Friday, April 29, 2011

PFG Story– JohnP (Lord Of The Chainrings)

Previously Fat Guy Story

Growing up, I was a Starvin’ Marvin. Very tall, skronny lanky looking thing. I was so skinny and had such a dark tan that I closely resembled the poor kids in Ethiopia, it was that bad. I quit school to race mountain bikes. I spent a couple years pro and had Toronto won the Olympic bid I can assure you my life would have turned out much differently. Instead, I took the safer road and went back to school as I told myself ‘I can always come back to cycling later’.

Years went by, you know woman, school, work, life, the usual suspects and no return to cycling. I distinctly remember the first time I noticed something was wrong. I didn’t ride much so while I was out on my road bike on a hot summer’s day I sweated profusely. My jersey was a bit big for me and it soaked up my sweat and got heavy and baggy. While in the drop/aero bars my knees kept coming up and hitting the drooping jersey. A constant ‘thwack thwack thwack’ as I turned the pedals. Eventually I got annoyed and went to tuck my jersey into my shorts, except there was just one problem. It wasn’t the jersey. WHERE. THE. F*CK. DID. THAT. COME. FROM!? I was kneeing myself in the now beer gut, not the jersey. Damn.

My eating habits were horrific at best, and without exercising it was a steady gain over the years. Eventually I ran into an old highschool buddy and the first thing out of his mouth was ‘whoa buddy, you are huge!’. I loved it. No really, he meant that I looked ‘strong’ not fat. See, growing up I was a twig and hated it so FINALLY I have some bulk. My body hid the weight well and I was enjoying the ‘strong tall’ look. It was great, except there was nothing strong about me. I continued to eat myself into oblivion, I ate nothing healthy whatsoever.


Fran was shorter and
greener back then.

Being a tall guy there’s only a few stores that sell clothing that fits me so it was normal to shop at Big & Tall type stores. Except I used to only fit one of those two categories. I remember finally breaking into the Size 40 pants and that hurt. It bothered me in the back of my mind for the rest of that year and eventually I mustered up the courage to try to ride again.
So I did what I normally did ‘back in the day’. I signed up for a mountain bike race. I showed up the race thinking I would crush it. Not even 5 minutes into the race and I was done. My mind was still in race-mode saying ‘GO GO GO’ but my has-been overweight body had different plans. Remember the last time I was on a bike I was top of my game, winning all my races so this was a cold hard dose of reality. I came to terms with my phatness and vowed to get back to it in the spring.

I committed to mountain biking. I trained with the local race teams and it hurt immensely. I could barely hang on to their pace but I sucked it up and kept at it. It was a painful summer but by the end I was holding my own and 30lbs lighter. I looked forward to racing for fun the next year.

I take a lot more risks than the average person. I jump my bike off drops, skinnys, logs,phat111 jagged rock and crazy speeds. I have a ton of experience so I rarely crash. I’m comfortable taking the risks. Recreational Volleyball on the other hand, thats a whole other story. With all the risks I take I never expected to injure myself playing volleyball. I jumped sideways and heard a ‘pop’ in my knee. The surgeon delivered the bad news – my knees are “loosey-goosey” and I fully tore my ACL. I’ll never run, I shouldn’t cycle and if I want to be able to walk I need to baby my knees until I’m 55 so I can get knee replacement surgery. They are that bad. After the surgery I had a very difficult time with recovery. It took me at least 4 times longer to recover than most other people. For every bike the rode by I ate a bag of chips. For every bright sunny day that I couldnt ride I drink beer and ceasars and enjoyed my comfort foods. Depression. Don’t take your ability to walk for granted.  Sure enough I gained back ALL my weight, plus interest. Eventually a year of physio later I was able to almost exercise like a normal person.

TAKE TWO – The Low Point

I was determined to ride again. I’ve been here before, overweight, out of shape so all I have to do is ride my brains out and work hard and I’ll be back where I started. Except this time I was heavier, had a bummed knee and my muscles atrophied to the point where all I got is skin and bone literally.
I tried to ride with the local groups again anyways. Impossible. I repeatedly got dropped early in the rides and I didn’t have the strength to push the big gears. I remember how hard it was to lose the weight the first time, but now it seemed impossible. I could barely ride on my own, everything was beyond my fitness level. I got down on myself, frustrated, furious, I quit.


Then Rob happened. Here’s a guy that broke his back on a routine mountain bike ride. Parapalegic, never to walk again. Damn, who am I to complain? Imagine the challenges him and his family face, but they do it. They do it with a smile to boot, a beautiful family. This brings me back to my depression while recovering from surgery – I recall the million ‘If-Only’ things I promised myself. If Only my leg worked, I would do this and that and never complain again! Time to renew those promises to myself.
30lbs Lighter

I joined in the fundraiser at a 24hr Mountain Bike Race to raise money for Rob and the Canadian Parapalegic Association. Here is where we formed a friendly rivalry and clydesdale race team determined to lose weight and set a BHAG (Big Hairy Ass Goal) to win the next 24hr race. I regained just enough fitness to join back with some of my old riding clubs. We took 2nd place and we all dropped a ton of weight. Surrounding myself with other Fat-Bastards(Race Team Name) and drawing from each others experience and some friendly rivalry was just what I needed to help motivate me back to shape.

Riding with the Brace

60lbs Lighter


The next big thing. A BHAG to take me out of the clydesdale category for good. Having never seen a triathlon in my life, not knowing the distances, never run in my life, haven`t swam in 15 years, we signed up anyways. Now 60lbs lighter and healthier than I have ever been in my life, I survived Ironman Muskoka 70.3 The next year it was only natural to up the ante, so here I am training for
 Ironman Lake Placid.
Arguably the toughest thing I’ve trained for my entire life.
Commit or die tryin.
First Triathlon
IM Muskoka 70.3

My Pit Crew and my loving wife
who makes me the happiest PFG EVAR!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Risky Rewards

Ahh yes now I remember those gambling games from last year. Should I or shouldn't I brave the weather?

