S*** … 😟

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Ladies, you can sit this one out if you like.

Like many men my age, I occasionally suffer from a bought of prostatitis, an inflamed prostate.

I don’t mind getting up throughout the night to relieve myself, but I hate having to interrupt a ride to take a pee, particularly when I’m cycling with others. Not only is it embarrassing, but it ruins the ride for everyone.

So, today I visited with my doctor, and Googled “Foods that cause Prostatitis” beforehand. This what I discovered.

Common foods that have been found to exacerbate prostatitis symptoms include:
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot peppers
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Acidic foods
  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Caffeine

S*** … 😟

I don’t like spicy foods, hot peppers, or alcohol BUT do enjoy coffee (a lot of coffee), bread, lemons, limes, and tomatoes. My homemade energy gels include lemon and lime juice. I drink 2 cups of coffee every morning before workouts, and then several more later in the day. And, I often carbo-load the day before lengthy rides, or cycling events with spaghetti, and homemade tomato sauce.

What? Am I causing this myself?

So, what does my doctor think about this?

S*** … 😟

He agreed!

Coffee is a diuretic, and acidic foods (orange juice, limes, lemons, and tomatoes) may be the culprits. He suggested I eliminate all highly acidic foods from my diet for a month to see if it makes a difference 🤔

Otherwise, he suggested they are drug therapies that may help.

S*** … 😟

This will be interesting … 😒

I’ll wean myself off coffee over the next week, substitute water and herbal teas, revise my energy gel recipe to exclude lemon and lime juice, and find a replacement for my post workout sandwiches which generally include sliced tomato.

I’ll give this a try for a month as suggested, and report back. I know there may be other causes, and actually wrote about this 4 years ago. I may not have the most prostate-friendly saddles but they are comfortable in every other way, and have been for a long time. I don’t think they are the problem. I also understand that excessive exercise, particularly squats, can trigger this inflammation.

S*** … 😟

If you have experience with this problem, please comment.

Oh yeah … 🤔 The above photo was taken while in a coffee shop waiting to see my doctor. You can see my coffee cup reflected in the sunglasses. I will also have to stop visiting my favourite, local coffee shops I enjoy so much.

S*** … 😟

Well, I finished the 2017 Pacific Populaire👏👏👏

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Well, I finished safely 👏👏👏 This was the first group event I have completed since crashing last fall.

And, I posted the fastest time ever, despite batting a 15-20 kph headwind 50% of the time 👏👏👏

I have completed the Pacific Populaire 4 times now, and proudly display my event pins in my den. The Pacific Populaire is the first local century ride of the season, and I look forward to it each year because it keeps me motivated during the coldest, wettest months of the year in these parts. It is the same route each year, so riders learn where to safely attack, and where its better to hold back. The route is 100 km long with 17 km of climbing with grades averaging  3%, up to a maximum of 9%.

For most of the route, I rode with two other cyclists, each of us taking turns pulling, and averaging 25 kph for the entire course. It seemed faster than that. We were often travelling 30-40 kph, but had to battle a strong headwind half of the time, and because we cycle through the city, we must obey all traffic lights. You wouldn’t believe how much they can slow you down. There are ~ 25 km of the course where we were affected. We seemed to catch all the red lights 😠 So, a 25 kph average is not bad considering.

However, I feel I could have gone harder, and faster. I averaged ~ 80% of my maximum heart rate over the 4 hours, and yet had “gas left in the tank” at the end. I could have worked harder. Also, my cycling comrades pushed a more relaxed pace for 20 km, and then took a shortcut back to the finish with 20 km remaining. They tired.

In general, I was pleased with my result. I prepared differently this season, and it payed off. I felt strong, and confident on the bike, despite not having many hours in the saddle beforehand.

This is what I did differently.

