Monday 30 April 2012


Sunday morning I spent some energy riding out to Cochrane and back via the backroads with Geoff and Devin.  Nice pace - fitness inducing without torture, no loafing.  Nice coffee stop at Java Jamboree, got home before the rain, nice temps, just smiles all around. 

Sunday afternoon was a little heavy lifting with the [absent] beach muscles I [never] cultivate.  Shawn, Andrea, Cindy and I had a good time while gettign something important done.  But a tiring day needs refuelling - so we did takeout Indian food plus Dairy Queen surprise Buster bars.  Can't beat that!


Well, let's be honest. I get more excited about bike parts... but... after a morning ride where I felt pretty sluggish with Shawn, Cindy and I went for a sports car ride and a "surprise". I looked online and found that Dyson vacuums are sold at Wal-mart, but preferred to go to Okotoks to get some nice country road driving in.

Cindy thought we were going to get a kitty, until we got to Wal-mart. Perplexed - we wandered around until I found the vacuum aisle, where excitement erupted loudly (for anyone who knows how excited Cindy can get). The Dyson ended our errands, as no more fits in the back of the car. It's is pretty sweet, it sure sucks a lot of stuff out of the carpet.  Then after she asked if it was a prelude to getting a kitty, since it sucked up hair so well.  Hmm... this kitty thing.

Had a great dinner and patio time relaxing Saturday night with a friend of Cindy's - really nice relaxing day overall.

Deadgoat hammer #3

A fantastic night out, with 18 deadgoats starting the ride.  It's really amazing this year how many riders there are out, and how many are riding strong.  Other than Boonen, err I mean Bunnin repeatedly squirting off the front, with Devin in charge of chasing him down numerous times, highlights from my road weary eyes were:
- Steve Walsh strongly pulling through on 22 into a headwind on the road lane side of the double paceline, while Shawn looked towards traffic where a sweet old air cooled Porsche was simultaneously driving by.  "Look a that sweet old turbo".  I'll never know if he was talking about Walsh or the 911 ; )
- Trish making it into Bragg in the lead group!  Awesome.  I'm not saying I've previously discounted Trish's talents - it's just extra surprising when the ride is geared toward high speed, flat paceline vs. mountain climbing - I know on TransAndes the flats are hard work for her size.  Trish keep eating your Wheaties!
- Riding next to Geoff "freight train" Clark on the way back from Bragg on the 1% down grade, with him ticking over some giant gear peacefully, showing no strain, and pretty much blowing me up without him even showing a hint of effort.
- Brent and Ryan held in to the bitter end - very solid riding.
- Doyle has a Deadgoat team kit, color matched, ROAD bike!  And with that power he was putting into the headwind, he's delivering on the euro-pro theme beyond just the good looks!

The size, fitness and teamwork early on this year look like they're forming up a very good deadgoat foundation for the upcoming racing season.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Feels like summer

After 2/5ths of a race Sunday, I slowed right down to patio enjoyment mode... warm summer day came very early and was very welcome.  20 people or so rotated through having a few beverages while sharing stories on the roof.

Monday's end of day work ressucitation ride (after a particularly negative day in the office/capital markets) was a lap down by the Leighton Arts Center with Jay.  We hammered out about 3h of hills, totalling 1,141m from his tracking, in nothing but shorts and jersey till the sun went down.  Such a unique feeling to not be worried about bringing more clothes.  Awesome!

Plus when I got home, the garage was packed tight with two cars, and Cindy was home!

Monday 23 April 2012

Happy belated birthday to me

Mom and Dad got me lots of mustard varieties. I'm gonna be in heaven for bbq season!

Sunday 22 April 2012

Congrats Shawn

Strong ride, on top of a strong several days of riding... and Speed Theory good work on a thoughtful prize.

Prairie Roubaix

Despite waking up tired this morning, Shawn's coffee got me going. Add to that the double Bunnin carpool (thanks for being awesome early in the morning Andrea) and I was feeling pretty happy. Super sunny, super beauty day.  Lots of racers out, huge deadgoat turnout too.

A group started with 40 (sounds like 40 in each of A/B/C which is great).

First lap the legs got tested on the gravel - Shawn and 2 others hit the gas and stretched out the group. Devin, Craig and I caught on in the follow group, then by top of the paved climb a few km out the group was two dozen of the original 40.  Craig and Devin did some headwind pulling leading up to the gravel...