Well now, last night I didn't remember last year's lesson and despite the repeated weather advisories and thunderstorm alerts I commited myself to going for a ride no matter what the conditions. It was all over the radio about how bad it was going to get and even my wife called me to talk me out of riding. Every second of Every workout counts from here on in - I will not miss my workout!!  To be safe I planned to stick to the railtrails on the cross bike since vehicles dont look for bikes in the rain. I'm OK with this, I bought the cross bike specifically so I didn't have to beat up on the clean tri bike.

Sure enough I threw on a layer of water resistance and body armor and prepared for the worst and set off on my ride. Pfffft 30 minutes in I was baking in 25C heat with clear sunny skies. Are you kidding me? It turned out to be the best weather conditions to date! Thanks to the weatherman I was overdressed for the occassion but welcomed the sweat session and even extended my ride by a bit to ensure I enjoyed every second of nice weather while it lasted. A beautiful evening, I pushed hard on the bike!

Which brings me back to that long lost lesson from last year - Dont trust the weatherman. I recall many weekends with forecast of torrential downpours that turned out to be false alarms. We almost postponed several trips due to these forecasts but eventually learned that more often than not, we made the right call to commit to the trip anyways. Had I postponed last night's ride I would have been absolutely livid! I'm glad my stubborness paid off, and I hope it inspires others to stop making excuses! Get you the door, no matter what the weather channel says!
I say this with confidence since the last few stormy workouts had been a non-issue since there was JUST enough of a gap in the weather to fit our training plans in. We've been very lucky. Except Monday I got whacked with some really bad weather but that is one bad workout for at least eight great workouts despite predictions.

With risk, comes reward!

Tuesday night I put a short run in. Its the first run back since the shin splint surfaced and I could feel some mild discomfort still but nothing horrible. I completely ran way faster than I had planned which was dumb and risky, its hard to hold back when running with others. I promise myself a much slower run for the next couple because I dont wish to aggravate the injury. Tonight I will put in the extra distance that I normally do but force myself to a slower pace. It will be a good test to see if I am ready to attempt a long slow run on the weekend. I'll make up for the skipped 30 minutes from Tuesday by adding in my first brick this weekend. Thats the plan anyways.

There is some big bad weather outside today. Crazy winds, knocking down trees and hydro and stuff. The whole office building is swaying and I've had a mild bout of motion sickness sitting in my chair. The plants are swaying, my chair even moves just sitting here. It's THAT windy.

I'm still going to do my run. I'm still going to do my swim.

Get it done!


Run 0:30hrs
Bike 2:40hrs

*I  just noticed, my stupid garmin missed a chunk of the track - I now remember it saying it lost signal. strange.
*Oh and I had to edit yesterdays post with regards to Week 27 review, it was missing a run workout.
*Better phone with better camera coming soon(tm), in the meantime I am sparse on photos cuz my WINDOWS MOBILE PHONE SUCKS A$$.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Week 27 Review

This marks the end of the first full Set (4 week reps) of training. Being a recovery week, I entered into it in bad condition. Fighting a bout of Shin Splints I decided to completely stop running and concentrate on some easy swimming and biking instead. Obviously my week didn't go as planned because I pretty much did nothing until the end. Life got in the way. A trade show and trip to the states to pickup my new Cyclocross bike threw a wrench into my plans.

Regardless I made the best of a long weekend with some fair weather riding. Looking at the numbers you could say they are weak, but to be honest I don't feel one bit of guilt whatsoever. I drove my body hard for 3 weeks straight and I deserved this recovery week, my body earned it. When it asked for rest, I delivered. Taking the Sunday off, even though it was absolutely perfect weather outside, was the best day of them all. I got to put in some quality time with the wife and top up my energy reserves and mental strength in preparation for the next 3 weeks of increasing difficult training routine.

Moving forward, the training plan starts pumping out some mind-boggling scary numbers. I'm rested and carb loaded, thanks to several Easter dinners, and am ready to tackle the next set. I just hope that all this rest gave my shin splint what it needs to heal. I'll find out soon enough!

A successful recovery week. Despite what the training numbers show.

TRAINING: (Set 7, Week 4 - Recovery week, Performance Phase)

Swim - 1:00hrs
Bike - 6:30hrs (180Km)
Run - 0:30hrs  (Shin Splint Recovery)

Graphic below is missing a tuesday night easy run
TOTAL - 8:00hrs

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

IMLP Athletes Beware!


If your name is Mandy and from Caratunk, you probably just pee'd a little.

Technically thats only 65-ish days left of honest training due to taper. That probably doesn't sound like many training days left- that's because IT ISN'T. The day is almost here!!

Is you training on schedule?
Are you Injury Free?
Have you figured out your Race Nutrition Plan?
How many century rides are under your belt already?
Is your doggy paddle good enough to make the cut off?
Without a wetsuit? In the event the water is too warm?
Without a swim? In the event the swim is cancelled due to weather and replaced with additional running?
Have you picked out your race outfit? Color Co-ordinated? Comfortable? Tested? Have you pee'd in it yet?


Well I just did :) I've been procrastinating. Minimum 6 night stays ranging from $1200 to $2000+ dollars did not appeal to me. I found some log cabins just down the road, literally 5 Miles for $100 a night for minimum 4 nights. That should be about a 7 minute drive IF I did the speed limit. I would rather do a small drive and spend the money on finisher's clothing than a hotel room.

If anyone wants the log cabin details I can send them to you. There were a few other cabins available still.

Where are you staying? Price?

Every Second of Every Minute of Every Workout COUNTS from here on in. No exceptions. Make them count!

