Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Balance??? What is that!!!!!

Went for my first skate ski of the season with Brent Keen yesterday. Ok, I won't lie, I went for my first fall on my ass. How is it that I guy who used to race alpine skiing and spent years teaching it cannot stay vertical on these sticks.
I used to see speeds of 80 km/h on ice going around gates and I fall over at 15 km/h looking like a spaz.

I forgot how much full body effort skate skiing is. Of course it's more physical when your using every muscle you have to not fall over. I did find my rhythm and most of my balance after a few km's and had a good 1.5 hour workout. I'll be definitely adding a day or two of skiing to my weekly abuse.

Happy New Years everyone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I know I haven't written much in the last few days. There really hasn't been much happening and after still having nightmares about my brother-in-laws video the camera has me a little scared.

Got together with my coach on Sunday night and talked a little this and a little that. The big thing is getting me in that happy place of wanting to be on the puke machine.

Well after a weekend of crazy weather and almost all the snow disappeared it left the roads in great shape. the temperature was just above the freezing mark and the sun was out. What better motivation for me than a good long road ride on my favorite loop.

Headed out armed with 2 bottles a couple gels and 3 dollars. What more do you need? I figured I would be about 2 hours or so. The roads still had a hard packed layer of snow on them in places so the cross bike was an easy choice. With no really training focus I just turned my feet and checked out the scenery.

Stopped at the Big Chute for a short break and to check out water levels after the 2 days of plus 10 and pouring rain. The rapids were wild and looked more like spring than December.

This is my usual place to top up bottles etc. Who would have thought that a marina store would be closed on a Monday in December. Come on there has to be lots of boat traffic at this time. Time reference needed.The Big Chute loop is about 65 km long with no short cut back. Normally I can do this section in under 2 hours during the summer time. I'm on holidays for the next week which means that my technical thinking brain is not really working right now otherwise I would have added together a better time estimate for this ride. At 33-35 km/h while on my road bike with slicks and an air temp well above the freezing mark equals under 2 hours.

Now factor in a cross bike with nobby tires, mix that in with snow and slushy roads and add a hint of cold air. To top it off add on December legs. Yep those poor weak excuse of legs in there and my ride turned into just under a 3.5 hour tour. A bonk was doing it's very best to catch me near the end as I came into Port Severn where a sugar kick from a Mars bar got me the rest of the way home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting in something I've always wanted in a house. An indoor area to wash my bikes.

\Wasted space with a laundry tub. Out it goes. I bought a bath tub from the Restore store which sends all the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

The cross bike was the first in line to get spic an span clean.

I'm getting back into full force abuse as of January 2. My next power test and a revamped schedule. More to come.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

a scary present

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Festivus for the rest of us.

Spending this year at my sister's place in Ottawa and we are continuing are tradition of the kids screwing off for a few hours as Mom and my Aunt make dinner. I know evil kids. Actually our job is to take the dogs out and exhaust them before settling in for dinner.

This year's adventure was a few hours of skiing. Jenn Rick and myself loaded up the puppies and skis headed over to Larose conservation area.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. Minus 2 and sun. My love of pine trees has dropped a little. Keeping grip wax on was pretty much impossible. Still a great way to spend Christmas Day.

Rick is a member of Big Ring Racing. After what I saw today I'm very very happy to be a member of the Mountainview Cycling Club. Our membership criterium is just a wee bit lower than the BGR Team. If you are brave, maybe that is an understatement. If you want your retinas burned out go to the Big Ring Racing site. The link is to the right. Here is just a little preview of what you might see.

That is my future brother-in-law. I can't even comment on that because I am lost for words.

Eat, drink and be merry. Back to training in a couple days.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Screw Santa!!!!

I'm not going to wait for Santa this year. Screw Him!!! 2 bikes instead of a pony, hmmm well I can't take a chance on this request. Where were you 20 something years ago? Were you riding a bike? If you were a bet you watched this movie a hundred times.

I couldn't take a chance that Santa could read my horrible writing. After the screw up with the pony something tells me I might see this in my stocking instead of my original inspiration.

So where was I when this movie came out. Doing exactly what they were. I loved BMX and flatland freestyle. I guess it's now called street. At 16 instead of asking for a car I wanted a comp level freestyle bike. Yep I got it. A Kuwahara Magician EX. It was sweet. Yellow and fully equiped with a Odyssey Gyro, 48's and pegs everywhere. I swear I had it no less than 24 hours before I warped a wheel doing a table top of a kick ramp and landing on flat ground. Ya the art of dirt jumping was still a few years away.

