Monday, August 31, 2015

Getting To Know Everlast Nutrition

I’ve never exactly been Mr. Supplements.  I’ll take multi-vitamins, but I’m pretty unreliable at taking them regularly. Other than that, I started doing an occasional smoothie during the Doctor's Diet at the beginning of the year. 

I knew though, that the coming year of Half-Iron training would require some changes. I need protein to build muscle and recover from harder workouts, but most of all, I need it to feel full during the day and help me steer clear of sugary carbohydrate loaded snacks that are too easy to come by around the office and in my life in general.

I'd also need to replace electrolytes lost in sweat on longer efforts; simply putting water back into my body wasn't going to be enough. So I'm glad I'm an Ambassador for Everlast Nutrition which has put me in a position to access both Everlast VP Vegan Protein, and Ever last Fuel.

VP Vegan Protein


I've already reviewed the VP Vegan Protein here, but since then, I've gotten better at mixing it into smoothies and other products. I've mixed it into our pancake mix which I'll call a success. I've used a VP smoothie (just water and the powder) instead of milk on my cereal with fruit. It was a sweeter treat than the usual, but something I could definitely get used to.


I thought that Vanilla/Sea Salt flavour might go well in my coffee, but that mixture was not a success; somehow it just didn't work taste-wise. I might try again with some coconut oil to make it creamier and add some healthy fat, like a bulletproof coffee.

Everlast FUEL


This is my favourite. Do you remember creamsicles? Orange popsicles with a vanilla creamy filling? Putting FUEL into water makes a sports drink that tastes like that. I've noticed a lot of performance nutrition breaks down into pre-workout, during the workout or post-workout categories, but it all gets a little confusing and inconvenient for me. FUEL acts as all three (without too many calories) and I've been using it on all my longer runs and bike rides.

I've never really gotten to liking the taste of coconut water, but adding a little FUEL mix makes a supercharged source of electrolytes with a much better taste.


Mixing into my coffee might be a little too crazy, plus the diuretic effect of the coffee would probably cancel any good the FUEL might be doing me...

Everlast Nutrition has some special offers on right now:

1.) Click here to buy 1 bag of Everlast VP and Get a FREE Box of FUEL plus FREE shipping.

OR

2.) Click here to buy 2 Boxes of Fuel for only $33.98 plus get free shipping and free shaker cup.

In either case, make sure to use the code IRONROGUE at checkout to save 5% on your order.

Disclaimer: as an Everlast Nutrition Ambassador, I earn commission on every order placed with the IRONROGUE code.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The 120 KM Weekend: 20k run with Legend Compression, and a Century Ride with MEC

I think I've hit the big times. This weekend (according to my training plan) called for 2 hours of running, 1 of swimming on Saturday as well as a 5 hour ride on Sunday.  I woke up at 5:00 AM on Saturday with running gear laid out in advance in the basement.  I even remembered hydration for myself.
Ready to roll... before sunrise.

My weather app said the sun wouldn't rise until 6:30, so I had over an hour to make up my own course that would keep me under street lights.  I went towards my office and ran through the industrial areas there.  Seeing a truck yard at sunrise isn't really my cup of tea, but if you want to fit your run in and be available for your family, you have to make some sacrifices.

I had a few peaks at a map and I felt 99% sure I could connect back to the Etobicoke Creek Trail once the sun was up.  The problem was I would be running beside the airport runways. I got to a point of no return on one of the airport service roads where there were signs saying that you couldn't go any further... then I saw two cyclists go exactly where I wanted to run.  I followed.  It was nerve-racking, as I knew there were plenty of police cars patrolling the area; I'd been seeing them all morning.  As I envisioned explaining myself to a police officer, my confidence in knowing my local geography dropped from 99 to somewhere in the 80s...

Suddenly I recognized a familiar rolling in the landscape and some of the runway lights, and hopped onto the trail for the run home.  I thought I'd be over 19 km and find myself trying to go around the block to get 20, but I only clocked 19 once I was already near home.



