Thursday, February 18, 2010

Luge Doubles

I got sent this today -thanks Alan!- and eventhough spandex does not scare me* I though for the average man - "I cant wear spandex because it takes my manhood away" - this conversation would be pretty funny...

*as a matter of fact I would actually wear spandex to work if I was allowed to...


Ps: I will be posting my recovery/olympics week shortly!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recovery Week!

Finally its recovery week! I have been “craving” for one of these for the last 10 days or so and starting today I am finally going to get it =)

Its been a while since I posted last, which in combination with my “need” for a recovery week must hint that the last couple of weeks have been tough to say the least. If I remember correctly last time I posted I was water running as well as getting back into jogging/running to test my foot. Basically that was the first week of my “at home” training camp... During the camp I still worked full time every day, still lived in my house, was still subject to Vancouver weather, but I logged a substantially higher amount of training hours from the regular (which some say its pretty high already).

Week 1: 25 hours. Some of the highlights were my 2 hours of water running and 2hours of actual running / jogging achieved in 6 healthy doses of 20 minutes. The foot felt alright by the end of the week so I kept on going as planned for Week 2.

Week 2: 26.5 hours. It started off with a “no intensity” day on Thursday and then Friday I did a Threshold test with the Powertap. In 7 weeks my threshold went up significantly (partly because I had a better starting point for the test but partly because I trained hard) so I was quite pleased to see psychologically motivating numbers. Some other highlights were a 3:15hr ride in the pouring rain with the Speed Theory athletes, and the 3 hours of running / jogging. These were once again achieved in 6 healthy doses this time of 1/2hr each. Not pushing the pace, not hitting the slopes, just getting on the treadmill and keeping 100% alert for any negative feedback coming from the foot. Water running was really getting to me so I only got 1 hr in.

Week 3 (ending yesterday): 28 hours. Fatigue from the previous week was evident at the start of the week despite a full day off between weeks 2 and 3. All 6 days were between 4 and 5.5hrs of training and had some intensity either in the pool or in the bike. Still no intensity running and I plan to keep it that way until I am sure sure sure that it wont set me back another 2 months. Some of the highlights of this week were a 1hr ride around Stanley Park were I set substantial PBs for the lap and climb, 3.5 hrs of running with no pain and very very mild discomfort once the following morning, and a 2:40 trainer ride in which I burned 2700calories (and I ate like a pig after). Actually, surviving was kind of a highlight this week.

So, today is my first day of recovery. I am tired, sore, fatigued, and psychologically depleted, but I am also very happy with the work done, the outcome/achievements, the progress running, the consistency, the willpower. As a side note, I lost 6 pounds over the course of these 3 weeks which was carefully planned and monitored; it wasn’t like I weighed myself after 3 weeks and found out “I did not eat properly/enough”. I was very aware and careful and got lots of protein in, just cut back a bit on the carbs and cereal. When the season finished in Australia last year I let myself loose and gained a few pounds, then Christmas at the office was ridiculous and kept putting on weight, and then I went down to Mexico to all this yummy home made food and 5 days in a AYCE resort. I needed to get back into my regular weight sooner or later and this was kind of a good opportunity. During next month I will slowly fall back to my “training weight” without much effort.

Everything else is going well. This week there will be fewer hours of training and barely any intensity to recover. This combined with our “Olympic” schedule at work (6.30am-2.30pm) will leave more time in the afternoons to hang out with friends and check out some of the Olympic venues/shows/pavilions around the city! Tomorrow the Torch relay passes 150m away from my place; I don’t think many people around the world are that lucky!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life Update

Its been now 10 days since I last posted and therefore there has been lots of training, a couple of social events, the usual work, and a couple of very nice weather days!

When I came back from Mexico 20 days ago my plantar fasciitis was still bothering me quite a bit. The initial excruciating pain felt in the mornings or after running had subsided to a mild pain before the trip, and therefore over the course of 4 weeks (part in Mexico) I was able to build to about 3.5 hrs of running. The pain was not getting any worse than a mild discomfort but was not getting any better either. The pain would let me run, but would not allow for quality, any sort of speed work, no uneven terrains, no hills. If I did any of those then the excruciating pain will come back more often than not. So, what good was it to run like that? Once again I decided to take time off when I came back from Mexico to let things heal, and I once again researched thousands of places and sites and talked to people to see what else I could do to help that I didn’t try yet. During the 10 days off running I once again started to get desperate as its been about 3 months of very very poor and inconsistent running. Plantar fasciitis was causing me excruciating physical pain, why not also put myself through excruciating psychological pain and start water running? I had done it in the past and lasted 2 sessions, but I was willing to give it another shot. The following day after the swim in the morning I put my ipod shuffle under the swim cap and I went for it, 30 min. The following day 30 min. Following day no swimming and therefore no running either, but the day after again 30min. Its been now 6 times in 8 days that I manage to do it. At the same time I started jogging again this week, and it has not hurt at all. I am stretching the heck out of my calves and Achilles tendons, doing some eccentric calf raises which seem to help lots, massaging/icing frequently, shoes with very little use, and going very very easy. I cant afford to re injure, its either no pain at all or stop. So far no pain at all, 15 min / day for 6 days, and 2.5hr of water running. Next week I will be doing 20 min / day, very easy pace, and only 2 hrs of water running. Following week…. you get the idea…

