Altitude Sickness

Maximum speed

By Brady Crain

The shoulder is coming along, and next week I will be able to lift weights. This week was marked by lots of walking and lots of road riding, because of the gorgeous weather.

One interesting thing that happened to me was that as I was headed down West Hill Road the other day and I hit my top speed, my bike did something it has never done: it wobbled. And I don’t mean it wobbled once. I mean as I started going faster and faster, it wobbled more and more, with larger and larger sideways travel, until I felt certain I was going to go down.

We are talking about speeds that result in broken bones, epic road rash, and synthetic clothing melted to wounded skin. Not a good time, to say the least. So I got onto the brakes as hard as I could, bringing it back down to normal speeds, and the behavior mitigated. I finished the rest of my East Mountain Road loop for the day, and took the bike to the shop.

The adrenaline dump that I earned on the way down West Hill got me epic times across the flat, and up East Mountain Road. I normally struggle to maintain 20-22 mph on the flat, but I cranked out 26-27 mph the whole way across. My usual four-mph pace up the road was centering around six mph or higher. Needless to say, I was completely spent by the top, sore and winded enough that the downhill portion was actually a chore.

All told, though, given what could have happened, it was a good ride anyway.

I have been working really hard to dial in my metabolism and finally get back into ketosis (fat burning low-sugar metabolism), and I made it. It wasn’t even intentional. One day I just noticed that I ran out of energy during my exercise, and my urine smelled funny (I was fully hydrated). This meant that my body had used up all of its available sugar and was burning protein. A day or two of that, and the body flips over into ketosis, the fat burning metabolism.

So I drank my low-sugar vegetable protein drinks, ate my eggs, ate my steak tartare, and sure enough, a day and a half later, my head is clearer, I lost the worst of my sugar hunger, and my body fat ratio was visibly lower (I keep it pretty low anyway, so small changes are easily visible).

To maintain ketosis, I need to stay under 50g of carbohydrates on a daily basis. But to achieve ketosis, I have better results if I am under 25g carbohydrates daily for at least a week. This is torture for a sugar addict. Two things helped with this effort.

I discovered that Trident gum is enormously useful in controlling sugar cravings. I realized one day that Trident has one gram of xylitol/sorbitol sugars per piece. Even if I chew a whole pack I am still well under my sugar allotment for the day. So if I was feeling desperate, I would just chew Trident like a cow. It worked.

The other thing that helped was that the apartment finally cooled off enough that I could run the dehydrator without having to compensate with an air conditioning unit. So I started making (and perfected, I might add) my gorgeous ground beef and bacon jerky recipes, so that I have lots of high-fat, low-to-no sugar options on hand. It is working out well, and I really love the headspace of ketosis – so much calmer.

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