Thursday, December 18, 2008

Form is Temporary - Class is Permanent

Every now and then there's a professional athlete that has the perspective to realize that they are indeed a role model, makes a difference in their community, makes a difference for their sport, and gives back to the fans who make them what they are. Trevor Linden is one such individual. Drafted second over all by the Vancouver Canucks, he was the face of the franchise for years. He donated countless hours of his time to Canucks' Place and other children's charities. In 1994 he took the Canucks all the way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He worked tirelessly for the NHLPA; standing up for player's rights and crafting the revenue sharing/salary cap model that is allowing the NHL to thrive today. It's too bad you don't see Trevor's attributes in even a small percentage of his fellow professionals.

Last night the Canucks retired Trevor's jersey. Check out the montage and live highlights from last night's presentation. A Western Canadian kid who's done us all proud:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Changing Things up with Off the Bike Training

Last weekend the SDBC category 4/5 team got together for a dryland training session with Pat Jak from FitnessQuest10. Some of San Diego's best professional athletes, including LaDainian Tomlinson, train at this facility.

From my perspective, it was definitely a learning experience and time well spent. Pat's philosophy on dryland training is somewhat different to what I've been doing with the Cyclists Training Bible for the past few years. The exercises aren't necessarily so much different, the big difference is the approach. The Training Bible is more focused on power lifting, whereas Pat would probably term his approach as more of cycling training.

For example, the Training Bible is all about working up to big weights with squats, lunges, leg presses, etc. During any session you do squats, then you move on to something upper body, then you do some core work, then you do some leg specialization. Pat's approach is to do squats, upper body, core work as well, but rotate through the exercises. Pat's exercises are also a lot more core/balance focused. He has you doing squats, but he also has you doing a lot of ball work, jumping, and off balance activity.

Saturday during our session we did some exercise and a lot of watching as one of our teammates played the role of the guinea pig. Even though we only did a fraction of the exercises, those that we did really challenged my left leg to work as well as my right. This is something that is challenging from a number of perspectives; first I'm never too sure just how far my left leg can go, second I can definitely feel my range of motion / bound up tissue being pushed with Pat's balance focused exercises. Afterwords I had the pain/relief feeling that only those who've had to regain lost range of motion can understand; tissue that is being pulled apart and hurts a bit, yet feels better for it. I'm optimistic that a couple months of Pat's exercises will provide a giant benefit to me by directly addressing some of the weaknesses I have in my left leg.

Saturday afternoon when I went for a long endurance ride I could feel the benefits of Pat's exercises immediately. My left leg definitely felt like it was playing more of a contributing role in my pedaling. As a result, I'm going to get away from the Training Bible weight program for a bit and give Pat's approach a try. As with most people, I naturally have a hard time letting go of things that I know well, even though the new approach appears to provide such an overwhelming reason for change. I'm still wrestling with myself a bit as far as the change in direction goes. I'm going to try to do Pat's exercises 2 times a week in the mornings before work and see what effect they have on my cycling performance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One More Week 'Till the Showdown

Next Monday will be the last week of the maximum strength phase of this year's weight lifting program. Last week I got up to 6 reps of 270 pounds (not including the bar, which weighs something like 35 pounds). So I've surpassed my goal of lifting 280 for one rep. My previous max of 320 pounds also appears to be well within reach.

Sometime during next Monday's workout I'll do a couple one rep lifts and see just how much I can lift. The weight you can do for 6 reps should be something like 80% of your max, so I ought to be able to do something like 325 plus the 35 pound bar = 360. Hopefully I'll have my crack spotter on sight just in case something goes wrong.

Once the maximum strength phase completes things will move to the strength maintenance phase, where the goal is to hold the strength gains of the past couple months through the rest of the racing season. I'll go back to 3 or 4 sets, doing 10 to 12 reps.

Here's a chart that shows my weight buildup for squats over the past couple of months (click it for a larger image). Note that the number of reps per set has been decreasing, while the weight per rep has been increasing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vacation / Tandem Riding

The weekend of November 15/16 Carol and I drove up the coast to Cambria (one of my favorite places) for some R&R and tandem riding.

Saturday we rode the tandem south from Cambria to Moro Bay, something like 58 miles return. Here are some pictures. This was a tough day of riding. Even though the terrain is pretty flat along the coast line, there was a big time Santa Ana wind going on. The upwind ride down to Morro Bay was a real grind. We were going 12 mph along flat ground for parts of this ride.

Sunday we rode north, getting in a 40 or so mile ride. This was a really nice day of riding. Little or no wind, cooler yet still sunny, and very peaceful.

The weekend we were away was the weekend of the big fires in Sylmar and Santa Barbara; luckily we were far enough north of all the action. Up in Cambria you would have never known that anything crazy was going on to the south.