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The Highland Hippie's Grand Adventures


Pat (pogo69)

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16 hours ago, SwissDanny said:

That'll increase your longest ride distance somewhat! 80k+?

Best case?  Possibly.  It is a ~10km loop, so it will end up being close enough to n x 10.  At a relatively comfortable (sustainable, but not easy) pace, I should be able to get 7 laps in.  8 laps would be a little bit of a push.

Given how hard the fatigue hit me with the last race, I plan to begin more conservatively this time.  Also, actually try to eat something mid-race.  Hoping that the combination of food, pacing, and eating, will bring better results than last time.  The only other unknown is the course.  I've never ridden out there (although I have been out to help on a dig day), but I actually practised pre-race on the previous course.

In any event, it will be another 6 hrs of learning experience.

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Days #158-161

  • Mountain Biking
    • Race - see below
  • Mobility
    • Nothing much to report
    • Did CR with hip mobility last night, but very gentle, due to tired body from MTB race
  • Meditation
    • Sessions have been quite good lately.  Very focused and centred.
  • Sleep
    • Awful.  I had had quite a long period of obviously and markedly improved sleep, after a period of time with the mobility and meditation practise.  But it has all rather fallen apart in the past couple of weeks.  There are plenty of life stresses contributing, but that is not unusual.  Ebb and flow.

So, the MTB race, copy'n'paste from Strava:

Quote

 

What a day! Very mixed bag.

First time riding Kooralbyn. Quite different to my usual Daisy Hill stomping ground. The course was climbier, pinchier, but also quite a bit faster. Absolutely loved the course. Each lap about 10km.

First 3 laps went pretty well. Started out relatively easy, as planned. Learned from Daisy Hill's mistake.

Also ate and drank much better.

Then,,, I had a bike-trastrophe. About 2km into the 4th lap, my rear derailleur cable snapped, leaving the rear cassette stuck in the hardest gear. So, I finished that lap essentially riding a very hard pedalling fixie.

Back at transition, a very lovely woman attempted to fix the broken cable. She was supposed to be spectating, but ended up spending most of the day fixing one bike niggle after another. Eventually got the cable hooked back up, but to no avail. Still wouldn't shift, so there is obviously another problem.

Decided to suck it up and keep going with my horrendous beast of a fixie - riding what I could and pushing what I couldn't. Most of it ended up being rideable (just a buttload harder), but the pinchie stuff was impossible. 2 more laps, for a total of 6.

A bit bummed that things didn't go as planned. Was thinking best case 8 laps, and targeting at least 7. I stopped about 25 mins short, and lost almost an hour with the bike issues. Plus, riding the fixie was a LOT slower. So, 7 would have been in the bag, and was on track for 8.

Also learned to pack a rag and chain lube. Poor thing was creaking hard by the 3rd lap, very dusty.

But... oh well. I did what I could with what I had. More lessons learned, and another day of abundant stubborn.

 

So, no 80km+.  No 70km+.  But considering the mechanical issues, I am pretty happy with my efforts.

  • 61km
  • 1620m elevation gain
  • 5h 37m 58s

I could have gone out for another lap.  But I figured I'd done enough.  Pedalling a fixie around a hilly course is brutal.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Days #162-170

  • Mountain Biking
    • Nil.  Bike is still in the shop.  Long waiting times on anything bike related at the moment, as all of the shops are over-worked and under-stocked.
    • Bought a new bike!  Still looking forward to getting my old bike fixed.  It will remain a back-up.  But should take delivery of my first full suspension (XC-oriented trail) bike in a few weeks.  It will also be my first 29er (old bike is 26"), so it will be nice to be able to "roll over" stuff.
  • Mobility
    • Nothing much to report.  Mostly just cruising the bare minimum
  • Strength Training
    • Nothing much to report.  Reset front squat and military press, as planned.  First week of cycle yesterday, and everything felt heavy (front squat and weighted pullups).  Really need to deal with sleep and respiratory health (see below), I think.
  • Meditation
    • Still humming along nicely.
  • Sleep
    • Still awful.
    • I went to the GP yesterday, to get a referral to an ENT.  I've had chronic rhinitis for decades.  Had nasal polyps removed about 25-30 years ago, but they have returned with a vengeance.  Tried, and succeeded to varying degrees, to control rhinitis for a long time with nasal irrigation and nasal steroids.  But I have had to face the fact that I am not gaining control.  Sleep deprivation, sleep apnoea, fatigue, snoring, drowsiness; all contributing to my less than spectacular health.  Also doubtless impacting everything else I am trying to achieve, vis-à-vis health and fitness.
    • Booked in for CT scan on Friday.  Sleep clinic contacted and will call back to schedule tests.  I have no doubt I have another polypectomy in my future, but perhaps they will find other issues along the way.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Days #171-182

