Just thought I’d record my impressions of my first prescribed workout of what I have come to call the Squatters Challenge.
Overhead Squats: Holy crap on a stick! These babies have most of my back, shoulder blades and everything working. I can still feel muscles back there I didn’t know I had, like (brace for Anatomy 101 Google style) upper- and mid-trapezius, that neck tendon in there (levator scapulae), and deltoids, too. And my upper thighs (quadriceps) are on fire like they are after about 9 laps at Barber! Good grief. Dude Who Runs Downhill wasn’t lying about the effectiveness of this exercise.
Snatch Lifts: These really didn’t do anything for me, other than make me sweat and bring my heart rate up, but maybe that’s the point. What made me feel silly was the “snatching” of just a bar without added weights. This thing weighs only (*goes to bathroom to step on the scale with it*) sixteen pounds. Sorry, they were all out of Olympic bars (those 7-foot 45-pound jobs) unless I wanted a stack of weights to go with them. 😦 Makes me think if I wasn’t supposed to make up the difference with plates on the ends… Hmmmm, Dude Who Runs Downhill never specified. I’m sure a nice, slightly bent out of true, one-incher is just what was ordered, not to mention in my price range. 😉
High Pulls: Same as the snatch lifts, I felt a little “underpowered” if you will. Gets the heart pumping, but I did feel the la petite burn in the shoulders (anterior deltoids) and the back of the upper arms (triceps), extending slightly into the forearms.
Good Morning Exercise: Just like Michelle said in the video. Lower back, glutes and ham strings. Bum and thighs all the way around. I actually liked this exercise the best; but it seems that out of these four, the overhead squats are probably the most beneficial to me.
And what in the world is happening with my ankle?!? I haven’t run in two days and at some point today, while parked on the couch no less, I notice that my right ankle is hurting. I haven’t done anything to it. Oh well, it’s not my shift foot, so I’ll wrap that puppy up in an ace bandage tomorrow and put about three miles on it. I’m not starting my scheduled marathon training skipping out or doing less. End of story.
How does my friend Margie put it? “Racers play hurt.” Or maybe it’s just us, being old and frail and slow, with no choice but to play hurt or otherwise we don’t get to play at all. A midlife crisis is such a terrible thing to waste. =D We make up for our lack of youthful springiness with a sick sense of humor, massive horsepower, and in my friend’s case, brutal amounts of low-end torque.
I’m patiently waiting on the Man in Brown to show up on my doorstep to drop off a load of (highly specialized) tools, so I can get this front suspension pain in my arse taken care of once and for all.
What did I actually put on the track at Road A? Let’s just say that I was way too trusting of a bike that my hubby had acquired for me from a dude who is a mechanic by trade and the bike in question had also been set up and raced by a local racing team.
I’m not complaining, mind you. As far as I am concerned hubby got a great deal on the R1. The added up cost of the performance upgrades alone would have set us back as much as we paid for the bike itself. I’m speaking retail cost here. When you’re sponsored you could find yourself getting these things for free. I’m sure both parties came out of this deal smiling. I know I did, and Skinny Dude with Similar Spring Rate even cut me a break and knocked another five bills off of it. But it goes to show that even though I had checked the bike over to the best of my ability, with the mechanical knowledge that I had gained thus far, some things do not become obvious until you put the beast on the track and give it as much hell as you dare. I did. At the last race of the season. Yes, the finals. I went testing at the Grand Nationals and then still entered the actual race (there are some freakishly fast dudes in A Superstock); knowing it was a really bad idea, but when did that sort of thing ever stop me? But that is a different story for a different time. Maybe I’m going to tell it someday… when I’m completely over the public humiliation I received that weekend, and deservedly so.
But I digress.
