Today I had the opportunity to ride with Al and Kristen from Integrate Performance Fitness.
Al Painter is Mr. Integrate Performance Fitness. When he is not spending time making folks enjoy his special brand of fitness building pain, he is also spreading his fitness wisdom at the VeloReviews podcast and cycling social media website. In fact, the VeloReviews podcast is where I first heard of Integrate and Al Painter.
Al and Kristen pulled me up some of the hills around Los Altos after riding out of the Integrate studio in Mountain View. Beautiful scenery, great company and a wicked descent made for a great afternoon.
This was all new territory for me. I’d never ridden these roads. To be honest, there were only about a couple of times I even knew where the heck we were. Adding to the unfamiliarity is the fact that – as anyone who lives in my hometown of Sacramento can tell you – I’ve gotta go a long ways from my home to find any real hills. Climbing is definately the weaker part of my cycling abilities, and that was fully put to the test by Al and Kristen.
The CardioTrainer app for my Droid phone (my cycling computer of choice for at least the next couple of weeks) tells me we did 22.3 miles, and about 319 yards (yes – its currently reporting yards) of elevation gain. However, after uploading the GPS data to ridewithgps.com it told me 1,408 feet. Either way, definitely enough to force me to focus real hard a couple of times to keep the cranks spinning to the top of a pitch.
After finishing the last half of the trip over some rollers in an out-n-back past Stanford University, a realization dawned on me: somehow Al has control of the very weather on his rides. I’m not exaggerating to say that we seemed to have a head wind pretty much the entire ride. Ain’t no rest for the wicked. Nor those that want to get stronger. Nor those that can make you stronger!
We cruised over some flats for the last few miles, cooling down as we rolled back into the Integrate studio. A teriffic ride.
That wasn’t quite the end of it. No, after a very short rest, Al starts whipping out all manner of medieval torture devices. OK – so they were just resistance bands and stability balls – but we just got done with a ride man!
After some lay on your back and lift your hips all while you’ve got a stupid band you’ve got to fight against to keep you knees apart action, we actually moved into some great stretches. The routine that Al put together (presumably on the fly) actually did wonders for me. As I rode back to my Palo Alto office, my legs – and whole body - felt amazingly limber and relaxed.
Again – HUGE thanks to both Al and Kristen for chillin’ at the top of a few of those climbs while I slugged my way up. The atmosphere of the studio is amazing. I hope to get to ride with you both again soon.