That bike was my life. It started me towards the addiction I have now. Of course back then I had the other addiction of cigarettes. Ya you could do tricks with a smoke in your mouth. Ya, if I had only learned at 16.

Off Road to Athens, good movie and drama. Breaking Away, one of the originals bike movies. Quicksilver, I didn't know that Kevin Bacon could ride a bike. I think that was the start of the fixes and singlespeed addiction. 24 Solo, yes the inspiration to many, including myself. It reminds us that the best hurt just as much in these events as the rest of us. Rad. Where to start!!! Here is the link if you want your own copy of the greatest bike movie ever.

I'll be counting the days till my copy arrives. I've already let a few of the guys know and we will be doing the flash back premier screening on the projector. Nothing like retro 80's bmx on the big screen.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It's full force winter here in central Ontario. There is not much happening here on the training side of things. Heather has ok'd me taking some time off until the next test. My body has not been to happy with me the last few days so the rest is well needed. Since there isn't much to talk about in the biking world I'm going to vent a little instead.

Took the Molly Monster on a two hour snowshoe yesterday. It was fun being out in the fresh snow after the so called winter storm warning. I find it down right hilarious when I hear winter storm warning and 10-15 cm of snow in the same line. I've lived on Georgian Bay area all my life. The snow we get now compared to years back in no where near the same. I remember my father having to drag the snow blower up on the roof of the house to clear it. I wonder what would happen if we got a real winter storm, you know the old storms of 40 plus cm at a time. That's a storm.

On a shared subject, I think the driving skills of most drivers are down as much as what we rate as a winter storm. Considering that the vehicles we drive now are so technically advanced compared to 20 years ago why are these people unable to do more than 30 km'h in the snow. Thought one, if you are driving with your hazard lights on, YOU are the hazard!!! It's illegal for one to be driving with them on and if you are that afraid that you have to have them on then you should stay home till you feel safe. Thought two, when you are going to pull out in front of someone consider two things. Will you be able to accelerate to the speed limit without making the other car have to brake and two if you can't and you pull out any ones did you leave enough space for the oncoming car to slow down in control.

They have talked about winter tires as mandatory. I don't agree on that but there are some cars out there that it is a necessity. My Honda Element is front wheel drive and I wouldn't think twice about not having the winter tires on it but the Audi on the other hand is amazing in the snow. All wheel drive with so many traction control computers on it it's almost impossible to spin out. Trust me I've tried!!! If you can't get traction spend the money and get winter tires. Even for the front wheels if you are being cheap.

A comment I heard on a talk radio show that I really agree with. There should be two driving tests for your license. One in the summer and one for winter driving. I would like to see it one step further at a mandatory retest every 5 years. Why? Because people forget and grow bad habits. They say that the young people are the dangerous drivers. Ya they are but I think it's only because they haven't had the driving experience yet to learn how not to get caught!!! I swear I see more boneheaded things done by people that have been driving for 20 years. It's funny but I think it's the older generation that uses their turn signals less than the new driver. Why, Hmmm maybe they are an option in some new cars?? Maybe they forgot they were there? I'm not sure but I wish more used them.

Hey I'll be the first to admit that I'm an aggressive driver. I like speed and have had my fair share of tickets. I also drive 80,000 km a year. Ya, I drive that much with work and some play mixed in. For the miles versus tickets ratio it's actually pretty low. So where am I going with this. Not really sure but just wanted to get it off my chest. I think it's because I have a 6 hour drive coming up in a couple days as I head over to my sister's in Ottawa for Christmas. I'm crossing my fingers for a smooth trip.

That's it for now maybe some biking stuff tomorrow.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Since Santa has been really nice to me lately I thought I might ask for one more thing. I have always wanted to be a super hero. I've been thinking about it long and hard trying to come up with a really good name. Got it.

I will now be Iron Stomach Man. I would be able to eat nails and spit out rivets. Nothing could stop me with the ability to eat anything I saw. I would be bursting with energy and never ever get a cramp. Ya, ok, a few of you have lined up beside me at a race. I sound like I should be curled over praying to a porcelain god after a bender the night before. I probably was.

