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Because when you're out on the course, all that's there is your internal monolog

Archives for Rants category

So sad, but I hate to say I’m not surprised.  I see a lot of people with their race-face on who, in the moment, choose to do unsafe things (cross the center line (DQ-able in many events if caught), ride outside of pylons, etc. ).  Be careful out there folks.  It’s just a race: it’s not worth dying for.

A bicyclist killed in a collision with a pickup truck during the IRONMAN Boulder race on Sunday veered from a dedicated bike lane, hit the truck, and fell to the roadway before she was run over.

Source: Cyclist killed in Boulder Ironman race veered outside dedicated bike lane, state patrol says

You know that pedal… the one in the car that isn’t the accelerator… kinda rectangular more or less under the steering column… it’s called the brake pedal.. use it! If the bike were a tractor, any car would slow down and pass when safe.. why treat a cyclist any differently? *sheesh*

I dunno about California, but here in Toronto, the Police regularly break the law as part of their daily routine and hardly seem to give it a second thought: speeding in residential zones, wrong way on 1 way street, parking on the sidewalk to run into Starbucks or Timmie’s.   Sure is convenient to misquote the law when it suits your purposes.

An avid bicyclist hopes to raise awareness about the vulnerability of bicyclists after a close encounter with a California Highway Patrol officer’s vehicle.

Source: VIDEO: Bicyclist confronts CHP officer in SUV after close encounter |

PALEO Superfood™

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Source: PALEO Superfood™

Ok.. I’m not a follower of any commercialized productized diet program (I eat what my body likes and avoid things that don’t feel good – pretty simple), but I’ve read a lot about the Paleo™ diet and its motivations.  I feel pretty comfortable in saying that nothing about an isolated, desiccated, ground up, powdered and packaged “food” supplement has much of anything to do with the Paleo™ ideal… just sayin…

A friend forwarded this article to me yesterday:

Pulmonary Edema and Triathlons | Triathlons Fitness Plans and Advice |

While it’s interesting, I don’t buy it.

Based on the logic that special forces cadets swimming 2.4km showed some fluid in their lungs the author is hypothesising that triathlon swim deaths are being caused by  pulmonary edema.

How then, does the author explain the competitive swimmers who log 8-10km daily 6-7 times per week.  Why aren’t they collapsing on the deck?

He cites tight wetsuits, chilly water, and several other potential causes; pretty much everything including “swimmers put their faces in the water”…

This has little to do with triathlon, other than that’s where we’re seeing these fatalities.

What I think is going on is this: many triathletes are poor swimmers, fear the swim, and don’t practice enough in the pool or in open-water race-like conditions.  They get out into the race environment, hopped up on caffeine, adrenalin, and sugar, wearing a wetsuit they aren’t familiar with, and haven’t practiced with.  The gun goes off and they sprint off the line like a bat out of hell.  Maybe they get kicked or punched or dragged on in the fray.  Maybe they suffer some panic.  Maybe they just forget to breathe because they’re hammering so hard (I’ve done this).   Now they’re in trouble, already freaked out, pulse high, CO2 high, panic sets in and it’s a tailspin from there.

I think this is, somewhat, avoidable: don’t let people enter a full-distance event until they’ve qualified by completing at least one 1/2 distance event.  WTC has also been experimenting with different approaches to the swim including waves and self-seeding.  All of their approaches are designed to have fewer swimmers congregated at any point in the swim so that safety personnel have a better chance of detecting and getting to a swimmer needing aide.

I don’t think this is a medical issue, it’s a training issue.

This constant marketing barrage about how chocolate milk is a “great recovery drink”™ is really starting to make me kinda crazy.

Screw Sports Drinks, Chocolate Milk Is the Best Post-Workout Drink | Greatist.

I dunno about you, but I don’t drink milk.. pretty much at all.  I’ll occasionally have dairy for a treat ice-cream or little bit of cheese but generally I avoid it.  I once made the mistake of succumbing to the marketing hype and tried chocolate milk post a big workout: I got so sick.  I thought I was going to vomit, then thought I was going to pass out.  It was horrible and an experience I wouldn’t ever want to repeat.

