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MS'ers Training in 2013

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  • Thanks for the reminder

    Hi all, especially Teena Marie:
    Just read your post about core stabilizers and advice about stair climbing even with only 2-3 steps. I was given this by my PT awhile ago, and it had faded away. Been having more issues with my hip flexor and my PT and I have been working on it with some modified hip extension exercises that I can do without benefit of a machine. I forgot this exercise with the stairs.....I have 3 steps to come into my house, and am using today to get back to doing these..... Your post is very good timing for me, as I went for a bike ride today and it was a very poopy one...last week I managed to crank out 34 miles ( the most 2 miles...that I have done since probably 2002..two years before my diagnosis) and then today the humidity did me in, and I stopped at a mere 5 miles. Now, later today I will get on my inside trainer to get the legs moving more and train a bit for hills, but these stair exercises will give me more OUTSIDE time moving.... Thank You, thank you. Ya never know who or how you help others, huh? Ok, gotta go, the stairs are calling me....
    Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.


    • 140 miles in 9.5 hours last week, you could say my taper has started a little early. Tried to do a long climbing ride last Tuesday. I got pretty long, 60 miles, but when it came to climbing there was a big black cloud hanging over my mountain. I don't mind the rain and I like the cold but I had to draw the line at the lightening. Worst case scenario for Pedal los Pueblos next weekend - maybe DFL on the Truchas hill.

      TM, I do the stairs every chance I get. I try to do them 2 at a time, especially with my bad leg. There is no doubt it yields results. I've been trying squats all year without much luck. That's going on my agenda when I get back to the club next week. And I think you've stumbled onto something there with the leg lifts in the chair, perhaps my least favorite exercise and very likely one I need most.

      Good luck with the fund raiser and the swim. I assume you are swimming in it?

      Veronica, congratulations on the 34 miles! Hey, an improvement, any improvement, is heading in the right direction.

      Happy training all,


      • Beetroot Juice

        Beetroot Juice, is it a secret weapon?

        Iím taking off for ďPedal los PueblosĒ, the MS 150 in New Mexico in a few minutes and wanted to put a couple of last minute notes out there.

        Iím in pretty good shape for this one but old guys with MS gotta take advantage of every opportunity you know? So when I came across a nice set of locally manufactured climbing wheels this summer that werenít terribly expensive and I took a chance on them. I donít look for them to make much difference on the first day century but I am hoping for a little easier time getting up the Truchas hill on the second day. The down side is that they are a little slower on the descent and itís also a bit of an unknown just how stable they might be at high speed. It should be interesting.

        The other thing I did, based on this months ACSM journal, was to hunt down a bottle of beetroot juice. I also followed up on the ACSM study a little and found this,
        and this:
        Runners take note, if these studies can be believed, this could be pretty potent stuff when it comes to endurance exercise. I hope it's not on the banned substance list. Weíll see if it helps but at the very least I hope it doesnít affect my beer consumption and of course, I canít help but wonder if itíll have any noticeable effect on the MS. Pedal los Pueblos, here I come!

        Keep it fun out there,


        • Hi all,

          Have a fantastic ride, Larry-I'm crazy about beets-let us know.

          Swim training has been hampered by high winds and waves. However, it's an amazing workout thrashing around in high surf. I leave in a week so may not do the fundraising swim.

          Because I'm not swimming as much, I'm working on other stuff-like a long walk through woods and fields with multiple obstacles. It took me 90 minutes initially and yesterday only 30 minutes. A visit to friends with a practically vertical climb to and fro in deep woods. My friends accompanied me and we used this as visiting time. It's tough, but so good for my nervous system.

          Until later,

          Teena Marie


          • Thanks TM and hey, I like beets too, the more I read, the more they appear to be a super food. The only thing I might have noticed with the beetroot juice was that I wasn't breathing as hard as I sometimes do. Heart rate, strength and speed all seemed to be about the same but endurance might well have increased. After riding 100 miles, climbing 4,400 feet, and pushing a 30 mph headwind up hill for the last 10, I was NOT totally wiped out. Or at least I recovered reasonably well after a short rest.

            Can't say I noticed much the second day but that day was all about climbing strength, something I've always sucked at. Beetroot juice probably doesn't help strength but again, with a bit of rest after it was over, I felt pretty good, and at least I thought I was remarkably functional at dinner that evening.

            I plan to keep using it on occasion.

