Off Season Highs And Lows

The end is nigh. The last days of my sluggish existence are finally numbered. Just…four more…­­weeks!!! Four more weeks? That’s a damn month!

I took a vow with myself to resist regimented training until my birthday on the 16th (what better present could I give myself?) While I plan on getting back on the bike in two weeks, just after Halloween, the training I’ll be doing will be minimal and the effort lacking until the 16th. If I manage this feat, taking September 9th through November 15th “off,” it would mark the biggest true break I’ve had since 2007. 10 weeks off is no joke. No joke at all. This is difficult stuff for me. I’ve had to fill the void with getting tipsy on Fridays and making vast quantities of soup and stews on Sundays. Here’s the recipe for my latest creation:

2 butternut squash (baked then chopped)

1 large chicken breast (sautéed)

1 large Walla Walla sweet onion (sautéed)

1 large scoop of homegrown garlic (sautéed)

1 can coconut milk

4 cans of water




Vanilla extract

5 pieces of bacon (fried then chopped finely)

Add all the ingredients above except the bacon to a large pot and emulsify. Then add in the bacon.

I’ve ridden a few times with Adelaide and some friends the past couple weekends for fun. Nothing at all hard though. It’s been just enough riding for me to realize that I’m not fully out of shape yet, which is what I’m trying to accomplish (somewhat). The idea of getting out of shape on purpose still doesn’t sit well with me, even though I know I need to do it in order to let my body get up another level next spring.

I spent about a month in the gym, going like two times a week and not really putting in a lot of effort. I did a lot of balancing squat type stuff and core. And by a lot I mean not that much. My new Pearl Izumi running shoes that are pure neon green awesomeness/annoying for others to look at and embarrassing for me to wear because I hate people with bright shoes who try to stand out of the crowd by buying something, have succeeded in getting me out the door for runs like twice a week. I still commute about four hours a week as well, so I’m not a complete sloth right now. One other thing I’ve been doing is getting down to weight. I’m currently sitting at an average weight of 160, which is 2-3 pounds lighter than my race weight this past year. Losing weight in the off season, or at least maintaining a low weight, seems to be optimal for dropping down a weight class in the winter. My goal for next race season is to be under 155.

I’ve recently replaced the gym and normal runs with combined run/plyometrics (Gilad-style workouts). Lots of jumps, some sprinting, core work in the grass, etc. I’ve only done them a few times to date. My motivation isn’t really there to make me want to work very hard or consistently. My mantra for all of these off-season cross training workouts has been “Only do it if you feel like it. And even then, maybe just don’t do it.” No pain, lots of gain. My legs need to be rested more than ever for next season.

My time off the bike and away from racing has been pretty nice actually. I’ve been enjoying the weekends and spending time with Adelaide and work/race buddies in non-bike racing mode (ie trying to drop them up Sunshine).

After an incredibly stressful year of racing and working, it’s been nice to relax a bit. Though, it isn’t all complete Never Never land. I have some heavy weights on my mind regarding next year’s plans, but more on that later.

More exciting than that is my thriving new coaching business. I get paid in kisses and hugs. My client, Adelaide just started training a couple months ago. Her progression has been wicked, as to be expected. She comes from a heavy swimming and ultra running background so her endurance is through the efing roof. She’ll be crushing people next spring, mark my words. I’m not even saying this to be nice to her. I just want it known that when she becomes a famous cyclist, it was ALL MY doing. I found her first. I just want all the credit. Is that too much to ask god damn it!

While some people *cough* Joe Friel believe that a new cyclist should focus on just riding their bike and putting in miles, I am of another opinion…the not idiotic opinion that is. Having people get used to riding easy and slow from the beginning is not the way to go. One must start out hard in order to go hard later. Otherwise it’s like trying to teach a new dog an old trick. Or something like that. Maybe not that.

Adelaide has been completing hard workouts, sometimes stacking days on top of each other to make 2-day and 3-day blocks, with plenty of rest days throughout the week of course. Unlike me, she knows when to say no to hard days when her body isn’t recovered, so I’m not too worried about overtraining her. Well, just a little.

She’d been doing lots of climbing before the floods ruined the roads, so to keep the efforts hard now she’s been doing workouts like 10 x 15 second sprints and also 2 x 15 minute intervals with 30 seconds on (V02) and 30 seconds off (tempo). This is a hard workout. I admit it’s a bit of an experiment having a new cyclist do this sort of work.

However, her power has been steadily, and sometimes drastically, improving for the past month and a half. Who knows, that could have and should have happened anyways from just riding in general, but I think it’s rising at a quicker rate than it would have if she’d just been putting in miles.

Adelaide has completely given up her car as well, which makes me feel good that I’ve had some positive influence on at least one person in this fucked up country. Not that I’m doing anything good for the world myself. I recently did an online calculation of my carbon footprint and because A) I live in an extremely wasteful country that doesn’t use renewable sources for electricity and B) I fly way too much, my carbon footprint is HUGE. I’m at 24 cubic tons of CO2 a year. The average in the USA is 27. The average for the world is 5.5 (thankfully there are lots of poor people to make up for us greedy, fat, rich, oil, gas, and coal users). You don’t have to be poor to have a small footprint though. Sweden’s average is 7.

