Friday, July 11, 2008

le Tour

Warning: This is a rant ... those solely interested in running, please skip to the bottom.

OK. I can accept that fact the every sport I care about is considered (at best) a "minor sport" in my home country; and I understand that watching 120+ riders battle their way through some of the prettiest country side on the planet isn't nearly as exciting as watching 8 guys standing around adjusting their testicles and snapping gum while the lone action is limited to one amazing individual throwing a small ball close to 100 MPH a distance of 60 feet; however, does that mean that the local press in the great state of Arizona have to pretend that the Tour de France isn't even happening. It's bad enough that they totally ignored the amazing performance of Ryan Hall during the Olympic Marathon time trials and have acted as if the US Olympic Track & Field Team Trials deserve no more than a footnote in the local rag; but this is le Tour; the biggest endurance event of the year.

Today, le Tour race through le Massif Central .. the mountainous area that runs across the middle of France. If you've never had a chance to visit this area, be sure to get there on your next trip. It doesn't have any of glamor of Paris, nor will you find the "beautiful people" that hang out in Nice or Marcelle; but you find mile after mile of lovely country side with steep canyons, rolling hills and charming villages ... and not an American within 200km. For some reason, we just don't go there.

Tomorrow the race heads for Toulouse, one of my favorite cities in France. I've spent more time than I can remember in the city and just kick myself that I can't be there. The race will finish up on streets that I've walk ... heck, streets that I've run and here I sit in on the desert of the South West US with absolutely no coverage of the race. Minor sport, my ass.

Your normal blog continues:

Yesterday, I did my first "hill" workout yesterday. Since my fair city was under a deluge of wind and rain, I headed back to the gym for some more treadmill work. My first plan was a 2 mile warm followed by 4x1:30min @9/mi@ 15% grade. HA HA HA ... not even close. The warm up worked good enough but 15 seconds into the "sprint", I had to shut the machine off. My heart was bursting, my legs were putty, I felt like sh!t. Way too fast for these legs. I cranked the machine back down to 00% grade and took a breather. Holy crap, that was tough.

After I got my heart back in my chest, I tried again; only this time I only took the treadmill up to 10% grade and set the pace to 10/mi ... much better. Feel the burn time. A 10% grade doesn't sound like much, but it really made me pick up legs; really worked the quads. Not that fast, but 4 sets of 1:30 really gave my legs a workout. I left the machine at 10% grade and walked for 2 min between sets. A real workout.

Tonight, I took it down a notch and swam 1500m ... a full metric mile for those of you keeping track at home. It wasn't fast, but I outlasted everyone in the pool over 33 minutes.

Tomorrow, I have a 12 miler scheduled and we'll just have to see what Sunday brings. I fully expect to get over 30 miles again this week for the 3rd week in a row.

Take care.


Ewen said...

We're lucky down here. It's on TV delayed and live - a couple of hours each night - on right now - 106k in on the stage to Toulouse - looks a bit wet! Very exciting with Cadel in contention for the win.

Thomas said...

Ah, the joys of hill sprints. I get that pleasure every Tuesday with my present training plan, and my experiences are remarkably similar to yours.

Comm's said...

You still read the local rags? crazy. The AZ Rep is the worst. No way they would cover TdF. They can't even cover local stuff well.

Outside magazine has a pretty descent feeder and a friend of mine carrys a blog directly for the TdF, I can shoot you the link if interested.