Calm Before the Storm

After a personal best in Charleston last weekend, this week has been quiet and easy. The muscles were pretty sore Monday and Tuesday, so I didn’t want to push it with any strenuous workouts. On Monday I did some deep stretching. I used the P90x Stretch-X DVD, which is great for stretching hamstrings, glutes and upper body. The area it is most lacking is with quad stretching, which is what I needed the most. I did some additional quad stretches, just the simple stand-up and pull your leg up variety, and will be on the lookout for some deeper stretches. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

On Tuesday I attempted a gym workout for the first time in months. I have a membership at Gold’s, which I first began nearly two years ago and it initially helped me with shedding some blubber and getting more active. The thing is, I abhor the gym. To me, it is not a pleasant experience to monotonously move in place while watching 5pm CNN news updates or Around the Horn on ESPN. I have tried to make it more interesting by loading interesting music or talk shows on my iPhone, which helps, but I still find myself impatiently waiting for the allotted time to end. I brought the iPad this time, but with my body moving around I could not interact with it without messing up. To top it off, the person using the machine next to me was wearing a strong, nauseating cologne. It smelled like patchouli mixed with sweat, not my favorite flavor of air to breathe. After about 20 minutes I gave up and tried another machine. It had a neutral scent, but was somewhat off-center and wobbled with my every move. That was it. I left the gym and may never go back. Fortunately my membership ends in August and I will not renew.

Today I will ride for the first day of the week. I will not be pushing myself because this weekend is the Assault on the Carolinas ride, which finishes with a seven mile climb up Caesar’s Head mountain. This will be my second real mountain ride, and given my soreness earlier this week, I want to make sure to approach it with fresh, loose legs.

The weather report up in Brevard, NC is a bit discouraging. There is a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday, with a clearer forecast on Sunday. As I’ve discovered many times before, weather prediction is not an exact science. It could still change for the better or worse. The organizers will cancel the ride if there are threatening weather systems in the area. If that happens, they will probably make it up on Sunday. I have the hotel booked for two days, so I am prepared to wander around in the Blue Ridge mountains if needed.

I approached the last couple races aggressively. Even though I outperformed my expectations on both occasions, I will not be trying the same strategy this time. There will be a lot of people I know also attending the ride, so for the early part I will try to have an easy, social ride. At this point I have no idea how my legs will respond to the tough climbing stretches. This is not like White Oak with steep switchbacks at insane grades. It is a long, protracted incline with an average of an 8% grade. It should be a slow churn in a low gear to get up the hill. Of all my training rides, this stretch should be the most comparable to the Mitchell climbs. There is no telling how I’ll do. I will just take it as it comes and see what happens.

To be continued.

(image credit:

4 responses to “Calm Before the Storm

  • Kathrin

    I haven’t heard anything about them canceling or postponing the ride if the weather is bad. Just hoping, that the thunderstorms are going to be in the afternoon… Of course, I am already stalking the hourly forecast for what’s worth. It starts to really make me mad, that it’s nice during the week and crappy on the weekends.

    • aaronwest

      It was on their FAQ. It says: The ride will be held unless we have extreme weather conditions. If this occurs we will have a make up date of 4/10/2011 or 4/16/2011.

      Looking at the forecast, it looks like the potentially bad weather will be coming later. I think we’re okay.

      I’m with you. We need better weekend weather!

  • Theresa @ActiveEggplant

    I use my gym membership for two things: swimming & group fitness (spinning and yoga). I really can’t stand being on a treadmill & weight machines (along with most of the people around them) make me crazy!

    Hope you have a great ride this weekend! I can’t imagine going for a ride in the mountains like that – being in FL, the only “mountains” we see are bridges over waterways!

    • aaronwest

      Thanks! I’ve been surprised by a few hills in Florida. They are out there! 🙂

      I used to do the same with group classes, but stopped doing that in favor the bike. And sometimes I attend a spin class that is offered at work if the weather is bad. I have a weird schedule so group fitness would be difficult, although I do really enjoy those classes. A friend teaches a yoga class that I may attend sometime.

      Have a good weekend!

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