            I'm still working on the Pedal los Pueblos story but encounters with wind seems to be our mutual theme. Sounds like you're having fun there anyway,



            • I had a great time at the New Mexico MS150 Pedal los Pueblos with AMF Adventures. Larry was kind enough to hang out and ride the majority of the first day 100 miles with me and a friend. He was even ready to change my flat tire, when we were saved by my friend's husband who ended up doing it. Thanks for the great company this weekend Larry, I truly enjoyed my time riding with you and loved hanging out with you and your wife.

              And a big thanks to Dave for the wonderful presentation at the dinner on Saturday night. Your dedication to making a difference in MS-ers lives now and in the future is inspiring. Thank you for all you do for the MS community.


              • Same here Beth, I was very happy to find someone to do the century with and even happier that it was you and your friend. We also had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed spending it with you.

                We'll be thinking of you on your upcoming marathon, good luck.


                • Pedal los Pueblos 2013

                  It had everything, wind and rain, heat and hills, and miles and miles and miles of open road, a cyclist’s dream come true. I had it in my mind to do the century but I needed to find a group to ride with. Our team captain, who I rode with last year, wasn’t in for the century this year and I was afraid that on my own, it would be too easy to back out, not that I would ever do that of course. But still, a group does seem to have a positive effect on will power and it always adds to the fun quotient.

                  I crossed the start line at the front of the pack, the desert colors radiating in all their magnificence in the crisp dry air on the morning of day 1. My plan was to look for a group that I could keep up with or maybe even lead a little and who was set on the century. I had only gone a few miles past the start when I came across Beth, a girl I met last year and a fellow MSer no less. She was wearing the jersey, “I have MS, This is Why I Ride" so we were visibly represented. She was riding with her friend, also from last year, and I learned there wasn’t any question in their minds, they wanted the 100 miles. She invited me to join them and we got down to business right away, and stayed together for the rest of the ride. We didn’t hit every rest stop but the volunteers, the homemade banana bread and myriad of homemade cookies and all of the other tasty treats were spectacular at the ones we did hit. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, for the great volunteers who care enough to bake home made goodies and bring them to the rest stops they tend. You are the largest part of the cyclists dream come true.

                  I believe Beth’s friend may be my new idol, she really knew how to do a long ride in style. I don’t want to give away her secrets but lets just say that we wanted for nothing over that entire ride, including the occasional massage. Riding in style with a fellow MSer, respectable cyclists all of us, I liked that a lot. It made a statement, don't count us out just because we have been diagnosed with MS.

                  I have to compliment Maggie, the ride organizer or whoever laid out the century spur of the ride. It was gorgeous, the black top was flawless and in spite of the fact that it gave the impression we were descending into a hole which we would have to climb out of, that wasn’t the case. In fact, the ride back was a fabulous descent to rejoin the main route.

                  Beth is a marathoner and a genuine thoroughbred on a bike, however, she kept herself in check to ride with the rest of us except on a couple of the hills which she used to stretched her legs a bit. But, on the longest and steepest hill, I noticed I was actually catching up to her and had to wonder if there might be a problem. When I did catch her, I saw she was riding on a badly deflated back tire. I don’t know how far she had been riding like that but it was an 8 mile long hill and we were almost at the top, so it could have been quite a while. That’s not the first flat I’ve had experience with on that hill either, perhaps we should call that hill Tire Eater Rise. Anyway, no sooner did we pull over and I began to set about fixing the tire (I mean, it was a classic damsel in distress situation) than the Support and Gear crew came along and got us on our way again, headed for the lunch stop.

                  At the lunch stop, it was a shot of pickle juice, a little rehydration, sandwiches made to order, more home made cookies, a quick shoulder massage, and back on the bikes for the down hill run with at least somewhat of a tail wind most of the time....until the last 10 miles.

                  What it is about those last 10 miles? In some demonic way the wind twists itself around until it’s blasting right on the nose. And it amplifies itself by an order of magnitude or two. It was the same last year but maybe only one order of magnitude as opposed to this year’s two. And it happens just as you start the last uphill stretch. Now, I love the wind, at least that’s what I tell myself, but this particular stretch has it’s own unavoidable idiosyncrasy which works kind of like this. At 15 miles from the finish you notice your average speed is around 15 mph and you calculate you’ve only got an hour to go. When you’re 10 miles out, you see your speed is down to 10 and you recalculate that you still have an hour to go. And with only 5 miles left, on the steepest part of the hill, still riding into the wind, you’re down to 5 miles per hour fearing you have yet another hour to go. At this point, you must summon a little faith that the finish line does exist and will eventually appear, that there is light at the end of this tunnel and that you are facing the right way. If you can do that, you WILL be rewarded, it WILL happen. The three of us did cross the finish line together side by side not too long after that last steep little pitch but there was a moment of doubt and small test of faith to be passed there, for sure.

