Day One:Three-and-a-Half Hours in the Fixie Saddle; Day Two: Explosive Creds

“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

In health,

20 responses to “Day One:Three-and-a-Half Hours in the Fixie Saddle; Day Two: Explosive Creds

  1. Sounds like a great day. I still haven’t found that perfect fixie yet, but when I do… I’m sure I’ll log many miles on that baby!

    I’m convinced paleo (low-carb) eating is superior for endurance. I’ve been starting to rack up quite a few hours the last few months and bonking hasn’t been a issue. And the inflammation levels (or lack thereof)… not even comparable.

    • The cool thing is, Heather, that you can build-up a fixie to meet your specific needs. By choosing a combination of a small front sprocket/crank and a large rear cog, you can significantly reduce the amount of force required to churn the peddles. See your local bike shop!

  2. Hi Keith,

    A bit of kurtosis goes a long way. As Nassim likes to say, some stressors (like your long fixie rides) present only a few times per year. I enjoyed some kurtosis today myself: 2.5 hours at the gym full of a little bit of everything on land and in the water. A nice way to relax after hanging out with Jeff Erno and Stephan Guyenet up in Seattle yesterday.



    • I bet y’all had some great coffee. Jeff said he spied quite a few fixies while hanging out in Seattle. I’m jealous!

  3. OK – question here…

    If the “boking” is a legit issue and that link is correct (Hi, Big IF, how ya doin?) then how does your body compensate? You don’t have the fat stores to sustain because hello, super athlete man… so where is your body getting the sugar supply – how is your liver creating it if you have low body fat? Did you binge the night before on fats to sustain you for the big ride? Where is your fuel coming from?

    Just trying to understand how you load for endurance energy supply if you don’t have significant fat stores…. Or does your body canabalize those fat stores that everyone has that are considered vital for just this type of effort?

    • What I think is happening is that Keith’s effort is using YOUR fat for energy. Your body is dissolves it and broadcasts the fatty acid signal straight into Keith’s femoral artery. 😉

      • I like that idea. Now if I can’t just convince some ultra-marathon and/or TdF jocks to buy into this new form of undetectable, “sports enhancement”…
        BALCO, who??

        • The problem with fatty acid broadcast (FAB from here on) is that, like radio, you might accidentally tune in and gain a litany of kcals. Next thing you know you’ll have to get a controller box so that your kids don’t turn on the “Biggest Loser” FAB and fill your veins with white hot fattiness by the (literal) ton.

    • Truthfully, even those with BF levels in the single-digits have more than enough ready-reserves (fat) to motor through this type of event. I actually think ultra-distance endurance folks could do just fine on a very low carb, paleo diet. Way too much metabolism to get into here (I suggest Metabolism at a Glance for a fantastic, all-you-need-to-know overview on the subject). Also, I couldn’t have pulled this off having just fallen off the sugar-burner wagon; one must have switched enzymatic gears prior, having become an efficient fat-conversion machine. Do grab that book, though — it will answer many more questions (and do a much better job than I could ever hope to do here).

      • that book look suspiciously like a text book. It is priced like a possible text book. Are there CliffsNotes for it? Can’t you just summarize it? whine whine whine whine WINE!

          • not to disrespect our veterans… but post traumatic stress disorder is alive and well and cultivated in a campus near you…

            yes, and the flashbacks are awful. My blood pressure goes up when ever I go back.

            Its been 12 years since I left (and then dated a grad student for 4 more years after that, so I went back often)… and I STILL have nightmares of finals week and having a class on my schedule I never attended.

            thanks. I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight. gah.

            • I dunno, the life of a liberal arts, PoliSci jock on scholarship was pretty cool; I hate that I ever had to enter the real world 🙂

              Seriously, though, MAAG is a great reference book. Metabolism is an insanely complex subject (note: weigh this statement against my previous comment, re:liberal arts, PoliSci, jock…); it good to have a reference/crutch handy when the mind starts asking “why?, why?, why?” vis-a-vis this dietary question or that.

  4. What kind of fixie do you have? I’m looking into getting one and have heard good things about the Mercier Kilo TT.

  5. The next time you come to town, you have got to look me up. Just ran on the greenways, they are sweet. I need to trade my tri bike in for a fixie! For what’s it worth, I rode 80 miles with nothing but water before. Once your adapated, you don’t need it. Try that on the typical SAD diet and you wouldn’t make it long.

  6. Oh, I also was enchanted by Jenn Shelton in that book. I’d love to see her in the Olympic marathon.

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