Monday, August 30, 2010

Going Home?

I'm off to Blighty for twelve days, and this is filling me with conflicting emotions; some kind of nationalistic syncretism I suppose.

As with so many things in life, my feelings are likely summed up my Matt Johnson and The The

"I love and I hate this place, I ran away but I couldn't escape". That'll about do it.

Maybe I feel not so much home-sick as time-sick. What I crave for is not London per se, but what London, or the UK for that matter, meant to me at a certain time. Will it be the same now, or will it just be a dirty, smelly city full of overpriced food and pick-pockets? It would be like having a secret desire to go to England because of the films of Richard Curtis and then finding out it's not all Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Love Actually and snow at Christmas.

We'll see.

What I predict, with a reasonable degree of confidence is that my diet, not to mention my training, is going to see a not inconsiderable hit in the next ten days or so. I'll try and keep up the running, get out in the mornings, knowing I have a full coming up really soon. As for the diet, well, I'll letting that slide. You won't be seeing that thin guy on the cover of Optimyz for a while. Oh yes, it's going to be ten days of pork-pies

and jaffa cakes

and Marks and Spencers trifle

washed down with lashings of Lucozade.

And then when we hit London, Hot Salt Beef Bagels

From this place

Yes I know most of this stuff (bar the bagels) is available at Petes, but it just isn't the same having it here. Besides, I know probably I will only feel at home again once I have my first Tim Hortons on the way back from YHZ on the 12th; just so as I don't drive the car into a ditch you understand.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cobequid half-marathon

So I went back to Truro today; it was only the second or third time I'd taken junction 13 off the 102 instead of just driving through with a steely resolve to look neither right or left as I was en route to somewhere nicer and sunnier; Magog, Coteau du Lac, Ingonish or, God help us, New Glasgow!

It was going to be potentially worse as the race started about 500m from my old place. Short of starting at the AC, this was as bad as it could possibly be. On the other side, I had to bite the bullet and go there at some point.

I was worried about the race too; there were many names in there to be worried about. David Holder has been giving me a kicking all year; dropped me like 3rd period French at the Moose, was sub-3 at Boston and ran away from me at Enfield like I was standing still. Terry Molloy, former provincial champion at the marathon and winner of the Bluenose half in a very good time. Sure, I had the better of him at the St Andrews half in 2005 and he always calls me a "nemesis", but that result was a life-time ago in running terms. Navy Tridents coach Tom Soehl has been running well this year; an 18' at the Lung Run 5K and a 38' at the Bluenose 10 (and that isn't a flat course). All in all, he's running at my speed but to my mind an unknown quantity over the longer distance but that doesn't mean he should be discounted. In fact he was looming large in my mind as the dark-horse. Then I saw Dan Murray, HOTH RD warming up. Dan pushed me hard at Cabot Trail up and over North Mountain and as a cross country skier (like Tom) has the gas to go all day. Still, no Rami, no Ray, no Shawn Deleu, no Denise, no Solomon, no Azuf, no Derek, no Harry (the list goes on, and on).

I counted my blessings that at least the really speedy guys weren't there as we lined up at the start. I still seemed to be at work, helping Luc from Atlantic Chip corral the cats without people crossing the mat. Handshakes all around; really, this is a civilised pastime; we may hate each others guts and wish harm on each other for 60-90 minutes every other Sunday but other than that, we're all friends. We listened to some heart-tugging words from Chris Cashen on the anniversary of his stroke and we were off.

Boy, it was a fast start. Dan, David, Terry together with Matt Callaghan and Ian Holdway. We soon found out Ian was running the ten and discounted him, but we ended up running to the turn with him anyway. The whole front group, with with exception of Ian, was for the half. So we had the long race leaving the short race behind! That's screwed.

We clocked 3:36 for the first kilometer. As a measure of how hard the race was, and how hard it continued to be, the only words spoken between all of us for the duration of the run were

Me: "Is it me, or is 3:30 a little fast?"
Terry: "Not for a 5 K"
Group: (general murmuring of assent)

And that was it.

The group slowly shed members. Actually, the first casualty was Dan's shirt, which he shed after a kilometer or so. Ian kept on breaking off the front, and Matt kept on pulling him back. We all keep on telling Matt he starts too quick and then blows spectacularly. He knows his but still can't rein it in at the start. Oh well, his loss. We let him do the leg-work and drafted him. He fell behind at the 5K mark, as did Dan.

