Monthly Archives: July 2012

Done with benchmarks, time to improve!

First Sunday ride after returning from France, so what better to do than ride again the last Sunday ride we did before leaving? And, actually, the Wednesday prior to that.

Today’s ride, with Kevin-

Last ride prior to leaving for France (Bike Friday “test” ride), also with Kevin. The Bike Fridays seem to run about 10% slower on the climbs, but it’s not entirely a fair test we also loaded them down a bit with racks & bags (on my bike anyway).

Exact-same ride a few days earlier, on my Madone (like today). Just me that day; July 4th and Kevin was off paint-balling.

Obviously, I have a whole lot of comparative data! Weeks, months, years, even decades of the regular Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride, and then quite a few like this, often called the “Coastal Classic”. And, over the years, I’ve watched myself get steadily slower, at least past 50. I’d actually done pretty well in the run-up to 50, working hard to be in as good, if not better shape at 50 than I was at 35, and pretty much succeeded at it. But since then it’s been downhill, and not in a good way. My breathing issues have caught up to me, but soon that will be a thing of the past (once all testing is finished and they figure out the best therapy, as in drug, to open up my airways).

I’ve got enough benchmarks of the “old” me. Soon it will be time to start posting identical rides with a new trend. Faster times up the hills. Can’t wait!

Counting the days (until I can dope like the racers)

It was tough to say whether a sub-par ride up Kings this morning was partly the result of knowing why I’ve slowed down over the past year or if it was simply a high-gravity day. Probably just a coincidence, and it’s not as if a 29-something time up Kings, when riding through the park, is all that slow anyway. Nevertheless, it did serve as that thing at the back of my mind that caused me to send an email to my doctor, asking if he’d seen the results of the tests, and wonder what the timetable looks like from here on.

So is the question as simple as it seems? My desire to go faster up the hill, and the knowledge that a drug (probably albuterol) that will reduce the effects of exercise-induced asthma will help, and now I’m pushing the doctor to get things moving along… am I much different from the healthy athlete who wants something to help him or her keep up with the rest of the pack?

Let’s face it, my exercise-induced asthma is exactly that. Exercise-induced. There’s nothing about it that hinders everyday normal activity. I have never had any sort of “attack”, just a feeling of being a bit more out-of-breath than I’d like when, say, climbing stairs or, heaven forbid, running for some reason. Big deal. But on my bike, trying to keep up with the faster folk? That’s when the hammer comes down on me. But even then, if I was content to ride at a more-moderate pace, it wouldn’t be that big a deal.

But for me, it is that big a deal. Wanting to push my limits on a bike has always been part of (perhaps a large part of) who and what I am. So much so that it drove me to visit a doctor, something I habitually avoid unless there’s a bone sticking out of my arm or something like that. Obviously, I’ve become highly motivated. To dope. :-)