Coming off a recovery week, I wasn't expecting much. Maybe because of that I quit the squats and my first interval on the bike early. I'm going to do two weeks of Maximum Strength and then one week of Strength Maintenance in this cycle. On the bike, I'll be doing Lactate Threshold intervals.
I know I've posted my Smoothie recipe before, but it has changed a bit. It starts with two cups of Orange Juice, one scoop of Soy Protein Powder (Natural Vanilla Flavor from Whole Foods), One scoop of soy protein with Spirulina (natural vanilla flavor from Whole Foods), one cup of frozen strawberries, one half cup of frozen pineapple, one banana, and one serving of Orange Sherbert. Everything goes in the blender and mix well. The two scoops of soy protein add 38 grams of protein and the Spirulina adds tons of vitamins and minerals. I mix this up after every weight training workout.
I celebrated my recovery week by doing absolutely nothing more strenuous than chasing my kids around. No Yoga, No easy spinning, nothing. That's not the best way to recover, so do as I say and not as I do.
I did spend some time getting caught up on work, planning for two fund raising events, and getting some things in order for RAAM (including filling out the application and paying the entry fee). Carolyn said they can use the picture of me from Monument Valley as my official picture. Its the one of me holding the three pieces of carbon fiber that used to be a Zipp 202 rim. Cool.
Its getting close to Bike Sebring. I'm really looking forward to it this year. David and Jakson, two members of my RAAM crew may join me there. My dad is coming down as well. In 2005, Sebring was on my list of "A" races meaning ones I train for and the main goal is results. In 2006, I used Sebring as a "C" race meaning it was more for training than racing and the results were secondary. This year it's an "A" race again. The next three weeks will be Lactate Threshold Intervals (right now I can do 10 minutes at a time, I'd like to be able to do 40 minutes) and I'll continue with the Maximum Strength phase in the weight room. I hope to put up some big numbers down there in Florida.
I had to dip into the stash the doc recently gave me. The cough morphed into a sore throat, which got progressively worse. I found an old bag of cough drops in the kitchen that I started sucking on, but it was just mild temporary relief. I finally broke and took the antibiotics and within about 10 hours the pain had subsided a bit. Its been about 36 hours since the first pill and the sore throat is virtually gone.
I don't have definitive results yet, but I did want to state some observations.
I may be killing myself I don't know. The system uses plastic tubing and what looks to be an ordinary plastic bag (inside the air receiver); some or all of the plastic in the system outgasses what could be toxic chemicals. There is a horrible plastic odor when you put the mask on, which I eventually get used to, but am I poisoning myself? To be fair, it has diminished a bit, but if I were Higher Peak, I would examine alternatives.
The pipe ladder in the air receiver broke. The twine that supports the heavy pipes was folded over and secured with a zip tie and then this loop was placed over the hooks in the air receiver. The zip tie wasn't pulled tight enough and the twine slipped through, so when I checked it the pipes were hanging from just one side. There wasn't enough left at the end to tie it with any kind of knot, so I zip tied it to repair it.
The hooks that hold up the pipe ladder are straining against the sides and my fear is that they will pull through. This part of the system was definitely not designed, more like cobbled together to solve a problem.
I started at approximately 5500' for one week and just completed a week at approximately 7000'. My next step is to raise it to 8500'. I say approximately because I didn't get the $220 optional oxygen analyzer.
My blood tests are two weeks away, so I don't know if this is worth it yet. I will let you know.
I skipped Sunday's century because the temperature at the start was supposed to be 16 degrees and Snow(up to 1.2 inch)/freezing rain was expected starting at 11am. Lest ye think I am being hard on myself, check out Jill in Alaska. She is one tough chick.
One of the reasons I don't like riding in temperatures that cold is I have to really bundle up to stay warm. I'm not sure if my knee got too cold on Saturday or if the extra layers of clothing restricted my movement, but my left knee is now sore. Luckily, this is a recovery week, so I'll get some easy spinning in and it'll have time to heal. I'll be going to Yoga Tuesday and Thursday which should also help stretch it out.
I went to the Doctor on Tuesday for the yellow smelly phlegm. I am now paranoid that I'll get pneumonia again and end up in the hospital. It seems I was getting better, but the Doc gave me an antibiotic just in case...I'll be holding on to those suckers. I still have the cough, but it doesn't seem to be infected. He cleared me to ride, as long as I didn't get worse.
