Schrödinger’s Valve

When I was a toddler I had an aortic coarctation, it was treated with surgery.

I had annual check ups which involved ECGs and x-rays to ensure there was no further coarctation. As an adult the medicals are far less frequent and thankfully there is no sign of narrowing of the artery.

A common other defect for those who have or have had a coarctation is a bicuspid heart valve. This is when the three leaflets that usually make up your heart valve are fused into two.

bicuspid-aortic-valve-normal-tricuspid

If this is the case then there is usually no ill effect if you are fit and active but when in your 40s to 50s then surgery may be required. Especially if other symptoms present themselves.

I was at my medical recently and the consultant was unsure as to whether my valve is normal or bicuspid, the results were inconclusive.

My fitness is important to me for lots of reasons, to be able to participate in cycling and enjoy it to the best of my abilities without my fitness stopping me. But now more importantly than anything, to be there for my wee boy and wife.

If I do have a bicuspid valve and surgery is required as I move forward in life, I will not allow my fitness to inhibit my recovery or quality of life afterwards. For my wife and for my wee boy. The time in the pain cave is for more than myself its for them as well.


Elsewhere

Instagram Stravaiger Strava Facebook

Train in Vain

Returning to work is not without some advantages,
There is an excellent on campus gym for a start.

Back to work with a bump, sort of. I work at a university so returning to work after my paternity leave during the summer break meant I had a gentle reintroduction to the workplace. With no classes or students to keep the mind occupied I thought I would take the opportunity to get some consistent and planed training done in the run up to the  Tour De Ben.

I had a 10 week period in which to build some power and overall conditioning, not a huge amount of time but not so little that good progress couldn’t be made.

stravaiging-training-plan-mtb-scotland

I broke the time into two 4 week cycles with a unloading rest week in between and a final tapering week in the run up to race day. Each week gradually built on the intensity or volume of the previous week mixing intervals and weight training to get the most out of the available time I had for training. I predominantly would be getting gym time in during my normal lunch hour, this meant that 45 minute sessions up to 5 times a week would be the back bone of the plan.

Each week has two weight training days spaced 48 to 72 hours apart to allow for recovery whilst getting the best impact for those workouts, with interval sessions on a spin bike making up the remaining three gym sessions. Outside of the gym, I tried to get one or two rides on the bike a week but with the quickly darkening nights these rides were no more than 2 hours tops.

by the time this all added up I am able to get between 6 to 7 and a half hours training in a week. It soon adds up and I have been trying hard to structure the week so I was getting quality, as I wouldn’t have the volume training of longer rides.

The weight training days also incorporated floor and free weight workout routines from James WilsonJames runs a website called Mountain Bike strength Training Systems where you can purchase training plans and workout routines that are specific to mountain biking and specific types of MTB racing. He has been the fitness couch to an impressive roster of riders ranging from US National winning XC riders through to Aaron Gwin. The online part of his business means that the average rider can also get access to a structured plan for training for our sport.

For people like myself who are not able to commit that amount of time, he has a series of 15 minute workouts which he calls his “15 Minute Trail Rider Tune Ups” 0r 15M-TRTU, not the snappiest of titles. These sport specific routines focus on building mobility and working the muscle groups in areas that relate specifically to areas of being on the bike, like cornering and standing pedaling. I am enjoying the routines and I am finding it a fairly easy 15 minutes to add onto normal workouts or when the wee man is asleep.

All said and done whilst I feel I am in better condition for all this, the true test comes on the 24th when I try to beat my previous best time. If all goes well or I’m mad enough to try, I might make my secret goal for the day. The good thing about a secret target is there are no expectations and regardless of your time when people ask if you did you can just say “yes…”.


Elsewhere

Instagram Stravaiger Strava Facebook