But lets go beyond that.  And lets go beyond the speculation/rumors/stories that chocolate milk is made from 2nd grade milk products that they can hide the impurities with the additives (oh yes the list is stupid: INGREDIENTS: LOWFAT MILK WITH VITAMIN A PALMITATE AND VITAMIN D3 ADDED, SUGAR, LESS THAN 2% OF COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CELLULOSE GEL, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, SALT, CARRAGEENAN, CELLULOSE GUM. CONTAINS: MILK INGREDIENT. ) . We’ll even go beyond the crazy high insulin response that goes along with drinking milk which forces consumed calories into stored fat.

The studies themselves don’t PROVE chocolate milk is better.  They compare chocolate milk to pure carbohydrate and to placebo.  In some tests the pure carb actually is better (like muscle glycogen resynthesis – recall the insulin response comment from above, so this isn’t a surprise.. yes carbs go to where you want them: muscle glycogen).  In some tests the chocolate milk is better, but there aren’t tests comparing 4:1 carb/protein with a little fat tests that I can find.  I.e. refuelling with more than straight carbohydrate is well known to be beneficial. And low-fat chocolate milk can provide a source for that, but it isn’t better than other nutrition choices.

In fact, with all the mysterious crap, processing, handling, anti-biotics, growth hormones, filth and disease that go with today’s factory milk farming, I’d be hard pressed to recommend milk at the most desperate of times.


Gertie’s 1st Day Out

Today I had to do a 3.5hr ride and brick run, the weather in Toronto was finally cooperative and I decided to take my new Storck Aero2is (aka Gertie) out for her maiden voyage, and I have to say that I’m very happy I did so, on a number of fronts.  The boys at Blacksmith Cycle did a great job putting her together and for her maiden voyage there were very few glitches.

Here’s a pic of me and Gertie:

2012 04 07 15 15 36

Was a great day for a ride today, temp in the low teens (Celsius), light winds, full sun: hard to beat especially in April in Toronto!  I was a little concerned about being cold (especially my feet) but was pretty good with a jersey, shorts, arm and leg warmers and gloves.

For fuel today I relied exclusively on First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot.  Liquid shot is amazing stuff: 400cal’s per flask, comes in bulk quantities, has no gelling agents (which are sometimes causes of GI distress and are frequently diuretics), and has very high electrolyte levels (over 1.5g) and amino acids (over 1g).  If you haven’t tried Liquid Shot, you’ve done yourself a disservice.  Also, First Endurance just released a new flavour of Liquid Shot: Kona Mocha.  This is probably the best flavour going (followed, in my opinion, by vanilla).  You have to try it!

Loving the DI2

Before I talk about any negatives, I have to rave about DI2.  I’ll start by warning you: Don’t test ride a bike with DI2 unless you’re planning to upgrade to DI2!  Seriously!  On TT bikes and tri-bikes having the shifters on both the aerobar ends and on the brake levers, is ridiculously cool!  And cool in ways that I didn’t expect!

I expected to love the extra shifters on the brakes when I had to stop or pull up a hill or suddenly needed to be in a lower gear than I had been, and sure, they’re good for that.  But, they’re also GREAT when you’re up out of the saddle, cranking hard, and want to be in a higher gear (passing, climbing, getting cadence back up, etc.).  Being able to, with the touch of a finger, be in the gear you want to be in is FREAKING AMAZING!

Historically, I didn’t go to indexed shifting because I found the indexing difficult to tune (especially if you were changing wheels or cassettes frequently)  and, psychologically, I found the indexing somehow more difficult to operate (don’t ask – I know it doesn’t make sense).  So I always turned off indexed shifting and used friction mode.  I found that in friction mode I shifted more often and maintained consistent power output better.  Well, move over friction, DI2 has clobbered that.  I now find myself shifting like a man possessed: “oh this is a little harder” <shift down>.. “this is too easy” <shift up>.  Power output: super consistent!  Love! LOVE! LOVE!!!

Teething Pains and Torhans Woes

Generally, Gertie is amazing! So much fun to ride: stiff, fast and responsive. There is, in fact, nothing about this bike I don’t like! But I did have a few minor teething pains today. The two worth mentioning were the seat height adjustment and my frustrations with the Torhans 30 hydration system.

