This blog/site is a collection of my thoughts, articles and other general excitement tied into cycling, training and competing as a vegan bike racer and athlete.

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Monday, February 28, 2005

The Flies Daze By Me! Weekend in Review -- Log

...and so ends our sunny streak in Victoria...

It's been quite pleasant and sunny the last few weeks here in the flowered capital of Canada. Okay, Victoria isn't the capital of Canada, Toronto is.

Victoria is *my* capital, so that's all there is to it.

As i was saying, the sunny streak has run out of crayon, and we're back into the grays for the time being... Ah well, my face is tanned at least!

So, i've been a pretty busy little vegan:

Fri - back to the running, did my first (almost) 30 min run. No idea how far i went, i'm guessing just under 6km...this is my new loop, and it took me 28mins. This will be my new time to run against..next running session on Wednesday. (Or maybe tomorrow...we'll see..) Once again, i fear that i will actually began to enjoy the experience of moving with my feet partially on the ground - i hope this returns to general revulsion soon, so i have more time to watch downloaded television shows. Like Boston Legal. Holy crap i *love* Boston Legal.

Sat - supah bizee day, bookah!

In the morning, did a 2.5hr ride with the Burnside group, broke off early, Teen Speed followed me, and we raced back into town. (I really like these guys, and their coach Steve Lund. Exceptional bunch.)

I got in, prepared food to go, and was soon picked up by my quotacular friend Jen (maybe i should call her "Jen") who then took me rock climbing at Flemming Beach. Tho it was a foggy ride, it had burned off over in Esquimalt, and it was absolutely marvelous. I only did two climbs, tho i somehow managed to complete them both. Each had an overhang to overcome, which i somehow flopped and oozed my body over. Tons of pics of my friends climbing here.

Sun - Burnside ride again, this was a faster ride than Sat, pulled 100km in 3:15, felt pretty darn good most of the time. I think my body is really starting to get used to riding at higher speeds, and also doing it for several days in a row. This wasn't the case even a few weeks ago - i would have been creamed. Nice to see a little more progress! =)

Mon - Recovery Ride, another fuzz day, and took Andy out again, he's really excited about biking; it's encouraging to see his new-found pleasure. He's asking tons of questions, is very keen and applies what he learns. My guess is he'll be a pretty fine cyclist in a few months as he gets more miles logged. We're planning to head out again on Thu.

For the rest of the week, looking something like:
Tue - perhaps run, definite night at the gym, hammer upper-body
Wed - run if i don't on Tue, maybe run again, maybe rest
Thu - ride w/Andy, do some sprints or longer, near-lactate 8mins sessions
Fri - run 30min loop again
Sat & Sun - Burnside or other rides, 3-4hrs each.
Made an interesting observation on the weekend.. Often you hear about how vegans are 'skinny' and need to eat more protein....yet when looking at a number of other riders, i'm usually as big, or bigger. My legs are definitely not 'toothpicks', and generally appear more muscled. (Not to be confused with 'stronger'. These guys can thrash me!)

This is a little odd for me, because i've never really been 'muscular', being more on the skinny side...yet here i am much further down the spectrum now. How odd!

But then there's my mom, who recently said 'you look thin in those pictures...or maybe it's just the big helmet'. Damn. I'm burgeoning with more muscle than i've ever had, and i hear this....heheh..

Final Word: go and find yourself a Pinback album. Best band you probably haven't heard of. I *never* tire of them.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Fuzz Finally Got Out! -- Log

Yes, today was the first day this year the fuzz got out. What fuzz you might be asking yourself? Why, the fuzz on my legs!

It was finally warm enough i left off the leg warmers, and opted instead for just the knee warmers. Very nice to be seeing this weather and exposing a little skin to the sun.

Took my buddy Andy out, who just got that sweet used Cannondale. He's training for triathlons, hopefully i can pass on some good cycling skills. Anyone know if you're allowed to draft in 'mass start' triathlons? (ie, not a time trial)

I remember watching the Olympics triathlon, and it was almost comedic how these guys were riding...there was one dude who was literally switch-backing up a hill! Most odd tho was that no one was working with anyone else, and so there was little drafting.. I'm guessing maybe there's a rule against this? Anyone?

Looks like Andy's got Monday's and Thursday's available for riding, so i'll prolly cruise out with him. A recovery ride on Monday is perfect, and maybe we'll do some stop-starts on Thursdays to throw in a few excercises that'll benefit me.

