1. This morning Nat tells me it's just about cleared up so at this point we're pretty damn sure it was a clog. It remains to be seen if the doctor wants her to come in still. Thanks to all you guys who commented both on and offline offering the kind words. Much appreciated.
2. Shoulder is sore but coming along. As long as I don't let Jake, Steve, or Walter run me over this weekend I should be good to go for the 24.
3. Stole a spoke from the SS and put it in last night. Started to clean the wheel so I can put it in the truing stand and inspect the tensioning a bit. Also ordered some spokes for next time.
4. Early lean is to start the race with Heed/Accelerade mix and go from there. I may try the Infinit Nutrition stuff this weekend to see how that sits as well.
5. Training is done at work. What a difficult class that was. Pure pain for 2.5 days.
With those items out of the way I can return to my regularly scheduled program obsessing about pointless minutia.
I'm starting to think I've cooked myself. I'm not sure how that's possible because my volume over the past 4 weeks isn't anything special. But I'm finding it harder and harder to get a leg over the top tube on a daily basis. It could be that I've just lost steam. Ever since the summer dug in I dropped to 4 days and lost all sense of structure to my training. An alternate thought is that I've lost power, and with this comes a loss of desire to really get out there when I'm not able to go as fast as I've been able to previously.
I may just be in a realm I'm not used to. I'm on 10 months straight at a level I've never come close to maintaining. Or it could be that I'm eating less because I want to control my weight. Or maybe the lack of sleep because Julia is sleeping like crap. Or maybe I'm just having a lousy couple of weeks. Or I don't like riding in the dark every morning. Or all of it combined. I don't know. What I do know is that my ride Tuesday was a 15.4 average on a loop that I did at 17 about 8 weeks ago. Now I added 2 big hills to the start of this but I think my intensity is just off right now. Maybe my power is OK but I find it hard to really lay it out there these days.
Either way it is what it is. In 10 days I will either cash in on a well-laid plan or feel the effects of having lost structure and focus. Right now I'm not terribly worried because it's a long, long race. So I'm not going to miss a little lost top end all that much. Perhaps it's a good thing because it stresses the fact I need to start slow and keep it there. Either way I look forward to the race and the final stretch of the season and, quite frankly, the offseason.
I found an online speed/power calculator which will give me a metric by which I can compare rides. To start, this will be inherently flawed because the altitude numbers I'm using are from the GPS which we know is inaccurate. Inaccuracy in itself isn't a bad thing but it's not consistently inaccurate. Having said that it will give a series of numbers which will probably show a general trend. The real issue is if I have enough comparable data to make it meaningful. I suspect when I start plugging numbers in there will be a peak followed by a gradual decrease. I really do need to get a power meter. It will make this nickel and dime analysis unnecessary. It will also indicate I've gone out of my flipping gourd.
So the site is here. It takes all sorts of variables which I suppose I should do my best to fill out. For my purposes I can only compare my early morning rides because mountain bike rides don't result in a meaningful number and longer rides are going to be at a different intensity. So the only things that change are rider weight, slope, temp, and speed. I'm not going to bother with wind or cadence because that's just too difficult. Besides, cadence is meaningless in average power calculations and it's rarely windy at 5:00 am. The bike weight can be a reasonable guess.
So for Tuesday's ride I get a power of 229 watts, which is an average, and probably a wildly inaccurate average at that. But again, it's a metric to look at. My best TT number comes out at 316. After throwing some numbers together last night I'm not positive I've cooked myself. If I really want to be accurate I will go back through and compile numbers with temps and my daily weight into the equation.
I decided to try the TT loop this morning so I had a nice big bowl of spaghetti last night and snacked on some oatmeal later. I woke up and had a double serving of Carnation Instant Breakfast and instead of water I ran the Heed/Accelerade mix on the bike. As a side note, after 2 rides with that mix it seems to translate better than either product straight up. It's a bit strong tasting though so it may be too much next weekend.
So fully charged I set out on the TT run and posted the following:
Here is the previous attempt:
It's not the same course exactly. But I've dropped .5 from last time to this time. If I fine tune it and enter the appropriate temperature and rider weight I get the following:
Last run: 316 watts
This run: 302 watts
So that represents a 4.4% decrease in power. Now there are 2 things to note about that. First is that I rode for 30 minutes in the dark today which has to have some effect on the result. Second, because of the dark, I couldn't race myself on the GPS which probably takes a little edge off the intensity. Given those 2 things I'm not really sure I'm as toasted as I think. In addition, I've changed the focus of my training a bit to include more hills so I'm not used to running at or near threshold for those long periods without a break. A final point is that since I don't warm up those numbers include random warm up speeds. I probably should warm up outside the realm of "recorded" data to get more of an apples to apples comparison.
At some point I'll put more numbers together to paint a picture of...well something. What that something is remains to be seen. I suppose it's just something to chew on.
Regardless of being cooked or not I took a look at my last 7 years of biking logs and came to the conclusion that my volume increase this year is astounding. In the last 12 months I've put in at least 300 hours, roughly 240 of them this year. I forget the numbers but most years I would do 100 or 110 hours. I can only guess what this year will add up to when all is said and done. So even if I'm not toast I need to watch myself as I get deeper into it.
Whew, that feels better. All this worrying about "real" stuff eats it. I'm glad life has returned to normal and I can go on wasting my time obsessing about a half of a half a percent increase in power based on a calculation that can't be any more accurate that +/-20%.
"Speaking of bridge falls, Dr. Joe had a bridge fall about this time last year that was so bad he was helicoptered out, which earned him a photo in the newspaper. He was actually paralyzed briefly, but this turned out to be a defense mechanism (to keep him from moving and damaging himself further). He's ok now but he was in some serious pain for a month or so."
For the curious reader, Dr. Joe married both Nat/myself and then Terren/Cheryl later the same year. Too bad about the fall, but good to hear he's OK now.
"Hey Norm, sounds like you had a bit of rough tumble there. Hope you are feeling better man."
Feeling good man. Just gonna go wash the car. Need to wash the car. Errrrradicator!
"Norm, I hope all works out with Natalie's condition. I'm sure it is just a clog and that all will be ok. Laura and I will keep her in our thoughts. Are you putting heat compresses on the shoulder at night? A couple of advil never hurt either. Slow rotation and easy stretching, and heat are good pt. Stay with the Accelerade and Heed mix, don't try something 'new' this close to the 24 hour race. Also on the food issue, eat whatever you want - sounds good, as long as you know the food you will be eating all agrees with you!"
Yes Advil is my friend. For the third August in a row I have a toothache from a summer of drinking sugar drinks for hours on end on the bike. This year it popped up the same day my shoulder almost popped out. It's not awful but Advil helps me when I'm hurting all over I took some the morning in fact!
Thanks for the well wishes. All food agrees with me if taken in the right setting. If I need to take a load off while I eat a 900 calorie burrito well that's fine, the race will still be going after I eat and puke it out.