Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bikes 'betes and bad luck

I went to a movie premiere on Friday night. Yup I'm that glam. Actually I'm not I won the tickets on the radio but nonetheless it was fun to pretend for a while. Here's us in front of some kind of celebrity looking banners

I haven't been winning much on the bike recently. Last week I threw my chain in a race got it stuck under the srm sensor and lost minutes getting it back on. I had a good race the next day but ultimately came away with 25th in the sprint: inches from the winner but miles from the win.

This Saturday I made another diabetes snafu. We went out to eat before the race and they bought everything we ordered apart from my food they kept saying it was coming but it never did and eventually I just got my money back and left. I tried to eat some sweet potato before the race but I really screwed the pooch. We'd got to Ed late and. It eaten much in the way of cho at dinner. My glycogen must've been low as I didn't get any bounce from the potato. I started the race with some active insulin on board and we went balls out on the first climb, all the gels I took in weren't helping and I got dropped. Dogged it back on. Went high got dropped rose hard to get back went low and had enough I was in a world of suffering 32 miles into 80 and all I wanted was to be normal, to not have to worry about what when and how much I ate. To not have to stick needles into me every day.

The film I saw was called I am not a hipster it was about. Guy reflecting on the futility of the "scene" surrounding indie music. I kind of felt the same way yesterday. Why am I here? What are we doing and who cares?

Fortunately I booked some flights for the Dominican republic in June to do some racing and advocacy work. That's what Im doing with this bike stuff and that's why I'm there. Failing. So other people don't have to.

I'm going to try some unreconstructed out of date insulin soon. I just bought it and I can't presume to help with what I don't understand so the n=1 study of regular insulin in 100 mile road races begins this week. That's what I'm doing here. And Ayuda (http://www.ayudainc.net/) have been furnishing me with info knowledge and tools. There are still countries where post diagnosis life expectancy is 12 months so that covers why I'm doing it and who cares.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bonk!

cycling is full of rights of passage, booting a tyre with a cliff bar wrapper, riding 100 miles, dropping the guy who taught you how to clip in, shaving your legs, road rash, eating a gel, refusing to eat a gel because you've eaten nothing BUT gel for the last 6 hours, riding in the rain and still enjoying it, winning a race, getting dropped from a race. You get the picture, as you move through the ranks you pass these points, you learn from them and as a rule you progress.

it's beena while since my last proper bonk. i don't mean a hypo i mean an old fashioned non diabetic BONK. total glycogen drain, sleepy, famished, emotional etc. I decided to go and ride 100 miles before a local group ride. it was all going swimmingly with a stop at school on the way for a one hour lecture. i felt good al day, obviously so good that i forgot to eat. somehow i was able to sit on my bike for 5 hours and consume a net total of half a peanut butter sandwich and a packet of pretzels.

this had totally evaded my attention, i had been experimenting with a low insulin low carb approach as i had a few long races coming up . blood sugar was good and i felt fine. cue the group ride starting and it was really windy, as gaps started to open i felt ok, but my cadence wasnt what it should've been. and then, all of a sudden the wheels came off. i begged a gel off my friend lucas but it wasn't really going to cut it. the world got smaller and a gap went that i couldn't close. next thing i knew i was out the back as the ride splintered and i was feeling awfully emotional. on the ride home i was so bonked i nearly cried, despite eating everything in my pockets. on getting back i ate all the bread in the house, drank a beer and fell asleep without showering. stay classy eh?

bonking happens to everyone, at some point in our cycling lives we all decide to measure our glycogen penises and come up short. Someone once told me that certain guys deliberatley induce a bonk to "empty out" the stores and fill up again even stronger. This sounds like a nice idea but i really can't see it working. after a full on hunger knock you do so much damage to your muscles that you're like a fawn for days and your legs feel like someone has extracted the quads with a melon baller. You get back to your house and stand blankly in front of the cupboard, eating like a starved anorexic for half an hour before you even notice the bloated stomach and disgusting appearance of a man with half a pint of ice cream in his hand, a serving spoon inhis other handwearing nothing but his helmet and bibshorts. at this point you most likely sneak off to shower and sleep.

