Rough Week for the OCOB 2016 crew

September last, the OCOB (Oregon Coast or Bust) crew started south from Astoria Oregon to Crescent City California.  Rob and I were using leg power to get there.

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While our faithful Sherpas, Michelle and Kim had to use every muscle in their bodies to schlep all the luggage and the gear into and out of the hotel everyday.

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Aside from sore legs, arms and a few bruises from the equipment, we all escaped injury free. A very successful trip!

But then January hit… Continue reading “Rough Week for the OCOB 2016 crew”

Book Review: This Road I Ride by Juliana Buhring

I have to start right up front with this review, and say I almost didn’t read it after reading the subtitle. “Sometimes it Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself.” That brought to mind a Lifetime channel movie, or as I like to call it, The Depression Channel.

However, I had a hankering for a cycling book so I decided to give this one a chance. I am glad I did!  Continue reading “Book Review: This Road I Ride by Juliana Buhring”

Physician Heal Thyself

Folks, being a parent aint easy.  There is no owners manual, and the only thing you can hope for is that the kids don’t end up breaking a bone or splitting their melons when you are left in charge of them.  It is something all Dad’s worry about.

Being a dad also means that you are in charge of the helpful advice when someone does get inured. “Just rub some dirt on it!” “If there’s no blood you aint really hurt!” “Chicks dig scars!” and “If you fall, you know the rule, you have to do 2 more laps!”

What? Oh the last one may not make as much sense.  Let me explain… Continue reading “Physician Heal Thyself”

Have you recovered yet?

For those who know me and have been around me after my ‘big ride’ of the year, they’ve pretty much gotten used to me being up and ‘rarin to go’ the next day.  Lord knows I am not at 100%, the stairs at work seem MUCH steeper that then were before the rides, and I seem to make a lot more “old man noises.” For the most part, though, most would not know I have done anything major.

Since the RAMROD, though, I’ve had discussions people I don’t know, or some I don’t know that well, that have just made me smile. Continue reading “Have you recovered yet?”

Kinda surprised myself some today

Anyone who read the last post knows that I was not a healthy camper this weekend.  Yep I got a flu shot, as usual, but its all over the news that this years vaccine missed the mark big time with the flu that is hitting. Given the coughing, fever, lack of appetite and no energy, I am pretty sure I had it. Continue reading “Kinda surprised myself some today”

Yes, it is OK to Take a Break!

I am not what many would call a smart man, at least in some areas of life.  For example, I don’t understand why anyone would need more than one fork or spoon when eating dinner.  As long as you have one of each, you can eat anything on your plate.  

I also used to get in trouble, long ago, for not cutting my meat with my right hand, then putting down the knife, and then placing the fork in my right hand to stab the meat, and then put it in my mouth.  Seemed MUCH more efficient to hold the knife and fork in different hands and use them that way!.  When I am hungry I want to eat.

I don’t get why Levi 501s are not appropriate attire anywhere you need to go.  Shoot, get a pair of black ones, and that should be good for weddings, funerals, corporate functions, the works.

So in all these areas I freely admit I am not the sharpest tack on the cork board.  

There is one additional area in which I lack common sense sometimes: admitting that it’s time to let this body of mine recover.  

In the past, I have pushed myself farther than I should have.  I once spent an entire softball season (Team Chaos) with a sprained ankle.  I injured it early in the season playing second base.  In fact, I rolled it once, felt a pop, and decided how bad could it be…  Then REALLY hurt it a couple of at bats later.  Bad enough for an ER visit! 

I gave it a week, bought  brace and kept playing…  6 weeks later, the end of the season finally hit.  After 2 weeks of not playing, I was back to normal.  I could have skipped 2 weeks worth of games.

Once, back in the day, we were playing broom hockey, I slipped and fell, and took out a guy who ended up sitting HARD on my head! ( Helmets you say?  Nah, those are for sissies!)  After catching my breath, I went right back to playing.   While being driven home, I asked my ex, “Am I supposed to be seeing double when I try to read a license plate?”  Yep you guessed it, another visit to the ER room, and yep a mild concussion.   I could have sat out the rest of the game.

Or the time during the Wife Beater Softball Game (ok actually it was a fund-raiser against domestic violence.  I called it the Wife beater game to help with donations.  When I started with “This is a fund-raiser for Domestic Violence”  People walked away before I could get as far as asking for money, but when I called it the Wife Beater game, people laughed and at least listened, but I digress)

During that game, I played short stop.  a hot grounder took a wild hop and took me RIGHT in the mouth!.  Yep, once again, ER room where I was declared fit to play, so back I went for the last game!   Of course the 4-year-old would yell every time I went out to the field “DON’T GET HIT IN THE MOUTH AGAIN DAD!”  Thanks kid.

So why am I telling these stories?  Well, its like this.  Even though I am the first to tell someone else to sit out, rest, skip a play or even a game or two, I consider it a sign of personal weakness when I do it.   Anyone who read my blog last week saw I did a century, in almost 90 degree weather Sunday, and then bike commuted Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  By friday morning just walking from the lunchroom on 5 to my desk on 7 with a cup of tea was leaving me winded.  

