Monday, September 21, 2015

Not to pro to say hello

How does the ocean say hello? 
With a little wave!

Classic Dad joke and something I think I need more of on this blog to be honest, and with a large back catalog of bad jokes to dispense I'm not holding back anymore (you've been warned)

But this is not so much about jokes but more about manners, or maybe just being a nice guy. A recent clip on youtube was doing the rounds and getting all the 'likes' from cyclists by a TV show The Weekly, a bit of light hearted and fact pointing segment on the relationship of Cyclists and Cars, Cyclists and the public. Now as guy who gets his training hours in on my commute to work each day (no time for pro hour 10am spins) I have encountered my fair share of dickheads on the road, and not all of them have been cars - I can also add in other cyclists, scooters and pedestrians to this list.

We all have a horror story, one we won't tell our better halves on the fear they will lock our bikes up, or sell them for less than we bought them for. The near miss, the bonnet flop or the angry motorcyclists who attempts to run you off the road. But I think the worse is between other cyclists, we need to get some love for each other.

I remember reading of the "Hell Ride" that took on the form of its name when a large group of racing cyclists crashed with a training pod of triathletes, causing some serious injuries, worse than the crash was the lack of responsibility to stop and make sure people were ok, instead flying past and ignoring those clearly in need of help.

We are a daring bunch the weekend warriors in lyrca, whether a coffee ride with friends, epic event in search of vert, or than early morning wanna be pro trying to get the hours in the legs before the real world begins. Its a brethren, a sub-culture in its own form with its own language, hand signals and fashion. Yet do we really look out for one another?

Bus drivers always have that nod, the one as they cross paths, a friendly little tip of the imaginary cap or maybe a little salute to say hello to a passing colleague or even just to acknowledge another bus and its drivers good work to deliver its human parcels safely and on time. If you search the internet every cycling club etiquette page mentions acknowledging other cyclists, I can tell you its rare.

I set out on a standard 50km + up Plenty Road on a Saturday morning, don't normally see too many people coming the other way at this time (6am) but as I turn around at Whittlesea I will always see morning club rides or social groups coming through. Now when I'm riding alone sometimes I have too many thoughts going on and other times I just like to chat to whoever I encounter on the road, be it runners, cyclists, morning walkers etc. Normally with a greeting of "good morning" or "bit brisk but great to be out" general chit chat that gets a similar response or a reply wishing me well. But not from other cyclists. In fact despite what you read I would put most rather than less cyclists in the rude brackets than car drivers. Maybe we are defensive having been honked at and almost run over, or are we're always on the attack due to constant media comments about banning us from the roads.

For a 25km return , not one reply. Ok maybe 1 or 2 but I must of past 20+ Groups or singles going out to Whittlesea and further. I know we are in the zone when we're out on a training ride but come on people! Say hello, tell the world you love riding your bike!

Let's make cycling a community, and I know there will be exceptions to this rule and I have had some great encounters of people spotting me on my bike from reading this blog or having seen one of my images on instagram, but lets be a big family no lyrca clad loners. You see me on the Boulevard say hello, if I'm in TT mode say hello, if I'm pulled up at the lights lets have a chat.

My Summer Resolution is to interact more, bring a community together without a facebook request. Going to use my mouth piece and a friendly wave.

#cycling #dadathlon #nottopro #sayhello #trilife

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September Training - Let's Get Serious!

Time to start carving up those stats! 

Let's get real!

Spring has sprung, I felt that warm sun on our ride in Mornington, the time is here the schedule starts to get thicker and it's not just racing events. Super Wife returns back to the 9-5 or the 8 till 4pm job and Z-Girl goes to childcare, this presents a whole range of big changes in my training and life schedule to factor in.

Up to this point things have been going well, been feeling stronger and fitter than ever and with some events now once a month leading into December means I'm busy and super excited!

The biggest challenge is finding the time to get my bike rides in, where I have been riding to work most days now in September I will have to do the morning Childcare drop off. With Z-Girl not being big enough to put in the bike trailer and the timings I will have to get the train afterwards cutting out 3 days of riding.

A 7:30am drop off does open up the possibility of a morning session pre-work, but will need to get changed and showered to take Z-Girl. With two free mornings Mon & Tues when the Diamond Mum-in-law will take Z-Girl means I will ride to work these days. To maximize this time I will stretch these rides out to long 40km+ spin.

My evenings will now include a trainer session on the bike, along with swimming still on Friday nights.Adding in a 7km running loop and using Friday mornings as a rest period before swimming leaves me not much choice regarding finding a rest day. Recovery will key along with being prepared with meals & lunches. I have some great fast breakfast recipes I will get up on here soon.

