It is Sunday morning around 8:09 AM and today I'm finalizing my second month of training. Next week is rest week! So I have plenty reasons to celebrate. For those who don't know me, I follow a conditioning routine in a set of three-week intervals with the fourth week used to recuperate. My goal on the third week is to train for 20 hours or more. This type of training regimen was easy back on college days, but so difficult nowadays due to the amount of responsibilities and people I have around. Add to this my well-known poor planning and my open agenda. To be fast, drop riders on the hills, be at the front of the pack, contest a sprint and ride the Tour of Colorado in descent form, life needs to have structure and a well-elaborated training schedule. Despite all the week's inconsistencies, I think today is possible to train for four hours and achieve my third-week goal!
Since Thursday I realized that I had my momentum back. The flu, cough, and the weakness were a thing of the past. I still had the job insecurity pestering me and other ongoing social things. Although I managed to take on each possible opportunity and at the end I got a great training day. In the morning, it was all about strengthening the core, at lunch time I rode for 2.30 and by night time I was pumping up the upper body. If you all recall, Wednesday I did a three training sessions. Was I beaten by Thursday night? You bet. My bike ride was challenging. For the first time I ventured to back to back long hilly roads; yes I'm slow and heavy. My primary goal was to keep my heart in zone 3. I'm not yet ready to do intervals; I'm set by climbing slow and easy to burn the midsection fat or love handles.
Friday probe to be interesting because I tried to emulate what I did on Wednesday. Legs weight training followed by an hour of cycling. To spice up things, I rode my bike most of the time on the 53x14. My goal was to start training the legs to smash big gears. It was important to have a good form rather to have a high cadence. Sure it was fun and easy with the tailwind pushing me, but hard and demoralizing with the wind against me. Too early in the training program to have strength and stamina, my anaerobic days are one month and half away perhaps. I'm not a happy camper when other riders pass me. I know I can go as fast as they not to mention going uphill. Sure I can climb, that's my terrain you know! But this is my base mileage three months. I gotta avoid being on red zone. Believe me I'm itching to go fast, close gaps, and breakaway with the best riders of my group ride. I long for the day that on the decisive climbs, I will be the one doing the attacks and counter attacks. I know what I'm capable of... But I owe to stay focus. These three months will have a big pay off when I start doing intervals sessions.
Last week I thought I will not see rain in San Diego until next year. Saturday morning was my big day to get the 4-hour ride done. It's been three weeks that I wanted to assess my physical conditioning during the fourth hour, but my life with bells and whistles, GF's drama, and other circumstances have prevented it me from riding for four hours straight. I wasn't too motivated when I saw the cloudy sky and heard the weather man brag about the 90% chance of rain. I had the sightliest doubt, I knew I wouldn't dare to ride. One thing is to ride in the middle of day when on a rainy day another is to solo the cold flooded streets of San Diego at 7 AM. But since I wanted to so bad to accomplish my goals, I grabbed my rain wear and embraced the idea that I would get wet no matter what. Sure, I like challenges and I rode east to Santee and 52 HWY hoping to get rain-on while climbing the long hills. It didn't rain on my way there, but God bless the sky heart it poured on my way back. I had to stop to put my glasses on because the nail sharpening rain drops were leaving blind. The head wind make things interesting, but seasoned in rainy days I was able to get home safe but surely soaking wet. Nothing special only 2:30 hrs in the bike. Again, I said it to myself... “Lance Armstrong said that if you train in the rain it counts as twice”
All day I’ve been thinking is Thursday. The beginning of the day was gloomy just like it was the morning sky. I had a migraine, some flu symptoms remaining, and the feat to wake up my son to go to school and endure all the excuses that come along. The thought of job insecurity simply ended up obscuring my morning and sooner than I had expected I had serious doubts.
