Fueling For On The Bike Performance

This past weekend, Ben and I attempted a kitchen sink kind of workout. One that addresses all of the energy systems: endurance, sprints, VO2, sweet spot and finally 1 minute all out efforts. If there were ever a training ride to prepare you for the demands of racing, this is it.

We fueled well that morning: an egg scramble with veggies, and a big bowl of oatmeal. We even pre-loaded with a hydration mix specifically formulated for long, hard, intense rides. I’d mentally prepared myself for the 4.5 hour grueling workout.

But one thing I failed to do well: fuel during the ride.

For the 4.5 hours we rode, I only ate a banana and two packs of chews (one Honeystinger, one Skratch). I also drink one bottle with one scoop of electrolyte mix. And of course, a bunch of water.

By the second half of the ride, my power output suffered significantly. I couldn’t sustain sweet spot, let alone the endurance pace between sets. And my one minute efforts were pathetic. At the hour to go mark, all I could think about was limping back home at the highest sustained pace: barely above zone 1.

Has this ever happened to you?

I struggle to eat enough on the bike. The thought of eating only sugary, melted chocolate, and sweet chews followed by sweet electrolyte drink is not palatable. And the few savory bars I have managed to find are similar to chewing cardboard. But if you don’t fuel and aim for that 50-90g of carbs per hour, your performance will suffer.

Who doesn’t want to go faster? Then you have to train yourself to onboard carbohydrates throughout a ride. And the more carbohydrate you can tolerate and take in, the better you’ll perform during longer efforts.

That night we discussed different fueling strategies: my goal is to aim for 50g of carbs per hour to start with (keep in mind, this is only for rides over 2 hours long). Eventually I’d like to be in the 60-80g hour range. That’s two packs of chews per hour! Great for someone who loves chews and sugar coating their teeth…. but not so good if you’d prefer savory carb sources.

I scoured my Feed Zone cookbooks. Turns out not many portables have a super high carb content… even the rice cakes only average 30g per serving. I’ll need to eat 1.5 servings every hour – and that’s a lot of food! But after my lackluster performance this past weekend, I’m willing to get to work in the kitchen and see if I can create something that tastes good and meets those higher carb needs.

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to experiment with different rice cakes and other homemade on the bike nutrition I hope to share here.

First up, the Denver Rice Cake from Feed Zone Portables.

Have any homemade carb rich bike food recipes you’d like to share? Please let me know!

Staying Motivated

It’s still warm in the northern hemisphere and technically we’re just shy of two months left of summer. It’s August 3, 2020 and today is only the third day of road racing for the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado. Normally, we’d have completed nearly an entire road season and cyclocross racers would be foaming at the mouth for the season to start.

Yet this year is different.

This year, everything is different.

We had a notion the race season was going to be canceled back in February. Yet we (everyone) hoped this pandemic was just hype. That the news sources were fixating on the newest headline in a slow news day. And then the COVID case counts started rising, hospitals were slammed with critical care patients, PPE shortages, panic toilet paper hoarding and everything was shut down. With so much uncertainty, it was hard to write training plans around events that were vanishing before our eyes and in turn hard for our athletes to stay motivated.

Despite all of these setbacks and changes, it was interesting to see which athletes took this news in stride and which ones struggled. Sport certainly teaches you a lot about overcoming adversity and setbacks. For the most part, everyone was able to overcome the reality of a canceled race season and instead embraced working on their weaknesses. Normally, we only get a few weeks in the winter to really address the things that hold us back and this year, we’ve been able to hone in on them all spring and into summer.

Yet without competition, it’s hard to know if the time spent working those areas will come to fruition. Who’s paying attention? Does it really matter if I do my core in the morning? What if I missed a yoga class for the third week in a row? This is where it’s important to trust the process. We’ll find out soon enough and you’ll see who spent this time wisely or who decided to perfect their baking practices. (Kudos to those who were able to do both – that’s a win/win!)

If you’re struggling to stay motivated now that it’s August – getting that stoke factor back up could be as simple as taking a break. Or it could be brainstorming with your coach or friends to come up with a challenge to keep you on track for the months to come. I encourage you to get creative and think outside of the box. Bike packing adventures, scavenger hunts, exploring some new gravel roads, visiting farm stands and sourcing your veggies locally, etc. Just make sure to share it with someone you know who will hold you accountable and get in touch with what brings you joy.

What Would You Do?

My dad is making his semi-annual pilgrimage from Florida back to Oregon next week. He, his wife and their three dogs are driving, stopping at various pet friendly hotels along the way. They want to stop and see Ben and I, which we want to see them too!

Except… they have not been social distancing. They continue to have friends over for dinner and give their friends hugs and kisses. They don’t wear masks or take extra precautions to avoid germs. They’ll be staying at public hotels along the way and refilling at gas stations, eating on the road, and with each encounter, increasing their chances of exposure.