This left David, Terry and I. The view after the 10K turn over the bay of Fundy was truly spectacular, but there was little time to enjoy it. We were knocking out 3:50 kms and were concentrating on staying in a tight little group. Some people said to me later "boy you lot were drafting" (a nod to the triathlon official in me who spends all summer telling people not to draft). Truth be told, we were running so tight, we weren't just drafting we were bump-drafting; there were plenty of inadvertent knees and elbows.

We hit the 10K at 38:02. Last year I did the 10 in 37:55 and my two outings over 10K this year (Pictou Lobster and Shelia Poole) were 38 highs. This pace was possibly too much for me, but I took a leaf out of an article in Triathlon Magazine Canada by Lucy Smith (there's always a Cyclesmith connection) where she talked about not letting negative thoughts into your head during a race. So I focussed on how I felt; relaxed, loose, in control, in the right place, in the mix, leading and not following instead of oh-my-God, I haven't run consecutive sub-4s since Natal Day and that was only for 6 miles not 12 and it nearly killed me.

I had my rough spot between 11 and 14 kms. First Terry and then David hit the front and in both cases I felt they were pulling away, the elastic was stretching and I couldn't get it back. In both cases, I fought back onto the heels in front with the help of the other one, when they thought I was about to let the race get away from us both. I was running like a cyclist; drafting, spending energy now to save more later, drafting some more, running in single file not abreast.

I think I pissed Terry off a bit with this, but as he said later, he's not used to running with a group. There's some truth to this; usually we're spread out to hell and back in ones and twos. Rarely are we in a larger group, and more rarely still is it a fast competitive group pulling complex moves like drafting and through-and-off.

At 14 kms I came around and started to take my turns on the front again. Soon the 10 km turnaround was in sight and knowing there were only 5kms left really made me feel confident.

Terry was tailed off around 16 kms. I don't really know how it happened; one minute he was there, the next he was gone.

Then, there were two.

I didn't want to get into a sprint with David; his legs are longer than mine and will win any sprint by default. I wasn't sure if I had the legs for a long flyer either. So much for having a race strategy. Actually I don't usually have one anyway, I just go out and let the cards fall where they may. However, the cards had fallen and I had no idea how to read them.

With about 2 kms to go there was a little up-and-under where the trail went over a paved road. Somehow here I got a little gap on David, only 10 m perhaps, but over the next few hundred metres the gap didn't come down. So it looked like fortune had forced the race, I sure as hell wasn't giving up a gap with 1500m to go, so I decided to use it.

I slowly raised the pace (I didn't quite have the legs to "boot it" in the classical sense of the term) and eked out the gap. I think I spent most of the last 1000m running scared I was going to hear David's footfalls behind me. After all, for most of the race he had been toying with Terry and I, seemingly letting himself get dropped and getting back on with ease. I was told I didn't look back in that final K. Why would I? I'd shot my bolt, this was all I had. Anyway, somehow, he didn't have the legs to close the gap, and with 400m it looked like I had it. I saw Joshua, Daniel and la belle cheering with 200m to go and I allowed myself a smile and a wave, it was definitely mine now.

I daren't slow up until I hit the line (Eric Zabel in the 2004 MSR anyone?) but I did allow myself to put my hands in the air, celebrate a little and enjoy the finish. Mac reckons I would have been sub 1:20 if I hadn't been aeroplaning down the finish chute like a Premier League soccer play who's just scored a goal. In my defense this was my first win in a year, since the last Run Runners, and I've clocked up nearly 20 races since then, so this felt even more sweet. Winning in front of your children? That's an indescribable feeling. Plus, I didn't expect the win, not with David and Terry et al. A fist-pump from a 40 y.o. age-grouper never looks pretty, but I was releasing some of that tension and that joy at finally getting another win.

Plus, as the first running of the Cobequid Half, this was the de facto course record too. Someone tried to deflate my bubble telling me that folk would be gunning for my "soft" record but this didn't bother me; I'm on the books as having the slowest winning time in the Valley Harvest full ever, and I'm perfectly at ease with that.

I toyed with the idea of finding the Truro Daily News hack and telling him (her) to make sure they captioned my picture with "Andrew Dacanay, formerly faculty at the Agricultural College on Pictou Road until he was screwed over by Hossain Farid", but thought the better of it. Even the Daily News wouldn't print "screwed over". Besides, my erstwhile colleagues will see it anyway and say "Did you ever find out what actually happened? I heard a story that......" and start the chatter and vaguely informed innuendo and that's better than any industrial tribunal.