...then we came fast into the gravel on second time around, front three took off again. I was able to be part of the next 3 chasers, so was feeling good on the gravel. That worked out great, until I ended up at the back of the three for a turn, the first guy got speed wobbles and panicked and hit the brakes, second guy hit the ground hard and broke his collar bone. I was 6" behind, half rode over him, ditched my bike, tried really hard to not step on his face, then met the gravel myself.  He's in the ambulance, not me (they were nice enough to swab my knee with some alcohol or whatever).

Couple groups went by, then group of 2 chasers came by like 2 minutes down and yelled for us to get out of the way, on a 40' wide gravel road, with a guy nursing a broken collar bone, when they had line of site to us by 500m and let's not forget were 2 min down. All class.

Anyway, I have a few things to fix, at least not bones. Scott Manktelow of RMCC has a little more healing to do.  Pretty good overall for hitting the dirt going that fast - not sure how fast, SRM not working/downloading now either, but it was a fast part of the course with a tailwind, I'd say 45km/h not a bad guess.  Tough way to start a season.

Next lap was down to 15 in A, 4th lap Craig flatted out at start finish. Last lap had two riders come in for a fast finish, with a guy named Bunnin in for the win.  Devin, Tim, Craig, Kyle, Geoff, Pat, all had a solid races.

Patio season is now officially opening, time to relax.

Friday 20 April 2012


I got my first tooth drilling today cause I cracked a molar really good yesterday. The drilling was fine I guess; the first needle in that was supposed to go near the main nerve but hit it straight on was a bit much. Eyeballs just about rolled back in head.

Whole issue reminded me of the IRS - except this cost less, and is already healing.

Work is stressy with a client under some duress which spills over.

Most of this was solved while riding with Shawn tonight. Not as zippy today since yesterday's TT (highest I've done in 5 years). Fun not feeling like garbage!

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Birthday wind up

Shawn and I skipped spin class and went riding, and that was the real treat. Only a couple degrees out, but we climbed a hill fairly hard, and I didn't drop. Truth will never be known if he soft pedalled for the old guy or if the chocolates were good fuel ; )

Then as we caught our breath, we did a 180 on the road as something was spotted... we found a new trail. That's a gift that has the potential to keep on giving. Perfecto!


FirstEnergy is usually pretty perceptive... and they didn't disappoint. This topical card, plus some gargantuan amount of really dark headache in 3 hours, err I mean chocolate, just showed up.


I ticked over a new year today... nothing too intense planned (other than getting the heart rate up tonight on two wheels).

According to crud written on the internet, I've now a) outlived Jesus, and b) just passed the statistically best year of one's life.  The only truth in that is the internet is full of stupidity, and statistics are mostly used to sway people to conclusions through their ability to mask and simplify data (the handful of econometrics courses I took were actually respectably rigorous enough to teach me this), and would improve the world "if the entire population could be exposed to such classes".  Ha, how's that for applying a concept to the masses.

So in 2012 I still love biking, that hasn't changed.  Work is a-ok other than the global marketplace makes things a bit more of a slog right now, not the least of which is the cheapest energy on the planet emanating from our end of Canada right now in terms of natural gas molecules.  Life with Cindy is great, although I haven't neared any level of capability to picture myself as a family man yet.  Perhaps I'm stuck in immaturity for life.  I'll also try to figure out who I am in the nationalistic sense, with the US/Canadian debate ongoing in my mind (not to mention the taxation aspect...).

So there it is... another of probably unanswerable questions like who am I, and what will I be when I grow up?  In the meantime I'll help with the tax base and ride my bike.

Monday 16 April 2012

Dollar Shave Club

Are you a cyclist?  Is it near race season in the northern hemisphere?  It's time for cutting your leg shaving budget and use a few extra dollar bills for your carbon wheel and tubular tire budget.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Inagural 2012 deadgoat hammer ride

Great attendance for the first hammer ride of the year. Group stayed together mostly out to 22, then a few dropped the sledgehammer... regrouped again for most of way to Bragg, then some turned back early.

Very nice evening out, and good time to get some intensity ahead of today's cold rain.

Hammer rides are pure therapy for me. Social time, then reset the body and mind through pure exertion. Can't beat it.

Monday 9 April 2012

Weight Weenie Part 3 / Cannondale Flash Ultimate review

After shaving off 10lbs of my bike race gear, 18lbs off me, there's only one thing left to do... and that's the most fun part!

