Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back in the swing of things...........sort of

As "fun" as it was napping, doing other workouts and not riding over the past week, I have been absolutely itching to start turning pedals over again. I'm happy to say that I was able to ride yesterday for the first time since my accident (indoors of course). My trainer provided by The Trek Bicycle Store Toronto has saved my season start date. Yesterday I tried it out and did an hour and a half just to see how my shoulder would feel. I gotta say it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

With my test session out of the way and successful, I'm able to get right back in to my routine that I had before. Granted, those longer days aren't going to be nearly as entertaining as they had been the previous couple weeks but whatever, I'm just happy to ride again. Pulled off just over 3 and a half hours today before my bottles emptied. As much as I wanted to make it to 4 hours, once you get off after that long there's no getting back on again, let's face it. I'll see how my week pans out but it feels good to know that my fitness won't suffer immensely while I recover from this...annoyance. Things are looking good in the recovery department though, my follow-up appointment on the 10th of February will be when I find out about riding outside again! Awesome.

Me training and my "confines" for the next little while. Could be worse. Could be in Toronto.

See you on the trails...soon

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So what is it that you DO...exactly?

Good question...

How does one keep himself occupied and focused when they have a broken collarbone?

A. With lots of things! The main thing being rest.

I have made napping a serious priority and honestly, I think its working. I am now able to do sit-ups, type with both hands, leg lifts, lunges and step-ups all without pain. The mobility is slowly returning to my left arm and pain is essentially non-existent when my shoulder is supported. I am ITCHING to get onto a bike again so I really want this process to be as fast as possible. Your body only does so much while you are awake in the means of repairing itself so I figure if I'm sleeping, it will take care of itself.

I have also taken this opportunity to refine my one armed cooking skills which will very much come in handy...never. Some interesting recipes have been attempted though. Being in this sort of "regenerative" state just puts more focus on what you put into your body. Because I am not out burning calories on my bike for the time being, I am putting tons of effort into reducing the un-necessaries...things like sugar and fat. Not to say that I'm cutting these things out entirely..just cutting back. Your body sleeps much better if you don't deprive it of what it needs and I gotta say, the 12 hours I got last night made me wake up feeling fantastic.

Putting a focus on rest does not really give me a get out of jail free card when it comes to staying fit. I have made a daily routine that involves step-ups and leg lifts that I am doing to exhaustion twice a day. On top of that this morning I was able to do sit-ups comfortably so theres one more thing to add to the daily list. I have also been walking a lot. Running is still a bit jarring to do for any substantial period of time so just to burn a few calories I went for a 12k walk/hike from my door two days ago and then walked another 8 k the other day too. Not much but gets me outside.

When I first broke my collar bone and was seeing my orthopaedic surgeon the following day, I took a walk around a mall that was close to his office. On my little expedition I bought a copy of "the comeback 2.0," that Lance book. It was on sale and I thought it would give me a little bit of motivation as he also broke his collarbone, and during an even worse time of the season. I'm pretty sure you can get it through The Trek Store Toronto and it's pretty cool. Lots of pretty pictures.

As a bonus, we have actually been getting a decent amount of rain here in Tucson overnight for the past few days and it's just making everything here seem more tropical. All the palm trees are getting much greener and the temperature is beautiful. It even snowed a bunch on Mt. Lemmon two nights ago. It's bizarre seeing snow next to palm trees but it's nice none the less.