Aside from running, cycling and swimming are going well. I was very tired for a good stretch as I was loosing quite a bit of weight I put on since September. Now that I am back on track and calories in = calories out (ie, no deficit) I feel much better than before. On Saturday 16th Martina and I went for an amazing sunny ride as I mentioned on the previous blog, then the weather turned nasty and lots lots of rain. Come the following Saturday and Sunday the weather was once again very nice and we were able to ride out both days. On Saturday Martina, Ryan and I went to Horseshoe Bay after swimming and it was a good ride, with some harder pieces through the rollers. Sunday Ryan and I drilled it around Richmond and were feeling it in the afternoon and well into Monday. Swimming is going well. Although I am not swimming much “faster” than before, I do feel that technique is getting better. Once I stop lifting weights 3 times a week and being constantly sore and tired I will speed up significantly (that’s the plan anyways).

On the social side, Friday we went for AYCE sushi with the guys at work; Sunday we went for AYCE sushi with Enej, Jason, Andra and Stefan; yesterday there was a Baguel-off at work where 3 people brought bagels from their favorite places in North Van, Kits, and Montreal and we did some tasting all day long (well, more than tasting as we all ended up stuffed with bagels). On the weekend Kamal might be over to attend a power seminar at speed theory and then go for a ride with the boys.

Today is my day off and after a 25hr week I want to do nothing but watch tv and eat a delicious dinner after work (which almost included crepes at Andra and Stefans place but got cancelled due to scheduling issues, next time!)


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mexico Part 3

As promised, here are the best pictures from the trip (and the trip inside the trip) =P

Dad trying out the new cycling kit Santa left on his bed

Picture for the record before heading down

I really hoped that thing was safe. It was quite high and long

The shorter of 3 sections

The cabins at the resort

Dad rock climbing for the first time ever

Riding in the valley

Dad climbing at 160bpm, somehow still managed a smile

Heading to the top of the mountain while beating the truck up

I do not want you in my sock

Village at the top of the mountain

According to our tests it is still within its usable life (and probably ridden by the kids)

View of the strip where the resort was located from the top of the mountain

Back in Tampico, riding the long quiet road until there is no more road to ride

Servicing moms bike


Ps: Today Martina and I went for a 3hr ride in the sunshine and 7C! It was as good as it gets this time of the year, so thank you "El NiƱo" for giving us a break =)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mexico Part 2

On Sunday January 3rd we went back home in Tampico as dad had to start a new project on Monday, and 5 days was more than enough in a town that size (with the weather conditions as they were, had it been sunny and warm then its a different story). Work hours for my dad (and many people working in offices in Mexico) are 8-2pm and 4-6pm. They are oddly split -very uneven to my liking- but at least it does allow time to go home, eat, take a nap. So Monday morning dad went off to work and I had 6 hours to smash myself. 1.5hr swim, 1.5hr gym, 1hr run and then dad was home for lunch. Napped and during his 2 hours in the afternoon I went for a 1hr ride. Smashed: check. Tuesday morning I wanted to go for a long ride, but definitely was not going to ride 1 gazillion 2.1km loops in the University so I asked dad for directions to a nice road out of the city with little traffic. It was going to be fun/kamikaze to ride 40 min each way in the city to get to the quiet road, but I like kamikaze so I went for it, well worth it. Aside from doing some mountain biking through potholes and dodging some crazy buses it was easy to get there and the road was quiet, new pavement (until there was no pavement at all), and great scenery. I rode 1:40 there and then headed back, getting there was easy but getting back I kinda got lost and had to call dad to figure out where I was. Once again, lunch, nap, and 1hr run in the afternoon.

Wednesday mom was coming back from Vancouver, so most of the training got done in the morning. Swim 1.5, gym 1.5, bike 1. We drove to the airport (5 minutes away), got mom, had dinner, bed. Thursday we woke up and the weather was getting worse and worse. Temperature was dropping, northern cold winds, rainy. Well... there goes the idea of riding again 3hrs on the nice quiet road. I switched that for 2hrs of core, weights at home and a swim. With mom around the house was not so boring when dad was working so I worked out more at home. Mom doing her yoga, pilates, me core doing core, hip, glutes strenghening with all my bands and stretch cords. On Friday we decided to watch Avatar in the afternoon and I liked it. Mom liked it as well and dad put up with "non real" stuff... He enjoyed it but I am sure he would have rather watched a movie on the History of the Mayans or something like that (not because he is boring but because fiction makes no sense to him). In the movie we (mostly I) went through a Jumbo Caramel Popcorn thing, so delicious! To cap it off we went to a restaurant for pizza afterwards.

