Category Archives: Training

The Elements Of Style

No, not the thing about sock length. Or wearing particular shorts with particular jerseys. Or saddle bags. Not even Strunk & White’s famed and venerable treatise on the topic of well-formed English.

This is about a different kind of Style. This kind of style

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Why yes, I *do* take racing food quite seriously. Why?



Yup. That’s my little box of racing munchies, consisting of a mixture of:

  • SiS Caffeinated gels
  • Torq gels, Black Cherry Yogurt, Rhubarb & Custard and a few others
  • Body Science gels
  • Hammer Endurolytes Fizz electrolyte tabs
  • Hammer Perpetuem Solids chewable energy
  • Dextro energy for a high-glucose hit
  • Swisse recovery bars (I don’t normally buy Swisse due to their dodgy supplement claims, but they were on sale. Cheap.)
  • Some apricot delight
  • Painkillers, tape and some spare CO2 cartridges that didn’t fit in the toolbox.

This box goes with me to MTB races and training days, but generally doesn’t make it to road events. The variety means I can stock up on energy without every getting bored with the same thing. Or at least, that’s the theory. In practice, some are better than others and some are just terrible. For instance I’ve given up on the GU coffee gels as they’re just too thick to get down quickly, and I tried a mint flavoured Endura gel once and vowed never to do so again. The Torq gels, though, are excellent, wit well-thought out flavour hits, a nice consistency, and a pack that’s easy to open on the go.

How do you manage your race-day food requirements? What’s your favourite and least favourite energy hit?

Hard lessons learned

image: wikimedia commons


Last night I raced again in the ongoing Newington Armory Criterium Series.

Boy, did I learn a thing or two.

A little background. For the last few weeks I’ve been labouring with a cascade of minor injuries, each flowing on from the last. It started with tendinosis and bursitis in my elbow, aggravated by a low aero position on the road bike. Subsequently, I managed to strain my shoulder and neck, from trying to stay off the elbow. My physio got that under control with massage, taping and enforced rest, to which were added a set of recovery exercises to both strengthen weak points and loosen things up a bit. Of course me being me, I managed to add a calf tweak and strained abs to the list of woes by overdoing the off-bike workouts. Yeah I know.

So there I was, hurting already before I’d even turned a pedal. Leading to lesson learned number one: If you’re injured, don’t carry on as if you’re not. And if your training regimen changes, ease into it instead of suddenly shocking your system with new workouts.

In addition, because I’d lowered my overall training volume, I’d also let myself slip and had a few mid-week beers the night before the race. And, to be honest, the night before that. This meant I’d spent the morning fighting off a bit of a hangover and didn’t get properly hydrated through the day. In fact, I ended up slamming nearly a full bottle just before the start.

Lesson number two: lots of beer the night before is a bad idea (though to be fair I already knew this)

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British Cycling: Road To Glory

I like a good cycling documentary, me. Here’s one about Sky and British Cycling’s epic 2012 – Part one, and below the fold, parts two to five. Forty-five minutes each. Settle in.

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Kinesio Tape. Quackery?

GCN have started a series on using Kinesio Tape to treat injuries. Being of a skeptical mindset, I was rather suspicious of this. How can a simple strip of tape prevent or treat injuries? I decided to check this out.

Now, I need to make it clear up front. I’m a Skeptic. That capital S is there for a reason. I’ve spoken at Skeptical conferences and gatherings, appeared on a number of skeptical and science-promotion podcasts and I organise an annual event in Sydney called Skepticamp, where science advocacy and quackbusting are the order of the day. I’ve been involved with Stop The AVN since Day One

In short, I like evidence.

And I don’t see much evidence for this product’s efficacy. In addition, I see several red flags that make me deeply suspicious, which I explore below the fold. Continue Reading →

Cycling Goals for 2014

The author at Capital Punishment 2013

The author at Capital Punishment 2013

I’ve got a few specific riding goals, and several less specific goals, for 2014. Some are on the bike, a couple are off the bike, but they should all be attainable in some way. I thought it might be nice to get them down ‘on paper’ as December kicks in and the whole lot gets lost in the party season. There are the goals, and then under the goals there are some sub-targets which should help meet the main goal. I’ve decided to set a few of them down below the foldĀ  Continue Reading →

It’s on: Three Peaks Challenge 2014

r_photo (2)I did it. I signed up for the 2014 Three Peaks Challenge. In March 2014, barring flood, fire, disaster or accidentally being maimed by a tree, I’ll be lining up for about 235km of highly scenic – and steep – riding through Victoria’s Alpine region.

Not coincidentally, I’ve also signed up for the 7 Peaks, a more spread-out seasonal event that runs through the same area, and my Three Peaks ride will knock over two of those seven peaks, Hotham and Falls Creek.

My plan will be to arrive in Bright in plenty of time, warm up on Mount Buffalo, then fuel up and get some sleep. The next day, line up for the Three Peaks ride itself. Then a few beers with friend Jon from the Bright Brewery, more sleep, and next day – legs permitting – either Dinner Plain or Mount Buller before heading to Melbourne for a couple of days of cocktails and culture. And rest.

It also means I’ll be on structured training as of Jan 1st, which is one of my pre-requisites for next year’s objectives anyway, and I’ll be following some of this advice, courtesy of Cycling Tips. And I won’t be using the bike I rode up Mount Hotham last time – pictured.

Are you doing the Three Peaks this year? Are you in the area and interested in joining me on one of the other hills? Or perhaps for a beer? Let me know.

Bad habits

It’s been a pretty good year so far, riding and racing wise. But there are more gains to be made.

That’s why, for the last month or two, I’ve been actively looking at, and trying to work on, some bad habits of mine, on both the road bike and the mountain bike. I thought it might be useful to put a few of them down in a blog post, and maybe ask readers (I know there at least a couple of you out there) what their bad habits are, if they share any of my bad habits, and how they might get rid of them.

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On Rule Nine

Wake up. Dark. Push the cat off the pillow. Find smartphone. Check radar.

Oh man it’s raining again. Listen. Rain. Rain on the roof. Rain on the street. Rain. Rain for miles.

What day is it? Damn. Riding day. Nothing for it. Continue Reading →

The day I trained so hard I paralysed my dog

It was raining when I left the office this evening. I’d been vaguely planning to smash out a few hours of riding “on the way home” to make up for a weekend of CBF. When I saw the state of the local microclimate, I figured I’d hit the home trainer and do an hour or so in the tender loving care of The Sufferfest instead.

This is where the trouble began

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