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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Rockstar Adventure Race (8 hour)


That was fun!  I think.

Me before the race, ready to rock!
The Race - Start

This year was a little bit different.  We were bused out to a starting point outside of the property, then had to do a trail run back to the start.

School Busing Like a Rockstar!
I was honestly a little disappointed!  When I heard we were starting somewhere remote, we thought for all that extra expense/effort we'd be doing something kick-ass cool.  Most of the trail we'd run before, so we only really did about 1.5-2km that we hadn't seen before.  But that's OK!

The run was good - rutted ATV trails, muddy sections, pretty hilly.  There were a couple of bridges out, so we had to bypass them by wading through the lake.  We were told "knee high water", then found ourselves emerged up to our belly buttons!

Good stuff.

We held back for the most part, I was in my "I can do this all day" pace (not sure about my partner but he kept saying he was OK so I kept it up!).  It's a long day, nobody gets a ribbon for winning the opening run!

Rogaine-Style Checkpoints

After the run we had about 7.5 hours left to get to as many checkpoints as we could.

If you're not familiar with this kind of race - you're basically given a map and an instruction sheet detailing the location of numerous checkpoints.  Each has a point value.  You can take any route you want, with the goal of getting the most points of any teams.  If there's a tie, the team that got to the finish first wins.

In past years we were allowed to canoe and run only (and the opening stage was mountain biking).

This year we were allowed to use the bike, canoe or run!  It was a fantastic change, the strategy was quite a bit different as you could bike to some far-flung places before running.

We split up the checkpoints into three sections - bike, canoe, bike.

Bike #1

We started by biking down this long road and picking up the checkpoints along it.

The first checkpoint was at the top of a giant rock hill/cliff.  We found it pretty easily.  The second one we had seen from the road - it was a tough slog to get to it, but still pretty easy.

The third one was problematic... it was listed as being near a creek, and when we got off the bike we were near a water thing and what looked like a creek... but no checkpoint.  A bunch of teams wandered around with us looking lost/confused, until finally we found a much larger creek quite far into the bush from where we'd started!  Ugh.  Took us about 15 minutes of screwing around in the bush to find it.

The next one was reasonably straightforward, although I made a small mistake and we came at it from the wrong end - I overshot it a little.  Maybe 5 minutes added.

We skipped the next one.  CP62.  We knew the "trail" it was on (no longer much of a trail) from previous years, and we figured it would be time consuming... this was under the assumption that clearing the course was impossible - we'd never been even close... more on this later, but we really made a mistake not going for it!!!

One other rule change for this year - we weren't allowed to do any of the "staffed" checkpoints until 2pm... we realized all of a sudden we were way ahead of schedule!  Our plan had assumed we would hit those checkpoints as part of getting other ones.  So we made a game-time decision to go for this one along an ATV trail (CP63).  We were able to bike all the way up to it - it was rough at times, but I remembered the trails from a previous time and I it really paid off.  There was one deep creek crossing, but other than that it was easy peasy.

Canoe

The next set of checkpoints were accessible from the boat.

The first one was in the middle of the lake - you could see it from shore, so easy 60 points!  We had to skip the staffed checkpoint as we were still too early... but other than that we went according to plan, hitting the checkpoints along the lake without much trouble.

There were two that were inland that we had to bush-wack to.  The first we had planned to get to - it was along a rocky creek and up to a marsh.  No trouble finding it.

The second one we hadn't planned, but we were now realizing that clearing the course was a distinct possibility!  This was on a beaver dam between two swamps.  We took a rough bearing, found the creek we needed to follow, and nailed that one off too.

Island checkpoint has been a staple of the race, easy one.  Then the first staffed checkpoint...

Inner tube.  You have to sit in it, paddle out to a buoy thing with the timing checkpoint punch about 100m out.  By "paddle" I really mean "flail your arms uncomfortably trying to move yourself in an inner tube"... I get to do this one every year, and I hate it every year - but I finally got positioned right and managed to do it pretty quickly.

Paddled back to the start/finish and that was the end of the canoe for the race!

Bike #2

This ended up being a bit of a mess.

First we nailed off a stand-up paddleboard stage.  My partner killed it, it was super impressive (but he's been practicing since we first did this one a few years ago!).

Then there were three checkpoints up in this marshy area... it was utter drudgery.  We biked as far as we could (which wasn't far) and then trudged through heavy heavy bush for the next hour and a half.

Devoured by deer flies (DEET is a scam!), scratched to hell by brush... trudging through all kinds of nasty marsh... this is what we hated last year, and this year we were back at it!

Our navigating was on point - looking at the map we were very direct for the most part, getting to the checkpoints.  But it was just very tough going.

One other rule we had to deal with - you had to visit the start/finish checkpoint between 4pm-6pm (5-7h into the race) and tell them what checkpoints you'd be attempting from then on.  We had hoped to complete our full bike loop then check in, but it was clear we wouldn't be able to get there by 6pm... so we had no choice but to abandon our loop and go back to the start.  This cost us more time, another 10-15mins of backtracking probably.

Unanticipated Bike #3

There were two major checkpoints left, both reachable by bike.

The first was a trail building checkpoint.  This, again, ended up being a mess!

We got there, and ended up having to run a lonnnng way off the main trail to get to the point where they were building.  Unbeknownst to us - we were running on trail that had been built that day, by people who did this checkpoint earlier than us!  If we had hit this one earlier we'd have saved ourselves a good kilometer of running... UGH!!!

Then more bad news - the 80 point "bonus" checkpoint you got for trailbuilding was back the way we'd already gone (Bike #1)... so we'd have to double back later.

Then even MORE bad news - on the way out, on a giant rocky ledge, I managed to stub my toe hard on a stump I didn't see at all... I went flying and hit the deck.  My toe is a very nice shade of purple now... it hurt like hell!!!

It hurts more than it looks like it should - that toenail is history!
After the trail build we went to the far bike checkpoint - it was easy to find, 80 points, we felt pretty good about that one.  By this point we were starting to fade pretty badly (my partner especially!) so our pace was pretty bad...

We doubled back on the road to the bonus checkpoint, then came back to the start/finish.

There were two last staffed checkpoints.  The first was one we have always avoided.... you have to find a CD on the bottom of the lake at a depth of about 8 feet.  I can't get down to the bottom - I don't know what it is, I get my head under water, but I just can't get down deep.  Fortunately a helper kid was there to do it for me.  Yay!  Still counts!

The last one was we had to drink a small amount of beer.  We drank the small amount of beer.  It was delicious.

