There have been a couple of post of late on this subject, people worried about what counts as chronic cardio. I was thinking about this while on a walk through the countryside this morning, enjoying the rain and mud and a'fall' 'colors'
I think Mark is coming at the issue of over training from a place that few of us can understand, that of a proffesional, sucessfull, world class, endurace athlete.
I would speculate, from the little I know about him, he is a very driven person (you'd have to be to have the dedication needed to suceed as he has done). This type of person thrives on a challange and throws their all in to everything they do. Burn out and stess can be major issues for this type of person. I would also infer that Mark himself has this very much in hand, he seems to have a very healthy attidtude to stress, play and work/life balance. Who can say if he got there by coming from too far down a bad road?
I know that's not the way I roll, I'm a more relaxed sort of go with the flow, get by with minimal effort type of guy, sucess, money, fame or anything like that has never been a motivator for me, life is for having a laugh. Yeah if a job needs doing, I'll get it done, but I'm not trying to do it faster and better each time.
So this got me thinking of a little story to explain my take on the difference between cronic cardio and not.
So in this story there are two guys, lets call them, ooh I don't know, let's say Mark and Rob. Now they both like mountain biking and they are both happen to be going to a trail centre to ride a new trail with their friend.
Mark and his friends arrive at the trail center at 9:00 am, the start assembling their bikes, checking tyre pressures, ensuring they have good healthy fuel to eat and plenty of water (but not so much it weighs them down). They all have good quality bikes. Marks is the lastest light weight XC full suspension bike, with super light compents, and with careful choice of parts and replacing all the bolts with titainum ones Mark has got the weight of his bike down to 17.9785 lbs.
By quater past nine they are all ready to go, they set off at a briskish pace and warm up on the first flat, there is plenty of banter amoung the group. The first fire-road climb comes in to view and one of the guys starts inching ahead, then someone decides to own the climb. It's on, the whole group is hammering away up the climb in a race to the top. The pace then contiunes at almost race pace for the whole 15 miles of trail.
Everyone enjoys the race and pushes themselves to get in a good performace. Single-track sections are taken at full pelt, legs are rested on the downs, the fastest smoothest lines being chosen to get to the bottom. Places are won and lost on the fire-roads and everyone knows the winner is going to be the one who gets to the top of the last climb first and gets on to the final single track desent first - no chance of over-taking there, and baring a fall or a mechanical the race is in the bag.
The last Climb comes in to sight, Dave goes of early, charging towards the climb along the flat, Mark follows close behind, but doesn't go for the lead, 1/4 of the way up the climb Dave still has the lead, but Mark is holding on half a bike length behind. Half way up and Dave and Mark are far ahead of the rest of the pack, it's a two man race now. Mark is 3/4 of a bike lenght behind and Dave thinks it's in the bag. But Mark's playing tactics and as soon as he sences Dave thinking he's got the win, he jumps 2 gears gets out to the saddle and sprints for the top. He makes the entrace to the final descent 2 bike lengths ahead and flows smooth and fast down the single track to cross the line a full 15 seconds in the lead.
They have been out for Just over and hour. After a cup of tea in the cafe they all head out to do the route again. This time Mike takes the win in 57 minutes.
Over a hearty meal everyone talkes about the trail, how to get faster, latest training sheduals and personal bests. A good time was had by all.
They all agree to go out again in two weeks, but are too busy with thier indvidual training programs and races to meet again till then. They will all go out again for some kind of ride tomorrow.
They have been riding for 2 hours, pretty much all of it hard, high level cardio.
Mean while; Rob and his mates turn up at the trail head between 10 and half past, it was ment to be half 9, but that was never going to happen. People start assembing bikes, stealing each other's wheels, telling Simon we've pee'd in his camel back. John has got a puncture and has emptyed his car for a spare tube, and hasn't got one. Much piss taking ensues. Inner tubes are lent, and tools are shared, various packed lunches are stowed in bags and within about 40 minutes (with only one person going back to the car) they are off on the first fire road chatting away, mainly about bike choice. They all too have good quality bikes, Robs is a fancy mid travel full suspension bike, it will climb almost as well as it desends, but it really comes into it's own on the twisty single track, it's not light, but the extra weight means it won't break if he gets a bit carried away on the jumps and forgets for a moment he's actally 36. He has no idea how much his bike weighs, but he sometimes wishes it was less when he has to lift it onto the roof rack at the end of the day.
The first climb is started. Talking reduces to the, odd word, occasionally four letter words, Dylon drops to the back grinding away in first gear, he's always been a crap climber, but he's fast on the downs (the extra weight of his gut keeps his centre of gravity low).
Simon gets to the top first, and looks arround at the view, one by one the rest of the gang make it, after a short rest they set off down the single track.
They all know Rob loves to hoon it down the twisty stuff so he goes off first everyone else follows in speed order, fastest first, that way you get to chase a better rider, and get better and everyone goes at thier own pace. The winner is the one with the biggest grin at the end.
About half way round there is a massive 500 foot climb up a fire road, they walk this as it's just too hot now the sun is out. Chatting is easier this way anyway.
It turns out this climb is leads to the quientisential peice of single track; 3 miles of twists, turns, rock gardens, burms, drop-offs, switch backs, rolling jumps, rocky shoots, you name it, it's got it. You just set off pedaling like a loon for the first hundred yards, hit the first drop and then the trail takes you. If you get it right you can flow the whole section without another pedal stroke and you just fly. It's the biggest rush.
The whole group walk that massive climb 3 more times. They all ride it the first time - even Dylan, but they have to stop at the top and have some lunch to catch their breath and take in the view. After the 5th time down they are all knakered and laughing like hyenas, and more importantly running low on snacks and water so they head off down the last 2 miles of trail at a steady pace.
Back at the cafe, over a hearty meal and many cups of tea they all talk about what a great trail it was, how much fun it was and argue for hours over which was the best bit. They arrange to go for a night ride on Wednesday night. A good time was had by all.
They have been riding for 4 hours, they have no idea if any hard high leval cardio.
Can you guess which group run the risk of doing 'chronic cardio'