Recovery Week

Life has been turned down to a dull roar since 6 Hours of Warrior Creek. I’ve been recovering- much better, I might add, than I have in the past from racing Ouachita Challenge, which is ALWAYS the same weekend. I was feeling prettymuch back to normal by around Wednesday. The most exciting thing for me? My “winner’s interview” was posted on the Trans-Sylvania Epic facebook page.

Matt, on the other hand, was feeling more than back to normal, and raced the local training series crit…

TLMatt

He was 2nd in the race, but a winner in the “how to not look like a cat 4 on the podium” contest.

All of this resting has given me lots of time to get impatient about waiting for my mountain bike to get here…

Andrea_1 Andrea_2

Its arrival should happen sometime next week… which lands it right in the middle of a gargantuan training camp week that coach Andy has requested of me. I’ve got a very loose, weather and bike shipping-based plan to go on a grand tour of Arkansas. Normally, I’d just let it sit and ride the bike I’ve been using successfully for the past two years. However, because of the relatively close proximity of the Ogre 150 and DK200 races- both of which I plan on doing on the new bike, I want to get home and get it built ASAP.

So, I’ll end up kicking off the Arkansas Epic in somewhat familiar territory- riding from home, over the Mississippi River, and finding gravel on Saturday, then driving over to Syllamo early in the week to train until I get an exact arrival time on the new machine. At that point, I’ll come home, take a rest day to build, then head back out for places like (in no particular order) Lake Sylvia, the Ouachita/Womble/LOViT area, Eagle Rock, and possibly up to North West Arkansas to explore trails and gravel that I’ve only heard about on the internet.

It should be a fun, quasi-spontaneous adventure, hopefully resulting in killer fitness and a good story or two.

 

6 Hours of Warrior Creek Race Report

I went in to this race without any real expectations of myself other than doing what I could to have a good first “long” race of the season (now that I think about it, it was my longest ride of 2014 as well). So, while my base is strong and top-end fitness is still building, I really wanted to focus on pacing, fueling, and paying attention to keeping my head up and bike handling fast/accurate as fatigue started to set in. I knew that this race tends to draw some regional horsepower (lots of familiar names on previous years’ results), but, being in the mindset of “just go and have a good race and let the results happen,” I didn’t even look for a list of registered riders. I did, however, see Carey Lowery (always one to chase) post (on facebook) an “enlightening” photo of her bike and herself on the scales the day before the race.

Eh, whatevs.

I’d never ridden the Warrior Creek course before, but I heard that it was a lot of fun. A Friday afternoon preride would reveal that I would not be disappointed. Berms. Berms everywhere. Most of them amazing.
(side note- When you put 598 berms into almost 14 miles of trail, not all of them are gonna be winners)

I was stoked to race. Saturday morning, the race started at 10:00am (love that… racing the NUE series for 2 years in a row left me with soooooo much hate for early morning starts). It made a “parade loop” of sorts around the park before diving in to the last piece of singletrack before the start of the official first piece of singletrack. I thought I’d noticed one or two women ahead of me at that point, but figured that if I successfully carried out my plan that they’d come back at some point in the next 6 hours (I’d later figure out that both were in the duo competition). I hadn’t noticed Carey ahead of me and figured that the speed of the start loop had put her (riding a singlespeed) into the singletrack a little further back in the group.

Somewhere as I settled in to the first lap, Matt caught up to me and said he was having a bad time riding singlespeed. He stuck with me for the remainder of the lap. When I stopped at the pit, I said something to a nearby support person about waiting for Carey to come by me, and she informed me that Carey was racing as a duo. Interesting…

I grabbed bottles, ate some Gu Chomps, and got back on my bike. At the start of the second lap, I had a frustrating/satisfying run-in with a guy on a Krampus. The story is a Just Riding Along exclusive, though. So, you’ll have to listen to the show on Mountain Bike Radio to hear it.

On the second lap, I mostly followed a guy who had a great pace and seemed to know the trail well. It was very helpful to follow his lines and he wasn’t going either too slow or too fast up any of the climbs. Carey also caught up to me somewhere along there. She confirmed that she was, indeed riding in the duo competition, and, when I asked what solo women were ahead of me, she replied, “Just you!”

