Training

Curtains
November 20, 2013

Facing the Off Season Void

The Alberta CX season swan song has been sung… And with that of course comes tears, followed by the sudden and vacuous void where you’re left with one thing, the unanswered question, ‘so… what now?’

Sure, like most people at the end of the race season, I’m tired and ready for a break of somekind, but I can’t say I’m excited about heading into the off season. While a few of my racing palz are headed for B.C. to continue racing, others are facing the upcoming Alberta winter bravely, by already waxing their skis, lacing up their skates for beer league, or pumping up their tires on their Fatbikes. But I’m feeling directionless… I don’t know what I’m going to do over the next 5 long months of dark, cold  winter.

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September 10, 2013

Cycling Stay-cation

Though the drama of the cobbles gets us through our wet and chilly springs and the pain and excitement of cyclocross carries us into winter, as cyclists we almost all yearn for the drama of June and July. But as the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta come to a close we’re often left with a certain feeling of emptiness.

How to fill this void? That’s the easy part – You ride.

Unfortunately, after the grandeur of the Alpes and the majesty of the Pyrenees oftentimes your regular routes may lose some of their lustre – The challenge then becomes where to ride…

But the search for endless climbs, smooth, gently sweeping tarmac and awe-inspiring vistas need not take you overseas, but rather into our backyard… The Alberta Rockies. - Read More -

Suffer Face
May 8, 2013

Power Drain

I’ve only got two races in the bag so far this year. The first was the Blizzard winter race and the second was a spring series road race. All in, I’d say I felt pretty happy with my performance in both, taking the bottom step of the podium in the Blizzard race, and managing to run with some of the big dogs for ‘most’ of the road race last weekend, before getting shot out the back of the lead group on the 4th lap. What was really interesting about this race to me though, was my power data and being able to see the sequential drops in power, lap by lap…

When I popped, my power literally dropped off a cliff on lap 4/5 – it was pretty astounding… I went from an average power of 229watts on lap 3, to an average of 196w on lap 4. Then it dropped off another cliff on lap 5, practically flat-lining like a patient suffering cardiac arrest at 172w… I was cooked! And it didn’t matter how hard I pushed, or how big of a suffer-face I made because I was done and done.

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Smoking
January 30, 2013

The Beard

At Christmas, Ken showed up at my place with a truly horrendous beard. Naturally, I thought it was awesome, and figured I should grow an even worse one.

4 weeks later, I sent Ken a text message to find out the state of his beard, and discovered that he didn’t enjoy looking like a lunatic who’d wondered off from the nearby hospital, so he’d buckled and trimmed it. This however confirmed to me, that with some willpower, I stood chance at beating him. When I let him know my plan, he scoffed – called me a ‘copy-cat’, among other things and demanded an immediate photo. So, fueled by his displeasure, obviously I forged on. At first I was just going to take the photo right away, but being aware of the photo of him sporting his ridiculous beard and that even more ridiculous fur hat, which he posted on Facebook, I knew I needed to ponder my photo carefully – it needed to be epic.

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Ride, Ride, Ride...
January 2, 2013

Hello 2013!

Hello 2013! And, goodbye to 2012. Looking back, as we all like to do this time of year, I thought it would be interesting to check some stats – specifically to do a comparison between 2012, and 2011. On the whole I felt like 2012 was an off year, for cycling… Life was busy. I was working longer hours at the office. At home, I was enjoying more time with the family, and what felt like less time on the bike. At least, I really thought so.

I made the decision very early in 2012 that I needed to be more pragmatic about my training. It needed to be more concerted, more purposeful. So I adapted shorter and more intense training sessions. Most of the time, I’d limit all my training rides to 1 hour. In fact, I’d even go as short as 30 minutes if I was doing really hard intervals. The thinking was that by training this way, regardless of my busier schedule, by pushing harder for less time, I could still manage to build a reasonable amount of fitness, hopefully at least similar to that achieved in 2011. Generally speaking though, I was resolved to 2012 being a ‘blah’ year on the bike.