Last time I wrote on my training blog, I reported being under flu simptoms and doubted I could continue my training with the same intensitiy. Undoubtly I endured the Sunday and Monday dissappointed just staring at my bike and feeling how my body weakened. These two forced rest days felt like two weeks of inactivity. Sunday was such a calamity; I hated myself and the world and suffer deliriums because of Nyquil overdose. On Monday, on the other hand, was kind of my redemption day, I cleaned the R3-SL and went out for diner with my GF. We simply pig-out in style and best I got happy drunk and self-declared cure from the flu.
I gotta tell you that on Tuesday I looked on forward to resume training. However, once again I felt victim of my poor planification and my ever lasting family and work responsibilities despite having a good start. My manager communicated me about a work opportunity; she made clear her intention to have a meeting to review some material. Work is work and the money is very good because without I will not be who I am or have what I have. No brainer. I decided to stay wide open to meet her at her time convienience; the root of the problem became that she never specified our meeting time. At lunch time, I rushed to the gym and completed a 45-minute core session then quickly headed back to my work desk. Surprise, surprise… She still didn’t have a definite time for us to meet. Two hours later GF showed up to say too many times she was hungry and was asking about travel and weekend plans all these while I was trying to find a way to pay my rent. At the end, I settled with one hour around-the-neightborhood bike ride which left me upset rather than fulfilled. At night, I had to host my photography group meeting and the opportunity to go to the gym at night was pretty much null.
Sometimes I imagine those who have no family or pay no rent because they have the excuse for not to work. Trust me I know many of these individuals. These weasels, leechers and scoundrels have the bad habit of complaining and line up all sort of excuses for not trying hard. Boy oh boy... If I at least have the nerve to have an excuse.
This preparation for the Tour of Colorado is challenging, so far it’s frustrating not to have the time to go for an endless bike ride. Job insecurity, end-of-the-month season, a ten-year old to name the few are some of my biggests challenges. Add to this my chronic hip injury and my condition of being “soft” a.k.a prone to break so easily. I certainly don’t have any nerve left to worry about me being chubby or that my health insurance was cancelled. So you tell me how can someone who doesn’t pay rent have lost of excuses for not trying? If something disinguish me from my family (or those wanna be’s) is that I had transformed what can be my excuse into a challenge. Yes, I'm well-known to my friends as someone who always is complaining about something and has too many regrets. I love to complain, yes too ***** about life injustices and such. All this ranting is pure motivation which pretty much have enabled me to get the job done and be hungry, thirsty and wanting more. It’s not easy although I make it look easy. On top, something I’m certain life ain’t going to get any easy but harder. The best I could do is to have a razor sharp mentality and always have my comtemptous auto-critic to give me hell for not giving my best.
My above-mentioned stand has been my mantra throughout the day. Sure, it was gloomy and I felt sick again, yes I did rush my legs workout again because my stupid manager… But I found an opportunity in the middle of day to ride my bike for 1:20 hr. And what is best the night is wide open for me to return to the gym and do at least 45 minute of upper body conditioning. Now I don’t have any excuses for not trying hard. If I'm sore tomorrow so be it, this is my only opportunity and I gotta make the most of it!
You can imagine how I feel... All bumped out. I have this stupid flu symptoms. Today Saturday I rode for 3 hours, good deal many of you may think. Am I happy about it... Not really. I began my ride very stressed out because my GF's drama. Her first winter training with me no wonder she fails to understand what entails is to ride base mileage. I wish not to elaborate any further... Only I gotta say is that drama before going to bed, during the night, and plenty to chose from right before my bike ride is worst than having two flat tires in a race. So much stressed led to headache, lower back pain, and nervousness. She doesn't know any better -right? Thank goodness I wasn't racing or riding the Tour of Colorado—I would have crashed on the first mile. Yes, I had to be a jerk, boss her around ala Lance Armstrong to get her going to her house where she rightfully belongs!