one notable bonk saw me come home and decide to take a lie down with a pint of chocolate milk, a bowl and a packet of peanut butter puffs. i was woken up 3 hours later by my roomate, covered in milk and still in my shorts i asked him why he was in my room, he replied "it's gone badly for you, you never even got there" he was right, and i was so very wrong. We all have our bonk stories, we all have our bonk moments. i just wanted to share one, to prove that however hard it ry to go fast and look cool. i'm still that guy eating Haagen daas in his bibshorts.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

red light racing

I’m a social person, and a bike racer. I like talking to other people and I like to ride my bike with other peopleThis means that I pay money, pin on a number and compete in races where I stand the chance of winning money.
I like to combine the former and the latter by going on so called “group” rides. Call it what you will, weekend worlds, Milano san landfill, the Wednesday ride etc etc. This week I’ve done; the Tuesday morning ride, Wednesday pendeleton ride, Thursday night worlds and the Saturday ride, 4 out of 7 days I ride with a group. It’s a great way to add intensity, and, if you ride a few hours beforehand, it simulates a race. And it’s free. Everyone knows that you train harder with competition and that the best way to get strong is to ride with guys who are strong. The combination of great training, the chance to catch up with all your friends, and the extra element of motivation that a group gives makes training in a group a key part of most cyclists’ training plans.
It has come to my attention that it is rare if not impossible to win any money on these rides. I have never noticed marshals on the course and, last I checked you didn’t have to prove your competency before entering. So they’re rides then. Not races.
This morning I went to a group ride in San Diego. The purpose of said ride is for a group of people to meet up and get a good hard ride in, be home before lunch and to enjoy the sunshine and companionship. Nobody remembers who wins, nobody cares. There are no prizes, everybody respects the guys who pull on the front, who ride away on the hills and who kick it in the sprint. But everybody knows there are parts when you ride hard and parts where the group stays together. Apart from a couple of “elite” individuals apparently.
Now I have no problem with people attacking on group rides, by all means animate. But I have a massive issue with people “attacking” through red lights. If you’re not strong enough to ride away then sit on the front of the group and try to get stronger. If everyone else stops, in order not to get squashed, and you “attack” you are not attacking, you’re illustrating that you’re either A) stupid or B) so unaware of the rules of the road that you have no business being on a bicycle. Likewise the “lateral jump”. Attacking on the wrong side of the road is a great tactic in races, where the roads are closed and the police move parked cars. If you’re not good enough to do races where there is a police escort and closed roads, you’re not good enough to need to attack on the wrong side of the road either.
On today’s particular group ride a couple of the local cat ¾ guys decided it would be a good idea to attack before half the group had even joined the ride and run a series of red lights. I’m sure that Contador does this all the time on his training rides, it’s the way a classy champion conducts themselves. We chased down said individuals in between said lights (see my point above, if you’re not strong enough, being stupid enough doesn’t help). The scenario kept repeating until one individual who doesn’t normally survive the whole ride with the group started to suffer and, rather than sliding backwards with grace, decided to move up as the group slowed for an intersection and then, from his position at the front, plow half the group into an enormous pothole. Thank you sir.
The resulting pothole impact broke the right shifter on my bike. I chased down the group in my 53x25 and proceeded to let the aforementioned rider know that it was unacceptable to cause potential crashes, and even less acceptable to ride away once you have done so. He decided his best bet in this situation was to turn off. Classy. 10 miles in one gear later I came to a shop, they told me the shifter was broken and couldn’t be fixed, a new one would cost more than I have in my bank account (quite a lot more, to be honest a new downtube shifter would cost more than I have in my account). Fortunately I was only 15 miles from Velohangar, so after 25 miles of cross chaining, I rolled into the hangar about ready to weep.
I’ve enthused about the hangar before but there really is something to be said for someone who does what they do well. Gordon took a look at the issue, assessed it and was able to isolate the problem to between the shifter and the adjustor (the adjustor still moved the deraillieur) he then removed the bar tape, identified a break in the cable and replaced it. 5 minutes, done. That really IS classy.