  • Mountain Biking
    • Got bike back from the shop in the nick of time.  Only one ride out, last Wednesday, prior to the Adventure Race on the weekend.  But that's better than nothing.
  • Running
    • Went for my first training run in ages, last Wednesday.  Straight after the bike ride.  Did not love it, particularly on bike-depleted legs.
  • Mobility
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Strength Training
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Meditation
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Adventure Racing
    • Finally got to my first (and only) Adventure Race of the year.  6 hrs of trekking/running, MTBing, and paddling.  Lack of fitness heavily exposed.  I knew that this year, I wouldn't have time to train properly.  That was part of the reason for having a go at Adventure Racing and MTBing.  But, that aside, I have been admittedly slack.  On the up side, I am feeling more motivated to try to redirect efforts towards improving my overall fitness in readiness for more serious outings next year.
    • Running was lacklustre, but mostly OK.
    • Paddling was expectedly hard.  I hadn't paddled at all since February.  Upper body and core were OK.  But after trying to concentrate on increasing leg drive, I started cramping in the left foot and shin.  Took at least 15-20 mins for it to ease enough to get going again.  No more leg drive and I could continue well enough.  Think it was a combination of unfamiliar movement, and fatigue from coming straight off the bike.
    • MTBing was demoralisingly hard.  LOTS of steep pinchy climbs, and I was hike-a-biking far more than I would have liked.  Also contributed to more cramping, right near the end.  Coming back into hash house, both calves started cramping.  At least I could just ride through that.
    • Navigation: Andy did most of the nav, but I learned a lot.  We did make a couple of mistakes, but also had a couple of off-track bush-bashing wins.
    • Placed almost exactly in the middle of the pack.  Happy enough with that.
  • Sleep
    • Rubbish
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  • 2 weeks later...

Days #183-191

  • Mountain Biking
    • New Bike Day!  It arrived on Monday.  Got it assembled Monday night, and went out for its maiden voyage Tuesday morning.  We're still getting used to each other, but the signs are good.  Looking forward to a skills workshop tomorrow.  New bike is great, but by far my greatest room for improvement is going to require coaching.
  • Running
    • Nothing since the Adventure Race.  Still just not feeling it.
  • Mobility
    • Some small progress.  Last night's sit felt really good in the hips.  Removed the bolster under my right leg, afterwards, and felt almost comfortable with both knees on the ground.  I'm still not quite level, but there is definite positive progress.
  • Strength Training
    • On hiatus.  Was starting to burn out.  Really not enjoying it anymore.  In fact, dreading it.  Going to take a couple of weeks off, then formulate a new strength program that I hope can be sustainable with, and beneficial to MTBing.
  • Meditation
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Sleep
    • Rubbish.  Little fella has had a couple of nights in a row, waking at 1-2am.  So the generally ordinary sleep is even worse.
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Days #192-199

  • Mountain Biking
    • Loving the new bike.  Getting more comfortable with it every ride.
    • Also starting to progress skills.  Trying as best I can, to temper my enthusiasm with occasional reminders that I'll progress faster by being smooth and balanced, than pinging it all the time.
    • Good time at the skills workshop last week.  Worked on track stands, ratcheting and wheel lifts.  Then went out on the trails (exact same route as the most recent XC race).  I did another lap just for fun, but ran out of steam by just short of midday.  Very hot.
    • Start 4 weeks of skills course this coming Sunday.  2 hrs for 4 subsequent Sundays.  Very much looking forward to it.
  • Running
    • Still nothing.
  • Mobility
    • Continuing with the removed bolster under my right leg, in the sit, and a reduced under-bum bolster.
    • Been getting intermittent sciatic pain for the past few days.  Also some tightness and discomfort through back in thoracic area.
  • Strength Training
    • Enjoying the hiatus, for now.  Need to start thinking (more concretely) about what I am going to do, moving forward.  Probably some combination of barbells for lower, and gymnastics for upper.
  • Meditation
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Sleep
    • Still not great.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Days #200-211

