Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Recovery Techniques

Ross had links to two articles about recovery on his blog the other day. This one in particular I thought was very good.

I had a some good workouts tonight. I'm still doing a lot of cross-training right now. I played DDR for about an hour (yeah, I'm a geek) and then did a core workout. Tomorrow I'm on the trainer for some speed work, and I've got a strength workout scheduled.

I checked the POTATOEE status today (Dad and I are keeping track using Google Docs, it works pretty well). Dad is crushing me... he's about 60 miles ahead right now! He's already well past Toledo and almost to Sandusky, and I still have 25 miles to go before I even get to Toledo. I'll put in a few miles this week though; probably about 15 tomorrow on the trainer and then maybe another 35 or so on the road over the weekend.

Monday, January 29, 2007

We Now Return...

... to your regularly scheduled workout.

OK, not really. Today was supposed to be a day off, but I've had so many days off this past week with my cold, I decided I needed to do something today. I went down to the basement and went 8 10x10 rounds with the ol' bag. It was rough... I can tell I haven't been doing much lately.

This week is the last week of my Preparation phase, next week I start into Base. Reading other guys' blogs, it seems like I'm really behind in my schedule, but I guess it doesn't matter. My schedule is my schedule. I'm set up to peak for the Stony TT at the end of July and then again near the end of the MTB season and the beginning of 'cross season.

I tore my 'cross bike almost entirely down yesterday and built it back up. The headset had gotten pretty sticky, so that's what got me going on it. It turns out that there was a bunch of water trapped in the frame (from a race or a cleaning, I don't know), and when I hung the bike from its rear wheel in the garage, the water all collected at the headset... not good. I cleaned everything up and re-greased it; it seems to be pretty smooth again now.

I need to do the same with my road bike...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Boucing Back

OK, I'm convinced that I actually got two bugs. The first one hit me last Thursday and I got over it on Tuesday, when I immediately picked up a second one that left me sick for the rest of the week. I'm still not back to normal, but I'm finally starting to feel better.

I went ahead and did a short technique workout on the trainer last night. It was driving me crazy to not do much of anything for so long. I haven't decided what I should try to do this weekend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I'm still a bit sick. It's kind of annoying...

I felt really good Monday night and yesterday, so I went ahead and did my normal workouts last night. Just a pretty easy hour of spinning on the trainer and a core workout. Today, I'm still feeling OK, but my nose has been running like crazy. I finally took some cold medicine tonight just so I could take a break from blowing my nose!

So, I'm postponing tonight's workout for a later date. I think I need to rest a little bit more.

On the POTATOEE front, Dad has used my illness wisely and has pulled out a big lead on me. He's right around Toledo, and I'm about 30 miles behind!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Under the Weather

I've been feeling a little sick with a cold for the past few days. Nothing too bad, but enough that I haven't been too active. I went through a stretch last week and early this week where I just wasn't sleeping enough, and I think it finally caught up to me.

So, the plan is to take it easy for the rest of the weekend and try to get feeling better for Monday.

My wife has been in Chicago for most of this week with her skating team. They competed yesterday and finished 5th, which was good enough to qualify them for Nationals next month. No doubt a result of the good coaching!

Nationals are in Colorado Springs this year. I'm going to head out to Colorado a few days after Sarah and watch the team compete, and then we're going to stick around for part of the next week and vacation a little bit. I've sort of got it in my head that we should try snowboarding while we're out there. I've downhill skied but never snowboarded before.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hockey Night in Birmingham

I played hockey again last night down in Birmingham. Incidently, Birmingham keeps their rink at 55F! My wife says that the figure skaters love it, but, as a hockey player, I find it uncomfortably warm.

Anyway, this was the same group I played with around Thanksgiving. We only had 7 skaters on a side this time instead of 10, so we didn't get much time on the bench. I definitely played better last night than I did the time before, but I was still pretty out of sync. It seemed like I'd always hang on to the puck a step too long, or just be a step away from where I should be. Still, there were some flashes of good play, I ended up scoring a goal and got a few other good chances. I really didn't play so well in my own end though.

The most memorable line of the night had to be from our goalie... "I don't know what you guys look like without your gear on. You're all just a bunch of skinny-stick bastards to me."
The other good news is that I wasn't totally dragging today at work. I slept in on Sunday and took a nap in the afternoon, and it seems to have helped.

I'll probably hit up the Wednesday night drop-in session again this week.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Even though the week isn't quite over, Dad and I exchanged mileages for the week. He caught up to me and passed me this week. Both of us are near the Indiana / Ohio border now (about 97 miles from the start), but Dad's about 2 miles ahead of me. He said that he's riding today too, but I'm not since I'm playing hockey tonight.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


While I'm not convinced that the type of program detailed over at CrossFit would really work for bike racing, I really do agree with most of their principles. One of these principles is illustrated by this "fitness pyramid":

The idea is that there is a hierarchy of development for an athlete, and that a deficiency in the base levels of the pyramid will cause the higher levels to suffer. In my opinion, sleep should also be on the Nutrition level.

What does this have to do with anything? As I've mentioned before, I'm still in the Preparation phase, and I'll be here for 3 more weeks (!). It's just the way my schedule worked out this year. The best way to describe the Preparation phase is that it's "training to train".

Another way to look at it is that I'm working on the foundation of my pyramid. So far, I've been using this time to try to develop good sleep, nutrition and recovery habits (with varying degrees of success). Hopefully I can carry them through for the rest of the year.