FINISHED!

And that was all she wrote for us!  We finished with about half an hour to spare.  We had missed just one checkpoint... we were kicking ourselves, but there just wasn't time to go back and get it.  It wasn't completely impossible, but it would have been a risk, and we were pretty done.

On further reflection - when we went back to get that bonus checkpoint, we were pretty close to the one we'd missed... but in the moment it wasn't even a flicker in my mind.

We ended up finishing 8th in our division (team of 2 male) - the top 7 teams all ran the table, the top team actually got some bonus checkpoints available to those who got all the other checkpoints.  Amazing.

I'm reasonably sure we could have run the table... I'm not quite as sure we'd have improved on our result, we'd still have had to have finished sooner than the other teams that ran the table, and I think we'd have just squeaked in under 8 hours.  We would have had to have a few other things go right for us - like not having to double back for the mid-race check-in at the start/finish, or not having to go so far down the trail for the trail build, or after that not having to double back to get the bonus checkpoint... mostly just unlucky, though, you can't anticipate everything!

Next Year

This race is so well done, it's just awesome fun.

What isn't that fun is the bushwacking in some of the areas... there's some pretty passable brush in some areas, but others are marshy hell.  It becomes drudgery... I'm sure some folks like it, but neither of us do.  We didn't have to deal with that in the 4 hour version a couple of years ago - seems to only be a feature of the 8 hour!

So we'll likely go back down to the 4 hour next year.  Later start (get to sleep in!), less horrible bush-wacking, just as much fun (more fun?).  I think we can rock it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Race Preview: Rockstar Adventure Race (8 hour) 2017


We're back!

This race is so much fun.  Unlike a traditional race that follows a set course, this is a points race - you are given maps detailing the location of various checkpoints, each worth a certain amount of points.  Get as many points as you can in 8 hours!

Paddling, running, and mountain biking.

It's designed so that getting to all of them is not really feasible, so you have to strategize a lot - which checkpoints to go for, what route to take, etc.  That's part of the fun.  Oh and some navigation.

The Past

In 2015 we actually won our category in the 4 hour.  Managed to plan a pretty smart route and had a little luck while other teams faltered!

We did the 8 hour in 2016 thinking it would be a lot of the same, just at a slower overall pace... but we got lost in some really nasty brush areas and spent hours and hours bushwacking.  It was not fun.

So we have some revenge on our minds as we line up again.

Ch-ch-ch-chaaaaanges

Usually this race starts with a marked mountain bike course, then you have only the canoe and running in your toolbox for the rest of the race.

This year they will still start with a marked course - but they're not telling us the discipline until race day.  And then the rest of the race for the first time we can use our bikes!

This adds a whole new dimension to things.  Some of the trails in the area are very bikeable, some are very not bikeable... we don't know the whole system, so it's going to be a bit of guesswork at times.  We want to maximize the time in the boat or biking, as running for 8 hours is not something we're looking to do.

Should be a hoot trying to figure it all out!



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Race Report: Lindsay Milk Run (21.1k)

Most races need more cowbell... not this one!  Check out the cool finisher's medal.

Coolest Medal Ever?
Really great race - well organized, I was a little concerned the 21.1k wouldn't go off quite as planned but it was perfect.  As advertised there were aid stations every 2-3km, it was really awesome.  Only small quibble - not all had Gatorade...... some just had water.  But it was OK.

Course was mostly flat - there's elevation change but it's subtle, being about 80% on rail trail.  Rail trail was mostly hard packed gravel/sand, it was a decent surface for the most part.

Best of all - Kawartha Lakes Dairy provided FREE ICE CREAM (and milk!) at the finish!  Mmmmmm that hit the spot (especially in the heat and sun).  Highly recommend this race - 5k/10k/21.1k options.

My Race

For the half marathon, we had to be there at 6:15am for the bus to the start (it's point to point) - so from Whitby that meant a 4.30am wake up.  Ouch.  Extra coffee and some rockin' tunes to wake me up on the drive up and I showed up ready to rock.

I lined up with the pretty serious looking half marathon crowd.  Running Free had pacers there - which was great, except I had no idea what pace I wanted.

We started with a short downhill, which always messes me up a little with pacing.  I let it fly then tried to settle back into something near 5:00/km.

I was pretty unsure of how I'd feel today, so my pacing plan was "whatever my legs were telling me".  And at the start they were saying "we feel good, let's go!".  I held back a little but was managing pretty close to a 5:00/km pace at the start.

After a short climb we hit the rail trail.  The surface is gravel/sand and mostly pretty well packed - maybe a little slower than asphalt, but not by much.  Certainly it's softer and more forgiving.

At the halfway point my pace was 5:02/km - and it felt like we'd gained some elevation.  I was thinking 5:05/km would be a reasonable goal time.  Stupidly, though, I hadn't checked the elevation of the finish to compare... so we actually weren't going to be going downhill much after this point, and the overall course is slightly net uphill!

There's a bridge over the lake at 12k - this is the lowest point in the course, and from there my pace started to die as we went back up.  It's not steep (being a rail trail and all) but it's noticeable.  I tried to ignore my pace and just watch heart rate and go by feel.

By the time we joined the other races (5k/10k) I was really starting to suffer.  Dripping sweat, my shirt and shorts were soaked through.  Then we left the rail trail and the last vestiges of shade...

One lady commented that she had "never seen someone sweat so much they left wet footprints" as I went by.  HAHAHA that gave me a chuckle.  But I was seriously dripping sweat, I'm bad for it at the best of times, but I probably lost several pounds of fluid.  Hard to make up with those little cups of Gatorade!

I managed to find some pace for the finish but even with the net downhill I was only managing 5:07/km at this point... for a final pace of 5:11/km (1:49:42 finishing time).

Considering I biked 200km just 36 hours before this race, I'm pretty happy with that.  It is what it is!

I was completely wiped at the finish - chugged down a couple of chocolate milks to try get some salt back in me, water, and of course two bowls of delicious Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream!  (I'm not affiliated with them, other than enjoying their ice cream).

Not a bad race for me, and as an event it was really excellent.  I'll be back for sure!





Saturday, July 15, 2017

Race Preview: Lindsay Milk Run (21.1k)


Race website

I've meant to do this race for awhile (heard great things), but this year they added a 21.1k so I figured it was the year.

The regular milk run is a 5k/10k up in Lindsay around town.

Half Marathon

This race is point-to-point, starting at Daytonia Beach (not to be confused with Daytona) and mostly following the Victoria Rail Trail.

