Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lunchtime therapy/hammerfest

If you work in an office environment, it’s only a matter of time before you flippin’ lose your mind. Humans were not meant to sit in cubicles and stare at computer screens all day, fueled by espressos via IV drip. Ferchrist, I am getting claustrophobic just thinking about it. Bosses, moron coworkers, and socialist bureaucracy which has a single motivation to stop the productivity of bright, energetic individuals. It’s fundamentally a step backward from communism. I would rather have a Russian tractor with no reverse gear than bosses whose sole purpose is to make your job more difficult. But; my digression has led me astray, back to the issue at hand.

The view toward of LA from Turnbull

Lunchtime. No, you are WRONG sir! It’s HAMMERTIME. As in “drop the hammer,” or in cycling words, watch your heart rate stay at 90% of its max for 1 ½ hours and feel the lactic acid seep into your legs. Note**: For non-cyclists it is important to understand why we say “hammer.” You see, many of our rides are “low intensity” meaning low heart rate, which allows us to go longer and stay fresh. There is only so much time you can stay at a high heart rate, and then you are toast. Thus, the difference of RIDING vs. HAMMERTIME. This is my “therapy.” This is my “couch time.” My lunch time therapy/hammerfest is my Turnbull Canyon/Whittier Heights loop by work.

Break out of the box! Out of the office building I go. I can smell the freedom as the fresh air engulfs my senses. It’s a clear, winter day in Southern California, which means a chilly 60 degrees at 11am. The fact that it is winter is laughable in all respects. Off I go, warming up in my small ring as I head north from Norwalk on Bloomfield. I head east as I go towards Whittier and turn north on Painter Ave, going through downtown Whittier by Whittier College. I climb slowly up by the large trees and old city business structures. It becomes less and less busy as I climb into the heights, and hang a right on Beverly Blvd. The road becomes Turnbull Canyon Road, the chief climb of the day.
I am used to climbing GMR and Baldy Rd for miles, and this is only a two mile climb. The tough part is it hits grades of 11% and screws your rhythm up. You’re cruising at a 5% grade and as you turn a corner it becomes 9%. If you haven’t ridden these grades at speed, the difference between 5% and 9% is ridiculous. If you are a larger sprinter like me then it sucks even more. This makes it perfect for intervals of half miles, making it a true hammer fest.
The descent is technical and fun, as I pass the elementary school at the bottom I turn through the neighborhood and head over Hacienda Rd. This is another 8-10% climb which is about a mile and great for an interval at the top. Down Hacienda and a quick right on West Rd. Now a series of sharp upward turns which, if you feel good this can be done in your big ring (biggest front gear ring.) I soar over the 2-3% grades and descents in the big ring hammering over the hills in the drops. It’s a great feeling when you’re having a good day and flying over the hills.
Through the last part of Whittier heights and back home to the office. My therapy is complete; and now I can put on my shirt and tie and not lose my mind for the remainder of the day. I down a protein shake when I get back, and then pound a meal of shredded chicken, rice, and mango salsa an hour later. Just another day in the office.

1 comment:

Chester Gillmore said...

Yeah man... lunch time hammer fests are where its at!