Time to go check on the kidney and black beans I have soaking, then more workout. I spent the morning trading nutrition tips with my vegan cousin who is training for her first triathlon. Go Jaime! Passed me on a delicious sounding black bean and quinoa recipe so I will have to try that out tonight.

see you guys soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

minor setback

Well...here's the story:

Yesterday's ride was a scheduled 3-5 hours. I felt awesome after having a rest day so I decided to do closer to 5. I had ridden about 65 miles so far and was starting a lap of that 8-mile road in Saguaro. About a third of the way through, I had gotten my speed up nice and high (about 55km/h) and was just having a blast whizzing around these rolling hills and corners. There is one left hand corner however, that is mighty tight and at high speeds and I was forced to take it wide, but well within means of making it. As I was coming around the corner, in my drops head tucked down close to the bars, my front wheel nudged a very small rock that didn't knock me off or really do much more than to change my navigation about 4 or 5 degrees. That being said, it was enough to drastically alter my turning radius, thus sending my front wheel off the course to dig into the sand and throw me onto my shoulder/face to slide along the ground for a bit. When I stood up to gather my wits and things that has scrawled along the road, like my glasses, bottles and pump, I started to feel outrageously nauseous...like the "oh shit, im going to puke" kind and sat down right away.

It was then that everything that had led up to me being in this situation started to flood into my head: working seven days a week for months and moving back in with my parents in order to save up enough for this trip. Barely spending enough time with my girlfriend in the months prior because she knew how important it was to me that I go and that I work to save up enough money. Training my ass off for several hours a day since I've been down here for three weeks and seeing huge improvements - BAM...thrown away because i knew as soon as I put my hand on my shoulder, I had broken my collarbone.

In place of where a smooth surface used to be sat a bone that still is now, "tenting" my skin up into the air. I didn't write about it yesterday because not only was I in a horrendous amount of pain, but I was devastated. As I gathered my things and started to walk back to the ranger station I was lucky enough to come across a lady named Eileen who generously offered me a ride back home and then to the hospital. So thank you very much Eileen. Still sitting in my bibshorts, leg warmers and ripped jersey, but now running shoes instead of cleats and booties, I sat patiently with my travellers insurance papers waiting for diagnosis. Just before I got the X-rays back I guess there was still a shred of hope in me that it had been dislocated instead of broken and could be set and see me ride again this week...not so much the case, as you can see.

Last night was spent in a lot of pain trying to get hours of sleep I will inevitably need for recovery. Today's task was to get to the orthopaedic surgeon so he could give me all the gritty details about my recovery time, methods, and if surgery will be required. I can now say with the first bit of optimism that has cruised through my head in 24 hours, that everything should be OK, in time of course. We are 95% sure that surgery will not be required, I can start very easy stationary cycling as early as a day or two from now and I could be back on my bike in as early as 2.5-3 weeks.

Although this will alter my training program, let me clarify that I'm looking at this as an almost insignificant setback. I came into this season with certain goals and if anything, this only makes me more hungry to achieve them. The next few days will be focused primarily on keeping my shoulder raised and immobilized, getting whatever exercise I can (today was step-ups), and eating as healthy as possible. I'm not burning nearly as many calories as I was previously was so smaller, calcium rich meals are on order for the next while.

This whole experience has me sympathizing even more with my good friend Zach, who is recovering from a broken elbow and probably going through a lot of the same annoyances with having to stay docile when all you want to do is train. Get better soon Zach.

Another high point is that I should receive a stationary trainer at my door sometime soon courtesy of the amazing management at The Trek Store of Toronto. This sucks wayyyy less now so thanks a million.

Needless to say I intend to keep myself very busy during my recovery and am still very much looking forward to the upcoming race season.

24 hours after accident...

Monday, January 18, 2010


After a big week of training, I’m exhausted. Both mental and physical parts of me just need time to chill. With that said though, I’m tired in the best possible way a cyclist can be. Yesterday’s ride was shortened a bit from five hours to three and a half due me half feeling like I was going to fall asleep on my handlebars, but that ride put me at 24.5 hours for the week...satisfactory and then some! As a result, today’s activities are highly structured around doing things that I have neglected earlier on in the week when all I wanted to do was ride and eat. Laundry being wayy up there on the priority list. Slowly, throughout the week as I chose to put that chore on the backburner I noticed that I was having to resort to using my least favorite pair of bibs with a mega rip in the crotch and almost having to resort to re-using socks.

