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, December 28, 2009

It's Ridemas Time Again

Ahhh...the holidays. I absolutely hate xmas (i even wrote two songs about it, check them out here) but i don't mind the time off, and spending time with friends who also have the time off!

The last few days looked something like this:

Thursday (Dec 24th) - Road Ride

Another beautiful day in Victoria, lotsa sun. Unfortunately, i was feeling pretty fried from the climb session the night before, but the roads were dry, and the Ridley Noah was begging to be ridden:

It really hides from the wind:

Safe to say i'm the slowest thing on it:

So it's weighing in at 17.35lbs with the PowerTap (sans bottles or saddlebag.)

Decided to head out for a Power Hour loop to keep it short. Cold day, and there seemed to be a constant headwind nearly any direction i faced..so stats not terribly impressive:

#3 SB Power Hour: 842kJ burned, TSS 87.2, NP 243w, AP 234w, HR 172, Spd/Dis 31.3km, ~4C, breezy

Previous two Power Hour rides, on the winter bike:

#2 WB Power Hour: 822kJ burned, TSS 84.4, NP 239w, AP 228w, HR 170, Spd/Dis 31.1km, ~2C
#1 WB Power Hour: 805kJ burned, TSS 80.7, NP 234w, AP 224w, Spd/Dis 31.3km, ~12C

Will have to give it another go on a less-breezy day!

Full numbers from the ride:
Entire workout (220 watts):
Duration: 1:10:24 (1:14:23)
Work: 924 kJ
TSS: 96.3 (intensity factor 0.909)
Norm Power: 236
VI: 1.07
Distance: 34.907 km
          Min Max Avg
Power: 0 789 220 watts
Heart Rate: 94 188 168 bpm
Cadence: 38 118 93 rpm
Speed: 4.8 58.3 30.0 kph

Friday - Fun MTB Ride

Fun ride w/Alex, Steve and Chelsea:

We opted to hit a number of trails we normally avoid, the 'downhill' ones, such as Green Ribbon, Sofa King, Jelly Roll and Lumpy Pants. We had a little trouble finding our way to Sofa King, but we made it:

Here we are on a the big drop on Lumpy Pants:

I rode down the section on the left, as Alex checked out the big drop on the right:

Yay - i survived!

Alex wasn't comfortable with the line needed to make it down that side, so he came down the same section as me. Steve showing off his tough spectator muscles:


Fun day, i was on the big wheels, and Alex the little ones - 24":

Hilarious stats..we were out for 3hrs, but logged only 1hr 18min of actual ride time:

Entire workout (141 watts):
Duration: 1:18:39 (2:53:47)
Work: 665 kJ
TSS: 78.1 (intensity factor 0.772)
Norm Power: 201
VI: 1.42
Distance: 11.993 km
         Min Max Avg
Power: 0 940 141 watts
Heart Rate: 72 169 135 bpm
Cadence: 35 201 77 rpm
Speed: 3.9 35.6 9.4 kph

I swear i burned more calories than that pushing my bike up Hot Cherry! They agreed to join me in a quest to find a section that i've been unable to find...there's a long rockface descent that ends with a couple trees that used to be a part of Hot Cherry like 10yrs ago, but i can no longer find it... : \

Saturday - Boxing Day TT

Rode out with a small group to the annual Boxing Day TT out in Sooke on Happy Valley Rd. Shortish 13.7km course with a small hill but otherwise mainly flat. I was looking forward to smashing my previous time, as well as seeing how fast the Ridley could go:

Unfortunately, that's about as far as i made it, as my chain malfunctioned. I guess the tension cased a link to stiffen.. I hadn't used the special replacement pin when i swapped it over, but it's funny as it lasted three rides and over 4hrs...ahh well. Stats from the ride out:

Entire workout (146 watts):
Duration: 1:12:51 (1:53:16)
Work: 619 kJ
TSS: 70.4 (intensity factor 0.774)
Norm Power: 201
VI: 1.37
Distance: 28.029 km
          Min Max Avg
Power: 0 781 146 watts
Heart Rate: 81 170 135 bpm
Cadence: 31 120 83 rpm
Speed: 3.7 42.6 23.8 kph

Sunday - MTB

Final ride with Steve, who's off the New Zealand for five months on Wednesday! We'll miss you buddy!

Rode out to the Dump with Steve, met Alex and Johnny Y-Bike there (because he's riding a classic Trek Y-22!) Here we are up on Twister:

Yet ANOTHER beautiful day, trails were mint, just rode my regular loop.

And the numbers:

Entire workout (179 watts):
Duration: 3:32:19 (5:02:28)
Work: 2284 kJ
TSS: 255.2 (intensity factor 0.849)
Norm Power: 221
VI: 1.23
Distance: 60.501 km
         Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1063 179 watts
Heart Rate: 69 181 145 bpm
Speed: 3.9 49.7 17.3 kph

Solid TSS. Don't really know where that 1.5hrs went..guess we stopped and talked a few times!! Crazy number of calories burned, even more when considering how it's cold and i'm doubtless generating more heat...

Will miss ya Steve and Chelsea! Happy travels! =)

Monday - Climb

Oh boy..i realized i haven't had a day off since a week last Friday...and was feeling it today.

Climbed with Kelly, i started off rather poorly, there's a shortage of reasonable 5.9's at the gym right now, so warm-up can be a bit harried if there are a few people around the gym..fell off the tough, purple 5.9 twice as i was trying to get my groove..!

Got better after that, didn't really push it too much, mainly stuck to the 10a's and b's, and tried one of the 10c's again. Tried out the long, increasingly overhanging 10a/b for the first time, and on my redline attempt i cleaned it! I think it's a bit under-ranked..i'd say this was definitely much closer to a 9 than 10...the black 5.9 on the opposing wall is SIGNIFICANTLY more challenging...! (I'd say a lot of the ratings are a bit screwy..but that might be just me.)

2.5hrs and i was completely beat, but happy with the session.

I'm pretty wiped at this point, looks like another decent day tomorrow, so hopefully another go on the Ridley. Likely climb Wed, ride Thu, and perhaps take Fri (New Years) off completely. =)

I posted another RideCam photo gallery, check out all the pics here:


Keep it real!


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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    A Week And The First Ride

    *phew* Busy week! Took the Noah out yesterday, here's some catch-up reporting:

    Tuesday (15th) - Climb

    Climbed 3hrs w/Kelly, started work on some 10b's. Feeling pretty good!

    Wednesday (16th) - Rest Day...plus..