                  How do you make a great ride even better? add a beer truck of course! Yep, there it was in all it’s glory exactly where it needed to be, right at the end of the first day’s ride. The beer truck arrived soon after the last century riders crossed the finish line and about half an hour before dinner. If I wasn’t the first guy in line I was close. I’d run into Dave Bexfield, the evening’s speaker, and his wife Laura on my way across the parking lot to the tent. We both spotted the beer truck as we were saying our hello’s and automatically turned and headed in that direction. They had just finished pouring the foam off of the freshly tapped kegs as we arrived. Shortly after, Maggie and Krista materialized too. That golden nectar of hops was indeed the perfect ending to a 100+ mile day. Nice touch Maggie and Krista, and thank you John and Matt et al. for somehow making that happen. And it was great to see you again Dave and Laura, and thank you everyone, for another unforgettable Bike MS experience.

                  Day 2, Truchas…what can I say? Far be it from me to discourage anyone from riding up this hill so let’s just say that for the third year in a row, even I, the slowest of the slow, the worlds worst climber, made it to the top, on the bike, under my own power. And furthermore, I wasn’t DFL. In fact, I might not have been quite as hypoxic as the two previous years.

                  There is a segment of the Truchas hill, which can bring a cyclist to their knees, and make them weep, and it did stop me this year. I had finished the 4 or 5 eight to ten percent hills leading up to it and was starting to get pretty hot when I spotted the road's path up that massive overhang. I was grateful for the rain cloud that sprinkled lightly, cooling things down as I started to pedal up it. But, it stopped me anyway, right in the middle of the last section of that steep little pitch (with a “p”, or a “b”, choose one). Now I didn’t break down and weep but, for a minute or so, I did beg for air and strength. And while I was regaining my composure and perhaps entertaining just the slightest thought of turning around and going back down, I heard my Denver bike buddy’s voice in the back of my mind. She said quite clearly, in her take no prisoners voice, “Get your butt up the hill!”, so, I spun an elongated 360 in the middle of the road, got a little speed up and with surprising vigor and ease, peddled my way to the crest.

                  By the way, thanks to all of you who commented on my “I Ride With MS” jersey and gave me words of encouragement, and thanks in particular for supporting the MS cause.

                  In Truchas, I was presented with the traditional cyclotini, Gatorade in a martini glass with a grape this year, on a skewer. Without dismounting and after a few minutes, I topped off my water bottles, downed a chocolate covered banana and headed back down the hill.

                  I can’t imagine the thrill of that descent ever getting old. If I live to be 90 I’ll SAG to the top of Truchas just to re-live the trip back down. On a set of good tires and riding well-maintained equipment, you can reach some mighty impressive speeds on that descent. It’s also fun to hang around the rest stop after that hill and listen to the riders talk about the speeds they hit as they came down.
                  In the end, I trimmed about 20 minutes off last year’s time on the first day but I added 15 to my saddle time the second day. I’ll have to think about why that might be but I already know the real test will come when I do it all again next year.

                  “Pedal los Pueblos”, an MS 150 ride for those who dare!
                  Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 09-07-2013, 09:16 AM. Reason: v2


                  • Awesome recap, Larry. As always, your writing and detailed descriptions put a smile on my face. It was fun to "re-live" the weekend through your post. Looking forward to doing it all again next year!


                    • Thanks Beth, I'm already looking forward to next year too, I want the 15 minutes that I left on Truchas back!

                      That hill deserves more than a little respect but it looked like you tore it up this year. I hope it did good things for your marathon training, I guess we'll find out pretty soon. Good Luck,



                      • Hi Pedal los Pueblos riders! I'm in the New York area, but I have to say that when I read your descriptions of the ride and you mentioned Truchas, it brought back such great memories. Probably 30 years ago, my cycling buddy and I packed up our bikes and paniers, flew out to NM, and rode the Enchanted Circle east out of Taos. Felt like mountain goats for sure when we rode over Palo Flechado Pass. Prior to going out there, I was put in contact with someone in Santa Fe ( or Taos) who went by the nickname of 'BikeMeister" and he told me if I wasn't training on hills to get doing so, and if I was, to just keep doing so! Westchester County in NY is very hilly and often my training was to go to a local cemetary that had great hills, and I would just climb them over and over.....It all helped for sure. When we got back to Taos, we then rode back down to Santa Fe, through Truchas. What a rough ride....we were sitting on the ground in front of a small local general store, and my friend noticed a sign on the window that there was a local house for sale. She was only half kidding when she said, "That's it, I'm buying that so I don't have to pedal anymore..." The climbs really almost brought us to our knees, but didn't...and had us so proud of what we did that trip. Just the two of us.