I love my Cannondale Scalpel. It's served for years (it's an '08, and has done solid duty since then!), and hopefully will continue to do so. The advent of ultralight 29er hardtails has been a wave that makes a lot of sense - hartails are garage staples that can serve over a decade (my Stumpjumper with refreshed parts is great still!), the tubeless tire/carbon wheel/large air volume mitigates some of the hardtail experience, and the weight savings are notable. Some races make sense for a bike of this nature, some don't. I don't think I advocate hardtails for BC Bike Race, but a TransPortugal, TransAndes, La Ruta, etc. make sense.  Durable, light weight carbon wheels have helped make any percieved differential to 26er bikes irrelevant in weight, and instead feel the benefits of the largerwheel rolling easier over terrain.

The Cannoldale Flash 29er Ultimate is 19.2lbs as pictured in size large, off the shelf.  Less beefy pedals would leave it at 19 flat.  It's therefore lighter than my first road bike, yet, to state the obvious, waay more capable off road.  That's also only 1.2lbs less than my Strong 'cross bike which weighs in at 20.4lbs - no that it's a built as a beacon of light-ness, but as reference.  In mountain biking terms, it's 5.3 lbs less than my Scalpel in the setup it had for TransAndes. 22% lighter is noticeable. It's ride characteristics are different being a hardtail, but 29" wheels and tubeles mitigate some of the hard-tail complaints of harsh ride, as do Cannondale's system of flex points in the carbon.  It's amazing really how bikes have transformed - this is no full suspension bike, but it's the most comfortable hard tail I've ever ridden.  I didn't know they could be like this. The Enve wheels are works of art in my view: lighter than my American Classic CR 420 road wheels and UST compatible, and from real world riding use over last few years of earlier adopters than me - durable.  Let's hope I get the same experience.  With a hardtail setup and a Lefty, I didn't want lighter alloy rims adding flex - these are noticeably stiff.  I thought this would be marginally better than other bikes I'd ridden and just blingy and new - but it's so noticeably efficient and exceeds expectation that I'm just dumbfounded.  It just rolls!


Sunday 8 April 2012

Weight Weenie Part 2

I track a lot of numbers. Commodities, companies, investment performance/portfolio, etc. Tracking them is one thing, but an early quote always stuck with me "if you're not looking at a ratio, you're missing the information". Work is proprietary, personal finance is private... but for a middle aged desk jockey, there's nothing too sacred about physiology metrics.

My growing bulk over the last couple years, and dwindling riding, especially in 2011, prompted a deep seated need within me for a reset. After tallying up my annual hours last year, I realized I needed to ride more (volume, regular and specific) to get some power back. TCR Sport Lab has been a part of that - an absolutely fantastic way to spend 90 minutes a week.  Thanks Cory and crew.

Having said that, no longer riding with Shawn/Craig/Jon/Devin/Hooper on the hills (or flats!), and instead seeing their silhouettes crest in the distance (ok, they've always crested in the distance, but it got to the point where my myopic vision wasn't even seeing that anymore!), reminded me there's two factors at play - power/fitness... and weight. And if riding wasn't making that clear, the scale was. Enter the ratio.

From the early fall last year, I started picking my power up from the lows. Trish and TransAndes were the motivation. 270W felt intense for a while, and led to surprisingly quick shut down (ie. completing a 20 min solid interval was pretty tough). Now ComputTrainer TT's are back over 300W.

Christmas saw my weight peak around 185lbs. I haven't weighed that much since high school football, and the composition was quite different - from squat sets and bench press sets I couldn't even do one rep of now at half the weight... but that was what my time was spent at then. That's not what 185lbs look like after long bouts of desk sitting... which yielded a power to weight ratio of about 3.2W/kg on say a 20 min measure of Watts. Ugh.

Post Christmas, the TransAndes incentive really reared its head, and the Watts were pushed up to the 290 range before departure for a 20 mins, and the weight was around 175lbs (3.6W/kg) at that point.

TransAndes itself was of course beneficial - chasing Trish, eating more natural foods, etc. Upon return it was looking a lot closer to 170lbs and 300W for similar duration (3.9W/kg). Started feeling good - that ratio had improved just a snick over 20%. That's the right track.

Admittedly, that was the easier phase. Squeaking a little more incremental improvement was harder post that. How? Eat less, excercise more. Less consumption! Continuing to eat lighter, better food selection, sticking to the exercise schedule, consciously mixing up the weekend activities to not get burnt on riding senselessly at this time of year (snowshoeing, XC skiing, downhill skiing) took their course over February and March.

