2/27/2011

A different spin

Seriously!

I apologize. I may have been a bit harsh about the old trainer in yesterday’s post. That’s not a good attitude to take. The yellow demon provided Krista and me with a decent workout today. The standard Sunday morning french press of coffee may have helped.

Monitor cat says "Spin so I can haz ur chair!" 

While Krista was spinning I took the time to build a new playlist. My library is feeling fresh these days as I recently purged over 11GB of music that was really just taking up hard drive space. Thanks to the revised playlist I managed to go for longer than an hour as well. One hour, fifteen to be exact. Add in some post-ride pushups – don’t ignore the core – and it made for a good workout. That’s right, good! Just stay with me here as I’m trying to put a positive spin (sorry) on things. Necessary as the forecast is not looking any better for the near future. Embrace the yellow demon, I must.

Trying to be friends.


2/26/2011

35km without moving at all


I despise the trainer. I wish it were an ineffective tool so I could justify not using it. The weather has been so cold (again by Vancouver standards) that it’s currently my only option. I’ve been putting off indoor training in hopes of warmer temperatures but rain and snow today had me concede defeat. I rode for an hour on the damned thing but can never seem to muster anything more. I’ll try tomorrow but will have to revamp my playlist first. I have to keep reminding myself that time on the yellow demon will help me enjoy to road even more.

At least I can reward myself with an americano after the torture. After all, one must maintain some form of civility.

  
Liquid encouragement!

2/24/2011

Deceptively Beautiful


It’s been gorgeously sunny the last few days but alas I’ve not been on the bike. My knees are thanking me. In Vancouver, sunny February days are often accompanied by very cool (by our standards) temperatures. It’s 1 degree and sunny but feels more like -4. A couple of rides last weekend reminded me that I shouldn’t ride unless it’s over about 8 degrees. Monday my knees were a bit achy and feeling their age. I have cold weather kit but nothing that seems to be a magic bullet for my knees. I swear I’m going to learn some year but my enthusiasm always gets the better of me at least once a season.
So for now I’m working on our on-bike nutrition. I ate a Cliff Bar on Sunday’s ride and realized I’m still hung-over from last season. I’ll use them in emergency only situations this season. I made some granola bars last night from a recipe that seems to be a good jumping off point. Oats, Rice Krispies, dried cranberries, peanut butter, and sugary goo to keep it all together. With pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax, this could get even better. Figure it’s better to work all this out now before we start riding serious distances. These met Krista’s approval but I’m positive she’ll enjoy the additional ingredients.

2/21/2011

Credit due.


I suppose I’ve ridden most forms of modern transportation (just not a rocket yet) but I have yet to find one I enjoy as much as a bicycle. Road, mountain or touring, life is better on a bike.

This weekend was no exception. I’m not pushing break-neck speeds or big distances (yet) but I am wearing a big grin! It never ceases to amaze me how much happier I am on a bike. It was cold but sunny this weekend. Saturday’s ride was cut short of our Lions Bay goal due to snow and ice on the road/shoulder. We didn’t exactly feel like laying our bikes down. Sunday was even a bit colder than Saturday but better; we picked a lower elevation route and Krista finally got to join us. She was smart and cut her ride short as it was her first ride and is still babying her hamstring injury. It was great to be out as a group again, though. Reminded me of all the great rides we’ve had in the past and had me looking forward to many, many more.

Last week I had the pleasure of working with many people I hadn’t seen in quite some time. In catching up, several commented that I was looking lean and healthy. I gave most of the credit to our reduced meat diet and riding. The truth is I probably wouldn’t be eating this way and riding this much if it weren’t for Krista and Tony. A big thanks to Krista for getting me into road riding and being 100% in sync with our food choices. Tony is the one who started this whole double century ride thing that we now love so much. So thanks to him for giving us a goal every year. It’s doubtful we’d be riding thousands of kilometers each season without STP and each other.

You two rock!

2/16/2011

Upgrades


Well the weather is doing a pretty good job of helping me limit my road time. I really hate riding in the rain – especially in February. Tony and I got caught in some rain on Saturday’s spin but it wasn’t anything major. Of course it cleared up immediately after the ride and was sunny the rest of the day. The rain did add another check mark in the “pro” column for my new riding jacket. I got it for 40% off, it’s waterproof, windproof and breathable. All that and it fits, well, like a jacket! Super comfortable and a very welcome addition to my kit. In fact I don’t even have a “con” column it's so good. It’s a Cannondale (made by Sugoi) Slice Plus jacket.