Saturday was the Glen Echo Century followed by a DC Randonneur meeting at 6pm. The course wanders from Glen Echo to Point of Rocks, Md, crosses over into VA (Right on Lovettsville Rd just after the bridge) then takes Taylorstown Road, Loyalty Road, VA9, Dry Mill into Leesburg (for the lunch stop). The return trip travels along the W&OD to the Custis Trail to the Key Bridge into Georgetown then back to Glen Echo. Since I live right near the W&OD, I rode to the ride start, it's about 30 miles. I was bundled up against the cold (roughly at the freezing mark at 5am when I left) and I had a wicked tailwind to DC. I arrived at the start on time and followed Chuck and Crista out. Ed was there on a solo bike because Mary is in Mexico...where the temperature is probably in the mid 80's. Lucky.
There was a new guy there on a Surly Cross Check, who talked like he was going to be struggling on the ride, but proved to be very strong. Jeff kept the rubber side down, despite the small person wind warnings I had seen on the news Friday night. Gusts of 60mph, who are they kidding? Winds were probably in the mid 20's for most of the day. Imagine crawling at 10mph into a 20mph headwind. Definitely advantageous to be in a group. Unfortunately, I got dropped soon after we hit Rte 28. So I had to struggle for several miles to get to Point of Rocks. Once into Virginia, the roads were a bit more sheltered. I stayed on Taylorstown Road to do the climb and then made the right on to Stumptown Road to add that climb as well before hopping back on the official route. It added about 5 miles, but I needed the climbing. Dry Mill Run has been repaved, so with a little bit of tailwind I rocketed in to Leesburg.
I stopped at the lunch spot long enough to defrost a Powerbar and then headed home for lunch. BAD IDEA...It was nice and warm and there was plenty of food...The kids were mostly asleep. I had already covered 105 miles at that point...Why not shower and take the car to Glen Echo...I had been up at 4am to get ready for the ride and it felt like a good time to take a nap...It was really tough to get geared back up and to head for DC, If I didn't know a tailwind would take me all the way, I would probably have stayed. Once into DC it was 6 or 7 miles to Glen Echo, but the temperature was dropping with the daylight. After the meeting, I called ABL for a SAG. The temperature was much colder than it had been in the morning and I really didn't feel like riding another 30 miles to get home.
Total mileage was 135. Because of the cold, I had a tough time eating. My perpetuem was filled with ice crystals and the Powerbars were PowerSICLES
First, I'd like to apologize to all the UMCA members for my part in the delay of the November/December Issue of ULTRACYCLING. It seems that John Hughes took the time to rebut my letter in the issue.
Now that we finally have some facts, I'd like to address a few things.
From 1997 to 2006, the UMCA membership has gone from 700 to 1650. Over the same time frame participation in road cycling overall has roughly tripled. Some would say that a rising tide lifts all boats.
It is an accepted fact to John Hughes that several hundred members choose not to renew their memberships each year making it necessary to recruit new members. I think the UMCA could do a better job retaining these members. Putting a "This is your Last Issue, Please Renew" cover is a common tactic for other magazines. Sending out a postcard or envelope after the membership lapses is also a common tactic. Finally, make it easy for people to renew with an online form and I think retention rates will skyrocket.
What is the UMCA doing to recruit new members besides requiring membership to participate in certain events? Are they co-marketing with RUSA? Are they Co-Marketing with USA Cycling? Are they Co-Marketing with Hammer Nutrition?
While I'm on the subject of Co-Marketing...How about attracting Ultra Mountain Bikers? How about Tandems and Recumbents? Is ULTRACYCLING providing them with worthy content? What are we doing to recruit them?
John states that his goal is to provide "authoritative content" in ULTRACYCLING and it is not a vehicle for advertising. I ask, then why have advertising at all? If you are going to have advertising, you might as well do it right. I'm not saying the magazine has to look like VANITY FAIR with 200 pages of advertisements and you have to hunt for the articles, but a healthy dose of adverts doesn't take away from the content and gives you the funds to print in COLOR and to hire a support staff.
The Constitution and Bylaws clearly state that the UMCA and RAAM are separate organizations, but the UMCA purchased the Race Across America intellectual property. The argument is that the ACTUAL PHYSICAL RACE is held by another company. That's splitting hairs if you ask me and violates the letter and spirit of the Official Governing documents. How hard is it to propose a change to the bylaws to make this legal? Not hard at all.
