A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ride the Rockies 2013 Training: Building Aerobic and Endurance Base

Click to Enlarge
I'm off to a pretty good start toward my goal to ride 2,000 before the start of Ride the Rockies 2013 on June 8. Since January 1, I have logged 190 miles on my Cyclops Fluid2 indoor bicycle trainer (and right now seriously debating whether to go log 10 more to make it an even 200!). At this time last year I had only ridden 75 miles on the trainer.
If you are planning to enter the lottery for Ride the Rockies be sure to follow me on Twitter (@REAL_BEEFMAN) this Saturday night, Feb. 2. I will be attending the route announcement party in Denver and tweeting the route as it is announced (approx. 7:30 p.m. mtn time).
Even though I find spinning my wheels and going nowhere exceedingly boring there are many benefits of riding indoors. For one thing, winters in Colorado make it difficult to get in consistent workouts on the road. But this is also a good time for building a solid aerobic and endurance base. And riding on an indoor trainer allows you to get a quick but effective workout, on your own bike, any time of day or night (here are some great tips on How to Ride Inside from Bicycling.com).

I try to keep indoor training interesting by varying the intensity and length of workouts and setting goals to push myself. I also pay close attention to RPMs. I usually try to keep my cadence above 90 in order to train my legs to spin faster instead of push harder. Studies have shown pedaling at higher speeds with less force preserve glycogen in the fast-twitch muscle fibers and burns fat more efficiently.

As I move into the second month of training I plan to add in some single-leg drills to improve my "perfect circles" technique. I know that's something I need to work on to become a more efficient cyclist. This year I'm all about cycling smarter, not harder!

Ride on!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beefman's Big Game Bite-Size BEEF Nachos

From left to right: fill scoops with ground
beef (column 1), cheese (column 2),
salsa (column 3) and top with
sour cream (column 4)
The stars aligned today as I was left in an empty house with the big screen all to myself,  plenty of beer, and the NFC Championship game on TV. There was only one thing missing from this perfect picture: Nachos!

Checking the pantry I found a bag of Tostitos Multi-Grain Scoops. In the fridge I found some leftover ground beef, a half-empty jar of Jardine's Chipotle Salsa, some pizza cheese and sour cream. Viola! Beefman's Big Game Bite-Size BEEF Nachos.

Directions: Line up 16-20 multi-grain scoops on plate (see below), fill with cooked ground beef and top with cheese, salsa and a dolop of sour cream (at left).

And there you have a quick and easy game time snack for 2-4 people (or just one if you have the house to yourself, plenty of beer, and just finished running 5.5 miles!).



Select only the best (unbroken) scoops and eat the rest :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ride the Rockies 2013 Route Announcement!

The official announcement is out! Actually, the official announcement of the official announcement is out. The second annual Ride the Rockies Announcement Party will be held in Denver on Saturday, February 2, 2013. The party starts at 6:00 p.m. but the official route announcement will be at 7:30 p.m. (mountain time). Tickets are $30 in advance/$40 at the door.

I will be attending and will tweet the route as it announced. Follow me on Twitter (@REAL_BEEFMAN) if you want to be one of the first to know the 2013 route!

Ride on!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Do Fat Guys Burn Calories Faster?

I'd much prefer riding outside than on my indoor trainer, but the
winter months in Colorado make it a necessary evil.
A week or so ago I posted something on Facebook about riding my 25 miles on my Cyclops Fluid2 bike trainer and burning 1,929 calories. A friend of mine from Texas, who is a lean, Ironman triathlete, asked how I was burning so many calories, saying he'd only burn about 800-850 calories during a similar workout over and above his basal metabolic rate (essentially the number of calories you'd burn lying in bed*).

"Are you burning more because of the cold or altitude?" he asked. "I could drink a lot more Shiner if knew your secret."

I had to admit that I didn't have any secret. My calorie numbers were based simply on what my Garmin Edge 705 tells me. But I have often wondered why I seem to burn more calories than other people I ride and run with so I did some investigating and found some plausible answers.

