Thursday, November 29, 2007

red thread

My plan is to squeeze as much time on snow as possible into the next 2.5 days. I have a head lamp so night skiing will be a must, maybe an early morning trek to the top of the hill too.

I will be out of reach of the internet until Sunday evening while we are skiing up island. No fear. . . a pen and paper will follow me. Until then . . .

Be the red.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The highlight:
  • Tepi had an amazing workout on the rowers this evening. 18000m and 2:03hrs later she said, "I can do more!" Awesome work Tepi.
We are on regeneration until Thursday morning. Today's swim allowed the the cells to rebuild and recharge. We ran from UVIC today and made it down around the Caddy Bay area. I have a new cyclocross loop in my head. I'll have to see if it's possible on my own before I bring anyone else.

This weekend to my satisfaction we will head up island for a little Nordic action. It's been almost 2 years since I clipped into a pair of ski boots. Translation:

"i'M toO eXcItEd to SLeeeeeeeeeeeeeep."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cellular Rejuvenation

That was the name of today, and coincidentally the song I am listening to. Everything was all about rejuvenation; from the oatmeal with blueberries and yogurt for breakfast, to the 20K Bike TT at UVIC. Good food definitely helps with recovery. And there is no better way to flush out 4 weeks of good work than 20K of hard sweating.

Today I wore the pre-cooling vest for 40 minutes prior to and during the 20 minute warm up. I noticed a few differences.

It was a little uncomfortable before the warm up as I was starting to become chilled. When I was warming up I found that I needed to keep the cadence up to stay warm. Even a little bit of easy spinning and I was reminded of the ice vest.

During the TT my body felt good temperature wise; however, the vest doesn't do much to help the legs. It must be more about shifting that set temperature point (or starting temperature) down. That way your core body feels cool even though the legs are hot and working hard.

Your brain must be monitoring the core temperature instead of that of the working muscle group. Or at least the core temperature must be a more important factor in the brain's assessment of your current state.

I don't think the core blood temperature would drop, but you might be able to bring it down with some serious pre-cooling of the extremities. This could be a possible shock situation, leading to loss of consciousness. . . maybe too dangerous, but worth a try.

All the best to the academically inclined who are heading into the final stretch before exams. You know what needs to be done. You are smart. You will do well.

Thank You for today's fuel.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Another great day under the sun.

We had a leisurely 11am start to our base run followed by a short swim. The sun was so nice today. Running back through the lakeside trees, my feet could taste the centre of the earth. My head was above the canopy, above the clouds.

Try and see forever, around the earth, way past here.
Let's look forever, let's go and see, what's could be there.

A trillion waves of sunlight wind through the leaves,
Find a trillion mirrors, some choose the trees.

A trillion mirrors absorb, reflect the waves, back to my eyes,
Where I am given the choice, to see more, or choose their disguise.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

"I pitty da foo"

I was a little flustered this morning going into the swim. Noisy thoughts, ahhhh quiet for just a second so I can think! No need to think. Thinking isn't going to happen right now. Stop thinking. Start breathing. Start feeling. Resume living. Resume Being. Ok, now I can slowly start thinking again. Not too fast though, cause the circuits might fry.

Good strength session with Mr. T. "I pitty da foo' who skips out on core!"
Good swim with Mr. P. "Show me the IM Power!"

This afternoon we had the first "long group ride" of the year. A big shout out to Scotty and Brook. Brook, you are a hero today. Scotty. . . . need I say more? I will. You have cycling legs of steel. Norman, you can take a step to the right 'cause Scotty's on your left and wants to pass. Thanks for the fun ride. Next time we will ride a return trip to Leechtown at the end of the goose. I think it's just another 20 after Sooke. Sound good to you? Ya, I thought so. Oreos next time at the Shell. Deal. Lights too. Sweet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

play the tune

I just had a flash back to my days of playing in the Victoria Music Festival each April. My brother Graeme and I had just finished playing our duet. We were sitting down in the front row with the other musicians in the Violin & Viola category, waiting for the Adjudicator to compose and share his thoughts.