I've been trying to find a fuel that my stomach can handle. I've been using Infinit's product for a while now and love it. In the past I've been using a sport drink and eating gels during long races and mixing in some sustained energy. Well it' works but it's alot of playing around with mixes for sodium, calories and biggest thing taste.

I've never been able to drink anything at it's recommended mix rate because it is just overkill in taste. That is not the case anymore. Depending on your needs you would have to either add more or less of a scoop to your bottle. With Infinit you design the mix ratio to your body before you order it.

I've been using the premixed stuff for the indoor season and it's awesome. The 5 hour mix has 250 calories in it, what does that mean. No gels needed. So simple. For the hard trainer sessions I've been using the 2 hour race mix which is really easy on my stomach but giving my body everything it needs.

Just to make people nervous I also have their Jet Fuel mix. The name gives you an idea. Caffeine is mixed in there. Yep, I'm like a five year old who just ate a box of chocolate bars. This will be my secret weapon next year. You will know I'm on it because I will probably be a little twitchy while lining up.

So here is the big thing with this stuff. My wonderfully screwed up stomach really likes it. Check out the options at the link to the right. If you are really nice and ask Santa maybe I can send you a link so you get 10% off.

I'm off the bike for the next few days, this is a very crazy time of year for work. For some reason people want their appliance all working for Christmas dinner. The interesting part of it is that alot of them broke a few months ago but it wasn't important to them back then.

That's it for now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

All I want for Christmas

It's Christmas time and I have been a good boy. I sent my letter to Santa with my one big Christmas wish.

A pony. All I really want is a pony, I have the yard for a pony now. Wouldn't you like a pony?

Well I think Santa had a talk with the Ruppel brothers and they voiced their concerns.

Did I mention that I wanted to ride the pony at Summer Solstice next year. I think the conversation went a little like this.

Spak wants what? He wants to ride it at our 24 hour race. What type of drugs are they mixing with his EPO?? I actually think Sean would be a little more willing.

I guess the additional speed bumps the pony would leave on the trail would give me some sort of advantage. Come on, the pony could bonk, and probably wouldn't go downhill as fast as everyone else. Where is the advantage?? As for single track skills I guess I will never get a chance to find out.

Well Santa made a couple phone calls and the wonderful people at Giant stepped up to keep a kid happy on Christmas morning. Christmas morning came a few weeks early this year. Told you I was a good boy this year.

Next season I will be playing with 2 Giant Anthem X1's. This is a set up for them this season with the bas design coming of the Trance. This is a 4 x 4, literally with 4 inch travel front and rear. It was a pretty easy decision going with the X1 over the X0. Biggest difference between the two bikes are the wheels and drivetrain. Well I already have a couple pairs of Crossmax's. A wheel I love and I have so much Sram stuff I could use there was no point.

The X1 comes with XT/XTR. I have been a Sram fan for the last couple years but I don't think I will be changing things on this bike. Shimano has really stepped up their components this year. Dave from Georgian Cycle flat out said lets try it out as it sits. He too is really impressed with the new changes. I do like the options on the shifter to either thumb or trigger.

Suspension is covered by a Fox Float RP2 in the rear. Giant has changed their setup this year with a square down tube which increase structural strength, Up front is a RockShox Sid Team.

Right out of the box with all reflectors etc on it the bike was 24.58 lbs. That's with the stock WTB/Mavic wheel set which is a nice build but still heavier than the SLR's I've yet to weigh the bikes since the wheel swaps but to see close to 24 lbs flat.

It will be a while before I get a chance to play on either of them. Central Ontario is under about 2.5 plus feet of snow. It's also been crazy cold until this morning. With temperatures just below the freezing mark this morning I couldn't turn down a chance to get an outdoor ride in. The trainer is one thing but that wonderful feeling of coasting was needed. It was also an attempt to pedal the pain out of my legs from the wattage workout out on Friday night. Was able to push an hour and a half out of my toes before they yelled at me to head in.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yo Adrian

I'm on the Rocky Balboa active recovery training schedule. While all my competition is working away in the gym and trainer I've gone to brute grunt work training mode.

Moving fire wood from the driveway to the house is a little more demanding that one may think. Spent an hour and a half going back an forth with a sled tonight. Hey if it worked for Rocky. He beat the big Russian. Hmmm I should start checking now, as long as they are Russian I'm going to beat them hands down. I wonder if there are any 24 hour races in Russia??

