Stop Training Already!!!

The RBC GranFondo Whistler is just around the corner now and all I keep hearing is, “Wow, I rode to Squamish and back yesterday!”  or, “I finally rode all the way to Whistler!  That is going to be a tough ride on September 10th!” or worse yet, “I rode to Whistler and BACK on Monday in the blazing heat!”  Please, please please, stop training already!!!

I hate to tell you this, but if you haven’t put in your long rides already – it is too late to start now.  The worst thing you can do for yourself (and your ride) is to cram in as much training now to make up for lost time.  The purpose of training is to push the body slightly beyond it’s limits so it adapts, slowly over time and gets stronger.  The key words in that last sentence is SLOW and TIME.  If you don’t have the time (1-2 weeks) to recover, you shouldn’t be pushing your body beyond what you have already done (recently).

Before you have a panic attack there are a few things that you CAN do which will help improve your time and your enjoyment on the day of the ride.  Here are a few tips.

The number one thing you can do from now until the race is to make sure you are rested.  It is better to arrive at the starting line undertrained and well rested than overtrained and exhausted. Continue reading

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The Art of Suckage

My friend Lindsey and I headed up Cypress Mountain. This ride can be summed up in 3 letters…W, T, and F! I think my competitive swimming back ground is playing a role in my suckage. When swimming, I went out hard and then tried to hang on for dear life…if you didn’t want to hurl it wasn’t a good race. Here in lies the problem. Never having experienced the ride up Cypress, I hit it as if I were swimming. I should have known that while going  up a mountain it is better to pace yourself from the beginning and not “giv’er” off the  first peddle stroke. By the 3 km mark I was ready to chuck a lung. Lindsey was a trooper. Steady Eddie. She was smooth and strong and kept a good pace. Me? I was all over the place….literally. I was contemplating  doing the zigzag maneuver to get me up the damn hill. The only thing steady  for me was my cadence at about 30 f-bombs a minute. During a serious pity session of “What the hell am I doing?” followed by an “If I barf up both lungs… could I still be a functioning human being?”, I was passed (no surprise there) by an exceptionally handsome man in a “F Cancer” jersey (www.letsfcancer.com  : Did you know that 90% of cancers are curable when caught in stage 1?? Fascinating!…yet severly disturbing). I saw that as a bit of a sign to suck it up and stop whining. On ward and up ward.

Over 1/2 way there and again Linds was rocking it. I find out now that apparently she LIKES going up hill!! She likes getting into the groove and zen-ing out. I always knew she was a titch crazy but I never thought she was completely nuts.  In my world “hill” is a big fat 4 letter word. As my self-pity started to seep deep into my soul and my cadence upped itself to 60 f-bombs a minute, I was once again passed (SHOCKER!) by yet another handsome, and exceptionally cheery, man in a vividly pink jersey telling me to smile…will a grimace do?? (Side bar: Are all roadies good-looking? Is it a prerequisite to buying a bike? And if not… do you become better looking as you become more roadie-ish? Let’s discuss…). Anyway…back to my pity session…This time it was for Team Finn ( www.teamfinn.com).  First Mr. F-Cancer and now Mr. Team Finn-Just-Keep-Smiling. I lost my mum to the beast of breast cancer and I swear, as those men rode by I felt my mum smacking me up-side the head.  Half way up a mountain and it was time for a HUGE reality check. Continue reading

Eat Well, Eat Sustainably

As I continue on my quest to be a serious road rider, I struggle with keeping myself well-fed with interesting, nourishing and non-packaged food. Okay, I’ll do one of those squishy gel things if I really need to, and I’ll definitely munch on a LUNA bar, especially since they’re made with 70% organic ingredients and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Check out their 5 bottom lines! But what about some just plain old home-made favourites that you can just stuff into a (reused and reusable) baggie into your jersey instead of consuming more single-use packaged snacks? I asked some of my long-time cycling friends and here are some of their favourites:

  • Bananas! Bananas provide a range of nutrients, electrolytes and are an excellent source of potassium – important for muscle health and function.
  • Peanuts and good old peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Raw almonds and almond butter too. Even better: toast your own raw almonds by sticking them into your toaster oven for a few minutes and then sprinkle with seasoning – try curry, smoked paprika, a bit of salt. The roasting brings out a delicious flavour. Continue reading