Approaching birthday time here is about 167 lbs, which is a decently optimized weight. With a while to go till I actually care for racing, that's fine.  It's easier when the weather cooperates for longer outdoor rides.  I wasn't always sure I'd get there - that's 18lbs since Christmas. Nearly 0.2lbs a day have vanished on average. I haven't been at that figure since '04/'05. I did race lighter than that in the past, but got weak, it only worked for me on sustained climbs vs. rolly terrain. Watts have continued on a trajectory of small incremental improvement. We'll say about another 10% improvement to the 4.3W/kg range.

Without doping, a magical skeletal figure that somehow maintains power, or other such fantasy, that's about it for me on the weight side. That's where the more consumption happens...


Caffeine intake is getting serious here. No intervention scheduled as of yet... stay tuned.

Friday 6 April 2012

Weight Weenie Part 1

I've taken multi pronged approach to "weight weenie-ing" the mountain bike setup this year.  There's a better way at TransRockies/Andes/BC Bike Race, etc. than jamming the provided gear back till the zipper hardly closes and lugging those 62lbs around until I find a tent, when I'm all wimped out after riding a long day.  Before I get to the "why" will come a few key components to the "how".

Below is my old and new sleeping mat.  The old is a 10 year old therma-rest.  It's great, but it's relatively bulky and it's 1.25kg.  The new is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite which weighs in at a scant 350g, for a 900 gram/2 lb weight saving, not to mention the much smaller packed volume (note the standard plug to left - the Neo is about the size of a water bottle).  Further, the R value is superior to the old one, as convection, conduction and radiation are addressed with similar simple depth, as well as baffles and infrared reflective construction.

Secondly, I've always gone to races with two sets of shoes beyond bike shoes - these Adidas and Birkenstocks most common.  Why does it matter?  It doesn't while riding, but packing the bag during the day with two shoes is pretty much a waste of space.  Too much bulk, and the Adidas Samba plus Birkenstock combo are 1.75kg.  The new substitute, to the right, is a pair of Merrell Trail Glove shoes.  Coincidentally, 350g.  That's another 1.4kg/3lbs gone.  They're also wet/dry wearable given their minimalist construction.

I've been using my MEC Penguin Emperor overbag (750g) as a sleeping bag, despite it's purpose in life being to move a frost layer out on a winter sleep.  It's rated to +15C, which works only for summer sleeping, and warm nights at that.  I can do say 5-10C, but I've had a few pretty cool nights with most of my bike and casual clothes on, especially at TransRockies.  That's nothing a new Western Mountaineering Summerlite can't out do: 0C rated, 525g, packs even a touch smaller (picture a cantaloupe or large grapefruit).  I opted against their even lighter models, as most of those just have shoulder/ribcage length zipper vs. this is full zip, so on warmer nights I can just undo it and use it as a blanket, which I often prefer.  That's only 225g/half a pound savings directly, but I can probably ditch an extra few items/jackets I brought for backup warm sleeping. 

Lastly, my travel tool kit has amassed an array of useful items, however over time it ballooned.  It started at 4.3kg/9.5lbs, I pulled out 1.3kg/2.8lbs so it's about 3.2kg/7lb now, or just under.  It's funny what get's piled up in there, it's almost like having a purse...

I hope to cut back a little on casual layers with Icebreaker, which doesn't end up smelling after a few wears, so it works well for the 3pm through sleep time casual needs at races, and the warmth of the long shirts easily makes it work to carry less layers for cooler days.

All that's within a hair of 4.5kg/10lbs.  That probably takes me about two-thirds of the way through my boy-scout packing exercise.  I'll probably try to squeeze it down a little more, but that's a good start on making room for a spice rack in the race kit!

Thursday 5 April 2012

Cable television (d)evolution

I'm far from an expert on cable TV, yet I'll render an opinion here.  I didn't own a TV for the better part of the last decade, and recently bought one to facilitate CompuTrainer time in the garage.  When I have had a television, it hasn't been "supplied" by a signal source from a cable provider.

Lately I've been looking for more ways to watch what I want, when I want it - the spring classics, including Paris Roubaix this weekend are a key driver.  They aren't a north American mass viewship sport - but the technology is supposed to bridge this.

One of the notable quotes I saw this week was as follows: "Bundling of services remains one of the most important tools to remain competitive" - Jean Brazeau of Shaw.

Let me explain why I believe that's head in the sand "poppycock" for lack of more impolite language.

I never had much satisfaction in ordering packages of channels to get the one that was desired - at home we did this in the past to get OLN or Speedvision.  It was packaged with crap that was divergent in theme, so one package couldn't likely satiate a consumers desires.

