Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A day in the life... Cycling Camp

Each day is kind of like the last here.  

Wake, eat, ride, eat, stretch, eat, sleep.

Devon (Brian's pilot) and Brayden....  getting some fuel into the tank.

During the ride...  From left:  Andrew (mechanic #2), Eric, Mark

Mark Beggs... rolling the handcycle.  

This is what $2,000 worth of bike tools looks like. I would like a set like that....

More bike shots...  Brayden's TT bike sitting in a box...  Specialized wins the bike count here in Clermont.

An SRM and two Powertaps....  lots of nice stuff here...

Andrew giving my bike a wash....  I don't think my bike has ever had it so good.

This is Bike Mechanic currency....

Arnica Gel - If you haven't used Arnica before give it a try.  When your muscles are sore massage it in and you'll be on your way to a recovery.  All natural and used by tour riders (and hacks like me). 

Reading poolside...  the cap is not a fashion statement.  My head is still a little pink.

All of the ingredients for a quick recovery:  Arnica, fluids, compression socks, lounge chair, pool, book.  The sandwich is already in my belly.

Sebastian hot dogging during the "Skills Competition" last night....

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Daytona Beach - Rest Day

It was a good rest day...  we rolled out at about 10:00am.  Dropped three guys at Epcot Center and headed to Daytona Beach.

I try not to be negative in my blog (and in life) but there aren't too many great things to say about Daytona Beach.  If you are reading this and you are from D.B. I apologize...

It is kind of stuck in the 1970s or 80s...  none of us had been there before and I don't think many of us will be hurrying back.  The beach is pretty enormous and quite nice but it features a two way street right on the sand and about 3,000 parked cars.... convenient?  yes.  Beautiful?  no.  Environmentally sound?  no.

The most surprising part (to me) was all of the people sunbathing right between the parked cars, beside their own tailpipes...  presumably in yesterday's (or today's) oil drips...  good lord people!  Walk 25 ft. and leave the "parking lot"!

Anywho....  maybe we missed the good part...  hope so...

Back on the bikes tomorrow.  10am.  Should be good.


We'll start with our waitresses' nails....  pretty impressive.  She works part time at a nail salon...

That's me - on the boardwalk - Daytona Beach.

The Pier, the D.B. Pier Restaurant and the ancient gondola...  

The beach...  a quiet moment in the traffic.  Parking on the right.

From right to left: New mechanic Andrew, myself, Sebastian, Luc, Jean and a tiny bit of Mark Beggs

Pretty sweet ride....

P.S.  The photo at the top of the post is of Mark Beggs (a National Team handcyclist) wheeling on the beach (which can really be tough at times).... cool photo (if I do say so myself...) 

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Florida Training Camp - More Pics

Another bunch of photos for you guys.  

We have our only day off the bike tomorrow - maybe we will go to the Epcot Center or Daytona Beach....  not too sure yet.  It will be nice to let the legs rest and come back strong on Wednesday.

Today we did 80kms - it was supposed to be kind of mellow but we ended up working pretty hard for long stretches.  It seems that the pace just climbs and climbs as people start "racing" a little.  It's pretty fun - especially if you are feeling good.

We have done almost 600 kms this week with a couple of easy days in there...  my legs are ready for a little arnica and a day off.

Without further ado, here are some pics:

Jason - A coach from Alberta...

Sebastian - a coach from Quebec (standing in for Brian's usual pilot Devon) and Brian on the back.

Luc - the camp organizer and a coach from New Brunswick driving the support vehicle.

Nina - the massage therapist/photographer...

Yours truly - risking life and limb for a self portrait.  That's zinc sunscreen on my nose...

Publix - we come here as often as possible to buy food (and for something to do)....  We are eating an incredible amount of food.

Many thousands of dollars worth of bikes in our garage...

More bikes....

Typical lakeside riding near Clermont....

I think this is called the Green Swamp "Heart of the Floridian Aquifer"....  at least that's what the sign says....

Cheers from Florida!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Clermont Pics...

The internet continues to be a bit tough here...  we have to sit outside an office.  Not conducive to long detailed posts.

Therefore I can only upload some shots and give caption or two... Also, I am way behind on reading all of your excellent blogs - will get a chance to catch up soon!

The camp is going really well. The weather is holding - around 27°-31°C every day. It has been a bit windy during our rides which makes up for the fact that Clermont isn't very hilly.

Without further ado here are a few shots:

That's my new bike....  It's feeling pretty awesome...  I need to get a slightly shorter stem and a slightly narrower handlebar and I'll be fully dialed in.  

Nathan - the mechanic.  Washing down our bikes and keeping them in perfect working order.  Nate's the man.

Brayden and Brian chilling out after a ride and a bite to eat.

Don't know if you can see the racing stripes on my head....  they hurt a lot and were a very noticeable pink.  Gotta remember to s'screen my dome.

This is Brian's handiwork off the back of the tandem...  not bad for a visually impaired guy shooting off the back of a bike.

This is our actual house.  In fact our group has three of these...

Brian's handiwork again.  I'm working on getting some more shots in the next few days.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Clermont, Florida - Cycling Camp

I almost forgot how to type it's been so long....  we had no internet until today....

Getting down to Clermont proved to be a little harder than we expected...  we started by missing our flight.  Air Canada couldn't check us in because of a computer problem, finally that got sorted and the line-up at security was HUGE.  Then I got searched TWICE.  We missed the plane by 5 minutes.