Besides, I finished the day with this;

Something different to hang the Boston medals off, no?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Miss Ann Thrope

An Americano and a Chickpea Roll from Just Us. Just the thing to warm me up after a jaunt in typically British weather for this morning's ride.

It was misty, foggy and a bit drizzly, but despite the absence of a real source of water (drizzle just doesn't count) it was soaking wet. Squeezing 120 into my Contis before leaving just left me with a bike with the handling characteristics of Salé and Pelletier (or if you're my British reader, Torville and Dean). Despite the Britishness of the morning, oddly, I was in Canada. Of course this is Nova Scotia, Nouvelle Eccosse, so maybe that was it instead. Training perhaps for Worlds in ten days. Not that I need to train riding in the dreck, I just need to train standing around in it.

At least I wore black socks, white ones would have been ruined.

Nice Roubaix though.

More-so than the changing of the leaves, I think this is the cue for cyclists that 'cross season is around the corner.

I think on a day like this the Roubaix is a badge of honour that says, however subtly and slightly grimily, yeah, I got out. You?

Speaking of getting out, I had the occasion to actually get dressed the other day too.

I don't mean I habitually walk around stark bollock naked all day, but I mean an occasion to get dressed in the big-boy clothes. The ones made of natural, non-breathable, slow-drying fabrics. The ones where the seams are sewn, not glued. The ones with proper fasteners; buttons, frame-style buckles and yes, even cuff-links and not Velcro, full-length zippers, ratchetting plastic buckles, snaps and elastics.

Are cufflinks too much for a random Monday morning? Can you ever go wrong with a simple silk knot? In Evolution David Duchovny asks Orlando Jones of Jullianne Moore "Garters? For a day-function?". Same reasoning. I would say why not?

I also crashed. Not on the bike (I didn't even touch the damn thing Monday) but physically. I'm not sure why, maybe a reaction to the long weekend. In fact a series of long weekends. The funny thing was, even in the depths of my crash I found myself being punctiliously polite. I'm normally a please-and-thank-you and holding doors open for people (of either gender) but somehow being in the misanthropic depths accentuated this rather than making me a psychotic social misfit. Go figure.

In the Right Stuff (I think), Tom Wolfe describes the counseling potential astronauts received on how to dress and how to behave. For example, if you must put your hands on your hips, fingers forward. Only women and interior designers place place their thumbs forward. Really? Am I being judged on how I stand with my hands on my hips? And do I care? The answer to the first may be yes but the answer to the second is most definitely no. I'm secure enough in myself not to worry how I'm perceived.

He then goes on about socks, of all things. How they should be dark and sober and above all mid-calf length, so there is no visible skin. Now that's where I diverge with Tom.

The "uniform" for guys not in an actual uniform is regrettably uniform. It's drab, it's bland, it's samey. There's very little leeway to change it up, dress it up, to allow your own personality to come through. The only way to personalise it is to change up the little things. You look mostly normal to the casual observer but it's only on closer examination that the casual observer notices there's a little of you there.

The way I do it, not surprisingly, is with socks. I wear cycling socks. Not the white ones, that went out in the 80s, but the coloured and patterned ones. The ones I wouldn't wear on the bike. A little more understated than novelty ties, not to mention more mature, and a little less ostentatious than cuff-links, tie-pins and the like. Not that I dislike cuff-links, I like them, but always try for the understated rather than hit you over the head with them.

Plus I think my legs don't actually look all that bad, especially when they're shaved, and a little glimpse of smooth calf between the sock and trouser-cuff? not quite stocking-top territory I grant you, but it's enough for me.

So, that was nearly all dressed up in the big-boy clothes then!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Home decorating tip?

Just saw this on a feature on the Garmin-Transitions service course in Girona.

Gives and entirely new meaning to the expression "quick release".

The article itself is a bike-porn fan's dream, and certainly a lot more uplifting than the interview with David Creed they ran last week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peace and quiet in Guysborough

A quick run with the running club this morning, a coffee in Starbucks (yes I know, I know, but it was right there!). This will be the last part of the weekend that will likely go to plan. We can discuss the appearance of a fixed gear on the front of the Coast later (frickin' fakengers). When I'm done here I'll be heading off to the Guysborough County Triathlon in Guysborough.

