Recap Of July 8 Hour & 5 Things To Be Faster Next Race

On Saturday I rode my third race of the year, Dukes 8 Hour at Hardwood Hills. Wes and I entered “East Coast Riders” in the 2 Person Male Tag Team Combined Age 79 and Under category. The coarse was 9.5 Km and we finished 13 laps. We placed 14th of 28 and I’m happy with how it went.

This was my first Tag Team race and my body held up fairly well for my 7 laps with ~30 minutes of recover / rest time between laps. My times were fairly consistent but did start to drop towards the end.

In my last 5 Things I’ll Do To Be Faster Next Race I mentioned tire selection, improved hydration, stand up in the single track sections, faster transitions, and don’t carry a camel pack as what I needed to work on. Addressing these things paid off. I’m really happy that I switch to treaded tired because they didn’t hurt my climbing or sprints in any noticeable way and they gave me the confidence to ride faster in the flowing sections.

5 Things I’ll Do To Be Faster Next Race:

1) Simulate and practice race behavior in some of my training rides. Racing is way more intense than training because I feel like there is something more on the line. When you feel that engaged, it’s easy to repeat “faster” a couple of 1000 times during the race to maintain your focus. I don’t get the same intensity from training rides in the trails. Maybe I can learn how to control the race response and teach my body to find the higher intensity during training rides by practicing getting into this mind set.

2) Fix gears, change cables, true wheels. Make sure you have confidence in the bike and the gear you are in. Hoping the bike is in the right gear is a lousy way to go through a race. I’d sooner not think about it at all and just peddle as hard as I can.

3) Go faster in the down hill single track. There was improvement in this area over last race, but I’m still losing too much time. I’m not entirely sure why I’m not going faster. I think I may be getting a little scared.

4) Take creatine before and during the race. I stopped taking it for the June 24 hour race because I thought it might be better to ride lighter. Stopping it did help me get to 165, but I lost the kick that it offers you. It gives you more power during the first 10 seconds of effort and it increases your ability to recover that power during short periods of recovery. I race better when I’m taking it so I’m going to keep doing it.

5) Drink more water. I was better hydrated during this race but I lost interest in drinking water between the 6th and 7th lap – usually an indication that I’ve become dehydrated. As the day goes on, your focus tend to slip a little and you end up letting certain things slide. Fluid consumption should never be one of these things. I held on longer this race, but I really need to see it through, even in the car on the way home.

The next event is Chico Racings Hot August Nights the final 24 hour relay of the season. It is my favorite event and tends not be be as busy as the Summer Solstice.

Intensity Does Not Equal Aggression

Sometimes people tell me that I come off as a little aggressive. When I ask them what they mean, they say that I seem to be feeling a lot of emotion when I engage them about stuff. I’ve heard that I’m engaging and passionate, but to be described as aggressive seems a little unfair. Rachel told me it that it isn’t aggression, it’s intensity. I have a lot of energy that I direct towards everything I do. This makes for great conversations, and impassioned debates and whatever they may be, they are not aggressive.

When I mentioned it to Des he suggested that human beings have evolved to pick up on signs of aggression because it would have helped them in conflict situations. If you know when an animal is about to attack, you can get a head start on running away so it would give the individual a survival advantage. With a sense like this, you do not want a false negative because your chances of dying increase dramatically. The trigger point is going to be set pretty low to ensure that no behavioral predictors of aggression are missed.

When I think how this may apply to me, it does explain some peoples reaction. There is something about my behavior that is causing this sense to be triggered. It doesn’t happen so much with people I know well or interact with frequently because they have learned to ignore this sense when talking to me. When I’m talking to new acquaintances, their threshold for predicting aggression is lower so it may be triggered by the intensity of a conversation; be it by the increase in voice volume, the amount of body movement, a change in the size of the pupils, etc….

It is good information to know that until they get to know me, some people are going to interpret my intensity as a sign of aggression.

Shortening Your Life By Too Much Exercise?

I was hanging out with Tony and I mentioned that I figured I was going to die young from a heart attack. Tony agreed so quickly that it kind of scared me. “You think I’m right?” He says “yeah. There’s a cost to all the adaptation that you are forcing your body to go through.” We riff off of that for a while before the conversation returns to something I don’t recall because I was too busy thinking about my rapidly approaching death.