Lots of gravel but very flat... should be interesting.

There is actually a bus that takes participants from the finish to the start, leaving 45 minutes before the race starts... this wasn't alllll that well communicated, and neither was the race kit pickup (leading to some confusion on whether there was race day pick-up or not).  It's their first year offering the distance so I'm anticipating some "growing pains"!  Hopefully not too bad, but I'll bet a carton of milk a bunch of folks miss the bus to the start.  Point to point races are always a little challenging for organizers, hope they're up to the challenge!

My Preparation

I biked 200km Friday, so I'm in ridiculously bad shape for this race.  It was always going to be "just for fun" so i'm not that worried, I'll just go out and do what I can.  I did a 21.1k long run on Monday (again, bad preparation!) not knowing I'd be doing this race at 5:23/km... I think 5:15/km is probably a reasonable goal pace.  I'll try it out and back off if it's not going well.



Friday, July 14, 2017

Ride Report: Tour de GTA


Description and route are here.

What a great day!  194km of riding from Whitby to Burlington.

Whitby to Musselman Lake (0km-50km)

Started off in my hometown of Whitby.  The route technically starts at the GO station, but I didn't want to go down there and back up so I just started at my house.  (I did the part from the GO station back home after, so I'm at peace with it).

From 0 to 37.5km it's net uphill, starting at about 300feet and climbing to 1200feet.  Two climbs of note - Country Lane from Columbus to Brawley is pretty tough, and Concession 7 going south out of Uxbridge is steep.

After that it got very zippy - rollers, and I might have even had a tailwind.

Musselman Lake to Yonge Street Aurora (50km-75km)

This was a really fast section, EXCEPT... St. John's Sideroad was closed at Highway 404!  This added 5km of detouring.  It would have only been 4km, but I thought it would be open west of Leslie and it wasn't... so had another detour to finally get back on it.

St. John's Sideroad got pretty busy through Aurora, but it wasn't too horrible.  Wide road.

Yonge Street Aurora to Schomberg (75km-95km)

Immediately after Yonge things got tough... some steep climbs along 18th Sideroad.  But there's a hell of a reward on the other side!  The descent from Dufferin to Keele was awesome!

Kettleby looked like a really pretty town - but a heck of a climb leaving, and it was under construction so got a dose of gravel.  Nothing too bad (and fortunately it wasn't raining badly so not a mud pit).

After Kettleby is a long exposed flat-ish section until Schomberg.  Several gas stations along this road if you need to refuel!

Hit the convenience store at Schomberg.

Schomberg to Mono Road (95km-119km)

Quite a few climbs here and there, and encountered a bit more construction (gravel again!).  Really pretty.

Mono Road to Hurontario (119km-128km)

Boring mostly flat exposed fields.  I was heard to retort "this is boring".  WHY DID I SAY THAT...?

Hurontario to Mississauga Rd (128km-132km)

HUGE hill.  Steep.  Long.  Oh and under construction.  I span and span but man, what a challenge... and I was starting to feel some fatigue at this point.

Mississauga Road to Glen Williams (via Terra Cotta) (132km-147km)

This section was fantastically pretty - beautiful road, lots of downhill.  Nice looking communities and the Credit River roiling below.  I'd like to go back and check it out sometime.

Refueled at the convenience store at Confederation & Wildwood Road... then.....

Glen Williams to Nassagaweya (147km-167km)

HILL.  Of course.  Steeeeep climb out of Glen Williams.  Just lots of climbing here, and I was really feeling it... sun was out (where was the rain I was promised!?).

15th Side Road was really pretty, enjoyable ride.  More hills.

Nassageway (6th Line) south to Appleby Line (167km-173km)

WEEEEEEEEEE!!!  Downhill!  I hit 80km/h - not a word of a lie.  Terrifying.  But WEEEEEEE!!!!

I really needed that.

Appleby Line to Burlington (173km-195km)

I had an inkling I wasn't out of the woods... I vaguely remembered a climb on this road, before the nice downhill.

And wow, what a climb.  So steep... it's not as long as going up the escarpment from the other side, but it's not short either!  I had a hard time just keeping the pedals going with 175km+ in my legs...

After that it's Rattlesnake Point, and the switchbacks down the escarpment.  That was a hoot.

The rest of Appleby Line is net downhill and pretty fast.  A few little climbs (which I really felt) but mostly fast.  In town there's a bike lane - it's a bit sketchy at times with cars blasting out of parking lots, and it was rush hour... I would avoid rush hour if possible!

Words of Wisdom

The climbs on the west end are way tougher than the east end... I think if you can find a day where the wind is blowing West to East, that's the way to go.  There's still a few climbs that will get you in the last ~50km, but nothing nearly as serious.

I don't know if I have any more wisdom than that really!  I'll try this ride again in the opposite direction next year.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tour de GTA (Greater Toronto Area)


***Updated after I actually did it with some new notes!!!***

I want to do something epic and I have always had this one in mind, but haven't found a day to pull it off.

Friday is the day!

The Concept

Bike from Whitby to Burlington (or the reverse).
Use the GO train to get back (or to the start).

Note: after actually doing it - the hills west of Yonge are much, much harder than the hills east of Yonge!  I prefer having fresh legs to tackle the worst stuff and have a progressively easier ride as the miles add up - so next time I will find a day with favourable winds and go Burlington to Whitby.  It should be easier!


The Route

196km of awesomeness.

Gmap-pedometer.com link (warning: takes time to load)

Note: St. John's Sideroad is closed at Highway 404 until December 2017 - actually it's a longer stretch than that.  I added 5km messing with detours - check for construction updates before using this route!!!

There are probably shorter routes, but would they be as cool?  I.  Think. Not.

I used a bunch of sources, mostly Strava Heatmaps to figure out where people ride a lot.  I'm hoping that has yielded a safe route without too much traffic!

Potential Rest Stops

0.1km - on the east side of Brock are a bunch of food options, McDonald's and some other stuff near the gas station.

~20km - Ashburn General Store at Ashburn and Myrtle (SW corner)

39km - turn north and go into Uxbridge, lots of stores etc to refuel (and a nice little town)

56km - turn south onto Ninth Line, just before Musselman Lake on the right side there is a little store where lots of cyclists congregate to refuel

58km - at the corner of Aurora Road and Highway 48 there's a convenience store right on the route (but I highly recommend Musselman Lake because it's pretty)

Pottageville - there's a gas station, presumably with stuff.

