Dropped the mileage way down this week. Shifting from long rides to short steeps.
Bike fitter, former pro cyclist, and trusted advisor, Michael Sylvester, is telling bro and me that we have a sufficient endurance base. (BTW, we’ll profile Michael in a future post).
No need to keep doing long (70-ish miles) rides. Instead, he’s advising us to “add capacity to the gas tank” by doing 20-30 miles up and down steep hills. No shortage of those around here.
Beginner Mind. “Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind’. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject…” – Wikipedia
I’m cultivating Beginner Body.
Recently we did a climbing ride with Michael and I got a lesson in breathing.
While he was sitting down, gliding up a beastly, vertical hill, I was standing and zigzagging, puffing like a ventilator on overdrive. Gasping really.
Michael called it hyper-ventilating. Not good. I know what it feels like, but what’s going on physiologically? For that, I consulted by daughter, Anne, a physical therapist at the University of Washington Hospital.
“Hyperventilation is rapid breathing, where the levels of CO2 in your blood drop because you are breathing out too much CO2 by breathing too quickly and shallowly. It can cause lightheadedness and dizziness when it is prolonged.
When you breath quickly and shallowly, you use your “accessory” muscles of breathing which reside in your neck and upper chest. They are smaller and much more inefficient, pulling air mostly into the top part of your lungs. When you breathe slower and deeper, you utilize your diaphragm, also known as “belly” breathing, which allows more air into the bottom parts of your lungs, promoting better gas exchange throughout all lung fields.”
When I got my breathing to quiet a bit, Michael said: “Pretend you have a beer belly and you want to breath into it. And try to slow your breathing.” In short, more abdominal breathing.
So I’m now enrolled in my self-assigned class, Breathing 101.
I’m also signed into the remedial class, Shoulders Down and Back.
I was having pain in my trapezius (upper back muscle). Keeping shoulders down + softening the bend at the elbows + doing prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises, is gradually resolving the pain while riding.
So I’m a beginner yet again, reminding myself over and over to breath into my (alleged!) beer belly and get those dang shoulders down (!)