I rode the Whiskey Springs One Hundred yesterday and I was supposed to ride another century today, but my cough worsened near the end of the ride yesterday. I'll be seeing the doctor on Monday for Antibiotics. I don't want this to progress to Pneumonia again...My training is going to take a hit either way.
The Whiskey Springs One Hundred started out relatively flat and I felt pretty strong. Coming down Whiskey Springs Road, I was trying to stay close enough to Chuck and Crista to be able to ride with them to Lunch, but Chuck was bombing down the descent and I found myself panicking more than once as Chuck blew through the turns at Mach 2. The road leveled out a bit at the bottom and we had a left hand turn. Jeff fell hard trying to make the turn at speed we found him standing by the side of the road, getting the chain back on and looking for damage on himself and his rig. He rode easy into lunch with us, and I think he is ok.
I took an 8 mile (4 miles out and 4 miles back) detour after lunch to get some extra climbing in up Kings Gap. The road was newly paved and held a relatively steady grade from 600 feet to 1250 feet. Because of the weather, I could just make out some farmland through Kings Gap Hollow, but not much else. The rain and cold seemed worse at the top, so I didn't stay long. The last 48 miles were very hilly. The convenience store at mile 76 was closed, so I stretched my water supply to the mid-80's. I rode the last 15 miles sans water (there were no other stores on the route) and at the finish I downed a 32 oz Gatorade from the Exxon C-Store. Total distance was 108 miles and time was around 8.5 hours.
I do not dispute the fact that John Hughes has been and will continue to be an asset to the UMCA.My intent wasn’t to disparage him or the Board of Directors.My intent was to point out some fundamental things that are not getting done and to offer my services to do them.I didn't want to whine about it not getting done, I wanted to do it. I'm not trying to take energy away from the organization; I'm trying to add to it.
I think we tend to forget that the Managing Director serves at the pleasure of the Board.If you think the UMCA is perfect as it is and my list of initiatives as stated in the letter are counter-productive, then stick with John Hughes. If you can see some room for improvement, then consider a new Managing Director.A large and vocal segment of the general membership is unhappy with the current state of affairs and a new Managing Director would show that the Board is committed to the best interests of the organization.
John Hughes is passionate about Ultracycling and I'm sure if he wasn't spread so thin with the UMCA, he could make a major contribution to the Race Across America which he just purchased.
This is me, stepping forward to help build the sport I love.
UMCA General Member
P.S. I look forward to seeing you and John at Sebring.
Official Response From The UMCA Board Of Directors
Dear Lou, I was not aware UMCA is advertising for a new managing director. Behind the scenes, John Hughes has worked tirelessly to promote and to build UMCA, stepped in to help save RAAM (there would have been NO RAAM this year if he had not helped orchestrate the purchase of RAAM), and worked to build the year rounder as well as to double the amount of JMC races.
I have worked with John very closely through out the past several years and been very impressed with his wide reaching efforts to develop the UMCA magazine and to increase the polish and appeal to many others. I have heard from my colleagues overseas and in far places in the US, in fact, at every race folks come beside me and comment on enjoying the articles and being encouraged and inspired to test themselves.
I find the tirades of a very few people in the organization very counter productive, taking energy away from building the organization and trying to discredit the hard work of a board and of a dedicated individual.
Sincerely, Nancy Guth, Secretary of the UMCA Board
There have been some issues recently with the UltraMarathon Cycling Association (UMCA) in conjunction with the recent sale of the Race Across America. There have been accusations of impropriety, there have been delays in elections, and from my perspective, the organization seems to be in a reactive mode instead of being proactive in serving the members. So, I sent the following letter to the President of the Board of Directors. I also simultaneously posted the message to the Ultracycling Listserv to be upfront about it. I didn't want John Hughes to get the impression that I was doing anything behind his back.
Dear UMCA Board Of Directors;
I would like to be considered for the position of UMCA Managing Director.The organization for many years seemed stagnant (with incremental gains made by enthusiastic volunteers in the records department, the JMC/year rounder). Within the past couple of months there has been a rash of activity aimed at making the organization appear more “International” in focus.This is clearly a reaction to the newly proposed International Ultracycling organization and the UMCA is attempting to disrupt the formation of this new organization by holding a meeting at the same time in Paris after PBP.Regardless of whether another organization is needed, the UMCA was clearly not meeting the needs of a certain demographic and now faced with competition is reacting to the situation.It would have been preferable if the UMCA had been proactive on this topic negating the need for another organization.