94km - right at the intersection of Main and Church in Schomberg is a little convenience store.  How convenient!  Edit: I stopped here, had everything I needed.

119km - Mono Road - I think there's a store here, but not 100% Edit: I noticed a gas station, but didn't stop.

147.5km - Confederation and Wildwood/Prince near Georgetown.  Edit: SW corner has a convenience store, fully stocked.

193km to the end - lots of stuff along Appleby Line.

Other Route Notes

If you go Burlington to Whitby - you get to go up the infamous Rattlenake Point climb.  It's steep and a good way to warm up the legs!  In the opposite direction it's a sketchy downhill instead.

There are actually quite a few climbs end to end, no matter which way you go.  I suspect East to West is easier (EDIT: NO IT ISN'T!!!), but it could be about the same?  Either way the start and end are at about the same elevation.

Pick a day when the wind is blowing the right direction, because 195km of headwind is a lonnnng day at the office.  I'm planning to go westward as that's the way things are shaping up for Friday.






Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Off The Hooch - Day 17


Time flies when you're not having fun!

Ha I'm being overdramatic.  Actually social life without alcohol has been pretty good - I've substituted my usual beer/wine with non-alcoholic beer or virgin girly drinks.

At the baseball game they have a "designated driver" program - if you agree not to consume alcohol, you get a coupon for a free Prohibition Brew by Budweiser.  It's not bad!  It's not good, but it's not bad!


The Benefits

I usually veg out after dinner - but without a beer or two (or wine or whatever) I find I have more energy to actually do stuff.

My training hours have increased for sure - over 10h the last couple of weeks.  Just have less inclination to put off the run or ride.  I'm already really active, but the extra couple of hours a week has helped.

I don't snack as much - but I still snack.  And I'm still hungry after dinner, that kind of surprised me.  I used to blame the alcohol for that.

My weight is down considerably - I was losing weight but very slowly, now it's coming off at about a pound a week.  Maybe more, it's too early to really know for sure.

My mood is improved.

Just in general it's for the best, I know it's healthier.  I do miss a good pint, though!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Haliburton County Rail Trail (Kinmount to Haliburton)

I've been trying to get out to do this section of the old Victoria Railway (aka CN Haliburton Subdivision) for years, and today was finally the day!

If you dig rail history, check out:
https://www.railwaypages.com/victoria-and-haliburton-counties

Victoria Rail Trail - Burnt River to Kinmount (15km)

Kinmount Railway Station (looking south)
We wanted to make the trip 50km each way, 100km out and back - so we actually started in Burnt River.  We parked at the community center (big public parking lot) and hit the trails.

The Victoria Rail Trail runs from Bethany to Kinmount (via Lindsay), we did the northernmost section from Burnt River to Kinmount.  

It was MUCH improved from the last time I used it - sandy sections had been replaced by a really beautiful wide well maintain path.  It was in excellent condition, one of the finest rail trails I've ever been on.

Haliburton Country Rail Trail - Kinmount to Haliburton (35km)

Switching house thing for IB&O
This section was the main focus of the ride - and it was a bit wild. Information on this trail here.

As we left Kinmount, it was immediately clear this was not going to be a picnic... the trail was bumpy, sandy, rocky, and just generally tough to ride.  We got a bit worried - if this is how bad it is close to town, how much worse is it going to get?

4km from Kinmount was this cool relic in a place called "Howland".  This is the former switching house between the Victoria Rail line and the IB&O railway (Irondale Bancroft & Ottawa).  Unfortunately IB&O is mostly long gone, no trail to speak of (at this end) - but neat to see some of the history there.

This guy stopped and found the old turntable that used to be there (for turning the engines around).

We noticed at the next bridge you could look down and see the old IB&O right of way, where it once crossed Kendrick's Creek.  Very neat as well!

Along the way there are a few bridge crossings, waterfalls, really nice forest, swamps... just generally a lot of natural beauty.  Rocky outcroppings.

The trail surface was rough, though, until about 10km out of Haliburton... we were on our cyclocross bikes, which without suspension was a pretty rough ride.  If you are trying this, prepare for a tough slog... and if you don't like a tough slog, do the sections south of Kinmount on the Victoria Rail Trail!

Haliburton At Last!

A few pics from Haliburton...


In the end it was almost exactly 50km.  After a quick Subway lunch, we doubled back to Burnt River for a 100km gravel and rail trail day!

A Few Cautionary Notes

ATVs are allowed to use these trails.  It wasn't a problem at all, though, we encountered about a dozen over the ride and every single one of them slowed down as we passed and was extraordinarily courteous.

Kinmount and Haliburton are well serviced, but there didn't seem to be anywhere in between to stop to refuel/etc.  Most of the towns along the way relied on the rail (and some terrible farmland) so they're really not towns anymore.... almost Ghost Towns?  So make sure you're self-sufficient - it's pretty remote at times, for some longer stretches.

We encountered a few off-leash dogs being walked, so I think that's just something the locals do.  At least one was fairly ill-behaved.  Your mileage may vary.

Did I mention it's bumpy/sandy/rocky?  

Enjoy!







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Off The Hooch


This is a great article - I think it describes a lot of folks (including me).

Many of us think we are moderate drinkers because we aren't alcoholics, and we are under control of our alcohol consumption.  A couple a night, a little extra on the weekend...

... and before you know it you have boxes and boxes of empties in your garage, and you're trying to figure out who drank all that stuff???

It adds up.

Alcohol is bad for you.  The health benefits are extolled in a handful of studies, and those ones get trumpeted in the headlines because it's a message we all want to hear.  But any trivial benefits are more than offset by harm in other ways... especially as moderate drinking turns to more-than-moderate.

I've increasingly found alcohol just makes my life worse.  That great feeling after a beer fades to feeling lethargic and down an hour later.  When I over-indulge that feeling lasts for a day after, sometimes even more.

Not everyone has that problem, but I do.

So it's time.

I've taken a month off before and felt great while doing it.

This time, 6 months.  Once it's out of my life I can decide whether to bring it back, and if so how to limit myself to less-than-moderate.

Sorry, alcohol.  It's for the best.  See you in 2018, maybe.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Converting my Triple Norco Nitro/Charger to 1x


I originally bought a 2012 Norco Nitro 9.3...

... but after a warranty frame replacement it turned into a Nitro9.3 with Charger components.

It came with a triple chainring (44/32/22) and a pretty standard 10 speed MTB cassette (12-36).

After an emergency repair last year that temporarily turned it into a single speed, I realized that I don't need all those gears.  With the 1x trend I figured it was time to make the plunge.

