Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lab rats and cowboy boots (straight from brokeback mountain)

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up Steve from his house to go down to UVU for our last round of testing with Pat. We’ve been guinea pigs for some research Pat has been doing on the recovery benefits of compression tights. For our troubles we’ve been able to get our VO2 max tested as well as some power testing.

As I arrived at Steve’s house he mentioned that his boss had gotten into it during 1,000 Warriors with a guy in UVU team kit. Since Pat is President of the UVU cycling club, we figured he’d know who it was.

Not long after arriving, we got talking about 1,000 Warriors. We didn’t need to ask. Pat told us about how some fred (Pat's words, not mine) wearing an ipod nearly wrecked him on the climb up from Sundance, and when Pat said something to him, the guy smacked him in the face. Pat was pretty wound up but saw that karma took care of things before he could when the guy crashed on the descent (not that crash, thankfully). Steve’s boss has a torn AC joint in his shoulder but otherwise is OK. We’ll see if he continues wearing the ipod in races…

The testing itself was pretty cool. Other than getting actual VO2 max numbers, though, I don’t know if it told us anything we didn’t already know. During our TT effort, we each pushed exactly the same average wattage for the 20 minutes, but how we got there was a bit different. Steve was fairly steady throughout with a solid push for the final minute. My output was generally a little below Steve’s throughout and more variable, but my final push was enough higher than his to level our averages. We’ve always known that Steve burns diesel, as it were, and I burn gasoline, the test just confirmed it.

We did one hour on the bike, rested three hours, then did a 20 minute TT effort. We did this on two occasions, one with compression tights during the recovery period, one without. Here’s Steve during his 60 minute effort. One of Pat’s teammates doing VO2 max testing is in the background, with Pat at the controls.

As for the benefits of compression tights, as far as power output goes, Steve did better after wearing them, I did better after not wearing them. One thing I did notice, though, is that I tend to retain water and gain weight after a hard effort. The day after the test when I used compression tights during recovery, I weighed a pound less than I did the day before. The day after the test when I didn’t use compression tights, I weighed three pounds more than I did the day before. My legs also “felt” better the day after wearing compressions tights, so I think there’s some benefit there, even if it didn’t show up in the TT.

In completely unrelated news, Steve’s daughter and my son (as well as another cousin) started kindergarten today. Both kids were very excited. Starting school meant new shoes, or in my son’s case, boots. My son can’t tie shoes yet, so he usually wears crocs when it’s warm and cowboy boots in the cooler months. Over the weekend, he and I went boot shopping.

For the past two years, we’ve bought him the same boots with brown split-grain leather uppers and lugged soles. There’s nothing feminine about them. And yet when I asked for the same boots again, the salesman told me “that’s a girl's boot.”

“How do you figure?”

“Look at the sole, it’s the same as on these women’s boots.”

I just ignored him and asked if he had them in a 12.

As we finished up the boot shopping, undeterred and settling on the same style as years past, I admit the salesman’s comments had me feeling like a bit of a dandy.

Matters weren’t helped in the slightest when I pulled my son’s socks off only to discover that the toenail polish his aunt applied while we were in Leadville was still there. Thank goodness the salesman wasn’t.

Does he (or more importantly, do his boots) look feminine to you?


  1. They don't look like girl boots to me. Then again, I accidentally bought a women's cycling jersey, size large, from a charity ride. Good thing it was a 'club cut'. Didn't know it was a women's jersey until I realized the zipper was on the wrong side.

  2. 331 Miles, I have a cycling jersey with zipper on the wrong side, but mine's a men's; it's just European. I have a jacket the same way. I almost have myself convinced enough that the Euros do it backwards to zip them in front of other people.

  3. I can't really see the boots, but he looks like Batman to me. Nothing feminine about that! Well, at least without the tights.

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  5. Except for a (that) shoe salesman, who sees a sole and determines boy or girl? Nothing I can see of those boots says girl - no pink, no spangles, no tassels. Plain, brown boots say "boy" to me.

    That's pretty cool testing.

  6. Don't tempt Karma, because Karma always wins. Just ask Steve's boss.

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