    I was actually planning to get out for an MTB ride, but Alyssa was keen on riding out, and i didn't want to on the cold, rainy day that it was...so i lingered around the house....good thing, as early in the afternoon an email from Scotty at OBB popped up in my inbox, with a photo attachment....i'll give you one guess which frame i've been waiting 9 months for that had arrived. ;)

    I was actually half-naked, about to get in the shower (bet you appreciate that detail), but threw on some clothes and hoofed it over to the shop. WOOT! I was very excited. Drooled over it for a while, compared the sizing to the Blue, matched-up nicely.

    That was pretty much the day there. =)

    Thursday (17th) - Ride w/Emile

    Decent day, made it out 2+hrs with Emile. I was worried he'd crush me, but near the Wallace Rd turn-off (heading away from town) i'm motoring along and look back, and i'd dropped him! When he catches up he says "you're going too fast!" HAHA! One of the only times i'll ever hear that from Emile. He wasn't feeling great and had a head cold the next day, but we eased off a bit, and he also just drafted a while. 2nd half of the ride was a bit slower, good start tho.

    PowerTap details:
    Entire workout (195 watts):
    Duration: 2:14:38 (2:29:55)
    Work: 1556 kJ
    TSS: 150.2 (intensity factor 0.822)
    Norm Power: 214
    VI: 1.1
    Distance: 64.681 km
              Min Max Avg
    Power: 0 853 195 watts
    Heart Rate: 77 183 153 bpm
    Cadence: 26 120 91 rpm
    Speed: 3.7 60.4 29.1 kph

    Friday - Climb

    Headed to the gym with Mical Dyck, who had an awesome session, matching me route for route for several climbs. Impressive as she has only been climbing a couple times in Oct, and not since the spring before that..i'd been back on the wall five times over the last three weeks, building up. She's an excellent climber, very strong and smart, picking up the routes very quickly. Nice to have another great climbing partner, she'd get back up to working on 11a's in no time if she weren't to be taking off for work!

    My session was good, the main goal was to complete the final two 10a's that had stumped me, and i did it! What that means: NEW SHOES! Next visit i get to break out my FiveTen Jet7 kick-ass climbing shoes. =)

    Saturday - OBB Ride

    Decent number of people out, maybe 30. It was the first ride that was a fair bit slower! Even through Land's End we hardly picked it up (although just enough to drop Alex - sorry buddy!)

    Much bigger group for the sprint.. Emile took off the front just before Camosun. No one responded...i was a few bikes back, and i believe blocked in a bit, and had taken a recent pull... A few people pulled off the front and Dave MacLeod decided to give chase, and he did a spectacular pull, bringing us within striking distance of Emile at the hill at the bottom of the sprint.

    I was actually feeling pretty good, and Dave was starting to blow up, so i jammed out to the left and started up the hill, seated. Craig Richey had been in front of me (and behind Dave) and he stood up as i was passing him, he started to crank it and WHAM! I looked back and he was sitting on his top tube!! The rest of the sprint wasn't much, i basically coasted up to the line, Emile had slowed quite a bit, so i 'won', although we were all looking back to make sure Craig was okay, which he was..chain had fallen off the big ring. He also broke a cleat in the process, but fine otherwise.

    I also took the King of the Overpass, not even challenged..so a double-crown ride for me. ;)

    The numbers, as you can see, an easier ride, measly TSS of only 222. ;)
    Entire workout (166 watts):
    Duration: 3:12:51 (3:31:22)
    Work: 1909 kJ
    TSS: 222.6 (intensity factor 0.835)
    Norm Power: 217
    VI: 1.31
    Distance: 98.293 km
             Min Max Avg
    Power: 0 1027 166 watts
    Heart Rate: 81 188 144 bpm
    Cadence: 20 131 88 rpm
    Speed: 0 65.2 30.7 kph

    Sunday - MTB

    Got picked up by Alex (thanks again!!), and met with Jamie and Alyssa at the parking lot (they rode out, i didn't want to with the rain!)

    Fun day of riding, did my regular loop, rode pretty well overall but we were taking it pretty easy. Noticed that i was still pretty sore from the climb on Friday - it really takes it out of my arms and back!! At the end of the day, it looked something like this - surprised by the difference from AP and NP:
    Entire workout (163 watts):
    Duration: 1:32:16 (2:43:39)
    Work: 901 kJ
    TSS: 113.7 (intensity factor 0.86)
    Norm Power: 224
    VI: 1.37
    Distance: 15.386 km
               Min Max Avg
    Power: 0 1023 163 watts
    Heart Rate: 70 178 145 bpm
    Cadence: 30 201 77 rpm
    Speed: 3.8 34.4 10.3 kph

    Monday - Climb

    2.5hrs with Kelly, first day back in the Jet7 shoes - they feel SO AWESOME. I didn't want to start wearing them right away because the soles have very sharp edges, and i didn't want to wear them down floundering around as i got my form back..so i set the rule of having to clean all the 10a's before wearing them.

    Good session, worked more on the 10b's, and started working on a couple of the c's.

    Tuesday - Ride - RIDLEY RIDE!

    Oh wow. First thing i can say: it was worth the wait. This bike is freaking AMAZING.

    First thing i noticed as i'm headed to the Switch Bridge to meet Chad is that when the bike gets around 40kph, it just wants to go faster. It really flows through the air...

    Getting out of the saddle uphill feels SOLID. I'm noticing how sloppy other parts are, like my front wheel.

    The Lizard Skins bar tape is AMAZING. Very comfortable, and the tactile sensation is PRIMO. LOVE IT! I'm buying boxes of this stuff. And the orange looks hot, esp. now that i've swapped in a black Conti GP4000. And nice matching bar plugs too. Stylin'!

    Over the jittery stuff the bike surprised me - it actually soaked it up, and i was pretty comfortable! I was expecting the stiffness to be too much, but the high-frequencies are nullified nicely.

    Final 'a-ha' moment was riding up Ash Hill, i kept seated, and amazingly i could feel each pedal stroke going straight to the wheel. Normally it feels like energy is going into the cranks and BB and perhaps the chainstays or seatstays are flexing, but this just felt SOLID. All my work was going into making the wheel spin. Very nice.

    The fit is great, i'm going to try raising the seat a hair, and slide it forward a wee bit, but otherwise i'm pretty freaking happy with it!!! I can't wait for the summer to race this thing!!

    Otherwise a good ride with Chad, hope i didn't bore him with all my surprised expressions and fawning over the bike..hehe..

    Entire workout (201 watts):
    Duration: 1:57:07 (2:03:06)
    Work: 1403 kJ
    TSS: 152 (intensity factor 0.886)
    Norm Power: 230
    VI: 1.14
    Distance: 57.035 km
              Min Max Avg
    Power: 0 875 201 watts
    Cadence: 29 136 90 rpm
    Speed: 3.7 64.6 29.4 kph
    Didn't put on the HR strap, was in a hurry, running late!

