Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Summer Romp

I never thought I would run into her there. After all I went up to the Ironman race in Penticton to watch my girlfriend Michelle race. I haven't seen her since our Starbucks encounter last May. I spent a lot of time with her in the summer of 2004 going for walks, playing ball, and hanging out at the park.
I really haven't told Michelle anything about her and I thought it was over, but, well, we had a little romp in Penticton last week.
Who am I fooling, I knew I would see her again. And I'm glad I had one more romp with her. She's getting pretty arthritic in her old age and the vet says she is eight pounds overweight. She is eleven. Good old Kirby.

Underpants Run

Triathlon Coach/ Ex-Professional racer Roch Frey organizes the Underpants Run at Ironman Canada every year. Why run in underpants?
The idea of this race is to make fun of the Ironman athletes who like to parade around town in their Speedos and think they actually look good.
My friend who I now refer to as "lacey" because of her sexy underwear ran in the race, but I don't think she'll appreciate if I post her picture.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sister Madonna Buder

She heard a priest comment that running harmonizes the body, mind and soul so she took up jogging at 48 using her tennis shoes. She competed in her first triathlon at 51. I think she's 74 now and still racing. She holds two age group records for Ironman Hawaii and three for Ironman Canada. She competes in two Ironman events a year. "I can only do what God gives me the strength to do," she reasons. "Not to use a gift that God has given you is an insult to your creator. We are meant to use the gifts that we are given for His greater honor and glory." She's always on guard against negative thoughts.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

B.C.B.R. Lesson 3

Emergency Procedures

It’s just a matter of when so you should prepare for it.
In the event of an accident move the injured rider off the road if it is safe to do so. Keep in mind that the bike path/sidewalk isn’t the safest place because there may be other riders coming along who don’t see you. The safest place is on the grass.
Use a cell phone to call for an ambulance or send a rider to get help. All bike/car accidents are reportable to police so write down the license number. Make a note of specific medical needs or conditions and notify the coach before the clinic.

Flat tires
Ask your local Bicycle store to put on a tire changing and maintenance clinic for your riders. The store will probably do it for free because of the goodwill it builds. I will change their tires for the first couple of rides because I want to keep the riders coming out and don’t want them to get frustrated taking 30 minutes changing a tire. I don’t want the riders to get cold waiting around while the flat is changed. I will appoint someone to continue riding with the rest of the group and advise them that the flat tire rider and I will catch up to them. It takes me about 5 minutes to change a flat. A common mistake most newbies make is not pumping up the new tire to 100 psi. Most small pumps will not reach 100 psi. so I prefer to use a Zefal full frame pump (which I probably should return to Cindy R. at some point.) The rule is that the coach gets a case of beer for every flat tire changed. Tell the riders to pump up their tires to 100 psi before every ride. Low tire pressure causes “pinch flats” when riding over sharp rocks. But you won’t get pinch flats if your tires are pumped up to 100. If you are unfortunate enough to live in an area where tossing beer bottles on the road is common, then advise the riders to purchase and install Tuffy Liners. They add a little weight, but at least you’re not going to get as many flats.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

B.C.B.R. Lesson 2

If you have taken your beginner group out for a ride you may have noticed some "dodgy" riders. These are riders that are unsure of themselves and are unpredictable. They probably don't know how to brake or corner effectively and this makes them uncomfortable being close to other riders. Braking Lessons are the first priority.
Explain leverage and why brake levers are easier to pull further down the ends of the levers. Show how levers can be used with one finger, or two finger grips. Explain front braking and rear braking characteristics. Using the front brakes will cause the riders body to move forward towards the handle bars. Braking hard on the front brakes only could cause the rider to flip over the bars. Using back brakes can cause the back wheel to lock up which may make the rider lose control.
Practice this drill:
Find a parking lot and have the riders complete a small loop practicing stopping at a point where the coach is standing. Ride the loop and use only the front brakes - try to get them to stop on the point. Have them repeat the exercise. Now have them practice a couple of times using only their back brakes.
Now have them practice a couple of times using both brakes.
Get them to go faster and practice "panic stops" using both brakes.