With early rises the fuel is going to be realyl important and making sure I get my rest; I had moved to grabbing a couple of extra beers out of the fridge recently, and I'm happy to admit it did effect training slightly, I also had come down with a little man flu for a few days which is always a concern for over training, I backed off for 2 days and everything got back to normal.

Not to forget my Personal Training business - yes I am the guy with so much time on my hands I thought I'd run a business on the side; and yes you can be trained by the Dadathlon at Zen Fitness Personal Training is also starting to get busy (up to 3 sessions per week) as I try to convert this business more part-time than casual, the idea I can hopefully drop the 9 to 5 grind and get paid doing what I love, training and impacting people full-time!

Training Plan:
Mon: Long Ride AM 40-50km
Tues: Long Ride AM 40-50km
Wed: Morning 7km Running Loop
Thurs: Evening Bike Trainer Session and Strength Workout
Fri: Swimming after Z-Girl is in bed
Sat: parkrun 5km, will incorporate some extra running KMs & Brick Sessions on this day
Sun: Group Ride 35km

Let's do this - I still rock only gathers Moss!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cheeta Recovery - Review

You've heard me talk about it before on here, recovery. Finding those rest days or moments to let the body rejuvenate so it can put out it's best performance every time you train. What's good for the body is good for the mind as well. Recovery isn't always about sitting on the couch and watching Friday Night Football, you have add in diet, stretching & foam rolling and some sleep. 

I've told you about investing in a good foam roller and my next encouragement is recovery garments, or tights, or leggings depending on how you view them. Short ones or long ones it doesn't matter. 

Medical compression stockings have been used in the treatment of poor venous blood flow for more than 50 years. These medical compression stockings are usually worn over the leg and foot and are adapted to create a controlled, gradient compression force on the leg. 

Recent research with athletes has shown that compression garments may provide ergogenic benefits for athletes during exercise by enhancing lactate removal, reducing muscle oscillation and positively influencing psychological factors. Research has also shown that compression garments may promote blood lactate removal and therefore enhance recovery during periods following strenuous exercise, other investigations have suggested that the use of compression garments during recovery periods may reduce the symptoms associated with delayed onset muscle soreness and we all hate the dreaded DOMS after a hard workout. 

This brings me to the fine products of Cheeta Recovery; when I line myself up with a company it has give me benefit first, it has be what I need to perform at my best on and off the training track, and having sore legs after a big ride when you have to push the pram around the next day is not my idea of fun! 

Great range in traditional black for Men & Women
Cheeta Recovery are an Australian compression garment company, the kind of company you may not of heard of, but now you have you won't shut up about them. They have heard the screams from gym users about the outrageous cost of other leading retail brands and the need for a top class product to assist with recovery, cold morning runs, chaffing as well as fitting like a well known label.

By cutting out the middle man and working as a small independant company Cheeta Recovery have succesfulyl created a range of garments that suit all requirements, from the footballer needing some extra support with a shorter cut, the morning athlete needing some much needed the warmth, the long garment for the post event recovery walk as well the active female looking for something just as stylist out of the gym as in the gym. 

My experience having been dropped of a pair of long and short garments, firstly the fit is snug. The sizing chart is sport on based on height and weight and makes picking your size easy. I tried the CR Long Pants after coming back Friday from a long day in the office and a long ride in the morning, slipping into them for a night of TV and relaxing, with plenty of flex and thickness they were warm but not too hot. I like to sleep in compression gear overnight when I have had a heavy day and these worked great! 
CR Long Pants Retail at $60 

The next day getting out to my local running group, I have had some tightness in my hamstrings and wanting to make sure I kept them warm for the 5km medium/slow pace jog the CR Shorts were just the ticket, a little bit longer than most compression shorts, meaning they cover the full hamstring finishing just at the start of the knee, this coverage keeps the area warm and supported with no real issues getting around the track. 

It's great when your out and people notice your outfit; and popping down to the coffee shop that day with the CR Long Pants on with a nice set of shorts over the top for some extra recovery time I had plenty of people asking if I was wearing something new! 

Get yourself in contact with Cheeta Recovery or myself - I will be sorting out some great bulk order discounts for all supporters of the Dadathlon & Zen Fitness Personal Training and feel this affordable garment range starting at $40 is a bargain for the product you're getting in return and literally half the price the big brands, and its Australian! and we all love a good Aussie doing well! 

