I am an avid fan of Velocast podcast's, and I am a tech geek for my bike (I have to blog on my new bike still, soon), so I enjoy their partnership with Cycle Systems Academy, where bike mechanics, and tech is discussed and deliberated. Then one week Sean host and director of Cycle Systems Academy had a person, Misha Sakharoff talking about breathing and Keto diet, not bike mechanics but body mechanics.
I entered the 2016 season after two different injuries which kept me from riding very little in 2014, then the second one took me out for the whole 2015 cycling season, so coming back in 2016, I was at a "ground zero" for training, a clean slate but had put on several pounds and my arthritis had set in some with my inactivity. Because of the arthritis I had been trying to cut out breads as gluten is an inflammatory. With these factors I was interested in a diet that required one to stay away from breads, promised weight loss and some healing of arthritis. And as every cyclist I know that is a bit competitive an offer to improve one's VO2 max is a "no brainer", though when listening to the first podcast Sean and Misha were talking from a marshal arts perspective and I was a little lost, but very interested. Misha was offering a course "50 weeks to improved athletic performance", and I have been an active cyclist for nearly 40 years knew that I was going to take most of 2016 just getting back to normal and my winter training plan would bring be back to where I was by 2017 so I subscribed to the 50 week course, on the premise that if nothing happened in the first three months I would just quit and go on with my normal training and breathing.
The first thing we were introduced to was the Buteyko breathing, which simplified is breathing only through your nose, even in heavy exertions. So in May I began trying to breath only through my nose on a bike ride, sprints included... with very little success. I was pretty sure that this was not going to work but I am willing to forge into new frontiers so I persevered, through June, still thinking I was going to die for lack of air. July I was in Winnipeg on work so I was unable to ride, but I did Misha's exercises, back at it in August and I began to make rides most of the way with nasal breathing, except the final bit of a "bridge" or at a major crest, this kind of began to bother my cycling buddies as they were "berating out of ever opening they had" to get up the hill or do a major pull. Now, I'm not sure if the nasal breathing or the fact that Misha wants us to untuck our tail to open the diaphram and to relax the shoulders, which in the past I've know plus a smile on your face makes you more relaxed... So my friends see me breathing through my nose, relaxed shoulders and a smile on my face as they are gasping for air... might have caused a few raised eye brows! Which has given me great joy. This has evolved to the point that I can push myself into Zone 5 HR and still be breathing through my nose.
The frustration of this is that as I share with my friends the idea and the system, most of them are very old school and have no interest. This also caries over into wider tires, lower tire pressure and the ever touchy topic of my disk breaks. Have I mentioned my custom bike? "Tex of True North"? That's a photo shoot away and another blog post all together, plus I have my Trek Transport with a 750 watt pedal assist eRad system, that needs a blog post and a photo shoot. But I digress... to the diet and the breathing.
As the breathing got into hand, I still need to do the exercises daily, the Keto Diet started to take shape. Misha introduced this briefly in a weekly post but I knew Sean and his wife were already a few weeks ahead of me, so I got into the Keto Diet App and began the "journey" which two weeks into the attempt my wife joined me and I became committed, In the Keto Diet, there are many benefits that come out of it, a resistance to cancer, type 2 diabetics, among a few, but as an endurance cyclist was the fact that fat can fuel endurance! Now to be fair Sean has been my guinea pig, he was training for the Ride London 100 Mile! I had made my first rides with just Hammer Heed, and then I had my Perpetum tablets if needed... Then came the "test" a 100 km ride I only took water on, it turned into 120+ kms but I had survived, I had run out of conditioning at about 100 kms but a success! The ride that just set this whole #Ridinggrasayagua into a trend was a 154 km ride that we did as an end of the summer blitz. I had trouble with the speeds over 38 km/hr but I never felt a "bonk" or "hit the wall" I did ride home alone the last 15 kms just because of the distance but I never felt out of fuel!
So... #Ridinggrasayagua would read "Riding La grasa y el agua" which means "Riding Fat and Water", a play on Tyler Hamilton's book on "Riding paniagua" which meant you were drug free, "Bread and Water", but in Keto we don't do bread.
I have spent three plus months on the road to Keto and Buteyko, and I'm not the best student but I am seeing a lot changes, and as we approach the winter and winter training the breathing should make some major implications and the Keto will start to let me see some high end performance.
I have made no mention of my weight loss, even though Keto promises it, but I have pretty much cut out beer, I have been far more active than a walk or so a day. I will give Keto it's due on weight loss if if it keeps going down over the winter as I go to trainer and gym, rather that outside as much as possible.
Stay tuned, I will post updates on my #Ridinggrasayagua and I will get photos of my Tex of True North and my Trek Transport up here. Till then keep the rubber on the road or gravel!