1st seat height: my 2nd biggest source of frustration on the ride.  6 times I had to stop and reset my seat height as the adjuster had loosened off from road vibrations.  I was a little nervous about over-tightening the adjuster as I didn’t want to stress the frame (I’m going to see if there are torque guidelines for the adjuster, but haven’t yet).   The adjuster is hard to describe, but it’s a wedge that sits in front of the seat post and is pulled into a friction position with a screw.  Anyhow.. I’ve added a little friction tape to the assembly and think that this may solve the problem as there was really very little that the assembly could get purchase on to stop it from vibrating loose.  Definitely happy that I found (and hopefully fixed) this before NOLA in 2 weeks.  Of course, all the riding on the trainer didn’t show this because there were no road bumps to shake it loose.  I’ll have to get out on the road a few more times before I leave for NOLA to make sure this is sorted.

My biggest frustration on the ride though, has to be the Torhans 30 hydration system.  OH! MY! GAWD! I HATE this thing.  In Panama I used it for the 1st time and was sprayed with the contents repeatedly.  I just figured I was doing something wrong, so I hit the net and did some research.  I found some people who said they only filled similar systems 1/2 full to get around spray issues.  I found some other people who said to cut a little triangle out of the inner spray-back flap so that filling put more liquid into the bottle and less in the gap between the 2 covers.  Well, I tried both of these approaches today and I still ended up wearing a LOT of the contents of the bottle.  I got so frustrated with it, that at one point I was really tempted to yank it off the bike and drop it at the side of the road!   Suffice it to say, it’s going (want it?  Make me an offer!)  I’ll go back to a water bottle between the bars or better yet a Speedfil A2.

Baby Pictures

As promised here are some baby pictures of Gertie.

Here she is as ridden today, don’t really love the HED Tri-Spoke but it’s an ok training wheel:

2012 04 07 15 09 13

Love the Adamo Podium saddle, looks like one of the surprise potholes I hit dropped the nose a bit – it started the ride level!

2012 04 07 15 09 48

Classic speedfil for water – love this system:


2012 04 07 15 10 00

Quarq powermeter, Look Keo Blade pedals and DI2 (tasty!):

2012 04 07 15 10 18

More Di2 (rear):

2012 04 07 15 10 32

The cockpit, 910xt and the soon to be GONE Torhans 30:

2012 04 07 15 10 51

Bike Pure:

2012 04 07 15 11 40

Want a ride like this?  I bet you do!  Talk to the folks at Blacksmith Cycle, they’ll hook you up.  Storck isn’t  a well known brand in North America (yet), but based on the performance of this beauty, that’s soon going to change!  Wow! Just WOW!

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IMPanama Countdown: Day 6: Groomin and V’roomin

Rode a new road today, no speed bumps on this one and closer to home.  It’s a nice road, a little narrow, but not heavily trafficked and with very few potholes.  It climbs from the highway up into the nearby mountains.

No, I didn’t go bike mountain climbing today, that’s not what a taper is made of, but I did ride down and up the foothills… twice.  The 1st time down was lotsa fun!  Fast! Oh my fast.  The 2nd time, I got stuck behind a tractor trailer pulling a massive backhoe and belching black diesel death clouds as it went.  Course, I still had to do the climb, but didn’t get the super-fun of the descent.  Oh well 🙂

I rode with the GoPro again, some nice scenery on this ride and the camera angle is a bit better.   I’m uploading now, but it says 5 hrs to go (yea not great bandwidth down here).  I’ll post a followup with the youtube link when its done (probably in the morning).

Some things I’ve found about the Torhans 30oz system that I have:

  • the lids need a way to secure them to the bottle or straw in case they pop off the top (yea it happened today, check the video)
  • the straw needs a bite valve – until the fluid level is down 50% you risk wearing a spray of your hydration whenever you take a drink
  • the aero cowling on the straw needs a dab of glue to stay on the bottle
  • don’t fill it until you’re planning to immediately put it on the bike (or fill it after you install it) because there’s no way to stand it up
  • (but with all these “issues”…) having a straw in my face is way more efficient and probable way to for me to onboard hydration.  I’m using the Torhans for fuel and the speedfil for water.   I’ll probably put about 800 calories in the Torhans and have a bottle behind my saddle with another similar 800 calorie bottle to refill the Torhans with.

Did some speed work in the pool today.  Didn’t get to swimming until later in the day and the ocean was crazy, the pool was definitely a winner.  Had it to myself and it was easy to judge sprint lengths, etc.