We’ve been so careful. We’ve turned down invitations to hang out with friends.

Do we let them stay here?

When I asked my group of girlfriends they all said no way!

But it’s FAMILY.

Have they been practicing social distancing? No. It’s one thing if they were taking the steps to avoid gatherings and staying in a RV or self contained unit along the way. If we let them stay here, we’re inviting their germs, their friends germs and the germs of their friends not to mention all of the people that they interact with along the way.

I fretted over this last night and all this morning.

Again, I really want to see them and yet….

I’ve bitten off every single one of my fingernails, a habit I started as a kid as a coping mechanism. The stress knot that builds behind my right shoulder blade flared up.

And just as I was typing this, I got a call from my dad saying that they’ll catch us on their return trip to Florida this upcoming fall. They spoke with a friend who had a visitor come from New York and passed the virus onto their entire household. He said he just doesn’t want to risk giving it to us.

My nails just grew back a little bit. PHEW!

This brings up an interesting point though – where do you stand on things? What would you do in that situation? And why do people’s responses vary so much to what’s going on with the pandemic?

The Routine These Days

If it weren’t for my regularly scheduled Monday and Tuesday meetups, I’m sure the days would blend together and I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.

Wake up, check the news. See what’s new and hopefully not too depressing. This morning I read a headline that said although we’re getting bored by sheltering in place, it also could mean a huge surge in creativity and problem solving. A glimmer of hope, I say! Otherwise, headline after headline about the dire straights humanity is in right now.

Get up, do my core while listening to an informative podcast. I usually listen to CNN’s  – and today focused on the mental health of those on the front line. My heart goes out to all of those essential workers who are bravely helping the sick.

Feed the pup and get some coffee on. I gave up drinking java for 10 years. Ten years! I have a sensitivity to caffeine and since Ben doesn’t drink it and the sun actually shines 300 days a year in Colorado, it was easy to forgo. During my mom’s most recent visit (from Seattle in early March, while shit was hitting the fan), she left a bag of ground beans and my first sip of a hot brewed cup of joe has me back on the beans again. I GOT SO MUCH DONE, at first. Now, I just like the taste again. And maybe the comfort of having a morning ritual.

Cook breakfast. I really like egg scrambles with as many veggies as you can muster. We sit down to eat and when I’m nearly done, Mochi starts letting me know that THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE DAY IS HERE: her morning walk. Sometimes Ben joins, sometimes not. We have this big open space adjacent to our house that takes about 20-25 minutes to walk to the end and back. Mochi loves it. And I love making that little pup happy.

Come home, start working. Work for me these days consists of checking in on athletes that I coach and building their training as well as create online content in the form of blogging and yoga videos. I try and stay away from the headlines and news stories – reading them in the morning and limiting it to just then seems to help me mentally.

At some point during the day, I practice the ukulele and this brings me a lot of joy. I’m almost ready to play in front of people AND sing. Coming from this shy girl, I can’t believe it!

I also dream of what’s for dinner and figure out what veggies are about to turn in order to not waste any food. Tonights pick: leftovers.

Yep, it is boring. And I feel a big surge of creativity coming…. may you capture and capitalize on that spark when it hits!

Taking A Break

I clued into my own happiness this past week which meant a lot less time on news sites and more time doing the things I love. Or in one case, ahem, taxes, something that I’ve been procrastinating doing for quite some time.

Something I discovered: Checking In with Susan David’s podcast. It gives you some great tips on how to take care of your mental health during this pandemic. And taking a break from the media was definitely suggested and adopted – thank you, Susan!

Yep, case loads and hospitalizations as well as the death toll continues to tick upward. But you already knew that.

 

Building Resiliency

It’s impossible not to feel some form of anxiety these days. Our world is upended: the way we interact, the way we travel, the way we do business, the way we exercise, the way we shop for food – all of it has changed. And the media is right there, documenting every step along the way. We read about case loads, COVID patients, deaths, pleas, the economy, social distancing, quarantines. Even typing those words causes panic to set in.

What if we just stopped?

What if we were able to change the narrative?

What if we created the world we want to live in?

What if we changed the language around what we’re experiencing right now and spun it in a different light?

Try this one for instance: instead of quarantine, replace it with retreat. That feels better already. What if we did our own private meditations and took this time to look inside? And what if when we faced that thing that made us feel the most uncomfortable, we just sat with it to learn the lessons it brings with it?

Now we’re getting some where.

Perspective shift, life changing. One thing I know for sure: I’m limiting my reading of the news and notifications are getting shut off for a bit. It feels so good to have a plan of action and a way to get out from under the anxiety thumb.