I can clearly remember what the adjudicator said. He started out by asking us to imagine we were in Carnegie Hall in front of a huge crowd. The bright stage lights were shining off our instruments. We were dressed in the most classy tuxedos. Everyone was there just to see us, and listen to our music. We were to think about performing, playing, just letting it flow. He asked us how this would make us feel. . . . strong, confident, (maybe a just little nervous), but happy and blown away just to somehow be there. Now, bring exactly that feeling here in to the Philip T. Young Recital Hall.

His message was to feel you dream, let it be, and bring it into right now.

Summary of today's training:
  • Swim faster if you want to go faster.
  • 3 weeks until the next 100m TT. 1:03. Maktub.
  • 1 week (I think) until the next 400m TT. 4:59. Maktub.
  • Cyclocross is fun.
  • Drivers are crazy.
  • November is cold.
  • Wash your training clothes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Red Hot Chill-Ay

Today some things were taken care of with our Run/Walk event that's coming up. I am happy to say that we now have official permission to hold the event with a brand new, hot off the press Capital Regional District Parks Permit. After playing phone / fax / e-mail tag for the past 2 weeks, all is sorted out. Now we work on the coffee supply, lot's of it.

I felt great for the last 300m of our swim today. That's really all it takes. Even feeling great for 200m would do. It was an easy swim just cracking the 4.5k mark. There were long sets, giving us time to work on what needs to be worked on. Time to go to work and do the job.

Cyclocross at Elk was really crisp, the air that is. As I spend more time with my trusted steed, Papaya seems to be learning. Now she knows how to roll over just about anything. Although, I must say the driver likes to keep finding new twisty tangents and crooked cracks.
The "on your own (OYO)" cyclocross rides are where I like to taste the gross sticky stuff on the edge of the envelope. These rides are scripted to include a large amount of horizontal riding. It's nice to get that out of the way during the week on my own, so on weekend group rides I can pretend to look like I know what I'm doing.

Today's run included a little bit of Fartlek speed. Good stuff for the runners heading off to Guelph next week for XC Nationals. You guys are ready to show 'em how it's done. Fartlek was just what I was looking for too. It was a good way to feel some speed back in the legs.

What do you think good food sounds like?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Swim #1 - It took a little while to find the feel. Rotate. Catch.
Learning technique is a good deal.
As I learn new things, there are seemingly infinite other things to work on. Great. I'm happy to have all these new things to work on.

Swim #2 - There's the feel. Glad that today was a double swim day so I could finish feeling like I had a bit of water in my hands.

Work is really busy. Everyone seems to be making good progress; that's encouraging. The Run/Walk is coming along too. Lots of people are helping out now. Thanks. Every bit really makes a big difference!

On a different note, lately I have been noticing a large number of parallels between music and food. They are really very much alike. The following is a situation nearly everyone has been in.
You are driving home from work, practice, something. You are hungry, want something to eat right now, and decide to stop at the grocery store, or worse a fast food chain. When you enter the store you are quickly directed to the junk. It's not your fault, these stores spend millions in research to have you end up into the packaged quick fix section. You walk out of the store with your junk, eat it, and you feel like....junk. But at least you're not hungry.

Another situation. You are driving home from work, or practice, or something. Your mind is racing a mile a minute and thoughts are popping in and out. Who knows where they are coming from or where they end up. You are neither here nor there, and you're not getting either place that fast. You turn on the radio. Ahhhhh.... pleasant junk. The mind turns off, and now it has nothing to work on other than the junk it's being fed. That'll feed the hunger for a little while, but you still haven't had a chance to slow down, breathe or think.

What about the other choices? Good food. Good music. Deep breaths. Slowing down.

There are actually a number of really decent comparisons between good music and good food, but I'd rather tell you about them. Maybe another time.

Tonights dinner: beets, eggs, bread. Classy I know.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Today went by so fast I'll have to look back at the notes to see what really happened.

