21 June 2011

Brief notes on this past week's workouts

Realized that I hadn't blogged the last couple of spin workouts, and I'm trying to do better! The short of it is that I sat down on the 17th and 19th of June, settled in to watch the Tour de Suisse, and did a spin while it was on. For the 17th, I whipped up a 40 minute Tempo (Zone 3) spin, with a warm up, stretch, and warm down thrown in, and realized that it's just a ton of fun to watch professional road racers crank in these events. It's quite inspiring to see that with hard work and dedication (including getting on the trainer when it's 110° F out) that goals can be achieved. Me, there's almost no chance that I'd ever get to race in the Tour de Suisse, let alone win a stage (and forget the Tour de France), but it's fun to think about while spinning ... otherwise, spins get BO-RING. Real quick.
I kept up a nice high cadence with high gearing, and since I don't have a heart rate monitor at the moment had to rely on perceived exertion. I didn't feel any burning sensation in my legs so I'm pretty sure I wasn't at my Lactate Threshold (LT; some people use Upper Training Threshold or UTT), I didn't feel like talking though I could probably have said two or three words if needed, and it felt like something that I could hold through the entire 40 minutes but not a whole lot longer. That's pretty much the Zone 3 criteria, so I kept things there, though I did drift a little up and down when I got excited about what was happening in the Tour, or was paying less attention like during commercials. Overall it went very well.
On Sunday, I again tuned the Tour for the final stage (an Individual Time Trial) and settled in for a Zone 2 spin with a warm up, spin, and warm down, originally planned for 1 hour 30 minutes. I had to cut it short, because I had some personal obligations to attend to, but did get in a 1 hour 5 minute spin. My exertion level there was quite easy to maintain, Zone 2 with a very short period in Zone 1 at the beginning. It was tremendous fun to watch the time trial, trying to keep a good cadence on the spinner on low gearing while not getting too excited about what was going on, something made worse when one of my favorite racers, Levi Leipheimer, rode a beauty of a Time Trial to win the Tour de Suisse overall on the final day. I did succeed, however, and it was a very good day!
As for the physical discomfort ... mostly, it's the feet. I hope someone reading this has some insights and possible solutions, but if it continues I may have to seek a physician's opinion because I'm really kind of annoyed with it. Anyway, what happens is I am fine on the saddle for the first ten to fifteen minutes or so. After that amount of time, often I start to get a numbness or tingling in my toes that gets annoying enough that I have to stand out of the saddle for a few seconds, and then it occurs over and over again througought the rest of the ride, no matter how long.
Now, as a paramedic, I know the symptoms point to a perfusion problem, and not a neurological one (if it were nerve-related, it would probably happen immediately when I either pinched/sat on/otherwise confined the nerve, and not slowly appear over time). The real question is going to be which vessels? And why? If it's a tamponade of the femoral arteries, that's a more significant problem than the tingling of the toes; that would pose a serious perfusion threat to the quads, calves, hamstrings, etc. and would make cycling a much more difficult activity. I suppose it's possible that it's a consequence of a too-high saddle (or, alternately, too low) with the popliteal artery being involved. In any event, if anyone has any ideas please feel free to pass them along.
Later today I will be doing a Zone 2 spin; I plan for it to be 1 hour 30 minutes, and I also am intending to make up the 25 minutes I had to cut out of the previous Zone 2 spin, and if I'm going to do a 1 hour 55 minute spin I might as well do two hours! I will be back in a few hours to report on that.

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