    Wed (today) - Climb

    Felt pretty good, got out for 3hrs w/Kelly and Mical. Made more progress on the 10b's and c's i've been working on...should be able to clean some of them in the next session or two...figuring out the tougher bits, and letting my fingers catch up.

    Pretty fried again, my back and fingers still ache as i type!

    That's the last few days, it's been an exciting week!! Looks like tomorrow will be another dry day, so hoping to spend some more time on the Ridley, might do my 'Hour of Power' route to compare numbers.

    Friday, got an easy/fun/social MTB ride planned, aiming to hit all the trails we normally pass on (Green Ribbon, Sofa King, etc). 'Big Bike' day as some say.

    Saturday is the annual Boxing Day TT - again, if it's dry, i'm hoping to ride the Noah out! First race! Eeep!

    And Sunday ought to be another MTB ride.

    Happy Winter Salsa everyone!


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      Monday, December 21, 2009

      Bike! Bike! A New Bike!

      This is just a brief note to highlight that my new bike, a custom green Ridley Noah, which i've been waiting on for nine months, has finally arrived!!!

      Finished building it up tonight, here's how it's looking:

      Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

      Click for a slightly larger image - apologies in advance for the front tire, it's all i had laying around, it'll get swapped for a black one soon. I'm actually *very* happy with the orange Lizard Skins bar tape, it suits it perfectly (and feels really nice! =)

      It's a small size, oddly (i'm 5'10). I prefer a shorter top tube, and the Medium was up around 56cm - them Belgiums must be huge - waaay too long for me. It was a pretty easy build. Didn't have to cut the seat mast, i just popped the biggest spacer in the seat mast mount, and it was actually the height i was looking for!

      It's built up mainly with the Campy Chorus that i had on the Blue, and the SRAM Red cranks as well (165mm, same as my track bike.) It's actually a very similar set-up to my Argon 18 Electron track bike, maybe 1/2" longer wheelbase, and the saddle is a bit lower on the Noah, but that's due to the lower BB. Seat and bars seem nearly in the same location otherwise...so hopefully will be an easy transition between the two (assuming i ever get back on the track..)

      I took it for a brief spin up the street - it feels SOLID. Rock solid. No flex anywhere (except the wheels!) I'm very much looking forward to getting it up to speed. Maybe tomorrow, if it remains dry!!

      Last thing i need to do is install the wiring for the PowerTap... Not crazy about that (visually speaking), but it'll be a while before i can afford a wireless unit........next big upgrade. ;)

      Special thanks to the kind people at Oak Bay Bikes, as well as Norco, for making this all come together!

      Got my regular training updates to catch up on, more soon!


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        Monday, December 14, 2009

        Catching Up on Links, Stories, Etc..


        Kinda weird weather, there's a snowfall warning for Vancouver Island, but here in Victoria, it's up around 6 Celsius...stepping outside for a minute, it's actually feeling a bit warm! Rainy and windy as well. Sure beats snow!

        Rest day for me today, planned to climb, but my climbing partner Kelly got called into work.  Might switch my days around and go climbing tomorrow..if not, planning to hit the trails with Lysanne - her first time out, should be a blast. Wed planning to MTB with Alyssa as well - yip! Tomorrow night is also the party for the VCX crew, should be fun!

        So, this entry is to post a bunch of links and stories i've come across the last few weeks, but haven't had a chance to update my blog about.. Let's see if i can organize these somewhat...

        Other Victoria Riders Who Blog About Riding, Etc..

        Andrew McCartney:
        Nice guy and super-talented athlete, despite all the running and swimming, hope to see him out on the OBB rides again soon. ;)

        Mical Dyck:
        One of Canada's top MTB riders, and all-around swell person and new Island resident!

        Regan Pringle:

        We've raced a few times, but have yet to get out on a ride together! Thanks again for the green bar tape tho! =)

        Halldor Gunnarrson
        We've mountain biked, raced, and sprinted - let's get you out on the trails more this winter!

        Fergus Lavelle:
        I don't know Fergus very well, but he friended me on Twitface, and we've raced all season in 'cross. Will likely see him on the road more in 2010, see ya out there buddy!

        Joele's Guynup:
        Haven't really chatted with Joele much, but she's one of Vic's most talented and successful MTB and CX racers.

        Tom Skinner:
        One of the weirder riders i know. ;)

        Jenny Skinner
        Sister of Tom, she would harass me at Oak Bay Bikes. Now sorely missed at the shop! And no, silk isn't vegan either because it comes from worms!

        Dan Skinner:
        Brother of Jenny, and perhaps one of the most prolific cycling bloggers in Victoria, i've known Dan for a few years now, and he's a really swell guy, always a pleasure to have around! Have a great 2010, and update your blog! ;)

        Jamie Sparling:
        Very talented and entertaining...currently away from the Island, but he always seems to return. Cool tunes and mixes on his site.

        Gillian Carleton:
        It got off to a good start...let us know what you're up to! Only a year to catch up on! ;)

        Wendy Simms:
        Another slightly neglected blog from the world's most awesome cyclocross racer, and now mom. =)

        Not From Victoria, But Another Vegan Cycling Blog, John Scales
        http://looksurly.blogspot.com/ (aka @looksurly on Twitter as well)
        We've been exchanging messages on Twitter, cool guy, fellow OA rider in the US.

        Vegan Stuff
        I'll Have My Lobster Electrocuted, Please
        This is a bizarre piece...and is yet another example of why i detest PETA (People for the Ethical[sic] Treatment of Animals). They're actually instructing people on ways to murder other animals, and selling the machines to do it. Who needs advocates like that?? PETA is a scam, straight up.

        Vegan Paradigm
        PDF Excerpt from the latest issue of The Vegan from The Vegan Society by Lee Hall: a case for vegan optimism!

        World Watch Report: Livestock and Climate Change
        A must-read, World Watch has researched the UN's FAO numbers from the 'Livestock's Long Shadow' report, and concluded that that they're way off..and that instead of 18% of all greenhouse emissions coming from livestock, it's actually over 50%. (From the numbers in the report, as a comparison, all transportation in the world would be less than 6% of all global emissions.. So a hummer full of vegetables is significantly better for the environment than riding a bike to McDonald's. Scary, and it's really time people started changing their diets.

        Cargill "Cheese"
        Kinda weird posting a media release from this company, but they've apparently developed a cheese substitute that is nearly identical to dairy in taste and texture, but entirely plant-based...i'll take it!