Saturday was my second to last day in Mexico and it got colder and colder, hitting 6.9C at one point in time. Mmmmm am I in Mexico or what? Having no heaters in the house we did what most people did, wear more clothes, shut the kitchen doors and hang out there with the oven on and open. Easily 10C difference between the kitchen and anywhere else in the house. Mom slept covered with 5 blankets, I had 3 but slept with sweatpants and 2 long sleeve shirts. Weather was not good for anything but hitting the gym, running on the treadmill and going for AYCE meat for dinner. We finished just in time to have ice cream from a coffee shop inside a supermarket that has one of the best ice creams in town. Yes, cold, but never say no to ice cream. Well aparently all this eating has left some damage on my parents treadmill, a not so massive 80kg me running at 4:20min/km managed to break the board under the belt, I guess its not used to that kind of abuse. Anyways, I think has now been replaced and the bill should be getting here shortly =P

Sunday I took the day off, and came back to Vancouver. Since then its all been back to normal, swimming in the mornings, work and training in the afternoon. I am really looking forward to this weekend to get some free time and a nap. I dont really like them (naps) but dad forced me to "try" them the 2 weeks I was there. If I fall asleep quickly and wake up springy I love them, great tool. If I take 45 minutes to fall asleep and 45 minutes to engage my brain afterwards for a 1hr nap, then 2.5 hr ordeal is just not effective from a time standpoint. It also makes harder going to sleep at night so some more time wasted in there....

That is all from this trip, now I just have to dowload pictures and put them up which most likely happen during the weekend. Thanks dad and mom for everything down there, eventhough mom was not there most of the time her freezer (which is her 3rd son) was and was very very full with very delicious home made food.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mexico Part 1

Its been a while since I updated the blog, so its time to get to it. 3 days after my birthday (last post) I was off to Mexico for 16 days returning to Vancouver this Monday at 2am. The time in Mexico was great, the weather was not what I was expecting (or for that matter anyone in Mexico), but still had a great time with dad and mom when she came back. Training was also good despite rainy and windy days not so different from what we are used to…

I flew to Mexico overnight on Christmas eve and got to Tampico by 11am on Christmas Day. The flight was good, but what I thought to be a good choice (overnight flight) turned out to be a torture as I barely slept. Needless to say I needed a massive nap when I got home. I spent the next 5 days until the 30th in Tampico, training, eating, sleeping, and hanging out with that as he worked from home most of the time.

Training involved swimming in the only decent pool in the city which is heated with solar panels. As the weather was cloudy and rainy there was not much heat available and the water temperature was at a constant 22-23C. This temperature was not so bad without a wetsuit (it was not pleasant either) and I still managed to swim 6k most days. Besides the pool there was a gym where I could do strength training anytime. Cycling in the city is a big risk, streets are not nearly as smooth with huge potholes in many places, drivers and specially taxis are in a mad rush always, not everyone obeys all traffic lights, etc. Therefore for the first 5 days cycling was done inside the university campus in a 2.1km loop with lots of turns (not a boring square). The circuit was pretty fun, there was no traffic or people as classes were finished, and there was plenty of shortcuts to allow dad to “cheat” and make me work hard -really hard sometimes- to catch him. It was good times and after I got used to the handling of dads road bike (he was using moms) I practiced lots of high speed cornering, accelerations, etc.

During this time I gave “moms freezer” a good run for the money and cleared lots of home made raviolis, pies, roasts, bread. Basically anything that she makes and I love was on jeopardy. Dad was also happy to have someone to take care of the defrosting and cooking/warming up process, but to him moms home made goodies are the usual, lucky him…

On the 30th we headed up to an Adventure Resort about 3 hours away from Tampico. The resort is on a town called Gomez Farias, which is as small as mmmm… imagine something small, like a 10-12 block strip, one pharmacy, a couple of pantries, 2 or 3 bars, no gas station for 30km, one big plaza in the middle, one police truck… get the picture? Well, kind of like that... (I forgot to mention that there was cellphone reception only within 100m of the town entrance rock arch.) The town is located about 700m above sea level and its in the middle of a forest, I will post some pictures as its kind of hard to describe it.

Anyways, so the resort was all inclusive as there were not many places to go and eat other than the other 2 hotel restaurants in town. Included in the package was zip lining (700m of lines), basic mountain bikes to ride on trails, kayak, rock climbing, and rappel. You could also rent ATVs to go around the forest, or 1hr horseback rides.
Out of the 5 days in the resort, 2 were glorious, 3 were cold, windy, overcast, foggy. I guess you can expect that 700m up in the forest with a bunch of mountains around. As far as training was concerned I was a little more relaxed and there was less structure. I would do what I could when I could. I manage to get in a couple of good runs around town and in the trails, 3 bike rides around the area including some huge rollers and a 6km 6% climb (roughly), no swims, lots of dryland strengthening with therabands, ankle weights, core exercises, etc. Aside from that we rock climbed a couple of times, played ping pong every night, went on an off road adventure in the truck (its ok mom, no damage) to a village up the mountain, ate lots and lots of food in the buffet (at least I did, dad was more “normal”). We wanted to go kayaking one day but it was not available, the following day was way too cold and then we had to leave. Despite that it was very good times, something different, spending new years between ping pong matches (not kidding).