Nothing was wrong with my bike, so I made the decision to do it in place.

What is 1x?

A single chainring in the front, instead of a triple or double - and no front shifter or derailleur.  Basically your rear derailleur does all your gear changes.

Rear Cassette 

First thing you need is a big range cluster on the rear cassette.

You can take your existing cassette and mess around with it - add a big bail-out ring, drop some, etc.  But if you're like me, you're probably overdue for a new cassette anyway... so I went and bought a new Sunrace MX3 10 Speed Cassette.

$68USD.

This took my rear cassette from 12-36 to 11-42, with reasonable jumps across the whole range.

Front Crankset

Here there are a lot of options.  The "cheap and cheerful" option is to replace your big ring with a bash guard and dump your small ring... leaving just the middle.

There are all kinds of problems here, though.  Without a chain guide in place of the front derailleur, you will probably dump your chain.  You can get a different ring that has alternating teeth - but once you buy that and the bashguard, you're talking some good dough already.

I decided my old crankset was probably not worth saving, so I just replaced the whole thing with the  Race Face Ride Single Speed Crankset.

I found it online for $99USD, and it included an appropriately sized bashguard!  The teeth alternate to keep it firmly where it is meant to be.

Oh and it came with a new bottom bracket!  What a deal.

It's 32T - I don't know if it came in any other configurations, but that was perfect for me since it matched my existing middle ring.

Rear Derailleur and Chain Guide

There are people who say you need a special "clutch" mechanism on your rear derailleur.

There are other people who suggest you need a Chain Guide.

These are both to keep the chain from popping off your front ring.  So far I haven't had any problems, largely on the strength of the alternating teeth on the front ring.  If I start having trouble I'll address it, but I bounced off a lot of stuff without a drop yesterday.

Front Shifter and Front Derailleur

GONE!

It was a little weird not having it... I kept trying to use it instinctively!  That will change soon enough.

First Impressions

I love it.  MTB'ing throws a lot at you, and there are always those times you find the hill steeper than you thought too late and you're in the wrong front ring... no longer.  It's just a lot simpler.  Less things to go wrong.  Probably not massively lighter, but lighter.

One thing I hadn't even thought about is CLEARANCE!  I have more of it!  I'm on a 29-er so I already had a lot, but there is one log I was putting a lot of chainring marks in... this first ride, cleared it!  Yay.  And if I didn't, the bashguard is there to take the brunt, rather than bending teeth.

The jumps between gears were not noticeably larger than before.  For the road they probably would be - I like to find a pretty specific cadence and stick to it.  But MTB it's always pretty dynamic anyway.

Old largest ratio was 3.67:1, new is 2.91:1 - so my top speed should take a hit if I'm ever on roads, which really isn't the priority for this bike. Or my cadence will have to be more hamster-wheel-like.

Old smallest ratio was 0.61:1, new is 0.76:1 - a pretty modest loss of lowest gearing.  We went up some steep stuff, and it was fine.

Total Cost

$168USD+tax+shipping.  Pretty modest.  Being in Canada the exchange rate stings a bit, but still very reasonable.







Monday, May 29, 2017

Race Report: Big East River X 2017


What an amazing day.

Based on wateroffice data - we had 40cm (over a foot!) of extra water level on the river.  The flow was many times last year... so any trouble we had bottoming out on sandbars last year was gone!

It rained on the way up, but the entire race was dry and wonderful temperatures ... 15C or so?

And no wind!  The lake that was wild and hairy last year was placid and peaceful this year.  Fewer boats, too, being earlier in the season.

Our Race - The Start

we're the black boat in the foreground
We hung back a little at the start, choosing to start out behind some boats we knew would be faster than us... that worked well, we had a good clean start.

Last year we went out really hard trying to keep up with people we probably shouldn't have tried to keep up with... this year we were a bit more sensible, but our pace was about the same for the first part before the river.  Steady!

Up the River

The river was so high, and the current was noticeable right from the start.  We did our best to read the water and keep out of it, but watching the real pros as they went by gave us a lesson we needed... stay close to the shore, hug the inside of the turns (without getting TOO shallow though)... we did our best.

In one uninspired moment, we decided to go between a dead tree and the shore .. and a slight bobble with the steering put us into the dead tree!  My buddy got a little branch, I got nearly skewered.  Ooops.  I still have a chunk of dead branch that landed in the boat, guess I'll keep it as a keepsake.

Could have been worse, though, as the kayak behind us who followed our line flipped!  I yelled back asking if he needed help, but he was up and didn't respond (I later realized he couldn't hear us!).

A few corners we messed up, getting too close to the inside where the sandbars were shallow - but for the most part it was a really nice paddle without bottoming out all the way upstream.  Just slow with the current...

2016 upstream - 7.4km/h
2017 upstream - 6.6km/h

Down the River

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

2016 downstream - 8.4km/h
2017 downstream - 9.6km/h

I don't know why we were so slow downstream last year??  But this year it was full gas, so easy, and we were paddling well and steady.  Kept it in the middle and took advantage of the current where we could, it went great.

We caught and passed the only boat we could (then promptly steered into a tree and had to do it again).  We seemed to have made up ground on one other boat, based on where they were when we came out into the lake (vs the turn-around gap) - but couldn't dream of catching them, several minutes ahead.

Across the Lake

Last year the wind had kicked this up into a lather, and then the boats made it that much worse...

This year?  Placid!  (Almost) no boats!  We were about 1m30s faster over this little hop over to the Muskoka River.

To the Finish!

We had a kayak behind us but nothing else in sight (and I stopped looking).  Maybe they could see us but we knew we were good.  The boats ahead were just in eyeshot, but it was a several minute gap late - so we muscled through to the finish steadily and feeling pretty darn good.

Despite my appearing passed out on the dock - I was actually just stretching out my abs (which had given me some mild cramps mid-race!).

All in all just an awesome day.  The patio in the background has beer, I like beer, great way to unwind and watch the later finishers...

Yay canoe racing!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Race Preview: Big East River X 2017


What Is It?

The Big East River X is a 40km (or so) paddling race, starting and ending in Huntsville Ontario.  We paddle up the Muskoka River, across a lake, up the Big East River - and then allllll the way back.

I've done it twice, once in 2015 (solo) which was long, painful, crazy... and again in 2016 tandem.

What about 2017!?

Biggest change is the date - they've moved the race from June up to end of May.

This didn't sound like a big deal - but this year the water levels have been nutso.