That Achey Leg Feeling

Know what feels good? Going out for a long, hard ride on the bike and coming home completely wrecked. It makes you forget about the world we’re in these days, even with the constant reminders of people wearing face masks and towns looking deserted. If you push yourself hard enough, you feel completely present in the moment.

Today was our last warmer day before winter returns tomorrow and we’re limited to indoor activities. We encountered a lot of motorcycles and motorists today – a sign that we’re not the only ones with cabin fever and that they sense the cold weather on the horizon. However, cabin fever certainly has its perks these days.

Colorado Case Summary (Updated 4/11/20 at 4:00 p.m.)
Note: This summary only includes data through 4/10 and does not reflect cases since then.

6,893 cases*
1,376 hospitalized
56 counties
34,873 people tested**
274 deaths
67 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

  • Denver 1,182, 46 deaths
  • Arapahoe 998, 37 deaths
  • Jefferson 713, 25 deaths
  • Weld 683, 44 deaths
  • Adams 593, 25 deaths
  • El Paso 578, 35 deaths
  • Eagle 433, 5 deaths
  • Douglas 292, 10 deaths
  • Boulder 246, 8 deaths (youngest case is a 60 year old female, the rest were much older)
  • Larimer 180, 9 deaths
  • Unknown 136
  • Gunnison 102, 3 deaths
  • Broomfield 74, 2 deaths
  • Summit 68
  • Morgan 56
  • Garfield 54, 2 deaths
  • Pueblo 53, 3 deaths
  • Montrose 50, 4 deaths
  • Pitkin 49, 2 deaths
  • La Plata 49
  • Out of State 39, 1 death
  • Routt 35
  • Mesa 34
  • Chaffee 28, 3 deaths
  • Elbert 14, 1 death
  • Logan 13
  • Teller 12, 2 deaths
  • San Miguel 12
  • Montezuma 11, 2 deaths
  • Clear Creek 11
  • Baca 10
  • Kit Carson 7
  • Alamosa 7, 2 deaths
  • Park 6
  • Fremont 6
  • Delta 6, 1 death
  • Archuleta 6
  • Rio Grande 5
  • Oterio 5
  • Phillips 4
  • Ouray 4, 1 death
  • Lake 4
  • Grand 4
  • Saguache 3
  • Moffat 3
  • Costilla 3
  • Yuma 2
  • Washington 2
  • Mineral 2
  • Las Animas 2
  • Custer 2
  • Crowley 2, 1 death
  • Rio Blanco 1
  • Prowers 1

Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

Ben and I said goodbye to our sweet, loyal and old pup Moonli at 4:30pm yesterday. He lived 14.5 full years and we’re so thankful for the time we got to share with him. Things were getting pretty bad at the end – his cleft pallet membrane had a puncture and he was obsessively eating dirt, as well as failure in his rear legs. He was pretty deaf and couldn’t see well due to double cataracts. And yet, we miss him dearly. Waking up this morning to a quiet house sent us both into sobs and it’s been an adjustment thinking that he’ll bust through the dog door at any moment. Even Mochi is looking for him.

Oh, puppy. Thank you for teaching us about unconditional love and loyalty.

And then it’s back to reality… Ben asked me at dinner tonight if the media has an inclination of when this social distancing is going to ease up. My thought: it’s really hard to say. Other countries that were hit early from it are slowly getting back to business and time will tell if they have another round of infections. Another report Ben read said that to completely knock this out of humankind is to shelter for the next two years. Can you imagine?

Colorado Case Summary (Updated 4/9/20 at 4:00 p.m.)
Note: This summary only includes data through 4/8 and does not reflect cases since then.

6,202 cases*
1,221 hospitalized
56 counties
31,180 people tested**
226 deaths
54 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

  • Denver 1,031, 38 deaths
  • Arapahoe 877, 24 cases
  • Jefferson 660, 25 cases
  • Weld 614, 36 death
  • El Paso 534, 32 deaths
  • Adams 475, 16 deaths
  • Eagle 394, 5 deaths
  • Douglas 270, 10 deaths
  • Boulder 217, 7 deaths
  • Unknown 200
  • Larimer, 9 deaths
  • Gunnison 99, 1 death
  • Broomfield 61, 2 deaths
  • Summit 57
  • Garfield 50, 2 deaths
  • Pueblo 48, 2 deaths
  • Morgan 44
  • Pitkin 39, 2 deaths
  • Montrose 38, 3 deaths
  • La Plata 37
  • Out of State 33, 1 death
  • Routt 32
  • Mesa 32
  • Chaffee 26, 2 deaths
  • Logan 13
  • Teller 12, 1 death
  • San Miguel 11
  • Elbert 10, 1 death
  • Clear Creek 10
  • Baca 9
  • Montezuma 8, 1 death
  • Alamosa 7, 2 deaths
  • Kit Carson 6
  • Delta 6, 1 death
  • Archuleta 6
  • Rio Grande 5
  • Park 5
  • Otero 5
  • Fremont 5
  • Phillips 4
  • Ouray 4, 1 death
  • Lake 4
  • Grand 4
  • Saguache 3
  • Moffat 3

Back in Business

Yesterday I was pretty anxious about creating the last set of masks I had on order for some neighbors that I woke up at 3:30 in the morning, unable to fall back asleep. I laid in bed for 90 minutes before finally getting up. When I finally sat down to sew the last couple of masks, I got about 1/3 of the way through one and my sewing machine gave up the ghost. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was stressed an anxious about making them… I started crying.