  • Mountain Biking
    • 1st session of MTB skills on Sunday before last.  Started with braking and (flat) cornering.  Finished with wheel lifts.
    • Finally got my first (almost) clear bunny-hopped log on last Tuesday's ride.  Tips from skills course definitely made the difference.  Just barely kissed the top of the log, but I'm counting it.
    • 2nd session of MTB skills on Sunday.  First up "pumping", then bermed corners.  Really starting to "feel" pumping now.  The berms, not quite so much, but they were already on the improve, so baby steps.
  • Running
    • Not feeling it
  • Mobility
    • Changed back to seated piriformis.  Feeling pretty good, definitely needed the change.
  • Strength Training
    • Went two full weeks doing zero strength training.
    • Started this week, just playing with a couple of things.  Daily muscle up, some gentle bodyline stuff and set of "easy" (it was surprisingly lacking in ease after a couple of weeks off) back squats.
  • Meditation
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Sleep
    • Same same.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Days #212-225

  • Mountain Biking
    • 3rd MTB skills session got rained out last week, but we got back to it on Sunday.  This time, it was rock gardens.  Interesting to analyse them a bit more than I usually do, but I think on balance, the least useful session thus far.  4th and final session, next Sunday.  All on a trail called 'Wiry Panic', that has plenty of berms, pump-friendly trail, and rock gardens, so that we can link it all together.
    • Have been trying some different trail networks, the past couple of weeks.  Loving the variety.  Tackling stuff that has caused problems in the past, with much more aplomb.  That said, still have PLENTY of growing ahead.
  • Running
    • Same same.
  • Mobility
    • Humming along.  Sit is generally going much better with the reduced bolstering.  Not so much the past couple of days, however.  Very stiff and sore.  We just bought a house, so I'm doing long days of painting and maintaining etc.  Really need to be paying more attention to limbering out the aches and pains.
  • Strength Training
    • Still just playing.  Although, even that has been more sporadic, the past week.
  • Meditation
    • Nothing much to report.
  • Sleep
    • Same same.
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On 11/6/2020 at 11:53 AM, Nathan said:

Not for a road race, @Nathan.

There is plenty of MTBing in Japan.  I just have no idea exactly where.  Lots of plenty big mountains, too.  So, it is probably much bigger in Japan than I know.

I do know that there is a Vertical K race (trail race, on foot, ascending 1 vertical km on a course less than 5km in distance) somewhere over there.  It was on my TODO list, if/when I ever rediscover the love for running.

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Days #226-?

  • Mountain Biking
    • 4th and final MTB skills session done and dusted.  Bit of a disaster in some ways - a few incidents - but overall, a great way to wrap it all up.  We went to a trail that included everything that we'd worked on, in the previous weeks - berms, rock gardens, drops, and log/rock overs.
    • Incidents - I got to the session late.  We were doing the final clean on what I hope is our last rental.  Lost track of time.  Arrived, caught up with the "track walk" that the rest of the class had already done, and had a run at the first section of trail.  No problem.  On the 2nd section, however, I got a pinch flat.  Had NO gear with me, because I had run out the door at the last second.  One of the instructors gave me a spare tube, and gear to change it.  Caught up again, but only after missing the rest of the first lap around.  Then... when heading off the trail for the next "track walk", I didn't see a broken tree branch, and impaled my arm on it.  Bit of it had gone through the flesh, snapped off, then poke out somewhere else.  Managed to pull the broken bit out, and stem the bleeding.  Anyway.  Despite all of that, I really enjoyed the riding.  Learnt lots more, and have been enjoying applying it all in subsequent solo sessions out on the trails.
    • Now we're at the new place, I am hoping to do some regular skills work out in the backyard.  We have quite a decent, shallow sloping, space.  So plenty of room.
    • Still enjoying more variety.  Getting smoother -> faster -> smoother -> faster.  Also gradually increasing courage.
  • Running
    • Same same.
  • Mobility
    • AWOL
  • Strength Training
    • Nil.  Unless painting, carpentry, cleaning, removals, etc counts.
  • Meditation
    • AWOL
  • Sleep
    • Same same.

Meditation/Mobility

Completely fallen off the wagon.  Had a day off, somewhere in the middle of the never-ending battle to get this house liveable, and the old rental ready to hand back to the owner.  We got there, but I lost all motivation for much of anything else, in the process.