 I looked up the water level and flow - it's about 40cm above last year's level, which is a huge increase, and the flow is about 5x last year.

That's actually a good thing mostly, since the low water level last year was a big of a pain - lots of bottoming out and tough to paddle up-stream against the current when you couldn't get a good stroke in because of hitting bottom!

But the flow will be a challenge... going to be a tough slog getting up to the turn-around point.

The way down, though, should be a hoot!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Paddling East Cross Creek (near the Scugog River, Ontario)


We needed somewhere to get a 3 hour paddle in, and with the wind Lake Ontario was out... so we decided to check out the Scugog River.  There are two tributaries that looked promising so we set out on one... the East Cross Creek.


Here's the Strava of our paddle.

We put in at the bridge on River Road.  850 River Rd, Lindsay, ON K9V 4R4 if you want to Google Map it!

This is at the south end of the Scugog River, as it's starting to widen and form Lake Scugog.

We expected to go a few kilometers up the creek then turn around and try the other creek thing on the west side of the Scugog River - but to our surprise, it was clear, not weedy, and best of all deep!

Not far from the put-in point / bridge we saw the remains of an old railway bridge - just the wood foundation supports are visible, and the old causeway thing. That was about the only civilization related thing we saw the entire paddle!

It's all considered "wetland", so mostly it was marsh, more marsh, and then some marsh.  Oh and it's very twisty.  A couple of herons kept us company pretty much the whole way, kept flying up and going upstream - nice big birds.  If you like birds.

The water wasn't flowing much ... almost stagnant?  So I'm guessing in a few weeks it's going to be stinky/skunky and weedy.  But for us it was clear and great.

Also water levels this year are pretty high, so it could be that we lucked out.  But we had no problem paddling, only hit bottom a couple times with the paddles.

In the end we went 11km upstream then came back down - 22km total.  We could have gone further but we were trying to keep it to 3 hours.

The entire time we saw one other paddler - a dude in a kayak - and he was within ~3km of the put-in point... so I don't think this is a very popular destination.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Storm the Trent


What a great day!  2nd overall (and REALLY close to 1st... more on that later).

But first I really want to give kudos to the organizer - I had a few complaints about last year's race, the disorganized canoe start and the outdoor freezing in the rain BBQ being the biggest two.  Both fixed this race - they moved everyone forward right before the race started to ensure we had a proper start line, and they moved the BBQ indoors (thankfully, since it rained again!).

Our Race - Canoe Start

We were once again in the Team of 2 Males category.

Canoe start was a mass start again, which can be sketchy... but we managed to lurch forward enough to get out of the main throng of boats in the first minute.

We quickly found ourselves next to a team we always seem to be around... I'll call them "Team To Beat".  we actually bumped into each other a couple of times picking lines!  It was foreshadowing I think.  (more on that later!)

Within about 5 minutes there were 3 boats out front - a solo kayaker, Team to Beat, and us.  After this the canoe was mostly uneventful - up the river to the turnaround (which was the full 4.5km distance this year), punch in, downriver to the finish.

Downriver was a little sketchy with boats going both directions, but we managed to find safe/good lines through the traffic.

By the end of the canoe I'd say we were about 30-60s behind Team to Beat (and I'm not sure how much behind solo kayak) in a very solid 3rd.  Not sure how far the next boat was behind but it was minutes.

Bike #1

This was all on-road between the canoe to the first trail section at Warsaw Caves.  Entirely uneventful.  We did catch Solo Kayak as they had some kind of bike problem.

Run / Navigation #1

We had a good strategy here - pick off the 3 checkpoints on the easy loop first, then tackle what looked like the potentially tricky short checkpoint when there were more people looking for it.  A lot of time it's like ants when it gets busy, folks just marching toward the checkpoint making it obvious where it is.

This worked great.  On the way around the loop we saw Team to Beat going the other way - it felt like we had put some time into them, which I'm guessing was while they looked for Tricky Short Checkpoint (once splits are up we can probably confirm this!).

We hit Tricky Short Checkpoint without any trouble thanks to the swarm of other racers.  Things were looking good!

Back at the checkpoint to switch to the bikes and we were first!  Except... as we were about to leave another team (who I'll call "Young Guns") swooped in without having to change shoes and actually got on the road before us.  Grrr.

Bike #2

As we left we saw Team to Beat coming to the checkpoint, so we new they were maybe a minute behind us.  Then we saw the Young Guns stopped, looking at their map... hit the road, now firmly in first place of the entire race.

We haven't lead a lot of races in our lives, so this was a pretty big thrill!

Young Guns closed the gap, but didn't pass us - I think they were relying on us for navigation a bit.  We hit a short off-road muddy section with a checkpoint by a pond - lucky for them I spotted it as they were about to go right by!  I was hoping we could get in and out before Team to Beat showed up, but alas, it wasn't to be - they saw us and we tipped off where the checkpoint was.

Back on the road, Young Guns fell back a bit.  Still leading at the end of the bike... yikes!  Could we actually win this thing???

(I felt like someone with a slow canoe with killer run/bike splits would show up at any minute and blow by...)

Run #2

As we rolled into the checkpoint both Young Guns and Team to Beat showed up!  Again, they were able to pass us while we changed shoes.  That's something we'll have to figure out, it cost us precious time today.

I don't know where Young Guns went at first, the only team we saw when we ran was Team to Beat.  They had about 10 seconds on us, then 20s, then 30s... we were pretty close throughout but they were chipping away.

The weird part came when Young Guns showed up out the blue, then were following us from one checkpoint to another.  Then, instead of continuing around what I figure was a pretty obvious loop, they turned back.  I have no idea what they were doing - and we didn't see them again the rest of the race.

Bike #3 and THE SWAMP
Not us (pic someone else took) but that's the swamp...

Back on the bikes, and Team to Beat was nowhere to be seen.  They were gone, they just had more running pep than we could muster and had put some minutes into us by now.

A short road section gave way to a gravel/mud road and trails in a Conservation Area.  It was pretty cool and suited our riding skills I figure (especially my partner as he's a more technical rider than me generally).

We were looking for the checkpoint that was described as being at "swamp, on trail".  We came around a corner, and there was the swamp... and the checkpoint... and across the swamp, Team to Beat already leaving!  Gah!!!  I figured we didn't have much chance at that point.

