Thursday, 31 March 2011

Spandex, sugars, Spain and Sardines

Tonight’s missive is comin ‘atcha from Lauren’s Balcony in Santa Monica – very much “real housewives” territory. I’m sitting outside trying to keep cool after a couple of large days on the bike. These have been the first properly hot days in a while and I managed to maroon myself out on Mulholland without any idea where I was (or where water could be had), it was pretty traumatic. So much so that it clearly affected my mental state; I did the same thing again the next day. I had a pretty pants blood glucose day today; rolled out the door at 150, dropped 50 points in 10 mins and I could feel it! Ate 25g of gel carbs and did some efforts for an hour, ate ½ a bar and cruised the coast, I felt low so I ate the other half and stopped (about 1.45 into my ride to grab some water before I went into the wilderness. Halfway up my first canyon climb my sugars went boom – 130-70 and shaking inside a 15 min effort. My lip went wobbly and I stopped and put away a pack of fig newtons,a chewy bar and few jelly beans – that was enough to get me up to 120 and my sugars cruised downwards slowly for the next 2 hours before making another bid for the bottom about 5 minutes from the house.
Having groveled home via a bakery (amandine – Wilshire blvd) which has received the hypo-cyclist seal of approval I’ve spent the rest of the day prancing about in my boxer shorts and trying to work out why the bloke next door spends quite so much time naked with the blinds open. It’s funny once but seeing the sausage swing whilst he shadow boxes when I’m brushing my teeth is actually quite traumatic.
Anyway all this heat (and some of this nudity) is preparing me for the next leg of my adventure; I’m going (back) to Spain (or to be more accurate to Catalunya) . I rode there a fair bit when I was but a gangly (or ganglier) yoof. I’m pretty excited to be going back, I should be able to get in some quality racing out there and plenty of big days in the Pyrenees. Nothing makes me happier than being within striking distance of Barcelona, it’s my favourite city and I feel at home there. The roads are great for training, there’s always an old man to chase up a climb and outside of the city people take a pretty forgiving attitude to my tendency to descend like I’m on closed roads.
I also love the food, I can list a million places to get espinacs al catalana, tapas, bocadillos de tortilla (a personal favourite), helados, the butteriest pastries and the crispest estrella beer. I could write a whole post on where to eat in Barcelona, maybe when I give up this lycra related segment of my life I’ll set up running gastro-tours of the city. Hopefully I’ll be there for a few festivals as well, I love seeing a community come together in celebration. It’s not really something that happens in the US but the palpable sense of welcome is remarkable.
Obvioulsy this means I’ll be missing out on some of the team diabetes work here but there’s a method to my madness and I will be back soon enough. I’d love to do similar work in Spain and Europe so maybe I can hook something up with our sponsors. I think attitudes in Europe are a little different; type 2 is not so prevalent and thus the media and public don’t have such a negative perception. However general knowledge on the condition is still low and maybe I can help do my little bit to rectify that with spandex, sweat and my multilingual ability to run my mouth.
If you’re wondering why Sardines made it into the title it’s because I just pounded a can of those bad boys. I’ve been living the flat broke dream recently and after a few weeks of letting my diet really slide (pb and “wholewheat” bread do not a complete day’s nutrition make) so I’m learning how to get good food, cheap. If you’re poor (I am right now) and hungry (when am I not?) and looking to stay healthy (I try) it’s a pretty safe bet to throw your greenbacks behind the super-sardine. They are almost as cheap as tuna, come in a tomato sauce so you don’t have to make an effort to make them taste good (see my experiment with wasabi tuna: if you’re wondering it does not taste like sushi it tastes like someone’s resurfacing your nasal cavity) and they pack some of the those Mega omega 3 fatty acids which people who know things about such things seem fond of; so get some. Other good bets are spinach (costco has bags big enough to sleep in for $4) tinned tomato, peanut butter (again costco organic) and cheerios (they have about the best fiber:sugar ratio of any cereal I can find cheaply). As for having to write “I live in my car” on race entry forms, and shaving in a rear view mirror I’m afraid I haven’t got any tips for you – it sucks!
Adeu, and a recipe( and a rock band ( to get you in the Catalan frame of mind:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

big saturday

sadly although this WAS a big Saturday in spandex there was very little pole dancing involved. in fact you could accurately say there was none. I thought i would open your eyes to a big training day. in the form of a diary which makes things seem somewhat planned and organised, i like that illusion.

i wake at about 7.15am, can't seem to kick the habit (wish i'd been able to do that when i was 16) so today was no different. In order to prevent myself from setting about a manly breakfast i rapidly applied spandex and grabbed a healthy few snacks which i'd made the night before (chewy bars, a pb and jam sandwich, and a few hammer gels) 2 bottles of nuun and my omnipod and headed out the door. after 15 minutes of brisk pedaling i rendevouz'ed (i think i just coined a new word) with a local group ride which provided me with a hearty bagel based breakfast and the opportunity to dilute the level of blood in my caffeine system.