Cross Virginity

I am getting it done. I refused to let torrential downpour and near freezing temperatures derail my training efforts. I threw the cross wheels on the cross bike and headed out in the heavy rain. Immediately I turned around due to mechanical difficulties though, the rear cassette had some play in it. It turns out I am missing a spacer so I just scudded one off my Mavic race wheels in the meantime. Strange configuration, the dura-ace cassette fits wonderful but the ultegra needs a 1mm spacer. Whatever.

I felt good heading out in the rain. It was dark, overcast and some hefty winds. It was raining hard enough to not use intermittent wipers so I didn't take sunglassess with clear lenses with me, I dont want to keep wiping them off since it probably wouldn't work. I decided to ride offroad on the 'railtrails' to avoid traffic which probably doesn't expect a bike on the road in these conditions. I had a blinky red light on the back but still...
I had a rain jacket on, specific for cycling, and it worked great! I stayed dry and warm but my feet, ohhh my feet froze. The trail had huge long deep puddles and as I cut through them, unavoidable, the water would splash up on my feet and drench them. I suffered some nasty frostbite by the end. Thats twice now that I let my toes get that cold in the past month. I better be more careful. Booties next time! Other than that I stuck to my mantra 'Every Minute of Every Workout Counts!'. If I felt myself slowing down our easing up I just repeated my mantra and put the hammer down. That, and I wanted to get home to warmth lol! I rode naked, so I have no data. Roughly 40km 1.5hrs-ish. Exactly what the training plan called for except I'm certain the plan didn't factor in that I was offroad in miserable conditions.
That was my first cyclocross ride :) That bike is fast on the trails, the winding turns were fun in the drop bars, it feels fast. Not as agile as  a mountain bike so you really have to plan out the cornering. My center of gravity was up high so it required some trust in those tires. I'm happy to say I'm please with those conti cross tires.


Bike - 1:30hrs Cross Heavy Rain

Monday, April 25, 2011

Orange Orb

Finally the warm weather kind of arrived in time for the long weekend. Warm, but very windy. I'll take it though! I put another 90Km TT ride in on Saturday which was an absolute blast! The ride was point to point with a tailwind all the way so it made for some juicy average speeds. That was alot of fun!
Being a long weekend I ate a ton of food. Saturday at my father's was the worst as I loaded up on chocolate and candy mostly. I didn't hold back at all, I even had a beer or two. At least Sunday's Turkey dinner was just food and no candy. I ate so much I thought I was going to explode. At least it wasn't candy!

No riding Sunday though. The weather was probably the best it has been all year - I wanted to ride but skipped it in favour of spending some time with the Mrs. LoTC. The next 3 weeks is full of some crazy training numbers so I figure I would cuddle and say our goodbyes until the next rest week at the end of May. This next set is going to hurt!

I skipped yet another run, this one being a long one. I dont feel the shin splint walking or day to day activities but I know once I start running again there will be a little something there. I can bike no problem and I never feel it at least. I will try a short easy run Tuesday night and gauge where I am with recovery. I've given it a solid week off, I really hope it has healed.


Bike - 3:45hrs
Bike - 2:45hrs
Run - Nil, rest due to injury

Friday, April 22, 2011

Soft Porn

Gotta Clean er' up first and
then I'll post some real bike Pr0n!
I was beginning to feel a bit guilty. Here I am in posession of my new bike and two days went by and I still didn't get a chance to ride it. Holiday Friday would be plagued by cold wet weather with a chance of snow but I couldn't bare to miss out on another day of training. After seeing that some other hardcore road weenies were committing to a scheduled ride rain or shine, I figured I might as well get a ride of my own in. I would like to join a group ride, but it wouldn't be fair to the others if I showed up on a new bike that required several stops to tweak my riding position or heaven forbid if I didn't build it correctly. I'll just ride on my own for the maiden voyage!

So if you remember, I scudded my road bike in order to build the wife a carbon bike. This left me with a sweet Tri bike and I still had my mountain bike. As luck would have it, I met a group of local riders that I could hook up with but roadies dont welcome TT bikes for group rides, its a safety thing. So after much deliberation I decided to get a cyclocross bike and mount one of my wheelsets with road tires so it could serve two purposes. As much as I wanted to buy a bike from the local bike stores, I couldn't resist a deal from Bikesdirect who is infamous for probably the best prices on bike anywhere you could find. The prices are so good that if you were going to build a frame up, its still cheaper to buy a complete bike from them and strip the parts off of it. I did my homework and there is alot of mixed reviews on the place. Reading between the lines I could tell that most of the bad reviews came from people that do not know how to wrench on a bike. They squabbled over little things that any capable mechanic could easily fix so that left with little to no genuine bad reviews. Also they would not ship to Canada so I had to use a receiving company just over the border to sign for it and then I could go pick it up. I have been meaning to use this company and finally I had a chance to try them out. They held my package and it only cost me $10, I think that is a pretty good price considering the size of the package. I got it over the border with no taxes either which makes this bike an absofrickinlutely steal of a price!!!

So the bike is an aluminum cross bike, carbon forks, carbon post & handlebar, Full 2011 ultegra group, and it even came with Mavic Krysium ELITE wheels. Basically the thing is fully loaded. $1500. Seriously, a comparable bike is well into $3500 Canadian so this is a steal. Initial thoughts on the bike is that the aluminum is seriously overbuilt, this thing is a tank but still has a decent light weight. After riding a steel road bike all last year this is a huge upgrade to me and weight wise it's signifcantly better. The welds are gorgeous! Assembling the bike I had to mess with the cantilever brakes alot, thats just my fault though. One of the cable guides had a small nick in the paint but thats nothing compared what I am going to do to it. The Ultegra STI shifter leave some mechanicals exposed on the inside under edge of the body which I think is of poor design but I guess they're trying to save weight? Dual cage mounts, rear rack mounts, all in all one solid looking bike.