I recall being on a group ride once where a group attacked as a light went orange, and half the ride followed them. i sat up and thought to myself that i was going to miss the intensity, all the fast guys were ahead of me and my workout wouldn't be the same. I was upset but also knew it was the right thing to do. I looked to my left and right to see who i'd now be riding with. To my surprise everyone i respected on that ride was around me, having stopped at the light. two world champions, a top 10 finisher at the tour, several domestic pros and a few guys who are a big deal on the local scene. again this WAS classy. nobody there had to prove anything to anyone by "winning" a ride and risking their life in the process.

So, in summary. If you’re going on a group ride:
· Know where the group rides hard and splits up and where it stays together. Generally most rides do not “rail” through busy urban areas
· NEVER run a red light, it’s one thing to roll a stop sign at a low speed but there is never aplace for riding at full speed through a light clearly indicating that doing so is unsafe. As illustrated by the incident in SF this weekend it’s stupid and it makes cyclists look bad. Despite what you hear, the jersey in the tour de france is for the king of the mountains, not the dude who runs the most red lights.
· If you want to work hard, go on the front
· If you can’t hold the wheel, try to depart out the back without taking anyone else out of the draft. Use the last part of your reserves to pull alongside the rider in front, leading the rider behind onto his wheel. Then move back. In a race, armslings are ok, on a group ride they aren’t
· Always treat everyone else like an unknown quantity, this is, after all, category 6 bicycle racing
· Give carbon wheels a wide berth, if you need 1200g tubs to keep up, you’re doing it wrong.
· If you cause a stack, stop, and say sorry. That’s all people ask of you. They wont expect you to pay bills, just to acknowledge that they, or their bikes are hurt and that you would rather that wasn’t the case
· Listen to the old guys, if they’re keeping up and they’re nt getting any younger it’s because they HAVE got smarter. They know what to do.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

playing with my food

Playing with words is fun, especially when you get to combine two existing words to make one super hybrid word. I imagine this is how evil scientists feel when creating lazer salmon and other such creatures which can benefit the future of mankind. I too have been researching, although I tend to do my research in tight fighting garish lycra rather than lab coats.
My latest hybrid word is “yamwich” technically it’s a misnomer. Yams are bloody huge – like the size of a small child. What I’m actually doing is using a sweet potato, to make a sandwich. Some people call them yams, thus yamwich. This has become my stock training food of late, I simply can’t afford to buy bars right now and these offer a pretty solid calories:cost:nutrition ratio. The recipe is pretty simple, take sweet potato microwave a bit then finish it off baking in an oven. Once it’s done (and I suggest making batches) then you can dress it up however you’d like but lets face it you can’t beat peanut butter and honey, with cinnamon.
I’ve been really struggling with early morning rides recently, since getting hit by a car I’ve been slowly trying to get back on the bike but it seems like my cortisol levels are always sky high. This really affects me in the morning when I cant seem to find the right breakfast. What I’ve ended up doing is A) not drinking coffee unless it’s right before I ride, chamois coffee! B) not eating carbs when I wake up until directly before I ride and c) only suspending my basal to 50% about 45 mins before I ride. I was doing 20% 2 hours out.
The basal ideas came when some tea leaf laid hands on my insulin pump (clearly thinking it was a phone) while I was on a high temp basal, leaving me with no choice but to ride with a high level of insulin on board. I did feel like a little pig on the ride but I made it work and recovered better. Every cloud has a silver lining (apart from for that guy, unless he really needed two used aaa batteries) .
I try to eat something pretty slow digesting but also light for breakfast, before I was eating oats or other grains as porridge but I’ve now moved to pancakes with coconut flour and protein powder in the mix or to eating eggs when I wake up and then eating one of my yamwichs or a pb and j right before the ride. This seems to work pretty well in terms of not having me at 300 for long periods. The lag time of the high level basal covers the carbs from the sweet potato and gives my body enough time to switch on insulin independent uptake of carbs whilst I ride.
We’ve been supplementing this with a healthy fruit intake from a loquat tree we found near one of our regular rides and a grapefruit tree which required some lycra clad acrobatics in order to access its goodies. But not to be discouraged myself and my “training” partners engaged in a spot of human pyramid action which likely dispelled any stereotypes about men in spandex with shaved legs. Sadly shoulder injuries prevented me from taking my proper place in the pyramid but spectating was equally amusing, if less embarrassing.
The car incident is clearly still impacting my body, I feel sleepy a lot and my right eye seems to twitch sometimes. We’ve moved my bars down a cm or more to cope with the narrowing of my shoulders. And my suit doesn’t fit. I’m hoping to be able to race again in a week which will be 3 weeks post impact, but we’ll see. The painkillers are not my friend, they bloat me out and ruin my digestion, they leave my body holding onto fluid but always thirsty. I don’t like them at all, I’m looking at some natural alternatives, I like the idea but not the cost!