We're participating in a Pre-Cooling Study at UVIC right now. The conditions for today's Time Trial were: 31 degrees, 40 something % humidity, and 41 degrees on the humidex. HOT. I had a somewhat sneaky strategy. My plan was to go out HARD and with any luck my core temperature would reach the 39.5 degree cutoff within the first 8 or 10K of the 20Km TT. Translation.... I could finish early. S stands for sneaky. I also decided to get moving during the warm up too, just to kick start the warming.

I started the trial at 36.5; a little low, but normal for me. So all I needed to do was bring that number up by 3 degrees and I could go home. Sounds like a fool proof plan to me. Here's how it went:

1st km - build cadence, drop a few gears, no problem.
2nd km - I decided to stand for 350m every 2km to stay stretched out
3rd km - starting to warm up
4th km - ok, I'm breathing hard, and am hot.
5th km - yeah..... I went out hard, this is sweet, 'cause I've only got another 3 - 5km to go.
6th km - stand, sprint, get the core temp up, getting hotter
7th km - maybe I went out a little hard, oh well, a couple more k's and that's it
8th km - stand again, sprint, any time now..... tell me I'm done.
9th km - yeah this is getting pretty hot.
10th km - i definitely went out hard
11th km - this has got to be over soon
12th km - stand, sprint, are you kidding me? why isn't my temperature rising faster!?
13th km - head down, close eyes, breathe
14th km - new strategy, I'm going to finish this to 20K
15th km - it's hot in here, but there's the rhythm
16th km - ok, pick it up. nearly at the finish. 3 and a half to the sprint.
17.5 km - "you can stop now".... temperature has reached 39.5. That'll do pig, that'll do.

ice bath, breathe, bed.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Congratulations Brian and Judy!

Congratulations Brian and Judy on their Engagement!

Dude, I've got to say I saw it a mile away. I'll never forget hiding up in Owen's room that Winter Semester evening when you guys made dinner that first time. Then there were all the other EPIC dinners and ski I was fortunate enough to be a part of.

How about New Years 2005? The combination of that NorAm ski race in tinsel town Quebec + your cooking + Tobermorey = forever etched in my memory as a perfect New Years. Topped off with the hot dog roast and snow soccer on new years day... better than perfect.

How about basically all of 2005 and 2006? I've never eaten that well my entire life. I could never have imagined a more comfortable place to live. Right from 1st to 4th year you guys taught me more important things than I ever learned in the Guelphatorium.

You are both very generous, kind, true blue, salt of the earth, awesome people, and great friends!

I am looking forward to wishing both of you all the best in person sometime soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Songs From The Labyrinth

The G-man downloaded these a couple months ago. I've been getting into them lately. They are awesome tunes that provoke thought with great musicianship, and a lyrically cool story too.

Today was a good day to play. We are still rocking and rolling with the Strength Training by Trevor Program. It really takes time to learn these exercises properly. I have found that just recently I can do some of them without using the more external core muscles. I think the practice is really good for muscle activation and control. If we can keep these muscles strong towards the end of our race, I'm sure it will pay off with efficiency.

We had a chance to practice efficiency at fatigue with 500m of single arm during today's swim. Sometimes, part way through these sets I find myself loosing focus. It's not enough to just do the set on the pace time, you need to do your best job of it. Otherwise, what's the point? These are more opportunities to practice understanding of presence.

Cyclocross was . . . fun. We had some chances to pick it up a bit, and lots of time to practice skills with smooth handling. I am starting to be more comfortable taking sharp corners in the drops. It's crazy the amount of time and energy you can save by riding a corner just as it wants to be ridden. This is all good stuff. Keep it up guys, 'cause this will really pay off in next years crits. I smell good things at Newton Heights / Latoria, etc. What better way to become a faster, more efficient rider than playing in the mud?

Victoria is such an awesome place. It seems like there are new trails and paths every time I go out. The single track up towards the reservoir at Claremont was new for me. When we arrived to the top it was really foggy. Very cool scene x 2.

Most importantly, I am caught up on Laundry. Time to make some dinner.

Thanks to my fellow cross riders today. You are the epitome of hard core.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One Sweet World

I'm feeling full from a good day and a tasty dinner.

