Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Training Plan Update, Week 3 of 10

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours

Week 3 Actual = MTB 6 hours, Road/Trainer 2.5 hours, Weights 3 hours, Hockey 1 hours.

Current Weight = 196 lbs.

Notes of Note for the week:

A near foot of snow followed by mild melting temperatures made the trails temporarily unrideable during the week.  Plus these conditions made it tough to get out on the road, so the trainer it was...but man that thing is crazy arse boring.  (Please don't read those last three words the wrong way!)

To help I got three movies, BicycleDreams, Race Across America, and Ride the Divide.  Those are some TOUGH races, and TOUGH riders.  If those movies don't motivate you, they might make you throw your bike away (if you are gonna do that, call me first...I may take it for you).  I highly recommend them.

I am making an attempt during week 4 to eliminate alcohol consumption (empty calories and generally bad for the body...but great for the mind;  I love my 40 Creek!), at least until I can get my body fat down to where I want it.  Plus my LCW Heidi was diagnosed this week with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (which appeared almost over night and turned her from a hot sexy 24 {48} year old, into a hot sexy 100 year old).  A shot of steroid has given her some relief until the prescribed medication and natural remedies have time to set in.  In the meantime she has to eliminate alcohol from her diet (and she is a wine connoisseur) so I will lend moral support by doing same.  Wish me, and her, luck.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Training Plan Update, Week 2 of 10

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours

Week 2 Actual = MTB 7 hours, Road/Trainer 1.5 hours, Weights 2.5 hours, Hockey 2 hours.

Current Weight = 196 lbs.

Notes of Note for the week:
Last Sunday saw finishing up, and winning, a Brantford hockey tournament.   I was playing for the Brantford Shakey Shooters.
I know, what's a hockey pic doing in a MTB blog?  Sacrilege.  Well isn't diversity the spice of life?  (At least I try to tell my wife that...that hasn't worked out too well though...go figure.)

After the excessive weight loss in week 1, I upped my cals a bit (mostly in the way of low GI carbs, and omega 3 fats), and seem to have that dialed in.

Now off for a Family Day morning ride with some of the BicycleWorks members.  Their speed and endurance always destroys me.  Perhaps I will make them the topic of the next posting...hmmmm.

Finally, sincere condolences to English Jim whose father passed away this week.  Jim is in England attending to the services.  Best wishes.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Training Plan Update

So this weekend marks the end of the first week of my 10 week training plan.

Weekly goals:      MTB 8 hrs; Road/Trainer 3 hrs; Weight workouts 3 hrs.
Week one actual:  MTB 8hrs 43 minutes; Road 2hrs; Weights 1.5 hrs; Other - Hockey 4 hours.
Weight:                   Feb 3 - 207 lbs.;  Current - 198 lbs.

A hockey tournament cut into bike and weight time, but is still good training.

A Tale of EnglishJim

I don't often write about individual rides, but this one requires some attention.  And the centre of this attention is my friend, and fellow mountain bike rider, EnglishJim.

As a very short pre-amble, it's important that you know that EJ is a huge DoItYourselfer.  He does ALL of his own bike repairs...and almost never conventional, and sometimes successful.  His current bike is a very aged Giant (I am not sure of the exact age but I swear there are hieroglyphics on it).  The frame of this bike is broken, clear through the seat tube, and self repaired by EJ with a bolt from the diving board of his back yard pool.  I am completely serious here, the bolt runs up inside the seat tube somehow, and this repair has held for over a year now.  This bolt only adds an additional 5 pounds or so to this already 50 pound bike.  His front derailleur is a homemade mishmash of broken hangers, and excess cable tightly woven into a thick loop, like the lasso of a tiny tin-man cowboy.  I have no idea how it works, some mysteries are not for mortals to comprehend.  I have seen his back wheel explode on the trail with various metal pieces flying forth into the bush, to somehow be repaired enough to limp out the ride.  He is currently building a brand new, custom framed titanium 29er, with full XTR grouppo, to be completed when the frame is delivered mid-March (actually this will be the second time this bike is built in the last 4 months...the last one was stolen; which is an entirely separate but very worthy story on its own).  At that time, the Giant that I'm sure once may have carried Jesus into Jerusalem, can be laid quietly to rest.  Jim is one of the most intelligent people I know, and one of my most loyal friends (I have to say this nice stuff so I can hopefully get away with expressing how his actions on this day bordered on goofdom).

The ride begins with a Saturday morning ride at Dundas Conservation Area.  In attendance were myself, EnglishJim (of course), NewfieSteve, and StuMTB.  If you don't often ride Dundas you may think all of the trails are the signed, groomed, double track that is usually used by hikers, horses, and cross country skiers.  However, if you know the trails, there is a significant amount of challenging single track.  It's these trails that we usually ride, and it is where we were riding on this particular day. 