Contact myself directly, or keep your eyes peeled on here up coming deals on Cheeta Recovery and in the meantime keep active and get ready as Spring is here!! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sommerville AU Hillfest

Sommerville Sports Crew Re-grouping mid ride

Things are moving pretty positively heading into Spring & Summer for Sommerville Sports Australia; the further Brand Ambassadors had been named and a fresh official Sommerville AU kit had been released with plenty of compliments.Yet a cycling crew is only as good as the rides it takes; and after this weekend the bar has been set pretty high. A trip down to the Mornington Coast heading up the famed Arthurs Seat and out towards the back roads of Red Hill.

FRESH KIT - get yours in the online store
Heading from Melbourne meant an early morning catch-up, and I mean early, so early my daughter hadn't even woken up for the 3rd time that night. 6:15am out the front of The Captains house, the cold air had revealed what was looking like a cracking day out on the bike, the famed Benny of Benjamin's Patisserie (finest donuts in Ivanhoe, if not the world!) Faz another member of Sommerville and of recent Instagram face fame. A packed out Sommerville Team Car, complete with all 6 '2 of me relegated to share half my seat with Benny's Felt speedster and we were on our way.

Car journey's bring a team together, the banter, the poor choice in music, the Captain again not waiting for people who were following him and general discussions that will neither enlighten or save the world all rolled into a good hour and a much needed coffee stop.

A monster crew was there to greet us, including a few resident Sommerville Ambassadors that are based down the coast. Personally I was pretty excited, as a Northern suburbs rider I don't venture to far from home so this had the air of a great adventure. With close to 50 riders of various levels and abilities also joining us we had split them into lead groups of 10 or more, making sure we had a couple of locals in with us knowing we would get lost at some point.

Typical Tourist Photo
Early pace out of Mount Martha was great the rolling tight roads running high up along the clifftop made for a great scene, and it didn't take long to warm-up and get into a good rhythm early. Keeping the group together was always going to be tricky but plenty of chat and slow down sections made it possible. Grouping up as we came to the bottom of the first challenge of Arthurs Seat set a great scene as everyone was keen to set a PB. I knew it was steep, I knew it was short (3.5km) and I had heard and seen the switchback corners.

I went at it pretty hard keen to get under 15 minutes, thanks to Benny for nice little lead up the first few kilometers and then the Captain went past me on his way up, and that just ignited my competitive juices so I jumped out to stay with him. Captain Ivan the loveable leader of this band of Sommerville Studs & Wannabe Stars can climb hills, in fact I'm pretty sure he sleeps on a 10% gradient at night. If I could stick with him it was a clear improvement, if I challenged him I'd half impress myself. I did a little early flexing jumping out of the saddle on a turn to jump in front, I opened up a bit of a solo gap but being my first time up I hadn't checked how far to go, feeling like I was being stalked I just kept trying to turn my legs but seeing him slowly closing the gap. Having a little finishing stoush as we got to the top of the climb made for some early fun and set the tone that this was going to be as much about smiles as it was about training.

Once re-grouped we headed out and down, weaving our way up and over beautiful quiet back roads of Red Hill, with blistering down hill sections weaving through tall forests and rolling hills with vineyards to our left and right as the sun started to show itself. I honestly can't think of a nicer place to get out and ride with such a mix of views and scenery just made this region so wonderful. The group stuck together pretty good and continued to set good pace numbers and every climb gave everyone a chance to flex the chain rings a little.After 40km in we had found our rest point, reloaded with some great coffee and cheeky little breakfast burger before the final 30km back Mount Martha, heading up the backside to Arthurs Seat meant a white knuckle descent around the hair pin turns which was giving me flashes of that horror crash in Utah just recently, and then onto the flat rolling finish up to our start point.

Sommerville Sports Team Car Aftermath 
Closing out the day strong my legs felt great considering the punishment of 1,444m of climbing (and at a good pace mind you) the groups didn't split too badly even after the breakfast stop. This ride identified what I love about Sommerville Sports Australia, great riders, great scenery but more important great adventure. Meeting new locals that have the pleasure of calling those hills home, the discussion of coming down on my own and catching up with them for a ride, meeting the remainder of the Sommerville Crew and testing myself around strong riders only adds to it.

The great looking Sommerville Sports Australia exclusive kit is still available for sale and includes a great fit and vest for those cool mornings. The colours represent a nice blend outside of the normal Melbourne default fashionable black that most riders seem to wear. Stop us when you see us, ask me directly or get yourself to the online store and order. REMEMBER all custom kits are 5 Garment minimum, perfect that pro-look to the latte lap team on a Sunday! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tailwind Nutrition Review

It's all about what goes into the body as to the production you get out of it. And with a recent change in diet myself to a more organic outlook and dropping red meat out of the equation it had also come to my attention to look further into my race & training nutrition.