Let's look at the music industry for a minute.  Albums used to be sold, then music became feasibly delivered over the internet.  Sales on the internet were resisted, then forced to mimic physical package sales practices - buy a CD.  Nobody did, because for the most part they wanted one or two respectable songs, not an album.  See any parallels? 

I'm also suspicious enough that the music industry knew this all along, and were incentized to create bands and albums that had single hit wonders (worthy of investment and purchase), then filled them with crud on an album, to justify an album price.

The consuming public didn't agree to this, and now music can be bought by album, or by song.

TV may want to recognize this, and generate products people want, in a cost structure supported by actual demand levels rather than cross subsidization by nefarious packaging.

I want to pay for things I want, not things other people want.  I subsidize enough through taxation, I don't need to subsidize TV watchers everywhere, especially since I don't particularly like or condone the activity.  The real housewives or whatever crapola ville, the skanks on Jersey Shore, ridiculous overspending bridezilla shows, dufuses that have leaky basements in need of repair, etc. are not necessary to my existence by one iota.  They exist because they're cheap to produce, as lack of talent is generally known to be inexpensive.  Vapid crud.

The Spring Classics are the opposite - tradition laden feats of human strength and endurance that take a lifetime of cultivation to develop.  They are created from passions that last a lifetime, and further a true passion in viewers.  If that viewership is narrow, so be it.  I'd suggest that it's viewship that doesn't default to the lowest common denominator. 

Apple TV,, steephill, cyclingfans all offer degrees of what I want, some for pay, and some not.  It's nearing, but it's not here yet.  And Canadian cable co's might want to consider that they're not an island when bits and bytes flow relatively unencumbered. 

Banks aren't allowed to tied sell - but it's ok for the living rooms of the nation?  Not in my living room it's not...

Gummy and gooey

Gummy bear mountain. But don't step on a peppermint Gu by accident.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Shimano MW81 cycling shoes review

As mentioned a week or so ago, the Lake MXZ302 winter cycling shoes, err boots, have earned a place in my closet for 4 years now and have been excellent in terms of warmth and durability.

I’ve recently purchased a set of Shimano MW81’s to supplement the cycling footware quiver however.  As noted above, the Lakes are really more of a boot than a shoe - true winter boots, warm and sturdy.  The Shimano’s are often labelled as a winter shoe, but I’d suggest that one looks at where they live first and judge what “winter” really is for a given locale.  For Calgary, I’d call the Shimano’s a shoulder season shoe – spring and fall – more than a “winter” shoe.  It’s a true shoe rather than a boot, fits more like a racing shoe, and, commensurate with overall size and insulation content, is a full 250g lighter PER SHOE than the Lakes!  Off season riding isn’t about speed maximization, but taking a pound of weight off the reciprocating mass of one’s feet sure feels nice.

This is qualified so far by only owning them for one weekend, so a long term review this is not.  Having said that, the weekend comprised 211km of riding Saturday and 4h of local pathway stuff Sunday.  On the big Saturday ride the only thoughts I had all day relating to feet were “I’m comfortable and my feet feel good”.  Temperatures ranged from 0C at the start to perhaps +10C during the warmer parts of the day.  It was cooler again as the ride came to an end.  Feet were warm, but not roasting.  The shoes seem to breathe enough to keep foot perspiration from getting the shoe too damp.  No hotspots under the balls of my feet.  The Velcro provides comfortable, distributed pressure on closure.  In and around the city, their lack of weight, racing style fit, and more trim profile felt great for coffee shop entry and exit.  Just a one day true endurance test so far… but at least supported by years of cooler weather riding.

They’re tighter to slip on than the Lake boots.  I’m not betting against Shimano quality, but pulling them on with the heel strap and overlapping neoprene doesn’t feel like it’d last 4 years of daily wear without starting to pull some seams.  Time will tell.  I’m sure these would work on duty below 0C, but perhaps not too much colder.  They seem like an ideal -4 to +12 shoe if I had to guess, then above that just a summer mountain or road shoe would suffice.

Monday 2 April 2012

Sunday easy riding

Cindy and I did several hours of pathway riding on Sunday as recovery to the big Water Valley ride - and her spin class jets showed on the hills. After lunch we stayed chamois'd until Cindy's friend LB arrived for an afternoon chat, ride, coffee and dinner well into the night. We outfitted her adequately, then rode paths (including some ice above), and were surprised at how much snow and ice is still on the Edworthy side of the river. It's melting, but all those springs build up surprisingly thick ice all winter.