Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Have been without internet for about 5 days now. Not good. Have a small chance at a train station to update now but due to time constraints will have to tell you some stories later on tomorrow. Have some good info about travelling and nutrition!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lazer AND Tower?!

As per my title, I'm watching American Glradiators. My breakfast is digesting, its 9:45am and this is the only thing in English that's on TV. It's OK though, it's getting my all psyched up to go to running in the way that only rednecks with perms can.

The view from my hostel room is beautiful. I have been to Stockholm before and remember enjoying it. When we arrived and were on our way to check in, we passed the neighbourhood I was staying in last time so i'll be sure to go check that out.
(Photo taken on photo booth on my mac and doesn't do it justice)

Starting to get the hang of this crossfit thing and I really am starting to enjoy it. Once you start doing workouts like this one, it makes a big difference. Gotta say though, I can not wait to get back on my bike again. All I want to do is go for a 4 hour ride.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who is your team?!" - Crazy Norwegian lady "Blue Jays?" - Me

Good solid days of delicious food here in Bergen. Hours of walking around the city combined with some crossfit workouts to counter my indulgence into Euro cuisine. Took a stroll through a marked the other day and saw some interesting things for purchase. Moose and smoked whale stood out for sure. I frown upon this from an ethical standpoint what with whaling becoming such a problem but man...think of the omega 3's.

Workout yesterday was good:
- 35 minute run
- 5 x 5 Sets burpees
- 5 x 20 Situps with 15 jumping squats in between each set
- As many pushups as possible in 1 minute
- 2 minute break
- As many pushups as possible in 1 minute

Tried to do planks after this but collapsed into a heap on the floor of my hotel.

Saw lots of mountain cyclists around the city here, being essentially in the mountains there is probably tons and tons of trails minutes from here but haven't had time to scope them out. Plus, it would just make me outrageously angsty to be on a bike.

Good photo from Marathon surfaced today. If you scan through them there is an excellent portrayal of Tim vs Puddle.

Gotta go catch train to Stockholm now. Taking the overnight so hope to get a decent sleep, action packed day tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pow! Right in the kisser.

Sitting on a train right now that heads north to Bergen from Oslo. Went for a half hour run this morning around my hotel. Scandinavia, as with most cities in northern Europe, seems to be set up for cycling in a way that dwarfs the best efforts of North American cities, so it’s nice to be in an environment that puts us at a higher priority. I gotta say though, even on my run this morning, the structure of the city makes it super easy to “zone” which could be both a good and bad thing. Good because it allows you to push through pain easier and achieve distance at a perceived faster rate, but bad because according to the Darwin awards, if you “totally zone” when you train, you run the risk of just running off a cliff by mistake.

Another tasty breakfast this morning post run. Hard-boiled egg, slice of cheese, tomato, cucumber and an apple. Carbs this morning were all taken care of by a crepe. Nutrition fun fact: Nutella is available in tubes here. If the world worked the way I wanted it to, I would substitute toothpaste and just brush my teeth with that.

I bought a Runner’s World at the Airport to get myself psyched up to do all this cross training and it’s actually a pretty dope read for any endurance athlete. I’ve learnt that you have to be totally be totally nuts to enjoy “ultra-marathons” and that hill-training provides very similar benefits regardless of the transportation you decide to use. Also there is a wicked article about the pros and cons of using rate of perceived exertion as opposed to heartrate, power, and speed. The result in a nutshell according to most seems to be that training with gadgets is better for the most part but sometimes just going by feel is better to help you avoid overtraining. If you scout around in the interweb you might be able to find the whole article which is called “The exertion factor” and was featured in the June issue of Runner’s World. Lots more info in there too. Learned also that because we are all outside in the sun so much when we ride that on top of sunscreen we should be upping our consumption of brazil nuts. Selenium, which is an anti-oxidant found in brazil nuts and tuna can reduce the skin cancer risk by up to 60 percent.

Probably the most bizarre/intense fact learned this trip from misc running magazines is that Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days to raise awareness for the sport. Some things just aren’t meant to be understood, although you must develop pretty intense cal muscles from wearing heels for so long.

