Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Gilles put us through the paces last night after spin class. Snapped a few shots in between sets with the swiss ball.

Gilles demo'ing what to do . . . . Lenny in the background paying close attention - "you want me to do whaaaaaaaat?"

Getting folded up like a lawn chair.

King shows us his ass.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Back on the Junk

a bingers return to the trainer.

A few mornings ago I awoke to realize that this is in fact 2008. The very same year that I agreed to let the Original Big Ring drag my sorry ass across, over, up, down, across, over, up, up, up, up, down, up and down the Coast Mountains in the seven day stage race that is the B.C. Bike Race.

Which, and this is the second 'fact' of this post is only about six months away.

Shortly after that realization set in a curious feeling came over me. Something like a vile mixture of anxiety, worry, fear, dread, paralysis and a few more emotional jewels that only I, Steven King or Polanski's three weird sisters could concoct.

..that incidently is my first and last Shakespeare reference for this post.

you're welcome.

Anyway, so it turns out this whole 'fear' thing is a pretty powerfull motivator once the initial paralysis wears off, and thus has provided a valuble catalyst to getting my face out of the tray of cinnamon buns and back on the trainer, swiss ball, etc. so last sunday was the 'warmup' and tonight was the real deal.

The intended program was 3hrs on the trainer at 75% MHR. (As much to gauge how soft i've got as anything)
Admittedly I have to guess at my max heart rate because the standard age based charts bear no resemblance to my real experiences in having trained with HR for the past few years. (yeah, yeah, power is the way to go. heard it, believe it, but a HR monitor is less than 100 bones and a power tap is a mortgage payment so HR it is)
Anyway, the program held together for the first hour which was pretty tough actually. My HR was in the mid 150's where I wanted it but the clock was moving sloooooww. That is until I found the right tunes on the Ipod and 75% turned into 85+%. and fwiw tonight the right tunes were older ska-core including some vintage clash with a bit of dropkicks, Camper van Beethoven and the Queers mixed in.

Once the right tunes are dialed in it's sooo much easier to stay on the bike.

The second hour as a result flew by and the momentum carried well into the third. Energy started to wane at around 2:40, and the undercarriage was speaking up also but with the end in sight it wasn't too hard to stay with it. So in the end the stats came out as;
3hrs on bike with no stops
average heart rate of 161
max HR of 192 (6min standing climb at 2hr mark)
min HR of 89 (right off the hop)
and a calorie count of 3245!
How many pints n' pizzas is that?? (yeah, I know the calibration is fer shite but I don't care, I'm using that calorie count to justify a midnight snack of cheese (protein), crackers (sound base for cheese ..cause I'm all about 'base') and Laphroaig quarter cask single malt (pain killer) Another interesting stat is the room humidity level hit 78%. Juicy!

So, I'm well chuffed about sticking to the plan of 3hrs and even happier that I didn't kill myself doing it but I'm not sure if i'll be able to make that a regular thing because 3hrs in a contigious time block isn't so easy to find outside of working hours these days
but the fear still looms large so we'll see..
stay posted.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A couple of races south of the border

Fritz's upcoming trip to Lance's home state had me remembering a few mtn bike events that I recently heard about . . .

The BURN 24 Hour Challenge is the Southeast's Premiere 24 Hour Mountain Bike Solo & Team Relay Race featuring an amazing trail system, electronic timing, kid's races, great prizes, the infamous Alien Abduction, and free BURN Energy Drinks throughout the event. This is your source for race details, registration options & race rules. While you are here please add your name to the mailing list. We hope you can join us in at Dark Mountain Trails in Wilkesboro, NC on May 24th & 25th, 2008.

. . . and . . .
The Fool's Gold 100 is Georgia's first and only 100 mile mountain bike race, brought to you by the race director of the largest and most fun 24 hour mountain bike race in the Southeast, the BURN 24 Hour Challenge! Fool's Gold 100 will be the 6th race of the 2008 National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series. Expect lots of singletrack with a few gravel road grunts. Be prepared to ride hard..and drink a few brews. We promise, you won't be disappointed! With the low entry fee, great schwag, all of the essential amenities (i.e. food, lodging, beer) ALL WEEKEND!, and cash payout for the Open Men/Womens class in the 100 miler, we think this one will be on your race calendar for good!

