Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 1: Building a new motor.

The time has finally arrived. My test results returned with nearly all positive improvements (some very big ones.) and my mood/energy levels have returned, so with the doctors OK I set my alarm for 5a.m. and had one celebratory drink of Yamazaki 18year Japanese Whisky before my triumphant return to training.

5a.m. rolled around and I was startled awake by my alarm. After hitting snooze three times I finally managed to roll out of bed around 5:20. I strode into my newly updated pain cave and fired up Zwift, eager to get on the island and get some miles in my legs. I'd show these avatars I still had it.

I started out with a nice warmup... really spinning the legs. It felt a little tougher than I remembered, so I shifted down and kept up the good work, running around 140watts.  Soon however, due both to my own relentless competitiveness and coaxing from Zwift, I settled in to do some work. A climb you say... just what I needed to test myself. Polka dot jersey here I come.

I start my ascent and shift into a big gear and launch off. 100m in the cold truth hits me... I'm not going to be first to the top. Then the Mike Tyson right hook gets me... I'm not going to be 25th to the top. 26...27... Mercifully the climb ends and I take the 31st fastest time up. I immediately drop out of my big ring and spend the next couple of minutes just trying not to vomit."Close the Gap" pops up an ad-infinitive number of times in the next few minutes, and more often than not, I do not close that gap.

Finally, in what seems like an eternity of suffering but in all actuality was no more than 30 minutes... I think I've had enough for the first day. I did some decent work, a solid go round, now to just check my average watts for the ride and see how I did. I'm sure I lost a lot, but pfft... I'm healthy again!

Avg. Watts - 156
Avg. MPH - 16.5

Sheesh... at least I probably broke a record on my max watts, I did a serious sprint!

Max. Watts - 706

I shakily unclip and nearly topple over getting off my bike, my legs an unfamiliar hairy lump of jelly. For a moment after both my Joule and Zwift prompt me to save my workout, I consider deleting them. This isn't me... is it? Of course I have my moment of clarity and save both.

Of course it isn't me in the sense of the triathlete who had last saved a file to poweragent.  That person in gone, for better or for worse, and can never be again. I say for better or worse, but I look for it to be for the better... that person wasn't smart, believed he could push through anything and that more was always the answer. I hope this new, blank slate I've been gifted has the intelligence to mix with that determination and create something better. So I'll be back on my bike today, and tomorrow, and probably not the day after (rest days you know) but then I'll be back again... and I'll take my beatings and put in my time and then...maybe I'll look back at those old power files and laugh. That's my goal anyways.

Thanks for reading! Regardless of anything else, it's good to back in the saddle.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Track Stands are Hard

Old reliable is back in action, as is the Egg Brake (I'm not brave enough to go brakeless)
Monday I will hopefully get cleared to return to some form of training, but with the break in crappy weather we've had, I just couldn't resist getting out on a bike. Still, I'm a good patient, so I refrained from much "riding" and decided it was time to learn a new skill... Track Stands.

Much to my dismay, what hipster kids make look simple I seem to be having a hell of a time nailing down. After an afternoon (and another morning) of practice, I've gotten proficient enough to stop and hold it a few seconds... but still not red light length of time, nor reliably enough to try it anyways. Still, progress is progress, and hopefully I'll have it mastered in the near future, afterwards moving on to perfecting it on a road bike, which seems infinitely harder.

It was also good to be back on the Planet X Stealth, and it wears this new skin pretty nicely. I had forgotten just how solid this bike feels underneath me... It's a shame it's not a little more aerodynamic :( I also dug the old Egg brake out of retirement so that I'd have a way to stop other than my legs, and while I still have the same complaints about it that I always have (it's annoying to set up and fickle to stay put once you do have it set) it's still one of the most assured braking aero brakes out there... which is what I'm most interested in on this kind of ride, as I'm still working on stopping reliably without relying on the brake.

Hopefully the next time you hear from me I'll be back in the saddle "for real," and with good things to report from my blood tests. Until then, thanks for checking in!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Closing in on a return to training.

A little under two weeks left. Time has gone from passing by at a palatable level to chilled black strap molasses crawling. I am becoming restless.

That said, I've been getting things in order for my (hopefully) imminent return. By now you've likely at least read a little bit about Zwift (with LTD and Jens both being big supporters) and, being that it combines two things I love (cycling and video games) I was immediately sold on it. I'm in the beta (albeit I've yet to ride the island) and even went so far as to build a(nother) computer with the sole intention of running Zwift in the pain cave.

Next step is to clean up the cables.

I expect to spend a LOT of time with this in the coming months, so I wanted a dedicated setup to make it work. Zwift isn't a terribly resource sapping game, so I was able to escape with the cheapo gaming computer build... about $700 (counting the 32" TV I picked up at an bargain hunt store) and it'll play at pretty high setting without dropping any frames.  It's crazy how cheaply you can put together a solid gaming PC these days. 

Being the gear-phile that I am, I also lucked into a new lid. My LBS happened to be one of the lucky shops that had a S-Works TT helmet in stock... and it was my favorite color!

Look fast even when you're not able to race
I'm excited, this thing is high on features (admittedly it's also high on price, although it's less than a lot of the other "super" helmets) and extremely comfortable the little bit I've worn it. It also seems to line up well for me.  Whether it's faster or not is yet to be determined, but I've got high hopes.

On the last note for this update... I've been back to have more blood drawn. I'm very interested to see what kind of changes have taken place in my body since the last visit. My hope is that my worrisome levels have righted themselves with the supplementation and rest. I'm sure I'll have a little bit of a comparison on here once I've been over it with my doctor.

Thanks for checking in on me. Excitement is mounting, I can't wait to be back.

- Christopher Morelock