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Fit Folks: Vance McMurray, 42

Staff Writer
Austin 360

What I do to stay fit? Many years ago, I read the T.S. Elliot quote, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." This speaks to fitness as more than a few exercises, because it is. Fitness at the point of sheer exhaustion is more a question of mental fortitude, rather than fitness.

My chosen sport is ultra-endurance mountain biking. I define this as almost any ride longer than four to five days. These days are filled with more than 100 miles of riding a day and self-supported camping. The ideal training month is only about 600 miles a month, with peak months at more than 1,000 miles.

This kind of training volume tends to lead to gross overtraining in the lower body, which is compensated with high intensity and multimovement, full-body weight training. Each session is one to two hours, with near continuous exercise. Breaks are allowed only when my heart rate hits zone 5, then it is only to allow the heart recovery to the lower ranges of zone 4 or high zone 3. This leads to 12 to 15 zone 5 peaks in a one-hour session.

This should someday answer the question how far I can go.

We're looking for Central Texans who keep fit with interesting activities. Tell us — in 100 words or fewer — about yours. If you have a photograph, include that as well. Send your name, age and contact information to Pam LeBlanc, Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave., Austin TX 78704 or e-mail it to pleblanc@statesman.com.