Trying to fix a crazy creaking noise coming from my bottom bracket is number two on the list which should just take some time and good old grease.
At some point today I really should go grocery shopping. Its amazing how much my intake volume has increased since arriving here. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised though, lots of riding will do that. I do have to congratulate myself on my cooking thus far. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and eating well but riding this much and having to eat so much as a result has really opened doors for me to experiment with some recipes. Yesterday for example was another pizza creation. Started with a gluten-free crust and then basically emptied the vegetable contents of my fridge on top and voila, delicious.

My excitement is growing exponentially with every passing moment it seems, as my girlfriend arrives at the end of the month and my mountain bike should arrive any day now. I’m very much looking forward to my first race of the season which also just so happens to be a UCI sanctioned race. Still not sure exactly how deep the points go, and it is usually a massive field in Fontana, but this could be an opportunity for me to snag some points nice and early. I’m not holding my breath though, because aside from the fact that it is my first race of the season, it is also my first race as an elite, which will hugely affect my start position…in a negative way. You really can’t be, nor is there any point to being a pessimist in a situation like this though because I’m totally excited and I have to start somewhere, let’s just hope I have a great day.

Last order of business today is to be jealous of my co-workers, who are taking the day off work to go ride all day at Joyride 150, the new, much talked about indoor bike park that is nothing short of amazing. Hope everyone has an awesome time and takes lots of pictures!

Time to head home from the coffee shop to go stretch and do more laundry.

4 hours tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bonjour le pamplemousse de racinette avec poubelle rempli d'education physique

I rode with team QC today. Great times. They speak French much better than I do.

For yesterdays ride I decided to venture north into the wilderness that is over by two first names for a last name's place, do a loop there and then come back into civilization and finish out the rest of my ride there. Perfect weather and a delicious mid-ride snack (fresh baguette with choco spread and banana-totally into those right now) made the 4 hours pass by almost too fast. I came home and treated myself to some yogurt and granola before going for a walk/run to a Safeway about 4 or 5 miles away from my place to pick up a few necessities ie. cottage cheese, soy milk, avocados. Picked up a coffee and briskly walked back home while the sun was setting. It was totally beautiful until it was actually pitch black because there aren't any streetlights here whatsoever, and did I mention there aren't any sidewalks either?

Got up and did some leg lifts this morning before having a delicious oatmeal/blueberry/peanut butter mix and sorting out some important interweb business.

Today the ride I had planned was 2-4 hours with a little bit of once a week intensity thrown in. That being said, it was team QC's last day here before they take off back up north and they were doing Lemmon with some other Ontario folk so I decided to join in. Only went up to mile 21 or so before everyone decided to turn around but at about mile 16 things started to split up so i had a chance to sneak off the front for a bit and get my heart rate up nice and high a few times.

Over the past few rides I've discovered a few interesting things. The first being that Arizona is the only "free-range state" and that no cattle are bound by fences. This means that if you don't pay attention to the road and smoke a cow, YOU owe the farmer (and probably an insane amount to replace your messed up car).

Arizona is also privy to soil that doesn't absorb water very well (naturally), and eeevery once and a while they get pretty insane flash floods. To prepare themselves for this, urban planners developed these things called washes that funnel the water. What I'm trying to get at here is that for 99% of the year, the city is FILLED with pseudo-BMX and freeride bike parks. Just wild.

Miniature horses.....why?

Anyhow, had some good coffee with a few good people when we arrived at the bottom of the hill, saw a few more good people on their way up, then decided to head home to satisfy the stomach. Tasty burrito followed by a shower is a great way to finish a day of climbing. 5 hours tomorrow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Great ride today. Nice and easy. Little bit of intensity tomorrow. Will update when I get back from my ride.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Desert Rain!

Crazy couple of days. Phoenix Coyotes game was a great time. We got a flat tire on the way there which added some stress for our drivers. Replacement wheels have a limit of 80km's an hour so even in the slow lane we were being chased down and passed by massive trucks every couple of seconds it seemed. Made it home though, great time was had.