The Ride. Immediately I could tell this thing is a beast. Extremely stiff, like no give whatsoever. This may not bode well for offroad use but that is for another day, today is a road ride with road tires. I left the bike stock, I just swapped in some Continental Ultra's that I had lieing around, 23c. I had Michelen Pro Race 3's but they are the wrong colour so I'll have to order some later. I just mounted an old aluminum bottle cage and off I went.
The stack on this thing is tall. I felt like I was riding a 2 storie building. Of course I left it stock so it has a ton of spacers on the stem but to be honest, I really enjoyed not being hunched over like I usually am. A welcome relief from the aero position of a TT bike. The stiffness is felt when you mash the pedals, no give whatsoever in the bottom bracket area. Now one nagging thought in the back of my mind is that it is way stiffer than my carbon TT bike but I didn't feel the power making it to the wheels necessarily. I think it was the 50km/h wind that was killing me but it could also be the slightly more weight to the over-built aluminum frame. I'll have to try again in non-hurricane winds. It was tough to tell. It didn't feel like it was coasting or carrying momentum like it should.
The handlebars had alot of flex in them. I'm a big guy so I could feel them bending like wet noodles under my power. I think this is a feature though, the carbon bars and carbon seatpost will deliberately flex to take the edge off the stiffness of the frame when smacking the bumps. Especially offroad. I hope.
While out on the first ride I seen more road riders in this single day than I did in all of last year combined. Considering the weather condidtions I am very surprised. It is getting late in the season and we are still having horrible weather so I think people are tired of waiting and are commiting to a ride regardless. It's been a late start for many.
Post Ride Jello-Legs
So I drafted a big group for a couple kilometers and then let them turn away from my direction of travel because I need to avoid the draft and get some serious workout in. Later in the ride I seen a group of three riders turn down the same road I was going for - you know what that means, HAMMERTIME! I mashed the pedals and put my head down to catch up to them. they were far off and I had doubts but I just concentrated on giving it my best shot and see what happens. I was slowly gaining on them, they were sharing the lead pull position and dividing the workload but I still gained with my solo crunch in to the wind! The bike was performing admirably! Then we came upon a huge downhill and they left me waaaay behind. Damn. Its a cross bike. 46 Tooth bigring just doesn't cut it on the road. I couldn't get anymore speed out of it on the downhill, I just spun the cranks to easily. I knew this would happen when I bought it, thats why I've been looking for a 50 Tooth. Its compact so I think 50 is as big as I can go. Regardless, what goes down must go up! We came up on the other side of the valley and I could see them slowing down a bit on the incline. I made good use of the bonus of a stiff frame and hammered up that hill. I closed a 2km gap in the blink of an eye. It climbs well. Again, back to the whole wind vs weight issue, something felt off. I should also note, my tires needed more air. Maybe I had too much rolling resistance from the tires. I'll admit, these Conti tires absolutely suck. I want my PR3's back.

Dirty Gurl

I had to draft the group of three for awhile. We were in rolling hills and everytime we came on a downhill I could barely keep up since I ran out of gears. I couldn't just take off in front because I knew they would just catch up to me on the next downhill. In the end I just waited for the biggest uphill of them all and bolted ahead. Drafting makes such a huge difference. I hate it. I like to work hard.
The return trip was miserable. 50km/h headwind from hell. I kid you not, the weatherman lied outright. Out here in the open countryside the winds were well above the alleged 35km/h they were advertising. It was a long 50rpm grind all the way back to town. I would shift down but I would just go slower and the pedalling never got easier. I just left it in the big gear and reefed on them cranks. Which made me seriously appreciate a TT bike because it cuts so well through the wind. Being high up and non-aero on this cross bike meant I was nothing short of a parachute. My legs were screaming the whole way home.

Overall I am very happy with this bike! I look forward to a non-windy day to get a true test of its abilities. Handling wise I didn't push it - first ride out and all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Burnout Bike

It has been a rough week. I am really too tired to write this post but I figured something is better than nothing. So Tuesday night's run did not go so well. I had already planned to make it a very easy, very short run but what I didn't know was that it wouldn't be by choice. I got some shin splint thing going on, the pain was a solid 4/10 and rising. This is cause for concern so I am skipping my Thursday night run for sure!
Wednesday was a looooong day. The stars aligned in my favour which was nice - I went to a trade show at the Niagara falls casino all day and by coincodence my new bike showed up at the postal outlet just across the border ahead of schedule! After the show I crossed over and picked up my bike. What great timing, as this saves me having to make another 3hr trip to get the bike. Plus I can expense the majority of the trip! WIN!
Needless to say I was up all night assembling and tuning my new bike! The brakes gave me alot of trouble, I forgot how much 'fun' it is to setup a cantilever brake system. I used to be able to do it easily but apparently I lost my touch. I'm happy to say it all went together just fine, the bike looks good but I didn't get a chance to ride it since it was almost midnight by the time I finished. Actually I still have to exchange the rubber on the training/race wheels so I still have work to do this evening.
Consultants. Too Much Time On Their Hands.

Today has been crazy. Babysitting a consultant can take alot of energy but I am happy to say I'm a big step closer to finishing a major project. I'm feeling drained and with all the talking I've been doing over the past couple of days and now my throat hurts. I think I'm going to skip tonights workout and rest up, I need it. Thats 2 days of no training which would be scary except even the voices in the back of my mind are too tired to scream at me to go workout. A good sign that a break is needed.