Finding a rolled up piece of shop towel shoved in between the outer dust seal, the inner oil seal and the ring clip that holds the seal assembly in place was the last straw. (Somebody sneaking some leaky fork seals through Tech?) The last straw in a long line of other straws that made me say WTF!?! out loud. Every one of these straws presented me with the awesome opportunity to research and add yet another tiny increase to my MotoMech Skill. I need to develop an eye for these things, I’m starting to, but I’ve got a long way to go. Vic Fasola took one quick glance at my bike and muttered something along the lines of my suspension setup being totally fooked and my grips being a few degrees off from each other! Holy hell, I measured those clip-ons as best I could with my digital calipers, which isn’t the right tool for that job anyway. They looked even to me, hell they felt even when I was riding the bike.
Later disassembly of the front forks revealed that the preload between the two legs was differing by several millimeters between right and left, the compression damping differed by 25 clicks. Absolutely nothing was right about the front suspension setup. Not geometry, damping, preload, relative positioning, or fastening torques. Nothing. Those tubes were slid so far up the triple tree that they were in danger of giving you a nose bleed when in the race tuck. A twitchy proposition to say the least. And to facilitate this extreme lack of straight line stability it was necessary to have the upper triple tree clamp half on the skinny part and half on the fat part of the fork tube. I snapped off both pinch bolts on the right side in an attempt to loosen them. I wonder how close they were to snapping when the bike was on the race track? I don’t even want to think about that. I managed to release the left-side bolts without a snap, by backing them out alternatively a few turns at a time. The bolts showed signs of fatigue. They were bent and the threads were unevenly stretched.
No wonder the bike felt weird in the front and kind of strange in the back. No wonder I was as slow as a blob of molasses hanging out in a fridge. The bike was talking to me. I didn’t understand all this feedback I was getting through the chassis. I am slowly learning, but my lackadaisical attitude, a conditioned response to balance perfectionistic tendencies with and adventuresome spontaneity into a more sensible approach, sometimes gets in the way and slow natural progression.
I get in my own way. There. I’ve said it. I’m a brainiac klutz. Leave me to my own devices with too much time to think and too much room for self-doubt, and I’ll stumble over my own two feet and land on the mental equivalent of my JLo ass. But I own my solutions and failures. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have to own something to trust in it. I have to test a theory and be able to reproduce the promised results on my own to fully believe it. I don’t follow blindly, unless the source has repeatedly proven itself, and even then I can’t help but feel the gnaw of insecurity. I like my variables to be assigned beforehand. I like the equation’s result to be known. But this is the real world… and constants aren’t much fun anyway.
In the end I have nobody to blame but myself; which is the preferable scenario to me. When the blame falls squarely on my shoulders I can spare myself the annoyance of being upset with someone else.
I should have done the research beforehand, educated myself on the things I was unclear on or was ignorant of and check all fasteners. Set the suspension up for myself instead of trusting “it must be right, because the guy is my height and approximately my weight and he raced it.”
However, too much theoretical knowledge without any real world experience makes my head hurt, it gets me frustrated by information overload and I end up winging it half of the time for lack of patience, time constraints, not having the proper tools, or simply by saying: “Ah, screw this, it’ll be alright.” After all, I don’t want to wrench. I want to ride!
I own it or am owned by it.
Sometimes I do find myself getting a little jealous of some of my friends who can call upon the experience of trusted others to help them along their way. I do most everything myself, and I fall down a lot. Occasionally, this gets a little old and I feel like quitting. Fortunately, I have Mr. Slow to kick me square in the leather pants when I start uttering such nonsense as wanting to quit racing because it’s such a pain in the ass in between. Hubby is EXTREMELY supportive of my racing endeavors. He is my rock. His is the hand that reaches out to help me up. He is the one who puts up with all my girly insecurities and the shit I dish out when I’m stressing, smiles and says: “I don’t care how slow you think you are, baby. I still am damned proud of you for getting out there. You are doing it. You just need to do it more. That’s all.”
He’s right. I know that on an intellectual level. Sometimes it is just hard to hold on to that emotionally when you’re down, but not out. I wish he could also be a master mechanic and a pro racer instead of just playing the role of my psychologist. 😉
My stuff is here, I’ve got to go!
17 days until race day.