an hour of no-number bike racing ensued in which i proceeded to regret the bagel and indeed creep around at the back making myself work harder than i would have done at the front but not receiving the chance to battle the other grown men for the ultimate prize. Bunch gallop completed i hooked up with fellow commonwealthian Alistair Loutit and rolled out east towards Palomar. I checked my sugars after the sprint 204, i put down a cliff bar over the next hour, i thought i would need it later.

we hit Escondido at about 10am, Escondido doesn't have a rush hour it's just pants, always. after playing stop light trackstand world championships and cursing the existence of what appears to be a compendium of every single kind of bad junk food in between my house and the biggest hills around we crested Wholford and Descended to the base of the mountain. a quick prick revealed a bs of 154 and another prick (this one owned and operated a gas station) revealed that the water from the fountain cost 50 cents. I put down a gel and we set off upwards. pretty soon i was bloody creeping like my legs were made of concrete. i put away a chewy bar and an apple cinnamon gel (secret weapon, super yummy) and dragged myself up to the top. Where loutit was waiting for me. I only noticed this when i nearly rode into him, it was so foggy i could barely see. At this point we were 100k and 31/2 hours deep. I refuelled at mother's kitchen with cherry pie. and a mocha (they don't know about the mocha, i paid for a coffee and raided the chocolate machine. Now mother's kitchen makes a FINE egg and avocado sarnie but i'd like to name and shame their use of delicious but somewhat unnatural baked goods from COSTCO. those weren't hanging about in MY mother's kitchen!

my hands were so bloody cold i didnt test up at the top but the ride back saw my legs return, it was noon when we left the cafe and we rolled the 100k back home much faster, i put away my pb and jam sarnie (mum's homemade raspberry jam). The only event of particular note was the bloke in escondido who followed us through the whole city blaring rock music and throwing up "bullhorns" - i may have encouraged this by doing some of my more ornate bike based moshing and revealing my gene simmon'sesque tounge (it's really big, you could make a lengua taco or something).

i made it home at about 80 mmol and pounded a yogurt parfait, had a shower and commenced doing totally bugger all. sadly i had to move all mys tuff out of my house later in the day so i motivated myself with the carrot of a couple of Bull Taco offerings. having rolled up north we proceeded to try to attend several parties, judiciously selecting the one which involved the least standing up. ( i also put away another hypo related bowl of cheerios) and ended up at the pub. On the reccomendation of the bartender i enjoyed a fine cismontaine double IPA and returned home via the supermarket (late night = reduced prices) for a fine dinner of tuna and spinach supplemented by some yogurt and cereal augmented by a healthy trowel-full of peanutbutter (maybe i should stop buying stuff in bulk it's cheaper but the variety isn't exactly thrilling)

i went to bed at 108 - i'm not going to throw out bolus numbers but if you feel like they'd help you contact me directly. for those who asked i hope this helped, for those who didn't i hope God credits you with 5 minutes of your life when you cash in your chips

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

stage race sugars

cm 120 numbers from my navi
Thurs started at 140 - finished at 80
fri started warmup at 160, race at 120 finished at 95
sat started at 134 - finished in a pile on the ground
sun started at 110 finished at the free food tent with a dead navi

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Cattle country cycling

This is coming to you from a tiny motel room in merced I've got my legs up on the wall and ive enjoyed a delectable meal of rotisserie chicken from Costco and pasta cooked on our hotplate. I'm typing on my iPod, my first blog on the road for the season so I thought I'd give you a wee insight into our little world.

We came equipped for bare bones racing; hotplate, oatmeal and cool box. The shower is full of bikes an I've conducted a genocide on the towels cleaning my chain.

Top tips for aspiring bicycle gypsies include seeking out te cheapest motel well ahead of time, I'm all about the nonchain joints. Alternatively roll into town late, with a seeping bagand tent in your car and hope for he best. Look for a free breakfast, you can snag those pastries for race food. The ice machine keeps your coolbox chillin ( top tip, dont get a foam one, i drove 7 hours and it never ceased making a sound like a castrated rodent) My one concession to luxury is my aeropress coffee maker - it's nice to have wifi but it's broken here! The pool or the bath tub plus ice work wonders for recovery and you can get most of your 5 a day and all your condiments at a Mexican salsa bar. Bare bones cooking involves a hotplate and oatmeal, pasta and jarred sauces. Heat treated milk is a lifesaver or almond milk. And never travel without a set of plastic eating ironsand flatware.

Stay classy people!

-yep typed it with my thumbs: they're what makes us better than apes