We were riding up a rooty, rocky, piece of single track that runs along the top of the wall of the escarpment, sometimes close enough to the edge to make the stomach queasy, as the height of these cliff faces can be enough to finish the breath of a human body falling over the edge.  As we pulled into where the single track intersects a loop of double track, NewfieSteve, StuMTB, and I pull over to wait on EnglishJim, expecting him to come spinning up behind us any second.  After several minutes wait, we realise that something must have gone wrong, and we head back up the single track to retrace our route.  Several hundred metres in we find EnglishJim pulled off to the edge of the single track attempting to repair a flat rear tire.  However, EJ was pulled over, bike inverted, not even one metre from the edge of the cliff. 

Me; "Hey Jim, why don't you pull over to the other side of the trail?"  (the 'non-cliff' side)
EJ; "Whatever."  (OK, then)

Eventually, with NewfieSteve's help, EJ, gets his tire repaired, and is preparing to get the repaired item back on the bike.  Stu, Steve, and me are discussing world politics, global business, and eastern Hinduism spirituality when the next thing we hear is, "BLOODY HELL!!" (insert silly English accent here).

Me;  "What!?"
EJ;  "I just dropped the skewer nut!!"
Me;  "So pick it up."
EJ;  "It went over the edge!"
Me;  "What!!??"
EJ;  "Yeah, it just went 'sproing!', and flew over the edge!!"

Well it is at least 20 feet deep on this cliff face.  As the four of us peer over the edge, to the floor of dark, mossy rocks amidst a partial covering of matted frozen leaves, there is no chance we can see that little black marble sized skewer nut from where we are.

So StuMTB, and NewfieSteve, managed to find relatively safe (or at least less than death defyingly dangerous) spots to climb down the cliff face in their mountain bike gear.  And under EnglishJim's expert guidance from the top of the cliff, they managed to spend 10 - 15 minutes of exceptional ride time looking for, and not finding, Jim's departed nut.  So after all this time of me doing nothing, I decided I had better pitch in.  Now I have mentioned that I am a 200 pounder, and I am from Saskatchewan; we don't have cliffs there.  So as I eased myself over the edge of this 30 foot wall, trying to avoid looking down to the sharp rocks below, and trying to avoid wetting myself every time a mountain bike boot slipped from its foothold.  I made it down without incident, (or a wet spot), and sauntered over to where the boys were looking.  Within 90 seconds of searching I lifted a frozen mat of leaves to discover Jim's prodigal nut staring up at me.   I gingerly grabbed it, deposited it into a pocket of my baggies, and announced the discovery.  One of the boys made mention of my native hunting skills, but I was too worried thinking about getting back up the 40 foot high rock face.  However, I took a deep breath...steeled myself, and worked my way up.  I made it up to where my head was about a foot from the top of the wall, and realised the only available foot hold was just inches above where I could get my foot to.  So I stupidly looked down to the bone crushing rocks 50 feet below, and noticed that I now had a non age related wet spot.  Anyways, I let go my right hand grabbed my left knee and force lifted my knee until my foot got onto the foot hold, then quickly scrambled up and over the top.  Then faking the calmness of a Walenda and covering said wet spot, I sauntered over to EnglishJim, who had now, very smartly, moved his bike over to the safe side of the trail, handed him his nut, and he restored his bike to its natural semi-rideable state.

Now, you would think this is where the story should end...however it do not.  After the long wait of repairing Jim's bike, StuMTB had to get home to attend to family business, and keep his marriage healthy.  So Jim, Steve, and myself continued on.  Then after a short but steep double track downhill, and a road crossing Steve and I pull over to again notice that Mr.Jim is not with us.  Back up the trail again, to find him.  And find him we did...pulling his rear derailleur out of his spokes.

Me...looking around and not seeing a rock, root, or any obstacle within a 45 mile radius, "Jim, what the hell did you break your hangar on??"
EJ, "I don't bloody know...just 'spriong!' and there it was, in my spokes!"

Anyway, he replaced his hangar, and we took the straightest, quickest, most direct route back to the parking lot and the truck...all the while, EJ's back wheel making strange cricket noises.

This story ends, but the saga of EJ continues...more to be told another day.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A Managerie of Topics

Well it's 2am and I am wide awake (could be that the moon is as bright as the friggin sun tonight, plus the fact that I am a raging insomniac), so I thought I might as well cover a couple of topics that I have been asked about (yes, apparently someone other than you reads my shite...and no it is not my mother, that hunchback boy that works at the church, or one of my alternate personalities...OK, could be that church dude.)

Anyways, here are the topics in question, and my answers.

Nutrition 201

So, I have been asked about pre and post workout, and race nutrition; here is what I do...and why.

For pre intense-workout, or pre race I will supplement my regular meal with a drink containing Branch Chain Amino Acids (powdered to throw into a shaker bottle with water), and a nitrous oxide mix.  The BCAAs are necessary for performance and recovery.  The nitrous oxide is a vasodilator (fancy science geek word meaning it makes your blood vessels bigger to get nutrition and oxygen to your muscles faster)...the endurance community is big on beetroot juice just for this reason, it is high in nitrates.  The body building community has been into nitrous oxide since forever.  Many of the better nitrous mixes also contain elements to boost cognitive function which is great for battling the mental haze that comes with intense training sessions, or longer endurance races.  It's important to keep the mind awake and aware of trail obstacles, and race strategy.