I rode for 3 hours, good deal many of you may think. Am I happy about it... Not really. I began my ride very stressed out because my GF's drama. Her first winter training with me no wonder she fails to understand what entails is to ride base mileage. I wish not to elaborate any further... Only I gotta say is that drama before going to bed, during the night, and plenty to chose from right before my bike ride is worst than having two flat tires in a race. So much stressed led to headache, lower back pain, and nervousness. She doesn't know any better -right? Thank goodness I wasn't racing or riding the Tour of Colorado—I would have crashed on the first mile. Yes, I had to be a jerk, boss her around ala Lance Armstrong to get her going to her house where she rightfully belongs!
I took the Cervelo R3 SL and less than a mile into my training ride, I almost had a head collision with a Cadillac Escalator. Totally my fault. Not paying attention. Dwelling on GF's words. Not surprised I lost my nerve. For an hour or so, I pedaled the bike slowly with no motive. My eagerness was lost; I wanted to go back home, but I kept going like if I was on automatic mode. Surprisingly second hour went fine; I had good sensations and somewhat of desire to keep pedaling. My lower back pain was gone and only a small headache was left. I thought I could reach a milestone: complete a four hours ride. “Why not?” -I thought. Legs were strong, will had desired, got plenty of food and water. Such the ingratitude of life is! Five minutes later my son called, he asked me where I was, wanted to be picked up, mom was heading to work, and so... “Well, it wasn't my morning” -I thought witch such regret and I headed back.
Yes, I did rode Friday for 2:15 minutes. I had a sole-Core gym session in the morning, but I couldn't return to the gym at night. I felt tired throughout the day, and on top my GF showed up at 5 PM sharp like all Fridays. God bless the routine and the people that make it possible! She was all dressed up, high heels and new haircut. “I'm very hungry” she said. “Hmm, she is hungry and I just ate... Good by Gym!” I thought. Since I have an open agenda, we ended up talking where to go eat. Wonderful choice of mine... We ended up eating Spanish tapas. Food was so good that I ended up pigging-out in style. Three hours later back at home: indigestion and drama. GF go all psycho. It was my fault, but she is like that when she gets drunk. End of story: can be read at the beginning of this blog story.
The real story today wasn't all the stress I endure prior my bike ride but the appearance of the flu. My son brought his bug from school into my home. Spraying Lysol every other hour hasn't been enough. Taking old prescription drugs has probe to be insufficient. In another fail attempt, I cleaned the bathroom, kitchen, and rooms, but the flu bug is still inside my throat. No PM Gym on Saturday, why push it? And about tomorrow ride and gym... Well, it's up in the air sincerely.
On Monday as I mentioned before, I paid a visit to Doctor Brown who is my official chiropractor, physical therapist, and soul adviser. He has been my doctor since 2006 when I was returning to road cycling after five years absence from the sport because my piriformis syndrome. He along other three individuals played a supporting role on me gaining confidence as an athlete and learning how to handle my chronic injury. My hip pain never went away, I stopped relying on western medicine and flushed all the pain killers and muscle relaxants on the toilet. I did learned how to manage my injury and pain. The physical therapy and back alignment Doctor Brown gives me helps on the long run, but in short typically lefts me sore and hurting. This was another reason I had pathetic Tuesday and Wednesday workout sessions. But as my training progresses it is critical for my success to seek his assistance because he can definitely spot and work my troubled areas to prevent setbacks.
I have mixed feelings for the upcoming three days. At one end I'm eager to ride 3+ hours on Friday and Saturday; on the other end I'm doubtful I can pull it up. Going to the gym is critical and probably develop the habit to take power naps in the middle of the day to recharge, and begin to take multi-vitamins because my protein shake doesn't seem to have any effect on me.
5th Week (Back in contention, Rain, Mental Toughness)
After taking a week off in Florida partying in style, I returned to San Diego to resume training. Back in Florida I logged only five hours of conditioning all focused on strengthening two of my weak spots: Core and Trapezius sections. My goal was to rest my legs, but by the end of the week I had three major hangovers, two pig-outs, and lots of lack of sleep. I was tired but so happy. Hey that was my rest week! My personal slogan is that life is too short to be playing Mr. Athlete 27/4 besides I needed time off from the bike, yes after completing my first month of training.