Oh and I set a new record this morning! Last night's on-the-road meal consisted of McDonalds. Yes, hamburger and fries. Yum Yum! I am happy to report I woke up at my lowest recorded weight in the history of EVAR! I thought for sure that with all the pizza I have been eating that the scale would go in the wrong direction. I'm impressed. 171.0


Bike Assembling: Too Long
Bike Tuning: Too F*cking Long
Bike Riding: Too Tired to Care
Run: Ow my shin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Week 26 Review

What a lucky week! A bit of flex to my schedule and some big luck on the weather front I was able to put in the first solid outdoor bike week this year!
Monday was gusting 50km/h winds but I rode anyways. An exciting way to start the week off, my schedule said to ride outdoors and I made it happen! Everthing stayed on track for the rest of the weekend except until it came to the weekend. The weather was below my 10C outdoor bike limit and the forcast included 50mm of rain! I took work off Friday to slip a long bike in, but because the temperature dipped below threshold I opted to do a super-hard mountain bike ride. Since the ride would require an exceptional amount of upper body strength on the technical trails, I decide to drop my Thursday swim. I am glad I did, that ride was extremely difficult terrain which equates to a solid workout! One lesson learned this week is that while I shuffled workouts around in the past, I have never really shuffled around a rest day. In 7 days I pushed 17hrs of training and felt it, bigtime! I should have kept the rest day where it was, it is there for a reason. Subsequently my Saturday off felt horrible, I was a zombie and by the end I did not feel rested at all. Lets not do that again. I hope mother nature is done with her sillyness, I need spring to get here pronto!

While the numbers seem like they are down by a couple of hours this week, I know that a solid MTB ride will trump a road ride anyday. I dont hesitate to factor in an additional 20% time wise when comparing it to a road ride. Regardless, I made the mistake of substituting too much MTB last year in place of road riding. I refuse to do that again this year, but I will make an exception this week since the weather was more favourable to MTB.

The forecast for the upcoming week is not favourable. On the other hand, I am entering a recovery week. I am backing right off and taking it easy all week long. I need to be ready for the onslaught of workouts during the next set of my performance phase. The upcoming numbers look really really scary.

TRAINING: (Set 7, Week 3 - Performance Phase)

Swim - 0:50hrs
Bike - 7:20hrs (131Km) (Road - Outdoor!)(4hrs MTB)
Run - 4:10hrs (45Km)
Strength - 0:20hrs

TOTAL - 13:00hrs

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sacrificial Races

Sacrifices. For those that know me, mountain biking is my primary activity. I love riding the steepest, rockiest, scarriest, gnarliest terrain I can find. I am well beyond your average weekend warrior trail rider. My season is normally dotted with some racing but Ironman demands I sacrifice this competitive component of my activity if I am to make it at Ironman.
Paris to Ancaster is a long standing tradition, 60Km mountain bike race. In reality it is dominated by cyclocross riders but it's still seen as a MTB event. The first event of the year, usually a good opportunity to test yourself after a long cold winter of stuffing yourself with Holiday turkey. It's one of those races that reminds you of just how out of shape you really are. Its always a challenge!
Which comes to the sacrifice. I cut this race out of my schedule, as well as all other mountain bike events. I might have time for a couple after Ironman, but in the meantime I decided to save the money and the suffering so I can stick to the training plan as best I can. I was disappointed that I couldn't join friends at this year's race but after seeing the horrible weather and conditions the race had to endure - I am glad I didn't go. Every year has been cold, muddy and miserable so I dropped this race knowing I probably wouldn't miss much. It turned out exactly as expected. These conditions actually make for one epic ride, something to be remembered but alas I do not regret missing the race. I promise myself I will make up for it next year though - I definitely plan to race it next year and actually train seriously for it.

In the meantime I spent the better part of the morning on a 21Km run fit perfectly between the snow and rain. We started and finished between the spurts of bad weather, so outside of some cold and big wind, it was a great long slow run! We learned that the other people in the running group go for coffee afterwards so I accepted the invitation to get to know the other people in the group. That is one of my favourite parts of this running group, everyone is very nice and I like getting to know the other athletes. We had a good time!

I realized that this upcoming week is a recovery week! I had not looked that far ahead in the training program. If I look too far ahead I see scary numbers and I start stressing about how am I going to fit all the training in, so I didn't even think to see what was on the upcoming agenda. I have finished this week very strong and look foward to going 70% distance, intensity and duration for the upcoming week. It is time to let the body heal, build up those energy reserves. I like to think of these recovery weeks as 'wife' weeks. I will run and bike with her so we can spend some time together and I can help motivate her out the door to get her workouts in. This will be a fun week! Too bad the weather may not co-operate, we'll see.


Run - 2:00hrs

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Over Plan

You go through all the trouble of writing a training plan but then do not sick to the plan. Go figure.

I haven't followed the plan over the past few days. I don't mean that I haven't been meeting the requirements, I mean that I have exceeded them by a significant amount. Maybe too much.

Thursday night's run was supposed to be an easy 12Km. Instead it turned into a long sprint. I held a 5min/km for almost 5km to get to the gym to meet up with the rest of the running group. While they stood around talking I made a rush trip to the bathroom since the salami sandwhich my wife made me for lunch was likely expired. It wasn't pretty. Needless to say everyone had already left without me so I had to pull a 4:20min/km for a few kilometers in order to catch the lead pack. By the time I caught up to them they were feeling good and picked up the pace back to a sub 5min/km average for the most part. I dug deep and got it done. No injuries to report of, but clearly well outside the realm of the planned recovery run. Ooops.

Friday was supposed to be a scheduled rest day. No Training. Instead I took my planned long bike on Saturday and swapped it with Friday because I wanted to avoid the bad weather on the weekend. I went out on a 4hr mountain bike ride that followed trails best described as suicidal. It was one heck of a workout. I had a tough time, probably because my bike was not setup properly for those trails and I am coming off 17hrs of training over the last 7 days. I should have taken the break. It's OK to shuffle workouts around, but that was a bad idea to move a scheduled rest day. I paid for it with a tough time on that ride. I got it done and injury free which was a miracle considering the type of trail I was on.

Which brings me to Saturday. This does not feel like a rest day. I woke up puffy eyes and exhausted body. I was too tired to sleep last night. I didn't have obvious soreness in my muscles but there was definitely a background 'burning' sensation to them that kept me up all night. I couldn't get anything to relax, thus I didn't sleep much.