After Andy peeled off to go home, i went down by the water to put on a few extra miles, and ended up behind Toyota Sierra and motorpaced for about 10mins, really nice to fly along at 50kph. Thank you kind driver! =)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Leg & Elbow, Two Weeks Later -- Log

Last Saturday, i took a couple more pics of my injuries to gross everyone out...err...to document my healing. Yeah. That's the ticket..

Anyway, my body parts are starting to look almost human again!

Tho you missed the giant scab near my elbow, i'm now only left with pink skin:

Much better! Nice that i can set it on things again..like my desk whilst typing!

Then there's my hip....as you can see by the area documented below, it had turned all weird and mostly purple in that area, with some black and yellow as well. It looked seriously freakish, i should have taken a picture, i've never had a bruise like that in my life! Luckily it's all gone, and only the one damaged area remains on my mid-hip, which is still swollen:

That's a really funny camera angle..my leg looks totally weird, too a minute to figure out which was the front..

I'm wondering what the likelyhood of a piece of bone being chipped off is? The swollen section is basically a big 'chunk'...not sure if it's just leg tissue, or a chunk of bone..it feels kinda weird.. I guess i'll know in a few weeks when the healing goes away completely.

Otherwise i seem to be healed-up pretty well, my back is still a little messed-up, but it's getting better.

In other training news, the ride on Saturday was fantastic, something like 3hrs, 100km and 32kph average. Sunday i got a weird stiffness in my leg (quad, right side, right in the middle) and crapped out of the group while going around the airport. Rode back into town with Clare (Claire? Is that even her name?) and it was nice talking with her. She used to work at Green Cuisine (local vegan restaurant) and used to be a racer (she's veggie as well.) Say 'hi' if you're reading this. ;)

Monday took it easy (no running) - leg was still stiff. Tuesday didn't get around to a ride as some friends took me out for a birthday lunch (found out The Joint has vegan cheese - yippee!!) I was planning to ride after lunch, but felt full of pizza and chocolate..hehe.. Went to the gym in the evening with Brandon and his gal Sarah, did a bunch of stretching and i hit the equipment pretty hard, working most of my upperbody - felt great.

Did a 21mins run today - i tried to extend my loop, but it's still waay too short..hoping to hit 30mins on Friday. Tomorrow (Thu) i'll be riding with my buddy Andy, who just got a used consignment bike from StraightUp Cycles, i found him an awesome 8yr-old red Cannondale in great condition with full Dura-Ace..pretty sweet. $600. Almost thought of getting it for myself..heh.. We'll be doing an easy 2hr ride tomorrow, it'll be his first ride. He's getting into triathlons..eek..

Friday, hoping to hit the 30mins mark on my run, and the weekend will be the regular group rides.

Keep on spinnin'!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Neat Links and Pedaling -- Training

Added a few items to the Links section, including a vegan bike shop in Oregan, a vegan cycling coach, and Victoria coach Dan Proulx, who's a great guy!

Dan's also just posted an article (PDF) focused on pedaling that many will find helpful, covering technique and efficiency. A similar way to look at this is that you're almost 'sliding' your feed, at the top and bottom of the pedal-stroke. (ie, at the top you 'slide' your foot forward, and at the bottom you 'slide' it back.) This can also help eliminate the 'dead spots' and smooth out your stroke.

Another training method i employ is to ride ~110RPM on rollers, and do intervals where you bump it up 10 or more RPM, and hold it for 1, 2, 5 or more minutes. If you're bouncing, drop the cadence bit by bit until you're not, and make that your target to begin with. (And if you're bouncing at 110RPM, start lower as well.)

When you 'come down' from the higher RPM's, you'll find you're much more smooth at 110, and you'll likely be able to pedal slightly faster (without bouncing!) at higher speeds when you go 'back up'. You can do this on the road, but i've found rollers are ideal for this excercise, since they..uhh..enhance the bouncing. =)

Finally, when doing this, keep an eye on your heart rate - no need to go anaerobic! Change gears to keep your cadence where you want it, but don't have to push too hard. The point of this is to develope good pedaling technique, not drain yourself. If you're tiring yourself out, you aren't going to be able to focus as much on riding properly.