Back in San Diego I was eager to resume training and burn all the calories the hard liquor and Argentinian Steakhouse left me. To my surprise Southern California had several thunderstorm systems in the forecast. All weather men seemed to agree in one thing: stay home and dry. Yeah right -I thought.
Yes, it poured rain like never before. I rode my bike with determination and obviously with a rain jacket on thinking that no silly rain could stop me. Whatever it takes!--I thought. During the ride I had to duke up with the cars and the cross winds. Yes, I was the only freak on the road. Funny enough I got interviewed by Channel 6; I was all smileys of course and later that night I saw myself on TV. One thing that I learned from the Jerk (a.k.a Lance Armstrong) is that if you train on treacherous weather conditions, your training effort counts as twice. I totally agree. Riding a bike with 700x23c tires in the rain is though especially when there are cross winds and uncertainty on which route to take. To me it wasn't such a big deal in due part my bike experience in Florida where thunderstorms with cross winds are on the call of the hour. Besides it never freaking rains in Southern California, so to me it was all about seizing the opportunity. Obviously, riding in the city of San Diego during a storm can be a bit challenging and dangerous taking into account the slippery asphalt roads, flooding, landslides and worse the inexperience car drivers. Nowadays it amazes me how easy I confused being stupid with the need-to-seek-thrill and obtain self-actualization. But like Homer Simpson said it: You gotta do what you gotta do.
In sum, it rained for the entire week. Roads were flooded and filled with rocks and tree debris. The 24-Hour fitness became my second house. Besides my typical workouts, I came out with two leg strengthening gym sessions with the anaerobic zone in mind. No squats with Olympic bars or loud screaming for me. My leg strengthening routine consists of exercises that allow me to use leg muscles cyclists hardly use. I also did some core and upper body sessions with lots of indoor cardio. And by Friday I was back on the bike enjoying the last rainy day of the week and probably of the year.
I didn't ride on Saturday. Why? Because of some photography trip. Besides it was too cold and I felt extremely tired. I managed a late workout. On Sunday, I returned to my 3 hour cycling mark despite having sore legs and being pester by two weak knees. On top, my bad hip began to start acting funny. I ended strong but realized that it was time to visit Doctor Brown.
I'm not Lance Armstrong or pretend to be. In fact, I don't like him that much as person; He is a great athlete and such a marketing device primarily for the French and rest of the European peloton after it all who gives a **** about cycling in the U.S? He is jerk in my most frank opinion. This cancer foundation of his is a great trick to convince the public of his altruism and humanism but obviously I'm not fool. Believe me I cheer the Jerk and wish him well; it will awesome he wins the Tour de France. I just hate bullies and hypocrites.
In any case, I'm here writing about my journey to the Tour of Colorado to motivate friends and leave a written testimony of the sacrifice it takes to get in shape. I'm not healthy by any means. I've been plagued with chronic injuries for years. When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome which until these day I opt to ignore. At college they diagnosed me with ADD, I laughed and refused to take the little blue pills. I quit cycling for good due to my chronic hip injury. I returned to cycling, but it cost me 12k in doctors, physical therapy, and witch crafting. Today, life continues to be challenging and it doesn't seem to be getting easier either. Being healthy and be able to ride my Cervelo R3 SL is a privilege that I'm thankful. So there are no excuses!
The Tour of Colorado is not the Tour of France by any means, however, this 400+ mile cycling event is a multiple stage cycling event that requires preparation and deserves my most utterly respect. This is something I have never done, and believe me I look forward on to the challenge. Road cycling is one of the toughest and rewarding sports. However, this sport alone perhaps has the most underachievers athletes than any other sport. I obviously include myself in the mix. And as there are underachievers there are 'plenty' of losers as well who lack: passion and understanding of the sport of cycling. Throughout the years I have learned that professional cyclists and excellent weekend warriors distinguished themselves from the rest by the level of pain and suffering they can sustain. Sure there is genetics and talent, but road cycling is such a though minded sport that genetics and talent are not enough besides these have nothing to do with personality and soul.