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, February 21, 2013

Ride the Rockies 2013 Registration Closes Friday!

The deadline to register for Ride the Rockies 2013 is this Friday, February 22, at 5:00 p.m. MST (mountain time!). The 2,000 participants will be selected at random on March 1.

I just registered today. Have you? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Where are you from? Have you ridden RTR before/what years? Have we met? (I'm the guy who wears the BEEF jersey :)

Hopefully we'll all get selected and meet up on the ride. One of my favorite parts of RTR is meeting people from around the country and making new friends.

Ride on!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Should You Take a Break from Workouts When You're Sick?

All my travel on airplanes, and subsequent exposure to every nasty bug carried by the thousands of travelers I have encountered in the cramped confines of coach class, finally caught up to me this week. And I got bit hard. It started with a scratchy throat that turned into head congestion which has now migrated south to my chest. All I know is my body has manufactured, and expelled, more mucous in the past five days than I thought humanly possibe (where does it all come from?)!
Being sick sucks. But what's really bugging me is that I haven't been able to ride, run or engage in any semblance of exercise whatsoever for five straight days. The question is should I try to force myself to workout in spite of feeling lousy or just let my body focus on fighting this bug?

According to this article on WebMD, it's OK to workout when sick as long as you don't have a fever (you don't want to raise an already elevated body temperature). But I haven't been running a fever. The problem is that I just haven't felt like working out. So am I a wimp?

OK, so this is not me (nor do I have any desire to look like this!),
but I thought it was a good illustration of the "neck check" method.

Several articles I read (including this one from Men's Health) recommend gauging whether or not to work out based on whether the symptoms are in your head (literally, not psychosomatic!) or in your chest. It makes sense, since you need your lungs to be functioning properly to get the oxygen your body needs during an intense workout. 
"Do what you can do, and if you can't do it, then don't." 
  •  Lewis G. Maharam, MD, a New York City-based sports medicine expert
But even before the congestion drained from my head to my chest I simply couldn't motivate myself to move. And now I guess I just have to wait for my lungs to clear. And I'm OK with that. Dr. Maharam pretty much summed up my feelings on the subject in the quote above. I try to listen to my body, whether its an injury or an illness, and follow it's lead.

The good news is I haven't gained any weight despite burning far fewer calories in the past several days. Perhaps that's because I haven't really had much of an appetite. But I am sure ready to get back to consuming and burning at a higher rate in the near future!

Do you have a personal prescription for staying in shape while fighting an illness? If so, please comment and share!

Ride on!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Do MAMILs (Middle-Aged Men in Lycra) Need More Protein?

There's even a MAMIL Cycling Club
in England, where the
MAMIL movement began.
 Are you a middle-aged man who is fighting off old age by competing in cycling, running and triathlon competitions? A few years ago a friend e-mailed me a link to this article from the New York Times with the subject line: "You are an American Mamil! At first I thought she had misspelled "mammal." But then I learned that the acronym stood for "Middle-Aged Men in Lycra." And the answer is yes. I am. And I am proud of it!
The MAMIL isn’t just about cycling but is about embracing fitness as part of a midlife "crisis" instead of the Corvette, the Harley, or (gasp!) trading the 40-year-old wife in for a pair of 20-year-olds. -- "The New Manhood: Meet the MAMIL," by James Fell, AskMen.com 
Around age 30 I began donning spandex shorts and shirts (and even tights in winter time) and took up cycling. At the time it was all about losing the weight I had gained in my 20s (about 70 lbs.). But when I hit 40 I started getting serious about cycling and competed in my first triathlon. Call it a middle-age crisis if you want. There is no doubt it was about fighting off old age. The added energy I gained from training and competing in these events made me feel and look younger. I still have people tell me I look younger today, at age 48, that I did at age 30 when I weighed 270lbs.

I felt much younger after my first century ride (right)
at age 40 than I did 10 years earlier (left) partying with Santa :)
 As I have tackled inreasingly difficult events (I have completed three Ironman 70.3 triathlons and six Ride the Rockies cycling tours) I have started paying more attention to my diet. To train for and compete in these events you have to provide your body with the fuel it needs to reach the finish line. And, of course, one my my favorite sources of essential vitamins and nutrients that fuel physical activity is BEEF!

That's why I was excited to read about this study from the Exercise Metabolism Research Group at McMaster University which suggests that "current guidelines for meat consumption are based on the protein needed to prevent deficiency without consideration for preservation of muscle mass, particularly for older individuals who are looking to maintain their muscle as they age." (Age-related muscle loss is a condition called sarcopenia, which is similar to osteoporosis only for muscle mass instead of bone mass.) The study of 35 middle-aged men found that "eating a 6-ounce serving of 85% lean ground beef resulted in significant improvements in the rate of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) following exercise" and that "the quantity of beef needed for optimal MPS for this age group is double the current recommended serving size of meat."
Couple that with the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study by researchers at Penn State University which found eating up to 5.4 oz. of lean beef every day, with other heart-healthy foods, can reduce LDL cholesterol up to 10% and that's great news for beef lovers (like me)! So grill up a steak for dinner, add some lean ground beef to your favorite pre-race pasta or put some beef jerky in your bag for after the race. Just be sure to add BEEF to your exercise and nutrition regimen to increase the effectiveness of your workouts and recovery from big events.

Ride on!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ride the Rockies 2013 Route Announced!

Seven days. 513 Miles. Telluride to Colorado Springs. Just over 73 miles per day.

Here is the official route announced this evening at the Ride the Rockies 2013 route announcement party:


Sunday, June 9 -- Telluride to Cortz (75 mi, +2,218 ft)
Monday, June 10 -- Cortez to Durango (64 mi, +3,442 ft)
Tuesday, June 11 -- Durango to Pagosa Springs (86 mi, +3,635 ft)
Wednesday, June 12 -- Pagosa Springs to Alamosa (91 mi, +4,678 ft)
Thursday, June 13 -- Alamosa to Salida (84 mi, +1,631 ft)
Friday, June 14 -- Salida to Canon City (67 mi, +2,789 ft)
Saturday, June 15 -- Canon City to Colorado Springs (46 mi, +2,008 ft)

Click to enlarge
Here are my initial thoughts:

This is a long ride -- this would be the furthest I have ridden in seven days. Seventy-three miles per day for seven straight days is a long ride.

I love the start in Telluride. Only been there once (on RTR 2010) and loved it. One of the most beautiful places I have visited.

I've Alamosa to Salida (Day 5) and Salida to Canon City (Day 6). Alamosa to Salida is not a tough ride and I love the overnight in Salida (party at The Vic!).

Salida to Canon City IS a tough ride. The long ride down the canon at an average -2% grade is a lot harder than it looks due to headwinds coming up the canon. But the killer is the climb up the south rim of the Royal Gorge. This is the toughest 2-mile stretch of road I have ever ridden! Riding your bike across the wooden bridge (1,270 planks!) is a big payoff, however, and just a little freaky!

I like the finish in the Springs. That's only a 30-40 minute drive home and downtown Colorado Springs is a cool place to end the ride (it was also the finish line for this past year's USA Pro Challenge).

That's it for now. I'll break down each day in more detail later.

Ride on!