Cleaned my bike yesterday only to wake up this morning to it pouring rain in the desert. Not unhappy about it at all though because the temperature is just fantastic and its very refreshing after 15 days of no precipitation whatsoever. Apparently Tucson has been experiencing a drought for the past decade and hasn't gotten more than about a foot of rain.

Wet Arizona!

Breakfast this morning was delicious.

1. Started with 2 egg omelet filled with:
green peppers
red peppers

2. Some thinly sliced baked white sweet potatoes.
3. Carrots, an apple and a banana.
4. Half an avocado

Should be great for the three hours planned today.

Since we are on the topic of 'fillers' I recently read a great article in Bicycling magazine regarding all those salad toppings that most would assume to be nutritionally baron, ie. onions, cucumber, celery, iceberg lettuce...and so on. The article goes through each vegetable and outlines the importance that each one has on your diet. Needless to say, DO NOT underestimate these vegetables. You can pick up the latest Bicycling magazine at the Trek Bicycle Store in Toronto or Barrie to read more. I think the article was called 'All Vegetables Count.'

So today will start with a bit of strength similar to yesterday but instead of sets of different workouts, we are going to alienate one, ie. push-ups/sit-ups/lunges and and destroy one of those instead. I'm thinking of doing these things that were shown to me by my good friend Zach Tatem last year while he was training to become provincial downhill champ. They are called 'Spider-man' push-ups. They entail you positioning yourself in a push-up position but elevating your legs on a coffee table or couch (something not too high). You then do a push-up but reach with one knee until you touch or come close to touching your elbow. After doing a few sets of 4-10, you will understand that it's like a super push-up and works the side of your core like crazy. If you are superman, you could also try elevating your legs onto a small exercise ball to test your stabilizing muscles. I will try to get a video up for you within the next day or two of what it should look like.

Really looking forward to riding my mountain bike which arrives in the next couple of days. I started to plan out my race schedule for this year and will be heading to Fontana for the opening of the US cup or PROXCT or whatever it is now which takes place on the 28th of march. Chances are Cycling Dirt will have some pretty awesome coverage so definitely check that out if you are around then.

Monday, January 11, 2010

So we aren't riding?

Woke up at a pretty respectable time this morning to head to Whole Foods to restock fuel. Pretty successful shop. Fresh ground peanut butter is just the tops. Had planned a super easy 3 hour day but came home to a message from two first names for a last name saying that we were to meet him and CJ for coffee at shop near Lemmon. Leaving without being 100% certain that we weren't going to do the climb, I prepared for the worst and ate small section of baguette, toasted with organic hazelnut spread and some banana slices. When I arrived for coffee though, some Trek Store Toronto celebs were already there. Adam Morka and Emily Batty were enjoying a rest day as well. When the whole gang arrived I was assured that we were not going to go up the mountain so I kicked back with the crowd and had a coffee. I spaced and didn't take any pictures but it was good times for sure. After coffee session was over, left to do a lap of Saguaro and at least burn off the calories from this mornings breakfast. Put in super easy 28 miles today. I was still pretty tired from yesterday's ride so its all good. Going to a Coyotes game tomorrow in Phoenix. Should be pretty awesome, not sure who else is going but I think team QC is going to make an appearance so there will be lots of northerners ready to cheer on the worst team in the league. Now..need to find an outfit..where is the purple bear suit when you need it?

For dinner tonight I ended up eating some leftovers from last nights dish with an apple and orange on the side. Dessert was bowl of non-fat yogurt with little bit of granola and scoop of chocolate soy protein powder. Here is last nights pasta toppings, compiled from the remaining vegetables in the apartment before I went on my shop this morning, ended up being really tasty:

-In fry pan combine chopped onions, green peppers, red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms.
-Add fresh basil chopped finely with fresh oregano, pinch of salt and pepper.
-Stir in ground soy/veggie ground round/something of that nature along with chopped spinach and tomatoes, saute until spinach cooks down.
-Add two ladles of pasta water to fry pan, then drain pasta and empty contents of fry pan into pasta pot.
-cook on medium heat for a few minutes until ingredients have pretty much soaked up water.

