I’m hanging out in Sharon waiting for the long ride to Everett. It so much nicer to go in the trailer than to fly. I mean, seriously, Dear Reader, you think you feel like you’re squashed when you fly? Try life as a bike. First you get taken apart, twisted around, put in a box and the lid is closed. Now you’re blind. No one to talk to. Just your contorted self as you’re picked up, thrown around and put into the very cold luggage hold. When you finally get to the destination you’re not just stiff, but some of your parts may not be working. Sure the human is getting better at packing me, but, trust me, the trailer is a luxury trip.

But, more than just the luxury of the road trip…can I admit, it is nice to be away from the human this week? As we all know, the human is slow….really slow…and now even slower than slow….but that doesn’t mean the human doesn’t over train. Oh…always. And, tapering? Oh, no…to the human no better time to get in “one more hard ride” than when we should be slowing it down.

Heck, before we left for Sharon, the human was all, “Come on, Edwina…look at these recovery numbers….back to back high 90’s. Time to get out and train!” Sigh….over and over I had to explain that, no, we cannot go out hard, we need to start pulling back. That’s why you bought that silly Whoop, human. Oh, wait, Dear Reader… don’t know about the human’s obsession with Whoop. Sit back…this is a long one.

So…back before the Southern killed by Covid the Destroyer, the human decided that we needed to monitor for overtraining. At the time, the thought was: resting heart rate. So, first, we got one of them there watch things to monitor resting heart rate. Problem was the watch didn’t do what we needed. First, it kept cheering about amazing step counts even when we were riding, not walking…don’t know which was weirder the cheering or counting steps for riding. We could have ignored that, but it didn’t really measure resting heart rate, but daily average heart rate. Blah. That doesn’t help. If we were riding, our average heart is higher. Duh!

So, the human did some research and bought in, hook, line and sinker to the Whoop concept. Whoop is a heart rate monitor. That’s it. No step counting (yay!) and no nonsensical cheering just for getting up off the couch. Ha! In fact, sometimes Whoop is often the grumpy coach, “That was a reasonable workout” or “Workouts that limit cardiovascular load are good for Recovery” (when we weren’t trying for recovery).

But mostly we just ignore those messages. What we care about is the Recovery score which tells us if the human is over or under achieving. Green means “all systems are primed”; Yellow means “feeling average, eh?”; and Red is “hmmm…have you been working hard or are you sick?”

As we were training, we used the recovery numbers to adjust our rides, putting the longer, harder rides onto Green days and pulling back on Red days. Each week we did more than the previous, but we never felt burned out. And, if the human woke up Green, it was no excuses, no malingering — a long ride.

But, more important, we were able to adjust after the second Covid shot. The human didn’t feel great and neither were the Whoop numbers. We pulled back until the numbers picked up. That seemed to work well and it kept the human from pushing when the body was down. Likewise, when the human really got sick, the Whoop numbers were clear enough that it kept the human from trying to push through — 1% recovery, crappy heart rate and HRV values. In the past, the human wouldn’t have just pushed forward, but by monitoring we were back on the road stronger sooner.

So, goofy as the strap is. And, obsessed as the human is, looking at those numbers, I guess it works for us. As we travel across the country, we will probably include our Recovery scores just for fun. Obviously, we will ride regardless of the numbers, but it should be interesting to see how they change. The theory states that while we will see Reds early on, that the body will adapt to the long back to back days and we won’t stay Red. We’ll see.

Reading List:

The Mosquito Timothy C. Winegard. One shall never hear “seasoning” in quite the same way again.

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