One day, became... actually, I know longer know, because I stopped counting.  In fact, at this stage, I still don't know the whereabouts of the weekly calendars that we write the challenge day numbers, and everything else that we do.

Hope to get back to it, but right now, I just don't care.

That said, so much of my body needs some limbering right now.

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2 hours ago, Pat (pogo69) said:

No problem.  On the 2nd section, however, I got a pinch flat.

Do you run tubeless? Well worth it in my view... had lots of pinch flats when first got the ebike... lots of big stones around plus 130kg on 0.8bar fatties, but not one since went tubeless and it's not a lot of bother.

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On 11/12/2020 at 5:08 PM, SwissDanny said:

Do you run tubeless? Well worth it in my view... had lots of pinch flats when first got the ebike... lots of big stones around plus 130kg on 0.8bar fatties, but not one since went tubeless and it's not a lot of bother.

Not yet.  Have had a tubeless conversion kit, since I got the bike.  But it was that "one more thing" between me and riding, so I put it off.  Days turned into weeks of "not the right time".

Definitely needs doing.  Quite keen to see how it feels with the significantly lower tyre pressures that I will be able to run.

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8 hours ago, Pat (pogo69) said:

Definitely needs doing.  Quite keen to see how it feels with the significantly lower tyre pressures that I will be able to run.

Secret is clean the rim inside edges with a degreaser eg some acetone have access to a compressor to inflate the tyre quickly to seat on the beads. The soapy stuff is just a hindrance in my view. Oh and make sure the tyre is just on lever pull away from being back on the rim before putting the latex-milk in... can get messy otherwise 😂 

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The Not So Good

I got another pinch flat, last Friday.  Yes, I really did let it happen again.

The Good

Finally got the tubeless conversion done.  Went without a hitch.  Not exactly a speedy process, but I'll be much quicker next time.

On 11/16/2020 at 5:40 PM, SwissDanny said:

...have access to a compressor to inflate the tyre quickly to seat on the beads...

I don't have an air compressor, or even a floor/track pump.  But our local servo has an old-school car pump, that allows you to manually control the air pressure.  So, it inflated and re-beaded very easily.

On 11/16/2020 at 5:40 PM, SwissDanny said:

The soapy stuff is just a hindrance in my view.

Yep.  Was hoping to avoid that, and with the servo's air pump, was completely unnecessary.

On 11/16/2020 at 5:40 PM, SwissDanny said:

Oh and make sure the tyre is just on lever pull away from being back on the rim before putting the latex-milk in... can get messy otherwise

Also unnecessary.  The tubeless kit I used, has removable valve cores in the valves.  So, you just remove them and use the supplied bottle syringe to squirt the sealant directly into the tyres via the valves.  Very easy and very clean.

Impressions

Have only had one ride thus far.  Mostly really slippery sand and gravel, lots of climbing etc.  Not a great test for durability, but an excellent test for grip.  Was running 25psi front and rear.  Now trying 25 rear and 20 up front.  I'm only little, so I really should be able to take them down some more.  But sticking to 25 in the rear for now, until I've tested on burlier terrain.  One of our local trails is full of big sharp rocks.  If it can't kill them, nothing will.

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Days #?-?

  • Mountain Biking
    • Finally did the tubeless conversion!
    • Continuing to head further afield to try new trails.  Rather enjoying the variety.
    • Continuing to try to practise various skills.  Paying particular attention to just a couple of cues at a time.
    • Starting to eye off races that I might like to have a crack at, in 2021.
  • Running
    • No interest whatsoever.
  • Mobility
    • Starting to play with gentle mobility. (*)
  • Strength Training
    • Still nil.  Although I have just started playing with a few easy bodyweight movements. (*)
  • Meditation
    • AWOL
  • Sleep
    • Same same.

(*) Mobility and Strength

I have been forced to do something about these.  With MTBing having become my mental health breaks, I need to stay fit for purpose.  Unfortunately, I've begun to develop some niggly knees, particularly the right knee.  It's a bit swollen, varying degrees of painful, and quite stiff.  Mostly just icing and gently limbering for now, but I've clearly been neglecting my general fitness for too long.

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@Pat (pogo69): if this is on the inside of the R knee, see if you are pronating on the power stroke: THE most common source of this kind of pain. Not sure what shoes you use on the bike, or what kind of cleat arrangement, but a close examination of the inside compared to the outside might reveal something interesting.