On my calves, I was wearing lavender calf sleeves by Legend Compression (Disclaimer: I was given a pair of Legend Compression calf sleeves for review purposes, all opinions are my own). I wear compression sleeves while running (and sometimes cycling) mostly to combat Achilles tendinitis and any other calf tightness/injury.  What I noticed about the Legend compression sleeves it that the fabric felt very natural and breathable on my skin, like regular socks, and quite unlike most compression wear I've tried.  That morning was quite cold and though I don't regret wearing shorts and short sleeves, having a little extra insulation for my lower legs was nice.  I could still feel some twinging in the lowest parts of my calf (which don't get covered by sleeves - which I prefer to socks for the sake of wearing them in a triathlon where my feet get wet from swimming), but I think I weathered my 19 km run better for having worn them.


I was a lucky man that morning, as the kids had slept in, and I found them and my wife cuddled up together.  I snuck in a few cuddles of my own and made pancakes (with extra protein from both Manitoba Harvest and Everlast Nutrition).  We had a busy afternoon planned, and to make sure it happened, my wife ran errands while I took the kids to L.A. Fitness.   The Lightning Kid has been to their Kids Klub daycare a few times, but it was Shark Boy's first time; I tried to couch it as less than a play centre, but more than a daycare (which he kind of equates with 'school'), while I quickly got 1150 m (a.k.a 1.15 km) of swimming in to round out the day's mileage at 20 km.


I got your Fitspo right here..
That busy afternoon, I mentioned? Two birthday parties.  The first was a classmate of Shark Boy's and they went to Air Riderz trampoline park, which also had some climbing features (complete with safety harnesses and helmets).  I took the Lightning Kid down the road to a favourite play centre called 'Balls of Fun' where we goofed off and recreated a scene from the old 90s video game Street Fighter II: the Hadouken 'Fireball' technique (minus actual fireball).

I collected them from those two venues and shuttled them to another birthday party, with a Frozen (Lighting Kid favourite) theme and bouncy castle.  I don't need to tell you how well they slept that night.

As for myself, I had some nerves before the longest bike ride of my life.  I had signed up for the Burlington Mountain Equipment Co-op Century Ride; 100 km in Niagara Escarpment country.

I had put out my gear the night before, and I woke up before everyone else.  I dressed in my new gear from RODS Racing.  If you don't know, RODS (Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome) helps get children with Down syndrome who are currently being housed in orphanages around the world into the loving arms of families who would like to adopt them; the families are ready, the kids are great, all it takes is cash to get around the bureaucracy and logistics.  If you would like to help, my donation page is here.
#RedAndBlackAttack
I drove to Burlington's Hidden Valley Park to find things in full swing; although I was there before 8:30, which I considered early for the 9:00 start, I had just enough time to switch shoes and put the bike together, pick up my numbered bib and take a bathroom break before they wanted us to start lining up on the road to head out; this was around 8:45.

I asked someone in the crowd what their estimate of the number of participants was, and they figured 250.  I couldn't help but notice that I was the only one with a triathlon bike there; I did see one girl with aero-bars on a road bike (much how I used to ride), but I still felt like a freak among what seemed to be a hard-core cycling crowd.  The large numbers did make it seem like it would be safer out on any heavily driven roads.  The marshals emphasized this was a ride, not a race, and the roads were open to all traffic, so safety first!





The ride started uphill, of course.  For the first 5 km or so, I was happy to take an easy meandering pace, but soon it felt too slow.  I needed to pace myself to last for 100 km - I knew this, but if the pace felt unnatural, and maintaining it was going to mean taking longer to finish than I was ready to spend on this event, that meant I would have to pass.  This is where I seem to have a bit of a disconnect with pure cyclists.  They like to ride at least 2 abreast and occupy the whole lane.  This is considered the safest practice, I know, because it forces cars to acknowledge that the bicycle is entitled to the entire lane under the highway traffic act.  When cars pass, they go around the group in a separate lane.  As a triathlete, though, I have an aversion to crossing the centre line, even when there is not oncoming traffic, just because the rules so strictly prohibit it - it can mean disqualification.  Plus, it seems dangerous.  So I found myself sometimes waiting for opportunities to pass; I don't think "on your left" is as much of a thing in straight-up cycling.




After some climbing to get over the Niagara Escarpment, there was plenty of flat land to really see what kind of speed you could build up to on flat land.  It was a beautiful day, with perfect weather.  The first rest stop came at 23 km, and they had bananas, Clif Bars, Pro Bar Base protein bars and Nuun hydration tablets.  No porta-potties though; that might have been a little prohibitive for such a small support crew to transport, but I could have used one.  From that point, the century (100 km) and 50 k routes split up.