Pictures and Part 2 to come.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Once again -and it seems every year a little bit faster- December 21 comes around and its time to get “officially” one year older (the day before you are still one year older but you don’t tell anyone the truth). This year everything lined up pretty nicely: a) my birthday landed on a Monday so Sunday was prefect to get together with friends, b) I am still here as usually I am gone for holidays with my parents somewhere warm, c) mom is visiting for a couple of weeks, d) I was in very good spirits. All this things combined together and after many many years I decided to have most of my closes friends over to celebrate my birthday, just like when we were 10 or so. I was telling my mom that I could not remember last time we put out a birthday party like that, but we were glad we did as I had a really great time.

Anyone that knows my mom knows that she loves cooking, especially for us and friends, and when I told her about inviting people over she was instantly into “cooking mode”. I wanted to make it simple, just because I did not want her to work like crazy, but sometimes with mom it does not work that way. She pulled out quesadillas to start, home made pizzas, and 2 cakes (yes, 1 was not enough). Needless to say I was stuffed at the end. Food was great, I love my moms cooking and I think everyone really liked it as well, THANKS MOM! And obviously thanks to all the people that came, great times!

That was Sunday, but my birthday was Monday, how could I not celebrate again Monday? To start off the day I woke up at 5:00 to have a 5:45 Monday swim, nice way to start the birthday with 2x400, 3x300, 4x200 and 5x500 with different torture instruments. Then 5x100 on 2:00, and when you see that you know its going to hurt… Swim was good and I got to work after. At work once again I had ridiculous amounts of cheesecake, banana bread, and all sort of goodies that came as a Christmas/Birthday Package Deal. I was stuffed once again and the 50 min run in the afternoon was less than pleasant, but still had to get that done. I did not give a second thought when I was eating like there was no tomorrow (weak of my part) and therefore I did not deserve a birthday “off the hook” pass either.

Aside from that everything is going well. Starting to run again after a while very slowly ~5/km to test out the waters for a week or 2. I think the plantar faciitis is very slowly going away but I am being very careful and aware of it at all times while jogging to make sure I can feel any changes, major discomfort, or whatever. Swimming is going very well and cycling as well. I am getting more and more workouts in using the power meter and I am loving them.

The next 2/3 days will be very busy and I will be heading off to Mexico on the 24th. In between now and then I have to fit 3 days of work (until Thursday), 9 hrs of training, one trip to MEC, a birthday party, 16 hrs of sleep, and packing for the trip amongst others. Basically, no time to waste… Ohh well, I think I will very much enjoy 16 days in Mexico so all the cramming will be well worth it =)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Warm Mexico!

Well, warmer than Vancouver that is for sure. The last 2 weeks (ignoring yesterday and today) have been dry dry dry and sunny, but COLD. Still not nearly as bad as last year (yet) when it was -13 and felt like -19 at 5am while riding my MTB to the pool in 10cm of snow… Yesterday we were supposed to get a big dump of snow ~15cm but did not happen. Now its 5 degrees so its probably not happening soon either and in 9 days I am off to Mexico so maybe this year I skip the whole deal.

2 weeks in Mexico will be great to recharge. Although I still feel pretty energized from my trip to Australia (I better be after 2 months of “slacking around”), its always nice to get a break. My mom is coming over here, getting into Vancouver today at 9pm, and staying over the holidays with my brother. He will get his wisdom teeth removed so mom will take care of “her little boy”. I instead leave to Mexico to take care of the not so little dad, but who would really appreciate to eat food that has not been overcooked/dried or at least was not his fault =P (I am just kidding dad, I know I know… you would manage just fine, only if you really really haddd to =)

Training is going pretty well except for running. Long story short, Plantar Fasciitis. I am slowly getting into running again and this week is the “testing” week, it took 3 weeks to go away (will see if completely gone pretty soon) and I do not want it to come back. Very very hard to get rid of, I tried everything.

So, that was the not so good part of training, biking, swimming and gym are going very very good. Last week I did a bunch of tests on the powermeter to establish some training zones, threshold power, etc and this week I have been training based on the results. Easy rides easy, hard rides close to threshold power, some intervals, big gear, everything. I really like it and being an engineer I really like to see data, graphs, numbers, understand what they mean, adjust, repeat, and so on.