Now get out there and spin!!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Google Thinks I'm The 'Fastest Vegan!' -- general

I think this is too funny.. If you punch 'fastest vegan' into Google, i come up #1.

That's a good head start for me i guess. ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Crawling Very Quickly! -- quote

Haven't had a quote for a while, here's one from the man who will attempt to secure his seventh Tour de France victory:

"This is not Disneyland, or Hollywood. I'll give you an example: I've read that I flew up the hills and mountains of France. But you don't fly up a hill. You struggle slowly and painfully up a hill, and maybe, if you work very hard, you get to the top ahead of everybody else."

- Lance Armstrong

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Legs Are Outta Control! -- log

Went for my regular run today, after taking Monday off. (Rode 2hrs yesterday as well.)

I'm blown away by the results...in spite of me running more 'easily' (ie, i wasn't pushing it at all) i took another 35 seconds off the time, and my AVE HR was lower than any run i've recorded..! I doubt i'll be able to maintain this growth..haha I've take 15-30 seconds off the loop every time i've done it, and i think i'm up to five runs..nuts.

I read an article on running cadence, and that ~90 steps per min is a good range, i counted my self a little short, around 84, but i'm sure this is fine.

The really scary thing was the run felt pretty good for the most part...i think i almost enjoyed it...eeeek! I don't want to be a runner!!

I'm planning on riding again tomorrow, we've got some amazing weather happening, totally sunny! Pretty cool (1-9 degrees C) but very nice otherwise.

Fun fun!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Lactic Acid – Your Misunderstood Friend? -- Training

Lactic Acid – Your Misunderstood Friend?

In a recent email newsletter from Joe Friel, there was a very interesting article about lactic acid that got me thinking, and even doing a little research!

Lactic Craptic!

According to this and several other articles, lactic acid isn’t the big, bad metabolic beast that we’ve been lead to believe it. We’ve all heard that the ‘burn’ you feel during intense efforts is lactic acid building up in your legs. Makes sense, right? Acid = burn!

Well, not really!

As it turns out, lactic acid is actually our friend. It’s responsible for helping to create more ATP (the energy our muscle cells use directly) and is more efficient at travelling between tissue (like our muscles) than glucose (the sugar ATP is made from.)

Lactic acid is constantly formed in and reabsorbed into our muscles all day long, but at much higher levels when we engage in very intense efforts, also known as anaerobic activity. (anaerobic = no oxygen)

During anaerobic glycolysis (the process of using/breaking down glucose as ‘fuel’ for our muscles) the glucose gets broken down to lactic acid and hydrogen ions. This is the surprise: it’s actually the hydrogen that causes problems! As it gets into the muscle tissue and surrounding blood, it creates an acid imbalance, which then leads to pain and discomfort and muscle fatigue. The lactic acid works in our favor once more, by helping to carry the hydrogen away, where it gets removed in the liver. Also, the lactic acid is used in the liver to form more glycogen. (Yay! More energy!)

Vegans May Have Their Bases Covered

I believe this leads to a strong argument for veganism in athletics. Since most plant-based foods are base-forming, and pretty much every animal product under the sun is acid-forming, by eating a plant-based diet, we’re keeping our bodies more alkaline, which results in a higher lactate threshold. I guess this means we can actually tolerate much more pain. (Ha! Who’s the tough one now, meathead?)

There’s some discussion of eating baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to add more base to your system if you perform anaerobic activities, but you need to consume 0.3 grams per kg of body weight…which would mean I would have to eat 21g… which is over 4 teaspoons.. yikes! If you want to experiment, you’ll need to consume it two hours before the event, and be sure to drink lots of water. Also make sure it isn’t a banned substance at your event, and that you don’t have a sensitivity to it. (Baking soda allergy anyone?)

Realistically though, the best thing you can do is train yourself to increase your lactate threshold. By performing regularly at levels that increase the amount of lactic acid, your body will adapt and be able to handle the load. This is best done through interval training, and maintaining close-to-anaerobic intensities for extended periods of time (8-20 minutes) and is typically 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. As an example, maintaining 80-85% of your max. HR for 8 minutes helps to gently and efficiently ‘push’ your lactate threshold up. Rinse and repeat!

This revelation also has some interesting effects on post-exercise activities: we’re familiar with having massages and Epsom baths, which are supposed to help disperse the lactic acid, but lactic acid doesn’t actually ‘sit’ in our muscles, it’s actually used and absorbed to create more ATP. Massage no doubt helps by keeping the blood flowing to help regenerate muscle tissue, but what do Epsom salts really do..?