I didn't have it last night but something to add to this that is really tasty is "nutritional yeast flakes." You can get them at any health food store or big supermarket, they are little yellow/orange flakes that contain an unbelievable amount of your daily B vitamins (have no fat, especially compared to cheese) and when stirred into hot foods, turn into a really cheesy consistency that despite its really unappetizing name, is really good tasting too.

3-4 hours tomorrow. I think.

Arizona Sunset

Sunday, January 10, 2010

woah...that was fun.

Big miles today. Felt like I was on celebrity watch. Rode by fellow Gary Fisher/Trek enthusiast Sam Schultz, as well as two Garmin-Slipstream boys (one who was wearing a US national champion jersey, Danny Summerhill?) Not sure either way, but was cool to watch them ride for a bit before our routes took us different ways. First half of the ride was very cadence oriented and was taken very easily. Tried to hover around 100rpm as often as possible. Took more of a "whatever" approach to the second half but after my Starbucks stop around mile 65 I was able to gear up enough to test the legs a little more and felt pretty good considering how long I had been in the saddle. The tan is coming along very well in case anyone was wondering, although it was a bit cloudy today but that probably played to my advantage with beverage consumption.

On another note, I saw tons of wildlife today...sort of. I saw a javelina on the side of the road (kind of like a boar) but it was dead, so I don't think that really counts. A huge fox sauntered across the road about 20 feet in front of me which was really cool, and I also saw a dead owl. The owl looked like it had died of natural causes though (the only reason I say that was because it was on the sidewalk under a tree and didn't look like it had been exploded by a car), so it was still kind of cool to see.

All in all took me just under 5 hours and was a ton of fun. Definitely going to do that route again soon. Check back later for more updates. Thanks!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Recovery, wind, coffee and super awesome rides.

None of the events that have happened since my last update really jump out as being more important to address than the next so let's start at the beginning. Yesterday morning I had a delicious oatmeal breakfast with some peanut butter, berries and an apple. I got ready to head out a little later than I have been because well, I slept in. I can usually fit in a lot more miles in the earlier, cooler weather though. When I got going I was hit with some of the most ridiculous wind I’v had the pleasure of riding straight into. Had the plan that morning to go for a bit of an easier ride and just do the first few miles of Lemmon and then turn around and take the long way home. By the time I had gotten to mile zero I had already burnt 650 calories and my heart rate had been sitting around 160 for the entire time. This is less than 10 miles from my door! This is a phenomena that I'm sure everyone has experienced at least once. Riding straight into the wind, going no more than 13-15 miles an hour and feeling like you are putting out 300 watts or more the entire time...it’s just no fun and totally demoralizing when you are by yourself. Needless to say, the thought of the tail wind coming back was a huge boost to my self esteem and I felt good starting the climb so I just kept going. Once I reached mile three, still feeling fine, frustrated, but fine. I was more concerned with the signs that were wobbling in the wind so hard it looked like they were going to tip over. Anything with a broad surface area (including me) were subject to being displaced by the wind at that point. Once I was passed the fee station at around mile 5, my exposed skin was starting to get super wind burnt and my initial thoughts of ripping it on the downhill had been replaced by trying not to die because at that point it would be coming straight at your face for a bit then a few seconds later almost knock you sideways off your bike. Mile 6 ended up being the turnaround point for me and I sloooowly made my way down after taking the first few corners fast and almost hitting the deck. Rode around a bit more after that and ended up still only being out for 1:45ish, so far my shortest ride by a lot. When I got home, rather than wait for the wind to die down, I decided to do an hour and a half of yoga/strength eat some delicious pasta (was going to take a picture but ate it, sorry) then capped it off by watching a few episodes of The Office and going to bed.