        Eating less meat helps the planet – and your heart
        "If the UK ate 30% less meat, 18,000 fewer people would die prematurely from heart attacks annually" - yet they say they're not telling people to go vegetarian...wouldn't want to reduce health care and improve the environment *that* much...
        Biking Stuff
        29er Prototype Downhill
        I was sceptical when i saw the title on Twitter, but once i saw the video, i saw how this could be a pretty sweet thing...

        Video: BC Cross Championships
        Cool vid of the Elite and Women, i got cut out tho! BicycleRadio.com seems like a cool site too.

        Ready to Exercise? Check Your Watch
        Interesting story, discussing how people seem to be able to train better at different times of the day.. I'm definitely a later rider!

        Walking, biking good for you and the planet: Study
        Pedestrians and cyclists should be made king of the urban jungle, according to an international study showing the big benefits of “mass active travel.”

        It suggests money should be diverted way from roads to make walking and cycling “the most direct, convenient, and pleasant options for most urban trips.” Pedestrians and bikers should also get “priority” over cars and trucks at intersections.

        Boo Cycles Bamboo CX Frame
        Another company doing bamboo bike frames!

        Graeme Obree dumps hour record plans
        "Oh well, nobody died." - Sobering quote from the Flying Scotsman...check out the film if you haven't.

        Canadian's go to Cali, Columbia for a World Cup, Video:
        Cool vid before they left, our riders did AMAZING, with Tara, Laura and Steph winning GOLD in the Women's Team Pursuit (which is now an Olympic event!!) They also set a new Canadian record. Tara also won two Silver's, in the Individual Pursuit (Sarah Hammer won), and Points Race. Other riders did spectacularly well, and this was an extremely successful event for Canada! Full story and summary here on Canadian Cyclist. CC is also now on Twitter! Be sure to follow @cdncyclist.

        Also, while i'm thinking of it, be sure to write Colwood Mayor Dave Saunders, perhaps the world's most shining example of supportive cycling hypocrisy and empty promises, and the rest of the West Shore Parks and Recreation Society, for their decision to lock cyclists out of the velodrome here since Aug, 2008. Thanks to their efforts, riders have been leaving the island. Who knows how many more medals might have had to come to Canada were more riders exposed to track racing? We don't want to strain the metal detectors in Customs after all.

        Thank you, Mayor Saunders. You're a real class act...and you can't have 'class' without an 'ass'. Thanks for being there for the cycling community. After the track, and the Times Colonist Cycling Festival, i can't wait to see what event you help to take down next.


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          Sunday, December 13, 2009

          The Week Ended On Ice

          A chill has set into the Island..even a light sprinkling of snow today! Still, i'm getting out for adventures!

          Monday, was a rest day (planned to go climbing, but belaying partner bailed on me!) Carrying on:

          Tuesday - Ride w/Chad

          Lovely day, Chad sent me a note through Facebook asking if i wanted to go for a spin - perfect! Haven't had a chance to chat much, he's been away travelling a good deal, but we used to race on the track. Nice to catch up! Here's the deets:
          Entire workout (203 watts):
              Duration:      2:10:08 (2:14:24)
              Work:          1575 kJ
              TSS:           153.2 (intensity factor 0.844)
              Norm Power:    219
              VI:            1.08
              Distance:      60.95 km
                                 Min    Max    Avg
              Power:           0    791    203     watts
              Heart Rate:      68    177    155     bpm
              Cadence:         35    124    93     rpm
              Speed:           3.7    57.2    28.3     kph
          Nothing too crazy there.

          Wednesday - Climb w/Kelly

          Back on the wall! Didn't do anything too spectacular, worked on the 5.9+, and tried out a few of the 10a's. Fingers were fried tho. The purple 5.9 kicked my butt at the end of the session! At the gym for ~2.5hrs. Oh yeah, toes were sore! Funny how i have to rebuild my toe strength..

          Thursday - Power Hour on the bike

          Had trouble motivating myself to get out..legs still a bit tired from Tue, as well as Wed! (Guess i'm weighting my legs in a way different than happens on the bike!) It was late in the afternoon, but i thought i've give my Power Hour route another go. (Went back in October.) Felt good once i got going. The 1hr brief:

          1hr Power Hour: 822kJ burned, TSS 84.4, NP 239w, AP 228w, Spd/Dis 31.1km, ~2C

          As a reference from Oct:

          1hr Power Hour: 805kJ burned, TSS 80.7, NP 234w, AP 224w, Spd/Dis 31.3km, ~12C

          Rode the same bike (my winter bike w/fenders), surprised the cold didn't slow me down more....i think i went a bit harder on the hills this time tho. Anyway, full numbers from the whole ride:
           Entire workout (210 watts):
              Duration:      1:11:39 (1:14:14)
              Work:          897 kJ
              TSS:           94.5 (intensity factor 0.894)
              Norm Power:    232
              VI:            1.1
              Distance:      34.88 km
                                  Min    Max    Avg
              Power:           0    960    210     watts
              Heart Rate:      63    185    164     bpm
              Cadence:         36    118    94     rpm
              Speed:           3.7    57.8    29.4     kph
          Pretty quality hour.

          Friday - Climb w/Kelly

          Very happy with this session! Cleaned my first THREE 10a's since getting back! One was a climb i hadn't tried yet, and the other two were ones i toyed on (and kicked my butt) on Wed. Pleased with my progress. I've been climbing in my older Anastazi shoes (from FiveTen), i've been worried about wearing down my good shoes, my Jet7's. Rule is: once i clean all the 10a's at the gym, i can wear my good shoes! There's two remaining...

          I love how my form is pretty solid, and how quickly my fingers are re-adapting! Pretty neat.

          Saturday - OBB Ride

          Started off pretty mellow, got to Sidney and we hadn't really been going hard at all...

          There's the group! Still surprised with the turnout we're getting.

          A bearded Shish. ;)

          We carried on, i think some people went elsewhere, as there were only about half the number in our group as we hit Land's End. Ride remained civilized, although i thought i'd make Peter Lawless suffer a bit, and on the descent behind the airport, i ensured we hit at least 56kph. (Peter's been riding his fixie, and told me earlier he's spinning out around 53kph..muahahaha..) He hung on!

          Things remained chill up Panorama, Peter set the pace on the front. I lead the descent, and onto Daffodil Road (the north end of Wallace Dr) Ryan and Craig got on the front of the pack, and duelled the whole stretch!! They were freaking gunning it, and it was all i could do to hang on.... We hit an intersection, and the group had been pruned a fair bit!

          We carried on, although not quite at such a firm pace...along the south end of Wallace Scotty, Craig, Steve and Ryan rotated at the front, i kept out of the loop but right behind, and no one else in the group seemed to be interested in getting ahead of me and joining in....so we all kept in a paceline otherwise..