Oh… Damn.

I felt pretty good and was already well on my way to executing my plan of 5 laps in the allotted amount of time. The thing about following your race plan to the letter is that other than saying you did it, there’s not a lot to write about. Fueling boiled down to downing 1.5 bottles of weakly-mixed Gu Roctane per lap (I’d scouted “drinking spots” during my preride and always watched for other opportunities), taking a large hit from my gel flask (filled with Roctane gel) at a non-wooded, straight piece of trail about halfway through each lap, and eating at least half a pack of Gu Chomps and sometimes another gel (Gu Salted Caramel) as I rolled through the timing/pit area.

I did have a little back and fourth with the two women’s teams that finished behind Carey and her teammate. Not that I was necessarily racing the duo ladies, but one of them caught up to me early on the last lap, and I didn’t recognize her as a duo woman, though I was 99% sure she said she was (she definitely looked like she was) when she asked to get around me. I caught back up to her in the last couple of miles, and asked her a couple of times, explaining (as well as you can when you’re riding behind someone) that I believed her, but that I was very wary of being burned by someone not being honest about their race category. She laughed it off and let me by at the final pavement as we exited the woods to the finish line.

Yee-ha!

podium

 

I definitely felt like it was the longest/hardest ride of the year. Luckily, I’d had the wherewithal to make the hotel reservation through Saturday night, allowing us to go back, shower, and lay around with our feet up rather than checking out before the race and getting on the road immediately after. If you do it right, the “run over by a truck” feeling is there whether you win or lose.

Air 9 Carbon Singlespeed for Sale

Yes, I DO have a race report to write, but my recent lack of quality sleep means I’ve come down with a case of the post-race grouchies. So, in lieu of doing a poor job of race-reporting, I’m going to make my “for sale” post for the singlespeed…

 

Frame: size small,  purchased about a year ago because I really liked the moondust color (I had/sold the white one that I’d been riding before that). Since then, I rode it a few times at Syllamo , then at the Breck Epic. So, it’s definitely the least ridden of all my bikes (it’s got a couple of paint chips, which are shown in the photos below).

Wheels: built them myself. They’re Hope hubs with NoTubes Crest rims and DT Swiss Aerolite spokes (a little lighter/stiffer/sexier than your typical round spoke). The rear rim is pretty new- I dented one at TSE last year during the Enduro stage, and Kenny swapped a new crest onto the spokes/hub. Since then, it’s only been ridden around Memphis. Tires are a Maxxis Ardent 2.25 and Ikon 2.2

Fork: Fox Talus 32  (used at 95mm setting)

Brakes: Avid XX (includes 3 sets of new pads!)

Crank: Truvativ Noir w/32t Salsa chainring

Other parts: Bar- Niner low top RDO cut to 704mm, Stem- Niner RDO 100mm, Post- Thompson setback, Grips- cheesy ones I won at a bike race. I’m assuming that if you’re buying a carbon singlespeed that you’ve already got a favorite that you’d put on there anyway (same with the saddle).

Price: $2,100, shipped anywhere in the lower 48. This price is prettymuch on-par with what you’d pay on Ebay for a similar bike (I even found a couple that were rigid that sold for the same)

IMG_3700  IMG_3702 IMG_3699

IMG_3703 IMG_3704 IMG_3705

 

IMBA is Coming to Memphis!