This morning’s ride turned out to be awesome, the rest and stretch that I had had from the day before helped so much that I decided to put in a few efforts to see how I felt. There was no data at all that I had available to me that could tell me honestly if I was any faster than the week before or if I was pushing more watts but I can for sure tell you that I felt great. Was out for 63 miles today but will try to put in a bit of a longer one tomorrow and maybe map it out for you so you can see what the elevation is like here.

I have been seeing a lot of Kelly Benefit guys and was pretty sure I rode by Andy Schultz yesterday but so far the only Canadian I’v seen was an older gentleman in a Team Canada jersey. I waved back at him but promptly continued my ride...away from the scary amounts of enthusiasm. I might go out and buy a stove top espresso machine today, just a small one but this way it will give me something constructive to work on as I’m about 2/3 the way done the first of two pounds of coffee I brought (thanks Lina!).

I’ll keep you guys updated on anything new that happens and like I said, I’ll try to plot out my ride tomorrow when I get back.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

I've officially been here for a week now. A week of awesome riding, fantastic weather and some fantastic meals. I have to say, when you are in a groove of burning anywhere from 2000-5000 calories a day, what you eat to fill that void in your stomach becomes mega important. During my rides I have been surviving on organic trail mix that has things like dates, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in it, which seems to keep me going, as long as I still have some drink left in my bottles. My morning pre-ride shenanigans have been spent doing anything from perfecting my omelet technique (which is stellar at this point if I do say so) to leftover dinner from the night before.

I took the bus yesterday to the nearest Whole Foods (delicious). Granted it can be pretty expensive but if you don't go crazy and buy things like gourmet cheese then you should be able to keep your tab to a minimum. Being a vegetarian, there are a few things in my diet one would think I lack in order to perform as an endurance athlete. Iron, protein and vitamin B are the three most common. To use the word lack though only suggests that I can't get these things ANYwhere in my diet other than eating fish or meat, which is completely false. If you are like myself and are "lacto-ovo" and you allow yourself to eat dairy, then all of the above can be supplemented in an egg. 1 large egg contains about 6 grams of protein, 10% daily value of vitamin B12 and B6 and about the same daily value of iron. Milk is also stacked with these things and acts as a super tasty recovery drink.

That being said, I don't actually eat that much dairy. It's hard to find eggs that are produced ethically, hard to find rennet-free cheese (google "rennet") and well, as much as I love milk, sometimes...we just don't get along that well. I do however, have huge respect and gratitude for local farmers who oppose factory faming and pushing animals beyond their limits. So bringing us back to that original point...spinach or dark leafy greens, nuts and soy. These tasty items are where I primarily get these nutrients from. Spinach is an excellent source of iron and it's super easy to incorporate into just about every meal if you're inventive. The only thing is that dry spinach by itself is super hard for the body to break down so its important to have some sort of acidity with it (balsamic vinegar, orange juice). Nuts of just about any kind usually have huge protein content and fat as well. Vitamin B-12 is the hardest one because its not naturally produced by plant, or animal. B-12 is produced by a bacteria that animals will eat which, in turn, make them good sources of the vitamin themselves. This is probably the hardest vitamin to get for vegans (those who don't eat dairy, as well as meat) because well, plants usually don't get around to eating other plants that often. Therefore, most soy products are enriched with the vitamin to compensate. Soy milk is a perfect example.

I would like to segue now into talking about the pizza that I ate last night. It was so good and filling that it took me about three hours before I could comfortably move anywhere other than shifting my ass on the couch.

Gluten-Free Pizza crust
little bit of olive oil
pinch of salt
sliced tomatoes
red onions
vegan kielbasa sausage sliced
white sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
fresh basil
chopped spinach
green peppers
topped with a tiny bit of mozzarella.

And there you have a pizza that has somewhere in the realm of 40 grams of protein and tons of other delicious things.