They got us on the next one to Seattle 4 hours later.  Fortunately the Seattle-Atlanta leg was delayed so we were able to catch it.  The Atlanta - Orlando portion of the odyssey was not delayed which meant we were stranded in Atlanta for the night.  

We flopped into a couple of super-cheap (smoking) rooms at the Best Western.  My room smelt like perfume used to disguise smoke...  So the hotel was neither "best" nor very "western" but I slept like a baby.

The Camp

We have been riding every day - between 50-90 km/day so far.  The first couple of days we took it pretty easy and on the third we went a bit harder for a bit near the end.  In the afternoons and evenings we have usually had some sort of secondary session - bike fitting, body measurements / analysis / stretching / nutrition etc. etc.

The good news is that I fit right in with the riders here - I am not the strongest or the weakest.  I didn't need to be quite as concerned as I was.  On a personal level, I am very pleased with my riding thus far - I felt adequately prepared for the camp.  Sean, Josip, Kevin - if you are reading - good job!  Mostly it is just feeling great to get a string of nice rides in great weather - I have never had this type of an opportunity at this stage of the season.

The one issue I have been having until about 5 minutes ago is that there is NO INTERNET.  That's a pretty challenging scenario for me.  I now realize how dependent I am on it.  5 days was about all I could take - I was ready to pedal off to the nearest town with an internet cafe...  then we found this little spot with WiFi.  It was a glorious moment I assure you.

We are staying at the Swiss Ski School (fortunately that's water skiing).  Here are some pics - this isn't the exact house we are in but essentially the same:


I will load up some ride pics and much more soon if the internet keeps working.


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Punching in... and Checking Out!

It's been some time since I went for a whole week without posting....  my days have been jam packed this week getting ready to leave for Florida.

It has created quite a backlog which I won't be able to tackle in the next day or two.  Once I am settled there I should have time to post all sorts of good stuff.  (Fingers crossed for wireless internet.)

Tomorrow is an epic day of travel beginning at 7:50am and terminating in Orlando at 11:58pm.  We will then have to get to our location in the 'burbs.  We will visit Seattle (for 5.5 hours) and Atlanta (for 40 minutes)....  if our bikes and bags make that last connection we'll be lucky.

By the way, the WE I keep referring to is Brian and I.  Those who have been reading this blog for a while will remember Brian from STP last year.  If you don't recall then read HERE.

Sacha, Mattias, Aia, Viggo, Nik (Sacha's brother) and I all did the St. Patrick's Day 5km today.  We were joined, in the rain, by Justine and Kate who were coaching some IF customers through their first 5km race.

We had a great morning in Stanley Park despite the somewhat terrible weather.  Aia completed her first ever 5km race.  She ran, and walked, and skipped and was carried on at least one occasion by her uncle but nevertheless it was quite an impressive accomplishment for a 4 year old.

Mattias followed the race plan perfectly and clocked in somewhere around 33 minutes (results weren't up when I wrote this).  Sacha, Viggo (stroller) and I were about 5 seconds back.

BORED.  30 minutes before the race....  we've already been there for 15 minutes.  Being super early does not work as well with three kids, but it's easy to be late....  tough to time it just right.

10 minutes before the race - everyone is pretty cold but ready to run.

I will have some more (and better) pictures and some real results in the next few days.

Later in the day Aia and I picked up (and I got fit on) my new road bike.  I will have better pictures of that too - in the Florida sun.  

So many promises....

Aia being patient at the Bike Gallery.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Operation: Don't Get Dropped in Florida

This time next week I'll be in Florida at the cycling camp....  which means that this time this week I am pretty super busy trying to get a whole bunch of things done before leaving.

First things first though, I have to send out a "congratulations" to all of my friends who competed at the UBC Triathlon on Sunday.  There was a HUGE Innovative Fitness contingent, as well as a friend or two from my masters class and several readers of MJ Racing.  I didn't hear of any disasters or frostbite....  it was -2ÂșC to start the day, which is fine weather for running around in a wet bathing suit.

Normally spectating at a race leaves me feeling a little lazy....  I like to be out there competing with everyone else.  This time I am not too worried about it - I have been laying down the miles on the bike.  I have been on the road or spinning 8 out of the last 10 days.  Operation: Don't Get Dropped in Florida is in full effect.

Sean has me on a steady diet of cycling with only a smattering of other activities.  It feels good and I am loving being on the bike these days.

So... given that I opted out of the race on Sunday I inflicted a long ride upon myself (out to UBC to cheer the racers) followed by a beautiful hike in Lighthouse Park with Mattias and Viggo.  V rode on my back and slept the whole way which was pretty awesome.  Aia was with her mom at Annie...  the play.  You know, "It's a Hard Knock Life..." no?  Never mind.

I took a bunch of pictures and Mattias packed along a camera too - he is getting excited about photography (Click to enlarge):

My favourite of the day...  Give me an angry sky and a camera and there's going to be A LOT of photos to choose from!

Mattias posing...

Viggo may not have had the best view...  I didn't realize I clamped him in there quite so tight.  Oh well, it was cold out...

Wide angle lens...  For all of you out of town readers:  The point of land way off in the distance is UBC - where I was for the triathlon earlier in the day.  It is about a 1.5 hour ride to get out there...

That's the Lighthouse at Point Atkinson

Mattias and Hewitt (dog-in-law) in the trees

Photo credit:  Mattias

On the way to the park....  Viggo strapped in.
It isn't nearly as warm as it looks...

Mattias likes running and leaping from rock to rock.  For the life of me I can't understand why he hasn't broken an ankle yet but I don't want to be the dad that tells him to "take it easy" all the time...

Dog glamour shot...

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