All that I can say that will go to plan from this point onwards is that a race will start tomorrow morning at 08:00. Everything else is negotiable. If you don't like this kind of thing, putting out fires on a moments notice, doing jobs that weren't on your to-do list (especially if you consider them to be "below" you), a "I have volunteers for that" attitude then perhaps officiating isn't really for you....

Barring a panicked 'phone-call from TNS, TQ or Triathlon Canada (all highly unlikely, especially the latter) this will likely be my last TD gig of the year. In breaking news however, this will not be the last occasion this year I'll have to break out the ITU lanyard;

I just heard I got a gig as an official at World Du's in Edinburgh in a couple of weeks. Time to start checking that ITU box on my Athletics CV! Granted, the ETU don't know me from a hole-in-the-ground and I'll likely only get a corner somewhere at the back of Arthur's Seat (you know the spot, the isolated one where the wind is really strong) but hey, it's a corner at Worlds! Worlds!

Back to Guysbrough. I've been here every year since 2003 I think, the race hasn't been here much longer. It has several "firsts" for me.

It was the first race I won in Canada, when I took the Sprint in 2003. That was the year Provincials was at G'boro and all the fast boys were racing up. I think I also still have the course record, and that was a first too. I think the only reason the record still stands is because in 2004 the the Sprint started to go up the Mountain Road course for a few years.

Now the Boyleston course is back (since 2008 I think), every year I predict my record is going down, and every year it squeaks through. The closest it came was Mac Grant's ride in 2008, which came within 20" of the record but then he did ride half-way back from the turn with a flat (but he has the moral record for sure). There's no hurricane coming this year, the Whether Office says it's going to be good racing weather, so will someone please come and take my record away?

Guysborough was also the first race I TD'd, in 2006 I think. This was a bit of a baptism by fire as I came close to DSQing someone on my first outing as TD. A certain iconoclastic athlete did his own version of the run course; instead of the standard out-and-back-repeat, he ran a complicated triple-loop-out-and-back bouncing around between the Youth and Sprint/Olympic turns.

I learned that day how a true athlete behaves from Chris Milburn and Geoff Bennett. Class acts both. In fact some of the things I learned then have since become guiding lights for me, both as an athlete and an official.

I could be in Kelowna this weekend, working Nationals (and getting so many recertification points I wouldn't even have to put on the red T-shirt next year), but I'm still going to G'boro. Why? Well, G'boro is one of the best-kept secrets in NS. So many triathletes come here the first time and say "wow!, I never even knew this was here. I drive by it all the time going to Cape Breton.....".

Also, Guysborough County is, I believe, the only county in NS without a Tim Hortons.

G'boro has a special place in my heart for another reason too.

For about ten minutes on Sunday morning, just after I arrive at race site, the sun comes up over Chedabucto Bay. Also, for those ten minutes, I'm usually all alone. There's no traffic noise because there is no traffic. So I go down to the jetty and have probably the quietest ten minutes of my whole year, and for those ten minutes it's just me and my thoughts.

In fact I even try to block out the thoughts so I can just concentrate on the sunrise.

So it's just me and my tinnitus, and the sunrise is a visual phenomenon anyway!

After a summer of running hither and yon, putting up racks, standing in the rain, smoothing ruffled feathers, finding lost swimmers, peeling people off the course, being a human pylon, putting myself in harms way as I physically interpose myself between an athlete and a car/deer/hole/voluntold/result, getting yelled at and generally multi-tasking myself into oblivion, I see my ten minutes with Eos almost as my reward. I'll take any and all shit triathlon can throw my way, and I'll take it all in my stride, as long as I get my five minutes alone on the G'boro boat-ramp.

Don't worry, after ten minutes all will back to normal and in the words of Jason Murphy at Shubie '06 "enough of this RD shit, it's time to be an official" and I'll get you all in line, in the water, on the bike and safely home again.

Just as long as I get those ten minutes!*


*Oh, and maybe a bacon sandwich. Life always looks rosier after a bacon sandwich!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bicycle-related underwear fail

First time in a few days I haven't been to TIBS after a bike-ride, so I posted the remnants of yesterday's 'spro instead, just to remind me of better days.

I enjoy running, I really do, but recently it has become a chore, more often than not. So I decided to do my recovery run this morning, instead of letting it hang over my head all day. Plus, I figured, I could be productive all day after the run, instead of letting it break the day up.