If you check out Eddie O's blog from time to time I'm sure you'll find some more info too.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Dangers of Cycling with an iPod (are Over Exaggerated)

The New South Wales Police must have a pretty big budget. Maybe they hit quota for busting jaywalkers and got some extra cash to cook up an ad campaign directed at cyclists wearing iPods. These signs are appearing across the city as a warning to bikers who like to listen to music and ignore traffic sounds while riding around.

Biking with an iPod is no different from biking without one—you exercise common sense and you’ll probably be okay. Don’t play music insanely loud, maybe don’t play music at all on busy streets, keep your head on a swivel, and watch out for car doors.

I stole this from The Goat. I agree. Do you?

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Great Skate!

I had started this post on Friday and had told myself that I wasn't going to do another post about skiing. But then came Sunday, I had my best ski ever. I was pretty pleased with myself and must tell someone! I will try to keep this short.

Sunday afternoon, I headed off from the Chelsea Nordiq parking lot (in behind the old visitor centre) for a skate ski via P8. My plan was to ski to Fortune Pkwy and go up as far as I can and make the least amount of stops. I have never been able to go all the way up Fortune non-stop (foreshadowing!).

First leg: P8 to Meech/Fortune intersection - about 13 mins, no stops. That was the easy part. As I walked across Meech lake road to the trail connecting to Fortune Pkwy, I ran into Mark and Big Ring coming from their hike, stopped and chatted for a bit.

Second leg: Fortune Pkwy (p10) to Gossip Corner. They key here was to stay in Zone 2. The first two climbs felt easy. The real challenge is the long twisty climb, i.e., make it all the way up without blowing a gasket and coupghing up a lung! I tried to keep things as smooth as possible and maintain a rythm and momentum. I switched to a left offset and kept my focus on some skate skiers about 100 meters ahead of me. Half-way up I passed the first one - Good! (that never happens!). I keep plugging along switching from left to right offset as the road turns. Second skier now stopped for a break - Say hello and keep going. I keep plugging along, legs were now on fire. I lift up my head and I am cresting the hill. I made it! Although, at the point, I was well into zone 3! I eased off a bit and just maintained a steady pace to Gossip Corner. Took a break at Gossip Corner to relish my accomplishment. The trip back was pretty uneventful, although I was grinning from ear to ear. Figuring out the climbing technique has helped immensely and I couldn't be more pleased!

Here is what I had originally intended to post on Friday courtersy of . Enjoy!

Don't want to drop my umbrella!

Stef?? I think so...

Just getting a closer look at your tire, dude!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rain rain go away I can't ski and I hate my trainer!!

So what's everyone been up to these days???

I've been doing a little of this:

And since it's been +10 and raining this week, a little of that...

As most of you probably know, time on the trainer can get a wee bit boring if you do any amount of it. Well I don't do all that much of it but it's still boring. In order to help me pass the time and because I am relatively new to the sport I picked up some DVDs last winter to guide me through some time in the saddle. I have mostly been riding with Coach Troy's Base Building DVDs. I figure it's a good place to start and base work doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as anaerobic work!

I've been lusting about getting a new bike or two lately. Hey, if it's good enough for then it's good enough for me! I've been thinking that I won't be able to live without a Bandersnatch (who could really?) and I've also been thinking that I should probably have a road bike that's lighter than my MTB. So as I was turning the cranks on the trainer tonight it hit me! ALL I need to do is lighten up my current road ride... You see this bike's been around, it's been well used. I bought it last year for 50 bucks! Since then I have replaced a tire and three tubes because those damn road tires are hard to get off when you don't know what you're doing. I also F%$#ed up the rim tape so all in all I'm up to about a $75 investment. I figure I put about 2000 km on it last year so for you bean counters out there that's about 4 cents per km... not bad. Oops, I digress... So here's the deal, I figure I can make it lighter without investing a lot of money into it. Frankly I'd be better off investing in a new bike before parts for this one because it is a bit of a beater. In order to make it lighter I just need to remove a bunch more of these...

