Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I had my initial evaluation and fitness test last evening, and despite my apprehension about it beforehand, I actually left the shop feeling very reassured and more confident already. Charlie has a very "boy-next-door" friendly way about him that immediately put me at ease before the test began, so I was able to just relax and follow his instructions for the time trial. He sat by the trainer and recorded information off my heart rate monitor while he verbally guided me through the time trial, pushing me in stages up to the point of my lactic threshold, and then back down to recovery. He would periodically quietly tell me to "relax and breathe" when I would push too hard and would have me back off the pedaling intensity a bit. Then he would have me stand, gear up and sprint hard for a few seconds, back down to an easier gear and pedal steady, all the while reassuring me that I was "going exactly right", and occasionally even "your heart rate looks like you could ride like that all day", which was surprisingly encouraging for me to hear, especially after worrying that I had lost all my fitness through the course of my knee injury. At the end of the test, it definitely boosted my confidence and solidly reassured me that I was pursuing the correct discipline by choosing endurance cycling when he noted that "I can tell you're an endurance athlete" based on the collected biophysical data and commented that "you control your heart rate extremely well." He then went through and readjusted a few minor things on my bike like rotating the handlebar so the hoods were a bit higher, slid my saddle back, and moved my cleats a bit, and showed Steve how he measured those items so we could check the remainder of my bikes at home. At our next appointment, I will be bringing in all my mountain bikes and mountain bike shoes for him to check, set up and adjust so that they all fit correctly and the same. I will be receiving my heart rate data and zones later today, as well as my weekly workout schedule. He obviously still wants me to continue with my physical therapy exercises and stretches and the core strengthening cross-training which I've been doing all along. I feel very reassured and comfortable with Charlie's coaching style and expertise, and have total confidence in his ability to help keep me disciplined with my training to avoid reinjuring my knee. It's just going to be a long slow process, but I believe the ultimate rewards will be well worth it.