  1. For 3 months, I trained 6 days a week including a modified cardio program, strength training, particularly for the cycling muscles, the legs and core.
  2. Most of the cardio workouts were completed on a Keiser spinning bike. It was too cold, icy, and wet from January – March to train regularly outside on the road bikes.
  3. I used the built in power meter on the Keiser to regulate the workouts instead of my heart rate monitor. It is a more accurate measure of effort.
  4. The cardio workouts were varied, including endurance, lactate threshold, VO2 max, and recovery rides lasting 45-60 minutes.
  5. I had specific FPT and strength goals, and retested at the beginning of each month so that I could revise my training zones (both heart rate and watts) accordingly, gradually increasing my training load.
  6. Leg workouts included leg press, hamstring curls, and leg extension exercises twice weekly. And, I lifted differently than I have in the past, lifting one-legged, and until failure, for 6-8 sets. I have lifted “heavy” for several years but this time I made an effort to balance my leg strength by doing each of the exercised one leg at a time.
  7. Core workouts included crunches, planks, pallof presses, core twists using the cable machine, and leg raises three times a week. Again, I workout “heavy”, and the pallof press was new to me.
  8. Using the Garmin activity tracker, I tracked and recorded my resting heart rate, and sleep quality every day. I had never done this consistently before and was surprised to learn that my RHR on average is in the mid forties, and that I average 9+ hours of sleep a night, including ~ 5 hours of “deep” sleep.
  9. I maintained a detailed daily log tracking every workout. I did this so that I have a guide for the next 3 months, and for next year when I plan to start the process over again.
  10. I tapered for 3 weeks prior to the event, maintaining training intensity while reducing the duration of the workouts – 30% the first week, 20% the following week, and an additional 10% the final week. I had never tapered “gradually” before, and never for 3 weeks. It worked. I felt refreshed, and eager to race by the end of it.
  11. I only managed to complete 5 road rides before the event because of the weather, gradually increasing the distance over a 2 week period, never riding more than 65 km. This was a concern but I learned you can train effectively inside.
  12. I stretched regularly, particularly on rest days. I seldom does this in the warmer months when I’m on the bikes more. I need to change this up. Stretching aids with recovery, particularly when training hard.
  13. I rested 1 day each week, and 2 days at the end of each month. This was difficult. I’m not accustomed to rest days.
  14. I paid better attention to my diet and nutrition, adding more protein, and making certain I ate within 60 minutes of every workout.

This schedule and training technique seemed to agree with me. I improved my strength, VO2 max, flexibility, and endurance.

So, what is next … 🤔

Well, I have things to work on.

For starters, I didn’t lose as much weight as I hoped. A reduction of 5-10 pounds will improve both my speed and climbing ability. Once I am at the cottage, cycling longer distances, and eating my own cooking for a few months, I will shed 10 pounds quickly.

Also, I need to cycle on the roads more frequently. Now that the weather is improving, I can switch from the spinning bike to the road bikes. I plan to ride 250-300 km every week while I’m at the cottage.

And, I had better hydrate better. I left with two full bottles, one with electrolytes, and the other plain water. I returned 4 hours later with only half a bottle gone.  I didn’t seem thirsty at the time but quickly downed 2 beer when I settled in to watch the back nine finish at the Masters. I need to do a better job of this.

Oh yeah. I need to cycle with a team of 3-4 other cyclists prepared to work as hard, and long as me. I’m going to call it Team PedalWORKS 😂

Interested … 🤔

I have registered for another century ride (MEC (Toronto) – Horseshoe Valley Century Ride) on July 15 while I’m at the cottage. That gives me another 3 months to lose the weight, accumulate more road miles, and learn to hydrate better.

I’m also going to experiment with a more polarized training schedule, but let’s leave that for a subsequent post.

Are you planning to complete a century ride soon?

What GoToob means … 🤔

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GoToob is the civilized, smart, squeezable tube for outdoor activities. The award-winning and patented GoToob is made from soft yet rugged silicone, so it’s easy to squeeze out all of the contents. A large opening makes it easy to fill and clean. And it’s airplane carry-on approved, food-safe (FDA), and 100% BPA and PC-free.

Well, it’s that. A civilized, squeezable tube.

It’s also a signal that I am back outdoors cycling. You see, I make my own gels for cycling. I prefer all natural ingredients, and over the years, have refined a recipe for rides lasting longer than an hour that looks something like this –

  1. Juice of 1 medium Lemon
  2. Juice of 1 Lime
  3. 4 larges Dates
  4. Large handful of Raisons
  5. A tablespoon of Peanut Butter
  6. A tablespoon of Salt
  7. 1 cup of Water (the water used to soak the dates and raisons)
  8. 1/4 cup of filtered, black Coffee

The recipe fills 3 GoToob 89 ml tubes. Depending on effort expended, I try to consume 1  tube each hour. I only have 2 tubes right now, so cannot cycle longer than 2 hours 😂 I lost 2 tubes last year when I had that high-speed crash, and have been meaning to replace them. Now that I’m outside more frequently, I had better make a trip to MEC to purchase a few more tubes.

