Thursday, July 30, 2015

Learning to breathe.

You can learn a lot from a rabbit.
I think, after all these years of doing it, that I do not know how to breathe correctly.  Astonishing!  Could it be?  This crept into my mind a while ago but just as quickly crept out again.  Then last weekend I was in the middle of a long climb on the Warbird, a climb that was difficult and had me right below redline a good part of the time.  And I became aware of the fact that I was breathing shallow and fast, mostly from the chest/rib cage area.

And I thought back to an article I read that, IIRC, referred to Eddy Merxx and spoke about his 'paunch'...his beer belly look that was a result of bringing into play his belly area to expand the capacity of his lungs.  Now for all I know, Eddy might knock down a beer or two or three and maybe it is a bit of that too, but I never forgot that.

So in the middle of the climb, I began to breathe deeply, consciously allowing my belly to expand, feeling the lungs go just a bit 'more', if you will, then expelling the lungs with a good push.  I found that I dropped farther away from redline and my suffering dropped down a notch.  I did not have a heart rate monitor on, but it would have been interesting to see if that was affected.
I just know that it hurt less and I had more room for harder, short efforts without tipping over the edge.  My legs felt better too, but mostly it was cardio bennies I was seeing.  The funny thing was that I had to really concentrate to breathe this way.  As soon as I stopped thinking about it, I stopped doing it.  As well, it did not feel natural when I was doing it.  It felt good in a way but bad in a way, like I was betraying what I knew how to do well from if I took two steps, then hopscotched the next one before the next regular step, etc.  Just not natural.

So I need to play with this more, but it seems there is science behind this, which actually does not surprise me.

Linky number 1  Linky Number 2

Now I figure it this way...the bigger the belly the bigger the breath.  Bring on the donuts and Fritos, I have a hill to climb.

Look at them lungs, huh? I am gonna crush the next hill.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

A pleasant surprise.

Full of possiblities.
When I decided to build up a "gravel bike", despite having very little real gravel at hand, I was not sure if I was going to like it enough to ride it often.  Boy am I pleasantly surprised.  It is a bike that I have been riding more than any other in the stable and that tickles me to no end.  Who would have thunk it?

Now that I have worked through gearing changes and tire selection, at least for now, the bike is working really well.  And I have been pretty happy with the way that Salsa built the Warbird, although I still do wish they did it in a nice steel too.

At a recent press junket, I brought up the subject of Gravel Bikes to many journalists there and almost to a man they responded back with positive comments.  They either are riding a bike like that or are using their cross bike or maybe even a road bike to get into "multi surface riding".

I call it dirt.

And I find myself planning rides now that have a mix of pavement and dirt; big loops that have a good amount of climbing.  I have a buddy that just bought a Raleigh Willard.  I have another buddy that just bought a Specialized Sirrus and we have been wondering how big a tire we can stuff in there and get into some dirt here and there.  The manager of one local shop bought his and hers Cross bikes and that is what they ride most of the time now.  Another shop here in local SO Cal is hosting regular Gravel Bike rides and is reaping the bennies by selling several models in that genre.

Iowa is spilling over to the Left Coast, so it seems.

Tomorrow's self supported road century ride just cancelled, so I have my options open.  I already have a plan and it includes riding across town early on the Warbird, using local paths and streets. Then I will hit the dirt and climb for 9 miles or so on the dirt, mixing in some abandoned paved mtn roads, then returning on surface streets and paths.

I have been researching another route in a nearby town that will be the same type of mix.  My wife is all ready to take her flat bar road bike with 38s and low gears on this one, we just need to get some cooler weather.

So I think I am getting my money's worth out of this gravel bike deal, in fact I think it is paying me back!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Can a car be a soulmate?

I cannot remember ever feeling this way about any other car, but going back to the beginning of the model line, the Subaru Outback wagon always caught my eye.  It looked like it celebrated all the things I thought were neat in a lifestyle...a bit of practicality, a bit of adventure, and a bit of style that was counter to the Fast and Furious way of thinking about cars and life.

Not once would one go by on the road and not rate a long glance; a follow with the eyes and a swivel of the head.  I was smitten, but at a distance.

A recent trip to Vail, where Subaru is considered the "Official State Car of Colorado", I bet every 3rd car in any lot was either an Outback or a Forester.  I was in agony, driving around in the family truckster Mazda 5, and I whined incessantly about it, much to the chagrin of my wife.

But God was gracious and I am now among the ranks of Outback owners. I could hardly be more pleased.  She's a beaut', she is.

Soulmates, we are, or at least from my viewpoint.  How she feels about this, I cannot say for certain, but I suspect she feels the same.