          The Four Horsemen carried on at the top up past Hartland Rd, and did not relent. As we're heading up past the Observatory, i take a moment to glance back, and Dave MacLeod is the only rider remaining! EEEP!

          I know i'm good to go so long as i can make it up and over the hill... Luckily the pace wasn't too high, and i manage to cling to the back of the group... I hadn't done any work for a while, and decided there that i wouldn't fight for a spot in the sprint, but give them a lead-out.

          The pace quickens as we hit Interurban, but being flat, i'm in no prob, and take a long, hard pull by Camosun. We get to the corner and hills, and as we approach the hill i get to the front and power away...pulling the group to the bottom of the sprint hill.  Everyone shoots off past me, didn't really get to see who was at the front, but i *think* it might have been Ryan, or Craig...

          Next sprint is the King of the Overpass (Switch Bridge), and these guys have gotten it in their heads to try and block me, so Scotty and Craig try and pinch me off, but i'm not having any of it and shoulder by Craig - bumped him harder than i'd planned, but got by and claimed my title once again. ;)

          Everyone else turned off until it was Craig and i through downtown and we did the water. Great finish to the ride. Happy i was able to hang in there, and finished strong. =)

          The numbers:

           Entire workout (175 watts):
              Duration:      3:15:19 (3:29:59)
              Work:          2035 kJ
              TSS:           235.7 (intensity factor 0.854)
              Norm Power:    222
              VI:            1.27
              Distance:      98.807 km
                                 Min    Max    Avg
              Power:           0    1081    175     watts
              Heart Rate:      72    187    148     bpm
              Cadence:         29    124    90     rpm
              Speed:           3.8    60.7    30.5     kph
          Note another big TSS...235..owwie.

          Sunday - Snowy MTB w/Steve

          Tried to get another big group out like last week, but everyone's wussing out! Met Steve at the Switch Bridge at 10:15, and headed out. There was a light dusting of snow in some spots, and was calling for rain, so i dressed in my most waterproof gear, and my plan wasn't even to make it out to the Dump..but at least i'd get some time on the bike.

          We ended up hitting a bunch of little side trails, and exploring a few places (Logan's Park). We were most surprised to find ICE! First, this big pond near Camosun was frozen over, we found a couple guys using it as a runway for their model planes, took a few pics:

          Pretty wild! I'm not used to doing this around here!

          We kept on riding, it was pretty fun exploring a few areas. We eventually started heading back in, and found another frozen section, more people had been on it:

          Steve was enjoying his 180's, until there was a really loud rumbling.....at first i thought it was Steve's brakes making some weird, deep squeal, but it was the ice rumbling/cracking. YIKES!

          We got off that section quick!!!

          We continued down the Colquitz/Centennial trail into town, and saw across the field a swept section and people skating!! We had to check it out:

          Further across even more people:

          We zipped around some more, Steve doing his 180's at top speed, pretty funny! I was a little more timid, i don't like the idea of falling on ice...but it's pretty neat to be able to ride this. It can all melt away now. =)

          Fun day! I don't know what i'm gonna do when Steve and Chelsea take off for New Zealand at the end of the month, everyone else is wimping out!

          Anyways, here's the numbers from the day:

           Entire workout (165 watts):
              Duration:      2:15:08 (2:43:30)
              Work:          1334 kJ
              TSS:           152.4 (intensity factor 0.823)
              Norm Power:    214
              VI:            1.3
              Distance:      42.496 km
                  Min    Max    Avg
              Power:           0    843    165     watts
              Heart Rate:      75    173    139     bpm
              Cadence:         30    206    86     rpm
              Speed:           3.9    54.8    19.1     kph
          Took it easy for the most part. =)

          The rest of RideCam25 can be found here...smaller collection.

          That's the week, nothing too exciting planned for next week, climb a few days, ride the rest!

          Stay warm out there!


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            Sunday, December 06, 2009

            Weekend Riding - Super Sunny Spinning

            Yip - lovely weekend!

            Friday was a full rest-day, climbing partner couldn't make it, and felt my hands could use a break after two days back on the wall last week. Ready for tomorrow, got a climb planned for the late afternoon.

            Saturday - OBB Ride

            Gorgeous day, full-on sun. Didn't even feel like the 4C it was out, nice!

            Smaller turnout, maybe ~25 riders. So we split into two group, i much prefer a smaller pack of ~12 riders. People do shorter, more steady pulls, much smoother training...all i'm looking for these days as racing season is over!

            It was an uneventful ride out to Sidney, enjoyed the bright day, everything looked crisp and clean. The water on some of the fields was frozen over as well.

            Dressing for the cool weather is a series of layers.. I've got the full leggings RS tights from Sugoi, and my OA shorts overtop (i generally wear 2x shorts. The OA ones are light on padding anyway.) On top i had a basic base layer, my OA Verge thermal jersey and OA Mt Borah windbreaker. Neck 'tube' of spandex, headband. My regular cold-weather gloves: a poly-pro base and regular fingerless gloves. On top of that was the windstopper layer i've got (took them off for the last 40mins or so.) My hands run warm, thankfully. Feet are another story.. Thermal socks and regular socks, and then two pairs of booties over my shoes (a pair of Pearl Izumi booties, which are a tight fit, more for warmth. On top of that is a pair of Sugoi booties, which are effective against water.) Also tried wrapping my insole with tinfoil, not sure if it made any difference, but was pretty shredded when i removed my shoes. ;)

            Also, i use ductape to seal the very bottom of my shoes - the holes near the cleat, plus the vent holes on the bottom. Gotta keep the cold out!

            After Sidney, over half the group turned off on Wain Rd - very strange! There were about 14 of us, a decent number, and most of the strongest guys that came out. We continued on Lands End, and did Ocean Spray, one of the steeper sections around these parts, as a detour. Poor Alex was having a rough day, we figure he hadn't eaten enough. Continued on around the airport, etc.. Funny moment on the Panorama hill - a group of us had begun to break off the front, but there was hella traffic, and we all got caught behind a car...so those trailing got a 'get out of jail free' card. ;)

            Around Hartland Rd, the pace picked up, and Emile got on the front and things broke up...by the top of the hill at the Observatory, there were basically six of us, Craig, Daniel, Ryan, Scotty, and Emile was starting to gap us all... No one was really feeling like chasing, and by the time we hit Interurban, he had a good 75m break. I contemplated snapping away from the group and bridging up (maybe in the draft of a passing vehicle!) - it was actually in a very good spot for me to do that, a fast spot on a slight downhill leading to a full downhill...but i wasn't really feeling too spunky so just sat in to be a factor in the group sprint..