Swimming is also going really good, the 2 new coaches are great and their workouts are absolutely great. This week is speed week and everyone is out there hammering, we are going to get fast, no doubt about it. They are also working with most of us on technique and that will also make a huge difference, even if we are not “stronger” than last year.

Gym is helping lots I think; I am following a 3 month strength training plan and then their “maintenance” plan will kick in February. I feel is making a big difference in swimming, even though I might be tired and sore some practices, when I am not I can really swim harder (and its only been 1 month…). Last year I did not run for 6 weeks in a row pretty much because of a weird lower leg injury. During that time I went to the gym to do leg/hip/core strengthening and everything that would not bother the injury. After that it took me a while to get my HR under control when running, but I was much much stronger and I could feel that right away. Hopefully this year the same happens with swimming and running after the strength program and I can take both to the next level.

Anyways, that is it for now. Tomorrow home made food mmmmmmmm…

Vince: I am still on stage 6... getting through them at a pace that would leave some for nasty january/february

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Toy / Acknowledgments

Yesterday after work I went to Speed Theory to pick up a new addition to my training/racing tools/repertoire. Hopefully the last expensive one in a while (and by a while I really mean a whillleeeee). 2009 was an expensive year: new bike, new wheels, new trainer, Australia, annnnndddd yes, a Powertap.

Most of you know me well and know that I don’t spend money easily. It takes me a year to decide if I should spend money on a racing bike or I should keep racing on my 1200$ stock bike, I have a low end wetsuit, haven’t replaced my googles in 5 years (very true), use tires until they are square (and then I keep them and destroy them happily in the trainer during winter), and so on. But this year was different… I realized that I really really enjoy the sport, I am making lots of friendships, I spend 12 hours a week on a hard piece of plastic called “saddle” and I am into this for a good while. That, combined with a great sponsorship from Speed Theory is how I ended up with all this. Murray, Jeremy, Doug, Mike and company have really helped me out a lot with advice, service, and above all friendship.

Now that the emotional section is over, let talk about POWER hehe – I wanted to say that for a while-. I have been in the sport for about 4 seasons (my very first tri was the UBC sprint in 2006 in 1:18 ooohhh yeahhhh) and have come a long way. Every year I have improved a lot making 2009 my best year so far (couple of sub 2 hour Olympic Tris) Despite all that I have never done a VO2 max, lactate threshold, any sort of power measurements. What average power am I able to hold? How hard should I go on the 40x1min intervals on the bike? How easy is easy? Am I really struggling or I think I am but I am doing just fine? How long will it take me to blow up at 400W? Actually, how do 400W feel? Up until now I have no idea about anything. If I want to make it to the next level, I think it will really help to know and be able to train better.

Over the last couple of years I have made my own workouts, training schedules, volume, intensity, you name it. It has worked pretty well so far -actually sometimes I can’t believe how far it has got me- but I am not sure for how long it will keep working. There is where good swim coaches (Dale and Dario) at VAC, Alan and the LETC squad for running and cycling, the support from the Speed Theory crew, and the Powertap all come into play. This year/season (2010) I am relying on them, as well as myself and my dedication and hard work, to take me to the next level. I would like to mention that there is lots of other people that support me as well and all contribute to my continuous improvement. Ryan and his company on long rides is key, my brother taking care of most groceries during the week amongst other things, my parents supporting me at all times, my friends for understanding when I am busy/tired/training and despite my business still being my friends.

Crap, I said no more emotions already… Lets try that again. So, I installed the Powertap yesterday and got 3 mins on it just to play with the 50.000 screens that are operated with 2 (yes, only 2) buttons. Today I will get the first decent ride, and start gathering information for future training adjustments. Needless to say, I am a happy camper right now =)


Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday to Sunday

Friday afternoon I left work early to go to the famous Sugoi Warehouse sale. I got there around 2:30pm (started at 1pm) and there was already 100 people lined up waiting to get into the warehouse. It was not raining and it was not that cold so I did not mind the 30 min wait, the line was moving quite quickly. Once I got in the zoo -I might use zoo or warehouse but I mean the same thing- I grabbed a box and started piling up stuff for me. After a quick message to my dad I started piling up stuff for him and my mom as well. Alica also called me and ended up getting a jacket for her. 2.5 hrs after I got in I was purchasing 23 pieces of clothing for 178$ including taxes. Alica got her waterproof and windproof jacket, mom and dad got trisuits, cycling shorts, jerseys, I got shorts, a thick everything-proof vest, long sleeve cycling jersey, and so much more. Just crazy.

After that I was pretty tired, believe it or not was quite draining to go through the racks, try out lots of stuff, find your size, etc. Still I rode for 1.5 hrs and 20 minutes later I was in bed sleeping after a quick shower and food.