I recycle, don’t own a car, compost (or I did up until a few months ago), never buy new stuff except for bike gear, never use plastic bags at grocery stores, even for produce, don’t turn the heat or air conditioning on at home, live in a small apartment, blah blah blah it doesn’t even matter one bit because I fly around 20,000 miles a year (that’s 14 round trip flights). For one thing, air travel needs to become lower emission and more fuel efficient. Those behemoths up there in the air are relics. Also, I’d much prefer high speed trains powered by solar. Until those things happen, the only responsible thing to do is to NOT fly or travel. I’m not prepared to do that. This is why I’ve recently given up all hope that the world will one day be a good place. If I can’t even make a change, how can I expect others to?

I am no better than a monster-truck-driving, Wal-Mart-shopping, wife-beating redneck who throws his Micky D’s trash out the window, dumps his oil down the gutter, smokes near public doorways, and molests baby otters.

To keep the bad news flowing right along, many Boulder cyclists have been getting killed by trucks as of late. We’ve had two deaths in the area recently, a near death with Dale Stetina, plus the death of Boulder cyclist Amy Dombrowski over in BELGIUM no less. This means there are four less “spandexers” on the roads of Boulder. Congratulations cars and trucks! You’re winning the war on…uhhh…destroying the planet I guess.

One of Adelaide’s and my friend, Bogie, came over for dinner a few nights ago. He gave up his car about half a year ago and has been commuting on a bike ever since. He just got a throttle-style electric bike a month or two ago. He showed it to us and I rode up and down the block for a few minutes. It was very cool in the fact that it was much faster than the ones I used at Interbike and Dealer Camp. Way faster. I could easily see something like that type of electric pedal bike being the key to getting Americans out of cars and on two wheels. It does require some exercise, but it’s minimal and using it would still be much faster than most people could ever ride a non-motorized bike. For getting around the city, especially during rush hour, it’s just as fast if not faster than a car. Of course, if everyone rode a bike there’d never even be any rush hour but I digress. I don’t know what that word means but it sounds nice. You know what also sounds nice? A chocolate banana milk shake. I used to make those quite frequently back in high school but I don’t think I’ve had one in years now that I think about getting back on topic:

Bogie was hit from behind on his bike two nights after visiting us. The damage was severe: a broken hip socket among other injuries, with the likelihood of chronic hip arthritis for the rest of his life. This news has seriously depressed me. The fact that there could be permanent damage to such an amazing athlete is a fucking shame.

The driver came up from behind and turned right into Bogie part way through an intersection. That road should not be considered dangerous due to the fact that it has a bike lane and the speed limit is relatively low, but of course any road with cars on it is dangerous. The crash happened at night, which could be a valid excuse for the driver if Bogie’s bike hadn’t been lit up like a Christmas tree. The night Adelaide and I had him over for dinner, Adelaide even commented on how bright his bike was. “Like a circus.”

There were motion-sensing lights in the spokes, two flashing rear lights mounted on the back, a big handlebar-mounted high beam on the front. Bogie had a flashing red light on the back of his helmet and a very bright flashing white light on the front of his helmet. That makes 5 lights total, not counting the spoke lights in the wheels OR the (literally) multiple meters-worth of reflective tape he’d sewn onto all his gear, including his bright yellow jacket. There was absolutely no excuse for him to get hit. This “accident,” was caused by total inattention on the driver’s part, just like 99% of car vs bike crashes. The fucking idiot must have either had his eyes closed or was focused on his cell phone. The jack ass will get away with it too. Maybe he’ll have to pay a small fee, his insurance will go up, or maybe he’ll even have to pay out the ass if Bogie wins a big lawsuit, but real punishment? Jail time? Permanent loss of driver’s license? Of course not! It was an honest to god accident, right? An accident that ONLY just ruined someone’s life (Bogie if you’re reading this don’t take that too seriously, I know someone with your amazing will power will make a full recovery—I just need some drama).

All these horrible crashes and deaths prove that you can get away with man slaughter if you do it out of stupidity or carelessness. And if you’re driving a car you can even get away with murder in the first degree. “I didn’t see him,” has been a winning phrase for car drivers everywhere. Even when the assault was obviously intentional (speeding off after the cyclist who was in the way went over the hood of the car, get home and replace bumper with new one and wipe away all the blood).

I wonder if I’ll get away with it if I’m on my bike. “Sorry officer. I realize I looked up where this prick lived, waited for him to step out his door to his driveway in the morning on his way to his car, rode by and smashed his face in with a ball pin hammer, but I was texting while doing it so it doesn’t count right? It won’t happen again, maybe. I’ll just pay the reckless riding fee of $200 and be on my way.

Bogie was an elite ultra runner, and will hopefully regain his status as one. He just completed Badwater this summer…self supported. Only a few people have ever accomplished this. For those who don’t know, Badwater is a 135-mile run across Death Valley. Most people who do this race have support teams that drench them in water every few miles. Most people don’t finish either. Doing it self supported means Bogie had to push a cart with all of his own water in it. Hundreds of pounds of water. One mistake is all it takes to die a quick death out there in that sort of heat. Temps were up in the 120s. Yet, it’s more dangerous to ride your bike through a residential area in the streets of Boulder. Fucking ridiculous. Wake up America. It’s time to ditch your cars or at least open your eyes.

On that note, I’m going out for a quick commute. Wish me luck.

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