How many can I remove before it's a problem? Can I remove every second one so I don't have to true it when I'm done? Let's say I remove every second one from both the front and back wheels, I bet I could get this baby under 25 pounds! SMOKING!!

I can't wait to wave at all those uptight roadies in the park as I go flying past on my weightless road machine. Yeah I know, they won't wave back but that'll make it even more fun!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bicycle burnout & Cross Training

I got an e-mail a little while ago from someone I use to frequently ride with - we've gone our separate ways in regards to type or riding/racing/riding buddies. Nonetheless, I still consider him a buddy.

He has been exploring training specifically with power this past year or so. He rides on the trainer and on the road using a Power Tap and is very strict about how he trains, his zones, etc. I was asked him something about VO2 testing and he responded with much more detail about training than I was asking for - trying to explain to me how to train properly over the winter, specifically - using power, that VO2 didn't matter and training based on your heart rate is basically "not the in thing to do" anymore. To each his own.

Much to what he was saying was, get used to sitting on your trainer all winter, that xc skiing and snowshoeing might be fun, but it's really not going to help you all that much with you cycling (if that was all you're doing and not doing any cycling training . . . . but what serious cyclist isn't doing some sort of spinning over the winter?!) He raised some things to think about, but I'd say that I have to disagree with him.

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want (my only form of exercise and training) to be sitting on a trainer in my basement for three to four months. Living in a snowy, cold part of the country it's necessary to take advantage of the conditions and enjoy it! The riding season, for me, is all about the enjoyment of the ride, pushing my limits and having fun - much like the reason for forming this team! If I'm not having fun, I'm not doing it.

In saying that, there are some days that hill repeats at 99% of your max HR doesn't feel a whole lot like fun . . . . it is a necessary thing to do to help you enjoy your rides more. Power is necessary, of course, but not the only way to improve as a rider. I'm fairly certain that I can make more gains in my riding by dropping some weight off my body, but that is another rant/post . . . .

This rather long intro was meant to be a segway into my snowshoe report from yesterday . . . but ended in a rant. Rant off.

Rick and I got out yesterday afternoon for a 2hr snowshoe - did the Wolf loop in the park. Brrrr . . . . very cold.

Rick is planning an epic snowshoe in the next week or so. Keep an ear to the ground about that - should be a dozy of a backcountry slog . . . . a real training session indeed!
Wait . . . . can snowshoeing be considered training? Hmmmmm . . . .

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Big and Little Pole Racing

Went out for another skate ski to end the year, an "easy" New Year's Eve afternoon ski with Anthony. Like me, Anthony is new to the sport this year but, unlike me, does not have the benefit of 35 years of ice skating to kick start his new career. Anthony's parents didn't want him playing hockey as a youngster, not wanting him to lose the effeminate air and prancing jocularity that they hoped would be stylish when he reached maturity. Mission accomplished. We skied the doldrums, from P8 to the base of Fortune and back with Anthony making great strides in technique and speed along the way. His hat even matched his pants:

Today, I figured I would have another go at a full loop on my own. It was snowing a bit, but I reasoned that wasn't a big deal. Turns out I'm an idiot. Skate skiing on ungroomed trails with your tips below the powder is really quite remarkably tiring. I did manage a full loop, but it took me 2:10, more than 40 minutes more than my loop last week, using 50% more energy according to my Polar. I spent 45 minutes without seeing another soul at one point. That's because everyone else is smarter than me and was off at the pub, which is where I was thinking I should have been. I was pleased not to have stopped other than to drink, but the effort was more than I'm ready for at this point. Now, I'm reasoning that conditions will be better (eg groomed trails!) at the Keskinada, and that I can only get better, so after this upcoming weekend attempting a 36km Gamelin-to-Gamelin loop, I think I'll sign up for the race. What's the worst that can happen?