He’s right, there is a cost to adapting to the physical stress I put my body under. Any environmental change forces the body to maintain homeostasis or adjust and create a new stasis, both of these responses require energy. Anytime your body liberates energy from food (digestion and absorption) and anytime it utilizes energy for biological functions, a chemical reaction occurs that gives off pollution in the form of free radicals and other chemicals. We can conclude that anything a person does to increase the amount of energy they use will increase the amount of pollution that is released within the body.

The inverse is also true, anything you do that lowers the amount of energy you utilize will decrease the amount of pollution that is released. The significance of this comes to light when we consider the claims of health practitioners that participating in frequent exercise will increase your health and will increase life expectancy. If their claim is true, exercise must do something to the body that causes it to eventually use less energy as a consequence to having performed the exercise than it uses directly to perform the exercise. Most people experience this benefit as a lowering of the resting heart rate.

Finite Beat Life – I’m not sure about the science behind the belief that the hearts life span is measured in beats vs. age – once it beats that predetermined number of times, it stops working. If this is the case, you should try to lower the amount of work that the heart does. You can either do less work or, you can make the heart stronger so it does more work per beat.

For example, I have a resting heart rate of about 48 beats per minute (BPM). The average resting heart rate is about 72 BPM. At rest, my heart beats 24 fewer times than an average persons – every 2 minutes my heart is saving 1 minute worth of work. My math may be a little off, but that is a saving of about 33%. At rest, I am using 33% less energy because I have trained my heart to work more efficiently. To me, that’s a huge saving of beats; given that most of my day is spent in a resting type state.

It takes a lot of effort to make your heart stronger, but all in all, the amount of beats that are required to lower you resting heart rate to 48 BPM is probably equal to the amount of beats the you save because your heart rate is lower. Lets call it a wash. You are no better off from the finite beat perspective but you do have better overall health due to your more active state. There is a net gain and you are healthier.

However, it requires a lot less to maintain the fitness required to have a resting heart rate of 48 BPM – 3 X 30 minute working segments of working the heart at 150 BPM per week. That works out to be 13500 heart beats (150 X 90). 90 minutes of rest for an average heart = 6480 beats.

When we calculate the daily heart beats for a trained heart and an average heart we get 78300 for trained and 103680 for the untrained. That is a difference of 25380 beats per day. From a finite beats perspective, you are WAY better off having a trained heart because even with the work required to maintain its health, your heart will work about 25% less. This is all good provided your finite beat life is long.

Shortening your life by working out too much – Am I shortening my life by teaching 5 cycling classes and taking two 3 hour bike rides a week? Yes, absolutely. Sure, I’m aging at 2/3rds the rate when I’m at rest, but since I’m exercising 8.5 hours more than I need to maintain a lower rate, I’m created way more internal pollution and excess heart beats than I would if I just worked out at the maintenance level.

50 Easy Weight Loss Ideas

58 weight loss ideas from Readers Digest Online cover a variety of areas from behavior modification, personal accountability and forced introspection – although I don’t think I’ll be putting a mirror up in the kitchen to watch myself eat, even if it causes me to eat less.

Carry a palm-size notebook everywhere you go for one week. Write down every single morsel that enters your lips — even water. Studies have found that people who maintain food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t.

Eat 90 percent of your meals at home. You’re more likely to eat more — and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods — when you eat out than when you eat at home. Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them!

Sniff a banana, an apple, or a peppermint when you feel hungry. You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost — an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it.

Passionately kiss your partner 10 times a day. According to the 1991 Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex, a passionate kiss burns 6.4 calories per minute. Ten minutes a day of kissing equates to about 23,000 calories — or eight pounds — a year!

The Most Dynamic Shift

At the beginning of May I read Shama Hyder’s blog post The Most Dynamic Shift.

Here is a quick beliefs check:
The last time that something went wrong, your first reaction was…

a) To go into super hero mode. Who needs saving?
b) To take some time out and create a strategic plan of action.
c) To ask-What in me is causing this distress or this situation?

