An Open Letter to My Coach

Dear Drew,

Hey first thing, I’m having a blast. It’s been fun doing the training. I feel strong. Can’t wait to get some longer riding in when the weather clears up a little bit. Only 6 months to Leadville!

I do however have to apologize a little bit. I know that this week is a “recovery week”. Yup, I saw the message on Monday that said: “Take it easy and stick to the plan as close as possible even if you are feeling great”. I was all set to do that. Then something happened.

Well, it was 60 degrees out yesterday. 60 degrees on January 30! I know you are a Florida guy, so let me put this into perspective for you. Imaging if it was mid July and you looked at the weather forecast and instead of a high of 95 you saw one day where the high would be 75 degrees. Just imaging how nice that would sound. You wold go out and ride as much as you could, just because it would be totally awesome. Even if it was a recovery week.

So that is what I was confronted with. I did my weight training and I did my running (inside because I had to). Then somehow I managed to get out of work with some daylight left. It was 60 outside. That’s about 40 degrees higher than it should be. And I did what you asked. I stuck to the plan as close as possible. Which of course meant I went for a bike ride, because, well I just had too.

Now before you go and get mad at me here are a couple of things to keep in mind: 1. I was sick last week. So really last week was a “recovery” week, since I was recovering from a cold, right? 2. I didn’t bike hard or fast. I just got onto my bike and peddled around the block. Kicked some mud up and got dirty. 3. I had fun. Which is what this is really about right?

Ok. I’m willing to let this one slide. And since I am not sending this to you directly (you would somehow have to get lucky on a google search to find this!) I am going to say you agree with me.

 

Thanks!

Doug

Sleep Interrupted

I’m sound asleep when I hear “Doug wake up, we have a problem.” Huh?

3am1

Hum. Yup, That’s not right. What you are looking at is inches of water coming out of my my closet into my bedroom. At 3 am Monday morning we had a pipe burst. Coreen and I spent the next 10 hours cleaning with a shop vac. Well first we had to get all of the important things off the floor. Then we had to figure out how to stop the water (finally I went all out and just cut off all water to the house, at 3am problem solving is rough). Then we could start vacuuming up the water.

When the water finally stopped flowing into our finished basement it looked like this:

3am2

We called the insurance company and the professional remediation team came. Now we have industrial fans and dehumidifiers all over the place. Our house is a mess. We are sleeping in the living room.

My pain cave has been disrupted…

drying1

But the living room is now multifunctional!

bedroom_livingroom_exerciseroom

Training must go on!

(I really want my bedroom back)

Sick

This week has been a downer bummer slow one for me. I’ve had a little cold. Nothing really bad. And I know that. I know of friends and other people who have had the real honest to goodness flu and been struck down by that. Nope. Totally understand on the spectrum of things to go wrong this barely rates. Just a simple cold. Stuffy head. Little bit of a headache. Cough.Tired.

But its been enough to make mess up my training schedule. And so for the first time since I started in with a coach, I didn’t do what was asked. We did talk about what was going on and he said I should back off, and more if I thought I had anything more than a simple cold he wanted me to do nothing. So I slowed down and did what I could this week. 35 minute 5k this morning. (Glad I didn’t have my GPS going to record that one. Wonder what Strava would say about that.) Oh well. Back at it next week.

One Long Ride

That’s really what I want right now. One long ride. I’m starting to feel a little pent up.

I’m tired of short, interval focused rides inside. What I would like is something on the order of 3 hours. Something with lots of climbing and long downhill. I don’t really care if its mountain or road.

I think, though, that on a day when the high temp is forecast to be -3F that won’t happen.

 

Monday Morning Slider: A Tale of One Run

It’s been a couple of weeks since the ADK Luge Club was on the track in Lake Placid. And the last time I slide, I wrecked the runners on my sled. (Well I didn’t wreck the runners on my sled. The lack of ice someplace on the track wrecked the runners on my sled.) In the intervening time I took my sled to Dr. Duncan (a.k.a. Duncan Kennedy) and had my steels fixed. So I was excited to get back onto the track this weekend and see what would happen.