playing with my food

Playing with words is fun, especially when you get to combine two existing words to make one super hybrid word. I imagine this is how evil scientists feel when creating lazer salmon and other such creatures which can benefit the future of mankind. I too have been researching, although I tend to do my research in tight fighting garish lycra rather than lab coats.
My latest hybrid word is “yamwich” technically it’s a misnomer. Yams are bloody huge – like the size of a small child. What I’m actually doing is using a sweet potato, to make a sandwich. Some people call them yams, thus yamwich. This has become my stock training food of late, I simply can’t afford to buy bars right now and these offer a pretty solid calories:cost:nutrition ratio. The recipe is pretty simple, take sweet potato microwave a bit then finish it off baking in an oven. Once it’s done (and I suggest making batches) then you can dress it up however you’d like but lets face it you can’t beat peanut butter and honey, with cinnamon.
I’ve been really struggling with early morning rides recently, since getting hit by a car I’ve been slowly trying to get back on the bike but it seems like my cortisol levels are always sky high. This really affects me in the morning when I cant seem to find the right breakfast. What I’ve ended up doing is A) not drinking coffee unless it’s right before I ride, chamois coffee! B) not eating carbs when I wake up until directly before I ride and c) only suspending my basal to 50% about 45 mins before I ride. I was doing 20% 2 hours out.
The basal ideas came when some tea leaf laid hands on my insulin pump (clearly thinking it was a phone) while I was on a high temp basal, leaving me with no choice but to ride with a high level of insulin on board. I did feel like a little pig on the ride but I made it work and recovered better. Every cloud has a silver lining (apart from for that guy, unless he really needed two used aaa batteries) .
I try to eat something pretty slow digesting but also light for breakfast, before I was eating oats or other grains as porridge but I’ve now moved to pancakes with coconut flour and protein powder in the mix or to eating eggs when I wake up and then eating one of my yamwichs or a pb and j right before the ride. This seems to work pretty well in terms of not having me at 300 for long periods. The lag time of the high level basal covers the carbs from the sweet potato and gives my body enough time to switch on insulin independent uptake of carbs whilst I ride.
We’ve been supplementing this with a healthy fruit intake from a loquat tree we found near one of our regular rides and a grapefruit tree which required some lycra clad acrobatics in order to access its goodies. But not to be discouraged myself and my “training” partners engaged in a spot of human pyramid action which likely dispelled any stereotypes about men in spandex with shaved legs. Sadly shoulder injuries prevented me from taking my proper place in the pyramid but spectating was equally amusing, if less embarrassing.
The car incident is clearly still impacting my body, I feel sleepy a lot and my right eye seems to twitch sometimes. We’ve moved my bars down a cm or more to cope with the narrowing of my shoulders. And my suit doesn’t fit. I’m hoping to be able to race again in a week which will be 3 weeks post impact, but we’ll see. The painkillers are not my friend, they bloat me out and ruin my digestion, they leave my body holding onto fluid but always thirsty. I don’t like them at all, I’m looking at some natural alternatives, I like the idea but not the cost!