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Thanks @Kit_L.

To be honest, I am finding it difficult to nail down a single site of discomfort.  I feel discomfort/pain in several different areas, depending on what the joint is doing at the time.  It is also quite swollen, which makes movement a little difficult regardless of pain.

Certainly though, I am experience some (intermittent) pain medially.  But also some below the knee anteriorly, and some behind the knee.  Any or all of these may be referred and/or secondary, but... 🤷‍♂️.  Oh, there is also a marked "clicking" in what I think is the patellar tendon, when I extend the knee from flexed.  Only under load - didn't happen when Claire moved the joint for me.  About the only place that I seem to be free of issue (on that side) is laterally - YAY for no ITB issues!

I did go for a very gentle ride yesterday, without further issue.  Alternating laps on the pump track (no pedalling, just using bodyweight and the pump track's undulations to , maintain momentum) and laps of the short skills tracks.

As for shoes: I am wearing flats on flat pedals.  Sticking to that while I am learning to build a good technical skill base.  I will tinker with cleats at some stage, but will probably only use them for XC racing.

I have set my saddle technically correctly (although, as with most things, the finer intricacies of "correct" is hotly contested).  I think that the biggest issue with analysing form in MTBing, is that the relationship between you and your bike are changing almost constantly.  The nature of the trail demands it.  So the perfect fit, and perfect form while stationary, or even on a trainer or similar, says little about what is happening in the field.

Another thought on origin.  Just noticed that I am only feeling discomfort (mild pain) along the inside of the knee (just medial to the patella, but I have very large kneecaps) when I perform a support one-legged shrimp squat.

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OK.  Some pleasing progress with the knee today.

I went for a ride at what has become the home of my favourite trail.  Had to cut the last session out there short, due to the pinch flat.  This morning, no tyre issues so I got to finish the ride with the fave, "Pete's"!  Felt really good and flowy too, which was borne out in the timings - PRs everywhere.  Interestingly, even on the climbs where I was deliberately trying to take it a bit easy.

Better though, is that after a moderate length ride - just shy of 14 kms and just over an hour - my knee feels pretty good.  It is still a bit swollen, but nowhere near as much as yesterday.  No pain on walking around, and much more mobility.

Went for a post-ride stroll around the criterium circuit that is near the trail head.  Have done this the past couple of sessions to try to ameliorate the effects of the limited ROM when cycling.  Did some intermittent leg-together squats and walking lunges during the walk.  Lunges no problem at all.  Squats were OK and pain-free.  But my ROM is somewhat limited compared to my normal mobility.  Still much more ROM than previous days, and not too far from ATG.  Limitation seems to come mostly from residual swelling, and a little from tightness.

Things that I think have helped:

  • Continuing to move, gently
  • Allowing myself some space to recover
  • Focusing on form, particularly during climbing.  @Kit_L's comment, and discussions with Claire (who has far more experience with cycling, albeit mostly road), I paid particular attention to hip hinging when climbing.  Trying to ensure that I wasn't just folding over, and overloading my quads.  Felt much more glute and adductor engagement.  Although, I know to do this, I have realised after specifically focusing on it, that I can tend to "collapse" and fold rather than hinge, if I am not paying attention.  Time to reintroduce some glute engagement movements into daily life - actually, is it ever a bad time for that?
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@Pat (pogo69): put the tiniest weight on the outside of the front of the foot when climbing, and see how the knee responds the next day. Something is causing that pain, and training in pain is the quickest way I know to reinforce undesirable motor patterns.

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On 11/28/2020 at 3:20 PM, Kit_L said:

put the tiniest weight on the outside of the front of the foot when climbing, and see how the knee responds the next day.

I'll give it a go.  Thanks, @Kit_L.

On 11/28/2020 at 3:20 PM, Kit_L said:

Something is causing that pain, and training in pain is the quickest way I know to reinforce undesirable motor patterns.

Agreed.

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Not much to update since Monday.  I have been feeling ill since Tuesday, so no riding, and not much of anything else really.

I have, however, begun to run through most of HtSfM each day.  No schedule, set list of movements, or timings.  Just feeling it out each day.  'Twas very useful yesterday.  Felt very ordinary, very achy hips, but a short gentle HtSfM session loosened everything up.

Feeling a bit better today.  Hoping I will be back to some semblance of normalcy tomorrow, so that I can go for a ride.

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