                        My biking now is much reduced ...not all MS complaints as I am still riding and loving it, but this memory was such a delight. I read your various ride descriptions a little wistfully, but this connection to you with Truchas makes me feel pretty darn good .... I was gonna say " I used to be one of you", but I am gonna think of this as Marines do, there is no ex-Marine... once a Marine, always a Marine. So once a Biker Chick, always a Biker Chick!
                        Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.


                        • Veronica, riding from Taos around the enchanted circle to Santa Fe with paniers definitely qualifies you as a Biker Chick. Cool story, I bet that road is different now, better asphalt but just as steep. I love the vision of you girls sitting outside the general store 30 years ago, that is just classic. The story endures long after the ride is finished.

                          Next up for me is the Tour de Tucson. DD says she's in this year, I hope so. I had it all figured out how to finish close to 7 hours but the ride organizers are trying to screw up my plan. Anybody else in?

                          Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 09-12-2013, 07:47 PM.


                          • Got zero miles on the bike last week but plenty of exercise. It started raining a week ago and except for the occasional hour or two, didn't stop until today. I got a good start on the squats I've been meaning to try by lifting the wet vac bucket up to dump it out a few dozen times a day. It doesn't look good for the bike this week either as there is quite a bit of cleanup and repair work to be done. Getting some exercise isn't going to be a problem for a while though.

                            Keep smiling out there,


                            • Potty Humor

                              I don’t generally engage in telling potty stories but it’s been a rough couple of weeks on the home front and I’m missing my endorphin fix on the bike so somehow my mind gravitated in this direction.

                              As MSers, even if we don’t experience elimination problems I’m sure we are all aware of their copious existence among us. I have a pretty good routine. I can usually have things moving and get on with the day as long as I am up about 90 minutes before I have to get going. An exception to this regularity occurs the morning after a long road trip. For some reason, road trips in excess of 4 or 5 hours have a paralyzing effect on my colon. The longer the road trip, the longer the paralysis lasts. This is exactly what happened to me on the most recent MS 150 bike ride in New Mexico.

                              I was up at 4:30 Saturday morning, the first day of the ride. The trip to Santa Fe the previous day had taken a little over 6 hours so, while I was hoping for the best, I was half expecting a frozen colon, and frozen it was. That’s OK, missing a moving experience for a day isn’t really a big deal and if it affected me at all on the day’s century ride, it wasn’t really noticeable. In fact, I felt confident that, with a couple of beers, I could have a big dinner and would still be able to get things going well enough the next morning to make it through the day.

                              I was kind of half right. The next morning I did get things moving but less than I would have liked so I was still carrying some extra weight as I started the ride up the Truchas hill. Maybe that’s why it took me 15 minutes longer than last year and why I wasn’t able to get all the way up the “Bring You to Your Knees” pitch in a single go. In fact, the more I think about it, the more certain I am that’s exactly what held me back. While I was able to climb Truchas, turn around and ride the screaming 8 mile descent back down all without having the you know what beaten or scared out of me, somewhere along the remaining 20 miles I started to feel the “urge”. It wasn’t the “you gotta go now” urge, it was the “you better start looking for an opportunity” urge that precedes it. I think it was the last rest stop where I took advantage of the opportunity to relieve that urge.

                              I pulled up not 10 feet from the port-a-potty at that rest stop unclipping one foot to assume the 3 point stance I require for a few minutes before dismounting. There was no line to stand around and fidget in so I went right on inside. I was wearing bib cycling shorts that day because they are typically much more comfortable to climb big hills in and I had my “I Ride With MS” jersey on. For those of you who might not be aware, cycling etiquette requires that the straps of the bibs be worn under the jersey. What that means is that the jersey has to come off before the straps can come off, all of which has to happen before the shorts can come down to use a toilet. Although I hadn’t really paid any attention to this before, my jersey, which came from the Colorado MS society, was a ĺ zip, meaning it didn’t fully unzip but had to be taken off overhead. That’s wasn’t such a huge deal really, even given that it was damp from sweat of the heat of the afternoon 4/5ths of the way through an arduous 55 mile bike ride with the only pockets a cyclist has in the back of it stuffed full of crap. Right, even given all of that, the jersey came off relatively easily and the straps and the shorts came down and business was conducted in short order with great satisfaction.