1. Contrast showers - I wrote about these before and I'm still doing them. While they're certainly not a cure-all, I've noticed that a lot of the little aches and soreness that I used to get have almost disappeared. I think this recovery technique should help quite a bit once my training load increases.

2. Napping - I'm going to try to make a habit of taking 30 minute naps after work. This helps boost my energy level for my evening workouts and seems to help offset sleep shortages from the night before. Of course, napping after work is pretty easy now while the sun is setting around 5:30.

3. On-bike nutrition - I've started mixing a bottle of pretty dilute sports drink for all of my rides, even for relatively easy technique workouts. It doesn't make a big difference on shorter rides, but I do tend to feel a little more fresh for the last 20 minutes or so. That fresh feeling means I work just a little bit harder. For one ride, it doesn't make much of a difference, but I suspect it adds up over the course of a season.

4. Off-bike nutrition - While I've certainly cleaned things up relative to December, I can do better with this. I went through a stretch last summer where I was pretty diligent about eating lots of fruits and vegetables and it seemed to make a difference.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Old Guy?

I played hockey again last night. This one was a drop-in session at a (sort of) local rink. It turned out that we had 9 skaters and 2 goalies. So, we played 4-on-4 mostly, or 3-on-4 once people started getting a little more tired. It wasn't terribly late for adult ice time (9:15 to 10:35pm), but it was late enough that I'm draggin' this morning. I also had a small headache this morning, from being dehydrated I think.

So, I don't usually feel too old when I do stuff like this, but this group seemed really young. There was one guy who was probably in his 40's, then me, and then everyone else looked to be college-aged, maybe even some guys still in high school? We also had a girl out there who plays college hockey. I was probably up there with the best of them in terms of conditioning, but my skating and puck-handling skills were still pretty rusty. I was never as good as some of these youger guys were though.

Still, I had a good time, and I'm planning on playing on this Wednesday night session for at least the rest of this month. I also got invited back to the Sunday night game for this week with the guys I played with before Thanksgiving. I expect to play considerably better this time around.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I rode with the Rhinos this morning. A group of us met up at Depot Park in Clarkston, rode to Indian Springs where we met another group; we all rode a few laps at Indian Springs, and then my group headed back to Depot Park. We kept the pace pretty easy, which is all I need right now. Temperature was in the low to mid 30's, but I dressed appropriately, so I was reasonably comfortable. It was nice to talk with some of the guys I raced 'cross with last Fall and hadn't seen for a while.

Dad sent me his mileage for the week for our little POTATOEE challenge. He's ridden more times than I have, but I've put in more miles. Both of us have now "ridden" through Battle Creek and have turned off I-94 and we're now heading South on I-69. The next milestone is Coldwater, and then we hit the Michigan / Indiana border.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Hook

I did a heavy bag workout last night instead of getting on the trainer again. It's way too early to be spending a lot of time on the trainer, especially for the low intensity rides I'm doing right now (Ashwin agrees too!). It doesn't put me in good shape for my POTATOEE competition with my dad, but I'll start catching up next month.

I tried a modified version of the 10x10 drill that I've done before. Instead of throwing rounds of 10 straight punches (1-2-1-2...1-2 where 1 is a jab and 2 is a straight right), I threw rounds of 20 5-punch combinations (1-2-1-2-3 where 3 is the left hook). I was able to make it through 10 rounds again, although it seemed a little harder than my last bag workout.

So, this morning, I figured maybe my left arm or shoulder would be sore, since I threw more lefts and was doing a new punch. Nope, my left arm was fine, but my left ankle was really sore! How weird is that? I think it had something to do with the way I was pivoting on my left foot to throw the hook. Anyway, the ankle loosened up throughout the morning and felt normal again by lunch.

I'll be taking the next two days off, more-or-less. My wife and I are going to a Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert tonight, and then we're heading over to Cleveland for the day tomorrow for a skating competition. I was tempted, but decided not to extend our Cleveland trip to visit Ray's.

Looks like the Rhinos are doing a slow pace ride Sunday morning. If the weather is OK, I'll probably do that.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


My dad and I are doing a little trainer challenge this winter that we've dubbed POTATOEE (Pedaling Our Trainers And Tracing Our Efforts East). We borrowed this idea from the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society. Our route takes us from Mattawan, MI (where my dad lives) to Cockeysville, MD (where my brother lives). Since the weather has been so dry here, we're also going to count real road/trail miles also.

My dad made up a cool spreadsheet to track our mileage. It puts a little circle on the map showing where we are.

Even though I'm not planning on riding the trainer too much in January, I decided that I should at least get "on the board". Dad put in 13 miles on January 1, and I suspect more since then. So, last night, I put in a movie I got for Christmas, Transition, and rode the trainer for an hour. That ended up being 14 miles on the nose, so I'm past Kalamazoo now, and maybe just a little bit ahead of Dad. I'll be on the trainer again tonight working on pedaling technique.

Transition turned out to be a pretty cool movie. It follows a group of top cyclocross racers through their season. The interviews are pretty entertaining and there's lots of good race footage.

I'm still doing the contrast shower thing. I haven't been sore since I started doing it and my legs have felt good every day, but again, I'm not sure that I'm training hard enough right now that I'd be sore anyway. I am finally starting to build up a little tolerance to the cold water. When I started, it was all I could do to stand in the cold water for 30 seconds. Last night and this morning it didn't feel so bad and I let the cold water run for about 45 seconds. I'll probably try to work up to a full minute.