My first theory was that maybe I burn more calories than he does simply because I am taller and weigh at least 40 lbs. more than he does. Turns out there is some credence to this theory. According to this article on Livestrong.com, "A 20-lb. weight difference can translate to a more than 10-percent increase in calories burned for some activities. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., you'll burn about 10.3 calories per minute swimming the crawl at a moderate pace. However, if you weigh 180 lbs., you'll burn about 11.6 calories per minute."
I would have burned 30 percent more calories as Fat Daren at 270 lbs (at left in Dec. 1995) than as the skinnier version at 210 lbs (at right in Sept. 2000)

But that still doesn't explain how I could burn more than twice the calories my friend burns in the same workout. If I weigh 40 lbs. more than him I would only burn 20 percent more calories. So if he burned 850 calories riding 25 miles in 75 minutes (average 20 mph) I should burn 1,020 in a similar workout. That still leaves about 900 calories unexplained.

I've always thought the Edge might be overestimating calories and a quick Google search of "Garmin Edge calories" confirmed my suspicions. One glowing review of the Edge 705 found little to fault with what they called the "most useful bit of cycling-orientated electronics we’ve ever used." However, the review said, "We did find that the Edge 705 substantially over-estimates the number of calories you’ve burned. According to Garmin, the best algorithms for calorie consumption are protected by patents, so it’s best to treat this feature as a way of comparing rides for effort. If you eat to replace the food you have just burned, you’ll turn into a blimp." Bummer. Not the answer I was looking for!

So how much is "substantially"? And just how many calories have I consumed thinking I could "afford" them based on what my Garmin was telling me? Is this why I gained 10 lbs over the holidays?!

OK, time for another confession. I don't count calories. I just eat. And I workout. I track my weight and if it goes up I try to decrease calories consumed and increase calories burned. I go with my gut, literally and figuratively. So I can't blame Garmin for my Holiday 10. But I can't keep eating like I did during the holidays and expect to lose it, either. As they say, great abs as made in the kitchen, not the gym.

Ride on!


*I found an online BMR calculator that says a 6'4" tall, 215 lb., 48-year-old male would burn 2,044.25 calories per day (2,000 is considered "average"), or about 85 calories an hour.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ride the Rockies 2013 Training Begins Now!

The finish of my first Ride the Rockies in
2005 remains one of the highlights of my
personal journey with weight loss.
The first day of the New Year ushers in the beginning of a new training "season." At least that's how I've always looked at it. Living in cold winter areas like Kansas and Colorado I usually just try to "maintain" during the winter months and avoid putting on weight during the holidays. But once the calendar turns over to the new year I start focusing on my goals for the year -- the big events I want to compete in or new challenges I want to tackle.

I'm not big on making resolutions but I am big on setting goals. My friend Dane captured my thoughts exactly in a recent post on the subject:
"I see the New Year’s Resolutions which people set as being very bold and wonderful. Unfortunately, they are often so broad and far-reaching that they themselves up to fail. I suggest, instead, to set smaller goals and to set them daily. Each day brings its own triumphs and tribulations."
    -- Dane Rauschenberg, SeeDaneRun.com
Rather than "resolving to lose weight," I have found that setting a goal such as "completing Ride the Rockies 2013" works better for me. In order to complete Ride the Rockies I have to train. Last year I rode 1,570 miles between January 1 and June 9, the first day of the 2012 ride.

This year my goal is to up that to 2,000 miles between now and June 8 (the anticipated start of the ride--the official dates/route will be announced at the 2013 Route Announcement Party on Saturday, February 2nd). June 8 is 158 days from today so I need to average 12.66 miles per day, or just under 90 miles per week between now and then.

Today's goal was to ride one one-hundredth, or .01 percent of that goal, 20 miles. So I got on my indoor trainer and rode 20 miles at a pace of 19.7 mph. Goal accomplished. Today's triumph and tribulation. And I'm already 7.34 miles ahead of average :)

Ride on!