Saturday, April 18, 2009

Post - !ncredible !ndia

Yes, I am still alive. Been dealing with a lot since returning. It has been a shade over two weeks since I have returned from India. The first week was rough. I slept a lot the day I returned (April 1st) and jumped right into my normal diet (egg sandwich in the morning, ham&turkey&cheese with a yogurt, apple and seltzer for lunch and good home-cooked dinners. Back to protein!

Well, my body was freaking out. The food I ate went straight through me. I think I caught food poisoning on the flight(s) home. My joints ached really bad, esp my left knee which gives me problems due to patellar tendinitis. I think the aches were due to the lack of protein when I was in India. I also kept getting massive headaches. I slept a lot and didn't do much for I just felt run-down.

Ginger came home from Europe on the 7th. We both wound up going through similar transitions. She with coming back to 'shitty' US food from a few weeks of awesome Europe food. Both of us with the jet lag. We were just run-down.

Went out for my weekly group bike ride on Wednesday the 8th. We were on the road since the trails were still very wet. My left knee hurt but I pushed through (stupid but it worked). I felt great and hammered up all the climbs. 2.5hrs on the road bike, probably 40miles. Temps in the upper 40s, lower 50s. I ate one banana and drank one small water bottle of Accelerade. Insulated knickers and long sleeve jersey with light vest were the clothing of choice. Felt awesome. Never felt this good in early April.

Easter weekend arrived and Ginger and I just slept and rested away our jet lag. My joints started feeling better and my body was finally accepting 'western' food. By the end of the weekend we both felt 'back to normal'. This past week has been great. I am finally feeling like I should feel.

This past Wednesday we were offroad. The suspension fork was off my 29er for its getting repaired (rocking 'rigid right now). I bled my rear brake and it felt fine so I ran with it. Switched back to a 32/19 gear ratio which I love for around here. 2.5hrs offroad that started with some big climbs at a fast pace [thanks to Wit]. I felt pretty good except my left leg was sore because I dumped my friend's CR250 [doing wheelies] on Monday and my thigh is full of road rash. My lower back was also tweaked from the heavy lifting I did on Monday installing an automotive car lift.

I did a lot in India to focus on posture and climbing techniques. I just tried to keep that in mind when riding this past Wed. Back was straight. Arms bent to absorb shock. Glutes initiated for that extra power whilst seated pedaling. Also did lots of standing up which I love to do. I just stand up and 'dance on the pedals' as Phil Ligget would say. Gravity does wonders with your pedaling. Anyways.. My technical skills are on point and I was bombing some very rock descents without touching the brakes (and pedaling. hehe). Bunny hoping and tweaking all kinds of rocks like its my playground. The descents got me praying that Stan's and my crazy glue patch job (thanks Tim) on the front tire would hold (it did). I blew my rear brake up again. Guess there's a hole in the line for its very spongy (air got in). Gotta replace the line this weekend. I kept pulling away from everyone on the climbs and descents. My friend Glen (also rigid 29er SS) would be right on my wheel going into a climb and then he said I just would disappear. hahaha. "I was just riding."

The last trail was a rocky, technical, climb and the rocks are effectively 'steps'. I was in a zone and wound up just hopping up the rocks like a trials rider (but with the whole forward motion of 'riding'). At one point I threw myself across a 3ft gap (again, like a trial's rider) and stuck the landing on a rock face and rode up it. How I was able to turn the pedals at such a low cadence and a 32/19 ratio is beyond me. Guess I'm just in great shape right now. Stoked!! Drank one large bottle of Accelerade and ate one banana and a granola bar. Temps were in the lower 50s I think. Wool long sleeve Pisgah Works jersey, bib shorts and knee warmers were the clothing of choice.

So, last night's ride was the most fun I've had riding a bike in a very long time. It appears that my body is feeling good and has gotten over the jet lag and food transition. I am definitely a minimum of 10lbs lighter than when I left for India but I feel stronger. Lets hope this continues albeit I'm not really planning on racing much this year. I just want to ride my bike and explore stuff. My friend Salem and I plan on doing some 8+hr rides and I might get into bike-packing with OhioRobb (he's doing the Colorado Trail Race this year).

I also got around to hosting my India photos. Here are the links:
My photos:

Harlan's photos:

Tim and Janel's photos:

I've been talking about this India Expedition to a lot of friends and think I have figured out an angle for my articles. I hope to be working on that this week. I also have to get this REI slide-show presentation together for April 28th. Looks like I am going to have a giant audience from the feedback I've been receiving.

Some photos I took (in no particular order)

(No, those guys aren't dead. They were sleeping.)



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