Saturday went for the usual swim and then run in the UBC trails with Leading Edge. We had 4 hill repeats from the last parking lot of Spanish banks. It’s the first time I do this hill in the trails, but I will remember next time the dreadful “yellow post to yellow post” under 3 minutes… It was hard but we were all pushing to the max, and suffering with someone else it’s not as bad as on your own. Ohh yeah, there was a lady that told us 1.5 minutes into the hill that we were showing off, RRiiiiigghhhttt… that’s exactly what we were all there for. I just laughed (inside my head, couldn’t really waste any oxygen).

On the way back it started raining and was ridiculously cold, which set me up for a good lunch and a 2hr powernap. When I woke up I though about riding again at night in the trails (I bought a light!) but the ride was cancelled and the weather was miserable. I ended up watching 2 hrs of 2 ½ men while pushing a heavy gear at 60-80 cadence on the trainer. Shower, stretch, computer, dinnertime, bed.

Sunday I smashed myself in the gym for 3 hrs. I did not feel like swimming, I did not want to do a long ride on the trainer (3hrs), Plantar Fasciitis is starting to really bother me (so no running), so I ended up busting my arms, core and legs in the gym. After that I still rode 1.5 hrs on the trainer watching the Tour. Squats+Theraband exercises+Intervals on the Trainer+Tough/hard saddle have all combined to cause a deep “pain in the ass”. Today it hurts, lets just leave it at that. In the afternoon Alica came over and we had fish and chips (the Spanish version with chips replaced by “pinchos de patata”) and watched Slumdog millionaire which was really good.

Today the weather was nasty and riding to the pool was an adventure: 50kph gusts, pouring rain, very sore “glutes”, plus a truck driver who sprayed me from head to toe on the Burrard Bridge. After that happened I just smiled, seriously, I felt like in a “funny movie” or something like that. What else could happen? I just smiled all the way (downhill) until I got to the pool. Then I saw the workout, remembered the 3 hours in the gym and the sore glutes and realized it was not going to be an easy one. I just got through it.

Today an ez spin at home or in the forest. The weather is nasty but it makes me want to ride outside (on the trails) even more, is that sense of adventure... (plus a bike with full suspension that will hopefully help for my quick recovery…)

Off to lunch, I am starving


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My weekly dose of crazy stuff

Saturday was supposed to be a regular day: swim in the morning with a ride/run after that, food, nap, and the afternoon free to do stuff around the house, see people, etc. However, the day started as follows: swim, and ride up cypress for a run with the LETC squad in the XC trails. Half way up the mountain the unexpected: snow. The 5 of us in the car thought that was pretty, and it was, but that was not part of the plan. Once at the top the snow was about 20cm deep in the trails, hence, there was no trail. The plan was to do 4min up, 3min down ez until we got to the top (~40min total). The workout was hard, it was definitely cold, stepped into a paddle 25min into the workout (you could never know what was under the fresh snow), but we had a blast! (which includes digging for 5 minutes to find a lost shoe)

After that I was dropped off at the pool again, and rode back home with sort of wet clothes, cold and pretty hungry. Arrived home, hot shower, lunch and might 2hr nap! Me, nap? Yes, pretty tired… When I woke up I ate again (nothing out of the ordinary) and then headed to Speed Theory to chat with the guys and drop off my bike. When I arrived at the store I saw 4 downhill bikes and 1 cross bike all ready to go and the guys were playing with the very cool NiteRider lights. So first questions was: whats up with all this? The answer was cooler than I expected, they were planning to ride in the UBC Endownment Lands Trails from 6pm (when the store closes) until whenever, probably around 2 hrs. It was 5pm and they offered me to come along; I have a full suspension bike, but I don’t have a kick ass light so I turned it down. At 5:15 I left the store walking and before I made it home (3 blocks away) I was jogging back to get all ready to go.

I set up my commuter light, filled bottles, pumped the tires, checked the brakes, greased the suspension and got rolling. At 6 I showed up in the store; it was now 7 of us, awesome! We rode all the way to UBC (and in the hill the 2 cross bikes kicked the full suspension bikes). We got into the trails and quickly realized that my light was the same as walking with a match in the forest... My options at this point were to either turn around and go back home and come back another time with a better light, or literally draft one of the other 6 guys (no more than 2 meters behind) to be able to see rocks, turns and trees in real time. I went for the second option and I don’t regret it at all! I told Murray that this was 80% his fault, just to make sure he knew it… It was a blast once again, that is provided that the person ahead or behind me did not go more than 2m away. Otherwise I had to stop and wait for the following guy behind because I could not see anything at all, not 2 meters, nada (trees will cover moonlight, pitch black). Towards the end I found a pretty sweet spot with Jeremy in front and Murray on my right shoulder that made things wayyyy better, thanks guys.

After 2 hours of fun I was once again wet, hungry, and tired, but this time I was also completely covered in mud =) What a crazy/different Saturday than usual! I think I got a pretty good “outdoors” dose for the week and recharged the batteries for training by doing something very different. Looking forward to repeating both experiences in the near future, especially if I end up putting cyclocross tires to my Trek.