The wattage work out yesterday was tough. 4x 4 minutes 85 percent intervals followed by a 10 minute recovery section. Then do it again. Interestingly enough I felt better in the last couple reps than near the beginning. Kinda like the way I race. Go out hard, blow up, then come back.

Yes there is a bike review coming on the Anthem's. Maybe tomorrow.

I wonder if Apollo Creed is available for support crew next year?


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cruel and unusual punishment

The winter weapon of choice? Unfortunately its an inside toy. This winter will be a new training routine for me. Heather has me training with power, that means something new to hurt myself with. Self inflicted pain by ways of the Tacx Flow wattage trainer.

I looked into a couple different options for power training. SRM cranks are sweet but also have a nasty price tag. Power tap was another option but that restricted me to one bike, I still may look into a wheel eventually. The final option was the trainer. Two companies to look into, Computrainer which is a great unit. I've used Heather's a few times and like it. Tacx is the other. Now since I really don't need to play video games while riding I opted for the Flow.

The display is great and adjustments are easy to do with the increments going up in 10 watt jumps. A cadence sensor is also included. There are a few more options but i have yet to really play with it.

The one perk over the computrainer is the price. About $700 less. That was a major decision maker for me since I didn't need all the additional options that the other trainers offered.

The workout yesterday was hard, I never realized how long each second really is when you are at the upper end of you threshold. This is endurance intervals but they still hurt alot.

With the 3 feet of snow outside it looks like all my bike time will be spent on that little white torture device. That means I don't get to play with these for a few more months.

Orange is the new fast? More on them a little later. Relax time


Saturday, December 6, 2008

connected again

Talk about withdrawal. The longest week of my life with no Internet. Where to begin, so much has happened in the last week. I'm in the new house. Lets just say that I have zero motivation to move for a long time. Who are these lunatic people that turn over houses and move every couple years. Even for the money I wouldn't do it again.

I guess that hints how the move when. The movers were scheduled for the afternoon and were supposed to call an hour ahead of time. Ya that didn't happen. I was just leaving my place with a loaded wagon with bikes on the roof when I see a moving truck heading in the direction of the house. 5 minutes after 12. Well they did say afternoon. Had I I been 5 minutes faster out the door I would have missed them.

Of course I had already been up for 8 hours at this point and full of coffee. Hey I was excited and was awake at 4am. Wouldn't you be? I was well beyond my normal strung out wired self so sitting and watching these guys load a truck was not enjoyable for me. Oh and at $120 an hour I obviously wanted them hauling ass.

I didn't realize I had as much stuff as I did, that or they managed to make it look like I did. It was kinda interesting watching the biggest guy in the crew carrying the smallest loads. Finally loaded up, 3 hours later, yep longer than estimated by the quote giver, we were on route to the new place. Forgot to mention that they couldn't get everything in the truck. Ya, as i mentioned I didn't think I had that much stuff.

Unloading wasn't much better. At least I was able to do some unpacking and sorting. No they did not move any of my bikes. I'm brave but not stupid. Another 3.5 hours later and now putting some beer into my system the truck was empty. I swear the movers were the fastest in the last 15 minutes of it. I managed to get another couple hours of unpacking in. It's amazing how beer can keep you moving, maybe I should try that at the next 24 hour. Hey Matt, Infinit Rep, can you do some sort of mix of Alexander Keith's in to my formula??

Of course I was completely exhausted the next day, didn't stop me from doing more unpacking. This all added to the fun of things. Sunday was my power test. I had some ideas of what the results would be. My quads have never hurt so much at the upper end of the test. I was down in top end wattage, kinda understandable, but every other part of it was up. Heather based my training on these numbers for the month.

Yep the Tacx Flow is setup and I'm training with wattage this year. Yep, it's also going to hurt but the results in the end should be great. My bikes are here also but that along with a review on the Tacx will be later.

The house is great, the Molly Monster and Oakley the fat cat are already at home and shedding like normal. I've found out that I already have two great neighbours, one has even snowplowed most of my driveway twice. Trust me that's a bonus since it's about 200 feet long plus the parking area. We have been hammered with snow almost every day and have a good 2-3 feet already. Yep no outdoor riding.

Alright time to go ride the vomit comet on the puke machine. 1.5 hour interval session today.