A few weeks ago, one of our local trails was (once again) struck by a bandit trailbuilder. He cut new trail parallel to two different slightly steppy/rooty spots that are steppy/rooty because they’re built up the fall line of the hill they span, which causes water to wash straight down the trail. Unfortunately, the bandit built his bypasses straight up the same hill, just a few feet over, effectively creating another problem trail. I posted a photo and rant on the local mountain bike forum and got responses ranging from “those bypasses are terrible and we’re closing them down,” to “I think they’re ok/don’t know what the big deal is/they might work because they have more curve to them than the original trail.” As I explained in the post, it takes more than a curve and hopes & dreams to build a trail that isn’t going to turn to total crap within a year. Also, if a good reroute is actually built, the original trail is so compacted that it will take hand tilling in order to encourage nature to reclaim the path.
This situation revealed a more obvious problem- a lot of the mountain bike people in Memphis don’t realize that there is a real process to planning and building a trail. Heck… even the “legitimate” bypass trails that were built after a flood left large stretches of deep sand on the trail could stand some work to remove stumps that were left into the ground, improve flow, etc. Brad Corey (of the Mid South Trails Association) who I’d consider to be Memphis’ original/biggest trail advocate, had recognized the need for education in the past and applied two years in a row to have the IMBA trail care crew visit, only to be denied both times.

So, following my personal philosophy of “no complaints without a solution,” I contacted Steve Schneider, the IMBA rep from Arkansas who I’d originally met through trying to find help to fix the Syllamo trails. He has agreed to come to Memphis and give a trailbuilding seminar on April 25th. Not only will it be an opportunity for the people who work on the trails in town, it will also be an important learning opportunity for the North Mississippi Trail Alliance that’s about to start cutting new trail just south of Memphis.

Unfortunately for me, that’s the same weekend as the Ogre 150- a gravel road race in Missouri. The race will serve as a very important “dress rehersal” for the Dirty Kanza 200 at the end of May. I’m bummed, and I feel really guilty for catalyzing such an event and not being around. However, it’s in good hands with the guys in town (Brad from MSTA and Chris from NMTA) that are helping with the organization of the weekend.

If you’re reading this and interested in attending (or at least getting the notes afterwards, as I am), here’s the Facebook event page: IMBA Trail Seminar

Bad News/Good News

This weekend was pretty laid back… I went out on a group ride with the 901 Racing guys again on Saturday, but, being kinda cold and rainy, everyone was having a good time riding just hard enough to not be cold. We rode through some of the more “scenic” areas of North Memphis, which I always find to be interesting. The air outside of Madea’s Soul Food Cafe smelled like my grandmother’s house. I think it was turnip greens.

On the way back, Matt and I decided to take another “scenic route,” and rode about a mile on the unfinished part of the Shelby Farms greenline- a former rail bed with no tracks and a little overgrowth. It’s pretty mundane on a mountain bike, but the road bikes added a small level of difficulty. We tried taking a different neighborhood route home from the greenline, but ended up somehow bailing on that plan and grinding it out down Macon Road. It’s a lower speed-limit road (35mph), but it’s mostly narrow, and there was a good bit of traffic. Even though we didn’t have and run-ins or close calls with ignorant drivers, for whatever reason, it induced a panic attack. I yelled at Matt to pull over in a neighborhood, and I spent several minutes gasping, shaking, and crying on my handlebars.

It’s been more than a year now, and I still get caught off guard. We made it home, though, and I engaged in retail therapy for the remainder of the afternoon.

Enough about that- in much more awesome, exciting, and inspirational news:

LAUREN FREAKING HALL…

Gent - Wevelgem 2014 women

…WINNING GHENT-WEVELGEM.

Here’s a quick summary from the bowels of Velonews… where if you click on the link for “Results: Ghent-Wevelgem,”  you only get a listing of the men’s race. It took a little digging, but here’s the rundown.

If you don’t know who Lauren is, we used to race against each other back around 2008-ish, when I was on Kenda, and she had just joined the local ProBike team with infamous local hammer Debbie Milne.

A random from back in the day… Lauren is in the blue shorts:

DSC_1944

I bet not many of you have a photo of results where you beat the winner of any of this year’s Euro classics ;)

DSC_1965

By the end of that season, she and Debbie were prettymuch unstoppable…

Podium

That photo is from the last race of that season- a crit in Birmingham where she and Debbie double-teamed the field until they escaped sometime in the last few laps. I’d done a ton of chasing, so I had nothing left for a pack sprint and decided my best bet was to attack into no-man’s land with 2 to go. I got away and landed the 3rd place spot behind the dynamic duo.

P.S. Floyd Landis was really drunk.