Just passing by a massive green field right now with a lightly graveled trail running through it, then up what looks as if its about a 15-20% grade hill, then off into the distance. I can see why Gunn-Rita ran away with so many wins with this as a training backyard. For the most part though its very reminiscent of Canada, which is probably why we have the fastest riders in the world (give it a few years, I won’t name names now but you’ll see).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Much to talk about. Firstly, last Sunday I participated in one marathon race taking place at Ganaraska Forest. This place is huge if you've never had a chance to visit. The course was 67 km consisting of one big lap. The course was awesome and I have to give big props to Substance Projects to putting on the race and bringing more people out to mountain bike races. It's great having more organizers who are willing to "git' er' done'' so to speak.

The race was fun and I had a great first 25 or so km, after that I was all alone in no mans land and had no idea where I was. Unfortunately I took a wrong tun all by myself and lost probably a full 2 minutes but I can't complain, I was "in the zone." and just wasn't looking. Ended up in an decent position and was stoked that I didn't bonk in such a long race.

Other news consists of the terrible passing of Peter's clavicle. It totally sucks as Nationals is coming up but he is one of the most disciplined cyclists I know and am pretty confident that he will have a god performance at Edmonton and Canmore.

I am in Oslo right now. After a really, really long flight to Helsinki on Monday overnight we transferred planes and landed here shortly after about 2 pm. This city is pretty crazy and I really wish that I had my bike here but am liking the selection of foods here and am doing just fine taking a small break from the bike and replacing it with running and spending time doing crossfit workouts at the hotel gym. We head to Burgen on the train tomorrow but am going to fit in a run early morning and then enjoy another Scandinavian breakfast buffet. This morning was hardboiled eggs, tomato, cucumber, organic bread with slice of cheese and fruit salad. Even though it was canned fruit salad, I have been pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to eat properly here. Drastic difference from buffets in the states where waffles are your best bet.

Wish that I could update with pictures because I have lots to share that can only be shared via visual image but I forgot my camera cord at home. Must sleep now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Decided to take this past weekend off and not race Midland. Would have liked to but complications and my stomach decided to turn itself inside out all of Thursday night. Lying in bed holding your gut isn't really the best way to pre-ride a course. Having only ridden that course just last year I remembered it being super fun to ride but with upcoming trips to Sweden, Norway and Nationals, it's probably a good thing that I saved some money.

Oh yah, I'm going to Scandinavia in a week. My mom's background is Swedish and Norwegian and she has never been there, so we are all taking a family holiday to go explore.

I have been to Sweden before on a trip a few years ago and really enjoyed it but holy smokes is it an expensive place to live. Either way, the big bummer is that I'm not going to be able to take my bike. As much as I would love to go there for a riding trip, we are going to be jetting around too much to make the potentially $1000+ investment of getting my bike there, around and then back worth it. What am I going to do? RUN. I hate running, a lot. In cities at least, but hopefully new landscapes will provide me with some super cool distractions. Needless to say, I'll take tons of pictures and try to update as much as possible to give you an idea of how training is going.

Today I have a 20min test on the road bike and am NOT looking forward to doing it in the rain so I'm enjoying some oats in the meantime and looking forward to another delicious post ride smoothie afterwards.

silken tofu
soy milk
flax seed oil
2 scoops hammer recoverite


Combine this with sitting on the couch in compression garments and you have yourself an afternoon my friends.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just a few pics/videos accumulated from Tremblant.

Post race Nutella binge

Bikes on the roof getting slammed with kamikaze bugs.

The car taking another turn for the worst.

Tristan's moustache.

I got some iiiiceeee creeeaaammmm

One day, you’ll see. I’ll be updating this thing so often you won’t be able to keep up. However, in the mean time you are all going to have to deal with my lacklustre effort and sub par blogging quality. I’m trying I swear.

I have lots to talk about today. Three races in fact: Dukes epic 8 hour, Mont Tremblant Canada Cup, and the recently raced Hardwood Hills Canada Cup.

The 8 hour was interesting to say the least. I was doing it in a team of 4 with some friends who were all about going to the event with racing as the secondary objective, the first being to have a good time. I was totally prepared, and then some for an atmosphere like this and it was nice change to my typical Sunday race. Of course, I don’t want to give off the image that we still didn’t want to go there and kill it.