Mid-day today was groomin’ time.  Went in and got plucked like a Christmas Goose.  I’m now all smooth, aero and hydro-dynamic. LOL.  No really… I felt smoother and “slicker” in the water tonight.  Maybe its psychosomatic, but I’ll take every edge I can get 😉  Today was also the day that I had planned and scheduled my toe nail trim.

I scheduled my toe nail trim?!  You bet!  Ever trim your nails a bit too close and have a tender toe for days?  Ok, imagine having that tender toe, trapped in a cycling shoe, or running shoe for hours.  Not fun?  You bet!  So, what do you do?  You trim your nails early so that on race day, if you were too aggressive, you’re not suffering.  Yea this is me leaving little to chance.  But hey!  Be prepared, eh? 🙂

IMPanama Countdown: Day 18: Review Tyr Torque Pro Speedskin

I picked up a Tyr Torque Pro Speedskin for IMPanama.  Apparently the water temperature will be in the 80s (26-27C) and definitely not wetsuit legal and wanting to get any legal boost I can, I figured a speedskin is a plus.   My Torque arrive a few weeks ago and on Sunday I finally had a chance to take it for a dip.

The suit arrives in a specially designed box that rivals any packaging Apple could come up with.  You immediately get the feeling that you’ve bought a quality product that has spared little expense.  The suit itself is well made: the zipper is strong, the stitching smooth and flawless from what I can see and the fit, while snug, is flexible and “suitable” (sorry, couldn’t help it) for the task at hand.

I took the suit for my Sunday easy swim: just an easy 2k at the local Y.  Sometimes the pool is empty, but lately, with all the New Years resolutions in play, it’s been pretty crowded so my expectations of doing any kind of 2k time trial were very low.  Unfortunately, my expectations were correct.  The pool was kinda silly-busy and the “fast” lane was filled with breast-stroking, unaware, “casual swimmers”.  What this meant to me was that I wouldn’t get any hard data about how much faster the suit would make me.  I did manage to get some data and some perceptions though and I’ll share those here.

I did manage a few lengths over the 2k without being impeded, those lengths were clocking in at the 1:32/100m range, where my normal swimsuit pace lately  has been about 1:40-45/100m.  One place that the suit was VERY noticeable was pushing off from the wall: it’s hard to describe but with the same effort you seemed to cover more distance and just felt smoother.

I’ll definitely get more data on the suit and have a post-race followup on it, but my first impressions on the design, manufacture and textile selection are all very positive.

There is one negative with the suit.  After my 40 minutes in the water, most of the adhesive logos were literally falling off the suit.  I’d left some in the pool somewhere.  Some were just barely holding onto the suit.  The rest came off in my hands with no effort.  I contacted Tyr asking “what gives?!” and they just directed me to the retailer that I got the suit from (I kind of felt brushed-off).  The retailer Swim2000 tells me that this is a common complaint and the cause for many returns.  That Tyr will accept the return without issue, even after IMPanama I can just exchange it.   So on one hand, it’s great that Tyr and its’ retailers stand behind the product and offer a great return/exchange policy; but, I have to admit, given the price-tag of this suit, such a blatant manufacturing glitch should be addressed before the consumer gets the product in the first place.  Further, I think that Tyr’s response should be (at least it would have been better received by me): “We understand this problem exists with some suits and we’re working to address it in manufacturing. Please accept our apologies and get in touch with the retailer where you purchased the suit to arrange an exchange.”

Anyhow.. I’ll stop ranting.  The purpose of the suit is not to display Tyr’s logo, but to make you faster in the water. It’s goals seem to be met. More data to come.

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ProLine Sports, Nutrition and Equipment Blog: Finisher or Competitor?

I couldn’t agree more with this post.  Its not about finishing.  Finishing is almost a given.  It’s about the drive to compete, whether that’s against the field of competitors or just yourself.  If you aren’t pushing, in my opinion, you’re missing the point.

via ProLine Sports, Nutrition and Equipment Blog: Finisher or Competitor?.

Agave Nectar is Bad for Your Health

I just read this: Agave Nectar is Bad for Your Health and I’m sad.  Back to honey, maple syrup and stevia.

I guess if you mixed agave with a glucose source, it’d be “less bad” but really, it’s, from what I read here, just as terrible for you as high fructose corn syrup. 🙁

Well hell!