I took off to Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona over President's Day weekend to visit Brooke's friends and family as well as have a visit with my coach. My brother used to live in Phoenix (48th and Elliot for those in the know) from 2003-2005 and I spent January-May there in 2004 and 2005. The first night I was there Brooke and I stayed (and went out) in downtown Phoenix. The urban lifestyle is growing down there which is pretty cool to see since I often considered "Phoenix" to really just be a conglomeration** of individual municipalities. It is a very similar situation to the downtown/midtown revival in Houston and, if done well, it can certainly be a lot of fun.
The second and third night we stayed in North Scottsdale near Scottsdale Road and Carefree Highway. It is quite a different setting up there with a plethora** of gated Golf communities and mansions mixed amongst the cacti (I had Showtime's "Weeds" theme song going through my head). The topography of the north valley is quite beautiful, but it is getting more and more crowded every time I go there. Folks have always told me that a lot of the (cycling) rides from Scottsdale go north on Sdale road and then west on Carefree Hwy. That is, straight up, sketchy in my mind considering the lack of shoulder and the double wide 65 mph traffic, but I digress.
One fortunate advantage of being in the ares was the 1) weather, 2) a plethora** of oxygen and 3) a (running) track only a couple minutes from our host. I headed over there on Sunday morning and knocked out a set of 200,400,600,800,1000,800,600,400,200 of I pace (see 'Daniels Running Formula') intervals. It was great to be able to run at a faster pace than 5500 feet allows, but it almost felt as though my legs had been through a race when Monday morning came along.
On Monday morning I went to Breakfast with Joe Friel, Jim Vance (had not met him before; good guy) and Brooke. We chatted about some of the happenings with Endurance Corner as well as what is developing with Joe's company (and my sponsor), http://www.trainingbible.com/. One our conversations (outside of business) addressed susbtrate usage at subthreshold intensities (since this is what we often address with out physiological testing at EC) .
Joe believed there were two ways to improve it: first with diet, and secondly by training at those (sub FTP) levels. I found it quite interesting that diet was mentioned_before_training which might be of interest to those finding it difficult to hold a good percentage of their Functional Threshold Power/Pace for extended periods of time. The simplest advice would be to cut back on your sugar and starch intake and increase your consumption of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and good fat. Its the same advice that gets stated time and time again, but it never hurts to hear it again and again either. You can read more about changing your diet by reading Paleo Diet for Athletes by Cordain/Friel. I think there are also some good articles out there if you do a google search, but I cannot guarantee that.
Basically: Eat real foods (i.e. not boxed and processed) and you will accomplish 90% of your needs.
After breakfast it was only a few hours before out return flight to Denver. We had a clear day on the flight home which allowed me to view all of Colorado; begining with the Four Corners and Cortez to Durango to Lake City to Blue Mesa Reservoir to Gunnison (where you could see Mt Crested Butte) to Buena Vista to Fairplay to Co Springs and finally to Denver. I think it is fantastic when you get the chance to view all those beautiful mountains from a different vantage point.
Well it looks like Boulder might have nice enough weather for riding today so I'm going to try and take advantage of that.
Until next week,
*Did you know there is a rock called "conglomerate"? I think its the only one I correctly pointed out in my Geology 101 lab.
**I learned that word (plethora) when I was seven years old from El Guapo in the "Three Amigos."