It was a good thing I ate my wheaties (oatmeal) for breakfast because that meal lasted me for a while today. I had a good swim this morning noticing positive reinforcements on things I have noted before. Chipped a few off the 200TT, many more to go. Good stuff too come.

I found an epic trail on the cross bike today. Take off from PacSport to Heartland through Elk Lk. and the old Interurban Railway. Blast the regional trail with a couple tangents here and there and head up to Ross Durrance. Once you get there, cross the street and jet onto the MacKenzie Bight Trail. This trail has a sweet descent right down to the ocean. Upon arrival I thought I had traveled to a scene from The Land Before Time, the original. Take a minute, breathe it in, cross the river, and continue. Amazing. I think this beach is looking across to the Malahat.

The ride back was pretty sweet. It has to be one of the steeper hill climbs in the city, at least of any I have ridden. If you are going from the water all the way up to the top of Heartland / Mt. Work it's pretty long too. Sweetness. So the ride was basically an awesome hill workout. Love it. For the sake of time I ran off the bike. Nice weather. I like November Rain. G n R has always been solid.

Keep it Syncopated, American Baby.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Burn the Pig.

Recently I have been going back to my DMB roots. Great song to start with this evening.

Do you ever just sit and do nothing but listen to a song? Jimi Thing, Bartender, #41, ... Seriously, it's a good thing to do. Maybe even sit down and listen to an entire album. I used to do this all the time at school. It might be something I get back into.

Scotty and I attended a talk by John Furlong, the CEO of VANOC 2010 this afternoon. There is a guy who is passionate about what he does. I was just thinking about this the other day. It's all about passion, loving what you do, and who your are.

John is a person who knows how to share his passion with other people. He also recognizes, welcomes, and wants to include everyone who has passion. Very cool. He told us a story that stuck with me.

As a young boy he was walking around town with his father who needed a new pair of shoes. John was fortunate enough to be given his father's old pair of shoes. These things were ugly. They were a big black pair of well worn clodhoppers, not an attractive site. They were the type of thing that would make any kid feel petrified to go to school and face the crowds in his new pair of kicks. John, being the resourceful gracious son thanked his father, saved his allowance and bought a new pair of sneakers. He developed an ingenious scheme where he stashed his sneakers in a bush, and every day on his walk to school he switched shoes, switching back on the walk home. No one would be the wiser.
Years past and John was taking care of his father. He asked about that old pair of shoes and why his father had given them to him. His father's response was, "Son, sometimes it's good to spend some time in another persons shoes."

Everybody sees, hears, feels, smells, and touches the world in a different way, from a different place. Everyone has something special to give to the rest of us, and each one of us has something to give back.

We swam an easy 4K this morning. Sometime I'll share my journal thoughts after my first swim with the NTC. There's some material for a good laugh.

After last weeks swim volume 4k or 5k just disappears and feels over before it started. "smooth rider." - Dave. I like to finish the swim by thinking about what I learned in the past hour and a half. Good things. What am a going to bring with me from this practice?

This afternoon's run included a 5K tempo effort. Our "conference lunch" was small food at the Ambrosia Centre so Scotty and I made an apres lunch Subway stop. Subway was sitting a little high in the GI tract for my liking, but it's all good. Shift the focus to your form and think about your pose. Feel good, feel light, feel quick, have fun, stomp the puddles, run in the mud, bark at dogs, smile. It's all good.

Pass out on the couch for an hour, eat dinner, have a drink of water, and clean up.

rest well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


It's amazing how far a cheerful comment or thought can go. It starts like a swell in the ocean, and carries on and on, forever changing everything it comes close to. Even when the wave crashes on to a beach the sand changes as we hear the peaceful sound or tumbling pebbles.

Everything we think affects ourselves and those around us. Positive thoughts spread from person to person, place to place, just as a wave travels across the ocean. The neat thing about thoughts is they travel without the restrictions of time. One positive thought can and will change the world forever. I can feel the change all the time.

bed time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I like wind

A big Welcome to the month of November. She has arrived and is letting us know it.