Lauren moved out to Colorado and started working her way up the pro cycling ladder, and now she’s a freaking rockstar with honest World Championship and Olympic potential. It was the highlight of my weekend to see that race result.

In other “amazing/inspiring” news, the Barkley 100 Ultramarathon is happening right now. It started at 6:45 on Saturday. Out of 35 starters (including local Memphis Badass, Billy Simpson), only one man remains on course (Jared Campbell), looking as if he’s going to finish. I don’t know if “brutal” is really a descriptive enough term for that “race.”

In other training news, I decided to call off my quest to further lose weight. I hit the mid 140’s last week, but that coincided with feeling like hell on the bike. I’m guessing there’s a reason why my body has really insisted on staying at 142 pounds, so I’m going to quit arguing with it and just maintain 141-142. With the muscle I’ve put on from lifting/MMAing, I’m definitely a leaner/meaner 142 than I was this time last year. I’ll take it.

Cysco #2 Rundown

Yesterday, I was going to post all about how excited I was to get my new hardtail frame from Cysco in the next couple of weeks, but I had to do some important wrenching instead (details on that in just a second). The Cysco is loosely based on the small Niner Air9 Carbon CYA frame, but with some important changes:

– A spot for a bottle on the seat tube
Dear manufacturers… STOP GIVING A F*#^ ABOUT TONS OF STANDOVER AND GIVE ME A 2ND FREAKING CAGE. When was the last time that someone wrecked and landed straddling the top tube with both feet on the ground? When was the last time that anyone who had been riding a bike for more than a week needed to be able to stand in that same position in order to function? Just because you’re afraid that a part of your bike is anywhere near your precious man-bits, you’re going to deny anyone under 5’6″ the ability to carry an extra bottle?!? Give me a freaking break.
-A spot for a bottle under the downtube
Hey… why not? Another reason why I’ll likely ride this bike (with a rigid fork and some 2.0 Maxxis Ikons) at Dirty Kanza.
-1cm more reach
Being slightly long of torso/arm, I wanted to bump the reach out a tiny bit and use a slightly shorter stem. Aesthetics.
-A 27.2 seatpost
The combination of Ti frame + skinnier post is gonna be cozy. I did, however, run into a small issue with the nice, flexy carbon posts in that size- the ones I was looking at (Niner RDO and Syntace Hi-flex) don’t come in a setback model. Sure, there are some great Ti ones out there, but I’m a sucker for the 2-bolt clamp style. In my experience, it’s the most reliable and very easy to adjust.
Solution? It’s a custom frame… make that seat tube angle slacker and use my desired zero-offset post.
-It’ll be a PF30 BB shell, which will allow for a 2″ downtube. The pedaling stiffness should be very close to the Air9 frame, but with the previously mentioned cozy features. I’ll be using this EBB in order to make it easy to swap back and fourth between geared (1×11) and Singlespeed.
-Along the same “pedals as stiffly as the AIR9” vein, it’s going to use this chainstay yoke:

pgyoke

Not because I’m terribly concerned with being able to run 3″ tires, but because it will allow for the use of oversized chainstays.
– Polishing it off, a 142×12 rear end. Icing on the cake? A press-in headset. I despise the integrated, “drop in” style that Niner (and plenty of other manufacturers) started using. They make no sense for a mountain bike (about as smart as not setting a frame up for full-run housing), and I’ve had to constantly replace bearings because they’re so easily fouled/grenaded from things like “sweating,” “riding in dirt,” and “washing my bike.”

It should be very versatile and fun to ride. I’m pretty stoked.

As or the work I did yesterday… I needed to finish building Ryan’s (2nd) warranty Jet9 Carbon and rebuild my SID WC fork that’s on my Air9 RDO. The Jet had been waiting on a Wheels Manufacturing PF30 to GXP adapter BB:

IMG_3671

I’m hoping it works a lot better than the crappy plastic SRAM one that was constantly walking out of the frame. I also took the rebuild as an opportunity to route the rear derailleur housing outside the frame (as seen in the photo). I used my infamous “Superfly” technique… I claim that as my own since I started doing it to customers’ Superfly 100s back when I worked at Outdoors. Turns out, a 4″ piece of housing that jumps over the bottom bracket area behind a crank is a terrible idea, and I figured out that a full length piece of housing could be cleanly run along the rear brake line in order to get to the rear of the bike.

