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Saturday, February 3, 2018

2018, A Slow Start

Feeling down on myself.

I've been reduced to a weekend warrior in recent weeks.  Some health issues have kept me from really digging into training like I should, and my weight is pretty much unmoved from January 1.

Time to turn it around.  Health problem behind me, 2018 ahead.

Sorry for the boring post.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Canadian Ice Cleats for Running!

I had some trouble last week running on ice.

In all my winter running it's never been quite this bad for quite so long... a little ice here and there, but we had a really bad dump of rain followed by a flash freeze.  Sidewalks have been like skating rinks!
So I watched a video on the YouTube on how to convert regular old running shoes into ice gripping awesomeness.

The result... Grip!

On ice!

I didn't put quite as many in as the guy in the video, but my soles were pretty thin at the front... I was worried any in the middle would poke through.

I used the 3/8" ones in the front, 1/2" in the back.  I could have just used 3/8" everywhere - they worked just fine.  And they actually have a larger head to them.

My run was in about 2 inches of snow, less in some places, more in others.  The ice underneath proved no challenge, had grip.

I'm not sure how great they would be if the snow wasn't there - you could definitely tell there were screws under the shoes when there wasn't snow, might have been uncomfortable.  But I'll have to try it on a snow-less icy day sometime to find out for sure.

But not back for $6 and some old shoes I wasn't using anyway!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Indoor Trainer and Heat

I wrote once about the humidity and increase in temperature in my gym while using the indoor trainer.

This year I upped the ante and got a really good floor fan.  I keep it on full blast.

I also have been opening the window, letting the cold outdoor air in.

What a HUGE difference.

The end of my workout I'm fresh and feeling great, rather than my performance tapering off by the time I'm finishing up...

That should translate into more load on the legs and a stronger start to the season!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


I'm pretty happy to see 2017 hit the rearview mirror.

I didn't have very specific goals in 2017, so it's not really surprising that I didn't achieve much.  I was sick early on, didn't get to training early enough to have a good Paris to Ancaster.  My weight went up and down, ended up pretty damn up.

I did successfully go dry for a few months (summer to mid-October-ish), and have generally cut back on my alcohol since.  The Holiday Season notwithstanding!  So that's good. 

2018 Goals!

Weight Loss

First off I really, really, really want to take weight loss seriously.  Not just "oh I'm going to eat healthy and exercise", but a very clear counting-calorie weight loss program.

I had some success in late 2017, but I've given pretty much all of it back over the holidays... too many office parties, too little training motivation, needed a break from running/biking.

But the break is over, time to get serious! 205lbs on the scale this morning... OUCH.  What the hell.

Plan: 30lbs, 20 weeks.  I'll target 2lbs/week with 1.5lbs/week as the fall-back - should be very do-able.

24 Hours of What Now?

Signed up for a 24 hour mountain bike race in June - would like to do really well at it.  We're a tag-team, and I want to make sure I pull my weight!  Preferably a lot less weight when I'm done all that awesome weight loss.  HAHAHA.


I had a lot of success marrying alcohol reduction with weight loss, so I'll keep at it.  I like the general recommendations from health folks:

  • Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than: 
    • 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days 
    • 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days 
  • Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit.

A drink is a 5% bottle (341mL) of beer, 5oz of wine, or 1.5oz of hard alcohol (whiskey etc).

Actually that seems really high, even the women's limit!  I had pretty much cut out all mid-week drinking outside of special occasions, even one wine or beer with dinner and my evening was pretty useless (unlikely to train or accomplish anything, just a TV day from there!).  So I'll stick with that.


I signed up for the Chicago Marathon so I guess I have to go do that!  I haven't decided yet if it'll be a serious effort or a tourist one, but I generally like to give it my all when I get a chance.  Really looking forward to it, love the city.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Biking in the Snow 2: the Snow Strikes Back

This was the scene today in Durham Forest.

This week: 0C, wet, mud

It rained all night in town, so to pull up and see snow was a bit surprising.

It was ALSO surprising to see Whitby's own Emily Batty, one of the world's best women's mountain bikers (top 5 if you believe in Olympic results), and her husband (who was doing pretty impressive wheelies through the parking lot)... and about a dozen other cars parked with bike racks!

So we went for it.

Fortunately the temperature was right around zero... still a bit of mud, but not too terrible (and nothing that would do too much damage to the trails I hope - always have to think about that!).  By the end the ice pellets and snow had built up enough that the mud was a non-factor (but not cold enough to freeze up the moisture).  It was pretty perfect.

Last week was deeper snow, about 2 inches on the ground, and colder:

Last Week: -5C, 2" snow

Last week it hadn't rained, so it being below zero wasn't a problem - there wasn't any standing water to freeze up under the snow.  The roots were very very slippery, but the traction on the snow was perfect.

That's the real trick with snow riding - fat bike, 29'er, CX - none of them can deal with ice.  None of them can actually deal with a lot of unpacked snow (despite the fat bike hype, they really can't).

There's a sweet spot, and when you get it?  Ride on, baby.

Ride.  On.


Everything is slippery.  Roots especially.

I had my back wheel fly out on me and had a "moment" on what would barely register as a curve... just a tiny little wet/cold root and whoooosh.

Angle of attack is everything.  Perpendicular.  Don't rely on grip on roots - not for traction to move forward, not for steering, it's just not there.  Speed is your friend - use your momentum.  It's also your enemy if you crash... but mostly it's your friend.

Be careful.  Enjoy.  It's fun.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Paris to Ancaster: No Race Day Plate Pick-up

I registered for what will be my 12th Paris to Ancaster.  Early, to get both the discount and ensure I was in a decent wave (which last year, I wasn't!).

... and was met with this message on confirmation.

Race Kit/Plate pick up:
Saturday, April 29 2018 – Ancaster Community Centre - 12 to 5pm.

Wait, what?  

A race with people coming from all over the GTA (and beyond), and now you expect them to come to Ancaster twice?

For me, that's about 3 extra hours of driving.  For some an extra hour, 2 hours, 4 hours.  Or, if you believe their comments on social media - they're going to just not come out at all.

Not cool, P2A.  Not.  Cool.

I hope they reconsider - the reaction on-line has been pretty swift.  I get that race-day pick-up is a pain in the ass for them, but it's a pain in the ass for hundreds of people if they don't offer it (not to mention the wastefulness of people driving out twice).

Honestly, if this stays this way, it could quite easily be my 12th and last P2A.  It's really not worth it for me to drive out twice. I hope enough people vote with their feet on this one, if the RD doesn't reconsider.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Halloween Candy as Fuel

I have a lot of left-over Halloween candy, so it occurred to me - why pay for more sugar (Gatorade) when I can just gobble some Halloween goodies?

Rockets?  Or Smarties?
Referencing the information I got from the Velonews FastTalk Podcast, the answer is pretty much "go for it".

... as long as the primary sugar is glucose, not fructose.

Fortunately here in Canada, most of our candy is either made from real sugar (sucrose contains 50/50 glucose/fructose), or from glucose/sugar mix (ie. dextrose). 

In the U.S. it's a bit tougher to find candy not made from high-fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose), which can contain more fructose than you really want for exercise.

Rockets are one of my favourites (or "Smarties" in the U.S., which are entirely different from our "Smarties" which are made of chocolate!).  30 calories of Dextrose (glucose) goodness per roll.

Also Swedish Berries... glucose syrup, yummmm!