Whether it's windy, rainy, snowy, global storming, weather warning, or even sunny for that matter, I like to be outside. I love the feeling of waking up and knowing there's some weather happening.

This is especially true when waking up warm and dry in a tent on top of a hill, on the beach, in the middle of nowhere. The sound of rain and wind against the fly is exactly the same no matter where you are. So is the feeling of the tent being blown against you, or the coldish feeling of fresh air on your face when the rest of you is nice and warm. Or, maybe you wake up on a sailboat and can hear the rain on the deck above and can feel the boat being tossed around by waves. Waking up to birds chirping on a perfectly sunny day works too. Either way, waking up to an "alive" world is pretty sweet.

This morning I woke up to the very familiar sound of Cedar trees brushing against the window; that, along with an old rusty bike parts wind chime. There's no better way to wake up on November 12, 2007.

Today we finished off the swim volume week with a 6.5K twilight morning swim with somewhat less light that usual and a 3K mystery swim this afternoon. You could basically chew the pool air this morning as the fans stopped working part way through our workout. It's hard to describe the texture of pool air, but it's definitely wet and fairly dense. It kind of tastes like an old towel that has been sitting in your swim bag for a little while. It's that, mixed with what a pull buoy would taste like.

We finished off with a trainer ride. There has to be a first one of the year and 1/2 way through November is a good time to start. Good old trainer rides....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NTC Compadres strike again, this time as Superheroes

One of the sweet things about Triathlon is that you can do so many different things. The three sports work together, keeping you fit when only focusing on 2 of the three. I have found that I can be "swimming tired," and still feel "running fresh." The same goes for cycling.

I felt a bit of the recent swimming volume this morning in the pool. Short course also tends to take a bit more of the stink out of me with all the inefficient turns. However, I have to say they are becoming much smoother. It's not really a feeling of muscular fatigue, just a little more challenging to shift into the higher gears and hold it there.

I think the trick to training when you feel this way is to focus on form. As Neil says, we're practicing Form with Fatigue. So basically the fatigue is a good thing. With the fatigue we really need to focus to keep the form. This is where the new neural pathways are solidified. Perfect workout.

Todays run was the PIH 4 x 5K relay race. We created a new category this year: Best Costume. Being the only ones dressed up, we took the title as superheroes. I bet ya anything there will be more teams dressed up next year. It was a great run too. Even though I was "swimming tired" I found a small piece of leg speed, especially on the very first hill. I needed to catch a couple guys ahead right at the start to make it a race, and a race it was. It came right down to the wire. The superheroes came in with 1/2 a second to spare.

Today I was able to live my childhood dream running as Raphael, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Our team included Jeff "the incredible" Phillips, Spider Scotty, Andrew "the bat" Russell, and myself. Good work team. Thanks for the fun run.

I had a cyclocross craving when I came home; so I hit up the old stomping grounds for a spin. Uplands Park is a sweet venue to bomb around on the bike. There is lots of varied terrain whether you feel like navigating your way up some rocks or rolling through some muddy single track. The legs cycling legs felt nice and rested. Part way through the ride I ripped over to Cattle Point. I found a fairly large tide pool to fall in. It was one of those very slow super embarrassing falls when you are hardly moving. Good thing the park was empty.

So, another great day for the record. A big Thanks to everyone. You really made it a positive one.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Golden Light

Swim #1 included an infamous "eye opener."
20 x (50 medium on 60'; 75 fast on 60'). This was an enjoyable set. It feels ok at the beginning, and you know it's going to become harder. The thing is that it really gets easier. Find the rhythm, understand the set, and do the work. Now, do it faster. You can always go faster. That simple.

Time for a quick run/walk meeting and drive home for breakfast. It was really nice to be finished the swim early (we started at 6) and enjoy the morning sun. The sky was really cool. There was this low cloud with the sun coming through; a really golden light. After a breakfast of boiled eggs and fruit I had a nap in the sun. So nice. There is nothing better than sleeping in the sun.