Mentally I'm in a good place. I am getting it done. I enjoy the challenge of training hard but there are scheduled easy days and a method to the madness of intensity & duration. I'm not following the plan intelligently. I am having a hard time toning it down. I am a bit worried I may pay for this later in the plan when the workouts get crazy long. In the meantime, I am kind of enjoying it actually. I am getting an adrenaline rush just thinking about how hard it is. Yup, I'm addicted.
MTB can be safer than Road. Sometimes.
I'm a bit short on 'hours' of training since I swapped my road bike ride with a hardcore mountain bike ride. It wouldn't be unfair to say that my 4hrs MTB ride converts at a rate of +20% to the road equivalent. Its safe to say that my scheduled 3hr road ride was replaced with a 5+hrs ride. Full body workout to boot.


Run - 1:00hrs Speed
Bike - 4:00hrs MTB Super-Technical

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chocolate Scales

I Love You. All of You!
I didn't need a scale to tell me I am making progress. I could feel the weight slowly disappearing over the past few weeks. If you remember, I had a mini-crisis over hitting my 'Holy-$hit' weight and declaring war on the scale. An ungodly amount of pizza combined with a plethora of snacks, even healthy ones, added up at the waistline.

Actually, if it wasn't for Mrs. LoTC I would still be a phatass. I give her all the credit because it was her early mornings that made my light breakfast, usually homemade fruit smoothies, and my big salad lunches that put a real dent into my calorie counting. I'm happy to say I'm back down to my all-time record low again. 171.8lbs which is technically 0.2lbs higher than my all time low but that last download was worth a solid deuce-and-a-half. Just sayin' ;) lol

Which brings me to my struggle. I don't do fundraisers. I have an easy time ignoring chocolate bars and treats but when approached with Chocolate Almonds, namely the 'Worlds Finest' brand I cannot resist. Unfortunately for me there is a mountain of them sitting in the lunch room calling my name. They have been whispering sweet-nothings in my ear, running their fingers through my hair and nibbling on my neck. They want me. I can feel them calling my name. Even from down the hall.

No. I have no willpower. Of course I slipped a hand in my pocket to buy a box. I only have a $20 though. That never used to be a problem. Seriously, I would have bought $20 worth and polished them off in a single afternoon at my desk. I walked away.

Later in the day I went to get a coffee and I could feel them staring at me again. Of course I gave in. I rationalized the treat by adding some extra miles to my run tonight, so I settled on buying just 4 boxes. UnFortunate for me there was still not enough change to break my 20 dollar bill. Sure I could just get 5 boxes and it would work but 5 is just a bit too much I thought.

Think of the scale this morning. Hitting that goal. Feeling so good! Do I really want to sabotage a few weeks of healthy eating?


I gotta get out of here.
Pre Race Festivities

On the training front I had another sooper speedy 50Km ride last night. Rougher roads this time, that was a lousy route to experiment with. I dont know if I was fast or if that is just he normal pace for a TT bike cuz there is at least an additional 4km/h MINIMUM to my average pace over last year. I can see my climbing needs improvement though. I can't seem to find the sweet spot on this bike. I need to work on my climbing posture to get comfortable, there was some lower back pain going on. I'll work on it. I even got out of bed early to get a strength training session in. It was weak but better than nothing since nothing is all I have been doing in the strength training department. I am hoping to make a routine of this.

Oh and I found a bunch of Around The Bay Pre-Race Photos. Yup, my pre-race meal consisted of McDonalds. Ohhhh it was sooooo goood! I ran a PR the next day too so I am pretty sure this worked for me! Of course it was my first ever running race so just finishing would have been a personal best hah!

I REALLY Like the Ketchup!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Old Roadies

No. I cannot come out and play. That makes me sad.
I did all my road riding last year solo so when I gutted my road bike to build the wife's bike I didn't think I would be missing anything. I would just do all my training solo on the TT bike. Instead now I have had a couple of invitations and good opportunities to ride with the local roadies but I am without a road bike to go out and play with them. I've been eyeing a cyclocross bike but am having  a hard time justifying buying yet another bike this 'winter'. I fully intend to buy one next winter without a doubt, so do I wait or do I just pull the trigger? Decisions decisions. I hate spending money. You may have noticed that from my umm 'foam roller' and 'the stick'. Spending money stresses me out! I get it from my cheap-a$$ father! lol must be in the genes.

I'm just riding the wave of energy coming off of a weekend high. 170Km ride, followed by a 19km run followed by a 50km bike sprint lead me to one heck of a run last night. I fought a non-injury all day long. I could feel my IT Band tugging and rubbing my knee area and we all know it takes very little for inflamation to flare up. I stretched it all day to no avail but a quick Stick-Roller RollingPin-PoolNoodle session loosened it up just enough!
I ran with A Machine Steve from our newly joined running group. This guy is on another level of running than me so I have to push myself out of the comfort-zone to hold pace with him. He is 50. I love it! I'm getting schooled by a 50yr old and I'm enjoying the challenge! All together I pounded out a 12km route at 5:00min/km. Another solid workout to add to the streak. Mrs. LoTC and I followed up the run with a 50 minute swim. I took it easy at the pool, I had not swam in a week so I could feel the rust on the joints.


Run - 1:00hrs Speed
Swim - 0:50hrs Recovery

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Speed Sails

50Km/h Winds, Dark overcast with threat of thunderstorm, Impending sunset.

Yeh, I mustered up a long list of plausible excuses as to why I should skip the bike in favour of a run and then a swim. In the end,  it had not started to rain yet so in all reality there was no immediate good reason to not do my bike. I suited up and headed out the door...