            We carried on, i think Ryan was at the front as we hit the 200m mark. I prolly should have jumped about there and got in front of the group, but i just sat in, and hit the line on the wheels of Craig, Scotty and Daniel. Ryan had faded a bit, understandably. Emile, of course, was well over 100m ahead of us...haha..

            I took the King of the Overpass with little competition, other than Craig trying to take me to the rail..hahha..thanks to Emile for reminding me to go for it!

            An interesting note: i came up just a bit short of my wattage PB for 1sec and 5sec in the sprint -- something that really surprised me, after 3 months of no sprinting! (Don't really do it in cyclocross!) I hit 1227w and 1169w respectively, and my PB's are 1257w and 1188w. Kinda cool, but no idea what i'm gonna do with sprint legs in December..hahaha

            I kept it pretty chill for most of the ride, no major pulls or anything, but got a good workout in, here's the numbers:

            Entire workout (164 watts):
                Duration:      3:09:52 (3:31:58)
                Work:          1847 kJ
                TSS:           212.3 (intensity factor 0.824)
                Norm Power:    214
                VI:            1.3
                Distance:      93.067 km
                                    Min    Max    Avg
                Power:           0    1227    164     watts
                Heart Rate:      72    189    151     bpm
                Cadence:         23    122    91     rpm
                Speed:           0    59    29.6     kph

            Note: cut the ride short, went straight home from downtown, had a Horses Without Carriages demonstration at 2pm to do! TSS of 212 is good tho.

            Sunday - MTB Ride

            Super windy night Sat, and had tried to organize a bunch of peeps to come out Sunday, but most punked out!

            Met Steve at the Switch Bridge, and Alex was meeting us in the parking lot.  I was a bit late out the door, which normally isn't a problem, but it was WINDY!! I met Steve nearly 10mins late. Which is pretty bad for what's normally a 15min trip.

            Set the stage for the rest of the ride out to the Dump - by the time we got off Interurban, it was 10:50, and we were supposed to meet Alex at 11am. It had felt like we had been climbing for the last hour! Pretty bad, considering the trip is normally about 55mins from my door (to the parking lot at the Dump!)

            We skipped Prospect Lake and Executive (the way we normally enter the Dump, great trail off Meadowbrook Rd), and stuck to the road and up the Hartland hill. Got there just a min after 11am - phew! Steve creamed me on the hill...but i had my heavy Camelbak on too. ;)

            We headed out, stuck to the main trail until the far end of Shock Treatment (which i call the beginning of the trail), bombed along it, up and around to Skull Trail and Inventive. From there, i thought we'd add in a fun extension to my 'normal' loop. Turned left onto Little Face (normally go right) and then up to Rolly Ridge - fun trail! Continued along Crazy Horse, down Centerfold to the Switchbacks. Wasn't feeling too spunky (legs a bit flat) so didn't quite get up a few sections...rode well otherwise.

            Continued up Waterworks, and then hit Old Payoff on our way to North Ridge and Bubble Wrap. Haven't been up there for a few months, and so we decided to hit my favorite trail. =)

            Conditions were great, the frost made the ground a bit funky in some spots, but otherwise it was really dry and pretty grippy. Bike didn't feel 'great' tho, the rubber was a bit harder from the cold, as well as firmer shocks from cold oil in my Manitou Minutes. Air springs seem like a better choice for the cold...

            We kept the pace fairly casual, enjoying the terrain. A few near-spills, but nothing serious. Got to the bottom, and rode back up the Regional Trail..long climb! At the top, we decided to call it a day (contemplated crossing back over and doing Dave's Line, etc), and booked it down Who's Yer Daddy, Nightshift and Skull Trail.

            I opted to get a lift back with Alex, Steve was feeling spunky and rode back. Crazy guy. ;)

            The rest of the afternoon was napping, eating, and watching shows (Legend of the Seeker and Merlin..tee hee..love my SciFi weeknds.) Was pretty beat!

            Here's my power data from the ride:
             Entire workout (186 watts):
                Duration:      2:42:53 (3:48:29)
                Work:          1815 kJ
                TSS:           220 (intensity factor 0.9)
                Norm Power:    234
                VI:            1.26
                Distance:      38.42 km
                                   Min    Max    Avg
                Power:           0    1111    186     watts
                Heart Rate:      82    183    159     bpm
                Cadence:         31    206    79     rpm
                Speed:           3.9    49.7    14.4     kph
            Kinda surprised by my NP result! Didn't think we were going that hard.. Pretty sure my cadence didn't hit 206 either. ;)

            This week will prolly get in a few road rides, and hopefully 2-3 climbing sessions. Have a great one! =)


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              Friday, December 04, 2009

              Another Article Debunking Lactic Acid Myth - Sodium-Potassium Pump!

              I found this article in the latest email newsletter from www.roadbikerider.com (whom i thought i'd unsubscribed from, but then a couple weeks ago started getting newsletters again..) There was actually an interesting article, progressing the ideas of what causes muscle fatigue (aka not lactic acid, see here for an article i put together a while back on the subject, and how lactic acid ISN'T a bad thing.)

              Read on, discussion welcome!
              Does Interval Training Improve Endurance?

              No doubt about it, according to a new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology and reported by cycling physician Gabe Mirkin, M.D., in his weekly ezine (available at http://www.drmirkin.com).

              We're pleased because the findings underscore a training approach long promoted by RBR's Coach Fred Matheny. Here's an overview:

              Dr. Jens Bangsbo of the University of Copenhagen asked competitive distance runners to reduce their mileage by 25% but add 8-12 half-minute sprints 2 or 3 times per week. They also ran fast repeats of 0.6-0.8 miles (1-1.3 km) 1 or 2 times per week.

              Meanwhile, a control group of runners continued what was basically long, steady distance training.

              After 6-9 weeks, the control group showed no improvement. Runners in the intervals group, however, improved both their 3-km (1.8-mile) and 10-km (6.1-mile) race times by more than 3%. Half of them ran their best times ever, even though they'd been racing for more than 5 years.

              That's remarkable improvement after only about 2 months of interval training.

              Two years earlier, Dr. Mirkin reports, Dr. Bangsbo had done ground-breaking research supporting the theory that exhaustion of the "sodium-potassium pump" (not lactic acid buildup) is the major cause of muscle fatigue during exercise.

              Now in his new study, Dr. Bangsbo shows how interval training improves a muscle's capacity to pump potassium back inside muscle cells during exercise. This helps athletes run or ride faster even in very long events such as marathons and multi-day bike rides.

              Dr. Mirkin explains that a muscle can contract only if it has an electrical charge across the muscle cell membrane. This electrical charge comes from having sodium primarily outside the cell and potassium primarily inside the cell. These higher concentrations are maintained by the sodium-potassium pump in the cell membranes.

