Monday, April 09, 2012

Arivaca Permanent

Sometimes it's hard to know if I'm getting more finely tuned or just growing older. Of course, I guess both could be happening concurrently. Which ever it is, my list of bike-related personal "projects" seems to be ever increasing like stars in the heavens on a see-for-ever night.

I currently have three buckets of stars: one labeled nutrition, one labeled exercise induced asthma, and one labeled bike/biomechanics. It seems the three have coalesced adding to my adventures. An exponent to my equation is having moved to Tucson just 6 months ago and needing to re-build a team of holistic practitioners to keep me rolling; an increase of 2,100' of base elevation (Chicago is pretty tortilla-like); I have my choice of mountains to climb on a daily basis; AZ is both dry and hot, the antithesis of Chicago; and I can ride 365.

While a number of the AZ Randonneurs were riding the Easter Fleche somewhere between Flagstaff and Phoenix, I rode the Arivaca 200k Permanent Counter-clockwise. I was really excited to ride the route solo for a number of reasons. It helped a lot that I had basically ridden it Clockwise with Mark Doumas November, 2011 so I had a familiarity with the route. And, this time I would be able to ride Mission Road from Helmet Peak to Valencia DOWNHILL on a freshly paved surface that was absolutely grand. Frankly I appreciated the steepness of the climb much more seeing it rush by me at 30 mph on the descent!

My excitement, too, was charged with the realistic hope that the following tweaks, tips, and trials would make for a triumphant ride. Indeed it was triumphant.

Bucket Number Uno: Nutrition
Thanks to Joanna Chodorowska  my fluid and electrolyte and fueling-on-the-bike is coming together  well: about 10 oz of plain water every 10 miles, 2-3 Endurolytes every hour (probably more as the AZ temps climb), a bottle on the bike with 1 scoop Sustained Energy and 1 scoop Clif Shot Electrolyte replacement powder which I use to wash down the e-caps; a brown rice tortilla with home made guacamole for lunch, Perpetuem Solids (1 or 2 on a 200k), Hammer Gel as needed, 1 bag of Lays Classic Chips, and of course a Red Bull somewhere along the way.

The surprise to me, big surprise, actually, is that the nausea I experience on the bike is how I manifest dehydration. It's, of course, easy to recognize so when it starts to creep up my belly like a pet snake under my shirt, I can quell it with fluids and/or e-caps.

My success after the ride of righting my GI track to be willing to accept solid food again and restore a full tank of fluids and electrolytes minus nausea is still a work in progress. But, certainly I'm gaining on it. Thank You Joanna!!

Bucket Number Dos: Asthma
Joanna "wrinkled my jersey" when she suggested that maybe my asthma was a soy allergy. I abstained for a week before the Arivaca Perm and had NO respiratory distress on the 42 miler the day before the Perm, during the Perm, after the Perm, or on my 37 mil ride the day after the Perm.

Not yet sure if I can credit Soy with that resolution as there were several other "interventions" that I think may get all or at least a bunch of the credit. Need to do a few more tests and trials with the soy thing before ruling it out or back into my diet.
  • I received my new dental appliances from MedicineWheelDental which are truly having a positive impact on stabilizing my jaw, cervical spine, and therefore everything south of that
  • I have found an excellent Tucson-based cranial sacral therapist, a modality that served me so well back in the earlier days of my rehab from back disease
  • Just started working with Maria who has a private practice of Functional Yoga but also works out of Medicine Wheel Dental
  • And Nose Breathing!! Who woulda-thunk??? Maria swears by it, and I must admit I was incredibly doubtful. But after 200 miles of riding as a nose breather, even when climbing, I'm a believer.

Bucket Number Tres: Bike and Biomechanics
I've been riding my Bacchetta Ti Aero for about 1-1/2 years now and I have been continually trying to find the sweet spot with how much recline, how much leg extension, head rest or no, if head rest, which one, on and on. Of course I keep hoping for a "find" that's full of aero-ness and doesn't evoke a bio-mechanical injury, like hyperextension of my leg that took 8 months to heal, or neck pain, or chest compression. I truly believe the seat has had a huge part to do with my seemingly never-ending-saga of one owie after another.

Two days before the Arivaca Perm Maria videoed me riding my B while riding beside me in a pace car driven by Dr. Swidler of Medicine Wheel Dental. There it was in living video. The seat was not my friend, nor were my handlebars which were too narrow for my arms/shoulders.

I rigged up a lumbar thermarest cushion placing it vertically between the carbon fiber seat and the foam seat pad. Velcroed it all together and voila! Had to tweak the recline and the leg extension one notch each in order to accommodate the more forward position. But, my chest is now open, I can breathe freely. OMG, what a grand feeling.

I have ordered a new set of handle bars from Bacchetta (my current ones are 18.75" wide, the new ones will be 22" wide). I'm thinking that will complete my make-over.

As for the Arivaca ride itself, it truly was grand. Ride time for the 131 miles was 8:31, elapsed time was 9:34. Temp at its height was 87.

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