I was easily warming up at a steady 50km/h on the way out of town. I could feel the wind carrying along at break-neck speeds. I didn't let up, I just put my head down and enjoyed the ride. The uphills were amazing, I easily held 35km/h on a steep climb. It was hilarious!
I had to close my mouth. The wind was so strong it caught the inside of my mouth and blew my check up like a ballon. I could feel my big lower lip literally flapping in the wind. All I could do was laugh because it reminded me of just being like a cartoon character.
The most amazing thing of all - the perceived effect of the aero wheels. Even with a headwind, I picked up speed. I could feel the wind grab the deep dish wheel and propel me forward even when it was hitting from a 10 degree angle. Is that possible? Headwind makes you faster? I thought maybe its just in my head and the wind going over my ear made if seem faster but my speedometer clearly indicated I was going faster with each gust to the face.
I screamed down the highways and got to feel the effect of those winds on 66mm deep rims. I recall reading that 66mm is too deep for heavy winds and you will get thrown around on the bike. Well I can tell you that those people probably have very poor bike handling skills. Perhaps I have an added advantage of a mountain biking background so I know how to handle myself on a bike. I was able to lean into the winds, and I mean really lean over to counteract the intense crosswinds. Everything felt great until the wind hit at an exact 90 degree angle. Then I had my first 'Hold $hit' moment. Immediately I got out of the aero position and had to grab the bull by the horns because it took alot of strength and leverage to not get blown over. There was a bit of swerving on the road at that point. This only happened twice throughout the whole ride and I was able to anticipate the cross wind in relation to the direction of travel and seen it coming.
The scarriest moment was crossing the exapansion joints of  small bridge at the bottom of the hill. As I approached the 'crack' I lightened the load on the wheel a bit too much. The bike easily lifted off the ground in a 'bunny hop' and while in the air a gust of wind blew me off course! I felt the bike yaw sideways and I immediately shoved it back into the pavement balancing my weight and applying pressure to the wheel that needed traction most. It was a delicate balancing act, I am pretty sure most people would have crashed. After that I decided not to drink anymore water since I preferred to keep the weight on the bike to help with traction.
I did feel the bike 'skate' across the lane a couple of times. The wind must have been closer to 65+km/h in the open country field and while I was pointed straight down the road, the bike was drifting to the center of the lane. There wasn't enough traction to hold a line and the wind was pushing me to the left. Did I mention it was windy?

The return trip was fun. The headwind was irrelevant, while in the aero position it felt like I was still speeding along at a decent pace. I swear the headwind really was catching the wheels and pushing me forward somehow. I am no physics expert so I can only go by how it felt.

It never rained. I barely made it back before sunset due to dark overcast. I made it home alive. What an adrenaline rush! That was very exciting, but I dont know if I'll be doing that again anytime soon. Maybe I'll swap in the training wheels instead lol.

Check out the average speeds on those splits! Wow!


Bike - 1:40hrs Super-Sprint

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 25 Review

So here I am with the first full training week since the Around the Bay 30Km run race. I started the week off too strong and pushed too hard on the run leaving me at a snail pace for the remainder of the week. That is just me testing my limies. And finding them. Luckily no looming inuries to report. Everything seems to be as it should be.
Realistc Goal Setting
So the latest mantra is 'every second of every minute of every workout COUNTS against IMLP now, Now, NOW!'. So far it has been working for me, I'm getting it done.
One of the concerns in the back of my mind is a smidge of dissappointment over my pace. Namely the bike. Sure Saturday was the first outdoor bike but given how slow it was, I need to adjust my expectations for IMLP. As the training program progessed I nudged my expected finishing time down a bit every couple of weeks. Now I'm expecting much much longer than anticipated. Sure its a bit early, but I need to get realistic about a sustainable pace and not set myself up for disappointment. Of course the primary goal is to finish, but I had overly-optimistic time goals that need to be put in their place.
I know the rule of thumb is, enjoy the race and just finish it however I've been placing some pressure on myself to perform a certain finishing time. I need to reset mentally. I need to get faster on the bike. It was supposed to be my strength!

I was a bad boy this week. I deviated from the training plan an put way more bike in and slightly less run. I am going to try to stick to the actual plan this week or risk burning out or peaking too soon for IMLP. We'll see how I feel this week.

TRAINING: (Set 7, Week 2 - Performance Phase)

Swim - 2:00hrs
Bike - 9:00hrs (260Km)
Run - 4:00hrs (42Km)

TOTAL - 15:00hrs

Full Weekend

What a big weekend. It's one of those ones that feel like it was a week long!

I kicked if off with some frantic equipment checking and double checking. I was rushed since we had to be to a party by 8pm-ish so I had just barely enough time to assemble and tune the Tri-Bike in preparation for a big ride the next day. This is the first real ride on my new bike. I got one cold late fall ride in when I first picked it up but it was short and painful from trying to hold the aero position for the first time. I decided to mount my race wheels since I wanted to see what they felt like, plus I want to get my money's worth out of these things. They aren't cheap!
I have been tolerating some lazy shifting from my rear gears while it was on the trainer, but that is not acceptable on the road. I was happy to find that all that was needed is a quick adjustment to the B-Tension screw and the thing was shifting perfectly!
Which brings me to the open-heart surgery I had to perform on my peice of crap Garmin GPS. I hate Garmin. Pi$$ poor service if you ask me. My GPS would shut itself off if you hit a bump the right way, and it would lose the data for the current ride. That makes me very unhappy! Anyhow, Garmin said they would fix it under warranty after a $75 bull$hit depot fee of some sort. Right. Warranty my a$$. In the states some people were able to get a local retailer to send it for free on there behalf but here in Canada it goes to some third party repair depot which obviously doesn't care. Regardless, after some quick research I found the problem. A blatently obvious design flaw which caused a ton of people to complain about the same problem online. Garmin, you suck! I figure I would take the chance of fixing it myself. If I break it, then I'll put the $75 to a different GPS, preferrably not from Garmin, as opposed to paying a stupid depot fee for something that should have been corrected for free. Garmin, you Suck!
I used my fingernail to crack the outer case seal. Ow, that hurt. I cut myself in the process. No matter, it came apart perfectly! I seen the problem immediately. Piss poor leaf springs attached to a board that is directly conncted to the communications ports. Idiots, anyone with half a brain could have told you the connect/disconnect of the port would screw it up in time. So I took apart the comm port, cut out an extra spacer out of an old tube by using the original lousy spacer as a template. Insert both spacers and voila! The connection should be solid now! The hard part was finding the proper non-permanent waterproof adhesive to attach the two bodies. I could not find the loctite product that I had in mind so I just used some generic crap. The danger is that if I used the wrong stuff and the case is permanently sealed, thus I only get one chance at making the repair and will never get it open again. I got it back together just fine but I question the adhesive made a good enough seal all the way around, I dont want water leaking in. Oh well, time will tell. Did I mention Garmin, you suck!
That evening we hit a Conquer Cancer fund raising party at a local cycling-themed cafe. It was great to chat with some of the best riders in the area, except this time we weren't in lycra and helmets. People looked different! I even got to meet an Ironman that was willing to share some fun stories. We stayed up a little past our bedtime but I think it was worth it.