That was also the point where I separated from the crowd.  Sometimes I rode behind a pair of riders or so, but for the bulk of the ride I was on my own.  The course maps they had provided us had a list of 'cues' on the back that told you when your next turn would come in terms of total mileage.  That came in handy for reassurance, but for the most part I could see the little white arrows painted on the road because they came as such logical junctures. The route was so rural and abandoned that I often forgot that cars could come by.

At the second rest stop (48 km) my drink mix (Everlast FUEL with BCAAs and electrolytes, use the code IRONROGUE for a discount), was getting weak from being diluted with the water I had added, so I popped in a NUUN tablets.  I have many blogger friends who rave about NUUN, and now I get it.  It gave me some nice pep for the remainder of my ride.  I didn't see any of the Pro Bar Cookie Dough flavour that I had promised myself at the second rest stop, and the third rest stop (same location as the first) had run out by the time I got there.



The ride went through so many small villages that I can't remember the names of them all, but one location I did recognize was African Lion Safari.  One of the riders jokingly suggested a detour through there; "What could possibly go wrong?" I asked.

Overall on the ride, I had my chain pop off way too much.  Other riders suggested replacing the chain, but the bike is still too new.  I think the front derailleur needs an adjustment - this is something I have to take up with my bike shop, as it costs me way too much time, and trying to put the chain back on while balancing the bike at the side of the road seems to get a lot harder as my legs get tired.

The last 25 km were a bit of a struggle.  I can remember thinking at 82 km "I don't want to do this anymore."  It wasn't so much that I wanted to quit, but the aero position was hurting my neck and shoulders quite a bit, and to not ride in aero was making the ride slower and ultimately take longer.  Still that part of the ride was a net downhill, and all familiar from the ride out, so the kilometres clicked by fairly quickly.


I rolled into Hidden Valley Park after nearly 4 hours of time in the saddle (I paused Garmin tracking during the rest stops) with a big smile of accomplishment on my face.  While I was tired, I think my legs would still have responded to the command to run, if I had to, so things are looking up for Barrelman.  The local Rotary club was grilling burgers for free and a bike shop had put up a beer tent with a local brew; sadly they only took cash so I have a future date with Cause and Effect by Nickelbrook Brewery.
Century Ride Finisher (minus beer) selfie

I drove home and tried to clean myself up - I had chain grease everywhere: my hands, my face, my legs, the insides of my arms.  Then I took the boys to the splash pad; they rode their bikes, showing me maybe someday they'll be up for long rides too.  Trips to the splash pad, long bike rides, birthday parties, swimming, running... I wish the summer didn't have to end.





What's the longest bike ride you've ever done? How are you consoling yourself over the end of summer?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Race Recap: Bracebridge Olympic Triathlon 2015

Bracebridge is a great race; I thought so when I did it 2 years ago, and this year confirmed it.  In fact, I’m now wondering what was wrong with me that I didn’t do it last year - what probably seemed like a good reason at the time wasn’t.


I went to bed the night before with pain in my right shoulder, and I woke up with a tightness in my right hamstring, but luckily both were long gone by the time I had breakfast (bagel with peanut butter, apple, and 2 cups of coffee) and hit the road.  
Breakfast


Due to logistical concerns that I won’t bore you with, I was travelling to the race solo.  Though I love having a cheering section, and there were lonely parts of the day, I did appreciate being able to focus like a laser on being organized before the race.  Having gotten to the site with a little under an hour to spare, I still didn’t get everything perfect.


From the “Don’t Do Anything New on Race Day”

  • Somehow, I had left my Saucony Triumphs in the gym locker room at work, and I couldn’t access it on a Saturday while packing.  Luckily, I keep a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders with other running gear in my desk for emergencies (like, I forget to pack running gear) and I’ve used them mostly for treadmill runs.  So they were my shoes for race day.
  • I dropped a lot of cash on aerodynamic hydration accessories.  While I also got a double bottle cage for my seat-post, I focused on a hydration system that would let me drink while riding.  I’m pretty proud that I got it installed correctly, as I’ve seen pics of some jury-rigged setups in some triathlon Facebook groups that would make MacGyver puke.  At least, I thought I had it correct; can you see what I did wrong?