Stupid Sounding Summary: Sing along! Lactic acid is my friend. It helps to make my legs bend. Not so great is hydrogen. It helps to eat my veggies then.

A vegan side note: it turns out that this myth was created by our old foe vivisection (aka animal testing). In 1929 Archibald V. Hill would flex frog muscles to fatigue, and noticed at that point lactic acid was formed and declared it the enemy. Stupid vivisector!

Further Reading . . .

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hey, Guero! -- Log

To catch up from the weekend, here's what happened:
Fri - went for another run, same loop, managed to drop another 33 seconds from the last time i did it...wowwee!

Sat - legs felt a little tired, not sure if it's because i didn't quite eat enough, or if the running is taking something outta me.. Went for a long (just under 4hrs) ride, reeled in over 100km.

Sun - beautiful sunny morning, headed out with the Burnside group, but saw it was icey, so me and two other guys decided to split and do the water instead, glad i did. Just under 3hrs, 80km as well. Flew up the Ash Rd hill today for some reason...felt really good.
The upcoming week in training - will stick to last week's schedule for the most part...gonna take it easy with the weights, drop the weight and do high reps...sort of a recovery week. =)

That said, i might do Mt Doug again, it's been a while..hmm..

Also worked on my latest article for the site, about how lactic acid is your friend! Expect to see that in the next day or so, it'll be an eye-opener. Toodles!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Got That Healing Feeling -- Log

Feeling alright, several days after el crasho. The odd little ache here and there, and a little weirdness with my back, but i believe it should all be fine...hopefully i'm not just optimistic!

The arm is now a nice big, fat scab, and the hip is more yellow and purple...it was quite swollen, but that's diminished, and the purple spread down my leg, but it's not painful or anything...not sure what the story there is! Sleeping sucks tho, since i lay on my side.

Been a decent week for training, on Monday did a 20min run and worked my back and biceps. Tuesday went for a 2hr ride, did Stelly's Loop, nothing fancy since i hadn't been on the bike for a few days..didn't get to the gym that evening as planned, so still haven't done my 1RM bench press, to see if i can press my body weight (150lbs.)

Wed did another 20 min run, worked chest and triceps, rest day today.

The running has been interesting...i've never run much before, but it's actually starting to feel pretty good! On Wed, my average heart rate was several beats lower, and my time was 15 seconds faster (i do the same loop each time.) Brandon also asked me if i wanted to enter the Times Colonist 10k at the end of April -- his office will sponsor me, so i just gotta go and run..so i said 'what the heck'. It's only 30mins more running than i normally do..hahaha (I ran 10k once by accident - i got lost! Did it in 50mins tho.)

On another note, i finished the poster for the GVVA (Velodrome Association), and it looks very good! It's to put up in bike shops, etc, to promote the sport. One guy at the meeting said it was the best poster he'd ever seen! (I'm guessing he means for track racing.) Everyone else was quite happy with it, so that's leaving a pretty nice feeling on me.

Training for the rest of the week looks like:

Fri - another 20min run, workout shoulders and neck
Sat - 3hr ride with Sarah, and hopefully Brandon if he's up to it (injured knee)
Sun - 3hr ride with the Burnside group (pretty high intensity usually)

I'll prolly repeat this schedule next week, but hopefully make it to the gym on Tuesday...haven't been for a few weeks, would like to hammer my legs a few more times.

That's it for now, keep on riding! =)

Saturday, February 05, 2005

30kph - 0 in 2 Seconds! -- Log

Today's plan was pretty simple; warm-up ride along the water, then over to UVic's Ring Road (round, relatively low-traffic 2km loop) to do our CTS Field Tests (useful for tracking progress, and establishing a maximum sustainable heart rate!)

All was going well, Sarah got through hers without a hitch, and it was my turn! Wee! Pedal my brains out for 4.8km so i can't see straight! Twice!

Unfortunately, i didn't make it more than 1km in, when a young woman (we'll call her Peddy, for Pedestrian) was crossing the road without looking, nowhere near a cross-walk.

It's a two-lane, one-way road, and i had a car behind me in the left lane, and i was in the right...she was coming from the left side, and looked like she would get by in time, but then, unbelievably, she slowed down as she crossed the second lane!!