THE SWAMP was literally chest deep, and I'm 6' tall.  For the kids in the race it must have been a swim, or a piggy-back ride!  It was crazy.  The only good thing was the bottom wasn't mucky, more rocky than anything... pretty sketchy though!!!  I floated/pushed my bike through the gross swampy nastiness as quick as I could, with my teammate in tow.  Looked back, nobody even starting the swamp, so I knew we had a pretty decent gap.

After this there was more really good trail, rocky/muddy, some sketchy mud bogs, but we really plowed through it well.

When we emerged on the final road section there was noone to be seen.

At this point we actually didn't know if we were in 2nd or 3rd... Young Guns could theoretically have beat us out of the run.  I didn't think they had, but who knows?  We felt a podium was a good possibility though.

A police officer at an intersection stopping traffic for us was kind enough to inform us there was only ONE team in front of us, so now we knew we were in 2nd.  Looked back again, long road behind, nobody.  But ahead I could see them now...

I still thought they were too far away.  We hammered it.  I had really good bike legs for this kind of riding, just turning a big gear and go.  My buddy drafted, and we started clawing back time.

And clawing.

And clawing.

We could see them looking back... a glance at first, then another, then another... and the gap closed.

We flew into the last parking lot neck and neck.  Ran our bikes at a ferocious pace over to the racks, racked them (poorly).

The Final Sprint

I wanted so bad to have enough in me to sprint to the finish but I was cooked.  C-o-o-k-e-d.  They are stronger runners and it showed, even though they were probably feeling pretty cooked themselves, they pulled away.

We entered the arena where the finish line was...

... and then it happened.  They ran right past the timing checkpoint.

My teammate lunged for it and checked in first.

What just happened.  Had we just won the race on a last-second slip up!?!?  They realized their mistake, came back and checked in.

They looked dejected, we were elated!

But then the organizer came over... asked who came in first... apologized for not having someone manning the check-in...

We didn't protest, they were truly at the finish line first.  It seemed fair that we finish second.

The organizer gave us the beer give-away prize anyway - and we got our 2nd place medal, so I'm good!

In Conclusion

It was just amazing to be fighting for an overall win like that - I've fought for placings and age groups but this was the entire race.  We were just spot-on on our navigation and plan, didn't miss a beat all race.  Except the shoes... but we'll figure that out!

Great race, great event, will be back next year!






Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Race Preview: Storm the Trent (Hike)


We're back for Storm the Trent!
2016 Start - Sketchy!!!
We did this race in 2015 (Hike) and 2016 (Trek)

For some reason I can't quite remember we're stepping back down to the Hike - maybe it was the long day in the rain/wind last year.  It was a bit rough!

This year they're back at Warsaw (same site as 2016).  This means the canoe will be in the Indian River, which was a pretty nice body of water to paddle - I just hope it's not the first thing with everyone clumped together starting in the water again, that was horrible.  Also hope it isn't cut short!

We've only paddled once this year so far (yesterday).  My bike legs should be good and I've been running a lot of hills.

We did a bit of getting lost last year, so this year the big goal is not to... it can be a huge advantage when everyone else is getting scrambled around to not get scrambled around.  Most teams had some challenges navigating, I think only one didn't... hope to be that team this year!




Sunday, April 30, 2017

Race Report: Paris to Ancaster 2017


Eventful race for me!  Ultimately, disappointing, but eventful.


The Start

I registered too late so was in Wave 3 (instead of my usual Wave 2).  This put me 5 minutes back, which really wasn't that big a deal.  My main concern was that there wouldn't be good people to draft off on the first rail trail...

... wrong.  In actuality, there were great people to draft off - and it was my legs that just weren't up to the challenge today.  Rough start, felt it early and painfully.

The other concern was the rain - it was pelting when I arrived in Ancaster, but by race start it was gone and held off the whole day!

Headwind and Early Roads

The headwind was very, very brutal, and in our faces most of the race.  I wheel-sucked every chance I got, already well into the red... it was shaping up to be a tough day.

The Ditch

There's one part of this ditch that's basically single file - and sure enough, it was single file, with a pretty hefty line-up by the time I got there.  My first taste of course congestion (and sadly not my last)

After-ditch Offroad

I rode this pretty well, lots of walkers in the way (and if you were walking a fat bike or mountain bike, you should be ashamed of yourself!).  This used to dump out onto a farm road, but instead it used the field itself to get back to the road - quite a bit tougher, muddy and soggy.

Orchard

Same as always, orchardy.

Headwind and Roads and a Farm...

This all sucked - the wind was so horrible.  I grabbed every wheel I could find but it was still just punishing.  It wasn't until I was swallowed up into a group of about 20 riders that finally there was some relief.

Muddy Rail Trail and MECHANICAL

I broke my rear derailleur hanger here a few years ago, so it's only fitting that this is where my rear shifting completely stopped working.  I haven't investigated yet - I thought it was a broken shifter cable, maybe it still is.  But long story short, my shifter could no longer shift and I was suck permanently in the highest gear on the rear (the smallest cog).

Paris to Ancaster is not a race you want to be stuck on your smallest cog... you need all of them!!!

Nightmare.  My cadence was so slow through this section, I walked parts I know I would have normally ridden.

Headwind and Roads and the 40km Race

The organizers NEED to fix this - they had it licked a few years ago, where the 40km race would start late enough not to interfere with the 70km... but they added some stuff in the early race and with the headwind and conditions we ended up mixed in with the 40km folks.

My friend in Wave 2 had the same problem - and he didn't have a mechanical.  He didn't have it nearly as bad, though.

At the end of the completely congested rail trail there is a little ditch exit thing to get back to the road...

10 MINUTES.

We waited in congestion, standing there like idiots in a line, for 10 minutes.

Ridiculous, and completely avoidable by just starting the 40km 15 minutes later.  And it's not like this hasn't been a problem before, they know about it, but just don't do enough to address it.

More Roads and Rail Trails and Farmers Fields and and and...

Everything was horrible after that - my gearing was right about 1/2 the time and horrific the other 1/2.  My cadence couldn't have been more than 30rpm at times, it just zapped my legs.

And that headwind - wow.  Usually wind slows you down, this just stopped you in place if you didn't keep pushing.

MacGuyver

At some point there was a hill and I had the idea to pull on the derailleur cable with my hand while pedaling... and it actually worked, it was connected somehow in the shifter to something that I could put tension on it and find a lower gear!

Of course, holding your shifter cable while pedaling is not great... but it got the wheels turning...

So just before the first mud chute, I stopped and grabbed a small stick, wedged it in there to put some tension on the cable.

Voila!  It got me up about halfway through the cassette!  Suddenly hills weren't quite as bad...

