Extra Life Triathlon Fitness

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I hate sprinting. I hate having to breathe that quickly and heavily, to the point where every part of my body hurts, my heart is beating out of my chest, and I am on the verge of vomiting every few steps. To look on the bright side of my current state of injury, "sprinting" is nowhere on my radar.

Although, it should be. And to be honest, I would welcome the opportunity to pick up my pace and feel the burn, so to speak.

As of a few weeks ago, I left behind the base stage of my training, during which time I was exercising in strictly aerobic heart rate zones, and entered a stage where I was adding short intervals of speed work to my training. It's not that much, less than 10% of my total volume, which is why it is tolerable to me. It was also proving highly beneficial. I found that over the course of the last couple weeks I have been able to break through my plateau and start to get faster, simply because I was mixing up the workouts.

Unfortunately, my failed experiment testing how well my bike could navigate safely through an automobile (turns out not so well) left my left knee sprained, at the very least. Thus, depending on the severity of the injury, I will not have full capabilities of my leg for about 8-12 weeks according to my doctor. Speed work is out of the question, but at least I can resume activities with pain as my guide (in the lower aerobic zones). Setback #1.

Well, that's only half right. I can resume activities as long as I have the equipment to do so. I was informed earlier this week that my bike is damaged beyond repair. One of the unfortunate realities of carbon fiber road bikes is that they can bend in a crash. And when they bend, they don't go back easily. In this case it is a small but significant bend near the rear derailleur. That little bend makes shifting impossible and makes the frame useless. RIP Orbea Ordu. Setback #2.

My new BFF

Well, that's what insurance is for, right? The other party's insurance to be more specific. After all, they were at fault, right?... Right?

Not according to San Clemente's finest. Apparently, as a bicyclist you can still be at fault for faceplanting into a car even if the driver of the car runs a stop sign, doesn't signal, and performs a reckless right turn into your oncoming path. My crime? Must be my inability to successfully pass through solid objects without causing damage. I suppose they're right, I DO need more practice with that. Back to the Physics textbook. It just means I'm out of pocket for the hefty cost of the damage on the bike I just bought (since it's less likely insurance will cover that). Setback #3.

I recognize I'm venting here. A little of that is healthy, but for my own sanity and as a condition of my success going forward I have to refocus my energy on the positive. After all, the very purpose of this whole adventure is to overcome challenges to achieve something great, and do do my best to be in service in the process. I wasn't skipping away from the accident, but I was at least on two legs, with a healthy back and neck, and a fully functional brain (some could argue otherwise, but it wasn't affected by the accident). On that perspective alone, I'm in great shape. Bikes can be rebuilt, pain will subside, and the money comes and goes. The experience, the learning, the joy that comes with success after overcoming an major obstacle is lasting and priceless. 

I'll paraphrase what I heard once from someone (how's that for a reference?). There are good days and great days. A good day is when everything goes well and you don't succumb to your demons. A great day is when everything goes wrong and you still don't succumb to your demons. My wife's wise words are also relevant. The more obstacles I run into the stronger I will be.


  1. Hell, you survived having me for a friend for more than 20 years. This is small in comparison. :)

    1. Well, it still beats the pain of buying a house. I wouldn't wish that on anybody! :-)

  2. As they say this too shall pass.. We all get knocked down but the quicker you get up the stronger you are. Stay strong and listen to your wife she is a smart girl!

  3. Wow I am sorry to read about your setback but you are taking it very well. I have had a couple of crashes with vehicles while riding; one in Australia (doored) and one in New Brunswick (T-boned by a driver who had a stop sign and was looking right at [through] me). Those were decades ago; back in the days when I (like most riders) did not own a helmet. I am so grateful for all the safe miles I was able to ride on roads with heavy two-way traffic and narrow or no shoulders; drafting transport trucks passing a foot or two beside me whose drivers would not have noticed if their trailers had hit me....and seeing drivers in pickup trucks pounding back a beer while driving. I do not push the law of averages today which is why I attempt to stay on trails or quiet streets. I am able to get most of my cardio from climbing and I think you should be able to do that as well. I was going to advise riding with a Go-Pro camera, but in my case I think that would only serve to embolden my riding in traffic giving me a false sense I could prove a driver was in the wrong. My conclusion is that it doesn't matter who is right or wrong; as cyclists we are likely to lose in any encounter with a vehicle. I've even lost in encounters with wayward pedestrians (Tokyo)! I hope you stay safe. You are counting your blessings and learning so please accept a huge pat on the back and help put this into perspective.

    1. Thanks for the perspective. Funny, I almost strapped my gopro on before my ride, but decided against it. Your suggestion of riding in lower traffic areas is well received, and I will heed that advice. This experience has taught me that regardless of who is at fault, cars hurt! :-)