My options were limited: switch lanes and get run over by the car, slip in front of her(and the curb), or try to get through behind her...

I opted for the latter, and clipped her large backpack, when sent me into asphalt acrobatics. I slid about five feet (i'm not really conscious of the moments before i ran into her, and me skidding to a halt.)

"Are you okay?!?"

"Yeah! Just WONDERFUL!"

I peeled myself off the road and went off to the side to talk to her... She was actually quite shaken, and was crying by the end of it our discussion (i wasn't mean, she was upset about the accident.) In a way, it's relieving to see someone actually feel really bad about making a serious mistake. I've seen people on the road who do things that put lives at significant risk, and then blame others. She was really cool about it, and she said she would pay for any damaged goods.

Which, on my bike, is relatively little..my shifters were scraped in several spots, tho it's more cosmetic than anything.. My rear derailleur is scratched-up as well, but seemed fine for the hour after i rode. Wheel is wonky now, but that's a pretty easy fix.

Clothes were torn up as well, and will be needing new shorts and jersey..

As for my current physical incarnation...OUCHIES!!

Let's review the injuries with images (yay!):

Here's my scraped-up elbow..it's quite oozy right now.

And my hip..lotsa bruising already evident. Not as oozy!

Now comes the fun part.... I was wearing my long-sleeve jersey, and there's now a big hole in it by the wrist....somehow that must have slid up my arm, to where the injury is...very weird. The elbow on the jersey is fine!

I noticed something quite disgusting tho, as i was looking at the inside of it:

Can you see it? Here's a closer look:

How about now?

Yes - that's hair embedded in there...my hair was worn off my forearm near my elbow, and was encrusted with tasty skin bits. How pleasant!! I've never seen that before...yuck!

In addition, i'm feeling the following:

- right ankle is kinda stiff
- right ribcage is bruised, feel little pains when inhaling deeply
- left calf is stiff, and swollen...think i might have pulled something in there too..right at the front near the bone..

Otherwise i'm feeling alright so far.. Didn't hit my head, seems the main contact points were my hip and elbow...hopefully nothing else crops up. =(

After the shakes left, Sarah and i continued, and did another hour or so of relatively easy riding.. I popped into the bike shop to get them to take a peek at my bike, and give me an estimate as well. Got Peddy's phone number, and will call her tomorrow. (Waiting to make sure no other weird aches come up.)

Am now planning a relatively easy week for next week...and prolly won't do the Burnside ride tomorrow but go for an easier spin.

I guess i'll do the stress test with Brandon in a few weeks, if his knee is better.. Maybe we'll avoid Ring Road. =)

In other training news, didn't hit the gym this week (two cancellations!) but got in two good home workouts, and hammered my triceps like no-one's business.

I'm hoping that this Tuesday i'll bench my own weight (150lbs) -- i did about 125lbs two months ago, and my upper-body is pretty weak, relatively speaking..so this is a pretty good accomplishment! Benching 60lbs was intimidating last October! I'll keep y'all posted.

In the meantime, send healing thoughts. =)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Toughtest Part -- Quote

"The main thing is to not cut yourself and bleed to death in the tub."

-- Frankie Andreu (Retired USPS Racer) on leg shaving advice

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Study: Cellphones Make Drivers Worse! -- General

Just read this in WIRED, thought it was pretty interesting...definitely my experience! I absolutely *detest* people talking on cellphones while driving. Please, pull over!

...and i guess this means drunk seniors talking on cellphones would be the worst. ;)

If someone reading this has a link to the actual study, please post a note, thanks!

Granny drivers: Talking on a cell phone makes you drive like a retiree — even if you're only a teen, a new study shows. A report from the University of Utah says when motorists between 18 and 25 talk on cell phones, they drive like elderly people — moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of accidents.

They found that when 18- to-25-year olds were placed in a driving simulator and talked on a cellular phone, they reacted to brake lights from a car in front of them as slowly as 65- to 74-year olds who were not using a cell phone.

In fact, motorists who talk on cell phones are more impaired than drunken drivers with blood-alcohol levels exceeding 0.08, the research shows.

The study found that drivers who talked on cell phones were 18 percent slower in braking and took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked.

About Me

Dave Shishkoff
aka Dave Noisy
Victoria, BC

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