Here are some pictures after the ride, hopefully I can get the ones in the forest and before from Jeremy.

What a day!

Muddy face

Muddy Bike and Shoes

xcuse me, may I get an overhaul please?

Wipe it down or just hose it...

Shower or food first?

mmm... I think shower. I dont want mud in the fridge...

NiteRider 200 light (Available at Speed Theory)

NiteRider Helmet mount, way better than in the handlebars...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cycleops SuperMagneto Pro

Its been a week since I got my new trainer and I really really like it. I am not sure how much more quiet it is than my previous trainer, but it is definitely smoother, more adjustable, stiffer and more stable.

So far I have only used 2 of the 4 settings, the road setting and intervals setting. I think I will never use the easy spin setting as the road setting is easy enough for any sort of high cadence workouts. The fourth and last setting is the hill climbing, and I probably will not use that one for a while. I think it requires something like 600W to ride at 30kph... Don’t think I have that sort of power (for now =P)

Setting the bike on the trainer is very easy and does not require to turn a knob 2 hundred 56 times until it comes in contact with the skewer. That means that I will not think twice before freeing my bike to go for a ride on the road! And setting it up when its pouring outside.

First workout => spinning at the speed of light =)

* Picture courtesy of my brother who is getting into photography. Hopefully his skills come to play next season and I end up with some awesome shots at very low cost (maybe dinner or something!)

Thanks to the guys at Speed Theory for getting a hold of one for me before they were all gone! 3 came in and went out in a day...


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back Home

I am home! Finally a bed with the springs shielded properly so they dont poke your back, a stove that actually has a range from low to high instead of being on or off, an internet connection that allows for uploading 10mb of pictures in a matter of seconds and not a matter of hours =)

I arrived in Vancouver just over a week now and I dont know how it happened but the day I got here was sunny, just like I wanted! Then well... some Vancouver weather, but Saturday and Sunday was nice and sunny again! Not so bad after all, but definitely a change from 25C weather and sunny pretty much every day.

On Tuesday afternoon I was not feeling very well, you know, this flu/H1N1 going around everywhere. In the afternoon I skipped my ride and decided to go to bed at 6pm turning off all alarms and phones around. The night was not smooth, but I got 12 hours of sleep. If you know me well enough, you know that I have not done this in years and there is probably something very very wrong with me. Needless to say, I stayed home all day watching tv, sending emails, organizing stuff in my room (still from the trip) and so on. I think yesterdays rest served its purpose and today I was feeling much better (still not 100%). Hopefully I managed to avoid going sick sick with fever and all that.

Today the weather is not looking very good and it does not look good for the weekend either.

I guess we have to put up with that so from time to time we can enjoy some of this (Pictures from Saturday Long Ride around Richmond and River Road)

Marine Drive - UBC Area

Beautiful British Columbia - University Endowment Lands

Marine Drive

Happy Halloween!! - Richmond

Fraser River - Richmond

Pumpkin Field - Richmond

Pick your Pumpkin - Richmond

River Road - Richmond

Cool Field Irrigation - Richmond

Arthur Lang Bridge - East View

Arthur Lang Bridge - West View (mmm windy?? Look at that plane landing...)


Saturday, October 24, 2009


After a couple of days with lots of running (60km in 4 days), swimming and gym I decided that yesterday was going to be a break for the upper body, and calves/lower legs. The plan was to ride about 4 hours...

In the morning while having breakfast (a big one) I was contemplating the map and looking where to go. 4 hrs is a long long time and I did not feel like going over the same places a bunch of times. Going west was not an option, about 40 minutes into the ride it starts getting hillier and hillier by the minute. I did not want to end up Mount Tambourine or Springbrook (again). Going east I will get about 1 block before I drown. North...mmmm... the super GP is on, streets blocked everywhere with crazy car race fans, and I have gone north many many times. Lets go south and see where 2 hours gets me.

I pack 2 powerbars, 1 super nasty concentrated gatorade (it tasted like orange powergel almost), 1 water bottle, digital camera, VISA, and my riding map. I leave the house at about 10 am and start heading south. About 1 hr into the ride I am past Tweed Heads and start thinking it looks like I will get "pretty close" to Mooball, a relatively larger "city" on my way. Maybe I can make that my destination and ride with a purpose. Half an hour later (1.5 hours into the ride) I see a sign that says Byron Bay 52km. Reaallllyy?? uuhhhmmm, everyone always talks about Byron Bay and I am leaving in 5 days. No way I am going to go there unless is a day trip with a tour that will cost about 80$ at least.