I'm not a morning runner. Eurgh! This morning was hot and sticky and humid. It felt a little like summer in Virginia, where you had to chew the air a couple of times before you could swallow it. The humidity, together with my achy legs made the run awful; good job it was going in the books as a "recovery" run because it felt as if I was beating myself up to get up to more than walking-pace.

I'll tell you what cheered me up though. Two young ladies on bikes stopped at a set of lights where I was stopped looking a bit like this.

Their bikes, which I noticed first, were 20 year old ten-speeds, with "mens" frames, suicide levers and gear-levers mounted on the quill stem. As for the ladies, they were both, as Jane Austen might have said, of a comely disposition. They were both wearing bike shorts and t-shirts. Well, at least one was. The other young lady was wearing MEC bike liner shorts. Problem is, they are the closest you'll ever get to cycling underwear. Definitely not outerwear. Probably because they're really quite sheer. She must have been the Madonna of cycling (not that one, the other one). Lucky for her it wasn't raining.

What is it with bicycles and underwear? Trying to combine the two usually results in Fail. Epic Fail. As Jane might have said, "Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim".

Speaking of aim, as far as sights go, it wasn't too bad. Seen worse (like the guy on the HLT with the white FdJ shorts and black undies) but even so, it's not often I'll say this, but there's something to be said for bloomers!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Pharmacokinetics of a TIBS Almond Croissant

Zane told me today's Wednesday Punk ride was off due to pre-existing commitment on his part (his wedding anniversary) so I went out for a little 40km Waverley loop on the Paddy Wagon instead. It's still on 68" (42 x 16) and seeing as I got another kicking from Mac et al yesterday and there's a prospect of another one tomorrow, a light spin in an easy gear seemed like a good idea.

I rolled up to TIBS with 35kms on the clock for some post-ride refreshment; it's 5 km home from TIBS, as we all know "in-town-averages-don't-count" so as you're going to drop your average as you cat-and-mouse a bus from downtown Dartmouth up and over the bridge to the north end, you might as well do it with a delicately pulled 'spro lingering on your tastebuds. Screw your data in style!

Anyway, as I walked in, Zane walked out in lycra and a sleeveless-T and said "oh great, LT got hold of you; Laurie Park?".


Turns out Zane's wedding anniversary was on-hold until 3 and the ride was a go. Except I'd already done one. I had a hasty 'spro and an almond croissant, filled, drank and refilled my bidons and I was ready to go (again!). I almost forgot to take a picture, but remembered just in time.

It doesn't look pretty but I was a) hungry and b) realizing the easy 40 was turning into 100kms on 68" fixed and that's never going to be easy. The almond croissant went from gourmandise to fuel. It's a pity to treat one so, it borders on disrespect, but it was looking like one of those days.

Plus, I was wearing these Louis Garneau shorts that were left over from the first HLT and I picked up for $40 or something. Hey they're bibs; what can possibly go wrong?

Plenty. I was having some severe crotchal incompatibility issues with the LG chamois. I'm not saying they're bad shorts per se, they just don't fit my arse.

When espressosnob turned up we clipped in and rolled off. Problem was, he turned up on a Pro-Tour level carbon Wilier with DuraAce 7900 whilst Zane and I were on steel fixies (and Zane eschews brakes, so we only had four brakes between three bikes).

This was the cycling equivalent of bringing a gun to a knife-fight!

When I was young and stupid (as opposed to just stupid) the old boys used to talk about riding on experience and now I'm approaching old-boy status (in age if not wisdom) I see what they mean. Zane and LT rocketed off; Zane on 74" and LT on a proper bike with variable gears (what a concept! I predict they'll revolutionise cycling!). I sprinted onto wheels, spent a little energy now to save a whole lot more later on and tried to stayed glued onto the wheel in front up hill and down dale while willing the croissant to stay put.

Which brings us to the article under discussion in today's Journal Club; "The Pharmacokinetics of a TIBS Almond Croissant" Dacanay A., Z. Kelsall and L. Title. which we hope to submit to the Journal of Food Reversal. Although little known, J. Fd. Rev. has a high, ahem, impact factor.

