Sunday, October 24, 2010

Going home!

I can't believe it has already been two months since I arrived in Premanon. There have been highs and there have been lows, but most importantly, this has been an experience of a lifetime! I am mostly glad to be going home, but also sad to be leaving this amazing place. Sometime in my lifetime I hope to return for some riding or skiing in the Jura Mountains of France and Switzerland.

To wrap things up, I thought I would post some numbers about my time here:
- 11 VO2 max tests to measure aerobic capacity
- 6 indoor 30km time trials to measure sub-maximal power
- 2 muscle biopsies to measure muscle cell mitochondrial function
- 7 CO rebreathing tests to measure blood volume
- 2 arterial catheters used to measure cardiac output
- 6 wingate tests to measure anaerobic power
- 12 electro-stimulation tests to measure muscle fatigue
- 30 or more blood draws

And most importantly, all of the time spent riding in an incredible setting with:
- 78 hours of riding outside
- 1200 miles
- 110,000 feet of climbing

Now all I have left to do is to invent teleportation and instantly transport myself back to Seattle and not have to deal with the long miserable journey ahead...

The complete Live-High Train-Low crew before saying our goodbyes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

World Cup Cyclocross

Today we had the treat of spending the day in Aigle, Switzerland watching the first World Cup Cyclocross race of the season. Pretty amazing to see the world's best in person. American Katie Compton won the women's race!

Zdenek Stybar leads Sven Nys into a tricky off-camber section.

Tim Johnson, US national champion.

Jeremy Powers of the US.

The race course surrounded the UCI World Headquarters.

Bart Aernauts of Belgium after the barriers.

Drunk spectators from Premanon.

Zdenek Stybar of the Czech Republic continued his winning streak today.

Stybar 1st, Niels Albert 2nd, Kevin Pauwels 3rd.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rough evening in Premanon

Yesterday evening, I decided it would be nice to spend a little time in the sauna, like we often do here. Turns out I would have been better off doing something else...

After spending 12 minutes in the sauna with a few friends and some French skiers, I showered, dried off, and started walking back to my room. Next thing I knew I was waking up facedown on the floor with Ian standing above me asking me if I was ok. As I slowly regained consciousness, I could taste blood and feel the pain setting in. Apparently my blood pressure must have dropped dramatically and caused me to pass out.

But anyways, don't worry, I am alive and doing great. Last night I had a couple stitches put in my forehead and this morning I visited a Swiss dentist's office. Walking into this place was like stepping onboard the space shuttle! Super nice facility and staff! After all the invasive testing over the last month and half, it was so effortless and painless to just lay there while they fixed me up. I think they did a good job, but you can be the judge:

Before

After

I should also mention a similar funny story(some of you have heard this one, I'm sure). Two years ago, while working at the Black Diamond Bike Shop, I smashed my finger in a disc brake rotor and passed out from shock in the same fashion. I smashed my face up pretty good, but my finger was really the worst injury. As if this wasn't a random enough event, TJ, a friend here in Premanon, just told me about when he had also smashed his finger in a disc brake rotor and also passed out. The world is small, it seems...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The final hurdle

Today was a major turning point of my time spent here in Premanon. This morning was the 2nd and final muscle biopsy which was the last of the invasive tests. I was pretty nervous of the procedure, but was looking forward to getting it over with. During the biopsy, Carsten used local anesthetics to numb an area in my quad. He then made an incision and used a special device to "suck out" a sample of muscle. Painful, but quick. Thankfully, this time around was not as rough as the first biopsy because I knew what to expect.

This evening we will be moving back downstairs into normal single rooms. Everyone is excited to get out of our cramped, stuffy, noisy hypoxic rooms. I can't wait to open the window and hear the cowbells and breath the fresh mountain air again! Our final two weeks should be pretty plush. We are not on a time schedule and there are not many tests.

video

Above is a video that Carsten took of me performing the final few minutes of one of many VO2 Max tests. In this one, I topped out at 475 watts and you can tell I'm really suffering by the way I start fighting the bike!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Testing begins again

The last few days here in Premanon have been a little rough on me. After a block of hard training days, I began having problems in my right knee. Forced to rest, I suffered cabin fever and boredom in the training facility. Unfortunately, riding seems to be the only good form of entertainment here. Thinking my knee had healed, I performed the Submax test, which caused the pain to return.

Start line

Russ

During my time off the bike, I was able to watch Russell and Jesse race another local cyclocross race. I had a lot of fun taking pictures and seeing both of them have good days on the bike. Russ was 4th and Jesse was 8th!

Jesse

Russ rode the run-up when others couldn't.

After more rest, I did two VO2 max tests yesterday and was relieved to find that my knee no longer hurt. The sun is shining today and I can ride again. Life is good!