So, looking back at 2012 now, the stats are a bit shocking!

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Fait du Ski
December 28, 2012

Winter Training: XC Skiing

Before I had kids, I got out for winter rides pretty regularly. In particular, there were two years in a row when I got out there a lot. I had a good mtb bike for it, outfitted with fat, knobby tires, and tons of warm riding gear to keep the chill out. That said, I don’t want to make myself sound like I was set to run the Iditarod, cause I’d really only go out if it was -15 or warmer.

In general, I enjoyed it. I’d connect with other winter riders – we’d hop on the snowy trailers for 2 hours or so and then converge back on DaCapo for coffee and pizza. In many ways I miss it. But now, with less free time on my hands I just don’t get out there anymore. I’ve deferred back to the indoor trainer in the basement. Such is life. The pain cave in the basement isn’t so bad though, as long as you set yourself up properly with a fan, a TV, and a good menu of training videos and movies to watch or music to listen to. The other key I’ve found is to keep the sessions short. No more 2-3 hour spins in on the stationary bike for me – just honest, hard, short efforts for no longer than an hour. I’ll even jump on for as little as 30 mins, if I feel up to really hammering. It hurts like hell, but it’s the kind of hurt we cyclist crave.

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Flat Out
July 11, 2012

Flat Out

‘Ppttsssss…’ That’s the sound of air bursting out of your tire, which is usually followed immediately by the sound of you shouting ‘Son of a ‘b%#t&h!’

Flats haven’t ever been a common thing for me – I might even be able to recall each of them, counting them just on my two hands. I remember pinch flatting on a parking block once. I can vividly remember the time I slashed my tire open on shale on the Transrockies, just 1km from a stage finish – other teams breathing down our necks. The memory of me having to walk through downtown Edmonton (full lycra) with my bike, is a fond one… I was even whistled at.

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June 27, 2012

The group ride

As a parent of two (18mo. / 3mo.) my schedule no longer allows a ton of flexibility – If rides do happen, they tend to be either on special occasions, or in the spaces “in-between.”

Serendipitously, Fathers Day not only provided me with an unencumbered morning, but also found Bikeridr’s better half only twenty minutes away in Airdrie, AB. Sprinkle in a couple Tweets and our rag-tag team of two quickly became three… I guess part of the magic of a ‘group’ ride is that there doesn’t need to be much of a group to add a completely different dynamic and a lot of fun to your ride.

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Garmin Power
March 21, 2012

Perspective of Power

Have you ever seen a power profile from a pro cyclist? Ever wonder how you match up on the Power/Watts per Kilo scale verses the pros? I have… And, it ain’t exactly pretty.

Just a few weeks ago when I was in Calgary to visit with my pal and Bikeridr Co-Blogger, Ken Hurd, we decided to do a power test using my Saris Power Tap. *** Disclaimer: Neither of us took it too seriously, given Ken had been sick and off the bike for quite a while – and we’d enjoyed some good wine the night before. But, we figured it’d still be fun, and good for a laugh. The test we chose was a 1 minute max effort, followed by an 8 minute max effort. I had done both in the past, so I had some benchmark data we could compare things too. I went first, and put in a solid effort, successfully pushing myself into that near delirious, narrowed-visioned, and slightly confused state, only races and power tests truly deliver.

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Sick bear
February 29, 2012

Coming back from illness

Thankfully I’ve been able to stave off serious injury during the past few years through preventitive measures like massage, masochistic work with my foam roller and a little luck. Illness on the other hand is something everybody deals with at one or another, and unfortunately for me, pneumonia has kept me off the bike and on my ass since before Christmas. I’ve been going on two and a half months of complete inactivity… Not good times.

Getting back into things has been hard – Despite prolonged time off the bike I never really adjusted expectations of my performance, so when I finally did get back on the bike it was… A little humbling.

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