Figure 1. Satiation Quotient (SQ) as a function of distance travelled. Following breakfast (1) the SQ dropped during the pre-load. Following ingestion of a TIBS almond croissant (2) it peaked maximally (3), which rapidly produced a feeling of imminent, involuntary croissant ejection whilst traveling at a speed of 9.7 m s-1 by bicycle. Such feelings decreased during the ride until the primes/attacks (A, B, C) which immediately restored feelings of involuntary buccal baked-goods rejection.

As you can see from the accompanying graph, the pre-load ride set the test-subject up nicely for the croissant, being neither bonky (Satiation Quotient, SQ, = 0) or stuffed full (SQ = 1) but nicely hungry (SQ ca. 0.1) which correlates with a feeling of "ooh, that looks nice, can I have one please?".

Following the croissant, the subject experienced an SQ approaching 1. Together with a rocket-ship start from the cafe at 9.7 m s-1, this was vaguely uncomfortable. The subject forgot to bring gels or similar, but that was acceptable as with an SQ ca. 1, even a gel (ca. 10 mL) was going to result in a Mr Creosote.

As the ride progressed, the SQ approached a normal figure (ca. 0.6, neither full or hungry). Given that blood redistribution must have occurred during the ride from the stomach to the legs, even at the advanced level of wheel-sucking that was observed, we can only speculate why the SQ, which is an entirely subjective scale, fell. It is likely that the absolute kicking experienced on the bike excited the inhibitory cells of the dorsal horn causing the pain in the legs to predominate and this caused the subject to forget, at a cortical level, about the croissant.

This was until the primes, A and B, on the way back, which managed to inhibit the excitation of the inhibitory neurons resulting in an almost involuntary inhibition of the voluntary inhibition of vomiting (keeping up?). After the primes LT launched a vicious attack, C, that was partly facilitated by his use of a new-fangled derraileur. The attack was partially neutralised utilising the dichotomous desicion-making tool first proposed by Strummer et al (1981) on Combat Rock by the popular 70s punk band "The Clash"

Of course, in an attack-situation where millisecond-levels of descrimination are required, it almost always recommended "to go now". The attack, and the feelings of immediate patisserie loss, was only fully neutralised when it was proposed by one of us that were four types of ride;

1) Drop ride; aka see you at the Rotary in 2 hrs suckers
2) No-drop ride #1; ride at a pace equivalent to that of the slowest rider
3) No-drop ride #2; we'll drop you but wait for you at the top of the hill
4) Don't drop the sponsor; self-explanatory.

This was a category #4 ride, given that a 49th Parallel Coffee 'spro "on the house" was a likely post-ride outcome.

In conclusion; an almond croissant from TIBS, which is approximately 70% butter and 50% almond paste (isolated from non-bitter variants of Prunus dulcis) is universally acknowledged to be "damn fine food". Regardless of it's placement in the Yumminess Schema, ingestion of even a single Almond Croissant before a bike ride may result in a varied syndrome with no single, pathognomic sign. It is likely that the severity of Post-Almond Croissant Ingestion Syndrome (PACIS) increases with the velocity of the bicycle-ride. We consider this to be the definitive study of PACIS as it would be clearly unethical to ask the test-subject to do this again!

Furthermore, we speculate that ingestion of an Almond Croissant immediately post-ride will not be associated with PACIS and may, in fact, be linked to an increase in brain serotonin and a general uplift in mood (After Ride Almond Croissant Happiness, ARACH). It is also likely the Almond Croissant will interact synergistically with espresso. Given that a statistically relevant sample is still required, it is clear that more research on ARACH, with and without the espresso variable, is needed.

Acknowledgements; The authors wish to thank Tara for the croissant and the driver of the black pick-up truck near Waverley who nearly rendered the study obsolete. This is TIBS ms#001.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pretty at Breakfast

Oh dear, just can't seem to get 80's songs out of my head this week. I saw a poster stapled to a telephone pole today bearing the slogan "We built this city on rock and roll" and that was it, my head was gone. So here it is, because if I have to listen to the chorus all day in my head, so can you...

...besides, compared to the minor-chord, dopamine-altering, anhedonic stuff I usually listen to (my iPod has been clinically proven to promote expression of monoamine oxidase A), this is actually quite cheery, and it's way too nice of a day to be contemplating the futility of one's existence.

This aural throwback to my attic bedroom in Leeds many, many years ago got me thinking, and in a way, the quality of the light this afternoon reminds me of the summer evenings of 1984, hanging out in the woods off Hawksworth Road with Ben and Peter, and perhaps later, Vickie and Helen. But of course, the soundtrack for that is the Style Council...

