November 24, 2006

With head held high, we move forward

First let me say that I appreciate all the kind words and thoughts that were sent to our family during the last month - they mean a lot, and will be cherished forever. Having said that, it's time to move forward - as he would have wanted it; not to dwell or linger in the past for too long. So, I have removed some of the more personal effects from the blog - and we now, as they say, return you to our regularly scheduled programming...

Marching back towards regular cycling is one step I can now take, as the clock finally ticks down on my time as a member of the injured reserve list. With only four days left to go, and a lot of baggage to unload, I took the bikes down from the rafters last night, aired up the tires and took a few laps around the neighborhood. I'm happy to report that the pains of the last month are gone, and practically forgotten during daily life these past few weeks. Yard work, playing with the kids, lifting, stretching and general walking around haven't produced any tightness or flaring in the ankle or tendon area. While this injury had become FAR less important over the past weeks, it has popped back into importance as I've looked for ways to occupy myself, and maintain fitness.

While it will take some time to get back to a level of competitiveness, it should also be noted that I really haven't been at a competitive level for some years now. Since 2003, I have really taken a laxidazical approach to riding and eating and health in general. Only recently have I been motivated to do something about that, and by rejoining Weight Watchers this past month, I have lost a total of 10.2 lbs -- however I must admit that Thanksgiving was tough this year, for obvious reasons, and I may have slid backwards a touch; but I can restart and correct for that easily - which is the plan. A solid upper body program has turned into habit, and also while it's been hard to keep that up over the past week, I'm anxious to get back into it, and get more results - some of which have already begun to show. Looking back on HOW I made 2003 such a solid season, it's clear now what's been missing - hard work. It was NOT easy before, but sometimes looking back it seems so impossible -- this time, and for all of 2007, I'm prepared to do the work that delivers the results I have waxed philisophical about.

The first steps, however, are in the form of slow rebuilding. Cycling remains a strong passion, but jumping back into action with a metric century is NOT in the cards. It's almost December, after all, and big miles are really not in the cards -- even though as I write this it's nearly 65 degrees outside! Not bad for the day after Thanksgiving. As much as I'd LIKE to get right back into the thick of riding, I know that I can't, and it will take some time to build up even to a COMMUTE to work! Last night started with approx. 3.5 miles. Today, later this afternoon when the heat of hte day peaks out, I'll go for about 5-7 miles. Then, 7-10 miles. After that, 10-12 miles, then 12-15, then 15-20 -- after reaching a successful 20 mile ride, I'll be ready to start commuting again, sporadically. Rest days will be important, too. After commuting for a bit, the weekends will hold more distance. It will almost be like starting over: though I likely haven't lost THAT much, six weeks off doing ANYTHING cardio-related will certainly have some sort of consequence attached to it.

Reaching 30 miles on the weekends may have to come as early as NEXT weekend, however, with the last CommuterDude ride of the year - this will be a 34 mile ride, at a REALLY easy pace. Hopefully, nothing will prevent me from doing that ride, but I'll have to be cautious. Worst case, I can drive support for the ride, and let others enjoy it - but we'll see. I'm NOT going to reschedule it again!! Promise!

After the 35-mile marker, things will start to get easier, I imagine. Strength and endurance will come back, and hopefully with no reminders of the injury. Knocking on wood!!! The next goals will be the metric century, and that may well be the extent of mileage training until things begin to turn around in late February. After that, serious ramping up for the brevets will have to begin, and I may see my first full century ride in early March (pending the brevet schedule).

After that, a full schedule of 200, 300, 400 and 600K rides ensue - once again with the 600 holding up the scepter of "longest ride ever", since Tejas didn't go as well as planned. I still have yet to break the 300 mile mark in a single event, so I'm looking again at early May for the personal record attempt. With that in the bag, Tejas 2007 will likely hold far fewer surprises.

All in good time... Stay tuned! We're on our way back, baby!!!


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