The race was going in our favor and we were sitting in second with all of having done one lap. I went out on my second lap with hopes of bettering my first time because there would be far less traffic and getting through the singletrack would be easier. I was about a kilometre from the end and then something happened, however, I’m not entirely sure what. I went down hard, somehow, and briefly knocked myself out. I’m a little hazy on the details but from what I can gather, I finished out my lap totally cross eyed and concussed tossed the ‘baton’ to Nick and went to the first aid tent to use up ALL of their oxygen. I recovered fine from the traumatic event aside from being a little rattled and even tried to go out on another lap but was hurting a bit much in the rib area and didn’t want to push it too hard as I had another race the following week. We ended up 4th but only because the rest of the team were serious troopers and slammed out some pretty solid lap times in my absence.

That's right, someone caught it on camera.

After a week of mostly recovery went by, it was time to get my ass over the provincial border to “La biblioteque de pamplemousse et racinette” (Literal translation for Quebec). Left in the sweltering heat with Matheson on Thursday so we would have a solid night of sleep before pre riding. Having never done any of the Quebec Canada Cups, I had no idea what to expect except what I had seen in pictures from previous years, which was essentially just mud. I thought that was cool, but when we arrived it was 21 degrees out when it was pitch black so our thoughts were that it was going to be warm the next day, which it was. The Tremblant course now ranks as one of the funnest, most awesome mountain bike courses I have had the pleasure of riding thanks to some gnarly climbs, some sweet bicycle atmosphere, and a massive descent. Mountain biking in it’s truest form. My race was far from spectacular but managed to learn a lot about high profile races, like getting to the start pen on time helps you, same with acquiring a timing chip and drinking fluids while you race will probably prevent you from having the cramp of the century. All in a days work I guess. Not to worry though, I still had a smile on my face when I was driving home in the sauna that is Brendan’s car because I still got to ride a super fun course, I got some decent training in the legs, got some better descending skills and had a killer time at a certain establishment post race.

The crepes were awful the next morning though, I might have to write them a letter.

The next race I have to breakdown is this past weekends Canada Cup race at Ontario’s beloved Hardwood Hills. Believe be when I tell you that I have never had a good race here and have had the pleasure of seeing those three horrible little letters next to my name three years in a row due to mechanicals and sickness. Not this year! Finishing this race was honestly my big accomplishment as I was beginning to develop a ‘thing’ with Hardwood and was beginning to think that I couldn’t finish the race no matter how I was doing. All is good though. 

The race itself was all about pacing. I had the pleasure of riding the course on Wednesday morning with Mical Dyck, Steve, and a wonderful customer of the store named Melinda. Following them was great and even though I had ridden Hardwood I can’t tell you how many times, there was still lines that learnt, and riding skills that I’m all about picking up right now. The key from my perspective was that in order to do well come race day, the course was one that required you to be as smooth as possible in the singletrack. There was lots of area where if you were going balls to the wall to pin it, you would be almost start/stopping with all of the sharp turns and tight corners that you had to get around. Pacing was the other thing. In a Canada Cup, the ideal time that race organizers plan for the winner is about 1:45. This usually means that my race will be just a tad over the 2:00 mark. This year the course ended up being 2:05 or something for the winner which meant I was racing for a loooong time. On top of that, I forgot to mention that it was 30 something degrees outside so yah, pacing was key. All in all, it was a killer course that was a blast and the event was put on in stellar fashion by both Hardwood and The Trek Store. Having events like these are what is going to further Canadian cycling so we should all give kudos to those who have the resources and willingness to do things like this so THANK YOU!

Not sure what’s on the plate for tomorrow but I have the day off so who knows, I may do this little practice race in Midland for this weekend. One of those courses you love riding but hate racing. Looking forward to it all the same.

This is a quote from a great movie I just finished watching called ‘No-impact man.’ I highly recommend it. If anything, it will make you really hungry for ridiculously healthy food.

“Its not about deprivation, it’s not about not taking care of yourself. It’s the opposite. It’s about seeing if it’s possible to have a good healthy life simply without wasting so much.”