Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Gates Pass Triumphant

So you know I've been dealing with some exercise induced asthma (eia) of late. The inhaler helps, but it seems like there should be a more holistic "fix" rather than just going straight for the drugs.

I had a pretty dramatic episode last Saturday on a group ride climbing Pistol Hill which is a hill but not worthy of all my huffing and puffing that wouldn't have come close to blowing any house down. So, when I got home I posted on the Ultracycling FB page and asked for tips, tricks, do's and don't's. Got lots of good suggestion from ultra riders from all over the world (at least the English speaking world) who are way more ultra than I'll ever be. The suggestion I liked least was the one that said I should look at eliminating soy to see if that helped. Soy tea mistos, soy ice cream, and tofutti (vegan cream cheese made from tofu", are all comfort foods and staples of mine. But, I decided to give abstinence a try for a week to see if it made a difference on my 200k Permanent this Saturday the 7th.

I had ridden Gates Pass on February 1st when I did the 200k Perm from Tucson to Phoenix and it was a miserable showing. I remember it well and so decided I'd ride it again today to see if the ultra's  suggestions had an impact.

They did!!!! The suggestions I concentrated on the most during the 2.25 mi climb were:
ride within your lungs
concentrate on the exhale
soy free
use the drugs sparingly
breathing exercises

The two pitches at Ironwood and Oeste set up a wheeze so I decided to take a couple of puffs before I started the Gates Pass climb. There were two lycra warriors coaching their two female pigeons about how to ride the climb. One of lycras sprinted on up ahead, the other lycra in white shorts and white compression socks started up the grade. The females were still getting up their courage which gave me time to take a couple of puffs and start up. Soon I passed white socks who was shocked to get passed. The females were now not visible in my rearview mirror. I passed another male and female; I think she had done the fall over thing going so slow and not able to get her foot out of the cleat. He was brushing her back off and they were now both walking that second to last steep pitch (12.6%). At the top of the pitch that they were walking I did need to stop and catch my breath and take a couple more puffs. The final pitch (10.6%) was then easy.

There were about a dozen riders at the top of the Pass maybe waiting for those I had encountered along the way, I don't know. Most of the assembled and I descended together, they heading north on Kinney for the McCain Loop, I heading South on Kinney to scope out the start of my 200k this Saturday.

I feel absolutely exhilarated by my Gates Pass success/improvement. It's very empowering to see again that I/one/we can make a difference in how our body responds.

I celebrated by not pushing my bod/lungs the rest of the way home, east on Ajo, north on Mission/Grande/east on St. Mary's/through the university and on to home by way of Chipotle.

A very Boo-Yah kind of ride.

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