After that was together, I overhauled the fork from my hardtail. Exactly 1 month out of warranty, the damper broke. SRAM gave me the middle finger because of the age of the fork as well as their placing the breakage blame on me for “taking a big hit with the fork locked out.” I’m assuming such a hit would be memorable, seeing as it’d be hard enough to bypass the floodgate action of the lockout. I must have been daydreaming about armbars or something.
Hopefully I don’t get the same crap when Kenny calls in about the new SID RCT3 that I installed about a month ago on my jet and ceased locking out after about 4 rides. Being on my full suspension, it’s always unlocked when I’m on the trail, so there’s no way in hell that a “big hit with it locked out” could have happened.

IMG_3657

I replaced the seals and all the o-rings on the oil/rebound side. It’s now back to feeling nice & buttery. Hopefully that’ll be a bonus selling point for the complete bike when I sell it next month following the arrival of my Ti Supersteed.

IMG_3678 IMG_3677

IMG_3676 IMG_3675

 

More Photo Rambling

IMG_3614

That was last Friday- the final round of anesthetic injections to my left hamstring.

Also on the list of needle-related appointments was a trip by scooter out to Chiropractic Memphis for acupuncture. One of my former students is working at Affinity Acupuncture in Nashville and comes to Memphis every two weeks for a Friday/Saturday. It’s the only thing I’ve found that makes my lower back completely pain-free. I’d highly recommend him if you’re in either Memphis or Nashville (comment here or though facebook or email me for his contact info).

IMG_3621

I can’t wait until it’s scooter time, all the time.

The doc gave me the go-ahead on the previous visit to train as normal following the injections, so, on Saturday, I took to the road for a spirited group ride. Turns out, when the shortest/most intense intervals you’ve done in the past 4 months are 10 minutes long, the attacks/chases/etc. of such a ride create quite the pain cave.I spent the remainder of the afternoon resisting the urge to eat everything in sight.

It was nice, so I cooked outside:

IMG_3632

Here’s a random dog photo. Penny’s tail is always blurry unless she’s sleeping.

IMG_3638

Sunday was a much-needed recovery day, then Monday was an interval day. I started with some greenline/trail to warm up, then went to my usual spot in the middle of Shelby Farms where there’s a long, flat, and lightly-trafficked road that’s great for that sort of thing.

IMG_3646

That’s been laying on the unfinished part of the greenline for a couple of weeks now.

Today, I’ve taken the chance of another recovery day to do my usual errands, which included a trip out to Bike World/Nimblewear USA headquarters to finally put in the order for my 2014 Brickhouse Racing kit! Looks like it should get here in about 3 weeks. Looks-wise it’s mostly the same as last year. I’ve basically just changed some sponsor logos around and gone with an upgraded fabric/cut for the jersey & bibs.

I know my posts have been a little on the light side as of late. Trust me, I’m looking forward to some excitement just as much as you are. Hopefully the last few “serious” workouts prior to Warrior Creek go smoothly (the high notes- a 5 hour MTB ride tomorrow, another group ride Saturday, and one last grunt of 2x20min intervals on Tuesday) and I arrive in North Carolina ready to smash some pedals… or at least make a good story in the process of trying.

IMG_3654 IMG_3655

 

 

Tuesday in Pictures

I don’t usually go through my day taking pictures of everything, but yesterday was an exception by coincidence. I spent a large part of the day training in one way or another. First, it was some weights at the UFK “Body Focus” class. With the weather starting to get a little nicer, the roll-up door of the gym was open, and the sun made for some nice shadowy photos…

IMG_3601

IMG_3602

IMG_3603

After class and a hearty post-workout breakfast, I ran to whole foods then back home to ride. I needed 2.75 hours of saddle time, and I wasn’t sure about trail conditions, so I went out for a road ride. I decided I’d add some gravel to make it more interesting, but found a “road closed to thru traffic” sign on the road that links to the gravel. Undeterred, I decided I’d check it out since about 95% of the time, that just means that cars can’t get through and bikes are OK (ok being relative to your comfort level with hike-a-bike and/or bushwhacking). Unfortunately, at the far end of the gravel, there was a bridge under construction, and a full work crew was in the construction site giving me the “don’t even try” look when I approached.