The thing I’m stoked about is my new wheelset. I ordered them on Saturday from Neuvation Cycling.  The dollar is strong and these wheels are exceptional value. Tony has, for all intents and purposes, the same wheels I ordered. He loves them and thinks they may even be better than the set that came with his new custom Trek Madone. Krista rolls on the slightly fancier R series and is equally pleased. So since I’ve been envious of their wheels for the last couple of seasons, I thought I’d make an upgrade this year. I’ll post a full review when they arrive but I imagine they’ll be a marked improvement. My Bontrager Race Lites have served me well over the last 11000+ kms but they don’t always have my confidence. Doesn’t always feel like my power is getting to the pavement either. They’re just a bit flexi for my taste.

So for now I’m inside on this grey, cold day. The forecast - if you’re inclined to believe what they say - calls for some brighter weather over the next few days. At this point I will believe them. Friday and Saturday could see increased distances.  Possibly 70km ride out to UBC? Fingers crossed!

2/10/2011

Lentil Powered.

I rode to Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver yesterday. Overall I felt really good on the ride. I was 0.5km/hr faster than on Monday. Whytecliff is a bit of a measuring stick for my fitness on the bike. I know what a good average speed is and I know when I’m hurtin’ that I need to out more often. It’s not a long route; just over 46km return. The thing is there are lots of short, sprinty hills and you can go a good stretch without having to stop for lights so it’s a decent workout. Because it’s short I don’t need a lot of time to get ride in. I can typically kit up and ride the route in about 2 hours. I’m happy the route is clean as this should be a bit easier on my tires.


I partially attribute feeling good this early in the season to diet. No I’m not on a “diet” as many think of the word. I don’t count calories but I am picky about what I feed my body. We’ve made a conscious effort to eat less meat over the last year and I have to say that we both feel much better for doing so. I’m not about to get all preachy about food but I do have an honest passion for what I eat. My friends know I love cooking and it’s been a pleasure discovering vegetarian dishes. I truly believe diet is a major factor in one’s overall health. I don’t think vegetarianism is something I could take on fulltime; I like bacon, ribs and BBQ wings too much. I do think most people could stand to eat more veg and less meat. Processed food is next to nonexistent in the house. I don’t even like strangers working on my bike so why would I let them make my food. Good restaurants are an exception.
 
So that’s my mini rant for this post. I’ll try to keep those in check. Despite great weather today, I didn’t ride. I have a tendency to go guns at the beginning of every season and end up with an injury that limits distances when I need to be increasing. This shall be the year of moderation.

Distance this season: 116km 

2/08/2011

Another year, another STP

Welcome to my first blog. Having signed up with Krista and Tony to do the Group Health Seattle to Portland ride again this year, I thought I'd document our training for the event this year.

For the past two years we've done this ride together as a bit of a personal (and group) challenge. In 2009 it was the 30th anniversary of the ride and our first time. Tony had ridden it once before in 2004 and was the one who proposed the idea over dinner one evening in February of '09. I believe he bought dinner (or at least some drinks) and therefore we agreed to do it. The catch: ride the whole thing in a single day! For those of you who aren't familiar with the ride (or aren't cyclists) it's 200 miles (325 km) over a weekend in July. Starts at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA and ends at Holladay Park in Portland, OR. Ten thousand riders are registered each year, of which, approximately two thousand foolhardy souls ride the double Century in a single day! We decided to train for single day action.

We had very little idea of what we were getting into as Tony's memory was rubbish about the ride. T, K and I trained our little legs off and managed to complete the event in one day. I believe my words after we crossed the finish line were "I don't ever need to do that again!" After a couple weeks the talk of "next year" crept up and before I knew it there was more nostalgia and pride than pain left in my brain and we were all on-board for 2010!

The ride is so wonderfully thought out that you can want for nothing on it. Rest stops are perfectly spaced out and courteously staffed with a remarkable group of volunteers. They seem to know just what foods you want/need by the look in your eyes. Being greeted at the 100 mile mark by creamsicles was a moment I'll never forget. Other volunteers offer showers of sunscreen and packets of vitamin I (Ibuprofen); just the thing for buggered knees.

We trained hard for 2010 and managed to cut an hour off our 2009 ride time to get it down to 11hrs 10min! The ride was even more fun as we were better prepared and trained. Going again in 2011 was already discussed over Fat Tire Ambers at the finish line while still in our kit. Never a doubt.

So we all signed up for STP last week and have started training. January is just tedious spinning on the trainer; reminding the legs why I really need them. There has been a bit of complaining after 3 months out of the saddle but they'll fall in line. Tony's hitting a spin class once a week at the local rec centre and we did a light 23km spin around Stanley Park last Saturday. How do these clipless pedals work again? Krista's frustrated over a hamstring pull from running but her base fitness is so much better than Tony and I, it'll give us time to catch up.... a bit.

I know this posting's a bit lengthy but feel free to check in on my updates as we train to cut 40min off last year's time. There I said it... we want to hit 10hrs 30min! That's our goal. Keep checking in and see if we can do it.