Then it's run time as 75 minutes base around Beacon hill / Ogden point / Clover point area. Again, good rhythm. I found a zone after about 30 minutes and rolled with it. To bad it wasn't a longer run, I could have gone forever on such a nice day.

Next we watched the CIS Cross Country Championships at Beacon Hill park. The old alma mater, G-Town, took the team titles for men and women. Great racing on a challenging course.

Swim #2 was a bit of a gong show. 1/2 way through practice the fire alarm went off and we were evacuated. The Fire department and the whole schebang arrived. A bit of a waste for the faulty alarm system. This reminds me of living back in good old South Residence. I'll never forget evacuating into the -25 night. Feels good to think back on it.

We hopped back in the water and the alarm went off again. I asked the lifeguards if they could put a piece of tape over the button which cancels the alarm. The alarm stopped and I finished off the swim. 10.5K for the day.

Oh yeah one more thing for the U2 fans out there. The sound of bubbles swimming past your ears is exactly like the base line to "Love and Peace or Else," from the album "How to dismantle an atomic bomb."

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's swim and the 20K relay at Thetis. Watch out for superheroes....

Friday, November 9, 2007

so you know..... go

I have about a million and one different things to write down here. Here are a couple randoms:

Swim, swim, swim. Good day of swimming today, 10.5K for the day. I've only cracked the 10K mark once before. That was last year during the 3 day swimming block before our ski trip.

Thinking back on the old swim volume. Just a year and a half ago 10K was it for the week. And that's from June - August. When I was in Guelph I was waterlogged at 10K a month with no swimming at all during the ski racing season. My how times change. It seems that by swimming, you swim faster.

My roommates' thoughts on swimming:
"Swimming wont make you a faster skier. Why swim when you can roller ski?"
One year I roller skied to my Psychology Final Exam. It was a big building and I skied right up to the room. I brought my skis and poles right up to my desk, nice and sweaty with a bottle of Gatorade to tide me through the exam. I think the exam went well and I was warmed up for practice after the exam.

Sharpie and I finished off the day's training with a 45 minute run at Elk Lake, not before hitting up WaveSide for some CHO.

While on carbohydrates, I think this weekend calls for soup. A couple BIG batches tossed in the freezer will do the trick until next weekend.

Time for bed. Catchya on the bright side of tonight.

Sleep tight.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Steady as she goes.

Right now I am enjoying a cranberry oatmeal cookie. Really there is nothing else in the world that could satisfy my western sugar addicted taste buds quite like this.

The past few days have been really busy with work and training. Tonight I'm off work so we have a chance to catch up.

First and foremost: Tepi is now a celebrity. If you still have the Times Colonist from Saturday, check out the front page of the business section. You can see "her fingers dance a ballet as they carefully fold the Rogers chocolates like origami." Way to go Tepi! 14012m on Tuesday. Epic!

Lots of new rehab clients at Oak Bay means lots of new programs. It also means I need to go back in to the box of tricks to find new exciting exercises. This helps to keep things interesting for me as well as who ever I'm working with. The other day I came across the very first core routine I ever did.

They are timeless set of exercises that really get the job done. 24 minutes of work start to finish and you're set. I've been throwing these in the mix around the rec centre lately. It's cool to see someone else doing a pool exercise you taught another person earlier on in the week.

Swim: more band swimming today ... "you asked for it, you got it." I like good band sets.
Bike: cycling in a cyclocross fashion. 10 minutes from town and we're on perfect, quiet, peaceful trails. practice, practice, practice.... I'll be singing Bob's Redemption Song at the next one.
Run: good run today. tempo was e to the z. and "I like hills."

Things are rolling along well in the training of myself department. It's interesting. As my attitude and understanding of mySelf evolves, so does my moment to moment experience.

The other day I was thinking about comfort. What is comfortable? What is uncomfortable? What's the difference anyways? Where do these feelings come from? What can I learn from each?

I guess the same can be said for any sensual experience. Cool questions to ponder when you're riding or through the trails at Heartland.

I am now finished the cranberry oatmeal cookie and the only way to keep my neural addiction going is to eat another.

Cookie time. Journal time. Yoga time. Bed time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Awesome day.