IMG_3604

I’ll have to save that one for a Sunday…

Once I was finished riding, I cleaned up, ate, and did some dinner prep. Since MMA class is from 7-8, and we usually eat about that time, I’ve been making all or part of dinner beforehand so that Ryan and Matt can either eat while I’m at class or we can eat soon after I’m home. Last night was baked chicken, kale salad, and baked potatoes…

IMG_3605

Last night’s class was a little MMA-style grappling…

IMG_3606

Days like that are some of my favorites and make me appreciate today’s recovery a little more than usual, because I’ll do it all again tomorrow.

 

Spa City 6 Hour- Pit Crew Time

Because the Spa City 6 hour fell right into the end of my “take it easy in order to avoid secondary injury” time following my cortisone injection, I did not race over the weekend. However, as, as I mentioned in on of the previous posts, I owed Matt some crew work, so I went with him to do whatever I could to give him a hand.

It started Friday morning, after another round of anesthetic injections into my hamstring (the first round was cortisone in the ischial bursa and anesthetic in the hamstring). It sucked, but not nearly as badly as the first time.

IMG_3582

Once I was finished at the doctor’s office, I ran home, ate breakfast, and started in on weekend preparations. It’s been my goal so far this season to make short road trips without having to eat out at all, so I made some chicken/veggie rice for dinner and bacon/egg rice bars for breakfast. I also made a cookie cake… more on that in a minute. It’s a little bit of an arduous process to make/pack all the food, but it pays off hugely in predictable digestive processes and time saved trying to look for a restaurant with decent food.

Once I was done cooking, I packed most things into the car and waited for Matt to get home from a half day of work. We loaded up quickly and headed out to Hot Springs. Once we were there, we got my “monument to car camping” tent pitched and I finished uploading/setup while he went out for a little preride. All the timing worked out just right to warm up dinner just as the sun was setting…

IMG_3584

IMG_3585

IMG_3586

I’m pretty sure we were asleep by 9:00.

Saturday morning, the arrival of people setting up pits at 6am woke us up before the alarm clocks. Since we’d camped in our usual prime pit spot, it was a matter of rolling out of bed and lighting the camp stove to heat up water for coffee. Everything went smoothly, though I quickly figured out that I was a bigger bundle of nerves as a crew person than I’ve ever been for a bike race. I did my best to hide it and went to the LeMans start area to make sure that Matt’s garmin didn’t shut off while he was staging for the start, and, once it didn’t and they were on course, I trekked down to the staging area to get Matt’s jacket and leg warmers he’d tossed beforehand.

I spent the next hour or so pacing around and being a bundle of nervous energy (ok, possibly the next 6 hours). When Matt finally arrived at the end of lap 1, he told me he’d wrecked into a tree and that we should pack up and go home. I had some stern words and ibuprofen for him and he headed back out. Nervous energy x1000.

Somewhere in my pacing and fidgeting, I remembered the cookie cake. Last year at post-race Slobberknocker, local racer Scott Penrod was telling me about how he felt better climbing when he weighed less, and that he wanted to lose weight prior to Leadville because he really wanted the sub-9hr buckle. I then gave him a pretty hard time about the handful of cookies he’d grabbed off the finish line snack table, and he ended up looking really sad then putting them back in favor of a banana. I felt a little bad, so I promised him that if he brought back the buckle, I’d make him a cookie cake.

He finished a handful of seconds under 9 hours- attributing at least a couple of those seconds to leaving the cookies on the table earlier in the year.

So, I left this on his crew table after the first lap:

IMG_3591

IMG_3592

He waited ’til after the race to consume it, because, according to him, “I’ll puke if I eat it now!”