Going downhill was terrible though... but at this point in the race I was far more concerned with the ups than the downs.  And frankly it wasn't much of a "race" for me anymore, just a ride for survival.

The small stick gave up on me at the bottom of the last mud chute - and I was lucky to find a thicker short stick.

Here is what it looked like:


It looks ridiculous, but it worked - I was able to get into the lowest gear I have for the final climb.

Final Climb

Unfortunately... 2 hours of turning big gears had really just destroyed my legs, and while I rode a pretty good chunk of the final climb I didn't manage to ride it all without walking.

*Sniff*

Results

I don't know - but I'm assuming horrible.  Well over 3 hours.  I'm sure a lot of people had hard days, but I had an even harder day than most I'm sure!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Race Preview: Paris to Ancaster 2017


First race of the year coming up!  13 more sleeps.

This will be my 12th Paris to Ancaster (in a row)!  Through thick and thin I've always managed to get to the start line of this one.  For all the gory details read my 2016 race report.

Me in Better Shape
The Good

I've managed to get out and do some decent outdoor rides!  In between being sick and nonsense, my legs actually feel pretty darn good.  I hesitate to say "ready" because this race is so early, but I feel like I could have the legs for something decent.

The Bad

Still heavy, tooooo heavy.  This will probably be my highest P2A weight in a bunch of years.  That will hurt on the climbs.

Also I didn't register in time for Wave 2, so I'll be relegated to Wave 3... by the time we get to some of the course, a lot of people will have beaten it up and churned up the squishy mud.  Still hoping there are some good opportunities for drafting, but presumably each wave has a little less.

Previous Results

The Hybrid Years
2006 3:54:44 (970/1096)
2007 2:56:21 (632/1136)
2008 2:48:07 (513/1064)
2009 2:50:34 (429/1202)
2010 2:36:12 (463/1272)
The Cyclocross Years
2011 2:29:32 (316/1188)
2012 3:01:47 (597/1275) 
2013 DNF (mechanical)
2014 3 hours + (mechanical)
2015 2:59:30 (641/1300)
2016 2:37:17 (425/1490)

I don't expect to crack the top 500 this year... but top 50% would be nice, we'll see if I can find it.

Still Excited?

I am!  Let's do it!  Sprinnnng!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Don't Call it a Comeback!


I've been struggling with some illness that I can't shake, and it's had a toll on training.

Missed Around the Bay.  SAD!

But I've managed a couple of really strong workouts lately, and I think I'm on the comeback.  Time to get fit and in shape, just a few months to go before the real race season starts!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Canadian Fitness Awards: Partial Curl-ups


These are a little weird... I only managed 26, good enough for Bronze.

I set a metronome for 40bpm (so a click every 1.5s) - top of motion at one click, bottom at other (per the instructions).

It seemed super easy and silly at first, but it didn't after about 10... and then my abs were quivering in pain by the end!  Not a big fan of this as a test, though, it seems to only test a small subset of ab muscles.

Here is the result chart.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Canadian Fitness Awards: Push-ups


Decided to try push-ups today to set the baseline.

Here are the standards (click to enlarge):


My result: 23!

I'm actually quite pleased with that.  Good enough for Bronze.  Getting to 53 is going to be rough, but if I keep doing them I can certainly improve on that.  A little less weight wouldn't hurt!




Monday, March 6, 2017

Canadian Fitness Awards

This was a program from the 1980's that we were forced to go through in school.

Yes, forced!  It was really awful for a lot of us, very discouraging... while for others I'm sure it was very encouraging!  It convinced me forever that I couldn't do push-ups (and until a personal trainer helped me figure them out, I couldn't!).

At the end you got one of 4 badges - Excellence, Gold, Silver, Bronze.
Badges!

I have some somewhere, Bronze and Silver.  Could never lick the full thing.

I feel like I have unfinished business.

Thankfully someone posted the tests on-line!  PDF document is here.

I want to do everything at the 18-year-old level (the highest).  This was meant to test kids, but at 18 they're pretty much adults, right?  Voting and drinking and stuff!

Here are the standards for 18 year old males:
Canada Fitness Test - 18 year old male
I'm going to set a baseline in the next few weeks (once I'm over this GD cold!) and then do it again in the summer.  Hoping I can get to Excellence!  It's going to be tough tough tough.

The Badges were awarded as follows:
Excellence - must achieve Excellence in all 6 disciplines!
Gold - Gold or higher in 5 (must include 2400m)
Silver - Silver or higher in 4 (must include 2400m)
Bronze - Bronze or higher in 4 (must include 2400m)

I'm pretty confident I can get to silver level in at least a few of these... we'll see though!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Polar Heart Rate Strap vs Garmin


Garmin Troubles.  Again.

I was having trouble with my Garmin heart rate strap.  With my Garmin 910XT, my heart rate would randomly shoot up to 200bpm.  I could tell this was way wrong, partly because my heart rate never went that high before.  I confirmed it by checking with a finger on the neck, ~140bpm.

Tried a different Garmin strap (old hard plastic kind) - same result.
Tried a new battery - same result.

Polar to the Rescue!

Finally I read online that the Polar strap is actually better, and would work with the Garmin sensor!

Before:


After:

Garmin and Polar, Together At Last!
Result - perfect, sweet, wonderful heart rate monitoring!


It would be great if my Garmin would just work, rather than needing hard resets and heart rate strap hacking!!!  Someday I will take my money where my mouth is and switch to another device, really sick of Garmin letting me down.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Years... Changes?


I don't like calling them "resolutions", but I guess that's kind of what they are.

Dry January

I'm going dry for January.  Alcohol has too many calories for what I need to do, and it also tends to lower my inhibitions/self-control over what I eat, and that leads to bad snacking.  I've done the odd alcohol prohibition before, and the impact on my weight tends to be significant (and relatively immediate).

Training Resumption

I've had some lingering illness that I can't kick, and as a result I was really bad with exercise.  Fatigue that I just can't shake... but I will push through it, need to push through it, and get back to action!  I won't make the mistake of starting too big, easing back into it.

Diet

So other than the alcohol thing I'm getting back to Intermittent Fasting, rather than what I have been doing (intermittently intermittent fasting).  I was doing 16:8 (16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window) but not sticking to it very consistently at all through the holidays... so fixing that.

Also monitoring calorie consumption.  I am a calorie counter but I'm trying to be a bit less dictatorial about it - loosely keeping track of high/low consumption in each of morning, afternoon and evening.

That's it for now!