Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Race Weight

 As I’ve become slightly more (and at the same time less) serious about riding the past couple of years I’ve gone through what might be the somewhat typical progression of seriousness

  • Nice(ish) bike and Ride frequently
  • Nicer bike and Ride more
  • Powermeter and Ride Harder but still clueless
  • Halfway follow canned online training plan with half-assed results
  • Religiously follow canned/online training plan and get hurt/burnt out
  • Hire coach
  • …present state

Having nice/neat equipment is fun and generally adds to our riding excitement.  Training plans and Coaches help keep our workouts focused so we can crush our 12 “A” races this season – just kidding, inside joke.  All that stuff is relatively easy though.  My N=1 is that taking care of yourself is the hardest part.

As we get older, we’re (generally) slower to recover from our harder workouts/events.  I really struggled with this despite semi-regular yoga, a training plan with rest days and massage/chiro care.  Last year I bought some “space legs” that are pretty neat but I’m honestly not sure how much value they add.  Back on topic…

The backstory

Alright, so last year I had a good year results wise.  I’d wanted to be around the top third of my age group and did that everywhere I didn’t ring my bell (I think) and finished the mtb season pretty strong.  Enough that I bumped that to the top 25% for this year.  

Going from DFL to mid-pack is relatively easy in all seriousness, it’s those stupid little incremental gains needed to glimpse the pointy end of the field that are a pain in the ass.  I’m relatively happy with my power and would be happy with more but in most bike races let alone mtb races, it’s not just about power.  I’m pretty happy with my tech skills and confident that this won’t cost me much ground.  Where I know I can make gains is in weight.

Grad school did me in and I haven’t really recovered – 20+ lbs over 4yrs.  To be fair all my efforts so far have been pretty half-assed.  I ate a LOT better last year as Alison started picking up on some bad habits but was scared to cut back on the quantity as I was training harder than ever - It’s neat that now they can’t see exactly what you’re eating/just the nutrient composition with the feed from MyFitnessPal.

Last year we had a post about some peeps top recommendations for losing weight.  They were largely neat but I think missed the larger point.  So I started reading; you’ve got books like the Feed Zone, Racing Weight and a few others that escape me.  But none of them did a thorough job of getting through my thick skull of what to eat, when, how much and at what stage of your training plan.

Most “athletes” have a peak season or event.  Andy focuses on Cross in the Fall, Adam on Tri’s – mostly in the Summer.  Last year I tried to race a full endurance mtb calendar and then bridge into cross.  Where do you starve yourself when your “season” is nearly nine months long?  To complicate things, this year I have an “A” race in mid-March.


A few months back I picked up a Garmin Vivosmart   Fun little gadget that’s like a half-smart watch but if you distill it down, it’s more like a pedometer with a Bluetooth & Ant+ connection.  It’s pretty neat, I can control my Garmin Virb with it, start/stop my music and all sorts of semi-useless but neat crap.  

What I really got it for was to get a better idea on just how many calories I burned when not exercising.  It’s still largely a guess but it’s ever so slightly more accurate than the typical Age/Height/Weight/Activity Level 1-5 scale guestimates.

Why is that important?  Well, assuming I fuel correctly during/after exercise I can then more accurately manage my regular/daily/non-exercise calories.

One of the better “books” I’ve read makes it a point to separate your exercise nutrition from your daily life.  Why?  Well, completely different requirements is the short story.  We don’t need a boatload of carbs while we’re piloting our desk around the office and we don’t need 100g of protein during our 4hr bike ride.  

I’m not going to get too specific because I barely understand the basic concepts (like the preceding sentence) but let me know if you want to check it out.  This lady came highly recommended, seems to know her stuff but the packaging/presentation isn’t quite sparkly/shiny like say Racing Weight.  Truthfully I don’t really care about that so long as you help me figure out what/when/how much… …etc.

It’s still early in the process…

To cut to the chase, I’ve been eating MUCH better and dropping weight like mad while still riding relatively strong – I’ve had some rough patches trying to get stuff dialed in.  At 183, I’m equal to my lowest weight from last season and two pounds ahead of my goal and one week ahead of schedule.  Hope that made sense.

Near term target of a stable 180# for the TrueGrit Epic and somewheres in the 170-175 range by August for the Pierre's Hole 100 and cross.

Thanks for listening


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