Group Riding.
You need to get the riders used to riding in a group and in a pace line. Why? (and you will get asked that question) The answer is because it is SAFER for the group because cars will notice a group of riders but they may not notice a single rider. Also it is more SOCIAL, and you will get a BETTER WORKOUT learning how to ride in a paceline. To ride in a group they must be able to ride straight and smooth and be predictable. Sudden braking is not allowed. The riding position is head up, relaxed arms and NO AERO BARS. Use the hand and voice signals you learned last lesson.
To get comfortable riding they can practice in small groups. First have them ride in pairs for 5 minutes, then get them to ride in fours for 5 minutes. Then ride with a larger group for 10 minutes.
Find a quiet road and get them to ride in a straight line. Let them have about a bike length between them which is lots of room for nervous riders. Then get them to ride up closer about 3 feet behind the rider in front. Simulate starting, braking and stopping, intersections and obstacles. Remember to move off the road when stopping. Also reinforce that they must start at a slow speed and gradually increase their speed so that the last rider of the group will not have to sprint to catch up with the group.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

what is luck

I was corresponding with my friend RG yesterday discussing her terrible run of luck with men and with accidents caused through no fault of her own. It's one thing after another with her, fortunately she has a good attitude, and a great dog.
I, on the other hand, have been blessed with too much luck. I can't pull out the luck when I want to because that's not how it works, but it's there nonetheless. Latest good luck story - today my Spanish Test was cancelled because the teacher got back from her Vacation too late last night and was too tired to get here by 7:00 am. Whew! I was going to fail that one for sure! Think I'll work on the Spanish tonight - can't rely on that kind of luck twice in one week.

There is a Dragon in my Sleeping Bag

Yikes. I have a Spanish Test at 7:00 am on the story book "Hay Un Dragon En Mi Bolsa De Dormir." That's one hour from now and I'm still at home cramming for it. Hope I don't fail this one.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Happy Arequipa Day!

It's a city holiday in Arequipa, Peru. Nobody is in the office or on the jobsite.
Those lucky Peruvians - and they just celebrated Independence Day two weeks ago.
When is Vancouver Day?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Unlucky Bike Socks

I own 19 pair of cycling socks. Ladybugs are my oldest and most sentimental pair. But I think it's time to get rid of them because they seem to be unlucky. I got them as a birthday present in 1999 and wore them in Ironman Canada that year. Jeff Spence was a bike official and he gave me a five minute penalty for "Ladybug Socks". In 2002 I was wearing the Ladybugs when I misread the double set of railway tracks I was attempting to hop over and crashed one month before Ironman. That crash caused a big haematoma and calcification problems that I continue to deal with, not to mention creating the big hole in one of the socks.
Yesterday I was wearing Ladybugs for my five hour ride with Michelle. Unfortunately the ride was cut short when she rode into me causing us both to go down. Of course most people always fall to their right as we both did, fortunately no damage to the drive train on either of our bikes. Didn't seem to be a major accident as we were going pretty slowly, but you never can tell. Michelle is very concerned about tissue damage which will likely show up today. With three weeks to her race I think she has time to heal.
They are six years old, been through two bike crashes and a five minute penalty - time to make some room in my bike sock drawer. Goodbye Ladybugs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bike Coaching Beginner Riders

This is the first in my series of bike coaching lessons aimed at beginner cyclists and triathletes. You don’t have to be a coach - if you are a beginner rider you will probably learn a few good practice drills which will make you a more confident rider.
If you do want to start up a triathlon club and be a cycling coach be warned that you will have your hands full. This type of coaching is not particularly easy and it’s fraught with liability issues. Further, you are dealing with adults and you will have to scold them for being “unsafe” and they are not going to like that. And since they probably aren’t in the best shape it’s not going to be much of a workout for you. But somebody has to coach the beginners and they really appreciate it. Someone in our triathlon club, likely Stuart L. or Les P. put together a phenomenal training manual to help me when I became Bike Director and I'm using this manual to put together this coaching series.

These lessons will be broken down as follows:
1 Basic Riding Skills
2 Bike Safety Check
3 Bike Handling and Braking
4 Emergency Procedures
5 Group Riding Skills
6 Gears
7 Pace Line
8 Cornering
9 Aero Bars
10 Hills
11 Acceleration
12 Reverse Pace Line
13 Intervals
14 Bricks
15 Time Trial
16 Distance

Lesson 1 – Basic Riding Skills
Practice in a vacant parking lot, or a grass field if they are afraid of falling over.
Most road bikes have pedal clips but the beginners will not be used to them. Practice mounting the bike and clipping in and out of the pedals. Ride around the lot and practice stopping and unclipping. Most riders will fall over once getting used to clip in pedals.
Don’t take them into traffic until they are comfortable with pedal clips.

Lesson 2 – Bike Safety
Examine each persons bike and look for the obvious worn tires, worn brakes, rusty chain, worn out gears.