The internal debate: Well, how about if I just add 1 hr to my ride and I just get there, have lunch, and come back? Shit, should have packed more powerbars if that was the plan. Well, 1 bar 1.5hrs into the ride, lunch 3hrs, bar 1.5 hrs into the ride back, home. Yeah, that works, but I am riding at 34kph average with a tail wind. Its about 100km to get there, so to come back at 27-28kph on a nasty straight headwind its going to hurt and take 3.5hrs. Does that mean I am riding 200km? I only have one tubular spare and the most I have ever ridden its 130km. Shit, I am going to be out in the sun from 10am to 5 or 6pm. ohhh boy, this is risky and its really going to hurt no matter which way you look at it. I guess this is what I do for fun huh??? well... just keep riding just keep riding...

3 hrs later I do make it to Byron Bay, small hippy town. I make it all the way out and up the light house (the most easterly point in Australia) before I go into town looking for carbs. A large pizza sounded pretty good despite the massive amounts of unhealthy fats. At 2:30pm I was on the way out of town, and could taste the pain of the headwind (about 25kph with nasty gusts). I blocked my mind and rode for 1 hr without internal mental complaints, keeping the legs smooth and "fresh". 1hr into the way back I started complaining, after all when I left the house I was only doing 4hrs =) I had my bar and filled my water bottles at the rest area on the side of the highway. The night was coming down, I was going to make it with daylight but my face and arms could feel the burn. 30C with the sun above my head between 10 and 6 plus 170km riding was doing it, but I was only about 1 hr away.

Finally I make it home. Surprisingly my legs were not in any more pain than if I climbed up Cypress or Seymour, but I guess it was all a matter of keeping it under control at all times and not redlining or going hard at any moment. I deserved a monster size Australian Meat Pie with mashed potatoes that I had in the fridge (after I showered I was not going anywhere...)

8 Bottles of water
1 Bottle of gatorade
2 Powerbars (Protein Plus)
1 Large Hawaian Dominos Pizza
200 km on the workhorse

Here are some pictures

Made it!

Next Stop: Food

mmm thats better...

I had no problems to crush that in a matter of minutes

The workhorse - 6pm

The sore right hand - 7pm

The overall numbers from door to door

My GPS =)

Back at home on Tuesday!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

World Master Games - 3K Open Water

I dont really feel like ranting about it, we had enough of that today at 9:00am (1hr before our wave "start") when the following happened:


PS: I mean I dont feel like ranting at the fact that the water was 16 and not 18, but at the fact that there was no contingency plan even though on wednesday the water was already 15C, or the fact that they made us go and waste 1/2 day in a "remote" location even though the water was too cold all week (and there was no heads up anywhere, so today we were all fired up and very very ready to go)... CRAP, I AM RANTING AGAIN. GOODBYE.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sydney and World Master Games

Sydney is so far the best city in Australia! It is a large city with a LOT of character: The harbour, the Rocks, chinatown, Paddys Markets, the HUGE parks (Centennial and Botanical Gardens), pedestrian streets, busy Central station and Railway Square, etc... Really really like it!

All competitors of the games got a backpack and ID tag with picture and free access to all transport and games events, so it it nice and very easy to spot people all around the city that are here for the games (30,000 people!) Everyone around is pretty friendly, some come to compete, some come to have fun, some come to prove that they can (see picture above), some come on holidays and find that swimming 800m is the way to relax and get stress out (weird).

As for the Games, I am pleased to say that I have a bronze medal on the 800 free (Saturday) and today 4th in the 400 free, and bad bad bad bad on the 50 fly. The 800 was a tough race, as painful as I remembered last time I swam 800 in a swim meet (age 15), but for some reason now I seem to enjoy pain a lot more =) I beat my time from when I was 15 by 5 seconds. The time was 10:03.33, average of 1:15.4/100m. I must say that I was pretty happy.

The 400 today was not as good. I went 4:52.60 I think, which sucks as my 400m split on the 800 was 4:55.xx. I went out hard and paid the price: 1:06, 1:14, 1:17, 1:16. I was not pleased at all, I did not beat my time from where I was 15, and got 4th place. 4:47 would have got me 3rd again and in a good day (and a smarter race strategy) think that might have been possible. Anyways, now I have something to gauge myself against in the next couple of months.

Ahh, the 50 fly. mmm... let just forget about th 50 fly shall we? To be honest I was tired, sore (from being out all day yesterday + openinig ceremonies + 400 2 hours before). I knew coming into the games that I have lots of endurance and not lots speed, so longer events are the ones I had more chance. 50 fly:terrible, 400 free:4th, 800 free:3rd. Next Saturday is the 3km Open water. Hopefully I do well on that one, I will make sure I rest in Melbourne the next 3 days.

Here are some pictures. Until Melborne or back in Sydney next weekend.

Bronze Medal Back

Bronze Medal Front

Youngest and Oldest Competitor of the Games (24yr+10months and 101yr+6months = 76yr+8months different "a lifetime")

Friends from Paraguay I met at the Opening Ceremonies

Darryl works in the same building in Vancouver! (I knew he was coming, we always chat in the change room as he also rides to work every day)

Downtown Sydney

Sydney Olympic Pool

The Harbour, ohh so pretty...