Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Days From Hell

This week has been pretty crappy so far, my blood pressure is probably sky high and sleep has been pretty much non-existent. Nothing to do with cycling, but all the other stuff that life throws at me. I knew the latter half of this week was not going to be good as everyone in my department is out of the office today through Monday, so it's only me at work and only me to handle all the issues. Lunch for the next 3 days will probably not happen, maybe once if I'm lucky. So anyways, basically work is going to suck. Another hassle this week happened on Monday evening as my wife had some major car troubles. The problem was that she was in Lake Geneva at her grandma's funeral and on the drive back her temp gauge went sky high. I asked if her car was steaming assuming maybe the radiator blew. She said nope, nothing was steaming, car was running fine, just that the gauge was on Hot. I thought maybe the thermostat was stuck open and told her it should be fine to drive home. We hung up and maybe 5 minutes later I got a call that her car was steaming like crazy. She was in East Troy after pulling off the freeway so I got in the car and started the drive down. I found her parked at a gas station, checked the car and noticed a bit of coolant on the radiator but nothing major. The coolant reservoir was still full so I went in the gas station, got some pre-mixed coolant and added some to the radiator. Thinking we'd be o.k since I didn't see anything really leaking I told her to get back on the freeway and we'd see how far we could get towards home. After a few miles, no steam, car was running good, no problems. After a few more miles we are pulled over on the side of the freeway with coolant blowing all over the engine and steam coming out of a giant crack in the top of the radiator...and to top it off the engine is knocking like crazy. Not a good sign. So after calling a tow truck and having like 3 cop cars pull up behind us we finally walked in the door late Monday night after having the car dropped off at her dealer and hit the bed at 1:00a.m.. Melissa had to be at work at 6:30 Tuesday morning so it was up at 5:30 after 4 and a half hours of sleep and I had to drive her to the hospital. So after no sleep and a long work day I was looking forward to some rest last night. Well, my dog got sick and has me worried as he threw up and was panting very rapidly last night. His heart rate seems very accelerated and he was up most of the night last night. Another night of bedtime at 1:00a.m.. I called the vet this morning and of course I'm here alone at work and the only time I can leave is lunchtime. Their earliest appointment is 3:45, which I just can't do. Tomorrow they have appointments early in the morning and at 5:00, can't do that either. So Friday I will most likely get my dog in to the vet, hopefully he isn't dead by then. It's been a fun week so far, I guess it can only get better.
Anyways, as far as the bike is concerned I did do my riding last night on the trainer, 75 minutes at endurance pace with 15 minutes of one-legged pedaling for each leg. I couldn't believe how sore I was after I was done, it's amazing how many muscles you DON'T use when you are pedaling with both legs. It's only when you have to try to pedal perfect circles with one leg do you realize how many more muscles you use to bring the pedal all the way through the pedal stroke that you don't use when your legs are opposing each other and you get the benefit of the downstroke on the opposing leg when you are on the upstroke. Basically you're cheating yourself if you aren't carrying both legs as much as possible through the entire pedal stroke and letting the opposing leg bring the other one back up. One-legged pedaling is an amazing exercise for helping to alleviate that issue. It's been proven that you can't pedal a perfect circle as there is always some opposing force in each stroke that will make you hit a dead spot in each leg at some point of the pedal stroke, but with this exercise you can get pretty close. My legs are more sore after 15 minutes for each leg than if I did a 60 mile ride outside. There are cranks that are called PowerCranks that do the same thing for you, basically they are cranks where both crank arms are independent of each other and if you aren't pedaling they are both pointing towards the ground freely. In order to be able to turn them around and pedal normally you have to pedal perfect circles with each leg and apply consistent force through the upstroke and downstroke for each leg independently. They are expensive though, like $800 I believe, maybe less, but either way, one-legged pedaling on the trainer is free. Do it some time and then let me know how sore your legs are, the first time I did it last year I could only do like 2 minutes each leg and my pedal strokes were very choppy with just one leg. Now I can do 15 minutes each leg and it's a pretty good circle. Well, enough about that. Tonight is another 75 minutes and I'll be doing the same thing, one-legged pedaling, 15 minutes each leg on the trainer. I might need to take some muscle relaxers after 2 nights in a row of that. Well, that's it for now, until next time......

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