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MSers In Training 2011

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  • Hey Pell, That whole camping idea was definitely out for this old guy too, although most of the riders did camp and didn't seem to be too much the worse for it. The idea of staying with folks along the way is appealing, I heard good things about those experiences.

    I especially like the RV idea, maybe look for a driver/masseuse/chef combo. I actually tried to trade my house for a friend’s RV but turned out the RV was worth several times more than the house and required the equivalent of a jet fighter-plane training course to operate. Sure would have been the lap of luxury though what with DW as support and all.

    In the end, we stayed in motels. It worked out OK because all of our wives went along in vehicles to pick us up and ferry everybody around. The wives had a blast too although the whole operation was something comparable to herding cats. That was pretty entertaining all by itself.

    BTW, there were a lot of tandems on the ride, seemed like RAGBRAI is perfect for them. I played tag with several of them daily. I could catch them on the uphill but just had to get out of their way on the downhill. One more thing, you might want to warn DH that competition on RAGBRAI has more to do with who can hit more of the food stations along the route each day than it does with how fast anybody can go on the bike. I must have done pretty good in the food department, rode 400 miles in a week and managed to gain 5 lbs.

    I might see you out there next year. My brother and his buds are formulating a plan and I might get to join in.

    Joey, thanks for the “cool vibes”, they actually arrived about Thursday and stayed through Saturday. Made things quite a bit more pleasant. And thanks especially for the “I Ride With MS” jersey explanation. I’ll make a point of registering as a person with MS next year, seems as though it’s time. I’m just about ready to get back on the bike so look for a message soon. I assume you’re needing to get a longer ride or two in before your century.

    Originally posted by Stella View Post
    That sounded a lot of fun Larry. Thanks for the picture. It looked a lovely day! I have one question though, and I am not trying to be funny but what happens if you need the toilet? Ever since being diagnosed with MS I have to plan accordingly. Makes me wonder about people who do marathons or half marathons as well.
    Hey Stella, just saw your message and have to say, as usual, you make a very good point. The towns in Iowa were generally about 10 miles apart and they all had multiple facilities available. 10 miles might be an hour or less for most cyclists.

    Of course, for that "emergency" situation, there was ALWAYS a corn field just a couple of steps away from the road. I actually saw a sign along the way that read "What happens in the corn, stays in the corn".

    Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 08-04-2011, 10:43 AM.


    • Originally posted by Susannah
      AMF - it's so good to see you report on the ride in Iowa with such enthusiasm! I was worried about you after the big, big ride - hoping it was a temporary setback. Boy, you bounced back quickly - not just physically but psychologically. The past couple of years by big backpack trips didn't quite go as planned - I couldn't go fast and long enough to make the distance I needed to get over all the mountains in time. Both years we had to go to Plan B mid-trip. My confidence, 'er ego, sure took a hit. But... I just got back from this year's trip - 6 days/30 miles mostly above timberline in the Comanche Peak Wilderness/RMNP. This year I did what I planned, and more! At the end I even felt like I could keep going. And we didn't see another human being the entire time. That sure sounds different than RAGBRAI!

      What advice do you have for dealing with those setbacks? It seems like those trips that didn't work out like I planned got me down for way longer than it should have!
      I love that image Sue. One of us back packing in the solitude of the Rocky Mountain wilderness for a week and another riding a bike across Iowa with 15,000 other people. Could there be more opposite ends of a spectrum? And then we meet back here because we both have MS, to tell each other what we've been up to. I don't have the words to describe that right now but I find some symbolism in it incredibly uplifting. Well done Sue, and I'm glad you're back too.

      On getting past the failures, it just seems counter productive to spend any more time than it takes to analyze the cause and make a plan to overcome it the next time. Making the new plan and implementing it is definitely the harder, more time consuming part.

      I love reading about your back packing and snowboarding adventures too Sue!



      • Last night Steve and I were invited to a focus group at the National Chapter's offices...its was pretty neat, the chapter president and 3 other staff members were there. Next year is the ride's 30th anniversary, so they are trying to get ideas on what to change, what to keep etc.

        As for the bike, I have only been able to get on twice a week for the past 2 weeks, thanks to bridal showers, plans, and all other things keeping me too busy. I did sign us up to try out first spinning class though...hope it goes well, I am a bit intimidated by it!