If you chose C, then you are building on solid ground. Until you realize that you are 100% responsible for EVERYTHING in the world, you continue to use the law of attraction in vain. You can create only when you have power, and the only way you can have power is to realize that the world is a reflection of yourself….The outer world is a reflection of your internal state.

I didn’t choose C (I went for A) so the post stuck with me. I stared it in my news reader and came back to it a couple of times to make sure I understood why C is a better choice.

This week when I heard myself telling a friend that the stress they are experiencing in their life is a result of the world that they are creating around themselves I realized that I finally understood what Shama was getting at. The objective experience of the world is usually very different from the subjective experience of the world. You are free to create your subjective experience – you have been doing this since you became consciously aware. If you find yourself in a victim role, you have created this role and made the decision to fill it. If you find yourself as a VP of a company enjoying all the success you deserve, it is because you have chosen to experience the world as a place that allows you to achieve your success potential.

This lesson is only valuable when you actually start viewing yourself as responsible for what you are experiencing and take appropriate actions to control it. My first urge to try to save people may be altruistic but it isn’t pragmatic so it isn’t going to yield the greatest positive result. Seeing yourself as responsible for the situation immediately is going to increase the likelihood that the situation is avoided in the future; which in the long run should decrease negative outcomes.

Too Much Liquid Diet, Not Enough Whole Food

At the end of April I set the goal of achieving my race weight of 168 pounds with a body fat percentage of about 8-9%. I hit this mark a few weeks before my first race at the end of May, but got a new job which took away from my training a little so that was the weight I competed at.

I rode lighter at the Summer Solstice – about 165 with a body fat percentage of around 8%. I felt strong and really enjoyed the increase acceleration that being lighter affords a rider, but it wasn’t the most comfortable race because I over did it with the liquid diet a little.

I eat a lot of oatmeal. I mix water, raw quick oats with whey protein powder and dextrose and drink it for breakfast, before working out or riding and a couple of other time throughout the day. My issue during the race was that I had eaten too much whey powder in the days leading up to the race and not enough whole food. At night I have a protein shake beside my bed that I’ll sip during the night to make sure there is a steady supply of protein during the night-time rebuilding phase.

My like consuming liquid meals because they do not tax the digestive system nearly as much and allow for gastric emptying to occur more quickly than it would with whole food; gastric emptying needs to occur before the bulk of the nutrients can be absorbed into the blood stream to refuel or repair the body. The problem was that I went for a cheaper quality whey powder because I was eating so much of it instead of buying my normal powder which is enriched with digestive enzymes. A decrease in the amount of available digestive enzymes when coupled with an increase in the amount of whey powder being consumed, lead to incomplete digestion of much of the protein. The consequence was a dramatic increase in gas. While this did not impact my riding to any degree, it was kind of uncomfortable and a little unpleasant for those around me.

The cure is simple, eat whole food and lay off the protein powder so I gorged on chicken, ribs and French fries the evening after the race and everything went back to normal. After taking a couple of days away from the protein powder my natural ability to digest and process whey protein has returned to normal so I’ve started eating it again, but less frequently. The issues are gone and the lesson has been learned. Having gas is not a natural state for the body and should be taken as an indication that something is going wrong.

Never Too Late To Look Like You Pick Apples

Rachel has fantastic neck development. When I comment about it she just laughs and tells me to go pick some apples.

Her grandparents used to own an apple orchard in Brockville and Rachel spend a fair bit of time with them growing up. As a young person, she learned to make fun out of everything and in the fall, she would help pick apples for them to sell. It was play time for her and probably fun time for them because they got to spend it with their grand daughter. They taught her that the best apples are the ones that are about to fall off the tree due to their ripeness, but not the ones that have fallen because they are bruised. The best apples are picked by hand and you need to reach for them.

There’s a skill to knowing which apples are about to fall. They feel a particular way when you touch them and you need to give them a gentle pull – it’s a finesse thing because too much effort will free any apple and too little will leave a ripe apple allowing it to fall when the next wind blows in. At the beginning of the harvest, you’ll be trying 10’s of apples to get one good one. As the season grows on, you need to attempt fewer apples to get the good ones.