As the new UMCA Managing Director, I would focus on being proactive. In fact, here are some of the initiatives I would like to see happen:
1)More advertisements in the Ultracycling Magazine and on the website.More revenue would allow more glossy color photos of the amazing scenery our races traverse.
2)A photo contest to encourage submission of more photos.
3)Increase UMCA branded merchandise sales to increase the amount of photos in the Ultracycling Magazine.
4)Online membership application using Paypal, Google Checkout, or some other shopping cart program to decrease the barriers to joining the UMCA and ease the renewal process for current members.
5)The proper and timely completion of all paperwork required under the constitution and bylaws.
6)I would support the President in holding the required quarterly BoD meetings.
7)Video footage of ultracycling races on the website. This would increase site traffic, increase visibility of races on the calendar, and spur the imagination of future ultracyclists.Also, video interviews of top Year Rounders and/or JMC participants might increase the desire in members to complete more miles and recruit more members.
8)Increase the visibility of the organization to promoters of shorter races and recreational century events perhaps by partnering with current advertisers.
9)A BoD meeting open to all UMCA general members in a warm weather state in December or January over a weekend that would include rides and culminate in an Ultracycling Awards ceremony or party.The rides would attract UMCA general members and give them the opportunity to participate in a BoD meeting.
10)Find and replicate best practices around the country.For instance, Crista Borras maintains a huge library of rides in the Mid-Atlantic Region and organizes weekend century rides.I know this is happening in other parts of the country, we need to examine how to support these ride leaders and encourage others to emulate them in areas that do not have such rides.Support the ride leaders and not just the race organizers and the participants will come.
11)I would also suggest a change to the bylaws that limits the position of Managing Director to a 4 year term with a maximum reappointment of one additional term at the discretion of the BoD.
In my career, I have co-founded two successful organizations.The first Tri-Mech Solutions Inc. sold high end engineering software and reached over $1 million in sales within the first 3 years and was the dominant supplier in the Mid-Atlantic region. The second, Optimum Fitness Results has allowed me to explore B2C ecommerce and conversion rate optimization, skills that would help me increase the sales of branded merchandise, increased online membership and renewals, and to make the changes to the UMCA website to increase visitors and advertising revenue.I can provide a detailed resume on request.
I thank John Hughes for his decade of service as the Managing Director of the UMCA and mean him no disrespect, but I think it’s time for new proactive leadership.Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
My MAG-5 Mountain Air Generator arrived yesterday. It is an altitude training device intended to simulate higher altitudes to stimulate more red blood cell growth. The main unit weighs something like 50 lbs and looks exactly like what I would expect it to look like. When I opened the other box, I thought they had sent me a Rubbermaid bin for storing the hoses and miscellaneous items, but it turns out that's the air receiver. It looks a little ghetto, but it gets the job done. I'm guessing that to keep costs down, Higher Peak went with a single compressor design, so the air comes in squirts. The air receiver has a bag in it that inflates. Then there is a Pipe Ladder (literally a couple of sections of pipe hung like an emergency ladder) that you hang inside the Rubbermaid bin and it compresses the bag when the compressor is on its back stroke to supply air to the mask- Crude but effective. You hook that up to a virus/bacteria filter then hook up a mask and you are ready to go.
There's two main settings, low altitude and high altitude. Last night, I set it to the low altitude which maxes out at 7000'. I figured if the machine walked up a bit from the altitude I set it at, I could still survive. It was difficult to sleep, because the machine forced so much air into the mask and it wasn't in sync with my breathing, but I eventually fell asleep. I turned the unit off about 3 hours later when Q woke up crying. I was afraid the noise would keep her awake.
ABL was able to sleep, but she had nightmares of Darth Vader coming after her all night long. jk. She didn't like the noise, so I'll probably relocate the unit downstairs and run the hose up to the bedroom. There's 50' of hose, so I have lots of options. There is a compression noise, then sort of a sigh. The hose also makes a noise as the air comes rushing through it.
