that's me.

badbrad 1/07/2009 8:13 AM  

There were a brilliant amount of links in that post.

I clicked all of them.

matt 1/07/2009 8:19 AM  

I can't believe I got dropped from your equaintences list. It's good to have an off season (including blogging) but it's pretty cutthroat obviously. I'm brimming over with content though.... Snowboarding, ironman training, Santa Claus sightings...

Wait... why am I writing this here? I'll update soon... for now, off to read about Jerry's tractor....

Luke S 1/07/2009 11:19 AM  

Funny, the marine recruiter that gave me a free t-shirt was giving them away for 50 pushups. Much easier than 20 pullups.

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