For during workouts, I generally will only take water.  However I do carry a bag of Sharkies, and a Clif Builder Bar, and will eat either one only if I feel cramping starting during a longer more intense session.  During races I will include, in my camelback, a combination of a dextrose based sports drink (like ELoad or Heed), and a maltodextrine based sports drink (like Perpetuem or Sustained Energy).  Dextrose is digested faster and more quickly available to the body to provide glucose for energy, maltodextrine is used slower by the body and is a better energy provider for longer races.  The percentage of each that I use in combination is based on how long the race is.  (Shorter races means more dextrose, longer race means more maltodextrine.)  Sports drinks also contain necessary electrolytes to replace what is lost during intense exercise. 

I have also been asked about gels.  They generally supply an intense blast of carbs.  However, be careful to not take a gel with a sports drink.  The body can digest approximately 60 - 80g of carbs per hour...any more than that can cause stomach distress and you will find yourself crouching in the bush deciding if its better to use that stick, or that pile of leaves to clean up with.

For post race/workout I will have a drink that contains 30 - 60g of whey protein, and Branch Chain Amino Acids for muscle repair.  If I have a second training session that day, or a race the next day, I will include a sports drink as well to replace electrolytes and depleted muscle glycogen stores.  (A round of Creemores has also been known to replace lost carbohydrates on certain occasions.)

Infinite Nutrition will let you tailor your own drink mix, and they will package it and send it to you, however I prefer to mix my own tailored to each individual race and/or training session.
In addition to my regular (real food) daily nutrition, my pre/post/during training-racing nutrition (drinks) I supplement with a multivitamin (and not your regular drug store multivite...needs to be a multivitamin that is enough to provide for an active lifestyle).  Also, because endurance athletics can play hell with the immune system I supplement with trans-resveretrol (a very powerful antioxidant and fact it's the stuff in grape skins that lead certain scientists to say it's healthy to drink copious amounts of wine), oregano oil, and cinnamon (both are powerful anti-inflammatories), and fish oil (omega 3).


I have been asked what I carry in my camelback.  Right or wrong here is what I have:
  • spare tube,
  • 3 CO2 cartridges (trim down to 2 for races, one cartridge is not enough to fill a 29er),
  • CO2 cartridge chuck,
  • MTB multitool with a chain tool,
  • 2 chain quicklinks,
  • derailleur hanger,
  • tire levers.
I know there is other stuff I could a small first aid kit and such...but I don't.

So there ya have it...its 7am now, and time to get ready for a Saturday AM ride.  See ya soon, and watch for hunchbacks' mothers with alternate personalities.

Friday, 3 February 2012

January WrapUp

Quite the mess of weather we've had this month, not??  Making for opportunities for a definite variety of riding.  January has seen me riding in loose snow, packed snow, mud, frozen hard packed mud, all on the trails, and even took the opportunity to try a cross bike for the first time!  (The cross bike is a topic for a complete future post!)  Got some solo rides in on the local trails, and also local trail rides with the BicycleWorks crew on Saturday morning and Wednesday group rides, which are always very fast and technical which makes for a great workout and an opportunity to enhance skills.  (That is such a great run-on sentence I can't bring myself to change it.)  Got several rides in at Dundas (and even one at the Hydrocut!) with NewfieSteve, Fig, and EnglishJim (EnglishJim is quickly earning a nick-nickname of TipTop, as no matter what kind of day he is having when asked 'How is it going?')his answer is always 'Tip top, mate!")  Dundas is great for winter riding cuz the trails are well used and snow gets packed by hikers, skiers, and other mountain bikers.

 I also ended up riding the trainer more than I like to, when conditions made the trails unrideable.  Then to top it all off, conditions this week made for a perfect opportunity to put the road bike back where it belongs...out on the road!  Over the last two to three months of winter (winter??) riding the mountain bike lead me to forget just how fast and efficient the road bike is!!  Almost feel like a super hero riding that thing!  You just want to go as fast as possible for as long as possible on that near-weightless rocket, which leads to an amazing workout.  And the mind does not have to worry about upcoming rocks, roots, and switchbacks; it's almost serene.  (OK if that is too heavy for a mountain bike blog, during those serene moments I dream of beer and nachos being served by a pair of buxom Swedish twins...just before the passing school bus nearly puts me off the road and over the guard rail at the top of the escarpment).

OK, back on topic...

This weekend makes it 10 weeks from the first race of the season, which means its time to follow a formal training plan (starting Sunday).  I plan to follow Friel's training methodology (he is a well known coach, and author of several training publications including The Mountain Biker's Training Bible).  My weekly goals to begin will be to get in 8 hours of MTB, 3 hours of Road or Trainer, and 3 hours of weight training.  A fellow blogger has put together an incredible spreadsheet to record and track training progress based on Friel's methods.  He offers it as a free download, and I offer it here if you are interested (and if I got that download technology right?).

Well that's enough for now.  Close your browser and get out for a serene ride!