Pedal Strike

Pedal Strike header image 2

February 22nd, 2010

pumping iron

I really love that everyone’s referring to my unnamed friend in Friday’s post as “Mr. 15-25hours.” Hilarious. You guys know how to make me laugh.

And while that email initially had me whimpering in a corner, I was totally okay not training this weekend. Even when it was in the 40s and gorgeous out. Even if I saw a few familiar riders headed west. Even if spring’s on its way and I haven’t gotten on my rollers in about…um…more than two days…

Wait, that’s not entirely true; I did spend some quality time rolling out my IT bands which are feeling like pieces of wood, again. One side was so tight that my knee was starting to feel it, which meant that I spent more time rocking back and forth on a foam cylinder, mermaid-style, than in the saddle this weekend. But unable to get away completely, I was – close friends would say predictably, at this point – pumping iron.

null

I know it goes counter to everything that serious cyclists would tell you; that you should really just let your arms waste away into wisps and do nothing but move those pedals up, down and around. Pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, curling, pumping, huffing, puffing, and otherwise using muscles that you only discover off the bike means that it’s not going to do you any good on a ride. It might have you looking jacked, ripped, toned, or just plain sexy, but in the end, it’s extraneous effort that will have most roadies turning up their noses in disgust.

Even so, I knew that a real ride would just have my IT band doing the equivalent of falling over and dying. I don’t enjoy that feeling, which meant that I woke up on Saturday with leaden arms, abs burning from the previous day’s bicycle crunches [see, “bicycle” was sort of involved!]. My addiction to email overcame the lactic acid built up in my biceps and just as I felt an accusatory glare from my neglected track bike, an email from a friend appeared, linking me to a post on Rivendell’s site.

It’s worth a read, especially if you’re a woman. Or if you’re “chunky.” Or, if you’re “chunky” and a woman who is also afraid of getting osteoporosis [read: me!]. Yeah they tell you to get off the bike once in a while and do – of all things – burpees, but they have a valid point. And no, it’s not – as far as I can tell – motivated by a sadistic desire to see manorexic cyclists attempt to do dips and push ups [hell, I can only do…hold on…about 2 real push ups]. There’s no harm [and actually a lot of benefit] in doing the occasional push-up and some load-bearing exercises, though. It’s not fun at first, especially after you find out how weak you really are, but progress is fast and as I’ve learned, there’s nothing quite like the burn of sore muscles in your inner thighs, obliques, glutes, and arms.

null

There’s nothing quite as addicting, either. In between the pedalstrokes, I’m fast slipping into a subculture that celebrates tone and muscle definition. After a deliciously indulgent dinner last Saturday, I found myself immersed in the world of bodybuilding circa 1975, via the documentary Pumping Iron. I laughed at the ridiculousness of the muscle tanks and short shorts, gaped at the bulging muscles of Franco Columbo, and was appalled by Schwarzenegger’s psychological manipulation of his fellow competitors.

Yeah, yeah, I didn’t get in a ride all weekend. But hey, sometimes a girl’s just gotta channel a little Lou Ferrigno on her days off. Minus all that green bodypaint, of course.

Tags:   · · · · · 8 Comments

Leave A Comment

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mark Feb 22, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I know weightlifting of any kind is a bad word in some cycling circles, but if it weren’t for the gym in winter, I’d go nuts. It’s really easy to put on additional muscle mass, but if you do it right, you’ll have a great season cycling. Lighter weights and as many reps as you can manage…

  • 2 Kurt Feb 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

    “To all things there is a season…. ”

    And winter is certainly the season for the gym as part of your base training.

    Besides what could be more fun than painting yourself green and doing power squats?

    I taper off my gymwork as I add speedwork and intervals to my outdoor riding.

  • 3 Matthew Feb 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    We must have been on the same wavelength this weekend: http://bit.ly/9npYSj

  • 4 paul Feb 23, 2010 at 3:49 am

    A very mature attitude you have. ( hang on – i’ve gone all Yoda ) I used to think cycling was about trying to get a physique like Champion in Belleville Rendezvous, but managed to pedal my way into some fairly serious back and shoulder problems. Currently undergoing treatment from a sports therapist who looks at flexibility/ROM, muscle efficiency, firing patterns, core strength, and strengthening the antagonists to keep the major joints balanced. If you are going to get out the saddle there’s little point in having spindle-arms, – you’re going to need some strength in the bit between where your hands attach to the bike and where your feet attach – but you want muscle strength not muscle mass. Don’t go all Chris Hoy on us!

  • 5 Kurt Feb 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Paul is right on the mark.
    I was doing hill repeats this morning. I don’t care what anybody says, this sport is a full body work out!
    Tonight upper body and core in the gym.

  • 6 pedalstrike Feb 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

    mark — the gym is great. gym + rollers = why i haven’t died of boredom this winter
    kurt — ahahahaha i’ll look into green bodypaint! and ugh, hill repeats!
    matthew — DEF.
    paul — i’ve discovered my ROM sucks, but i’m trying to get better. since i’ve started strength training, my shoulders/back don’t bother me even when i’m carrying a big bag on my track bike. also, chris hoy = delicious.

  • 7 Amy Apr 22, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I know weightlifting of any kind is a bad word in some cycling circles, but if it weren’t for the gym in winter, I’d go nuts. It’s really easy to put on additional muscle mass, but if you do it right, you’ll have a great season cycling. Lighter weights and as many reps as you can manage…

  • 8 Ian Apr 27, 2010 at 2:28 am

    A very mature attitude you have. ( hang on – i’ve gone all Yoda ) I used to think cycling was about trying to get a physique like Champion in Belleville Rendezvous, but managed to pedal my way into some fairly serious back and shoulder problems. Currently undergoing treatment from a sports therapist who looks at flexibility/ROM, muscle efficiency, firing patterns, core strength, and strengthening the antagonists to keep the major joints balanced. If you are going to get out the saddle there’s little point in having spindle-arms, – you’re going to need some strength in the bit between where your hands attach to the bike and where your feet attach – but you want muscle strength not muscle mass. Don’t go all Chris Hoy on us!