#1 lesson: do it now.

now I sleep.

Monday, November 5, 2007


It felt really good this morning to stretch things out in the water. We rolled through four and a half without breaking a sweat. 50's on 60, that's what I'm talking about. Nice and smooth like chocolate.

The swim volume for this week will be a smooth 61K. Now that's really what I'm talking about. Absolute awesomeness. Any opportunity to swim more, send it on over this way. I'll go back for seconds and finish off the rest. No leftovers for tomorrow. We'll just have to brew up something fresh each day. Fresh is always the bigger, better, best.

The body is feeling pretty good today. I think the regeneration from 5 or so days ago has caught up. Back to those circadian rhythms. There's gotta be one going in each direction, this way and that. At the same time, there's probably much more than this gyroscopic madness going on. Maybe this is what holds it all together, some kind of centrifugal something-or-other balancing the balance, while dancing the knife edge.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Step by Step

Today reminded me in many ways of my rookie year as a University of Guelph Nordic Skier.

It was a perfect sunny day up in Nanaimo, with blue skies, bald eagles, green grass and a temperature around 13 or 14 degrees. A slight sea breeze was coming in off the water, just enough to cool you down if standing idle for too long.

I tested the waters in the Expert division, this time racing for 60 minutes against a much stronger field. These guys know how to ride. Not only are they all technically proficient, most actually have the cycling legs and lungs to go with it.

I had a decent start. This time I knew to go hard off the gun, and that was a very good thing. Immediately as the race started I could tell this race was going to be much different than my first one. Everyone was there to go for the win, go for the points, and just simply go for it. Perfect. These are the kind of cyclists I want to ride/race with.

In that first lap alone, I rode faster than I really thought I could on the cross bike. Not really any choice there; it's either that or get dropped like a stone. The ride was going well and I was attacking the course faster, keeping up with the main group. As we got around to the back end of the 2.8k loop things became a little more technical. Riding behind the other guys, I was starting to learn how to maneuver the bike over and around obstacles while still maintaining momentum.

I'm still at the stage where I slow down in the technical bits then need to crank it up to catch up. The problem arises when there are a series of consecutive technical sections, with no straight away in between where I can catch up. This is where I lost time.

This was much like when I was first learning to be a Nordic Ski racer. I could just grind it out up the hills holding my own, then came the technical down hills.

I remember the first time I was able to keep up with another one of the athletes on the ski team during a race. As I skied behind him I learned a lot about where on the course to throw down the effort. Sort of the same thing today. That is, up until about lap 2 or 3 of 7 or 8 (I wasn't really counting)

Crash. I bailed and ended up bending my back brake to the point where it was out of commission. No problems though, 'cause brakes just slow you down anyhow. I was quickly back on the bike, and after another lap I had new appreciation for how useful a back brake can be. The front is just too powerful, sending the momentum and balance way off.

The next big crash was on the bmx course. I was trying desperately to get back on the group I was with, and without a back brake I went into the woop de doos with a fair bit of speed. I actually fully cleared one, and went straight into the next one. (It would have been awesome if I cleared both.) I quickly put the chain back on and finished the rest of the race, holding my position, almost catching a rider ahead. Despite the face time on the ground, I was able to finish ahead of the guys who finished in front of me the other week in Duncan.

So far cyclocross has taught me a lot about racing. Here are a couple key things:

  1. No guts, No glory
  2. No fear in a pack of riders. If you can handle the shoulders and elbows in a cyclocross race, riding a pack of roadies is no problem at all.
  3. When you are going 100% all out, this is a good thing. You can actually go at this speed for as long as you want. Now go faster to catch the group ahead, or take the lead and drop the suckers.
  4. Just go for it, and as always,
  5. Have fun!
Kyla, Alex, and Aaron rocked out hard core this morning too. Aaron took 2nd in the Beginners right from the gun. Kyla and Alex looked like they had a great time too. By the 3rd lap they were rolling through the course like a couple of pros. They were very excellent cheerer oners too. (ps. thanks a lot for the ride up and back. fun day!) Richard, as always the camera man and general race support. Big shout out to ya.