When I opened the instruction manual, the first page is Warnings. Here's number 15: Use of this device may have a negative effect on your marriage or relationships. Don't say you haven't been warned. Good Luck. The optional oxygen analyzer seems a bit more required than optional when you read the instruction manual, so I'll probably have to buy one. I think, because I'm near sea level, I'll be ok for a couple weeks.
Is it Working?
I don't know, I will know in one month. You can see on my training calendar I'm going in to get my blood drawn then, so I can give you before and after Hematocrit with one months use. I'll also be getting blood drawn about 2 months after that and then 3 months after that, so we'll all know if this is working. If it does work, you can bet I'll be telling everyone I know they can get an altitude simulator for 1/4 of the cost of an altitude tent from Hypoxico and Colorado Altitude Tent (CAT).
I showed up at the DC Rand 200Km Brevet in Woodbine, MD a little late and most of the parking spaces were taken (there was a ton of people), so I parked on the grass. I got about 4 feet into the grass when my front end dropped into a ditch left by a truck tire, but I figured I'd worry about that when I got back (hopefully the ground would dry out a bit). The roads were damp, but the forecast was for highs in the low 70's.
I spent most of the day worrying that my rear tire would go flat because I had failed to swap out my rear wheel before the ride. After the rubber is too worn to be used on the road, I use it on the trainer and this tire had been retired awhile ago and had spent a long time on the trainer. Worrying is stupid and a waste of energy, but I did it anyway. So, I felt even dumber when Paul broke a crankarm and still found a way to finish the ride.
I brought my camcorder out and got some decent footage. The guy on the carbon fiber Cobrabike recumbent is Drew. And yes, he did say that the mobile attached to Max's crib has flying monkeys that spin down towards him. Yes, This is the same guy who let a random goat loose in his house.
This was just before New Windsor. I met up with Nick and George just before Gettysburg. Then I caught the leaders coming back from Dillsburg and that's Jeff a couple minutes behind them. Finally, I got a few more DC Randonneurs at the turn around in Dillsburg before I put the camera away.
It was a long hard, lonely slog back to the park & ride in Woodbine. When I got there, I had to rock the Cavalier out of the muddy ditch but no worries.
I'll write about Saturday's 200km Brevet at a later time - I have a surprise for y'all.
I knew I was in trouble when I pulled into the start and there were 4 tandems prepped and ready to go. Ed/Mary, Gordon/Lynn, Steve/Lynn, Chuck/Crista. Jeff Magnuson and I were the only ones on Solo bikes. The pace started out reasonable, but after most of the group pulled over for a pitstop, I softpedaled ahead. Gordon and Lynn soon joined me. We talked for awhile, passed the first rest stop and then with about ten miles to lunch, they picked up the pace and I had to drop into their draft to stay with them. Soon, they picked the pace up and I couldn't even hang in their draft.
Jeff wasn't far behind, so he joined me pretty quickly. Then the other tandems showed up and dropped the hammer as they passed me (about 5 miles from lunch).
Lunch was pretty good and was probably made better by the company. Ed and Mary announced their engagement. He had proposed after a ride on Christmas Eve. Mary wrote up a ride report, but she left out the part about her engagement... The restaurant we stopped at looked a bit nicer than the Pig & Steak. So I didn't get any sweet potato fries. We got to lunch so early that we were done by 12:15. We were trying to beat the rain that was forecast for 4pm.
Ed and Mary were planning to take the shortcut around mile 82, but they were haulin' @ss after lunch, so we suggested they might have a bit too much energy to be cutting 4 miles off the ride. With 3 miles left in the ride, we felt a couple of rain drops. I was in my car and on my way home before it really started coming down.
I went to my first Yoga class today...It was pretty cool.
Better News? I ordered an Altitude Simulator and it is arriving on Monday. If you follow this blog, you know that my hematocrit generally wavers between 32 and 36. Normal for an adult male is between 38 and 50. Pro cyclists use Altitude tents to get their hematocrit as close to 50% as possible. The more red blood cells the faster and longer you can go.
When I was first transplanted my hematocrit jumped from 32 to 38 and I felt like superman. I'm looking forward to that feeling again. If my body responds to the simulated altitude I'll be a very happy camper.
Incidentally, I got busted when Discover Fraud Prevention called my wife to ask about a rather large purchase I had dropped on the card. She was not a happy camper.
I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.