              Dr. Bangsbo showed that during rapid contractions, muscle cells lose potassium so fast that it's doubled outside cells in less than a minute. The pump is overwhelmed. This reduces the electrical charge between the inside and outside, so muscle cells contract with much less force until finally they cannot contract at all. 

              Now here's the good news. Repeated muscle contractions can increase the ability of the pump to put potassium into cells. The greater the force on a muscle during training, the more effectively the pump can do this. It's why a training plan that increases the number of intense efforts will give an athlete greater endurance.

              How to Apply these Facts

              You cannot gain maximum endurance just with continuous steady exercise, says Dr. Mirkin. It's also a message found in various RBR training eBooks written by Coach Fred, Coach David Ertl and Arnie Baker, M.D.

              To improve your sodium-potassium pump, you need to put some serious force on your muscles. And probably the "easiest" way to do it is with interval training (although hard climbing and time trialing can work too).

              Of course, Dr. Mirkin cautions, intense exertion can kill a person who has blocked heart arteries. You should get your physician's permission before increasing hard efforts.

              Once cleared, you can do intervals on the road or on a trainer. There are 2 basic types for this discussion:

              ---short intense efforts of 30 seconds or less

              ---long intense efforts of 2 minutes or more

              "Intense" is for you to decide. It's possible to ride as hard as you can for half a minute, but the effort can't be quite as great when going longer.

              Dr. Mirkin recommends 30-second intervals once or twice a week. Do 6, 8, 10 or more sprints during a session, then follow with a short, easy recovery day.

              Because long intervals of 2+ minutes are more stressful, you can't do as many during a workout or do them as often. You may need 2 days of easy riding for recovery.

              Rest Intervals

              Athletes usually learn their ideal between-effort rest interval through experience, notes Dr. Mirkin.

              You may want to rest until your pulse drops enough for you to begin to feel comfortable. Or until you're able to slow your breathing rate towards normal, or until your muscle discomfort begins subsiding. But don't wait for complete recuperation before going again.

              Between interval workouts, if it takes longer than 2 days to recover you are probably riding too intensely, doing too many repetitions, or your rest intervals are too short.

              Weekly Training Plan

              In Dr. Mirkin's view, based on Dr. Bangsbo's research and his own cycling experience (he's 74 and a dedicated roadie), a weekly endurance training program should include a good amount of relatively slow miles, 1 or 2 workouts with numerous short intervals, and perhaps one workout that includes several long intervals.

              So that's that - something new for me.

              Have a good weekend of riding!


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                Thursday, December 03, 2009

                One CX Ends, A New CX Begins

                Yes, cyclocross season is over, and back to winter training, and several days a week at Crag X Climbing Gym.

                Last weekend was the BC Provincial Cyclocross Championships over in North Van. I headed over with Fluffy, Steve & Chelsea. Fun road-trippin' crew!

                Got picked up at (ugh) 6am, and made the ferry with plenty of time. Uneventful ferry ride, and arrived at the course with plenty of time to spare. We wandered around a bit, checking out some of the features. It was pretty flat, winding around Mahon Park. Very different from any Cross on the Rock course. I believe the entire course was at least a couple meters wide, so nearly always opportunities to pass. It had been pretty wet, and although a grey day, no rain was seen....but it had done it's thing to the course, and the sharp 2m ride-ups were savaged and there were a few spots with muds of varying liquidity.

                My racing option was Senior/Elite, so i was definitely outgunned. Not to mention i was still under the influence of that surprisingly tenacious cold...i managed to get on the bike the week before, but it wasn't particularly productive, nor did i feel fantastic. (Still, got that 5min/350 watt PB which i'm pretty happy with.)

                Roland had gone over the day before, and raced the final BC Cup, and finished just off the podium in 4th in the B's. I would have been there had i felt more spunky...it was my original plan, but didn't feel up for it..

                Roland raced in the Masters 30-39 field, which was bigger than he expected....he pulled off a 10th tho, good show! Fluffy in the next level of Masters pulled off a 4th (he thought he was further back!) and the Island's CX superhero Norm took the title, Provincial Champ! (He edged out Johnny Fokkema, who in turn sniped him at Nats.) There were lots of Islanders on the podium including my ride back, Peter Wellsman, who got 2nd in his field, and young Amanda Wakeling, who also claimed 2nd in the U17 Women. Joelle and Chelsea had great rides. Mike Brinton and Jordon Duncan, juniors who gave me grief in the local races also earned medals. Apologies to others i missed, full results and very accurate course-description here. Here we all are afterwards, great idea by Wendy Simms to snap a pic:

                So, for my own race it was weird to line up with people i know who are so fast, and many more people i don't know who are fast. Steve was the only rider i'd see nearby for a little while.. (Apologies to Michael Rothengatter, who was with me at the start line, but i didn't recognize in the H&R kit, and out of context from the velodrome!! Glad we trackies are consistent in finishing off the back of the field in CX - really, could any cycling discipline be any less compatible?! Wait, what was Scott Mulder doing finishing 2nd?? hahaha.. Molly Cameron totally blows my theory out of the water, doing well on both...anyways..)

                It was a tough course, with virtually no opportunities for recovery. Lots of shifts in speed, and a staggering assortment of mud.

                The course started off with a straight-away and wide corner on a hard running surface, and then a sharp left into an uphill mudpit. It looked a bit like this (thanks to Amanda for the pics! Don't blame her for the blurriness, blame Vancouver's sky!):

                There was a line you could ride up at the top, if you could get there... I gather more people ran it:

                That led the first of many hairpin turns, and a set of 3 stairs. (The more advanced or brave riders would just ride up them. I stuck to running 'em.)

                That spit us out into mudpit #2. Mudpit #2 lead to Mudpit #3 - The Descent. A short drop that was pretty carved out. Another stretch on running track, a few tight twists through some trees, over a pit of fist-sized sharp rocks, and back onto the playing surface, around another hairpin and into the barriers.

                That lead back over the rocks part two. Luckily there was a narrow line on the right, i called the flat-free alley. A 90 degree turn led to some grass, and a short drop...which ended in Mudpit #4 - The Ascent. Luckily you hit this with some speed, and would get up quick. It was ridable on my pre-ride, but impossible afterwards... That wound around a tree and down another descent, which had another turn and then another sharp climb back up. This one was ridable all race. It literally hairpinned into another descent. These were all about 2m rises/descents, btw. Very power-oriented, which was fine for me..

                All this lead to a paved straight of about 250m, and back onto grass with another hairpin. You're prolly starting to sense a theme here. ;)

                This was the only recovery on the course, as you descended another 200m on a slight slope. It was over in about 8 seconds. Hope your heartrate has dropped sufficiently!