Back in my pit area, Matt was doing progressively better with each lap. the gap between him and the handful of racers I was marking to know that he’d be in soon was growing smaller with each pass. Somewhere on lap 5 of his eventual 6, he passed most of them… with a couple wondering where the hell he’d come from because he’d gone by them like a scalded cat. When he crossed the finish line, ahead of even more people than he’d been after his 5th, I was so giddy I almost hugged him off his bike. I’ve never been so relieved to see the end of a race.

His ultra-consistent laps (all of them were within a minute of each other and within 11 watts average power) were fast enough to land him in 17th place overall and 2nd in the 29 & under age group…
IMG_3594

After his podium, we packed up and got on the road just as the rain was starting.

It makes me very proud- I’ve been doing my best to teach him how to be a good bike racer, and Saturday, I got to watch it happen. It’s quite a rewarding feeling. Next up? Warrior Creek 6 hour. I’m back on track with training to be back in form just in time for it.

 

Progress

Recovery is going pretty OK with my injected leg. The cortisone-affected area feels prettymuch normal, and the part of my hamstring that received what looks like 4 or 5 sticks (it’s hard to crane my head around and count in a mirror) is just looking/feeling bruised now. I was able to get out for a good ride and met up with some friends along the way. About 3/4s of the way through, this happened:

Those guys had no clue how to get their car unstuck… guess they don’t teach the art of rockin’ it in the academy! Along those lines, you’ll notice at the very end of the video the lack of a “thank you” from captain grouch in the driver’s seat… he was telling us to get our bikes out of the way because he wanted to drive the car on the high spot where we were parked. Apparently, he was trying to show his partner a “short cut” under the nearby bridge over the trailhead.

I’m very thankful that recovery has been easy enough that I can stay pretty active. I’m incredibly determined this year to keep my race weight a solid 140 pounds and under. I’ve been hanging out in the 142-144 area. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re already eating a very clean, filling diet that’s maintaining your weight, it’s basically an act of sheer willpower and hunger to lose anything. I did, however, decide that I’d reward myself once I arrived at said weight… not with some stupid pile of junk food or something like that. I designed a pair of NikeID shoes instead…

shoe

 

I ordered them already, but I’ve imposed a 140 pound weight limit on them.

My #1 advice for losing anyone looking to lose weight? Control your appetite.
First off, low fat diets are totally bogus. The archaic recommendation to not eat fat is based off of old school misinformation and not off of any real science or human research. Fat and fiber make you feel full. Go ahead and eat bacon (the nitrate-free type), red meat, whatever… just watch portion size. While the fat in your food isn’t actually clogging your arteries, it is high in calories, so when you see that a serving of steak is 4oz, you’re in for a nasty wake-up call when you put that juicy ribeye on a scale. So, go for the full-fat versions of everything. While you’re at it, QUIT TAKING THE #@$*ING YOLKS OUT OF YOUR EGGS.
You’re going to get a lot more success by eliminating any sources of refined sugar (other than what you eat just before/during/after training). Eating something that’s mostly carbohydrates and little fiber/fat/protein is going to make your blood sugar rise quickly then fall below normal (I’m not going to take the time here to give you all of the physiology, but that’s the bare basics of it). Turns out, low blood sugar is a stimulus for hunger. Bonus tip: consumption of the artifical sweeteners in diet drinks will also result in low blood sugar and thus, hunger.

I’ve basically lived by that advice to successfully manage/maintain my weight (except after a long ride or bike race- I cut loose a little more then). I’ve also reduced alcohol consumption to 1 or 2 nights a week (because, let’s face it- Just Riding Along wouldn’t be the same if we were stone cold sober).

So, now that I eat mostly “good” food, I’m basically stuck with reducing the amount of food I eat. There’s no way around it, trick, or secret… I’m just hungry. It’s will power. It makes me angry at chocolate bars when I see them. However, I think of things like riding up hills, my love of looking muscle-y, custom Nike shoes, and find something distracting to do. It’s been working slow and steady, but I’m looking forward to adding in some extra training to keep things rolling in the downward direction.