“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Yesterday, in what amounted to quite a departure from my usual explosive-type workouts, I spent three-and-a-half hours in the fixie saddle, terrorizing the downtown streets and greenway trails in and around Raleigh, NC. Why the departure? Well, I don’t know — it just kinda felt like the right thing to do. A few times a year I’ll get the urge to go super long and super hard — either on the mountain bike, or on the fixie — and I’ll just (pardon the pun), roll with it. And in a testament to the effectiveness of my manner of MetCon training (numerous intense, short bursts crammed into a curtailed period of time), I wind-up being surprisingly well-adapted to these long, drawn-out grinds. And, being the Paleo fat-burner that I am, I’m saved from the constant need to replenish my sugar stores every so often to prevent boking. I just saddle-up and roll hard, with nary a dip in energy.
A serendipitous aside: one of the items I’d loaded on my iPod to listen to on the drive out to Raleigh was this Kathleen Show interview of Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run. Now I don’t necessarily agree with McDougall’s premise that all humans were (are) predisposed for endurance endeavors, but I do agree with the notion that all humans are predisposed to move and interact with their world; I just happen to feel at home with high-intensity, short-duration, explosive movements. I don’t deny, though, that some genotypes are more naturally inclined toward the expression of an endurance-leaning phenotype. I say roll with what feels right for you; let n=1 rule the day. To be sure there are guideposts — and we can certainly influence one’s ultimate phenotypical expression via appropriate stimulus — but the definition of “right” and “wrong” ultimately depends on that individual’s self-knowledge. And McDougall’s profile of Jenn Shelton is enlightening. I think we could all learn a little something about “flow” “do what comes natural” from Jenn; maybe with a bit more maturity she’ll be able to more effectively weave chaos and discipline to produce the Buddha-like persona that she envisions running will create.
And by the way, I went into this three-and-a-half hour romp at 17-hours fasted. And what did I have during the ride? Nothing of substance — nadda; a few swigs of water, that’s it. I did however stop for a break at my favorite Raleigh coffee shop, Cup-A-Joe, at about 2 1/2 hours in, for a little red-eye jolt. My fast ended at about one hour post-ride at a wonderful Raleigh Asian market, with a meal of plump roast duck, and sauteed bok choy. If you’re ever in the Raleigh area, you’ve got to make a special trip to Grand Asia for their roasted duck — it’s fabulous!
So, why my fixation with the fixie? Well, I can’t put it any better than the following quotes from this informative, though dated (some of the links are toast), Wired article:
“Learning how to ride a fixie was like drinking decaf your whole life and then suddenly having the real thing,” and, “It’s a Zen thing. Once you get used to traffic, then you can float through the chaos…”
There’s no coasting, no time off; if the wheels are turnin’, your legs are workin’. It’s a pure, beautiful…and, yeah, very Zen-like, man-machine interface.
So how’s this for keeping the body guessing?
I followed-up Saturday’s long fixie romp with a few rounds of explosive Creds on Sunday. Why? Well, I rolled out of bed and felt like it. Post warm-up,it went a little something like this:
Creds (each arm): 70 x 5; 80 x 3: 90 x 2; 100 x 1; 105 x 7 singles
~ superset with ~
Standing Ab Wheel Roll-Outs (minimal knee touch): 7 reps for all 11 rounds