My riding has been good so far, It's hard not to notice some improvement, even after only a week. Yesterday though, when I woke up I had a bit of a tickle when I swallowed and my ears were plugged up so I only went out for about 2 hours to check out this place south of me called 'pistol hill.' It's an awesome little loop that I'm sure I'll get at a ton while I'm down here. Slept in a bit today to give me some time to get better and will probably do maybe 3 hours today and see how it goes.

Just finished my coffee and oatmeal so time to get ready to get outside. Hope everyone is enjoying this blog thing so far I'll be back at it soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

4 hours again today. Beautiful sunshine. Here is a clip of my ride around mile 15. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

“This machine stoled my moneys and no one wants to be responsible”

Southern accent grammar errors for the win. This beauty of a quote was scrawled all over a water jug refill machine outside the Albertson’s I went shopping at yesterday. Purchased many many delicious vegetables but was a little disappointed with their lack of organics. I seem to be smack dab in the middle of anything a cyclist could ask for, there are 3 or 4 grocery stores within a few miles, 2 or 3 coffee shops and in about 25 minutes, I can get to mile zero of Mt Lemmon.

Ride today was great, 4 hours, got out a little earlier than I had been which was a huge help because it’s a few degrees cooler than the middle of the day so I didn’t end up going through my bottles as fast. Started it off by riding to Saguaro National Park and doing 3 loops there. This place is incredible, its a protected nature preserve with a one-way 8 mile loop that gives you some small rolling hills, insane views and a 2 mile climb closer to the end. I was even lucky enough to see some wildlife there! I would like to brag and say that the snake was a lot bigger than it looks in the picture but it was pretty small and not that exciting, it didn't even move (that’s what she said). After that I explored some roads just outside of Tucson, I finishing up my ride by doing the first 5 miles of Mt Lemmon. When I started the climb, I was at mile 60 of my ride and it was crazy windy so once i killed my last bottle I just called it quits and headed to the coffee shop. Pretty cool place called “Le Buzz” that serves some delicious looking pastries and seems to pretty popular with the cycling crowd. Sat and enjoyed their free wireless signal, an americano and the rest of my trail mix before heading back home. The wind at the end took it right out of me so when I got home I ate a huge spinach salad and fell asleep on the couch for half an hour.

Right now I’m slammin’ back an Arizona Arnold Palmer Lite (half iced tea, half lemonade) and planning on what to eat for dinner. Last night was roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli and asparagus with spinach salad. Tonight I’m thinking some type of pasta but we’ll see. After dinner it’s daily yoga time and then probably a movie.

I would also like to draw the attention of all you UCI registered cyclists. This video highlights a problem that is becoming all to familiar. We need to stop looking so awesome before this ruins our sport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uS37-oPMPc


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day One

Haha! There are so many awesome things about this place its hard to keep my jaw from dragging on the floor. I got settled into my great place (which is a lot bigger than I thought it would be so bonus), found out there is free wireless here courtesy of the old people surrounding me who can't be bothered to protect their signal, and then promptly went to bed because I was exhausted from being in airports and planes for 15 hours.

It was dark outside when I arrived in Tucson so when I woke up this morning around 7 to build my bike I got to watch the sun come out and expose all the mountains. My consensus: this place is the cat's pyjamas...or bees knees...or whatever the popular kids are calling it these days. My ride this morning was more of an exploratory one rather than training but got a good 3 hours in at a pretty relaxed pace with a few good climbs. Tomorrow will be much longer. I'm planning to hit Mt. Lemmon in a day or two to see what it's all about. Apparently I'm about 6 miles from what the locals would call the base. Mt. Lemmon is a 26-Mile climb at a pretty consistent 5-8% gradient. This is something I could barely fathom coming from Toronto where your biggest climb is at MAX 1-2km long.

