Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colorado rocky mountain high!

Sixteen hours is a long time to spend in a car. I am very experienced with long car drives but the drive to Colorado always gets me. First off, you go through pretty much the most boring part of America for almost the entire trip. Don't get me wrong, I love Iowa! There is some really amazing (and unfortunately polluted) crick bottoms, groves,  and old homesteads. However on the free way you don't get to see this side of Iowa, just the "new and improved" look, (and smell) of corporate America shoved in your face for 8 hours, which stinks. Literally. Of course, after you get through Iowa, it only gets worse in Nebraska.
However, the last few hours of the drive puts you in eastern Colorado. At first its just cows and empty space. A literal and cultural desert. However our shortcut takes us through a giant protected grasslands, which is absolutely mind blowing. Golden prairie stretched over flowing hills for farther than the eye can see. If we time it right, we even get to see the sun setting behind the mountains in the distance. Once we finally arrive in Fort Collins Colorado, its usually eight or ten 'o clock.

The first day in Colorado, I just did a recovery ride and chilled. We do the the testing right away, on the second full day in Colorado, before my body has time to "freak out" about being at five thousand feet where the oxygen level is much lower than I'm used to. This time, Inigo has moved to a new building, a Wellness center. Its still not fully finished, but as Andy shows me around, I'm amazed. the place is awesome! The first thing I notice is the floating stairs. structural concrete allows them to have no supports, which looks pretty cool.  There is a kitchen classroom for teaching healthy cooking, a fully organic mini-restaurant, a hydroponic herb garden, a indoor running track with paneling around it that changes color from peoples body heat as they run by, windows that let light in but not heat, and a bunch of other really cool stuff that I don't have time to mention. I step into Inigo's office/lab, and look at the familiar memorabilia in a unfamiliar room. Inigo is still getting used to the new set up, therefor things are a bit clumsy, but the whole set up is much nicer.

After we get the Ergometer set up and I change, I get on and warm up. Inigo begins the test. I concentrate on getting into a rhythm. Last time I wasted energy by flailing around and I'm determined not to do that this time. Once I'm in the zone, my perception of time changes. Everything happens slower, but passes quickly. After a while, he ramps it up to a level where it starts to hurt. I just concentrate on keeping my technique smooth. I hear a lot of encouragement, Inigo saying "good job Joey, keep pedaling, dah, dah, dah." Andy saying "come on Josey, great job, your doing really good, stay smooth, keep that cadence up!". eventually it gets to a level were I start to lose my control over myself. I slow down, then speed back up as I try to keep at it. About a minute after this starts, Inigo says "Ok, that's enough, he's done." and switches off the machine. I practically collapse with exhaustion as Inigo keeps my legs pedaling in circles. "Great job Josey! that was a awesome test!" says Andy. "you KILLED it man!".

After I'm changed and cleaned up with a recovery bottle in hand, I sit down as Inigo explains what happened. So the whole basis of this test is I'm measuring the amount of lactate in my blood at different efforts, and comparing it to my heart rate to determine training zones. I start out on the stationary bike pedaling 1.5 watts per kilogram or so (watts are a measurement of how much force your putting into the pedals). Inigo pricks my ear for blood, then measures the amount of lactate in my blood. Then he ramps it up to 2 watt per kilogram, where I pedal that for 5 minutes at 85-95 rpm. He then pricks my ear again, ramps it up to 2.5 watts per kilogram, and so on. I keep pedaling until I get to my threshold. So, you ask, how did I improve? Well, here is what happened. When I reached 3.5 watts per kilogram, I was at half the amount of lactate I had been at last time I tested. So Inigo extended my length in 3.5 to ten minutes, the "big boy length". I then proceeded to make it all the way to the level I did last time, while doing ten minute intervals instead of five. Most importantly however, the amount of lactate that I increased by after each ramp-up was dramatically decreased. I also improved other things, like my Vo2 max and fat/cho oxidation rate, but I won't go into that.
After the test, It was time to let it rip!

I did a epic mountain bike ride with friends:

And then got sick... which sucked... a lot...

However I took really good care of my self (not to mention got taken care of, thank you Dad and Andy!), and recovered soon enough to also do a epic road bike ride. It stinked that I got sick, but I accomplished everything I wanted to, and had another really fun Colorado trip!

P.S, sorry about the red sections, Blogger was glitching out and not displaying those sections of font, so I had to change the color.

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