Mum, I hope you weren't too worried and scared watching this one.

I need to clean.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Step 3: Allow

Just a quick thought today as there's lots to do.

Sometimes I find myself feeling that life can be overwhelming. Not an uncommon feeling, I suppose. There are so many approaches to dealing with this. Here's one that recently worked for me:


Just simply allow.

Allow things to work out.
Allow the pieces to fall into place.
Allow yourself to observe.
Allow yourself to know that all is well.
Allow yourself to just be, right now.

I am amazed with how quickly this works. In an instant, we begin to flow if we simply allow ourselves to.

This morning's swim was great. It was the ultimate in "just rolling through." 5K just simply evaporated in to Action Potentials firing this way and that. A big change I'm noticing this year is my ability to pull, band only. This must indicate good things are happening in the stroke department.

The phrase "band only" used to trigger fear and worry, which translated into soar shoulders and a fight to the death against the pace clock. It's now officially my favorite two word phrase on the board. Today I was also introduced to "the Coates method" of kick. (thanks for the secret.)

Right now I'm giving Papaya a bath so she'll be ready for the race tomorrow. Pumped for absolute awesomeness in the form of 60 minutes Max Heart Rate Madness, cyclocross style.

Base run with 30' steady state this afternoon.

Check in tomorrow for the race reporto.

Life is perfectly awesome.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"...and there ya go."

"I'll tell ya what you can do. Cut up those apples for a pie and save the skins and cores. Throw the cores and skins in a freezer bag with some sugar. Then, when you're ready, mix it with the 4kg bag of sugar on the stove like I told ya. Throw in a couple gallons of water and once you've run the wine, add it on top. Same thing with the black berries. That combination right there. You've got a good glass of wine." - One of my teachers and mentors, Ernest Scgarbozza.

More wise words from the evening:

"Well boy, you know the saying; If you want anything good, all it takes is a little time." -ES

The wine has been cleaned and once again, after chill'n with Ernie, I'm ready to rock.

Shake it up.

Anything and everything I could find in "shake" form:

2 cups pomegranate juice
2 tbsp hemp seed oil
2 tbsp arctic cod liver oil
2 scoops vega
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp marine sea vegetable mix
2 tsp bee pollen
1 tsp blue green algae
1 cup blueberries
1 cup cranberries

There's lunch.

Swim this morning was sweet. No records broken or anything fancy like that, just a good feeling. After one year of swimming I am starting to feel like I know what you need to do to learn to swim. Ok wicked, let's do it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pouring Concrete

And we're back. We're back to full training after our 3 day regeneration period which included shorter 4k swims, base runs, and some Hatha on the side.

Now is the first time this year we've started back after a regeneration week and that spells sweetness. We're putting into place the foundation for an awesome year ahead. We have the perfect mix of concrete, all the right tools, good surface to work on, and a wicked awesome team of supervisors to guide us along the way.

If you've ever had to lay concrete over a large surface, you know how important the mixture is. If it sets too quickly, you're in a mad rush to get it level, smooth, and make those "sidewalk lines." Trust me, this can be a stressful situation. If it is slow to set, you end up slopping it around, and guaranteed a cat will walk through it leaving paw prints.

I'm pumped about our mix.

Swim today was decent. Next time read the board before you leave for each set. I was caught off guard with the 12 x 150s, thinking it was 6 x 150. Head games.

Smooth running today, effortless feeling the rhythm. I think the forward lean is coming along. Who knows, I might even start to look like a runner this year. -ve split the Cedar hill loop: 16:25 @ 131 avgHR; 15:01 @ 142 avgHR; 12:41 @ 167 avgHR; 12:35 @ 175 avgHR. Max was 180, love the hills. + 4 x short hill fartlek.

Post run I enjoyed some cranberry orange marmalade and a Vega shake, consumed separately. Next I paid a visit to Willows for some ice time. Smoke 'n red hot chill-ay.

Dinner this evening was brought to me courtesy of an elk and a deer. All my thanks.