Jan 4, 2011

Après Ski

No, this is not another post about my skiing adventures. This has to do more with the current state of my legs and how they got that way. 

This morning was the start of my new training regimen. So at 5:00 a.m., without an alarm, I dragged myself out of bed and started making my way to M2. Luckily, my bag was already packed for an M2 workout I bailed on a couple of weeks ago when I suddenly decided that I didn’t want to turn my legs in circles the last two weeks of the year. I say “luckily” because I’m not sure I would have been able to pack all I needed at that hour, despite being a morning person. It’s hard to leave the house on a bike without your bike shoes; it’s a cinch to leave with a half full gym bag, however. 

By the time my morning procedures were all squared away, it was 5:30 and I was out the door to make the 6:15 class. One problem – MUNI busses are few and far between at that hour, and when it comes to the 33 that stops by my house, well that one is just not existent. Thankfully, it’s only a 7-minute walk to the underground train. Frankly, the commute was rather boring, but the L train did sync nicely with the 49 bus, and I made it to M2 with ample time to spare.

One problem: my legs were screaming in pain. I mean I haven’t been this sore in ages. Not after Death Ride, not after Son of Death Ride, not even after both stages of Everest Challenge. And here is how they got that way.

After skiing for 5 days in Vail and Breckenridge, I took a flight to Reno (that was a disaster in and of itself, but since no bikes were involved, you’ll have to ask me about it in person) for a few days of skiing in Tahoe. Due to the abovementioned disaster, I didn’t end up at my friends’ house until shortly after 3:00 a.m. Major thanks to Kyle for picking me up at the airport at 2:00 a.m.! 

The tentative plan was to go for a half day of skiing on the 31st, but by the time the half-day point arrived, I was too lazy to go skiing and was having too much fun catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Oh, there was bike talk, you better believe it. So no skiing on the 31st

For those of you unaware, New Year’s Eve is the biggest holiday for us ex-Soviets. It’s kind of like rolling Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July together, pumping it all with steroids and dumping a ton of vodka on top just for good measure. Sounds fun? It sure is! Exhausting? You betcha! Up till 3:00 a.m. again? You know it! You see where this is going, right? The morning of the 1st made an appearance sometime around 10:00 a.m. – too late for a full day of skiing, too exhausted for a half day of skiing, but there was one thing on the menu that I wanted to do – hit the sauna and hot tub at the nearby rec center. Frankly, so did most of the other people in the house, however, they had small obligations kids detracting them from the direct route to the fun. The obligations wanted to go sledding outside the same rec center, but I didn’t feel like sitting in a hot tub for two hours, only to sit in a hot tub for another two hours once everyone was done sledding. Solution? Someone unwilling to go sledding.

Luckily, Mike decided he was going to stay home and shovel snow (fun, huh?). I suggested that as an alternative, we could go do a core workout and then hit the sauna once everyone was done playing in the snow. He agreed and mentioned something about doing squats. We got to the gym and I decided it would be a great idea to do a light weight set of squats, immediately followed by a set of good mornings. For those of you not familiar with the exercise, it involves holding the barbell as you would for a squat, but only bending at the hips – hits your hams and lower back very well.  

Why I thought it would be a good idea to do squats, I have no idea. It’s not like doing squats once a year is going to help my cycling. What it did do was turn me into a virtual cripple by the morning of the 2nd. But I wasn’t crippled enough, apparently, as on the 2nd, I also hit the slopes for a few hours. Can we say “BURN!”

Yeah, so long story short (or is it too late?), the near 4-hour drive home from Tahoe didn’t help the soreness one bit, but I figured if I kept Alex company on the morning ride on Monday, that would miraculously make the lactic acid disappear from my legs. I really should know better by now – it didn’t. I woke up as sore this morning as I was on the 2nd after the squats on the 1st

One problem, however, lactic acid doesn’t really rob you of power if your legs are rested, it only adds pain. An hour of pain, to be exact, as I forced myself to do each set at M2 at the prescribed percentage of my FTP. I don’t know how I will feel tomorrow, but I somehow doubt the Headlands hill repeats I have planned will go completely unnoticed by whatever neurons in my body make me feel pain. 

Moral of this long, rambling story: unless you’re starting a weight training program, stay the hell away from random sets of squats once a year.

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