Luge is a sport timed to the 1/1000 of a second. It is a sport of not inches, but millimeters. Let me give you an example. There is something called “toe” on a sled. It is how parallel the steel runners are. You want the runners to be just a little bit toed in (closer to each other in the front, farther from each other in the back). If they are just a little bit toed out (like a mm) then the sled is beast to handle.

The last time I slide, my steels were essentially dulled. The sled didn’t steel well. Now I had steels that were set to run. This is how my first run went.

I got onto my sled and set my self up for the start. The first thing I noticed was how easily the sled slid on the starting ramp. I was rocking it back and forth to warm up and could immediately tell a difference. The window to the start house (where we wait till it is time to slide) opened and Duncan Kennedy stuck his head out the window and said “bet that feels better”. Duncan doesn’t usually slide with us but he was there for a couple of runs with us.

I was cleared to run. Put my face shield on and pulled off. The first trick to sliding is settling on the sled. Going from a sitting position to a laying position. It’s actually a little trickier than you might think. Remember any uneven motion turns into a steel (especially if your sled is working properly.) And so my sled was squirely down the start ramp.

Now, one of the most “exciting” things in luge is when you have trouble on the start ramp, and you are not sure if your sled is set-up right. Why? Because you have the whole rest of the track to get through, and no real way to stop.

I finally got settled onto the sled and was on the track. I quickly realized that my sled was much more responsive that it had been the last time I slid. How did I know? Well every time I twitched, the sled steered. And so I struggled down the track. Correcting, bouncing, counter steering, counter counter steering and getting a feel for my now (very) responsive sled. I made it to the bottom. It was not a thing of beauty, but I made it to the bottom.

So what happened? I bobbled the start. Then I tensed. Then my form went bad. The sled was responsive and responded to my bad form. Then I had an exciting run. But I passed the smile test. I ended the night with a smile on my face.

(Authors note: Each of my runs got progressively better Saturday night. Well until my last run. For that run I was tired and sloppy.)

Lance and Oprah

Tomorrow is the long awaited “Oprah’s interview with Lance”. (And apparently Oprah is going to make extra hay by dragging it out over 2 days. If you got something hot, ride it till it drops, right?)

Yeah, I am going to watch it. It’s kind of like when you have a sore in your mouth, and you have to keep touching it.

What do I think? Simple, it doesn’t matter what he says.

What matters is what he does. Through this whole affair Lance has had a scorched earth policy. If you dared cross him, you got hammered. He went after you and he went after you hard. He ruined lives. If Lance wants to make this right, he needs to make amends to the people he has wronged. Period.

(Oh, and he needs to rat out the people at UCI who were in on it.)

Bike Fitting

Two summers ago I spent some money and got a proper bike fitting. For those of you who don’t bike, biking long distances, or fast, or fast for long distances is a little bit different than jumping on a bike and going around the block. What a bike fitting does is set the seat height, the forward backward seat location, length of the handlebar stem, etc. That allows the geometry of your body to work with the bike. It made a huge difference in my riding. I felt stronger and more comfortable on long rides.

One of the things that we did when I got my bike fitting was add orthopedic inserts into my shoes. My arches were collapsing when I peddled which can put pressure on your knees and hips.

Last summer I started to have trouble with my left knee. I blamed that on running. (I don’t really like running, so it was an easy blame.) The knee started hurting about when I started to run longer distances. So right around the time I raced in the Wilmington Whiteface 100 race I stopped riding. And a weird thing happened.

Nope, my knee didn’t get better. (Tricked you eh!) It stayed sore all summer. Not so much that I couldn’t ride, just enough that I knew it was there and I had to take it a little easy when I was riding.

Then this fall it dawned on me. My knee started hurting when I started mountain biking hard in the spring. I replicated the geometry from my road bike. That shouldn’t be the problem. And then the light bulb went (the rest of the way) on. My shoes. The one pair of biking shoes that I never had inserts in was my MTB shoes. So I moved the inserts between my shoes (so I wouldn’t have to buy them if they didn’t help) depending if I was riding road or mountain.

That was it. Knee pain went away. (Of course I have now jinxed myself, sigh.)

So, the take home message is properly fit equipment matters. If you bike, and if you have not had your bike professionally fit, do it. It’s totally worth it.