                              Putting things back together however, is an entirely different matter. First, in the event there are uninitiated out there, a word about port-a-potties. They are very small, typically having barely enough space to turn around in between the door, the urinal and the toilet seat. They are ALWAYS placed in direct sunlight such that at mid day they heat up to approximately the temperature of a pizza oven. (I believe this is done to encourage people to spend as little time as possible in them and it works.) They are unstable, particularly when placed on uneven ground, which is where they are always placed. If a port-a-potty has been in use for more than 20 minutes, it is filthy. And finally, the odor of a port-a-potty in the heat of the mid day sun, well let’s not even go there.

                              So, I’m in the port-a-potty, I’ve finished my business, I’m getting my sweat dampened shorts pulled back up and the bib straps untwisted after slipping them over my arms and onto my shoulders. I take my jersey down from the convenient hook on the back of the door and noticing the bulging pockets, briefly consider emptying them before I put it on. I immediately discard that notion as there is no flat surface much less a clean surface in the port-a-potty on which to place the items. Very carefully, so as not to dump the contents of the pockets on the floor, I raise the sweat dampened tight fitting jersey over my head and slip it down over my torso. I find I have managed to get one arm through an armhole and the other one through the neck of the jersey. With some difficulty, the jersey comes off again and it takes a minute to get it untwisted from the rather awkward removal before I make another attempt. Being careful to get my arms in both armholes this time prior to lowering the jersey over my body, and making certain not to spill the contents of the pockets, I start again but something goes wrong. Something somewhere in that tight damp mess is twisted and, with my arms over my head and the jersey blindfolding me, I can’t tell what or where. I try to force it down hoping that if I can do so, I can untwist it afterward. It doesn’t go and is twisting up worse, so much so that it’s beginning to constrict my upper chest. The temperature is getting to me, the exertion is tiring me but obviously, the jersey has to come off again, except it won’t do that either. Finally, in the confined, dirty, smelly heat of the rocking and rolling port-a-potty, the jersey comes off. It is twisted in an unbelievable knot of “I Ride With MS” fabric and with it in hand, I burst out the door, take three steps and collapse in the shade of a nearby vehicle.

                              It takes me more than a few minutes to get the Gordian knot of that jersey untwisted but I am able to get it on with little drama when I do. I apologized to the lady who was waiting all that time to get into the port-a-potty, a lady who had commented on my “I Ride With MS” jersey on the route. I was hot and exhausted and feeling very MSey so I stumbled over to the rest area proper and plopped myself down in a chair in the shade to try to recover a bit. As fortune would have it, both Krista and Maggie were at that rest stop. I think Krista thought I was done for, she seemed to be particularly concerned by my state of exhaustion. While I tried to assure her it would pass in a few minutes, Maggie came over and put a cold wet towel on my neck. I’m sure you can imagine how heavenly that felt. As I was convincing Maggie and Krista that I did not require a sag to the finish, or at least not yet, the lady who had been waiting for the port-a-potty came over to express a greatly appreciated vote of confidence in me. I think she simply said, “No, he’s doing just fine”. And with that, I got up, remounted my bike and, having successfully avoided another messy end, lightly rode off to finish the ride in comfort.

                              Potty stories anybody?
                              Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 09-19-2013, 07:20 PM.


                              • Okay- if you insist...

                                Larry, you tell a story so well. I won't be as eloquent, but here is my story.
                                Two years ago, while on a group ride, I experienced one of those "gotta go NOW" urges with little warning. We were on the tandem and it took me a few panicy minutes to convince my DH to stop NOW. He kept saying, there is a better place about a mile ahead. Later was not an option. Luckily, we were a few minutes ahead of the group and once we were stopped, I headed into the roadside bushes while the DH stood guard and sounded the warning of approaching riders. Business was handled quickly (travel with necessary tissue) and I shimmied back into the sweaty lycra shorts and off we went. Not perfect, but not too bad.
                                Fast forward a few days. It turns out, in my rush, I didn't carefully survey my surrounding vegetation. My shorts had spent time in close proximity with some very potent poison ivy. I had then ridden in said poison ivy infused shorts for an hour and then sat around in them for a few more hours.
                                And I am very allergic- need steroids every time I get poison ivy- allergic.
                                I won't go into too much detail, but it turns out that intense exposure to poison ivy over several hours doesn't lead to a rash. All of the exposed skin just peels off in large sheets. Absolute misery. Luckily, I did have some steroids around so I didn't have to explain all of this to my doctor. I don't think he could have made it out of the exam room before bursting out in laughter.
                                I haven't had to hit the bushes since then, but I will certainly be more careful in the future.