Friday, March 9, 2012


     Has nothing to do with cycling (directly). The full moon in March has come and gone (barely) and it is now time to get serious about losing weight. I have independently come to the conclusion that between the full moons in October and March, any attempt at serious weight loss is thwarted. When folks question my veracity, I refer them to studies regarding the need of our ancestors (like, cavemen) to put on weight for the lean, winter months. I try to sound like I'm a true believer, but in actuality it is more like "this sounds good, so I'll go with it until something better comes along."
     But, back to my own conclusions. What I've found is that, given the same amount of effort, I don't lose weight in those months. Conversely (which may not be the correct word), given a supreme effort, I can still drop a few pounds. I just don't have the energy to put forth that amount of effort. Especially when I know that starting in March, the ounces will fall almost on a daily basis.
     It's not like I have a lot of weight to lose. Ten pounds, max. Five to seven is quite sufficient. This shows up in cycling, particularly in steep climbs. I can't tell if it helps in racing; it probably does, but I haven't been able to distinguish between being in better shape by training and dropping a few pounds. Recreational rides make no difference.
     So, if you are casting about for some reason to start losing weight, hang on to the paleolithic theory and get serious about your diet. BTW, check out my Dec 2008 post Scaling Back, and various updates in 2009.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


     I got out Saturday, leaving at 7:30 and returning at 7:35. The thermometer showed 50 degrees, but the sharp wind out of the north cut through all three layers of clothing and I gave it up as a lost cause. However, spin class filled in for the missed hill ride.
     Sunday morning the temperature had dropped to 34 when I left the house. But the wind was calm and forecasted to remain light during the morning. In addition to tights and three layers on my chest, I had a wide headband to cover my ears and a cycling cap on my head under the helmet, and long-fingered winter gloves. I had smeared vasoline over my lips. Needless to say, the weather presented no problem to my cycling.
     Forty-five minutes into the ride, the sweat glistening on my back signaled the time had come to divest myself of a few layers. The wind jacket and cap came off and the gloves and head band were replaced by a regular headband (Halo) and gloves. Blue sky and light wind out of the west had increased the temperature to a respectable 45-50 or so. I had delayed my departure to allow the sun to come up; leaving home at 7:15 rather than 6:30. The downside to the later leaving is that I had more church traffic with which to contend.
     My legs had not completely recovered from the 56 mile ride Friday or the spin class Saturday. I knew on the second hill that I'd be suffering the whole circuit. Consequently, I took my time and arrived at the halfway point about 15 minutes behind schedule. Shortly thereafter, I made a right turn and caught some wind over my left shoulder. This helped considerably, in that after a few rollers, I had to negotiate the dam and Steiner Ranch.
     I need to digress a bit. The neighborhood I start out in (not mine) has lots of runners and cyclists. One guy was running in shorts and a T-shirt. He was older, with a barrel chest so I guess he really didn't feel the cold (certainly no more than 40 degrees at this point). Several other runners were in shorts, but at least a coat or long-sleeved jersey. I wanted to shout my mantra: Under 65 degrees, cover the knees! I did not feel even a teensy-weensy bit guilty in all my clothes.
     Total time was about 20 minutes longer than average for this 43 mile ride. By the time I finished, the temperature on the marquee showed a balmy 65 degrees. I need to ride well the next three days, in that Thursday and Friday are forecasted to have rain and/or thunderstorms.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I've a month before State time trials. This year, State is qualifying for next year's Nationals. There are no qualifying rounds, only practice. Walburg proved that failure to adhere to my training regimen results in poor performance. Of course, Walburg did not come as a surprise. I know I get good results when I can achieve 800 miles per month. January had 318 miles, February 150 (before the race). The real surprise was that I could hang with the peloton for as long as I did. The other thing Walburg did was make my muscles really weak for a few days.

So, March is a new beginning. I did TT practice yesterday and 56 miles today. I might try for hills tomorrow and my old Loop 360 ride on Sunday. Here is my old weekly itinerary: 2 long days (50-65 miles) at recreational pace; 2 medium days at faster pace (32 miles); 1 hill ride (19 miles, 7 climbs); 1 TT practice. This gets me in the vicinity of 200 miles.

The pros speak of having "good sensations" in the legs, or words to that effect. I can tell you that I do not have good sensations. My health is good, I'm working out in one way or another, almost every day. I just need to put more miles in my legs. Warmth and sunshine are doing a lot to improve my attitude.

But other things have come to light to also help. Last year at Nationals, I had some physical ailment that kept me from going all-out in the time trial. I estimate I was at 85% of potential, and I finished 17th. Because I have now moved up an age category, I wondered how many others moved with me. Only two riders who finished ahead of me are moving up. This information has done a lot to encourage me to put in the necessary miles to get the "sensations" I want, because I want my next trip to Nationals to be 100%.