It's true I was a gel man! I liked the little packets the way they fit in the back pockets of my jersey, or running belt. The ease to rip the top off and digest the sweet sugar filled energy; but the high and lows of gel taking meant I was taking too many and finding my workouts were based on surging efforts when the going was good and trying to survive when the going was bad. Washing away the sweet after taste with that extra bottle of plain water.

On exploring more endurance nutritional options, I was steered in the direction of Tailwind products; a USA based company that has it's connections here in Australia. Developed to combat the Leadville 100 and avoid the dreaded gut-bomb that taking synthetic sugars and large amounts of "energy bars" and rubbish calroies can do to the body (we've all been there)

Tailwind works with some pretty simple philosophy; combing energy+electrolytes+ hydration mixed in with your water bottle it's idea is to supply your full nutritional needs, as well as claiming to absorb better than most gels on the market, and the interesting fact that it is Hydration Pack friendly.

Having collected a Variety Pack to test before getting on-board with the Tailwind Ambassadors; I felt we needed something a little tough to give it a true test, a Sommerville Sports AU Arthur's Seat 70km/ 1400m climbing on the bike was the perfect tester, warm conditions, killer vert meant plenty of calorie usage and the need for constant hydration. I handed two to the Captain to test out and also tell me what he thought.

The first sign is the white powder and my water staying clear; that's right unlike other sports drinks (we won't name names) tipping the powder into my bottle didn't change colour, and there was no 'sugary' smell - you know that sweet smell like you just walked into a donut shop. It mixed really easy and quickly with no residue floating or collecting at the bottom of the bottle.

I was using two flavors on this trip the Raspberry Caffeinated & Lemon flavour, now from a taste perspective I was impressed. You wouldn't want a full sache of the variety pack in a small bidon would taste too sweet but a half packet is just about right, with a still very refreshing watery taste - kind of like that cordial your Nanna used to make on a summers day.

Passing the taste test early in the ride, it now needed to do its job. Tackling Arthurs seat and the back steep roads of Red Hill, which by the way does what it says on the box (hills!) I took the test to the limit by packing no gels and just my Tailwind and 2 rice cakes, I was a little nervous of the dreaded bonk. Saches claim 200 calories and this ride was going to burn 1000+ by the end of the day, knowing I had a lunch/ coffee stop I really just needed to break the back and get through the first hard 40km and then I could refuel on solids again.

Despite taking a caffeine loaded Raspberry I didn't feel over excited, if anything maybe slightly more focused on my task at hand, my gut never felt empty or a cry for help (grumbling noises) this is usually the point when I can tell my body is lacking calories.

On the way back to the finishing point I topped up further with lemon just to keep my levels right and felt strong all the way around the ride, sticking strong with the group and at no point did I feel like I was lacking water or food which is a rare one for me; I didn't have surges in activity levels but kept a consistent effort.

From chatting to my other test case within the Sommerville Sports AU Team; very similar report - taste was good, didn't feel like he needed any extra gels to top up and carried little to no food on this trip other than sharing a power bar.

Getting home and testing the final claim of Tailwind, Hydration Pack friendly - I like clear water bottles, means I can tell which juice is in which on a long ride. But most of them have been stained or left with an awkward flavor residue in them from constant use. A quick clean out and a scrub and there was no lemon after smell or after taste when I poured some water into the bottle.

It was hard to think of going on a ride without a gel or something overly sugary to get me past the breaking point, but Tailwind seemed to have found the perfect mix - this VEGAN, yes you heard me right this vegan friendly nutritional option is free of wheat, gluten, soy and diary. It mixes well with minimal scoops to give you upwards of 250cal and could easily provide you a simple nutritional race plan without the hassle of pills, gels, bars and the odd pre-wrapped sandwiches.

I don't think I will completely replace solid food on my rides/runs, but this certainly cuts down on carry-on items with regards to gels and 'extra' goodies (bananas, biscuits) With the absorption into the body at a steady rate rather than a blast of energy I can see this product being a big factor in my IM70/ Olympic distance challenges this year.

Super pleased that I can represent this excellent product that in Victoria is a hidden gem, with no retailers stocking these powders. As a Tailwind Team Member I'm encouraging you to get in touch and let's sort out an order, you won't regret it, in fact your gut will love you for it!!