I’ve tried a variety of other packaged gels and bars but they upset my stomach, particularly on long, hot rides. I sometimes use Cliff Bars but find them too sweet, difficult to open when cycling, difficult to chew, and subsequently difficult to swallow. On the other hand, my homemade gels are easy to access, easy to swallow, easy to digest, and considerably less expensive than pre-packaged alternatives.

If you have a recipe you like, please let me know. I’m always interested in finding a better solution ☕️🍋🍓🍇🍚

How to roll your IT Bands and Quads … 🤔

I had a leg massage today.

This is the first massage I have had in years. I want to see if massage can aid with recovery. Many professional cyclist swear by them. I have been training hard for the past 3 months, and despite an increased focus on rest days, quality sleep and restorative nutrition, I have noticed increased muscle soreness, particularly in the legs.

Will massage help?

Massage is as integral to a professional cyclist’s daily routine as riding the bike is. What does massage do for a cyclist?  First and foremost massage promotes recovery by flushing the toxins up to the heart so that new oxygenated blood can circulate. If you notice, the massage therapist will always rub the muscles upwards towards the heart. The massage is actually pushing out the muscle’s carbon dioxide rich blood to the lungs and heart which is then filtered to come out as oxygen rich blood that goes back into the muscles.  The body will do this naturally but massage drastically speeds up the process.

It’s too early to tell. I just had the massage today. I’ll have to wait several days to know. But I can say that the massage made me more aware of which muscles need attention. I learned that my IT bands and quads are tight, and sore, probably the result of overuse. Could this be the reason my right knee and hip hurt at times?  It’s possible 🤔

The masseuse suggested I begin using a roller regularly to self-massage these muscles  following every workout, and long ride.

IT Band – The illiotibial band (ITB) is a thick strap of soft tissue that extends down the outside of your leg. It’s notoriously hard to work on using traditional stretching movements but, if allowed to become overly tight, can be at the root of a number of common and painful knee problems. The best method for keeping your ITB functioning optimally is to use a foam roller.

Quads – This muscle group at the front of your thighs consists of four muscles, the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and sartorius. The rectus femoris especially is responsible for driving your pedals around but, if allowed to become too tight, can have an adverse effect on both posture and biomechanics, resulting in lower back pain and potentially hip and knee problems.

I see people in the gym using rollers, and noticed we have several. Some harder than others. The masseuse suggested using one after every workout when the muscles are warm, gradually building up the number of rolling repetitions over several weeks..

This is not the first time rollers have been recommended to me. My son, who is a personal trainer, even made me one with a re-cycled cardboard tube and inner tube. It’s around somewhere, but I found it too hard, and short to use effectively. The masseuse suggested beginning with a softer version that is 2-3 feet in length.

Knowing these muscles are tight, and that they may be causing discomfort, or possibly injury, I’ll try using a roller for the next month, and then book another massage. I’m not ready to begin to taper for the Pacific Populaire but will treat this rolling regimen as part of the tampering process. I want to be rested, and injury free for the event.

If you have had experience with a roller, I’d like to hear about it.

 

The New Road

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The new road is really not new at all. It’s old. Full of pot holes and cracks like an old, weathered face, the result of many long, cold winters. But part of it has been resurfaced. A facelift.

The new road heads east to a large lake best known for fishing – muskellunge, pike, bass, and perch. And it heads to the only real hill in the immediate area. A short hill – 500-750 meters at most. And relatively steep. Maybe a 10% grade. It’s perfect for fast, repeat climbs.

I head out to the new road during the week. It is remote, rural and has no traffic. I may pass a local farmer in his truck or tractor. Otherwise, it’s just me except for grazing cattle. The road cuts across part of the lake leading to the hill, providing scenic views along the way. This morning I headed to the new road with Chas. It was supposed to be a recovery ride following yesterday’s long, fast ride with Lou.

Chas: “You think I’m slow.”

It started slow, but I was feeling good. Full of energy. And again, there was no wind. Perhaps it was the new surface. I don’t know. It is perfectly smooth, inviting, and impossible to resist. By the time I reached the hill, I was warmed up and attacked it with all my might. By the time I reached the top, my heart was pounding in my chest and I was gasping for breath.

Chas: “You see. I’m fast. And, I can climb.”

This was not a recovery ride.