Ah, Live Aid, now I'm back in the past. You?

I went running with the running club this morning, there is a point here, and made it all of 500m with the group before I decided I just wanted (needed?) peace, quiet and space. So I pulled a 180 and ran my own route along the waterfront most decidedly in my own space. As is often the case, by the time I got home I'd written a whole post in my head, this time on being a bit despondent (read an article in the Grauniad about a guy who did Biology at NELP the same time as me and now runs Guys' path department and I'm contemplating either bike-mechanics or barristadom) which segued into the reasons and rationales for shopping at the new Farmers Market (adhering to the 100 mile diet or just posing with misshapen vegetables?) via the Molsons Canadian tent at the beerfest (Molsen Canadian + Beerfest = shome mishtake shurely) but thanks to a random photocopied alt-retro-music-night poster and the wonders of the interweb, I'm feeling much better....

Maybe I'll watch Pretty In Pink tonight..... ahh, Molly Ringwald....


Thursday, August 12, 2010


The Punk Wednesday rides seem to have fallen by the wayside recently, but hopefully we'll get them back on track in the next couple of weeks. So I was left to my own devices yesterday and had my own Punk Wednesday ride, which was really just me beating myself up on 68" fixed for a couple of hours. It was a bit like that bit in Asterix (in Switzerland?) where the Roman messenger has an "orgy in a basket" and declares that "it's just not the same".

Nevertheless, I finished off at TIBS, and in honour of the traditions of Punk Wednesday refuelled in style with a 'spro and a St Viateur bagel.

What was funny, as in funny peculiar not funny ha-ha, was how two and a half hours later I found myself with a Timmies;

How far, and how quickly, the mighty have fallen! It reminds one of the line in NIN's "Hurt"; "I hurt myself today, To see if I still feel". Here it is in all of Johnny Cash's gravelly wonderessness, and so you can feel yourself the epic Hurt of going from a 49th Parallel, TIBS pulled 'spro to a medium Timmies with milk within one afternoon.

I think Espresso Snob, for one, felt that one!

It occurs to me that I've meandered long and hard on the occasions I remember to log on to SockSnob, but haven't had a sock in a while. So here's what I was wearing yesterday during my descent to the 7th level of coffee hell;

Orange Triathlon Socks. I think you need a certain insouciance to wear orange socks, if you're not Dutch or 45% of the population of Northern Ireland. I'm not sure if I was exuding insouciance, a certain je ne sais quoi or that "....this? Oh just a little something I threw on this morning" (and not in a good way). Certainly, some thought has to go into wearing orange socks; I was wearing the '10 HLT jersey, and that's orange and yellow, so these matched. Seeing as I don't have many jerseys that match with these puppies (just this one and my 2004 Jittery Joes jersey), it was time to give them an airing.

And then there are the silver shoes, but that's another story!

The socks depict the swim....

...the bike (which is appropriately and authentically overlaid with a grease-stain from fixing a flat for someone who was apparently using bunker-fuel or some other, heavier distillate rather than Pedros on their chain )...

..and of course the run....

They amuse me, as socks, but of course it is ironic that they are produced in homage to a sport where socks are not worn! But what the heck, they match a hard-to-match jersey.

Until next time, keep your socks out of the way when changing a flat!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


For some reason, this is the ear-worm in my head this morning.

Which will mean more to those you eligible for the next World Masters Games than the next Canada Games.

No, I can't tell you why this song is in my head either. Am I hankering back to bangles, big hair and baggy ripped T-shirts. Perhaps an earlier, easier time? And if this be the case, then I think I'm deluding myself; what was so easy about being 15?

Maybe I'm just trying to relax after another busy week or so. I got to TD/HR my second LC Tri in as many weeks the other weekend; the Bridgetown event. The town really gets behind the event, as you could see from all the "Welcome Triathlete" signs in town. As for the designation "TD/HR", well in reality at provincial events one ends up being the TD, the HR and the Team Leader as well as being at least one sector chief; usually TZ but often swim as well as no-one else will dare to take it on.

Honestly though, what's so hard about the swim? You lay out a perfectly geometrical shape on the water without having to worry about inconveniently placed corners, buildings or on-coming traffic. Then all you have to do is have a touch of the Brian Hanarhans and "count them all out and count them all back in".