Demonstrate and practice hand signals. At the Vancouver based Pacific Spirit Triathlon Club we use these signals but I'm sure they are not North American “standardized” signals.
The idea is to warn the person behind you of upcoming events.
The signals I use are:
Right turn – point right with your right hand, or use your left hand out and bent up at the elbow and say “right turn” outloud.
Left turn – point left with your left hand and say “left turn” outloud.
Slowing – put your hand down by your side so the person behind you can see it and say “slowing”
Stopping – same thing as slowing, but yell “stopping”
Crossing at an intersection – person in front yells “clear” or “car left” or “car right”
Glass or Debris on road – point at the material and say “glass” or “stick” or “skunk” or whatever you want to avoid.
Obstacles – point at the obstacle and say “hole” or “water
A JUST Parked car (and you know the driver is going to open the door when you get to it) – say “car door” and point at the car in question.
Railway tracks – signal is two fingers like a peace sign behind your back and say “tracks”
Car behind you that’s going to pass – say “car back”. The person at the back of the group says this, and then the other riders keep repeating until the person at the front of the group is aware.
Pedestrian, or runner. – say “runner up” or “walker up”
There are more - I won’t teach you “ignoring” which is one that Constable S. taught me for running stop signs because I don’t want you doing that.

Go out for a ride with the group with the riders behind one another. Let them have lots of space since they won’t be comfortable riding closely together. Practice shoulder checking. When approaching a stop sign, get into an easier gear, slow down, practice saying “stopping”. Person at the front yells “clear” if it’s safe to go and the group progresses. Practice your hand and voice signals.

More next week.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Day at the beach

I went out to the lovely-ex's house to take my dogs Plum and Whistler for a walk on the beach. It was low tide and in Boundary Bay that means the tide goes out for 2 kilometres. We walked the 2 km. out to the Cairn that indicates the US/Canada border. The dogs like to eat anything they can find especially dead crabs. Mmmm seafood. They like to chase after the Herons too, but don't worry, they would never be able to catch one.
Plum is the older Dalmatian and she was feeling a little arthritic after the big walk so T. gave her an aspirin. Plum is a pretty good swimmer, but Whistler has never mastered that sport.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Plant Update

Plant Progress
Status Date: 29th July 2005.
Approved Change Order: The plant needs a spiffy name in order to give it a sense of well-being, boost its morale and generally enhance its greenness and leaf-ivity. A team will be assigned to develop and test a suitable name.
Statements by Discipline:
Civil & Design Eng. – A new shelf has been located on the opposite side of the desk space – this will be the new plant location – the last location was too hot due to the heat generated from the computer monitor.
Structural – The new shelf is structurally sound, we tested it by sitting on it.
Architecture – The plant pot needs shining.
Process – The relocation of the plant to the new shelf went without a hitch, the plant is now expected to live longer - one bystander impressed by the operation quoted Shakespeare “O excellent! I love long life better than figs”
Mechanical Services – Miracle grow was applied to the plant after the move.
PD-Piping – A miracle grow supply has been established for the next three weeks
Mechanical Eng. – Routine pruning and trimming was performed.
Material Handling – Waste material resulting form the pruning was disposed without fanfare.
Electrical Eng. – Lighting is okay on that side of the desk.
Instrumentation Eng – I think we should call the plant – “Vinny”
Accounting – We should have a plant naming fund raiser.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Velocity Diet Day 2

So hungry…
The Atkins diet is a high protein, carbohydrate restrictive diet that is designed to encourage the body to burn fat. Unfortunately this diet may cause muscles to be compromised as well so I need to pick up my weight training which pretty much stopped since the gym shunning. I have only been back to the Y twice since getting sick and I better pick it up or else the weight loss will not translate into a better body fat percentage. The goal for this exercise is to get my body fat down to 12 percent from about 16 and to get my weight down to about 190 lbs. I still have aspirations of doing a Marathon this fall and dropping some weight would help my training immensely. Yes I am rationalizing the weight loss but running at 205 lbs on concrete is hard on the joints.

I’m on a variant of Atkins called the Velocity Diet. In case you don’t know what the Velocity Diet is, it is high protein but the ONLY calories consumed are in the form of Protein Drink Mix.
Why bother when Atkins is just as effective? First – it’s easy. No thought involved, just 250 ml of water and two scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream Royale drink mix in water. Mmmmm.
I just picked up some Berry Blast Off from GNC at lunch to spice things up a bit.
When I am on a regular Atkins diet there is a big tendency to cheat and I don’t have a lot of willpower. Since I am going to cheat at some point I will make the best use of my willpower and go on the most difficult diet there is and get as many gains as I can in the two weeks that I can stick with it. I am down to 200 lbs from 205 so it’s a pretty good start.
And I’m not grouchy yet! At least nobody is complaining about me. But I don’t think I can last a third day on Protein Powder only and may go nuts and have some celery tomorrow.
I also add Fish oil pills, vitamins, ground flax seed, and Metamucil pills into this diet.
Ahhhh. They just put PIZZA in the kitchen at the office! Berry Blast Off just isn't doing it for me.

I am such a hypocrite because I was derisive in my comments of Sandy S. this weekend. She is my Ironman training buddy who has lost a LOT of weight in her attempt to qualify for Ironman Hawaii. I haven’t seen Sandy for about a month and she has lost ten pounds since then. I wish her luck in her race, but I don’t like seeing her that small.