Rachel spend a huge portion of each September and October doing single arm over head shrugs, single arm shoulder raises and single arm shoulder press movements. Early on in the season, she would be doing 100’s or 1000’s of reps per day to fill the bushels. They paid her a little for the help, but to her is was mostly play and in hind site, it create a solid foundation of body and neural firing awareness. As a consequence, her upper body, and particularly the muscle for raising the arms above the shoulder line, are extremely well developed.

Many years later, she doesn’t need to do the volume of exercise to fatigue these muscles as I do because she has more complete control over the firing patterns – 10000’s of reps is the only thing that will deliver you this level of awareness.

An Interview with Dr. Christopher Mohr

You may not have heard of him before but you’ve likely seen some of his work – he was the nutrition consultant for LL Cool J’s book “Platinum Workout”.

T-nation’s Chris Shugart asks Dr. Mohr to weigh in on a number of topics on this thread. I really liked his advice about low carb vs. low fat.

When looking at carbs vs. fat for weight loss, let’s look at some of the research. First, any reduced calorie diet is necessary for weight loss, whether that reduction comes from carbs or from fat. I understand that there are some intricacies with each, so I’m not recommending a blind reduction in calories, as long as it’s a reduction. I’m all about nutrient quality and would rather have folks focus on eating a high nutrient diet rather than looking for anything that remotely resembles a carbohydrate and acting as if it’s kryptonite.

Now, there are data supporting both lower carbohydrate approaches and lower fat approaches. That basically means whatever you want to believe in can work — and there’s data to support it. However, what’s most important, and this data has been shown most recently in a publication in JAMA, is adherence to a program. It’s not as much about carbs or fat as it is about you following something… anything!

Pick one, stick with it and you’ll get results.

Personal Integrity And Giving Advice

When I read the following (I first saw it in the book “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”) I am reminded of the importance of modeling the advice we are giving:

A mother brought her son to Mahatma Ghandi. She begged, “Please, Mahatma. Tell my son to stop eating sugar.” Mahatma paused, then said, “Bring your son back in two weeks.”

Puzzled, the woman thanked him and said that she would do as he asked. Two weeks later, she returned with her son. Ghandi looked the youngster in the eye and said, “Stop eating sugar.”

Grateful but bewildered, the woman asked, “Why did you tell me to bring him back in two weeks? You could have told him the same thing then.” Ghandi replied, “Two weeks ago, I was eating sugar.”

5 Things I’ll Do To Be Faster Next Race

We had our first 24 hour race last weekend. We placed 22nd out of 52 teams. Individually we rode well, but we lost 2 laps because of mechanical failures – a broken rear derailer drop-out and a broken chain. This was the first race in over two years were we’ve had any issues, so we are not too upset about it. Personally, I have a bit of work to do to attain my full speed potential.

Keys to improving my time for the next race:

1) Tire selection – I need to ride a softer compound treaded tire. For the last few events I have ridden a road slick. It makes for very fast acceleration in the straight portions of the course, but due to poor cornering and single track speed, they cost me dearly in these cross country races. Estimated time saving 30 seconds to 2 minutes per lap; maybe more during the night laps.

2) Improved hydration – I need to increase that amount of water I drink in the days leading up to the race. I didn’t suffer too much because of this, but any boost I can get will help me dramatically.

3) Stand up in the single track sections. You carry a lot more momentum when you are standing up and you have more agility. Plus, if you are good at finding the right gear, you accelerate faster when you stand. Estimated time saving 30 seconds to 2 minutes per lap.

4) Faster transitions. I need to find an easy access place to put the time chip so I don’t have to dig for it at the end of the lap when I’m exhausted or take my time putting it away at the beginning of the lap. Estimated time saving = 30 seconds per lap.

5) Don’t carry a camel pack. I don’t drink during the ride, so I don’t need water. Since I’ll scrap any lap that I have a real mechanical issue on, there isn’t any need to carry anything with me other than a tube and some tire irons. The goal is to ride fast and carrying a 3 pound pack isn’t going to make that happen. Estimated time saving = 1 to 2 minutes per lap.