Jan 9, 2011

Week one in the books

To my regular readers, please don't be alarmed, you've come to the right place. The site has a new, cleaner, less blingy face, that will hopefully let you focus more on content. And now, on to our regularly scheduled programing. 

Today marked the end of my first week of training of this season, and I have to say that after putting 200 miles and 12.5 hours in on the bike, my legs and body feel pretty good. Other than the unpleasant bonking incident, the overall training went very well. Despite the fact that I was sore through Thursday from the squats I did on January 1. Yeah, I don't think I'll be hitting the weight room much this season - a great way to screw up a week of training. 

Yesterday, I did my power ride. This training method was actually recommended to me by my dentist, who also happens to be a Cat. 2 masters racer. His routine is to do Alpine Dam in his big chain ring, but I decided to alter that slightly and went up Mt. Tam from (almost) my house to the top of Tam and back. It's a real quadbuster, and I can really feel that my legs went through a power workout. Highly recommended! The reason I say that it was almost from my house is that the shortest way from my house to the bridge involves half a mile of climbing at a variable grade of 10 to 17 percent, and since I don't feel like ripping chains leaving my front door, I opt for an "easy" spin until I go over Clayton on 17th Street. From thereon, it's all in the big ring (I have a compact, so it's a 50, not a 53). I also have a 28 in the back, but I make it a point to stay in 24 or higher for these workouts, just to keep it honest.

If anything stands out from yesterday's ride is that it was very unpleasantly cold. As long as I was on the forest side, it wasn't so bad, but as soon as I got the side of Panoramic exposed to the shore, the cold mist made me shiver, even when I was pushing 300+ watts up the hill. However, the climb was nothing compared to how I felt coming down. At one point I had to query as to whether I still had thumbs. Another detail that stands out on the climb is a scooter gang - it's kind of like a motorcycle gang, but on scooters. I don't think I've ever seen so many people on Vespas in one place. 

The first thing I did when I got home from that ride was jump into a hot shower and defrost, the second thing was to throw on my compression tights because my legs were absolutely cooked and the plan was to go up to Petaluma and ride with the Colavita squad today. 
Today's club ride was more at a recovery pace, but with 45 miles with 2700 feet of climb, it's kind of hard to call it a true recovery ride, even if I did try to stay under 200 watts the whole time. The ride began even cooler than yesterday, at about 39 degrees, but by the end of the ride, the sun came out and we were cruising back to Petaluma in a balmy 57. It was a very good loop and a nice way to end the week by riding with the team, which I unfortunately don't get to do often enough.
This week also marked the beginning of my scientific approach to dieting. I set out long ago to drop some unwanted pounds, but eating less simply wasn't cutting it. I mentioned in my last blog that I've been reading Racing Weight, and by following the advice in the book, I managed to dislodge about 2.5 pounds this week in addition to the weight I lost on my own. 

This was a two-step process: First, I had to figure out what foods I needed to eat in order to get the optimal nutrition out of my daily meals. Because I'm already a rather healthy eater, the adjustments were very few. The second step, however, was rather foreign to me - counting calories. For some reason, each time I say "counting calories," it makes me think of a female diet implemented before the beach season intended to maximize the sex appeal of a bikini (sorry ladies). However, it actually works!

A great tool for this is actually free on the Livestrong website. It lets me enter the foods I've eaten and the activities I've done, including sleeping and simply walking, so I always know whether I'm in the red or in the black with regard to my calorie totals. And because it takes your estimated Basal Metabolic Rate into account, it's very easy to keep track of your gains or losses. You can set your loss, gain or maintain goals and the site will estimate your necessary daily intake. The surprising thing I found is that I actually have to eat more than I want to just to make sure I refuel enough after my bike workouts - also very useful, as carb and calorie depletion can lead to fatigue and overtraining early in the season. So maybe "calorie counting" does sound girlie, but hey, it works, and if gets me up Haskins Hill at Pescadero faster, it will totally be worth it.

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