Monday, April 21, 2008

Return of the LoD

The Loop of Death is back. A lot has happened in the last year and a half. Almost 18 months ago, I nearly passed out while riding my bike and after the flat on the way to work later that same week, I never got back on my bike. I took a fencing class. Started working out with a personal trainer. Studied Capoeria. Avoided elbow surgery. Took several spin classes. Started CrossFit. Ran in the Frostbite Series. Stopped working out with my trainer. Endured extreme fiscal challenges at work. Stopped eating healthy. Mostly stopped exercising. And now, finally, got back on my bike.

Today, I rode the Loop of Death. This was the 2.2 mile route starting and ending at my driveway that I rode to start building a base for riding my bike almost 2 years ago. Back then, at almost 290 lbs, with no exercise at all under my belt, the loop of death almost did me in. Today, at 260 lbs, with a much better baseline fitness, at least in strength, I discovered that, once again, this silly, almost laughably short and easy route was nearly more than I could handle. I'm still trying to decide what happened. To be sure, part of me, knowing from CrossFit that I can push harder, insisted that I ride harder than I had before. I attacked the (minuscule) hill at Ashby, dropping gear after gear as I slowed and finally adding 2-3 gears and standing up to push to the top, lungs burning, breath rasping, head spinning and legs melting in place like a wax candle left on the dashboard of your black on black car, mid-summer in the Australian Outback.

I do (or have done) CrossFit, some small part of my brain screams in outrage. This can't be that hard?! Well, I'm here to tell you, it can, it was. An hour later, I can still barely type. My hands are shaking. My throat is burned raw and the memory of the death breath (You know when you reach deeper into your lungs than you have in years and the air is fetid, still and lifeless.) haunts me. Today, I had to pick, CrossFit, or bike (newly tuned up at REI). I chose the new (renewed) toy and for that, I paid.

I read recently that 80% of physical capacity / performance depends on the last 4 weeks. My last 4 weeks set me up for a bad time. Imagine how great I could be when the next 4 weeks IS the last 4 weeks. What have you done today?


Tracy Fober said...


You should let me, or someone who rides, ride it with you and help you with some of the more subtle issues of riding--this could include how you fit on your bike, how you gear the route and spin and how much you warm up.

Just so you know, your body deserves a 10 min warm up spin--at the very least--before you attempt riding at any pace. Many times it can use 20-30 minutes.

I'm serious on the offer. Let me know. It isn't like CrossFit--there is nothing 3-2-1 go about it.


Sean said...


Now that I am back on my bike, I'm quite open to having help. I've been thinking about contacting you but based on prior experience, I wanted at least 7 times around the loop to let my body adjust.

I don't ever ride at much pace. The hard part for me is the elevation chance and controlling my pace to not hit oxygen depletion on the first hill.