Compared to chief bike, which is hanging on for grim death as your pilot has delusions of MotoGP grandeur, you get to swan about in a boat and do Grade 1 math. Oh, and you can knock off early as you'll be the first one finished, unlike the poor sod lap-auditing at the LC turnaround.

It's also been a month of contrasts as for a while there I seemed to alternate between taking Daniel to short-track MTB races midweek and then being at a Continental Cup or National Championship at the weekend. On a Tuesday I'd just be "another Dad" and go take myself off to an unstaffed corner to "keep an eye on things". This usually means picking kids up off the trail when they wipe out and fixing their brakes/saddle/handlebars/ego. I know it happened to Dan one race, he said his brakes were rubbing after a chute but someone elses Dad sorted it for him, and I overheard another kid say to his Dad as I passed "that's the nice man you got me up after the crash".

The whole ambience is friendly and non-adversarial, which is odd as the kids are actually racing and people most decidedly win and lose. This was exemplified at the post-race draw-prizes one week where all the older kids, those in Cyclesmith jerseys who were leading the series by ten laps, were the ones to be picked first. Statistics, that's all, a fluke of the draw. Yet they all, to a boy and girl, gave their draw-prizes to the smallest kid they could find. Sportsmanship of the highest order I think.

Compare this to the bigger races I found myself at during the weekends, which whilst rewarding in their own right, had slightly fewer smiles and slightly more high-maintainance Brazilian women.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blasts from the past

I was at the Bridgetown Triathlon this weekend. After a, frankly, heroic trip to Coteau du Lac (and back) the Deer-Maimer made the 200 mile round trip without further complaint. I'm thinking an oil-change might go down well right now.

To keep myself awake I had the 2-disc "The Very Best of Meatloaf" in the CD changer. Seeing as I pretty much skipped through tracks to anything from "Bat Out of Hell"or "Midnight at the Lost and Found" I'd have been better off putting those in instead, but suppose it was worth the irony to hear classics from one's adolescence sandwiching "Life is A Lemon and I Want My Money Back".

So how about "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad", a song with more ressonace for the 40 year old me than the 16 year old me

And of course, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, which means about the same.

But these aren't the blasts from the past I was referring to.

It's surprising what catches one's eye, especially after all the bike-porn I've seen in the past week. Carbon, Sram Red, Campy and deep-deep-deep-dish wheels are just so much m'eh now. Oh look, another two month's salary on deep-dish carbon wheels costing another month's. No biggie. Total acclimation. However, coming through TZ this afternoon I saw an unfamiliar shape; Shimano STI shifters don't look like that.

It was a Shimano 600 STI lever!

Wow, Shimano 600! When I was a young and stupid roadie, all of us on 105 dreamed of upgrading to 600, it was the bollocks. This was before STI shifting, so this was the early 90's. Well, actually you were (still are) either a Shimano person or a Campy person. I started off dreaming of 600 but ended up upreading to Athena instead. Of course, in those days a friction down-tube 105 lever would drive an Athena mech on a 105 freewheel. So we were able to upgrade piece-by-piece and buy a rear mech here, a front mech there, a set of brakes, down-tube shifters. Those were the days! Anyway, Shimano 600 gradually evolved in 600 Ultegra and eventually plain old Ultegra, which seems nearly ubiquitous on road-bikes of a certain calibre now. Indeed the Carrot is Ultegra throughout, all going to show eventually got what I wanted 20 years ago and, mid-post, is starting to make me ask if it was worth the wait.

I'm thinking of becoming a SRAM person anyway.

This whole bike, however, was a blast from the past.

Cadex carbon frame.

With lugs! This was from back in the day when tubes were bonded together with lugs because, well because they'd always been bonded with lugs and if it was good enough for Coppi and Anquetil it was good enough for us.

Good old-fashioned box-section rim Campy wheels with enough spokes to satisfy even me.

Funnily, to our "modern" eyes, this was a carbon frame with an alloy fork, not the other way around.

Dual pivot brakes too; those were the bomb back in 1991. I can't even remember the last time I saw a single-pivot side-pull. Even the cheapo-Shimano one I bought for the inevitable-Lemond-fixie-conversion last year was dual pivot!

I bet you could dismantle and overhaul the whole thing, bottom-bracket, headset and hubs, with a few wrenches, a screw-driver and a fist-full of Allen-keys. Those were the good old days. Torque-shmorque!

You know, I'd ride Crabon if it was like this!