Mentally I was fired as well.  I was tired, and having trouble concentrating.  Not good.  All because and I stubborn and don’t want to admit weakness.  Now this a great trait when you are 75 miles into a century ride  or 150 miles into a double century.  Your body can tell you, “Shut it down son, we’re shot.”  But if you are stubborn, you mind and overrule the legs and keep you going.  But for day to day training, to much of it can be a bad thing.

Luckily for me, two things were in my favor this last weekend.  First off, my wife keeps an eye on me and will flat tell me, time for a break!  She knows he stuff, so I try to listen.  The other was the trip to Walla Walla.  No bike to ride.  Time to sleep, walk slowly around town, refuel with good food and good wine, and let the legs recover.  Without these two things, I am sure I would have ridden at least 50 last weekend.

Yesterday was to be my commute home day from work.  But the youngest asked me to come visit last night instead of tonight.  This gave me one more rest day (and avoided biking home in a thunder storm!)  I will tell you, every part of my body feels SO much better.  I can without a doubt attribute this to the 4 days of no exercise.  

In my mind, I understand taking a break like this is a good thing, but in my gut it still feels like I am wussing out.  But then, like I said, I am not the sharpest tool in the drawer. 

Yep, Sometimes you just have to Listen to your Body

Anyone who read my post on Friday knows that I did my first round trip bike commute Thursday.  (In the pouring rain I might add).  Work is only 17 miles away, which isn’t far at all really, and a good distance for a work out.

However, I didn’t plan extraordinarily well before selecting my day to do this.  First, on Wednesday night, I stopped on the way home from dinner with the 15-year-old (Taco Del Mar, YUM!) to do my workout on the stairs.  I don’t run the stairs, but I keep a steady pace going up the 293 steps, and hurry back down, trying for a 5.5 minute round trip pace.  I do 7 reps of these.  I was done about 830 PM, and home by 9.  Not too late, but then I had to get things ready to go.

I hadn’t had a chance to get the panniers on the bike, or pack what I needed for the day (work clothes, lunch, work badge etc) so getting all this ready kept me up until about 1030.  I was up and on the road at 530 AM!  This meant a little less than 6.5 hours of sleep.

The morning was nice, but I pushed it hard to avoid the rain.  So it was a hard but good  work out.  It took about 75 minutes to get to work.

Then as, I pointed it, it was POURING on the way home!  What I didn’t know till I got home was that my back tire was at only half its normal pressure.  I am not sure if REI, while hurrying to replace my rim didn’t air it all the way up, or I have a leak.  Either way, this meant that when I pushing it to maintain a decent clip, so I could get out of the rain, I was having to work even harder than usual.  I could tell something just wasn’t right, but I was chalking it up to the hard rain.  Even with the tire, it still only took 75 minutes to get home.

Now do the math, adding all three workouts together, that is 3 hard workouts in less than 20 hours.  Time wise, it only adds up to just over 3 hours, which in the grand scheme of things is nothing!  I do, and have done this year, many rides over 3 hours long.  However, these longer rides are not done “flat-out”.  I pace myself to make sure I make it.  These three hours there was no pacing.  I asked my body to give a lot!

Yesterday, my body told me exactly how much I asked of it!  I was one dogbutt tired cowboy.  The legs were fried!  Just waking down two flights of stairs to the lunch room and back for tea or water wore me out. ( I refuse to use an elevator for 2 flights).

By 1 PM it got so bad, I had to break out desperate measures!  I fell back back on superior firepower and higher intelligence.  Yep, I cranked on the iPod to listen to AC/DC (Thunderstuck, Highway to Hell, TNT etc) and drank a Diet Mountain Dew (DMD Baby!)   I could finally feel my blood pumping, and for the first time all day I wasn’t worried about nodding off at my desk!

My stomach was also making demands.  I needed a chocolate chip cookie.  Not “it sounded good”, or “hmm maybe I will get one”  it was “Pal, if we are chained to this desk much longer, I am going to chew your arm off and go get it myself!  Yep, a trip to Starbucks was a remedy for that!  I finished it and wanted another, but I held firm!

What my body was saying was “Son, it is time for a break!”  Luckily, last night, my wife and I had planned a night away The Willows Lodge in Woodinville!.  We had planned to go out for dinner, have some wine and relax.  Instead we stopped and got wine at Ross Andrew Winery, and then, after checking in,  ordered room-service.  We then sat around the gas fire, with the rain coming down, resting, sipping great wine, and had fantastic food.

We had talked about getting up early and hitting the work out room there.  Nope, slept in, ordered room service again, and used the giant tub to soak tired legs.  Even now, the rain has stopped, (though hella-windy out there) and I should ride, but it is feeling good to sit!

I am the first to admit, that I don’t listen to this body like I should.  I had a sprained ankle last 2 months longer than it should because I wouldn’t stop playing softball.  I have done 5 and 10 Ks with a fever, and bitten off more than I can chew while hiking and biking more than once.  However, sometimes even someone as ornery as I am has to listen to the body.  HOWEVER, if its nice tomorrow I will get a long ride outside, and if not, a hard one on the rollers.  Next week, at least twice I will commute to work on the bike or bike after work!  (Not to mention stairs as well!)

It’s all well and good to listen to your body sometimes, but I am damn sure not going to let it start thinking its in charge!