Lou: “We could have done the ride faster. Climbed that hill without getting your heart rate up so high. Chas is heavy. You have to work harder with him. Take me next time”

I don’t do recovery. I ride hard. Or rest. That’s the new road for me. I may do a longer warmup. I may work harder some days. I rest when I feel like I need it. But I don’t schedule rest days. I let my body tell me when it needs it. I may have an elevated heart rate in the morning. I may simply not feel like cycling. That’s when I rest. That may be once a week. Maybe every two. Sometimes longer.

Chas: “That’s why you have Lou and I. You ride differently with each of us. You go faster with Lou (or at least you think you do), and you ride longer distances with me. I’m more comfortable. Like a comfy chair. Lou is your middle age sports car, and I’m your best friend that doesn’t care if we ride slow or fast.”

Lou: “I like that. A Porsche. No. A Lamborghini. That’s me.”

I vary my rides. Vary the terrain. Cycle in all weather conditions. Hot. Cold. Wet. Wind. It doesn’t matter. Riding every day keeps it interesting. Challenging.

There’s no time for recovery. That’s what sleep and proper nutrition are for. I’ve learned in recent years how important they are, and that if managed carefully they dramatically reduce recovery time enabling athletes to trainer harder, and more frequently.

I’m no athlete but I would rather cycle than not. You see, I am like the new road. Parts of me are old, and can’t be refitted. And parts have been resurfaced. My technique has improved – in the wind, climbing, descending, shifting, and on the drops – and I pay more attention to nutrition. I eat to recover and fuel my rides.

Chas: “I’m like the new road too. My body is old but I have new parts. I’ve been resurfaced.”

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Bolsover | Day # 9

The weather has changed.  At least, for a day.  It is wet, windy and cold.  I chose not to ride.  Instead, I stayed inside and painted.  There were a few small water stains on the ceiling (there is a roofer here now replacing flashing that was damaged with ice this past winter) and, I prepared the beams in the main room and kitchen area for painting.  I plan to highlight them with a fresh coat of semi-gloss white paint.

I was up and down a ladder all day.  I couldn’t help but think it was a leg workout, not unlike what a do in the gym to strengthen the quads and buttocks.  I didn’t think much about cycling.  No.  I was thinking about eating, about the importance of nutrition to athletic performance and, about what I was going to prepare for dinner.

When I am alone, meals become a major part of the day.  I enjoy planning, shopping and preparing hearty meals for myself.  This past week I have eaten a lot of nutritious salads, a vegetable laden frittata, lentil soup, an embellish veggie burger and tonight, I am preparing a wrap.  Not an ordinary wrap.  No.  A wrap modelled after one I enjoy at one of my favourite cafes back home, JJ Bean.  They call it a ranchero.  It includes egg, cooked yams, beans, vegetables, brown rice and hot spices.  I don’t have all the ingredients but I have enough to concoct a satisfactory substitute.

I’ve learned that to train effectively I need to recover adequately.  Otherwise, I get tired, run down and occasionally, sick.  For me, that means well balanced meals.  Meals prepared with natural ingredients, fresh vegetables and fruits.  My meals are not quick to prepare.  Thats a large part of the pleasure, particularly when I am alone.  At this time of the year, there is a large variety of fresh, local produce – sweet corn, field tomatoes, red potatoes, blue berries, strawberries, english cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli …  I stock up every few days so that I have lots to chose from every day.  I don’t like to decide what I am going to prepare until the day of.  It is part of the fun to invent something from the refrigerator and not strictly follow a recipe.

I usually eat in front of a fire with a good book in hand.  Dinner is not quick to prepare and, it is not quick to eat.  I linger for an hour, or more, savouring the food, enjoying the warmth of the fire all the while engrossed in a good story.

Recovery also means adequate rest.  Sometimes, when you are too busy, it is hard getting enough sleep.  It is hard getting to bed early enough and there is no opportunity to sleep as long as you might like or need.  We get busy.  Busy with work, family and friends.  And, good sleep becomes a challenge.  That is not a problem here.  There is no work, family or friends.  There is no TV.  And, there is a really good bed.  Better than the one at home.  I go to bed early, read for an hour or more and then fall into a long, restful sleep awaking when I am ready.  Once I adjusted to the local time, I have been sleeping 8-10 hours.  That is a lot for me.  I awake refreshed, rested and ready to ride.

Sun and warmer weather is forecast for tomorrow.