        • Originally posted by Marinadca View Post
          Last night Steve and I were invited to a focus group at the National Chapter's offices...its was pretty neat, the chapter president and 3 other staff members were there. Next year is the ride's 30th anniversary, so they are trying to get ideas on what to change, what to keep etc.
          I love going to anniversary rides, they usually are at least a little bit special, a 30th should be great.
          My #1 pet peeve on the MS rides I've done is putting the water refill station at the very back of the area. If it's an unpaved stop, that can be a problem, at least for me. And if last year is any indication, it might be a problem for more and more MSers who seem to be doing these rides (YAY!).

          Originally posted by Marinadca View Post
          As for the bike, I have only been able to get on twice a week for the past 2 weeks, thanks to bridal showers, plans, and all other things keeping me too busy. I did sign us up to try out first spinning class though...hope it goes well, I am a bit intimidated by it!
          It's great that you're back on at all. I was a little worried about you after your fall. Glad you're back at it.

          Hey Pell, did you manage a ride along the Mississippi?

          Next up for me, Bike MS: PEDAL LOS PUEBLOS 2011, 88 miles the first day, 52 miles the second day. I've got a couple of training rides to go yet but feel like I am already there!


          • Marina- glad you are back on the bike. It does take some nerve to do that.
            Larry- No ride along the river. We didn't take our bikes, but some of my old school friends did ride Sunday morning. We headed home. That was a good thing since our 22 yo son waited until we arrived home so that we could move him. Nothing like driving 500 miles and then getting to move sofas,etc.
            We have been riding a bit more now that the heat has taken a break. I rode my single bike 3 times last week. I am very comfortable with a 16-16.5 pace and can do that with an average HR of 125. I haven't tried to push beyond that pace. I am not doing any of the interval rides or anything to push- need to add that back. We are riding the tandem as well. We rode 50 miles on Sunday at 19 mph without major effort. We plan to ride the tandem tonight, single bikes Friday morning and then the tandem for a 46 mile ride on Sunday. There is another Saturday ride we may do on the single bikes.
            We are still in the midst of a major remodel, so sometimes we are choosing windows instead of riding.

            I seem to have accepted the effect the Gilenya has on my HR and exercise capacity. If I really push, I can get my HR to 156, but that is tops. I get winded pretty easily, but seem to recover very quickly. I can easily do a 30 miles ride on the single bike at 16 mph without being exhausted. I guess I am satisfied with that. Having the tandem has removed the friction about going faster. Of course, now the DH want to go faster up the hills on the tandem. I am back to counting calories and losing weight.



            • Hey Pell, I agree, a little cooler weather has made the biking a lot more pleasant.

              Finished my last push before the MS ride next weekend, 100 miles in the last 2 days, the legs are pretty toasted. I'm definitely ready for a taper week but I'm sure I'll be fine. I'm not crazy about doing 88 miles on the first day though.

              I have been doing a set of intervals every 5 to 7 days. The first set I really got after was pretty tough but after that, I find I kind of enjoy seeing how hard I can push myself how many times in a row. Right now, I can do 5 reps of upper zone 5 holding it for 30 to 60 seconds. My objective is to increase that to 12 reps for 60 to 90 seconds. Hope to at least get close to that by Tour de Tucson. I really have to go into those things well rested though or they are just impossible. From where I sit right now, your 16 to 16.5 mph is safe but we'll see.

              That doesn't seem like too bad of a trade off for the Gylenia except the getting winded part might be a little disconcerting. I'm going to look into that next year although I'm not sure it's really a possibility yet.

              Hope to at least get a chance to tap Dave Bexfield on the shoulder and say hi in New Mexico next week.

              Hey Joey, good luck on the upcoming Venus de Miles, look forward to hearing all about it.



              • Its interesting you mention interval training - I just got a new toy - a GymBoss interval timer and I want to start testing it out... to try and improve my aerobic fitness.

                Do you have a good starting place for info on interval training?

                I was thinking of starting off with 30 seconds hard effort 90 seconds and repeat 10 times...but maybe this isn't a good starting point... I am not sure about HR zone 5.


                • Hit

                  Here is my trainer's version of high intensity training. The numbers are my heart rate range. I am 58 and my max HR is around 165.