Slept in an extra hour to make up for the late night. There may have been a slight touch of procrastination mixed in since it was 4 celsius in the morning but supposed to jump to 15 celsius in the afternoon so I didn't want to rush out the door. Getting ready was easy, I had laid everything out the night before. Deciding what to wear was tough, I second guessed myself a million times. I don't want to get far away from home and find I'm freezing to death, but I didn't have the means to store extra layers if I got too hot either. Anyways, I gave up and commited to a decision because it was getting late and if I am going to pull the long ride off, I would like to get home before dinner!
Off I went. Sun shining, no wind and dressed just right. Getting out of the city was a pain. I have new pedals and they are really hard to get in and out so I hated stopping for lights cuz it was risky getting going again. I also had my eyes peeled on the road, I didn't want to ding my fancy carbon wheels on their maiden voyage. I made sure to avoid the man-eating potholes.
Having planned an out-and-back-ish loop I was faced with a bit of a headwind on the country roads. This was offset by a bit of a downhill trend so I didn't mind. I ignored my speedo and just held a speed that 'felt right'. If I pressure myself to hold above 30km/h I may burn myself out before the end. I also have to consider, this is my first ride outdoors. On a new bike. In cool weather. The longest ride I have done in 8 months. With only indoor trainer workouts, I dont know what will happen to my ability to hold aero position on open road. I decided to take it easy.
For the first half of the ride I struggled to find a happy medium for my neck. I strained to look up and down the road. It hurt. Eventually I settled for looking just in front of the bike with the odd look up when I expected cars or intersections.It is nothing like riding a road bike, there will be no touring on this bike. Did I mention it was painful? Actually, I am relieved because my shoulders felt great the entire ride. Last time my shoulders practically gave out on me while trying to hold me up. A better fit on the bike fixed that it seems. So the only discomfort to deal with at this point is my neck which eventually settled into a spot that was 'as comfortable as it is going to get'.
I picked one beautiful route. The roads were perfect, I only counted 2-3 small sections of rough road which is nothing considering the distance I travelled. Things were smooth and fast. I took a brief break at the halfway point and the odd stop sign just to stretch things out. I had to stop to eat. Seriously, I am such a frickin' noob. I stopped to eat and sometimes to drink. Sad. I was just playing it safe, I didn't want to crash the bike on the first time out. I practiced drinking on the bike, the hard part is getting the bottles back in the cage behind the seat while still rolling. A couple occasions I had a hard time finding the hole. Eating was completely out of the question. Partly my fault since I didn't pre-open the package of powerbars before setting out on the journey. No matter, for the first ride I am better off getting the stretching in with those feeding breaks. I think it worked out well.
The return trip was fast. I put a little extra umph into the pedals and held an above 30km/h average the entire way. The only thing that slowed me down was the silly number of pee breaks I had to take. I cant hold aero with a full bladder, and I had to travel great distances in discomfort to find an appropriate spot to stop. I definitely drank too much considering temperatures but it was better than dehydrating. I dont think I will be so discreet next time, its hard finding bush/trees along open country roads. I think I'll just hang it out the side as I roll..... :)
Mrs. LoTC also got out for her first ride on her new bike. Not only that, it was her first ride in ummm 6 months or so? She did an entire 100Km. She's hardk0re like that. Thats my hawt babe for a wife! I'm so proud of her!

It worked. I came up with every excuse in the book to not go running, as did the wife. Joining this running group worked out well since we were forced to get out of bed and arrive at the trailhead on time to start our run. If it was up to us we would have skipped it. Joining a scheduled running group was just the extra kick in the pants needed to get out the door. However when we arrived at the trailhead we were the ONLY people to show up. Apparently everyone went running the day before in the sun. I am OK with that, I am here and getting my run in regardless. This is what we paid for. Luckily one runner did join up with us and I ran with her for the entire loop. At the end I doubled back to go pickup the wife and to my surprise she wasn't far behind! Wow, she ran exceptionally well for someone that just did a killer ride the day before. She's one tough chick!
The rest of the day consisted of drinking Ceasars by our closed pool. I stripped down to my boxers and laid in the sun tanning on our lounge chairs. It was great! Well actually I have to admit the thought of 'Its too hot' came to mind. I actually didn't like being hot. I'm too accustomed to the cold weather. Wow, we are just never happy are we! It probably didn't help that I was feeling warm from my body repairing itself after some hardcore riding and running over the last couple of days. Regardless, I earned those ceasars, and bag of baked chips, and Dairy Queen Blizzard(Ice Cream). I think I need to do another century ride now though.

Ohh it Burrrns!!

Aero burn. My sleeves slid up while riding in the aero position and it cooked my arms. It was even more swollen and red the next day. It was very painful! Note the stripe caused by the RoadID!


Bike - 5:56hrs 172Km (7:00hrs including stops)
Run - 2:00hrs 19Km


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