Thankfully, our local sewing machine repairs Elna’s and I was able to take it in today. Turns out it just needs servicing (yes, I was pushing it to its limits) and while I was there, the rep easily talked me into a new Baby Lock. I CAN’T wait to try it out! And just like that, we’re back in mask making business. Phew!

Meanwhile, things seem to be tapering a bit with our Covid cases. Is it a true flattening of the curve or false hope?

Colorado Case Summary (Updated 4/7/20 at 4:00 p.m.)
Note: This summary only includes data through 4/6 and does not reflect cases since then.

5,429 cases*
1,079 hospitalized
54 counties
28,094 people tested**
179 deaths
44 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

  • Denver 884, 31 deaths
  • Arapahoe 718, 16 deaths
  • Jefferson 579, 21 deaths
  • Weld 537, 27 deaths
  • El Paso 457, 28 deaths
  • Adams 388, 14 deaths
  • Eagle 372, 5 deaths
  • Douglas 232, 8 deaths
  • Unknown 221
  • Boulder 206, 3 deaths
  • Larimer 161, 8 deaths
  • Gunnison 95, 1 death
  • Summit 53
  • Broomfield 50, 2 deaths
  • Garfield 48, 1 death
  • Pueblo 44, 2 deaths
  • Pitkin 39
  • Montrose 35, 3 deaths
  • La Plata 34
  • Routt 32
  • Out of State 31, 1 death
  • Mesa 27
  • Morgan 23
  • Chaffee 22, 2 deaths
  • Logan 13
  • Teller 12, 1 death
  • San Miguel 10
  • Elbert 9, 1 death
  • Baca 9
  • Montezuma 8, 1 death
  • Clear Creek 7
  • Archuleta 6
  • Rio Grande 5
  • Park 5
  • Kit Carson 5
  • Delta 5
  • Otero 4
  • Grand 4
  • Fremont 4
  • Alamosa 4
  • Saguache 3
  • Phillips 3
  • Our 3
  • Moffat 3
  • Lake 3
  • Costilla 3
  • Yuma 2
  • Mineral 2

Covid Catchup

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in sewing masks. I thought they’d be quick but even the basic elastic ones take me 15 more minutes than I thought. And the ones with cloth ties? Those take basically an hour a piece! I’ve spent more time sitting in front of the sewing machine that things are starting to get crazy at home… laundry piling up, coaching stacking up… I had to turn off the fire hose of orders and tell people I’m no longer available to make them. If I make them and stockpile, then I’ll make them available. Sheesh!

Meanwhile… here’s what is going on in Colorado. I read this morning that we’re going to become the next hot spot. Yikes.

Colorado Case Summary (Updated 4/5/20 at 4:00 p.m.)
Note: This summary only includes data through 4/4 and does not reflect cases since then.

4,950 cases*
924 hospitalized
54 counties
25,773 people tested
140 deaths
37 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

  • Denver 825, 16 deaths
  • Arapahoe 608, 13 deaths
  • Jefferson 519, 17 deaths
  • Weld 470, 24 deaths
  • El Paso 435, 25 deaths
  • Adams 354, 10 deaths
  • Eagle 339, 5 deaths
  • Unknown 232
  • Boulder 177, 3 deaths
  • Larimer 143, 8 deaths
  • Gunnison 93, 1 death
  • Broomfield 50, 2 deaths
  • Garfield 46
  • Summit 45
  • Pueblo 40, 2 deaths
  • Pitkin 38, 2 deaths
  • Montrose 32, 1 death
  • Routt 29
  • La Plata 29
  • Out of State 26, 1 death
  • Mesa 22
  • Chaffee 22, 2 deaths
  • Morgan 17
  • Teller 11, 1 death
  • San Miguel 10
  • Logan 9
  • Elbert 9, 1 death
  • Baca 9
  • Montezuma 8, 1 death
  • Clear Creek 6
  • Rio Grande 5
  • Park 5
  • Kit Carson 5
  • Grand 4
  • Delta 4
  • Alamosa 4
  • Saguache 3
  • Phillips 3
  • Otero 3
  • Moffat 3
  • Lake 3
  • Fremont 3