                  Warm up 15-30 min. easy ( 120-130 ). Proceed by performing a block of 45-60 sec. on (nearly maximal effort, but short of a sprint) followed by 45-60 sec. off (easy recovery). Monitoring HR for this short of an effort and recovery period is not accurate due to the short duration. Focus on effort level instead.
                  Perform these seated. Can be done on either trainer or on LOW traffic road (you need a quiet road since you will need to monitor your time often). Continue with “ON” / “OFF” cycle until you have completed designated “block” of efforts. After each “block”, ride for 5-10 min (HR <125 ). Continue until all “blocks” have been completed. This workout may seem odd during your early season / base phase of training, but recent evidence supports this workout to stimulate metabolic adaptations in a short time span. Follow your last session with 10 min active recovery easy HR <125 and then ride the remainder of the workout at endurance pace 120-130.

                  Another interval training he suggested:
                  4 min Threshold Efforts
                  Warm up 15-30 min endurance pace (120-130), then peform a 4 min. threshold interval efforts with a target HR of (140) within 2 min then hang on for 2 more minutes. 4 min. rest between efforts. It may take the first 1-1.5 minute of the interval to reach target HR. This is normal. 15-30 min HR ( <125 ) cool down.

                  I hope this helps. I did some threshold efforts today. I did 6 rounds and it felt good.



                  • Hey Marina,
                    I wish I could point you to a good reference for information on interval training but so far, I just haven’t found anything. The multitude of “authorities” out there seem to really confuse what I perceive as a very simple concept, namely, repeating short periods of extreme exertion followed by short periods of recovery. Having said that, I liked the approach the GymBoss takes to interval training. Your idea of starting with 30/90 repeats is probably OK however if you can do 10 of those I’ll be very impressed. I think I’d try to get at least 6 reps though by varying the recovery time however you need to, then work towards 10 from there.

                    One thing ALL of the “authorities” agree on is that you must give yourself adequate rest between interval workouts. In my case that amounts to 5 to 7 days and NOT including intervals in my routines at all every 3rd or 4th week. Trying to do more than that leads me to a bad attitude towards riding and possibly even illness. Obviously I do continue to ride, just not at those extreme efforts.

                    I take an approach similar to Pell’s by setting a target heart rate to achieve both for the exertion phase and the recovery phase. When I can no longer reach the exertion heart rate target, I know I’m done. If I can’t even get to my target heart rate within 2 tries to begin with, it usually means I need to rest another day or two and I immediately stop pushing myself and just enjoy an easy ride. My targets are an exertion HR of 176 or better for about 30 seconds and a recovery HR of 152 or less for a couple of minutes.

                    The whole "zone" thing is a way to describe a level of effort. Pell and I have heart rates that are quite a bit different but if we talk in terms of zones, then we are discussing similar levels of effort. Zone 5 is a very, very high level of effort for each of us.

                    I noticed in a previous post that you plan to join a spin cycle class. In my experience, spin cycle instructors generally follow some type of interval training workout. If that’s the case, do consider just how many times each week you really want to attempt intervals, if not done correctly, they can be counter productive.

                    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

                    It’ll be interesting to see if you’re able to raise your Gilenya induced heart rate zones at all Pell. Got to think it’s a good sign if you’re feeling good about the intervals.


                    • Still cycling alot, but at least half of the rides are pretty frustrating. Today we lead a 38 mile ride and the first 33 miles were great. We held a steady 16-16.5 mph pace and everyone stayed together.
                      The last 5 miles turned into a surge and I fell off the back and couldn't catch up. So, I finished angry that they had dropped me. We had a 16.4 mph pace when the surge started with 5 miles left and I finished at 16.9- several minutes after everyone else. I really hate being dropped.
                      I guess I need to adjust my attitude. My DH went with the surge so I was ready to divorce him by the end of the ride. I was really mad at myself that I couldn't keep up. I don't see my fitness improving much so, clearly, it is my expectations that need to change.

                      Marina- have you tried any intervals? Be sure to ride fairly easy for most rides. Only ride hard once a week.