Did some yoga this morning before my ride (something I realllllly want to improve in while I'm here) then had a sandwich with avocado, cucumber, red onion and salt and pepper followed by some delicious trail mix I picked up at LAX airport. I'm super low on supplies but would have been way worse off if my landlord (who is super great and rides as well) hadn't pulled into an Albertson's and let me grab a few necessities (yeah he picked me up from the airport too!).

After my ride i showered, changed and grabbed my reusable shopping bags and went across the street to a Walgreen's which seems to be the American equivalent of a new Shopper's Drug Mart. I found out that you can purchase microwaveable White Castle burgers that are pre-topped and bunned as well. One thing that I realized there however, is that I'm in Arizona....the HOME of a certain super tasty beverage that I drink non-stop in the summertime. It wouldn't have dawned on me except the store happened to have an entire Arizona tea isle with every flavour imaginable. As much as I would love to try them all, some of them are even worse than coke as far as sugar quantity goes so I'm going to have to limit myself. Current flavour is diet peach iced tea, it's everything I could have dreamed of.

My bike made it here all fine so big thanks to Zach and Taylor for helping get my bikes packed up on my totally unrealistic and crammed schedule leading up to this trip.

The riding here is just fantastic but obviously after only one short day out I haven't even scratched the surface of what's out there so stay tuned for some more updates.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tired Already

Ok, so….I’m sitting at my departure gate waiting for my boarding pass number to be called so that I can leave on one of the most important trips of my life. For those who don’t know me, my name is Patrick Dennis. I have been working in the bike industry for about 8 years now and riding mountain bikes for about 8 years longer than that. I grew up on the north shore of Vancouver with one of the best cycling venues at my doorstep so it’s hard to distance yourself from being outdoorsy at the very least. I moved to Toronto in 2001 and quickly made some good friends who happened to work at this awesome shop on Yonge Street. The Trek Bicycle Store of Toronto (formerly Sport Swap) quickly became my second home and employment. I got introduced to racing about two years ago and quickly found myself being more and more interested in the thought of riding cross country. I did my first race in August of 2007 and despite finishing in a miserable position in a miserable category I started to get into this whole tight pants/hardtail/leg shaving culture. A race or two more the following year, then a category upgrade and a few more races the year after that brings us to where we are today, in an airport, sipping coffee and telling you all about my plans for this winter.

Having just graduated from university this June, winter time over the past 4 years has been usually a mixture of stressing like crazy over exam schedules, studying, working over the holidays and seeing family. Cycling has never really taken precedence over these things but has always been a passion so last year especially I tried to fit in more and more trainer rides, lots of great snowshoeing in Vancouver with my parents while I was home for the holidays and a little bit of going to the gym here and there. Nothing too strenuous to say the least. This year is going to be very different however. I’m leaving the depressing clutches of winter in Toronto to spend the next three months in Tucson, Arizona so that I can train, focus and structure myself around next racing season. I’ll be racing a full Canada Cup schedule as an elite and hopefully all the Ontario cups as well. The goal at the end of the season is to hopefully have enough UCI points to compete at the World Cup finals in Windham, New York. Needless to say, I’m SUPER stoked. I understand that setting realistic goals is key to success and If i was staying in Toronto for the winter, these goals would have changed and I would be hoping to maybe do well enough to race as an elite by the end of the season. But I’ve never had the opportunity to train this hard and this year the support that people have given me has been incredible so fuck it, sky’s the limit.

With all this said, I find myself in an interesting transition place. That state of an athletes life where he/she decides that they want to compete at the highest level. In this blog I’ll try my best to keep you updated on things like my fitness, nutrition (Vegetarian for 7 years), and all the cool stuff I learn on the way to becoming an elite athlete.

Tucson is apparently a pretty popular place to hang out during the winter so I might be seeing some familiar faces which I’m looking forward to.

*Alright...on the plane and mid flight. Time to watch a movie, then finish my book. One thing I hate is when people with blogs update once a month so I’m gonna try to do my best to make this a regular thing so keep checking back for updates! Here are some pictures
Love Pat xoxo