                Another hairpin with some mud, another stretch on and off some concrete, and another hairpin. This lead to another hairpin and Mudpit #5 - The Drop Into The Slop. First off, it was a hairpin on a drop. The drop section itself was mud, and had many deep ruts. I managed to figure out a line that cut across it all and dropped me into the deepest section of 'The Slop', which was the best section to ride. It was about 10cm deep mud, about as thick as applesauce, where we can see Norm here:

                Just a 90 degree corner there, but just out of view is a brief muddy berm into Mudpit #6. Similar to The Slop, but not as deep. These sections really tested your drivetrain... Across a small basketball court, into another steep powerclimb, this one maybe 3m long. If you were smart, you conserved a bit across the b-ball court to make it up this. If not, it was a run. And yes, muddy, tho seemed better as the race progressed.

                Another 50m straight, and the 'real' stairs, about six of them. A quick ascent and return to the saddle, but for some reason this next section just killed me to get through. It was just 30m, into a hairpin and around a tree, but for some reason i moved SO SLOW there. The course wiggled between several more trees, and then wound back to the playing field, for a 100m straight, then another drop, tight corner and muddy ascent. I wasn't riding this, i think i saw a few other riders making it tho. 50m down was the finish/lap point.

                This was the most exciting moment of the day for me - it was the final lap and Sven Sturm had been chasing me from the stairs.. He caught me by the run-up, and had a sprint for the line, and i managed to avoid getting lapped by him..haha.. Well, lapped twice. I think. For some reason the results say i was lapped once by the leaders, but i was definitely 2 laps down on Evan, Craig, Dan, Drew and Nick. I guess i held Sven to only 1 lap. ;)

                I went into it with two goals: Top 20 finish, and not-last. Mission Accomplished! There were 22 riders, so there was some risk with this, but four DNF'd. As for the 2nd goal...that was fairly close, but luckily i remained ahead of one rider.

                So two more Islanders finished around the podium, with Craig taking Silver, and Drew in 4th, both putting in strong rides.

                Glad i went, although my body wasn't really up for any degree of competitiveness. I think were i feeling better, might have been able to finish 2-3 positions higher, but that'd be about it.. I guess that'll be my goal for next year: Top 15. =)

                A few more pics, here's Norm negotiating the top section of the descent into the Drop Into The Slop:

                Rollie about to hit the slop:

                Fluffy catches and passes Rollie:

                On one of many hairpin corners:

                Hello haybale, had to ditch the shades as they were fogging up:

                On the ferry on the way home, i didn't get a chance to hose down my bike before leaving (technically they took down the hose before i could!!)

                My full set of shots can be found here. Not a lot, but hey.. Fun ride home with Peter and Craig, and a satisfying end to the 'cross season. =)

                I've got some PowerTap data from rides on Thursday (w/Alyssa) and Saturday (again, out to Mt Doug with the OBB group), but it's not particularly interesting. Took Tuesday off, and hoping to get on the MTB tomorrow (Thursday.) Oh, fun link: my report for my first 'cross race, Nov '06.

                Climbing Gym

                I've been excited for months to get back to climbing, and so Monday made it out with my vegan climbing friend Kelly. This is our 3rd year of climbing together. Started Dec '07 or Jan '08, and go until March or so. It's an excellent form of cross training, and does wonders for the core (not to mention developing overall upper-body strength.) I usually end up going 2-3 days a week (the days i'm not on the bike!) By the end of Season 1 (Mar08), we were doing 10a's with relative ease, and completing some b's, and working on c's.

                Fall '08, return in mid-November, work my way up, and back to 10a's in a few weeks. By end of Feb '09, i'd cleaned most 10d's, and was working on several 11a's, very nearly able to clear a couple... Pretty good progress! Most happy with my form, which i'd really worked hard on. Racing started early March, and i was feeling pretty done by then, so ended the season and focused back 100% on cycling.

                So it's Fall '09, and i hit the walls on Monday. Very happy to be back! Funnily, there was only one rope that had routes from when we left. ;)

                I felt pretty clunky starting off..jumped onto a 5.6, no prob tho i didn't feel very smooth. Did a 5.7, no prob. Moved up to a 5.8, again, no prob, although starting to feel it in the fingers a bit more, more fatiguing.

                Thought i'd limit myself to the 5.8's, and cleaned them all. That was 2hrs, called it a night, pretty happy. After a couple 5.8's, my form really started to come back, and i was feeling mostly 'normal'. Even gave a 5.9 a go, felt great. Toes were sore tho!

                Last night (Wed), went back for my second session. Recovered well, fingers and forearms felt solid. Started on a 5.7 - felt great. 5.8 - no prob. Did my first 5.9 - it had smaller, tighter near-pinches, no prob. Felt it a bit more, but it was good. Continued on with the 5.9's, and cleaned all in the gym but the long, overhang one with a nasty hold near the top. I think we've figured out how to manoeuvrer it, so shouldn't be a prob next session. There was also a 5.9+ that i attempted near the end, but i was pretty fried by then, but i *really* enjoyed that route. More challenging, and required a fair bit of 'yoga' as i put it - where you have to twist your body to make a hold with the greatest efficiency and smoothness. (You can just muscle it, but that's not my climbing 'style'...not to mention that it becomes an increasingly futile method as the climbs get more difficult. To all new climbers that might be reading this: WORK ON YOUR FORM!! Be SMOOTH and flow from hold to hold.)

                Next session (Fri or Sat) will begin to tackle that 9+, and some of the 10a's. At this rate, i ought to be nearly back to where i was in a few weeks...assuming my fingers can keep up! Goal this season is to conquer the 11a's, and maybe a few b's. With climbing, there's diminishing returns once you get up to those levels... Going from a 10a to a 10b is fairly do-able. Going from 11a to 11b takes a LOT of practice. One note about my 'training': i'm just doing this for fun. I'm not doing pushups, pullups, or any finger exercises, and rarely do laps. I know i could progress faster doing these things, but i'm getting enough of a challenge, and happy with my rate of progression. Besides, once able to do 12a's, there's not many climbs left to do at the gym. ;)

                Links of Interest

                Okay, it's getting late, and i've got a bunch saved up, but got a couple fun ones -- GoogleMaps Streetview have invaded Victoria, so i can show the world a few spots, so here are a few.

                First, my bike shop Oak Bay Bikes. Here's the section of Beacon Hill Park where we'd do most of our 'cross practice. And unfortunately they don't going up the street where Crag X is, but it's the tall building on the right.



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                  About Me

                  Dave Shishkoff
                  aka Dave Noisy
                  Victoria, BC

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