                      • I finally got to meet the man behind AMF Adventures at BikeMS in Santa Fe this past weekend... and he is one nice, humble, guy. And one hell of a cyclist. Great to see you, AMF!
                        Dave Bexfield


                        • Hi Pell

                          To be honest I got scared off from the intervals a bit. Me and the husband are doing out first spin/cycle class tomorrow night. I am nervous!


                          • 8/30/2011

                            Originally posted by ActiveMSers View Post
                            I finally got to meet the man behind AMF Adventures at BikeMS in Santa Fe this past weekend... and he is one nice, humble, guy. And one hell of a cyclist. Great to see you, AMF!
                            Very kind words Dave, thank you. Some of that humility might have had a little to do with the 88 miles and 3,400 feet of ascent on day 1 of the MS ride there, but more on that later.

                            It was also a pleasure to meet you and your lovely wife Laura and of course, Dear Krista. It became quite apparent to me as I watched and listened to the post ride festivities, just how fortunate we are to have you and Krista to bring us together, publicize our cause and engage our political system to bring about the kind of legislation that will facilitate a cure and make our lives a little easier in the mean time. I am very grateful for all you do, thank you Dave and Krista.



                            • Pedal los Pueblos, MS 150, Santa Fe, NM

                              Wow, what a challenging ride this was. I’d have to put myself in the bottom third in terms of the quality of cyclists participating in the Santa Fe MS 150 and for good reason. Riding 88 miles (89 and change by my odometer) with 3,400 feet of ascent in the New Mexican heat on the first day was plenty tough. I spent almost 6:40 in the saddle and a total of 8:30 out on the course. The first 45 miles were a steady ascent interrupted towards the lunch stop by a 2-mile long serious climb. Sure made me glad to see that sandwich. The rest of the ride was a little easier, we got to go down hill for most of the last 45 miles. Of course the heat was increasing and in order to get as much of the evaporative cooling effect as possible, I needed to keep my speed up. Not much chance to rest on the bike if you wanted to stay cool. Perhaps Dave mistook my nearly comatose state, later that evening, for humility, I don't know.

                              There were a couple of items of interest on this ride. Just before the second rest stop a young horse decided the cyclists were having so much fun he just had to join in. I heard the clippity clop of horse hooves coming up behind me and was soon passed by a couple of riders with a horse following close behind. Maybe the horse kind of spooked them, I don’t know, but they pulled over and stopped, horse and riders, and I went past. A few hundred feet further up the road I hear the clippity clop coming up behind me again. Sure enough, this time, just the horse. Seems the horse wasn’t interested in standing around, it was having a great time just running along with the bikes.

                              Another point of interest was that Maggie, the event organizer, seemed to be at about every other rest stop I pulled into. Although she wasn't riding, I thought it very commendable that the event organizer would spend that much time with the participants.

                              I also managed to flat a tire on the last half of this ride. No sooner had I pulled off the road and removed my wheel from the bike than along came one of the SAG wagons offering what ever assistance he could. Although I would normally be too stubborn to allow anyone else to deal with my problems, I did let them pump that tire back up for me. Might have had something to do with enjoying the cold wash rag they put on my neck immediately on their arrival. The SAG/support folks on this ride were second to none. You guys are the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding with, my deepest gratitude.

                              Day one was tough enough, but day 2 was the real eye opener. Don’t be misled by the paltry 55 miles and 4,100 feet of ascent. Nearly 2,000 feet of that ascent, almost half, took place in just 8 miles. I was watching the gradeometer (is that a word?) on my computer vacillate between 8 degrees and 12 degrees over several of the steeper parts of that 8 miles. Of course I didn’t need the computer to tell me how steep that thing was, my heart, lungs and legs let me know exactly what was happening! I did eventually make it but the first 20 miles took over 2 hours. The next 35 miles were a screamer. I hit speeds in excess of 45 MPH. It was a pretty straight descent, not very technical, just tuck and go. If I developed any doubts in the first 20 miles, they were all exonerated by the thrill of that descent over the last 35 miles which, by the way, took less than 2 hours.

                              This was a fantastic ride, very challenging for even a relatively advanced rider if they chose to do the long routes. For the more casual rider, the shorter routes offered each day, were very manageable, given at least a modicum of training.

                              Thanks for a great ride New Mexico MS,



                              • That sounded like a great experience Larry! Thanks for sharing it!