I won’t tell you yet, you’ll find out around the same time I did if you keep reading.
Race Site


Other misses

  • I did do a small swim warm-up to make sure the wet-suit was on properly, but ideally I would have done even more swimming before the race.  I crossed the river and back, that’s it.
  • I hadn’t cleaned and oiled my chain the day before, but I had inflated my tires.
  • I packed both gels I planned to have on the race course in my race belt, and set up my running shoes in transition with laces untied, but the silly part is that I thought I hadn’t,  and ended up fretting over it a little during the race.


Besides actually having a swim warm-up, which never happens to me, the other big hit for me was being able to make two trips to the port-a-potty before the race, and not over-hydrating, which meant not having to take any pit stops during the entire race.  Let’s break down the legs:
A view looking toward the Swim Exit


Swim

Bracebridge maintained its usual format of having a seeded swim start.  You simply line up by bib number.  Marshals got everyone organized in batches of about 50 people at a time, and it looked like everybody tried to find people close to them in number so it made things really straightforward.  Everyone wore red bathing caps, so there was no identifying your age group by colour, but I still like the format, and I think having different colour bathing caps might confuse people into trying to get into waves.  When you reach the front of the line (the end of the dock - you are already in the water), the final marshal calls out your number to confirm (I was 107), and finishes the countdown which is 5 seconds from the previous swimmer and you’re off!


The first part of the swim is with the current.  I honestly think the current was negligible; someone had commented that they’d seen leaves on the surface that “weren’t in any hurry”, and I couldn’t see much difference in pace from the downriver part to the upriver part.  There was no line of sight between the start and the turn-around, so sighting to the next buoy was important, and also was a great way to prevent collisions, but you didn’t have to sight too often.  I had the sinking feeling that I wasn’t pacing myself well, and I had to make a persistent effort to calm myself down and not swim too excitedly, so that I’d have a good pace on the second part of the swim.


On the way back, sighting became nigh impossible.  The sun was reflecting off the water and directly into our eyes.  Sticking close to the shoreline seemed like a good idea because the current would be weaker, and it would keep me on the right side of the buoys, so as long as I was seeing dazzling sunlit water ahead of me, I figured I was doing fine.  Besides a minor bump or two with other swimmers, the rest of the swim was uneventful.  I could swear I saw some bikes whizzing by along the river, but when I look at the maps, the bike course did not go past the North shore of the river. I still have issues with the seam of the wet-suit bunching up by my neck as I swim, which causes a lot of irritation and makes me lose time when I stop to re-adjust it.  I need to find a fix for that which won’t stop me from being able to open the zipper and take off the wet-suit when I hit transition.   I finished in 28:12, and that gives me an official pace of 1:52/100m which I’m pretty happy about.  The thing is, that’s based on 1500m exactly; my measurements show 1575m in 27:42 which gives me a crazy pace of 1:46/100m!

Courtesy of MultiSport Canada


Transition 1



My biggest challenge in transition seems to be getting the Garmin off my wrist before pulling off my wet-suit, only to put the Garmin back on again.  I just don’t like the idea of the wet-suit getting damaged by me trying to fit the watch in under the sleeve.  Other than that, I think it went pretty well, as 2:35 is actually a pretty good T1 time (in fact, it’s a personal best!).  I tried to take a sip from the straw of my aero-bottle while running the bike out to the mount line and nearly knocked a tooth out... I won’t try that again.


Bike



I was so excited to take Sable (see here for the bike name explanation) out for the first race?  Are there words sweeter to say than “on your left”?  Again I think race excitement was making me a little aggressive with my pace at first, but I think I brought the pace/effort down well enough without slacking either.  As I passed some athletes, I looked at their gear and their muscles and began to doubt whether passing them was the right thing to do.  Still, if the speed I wanted to go at was faster than I needed to go to stay safely behind them without drafting, I really did need to pass, didn’t I?  


One notable... observation, shall we say? I passed a female racer who’s tri outfit left something to be desired in the opacity department.  Remember that Lululemon controversy? They were like that.  Now this was a custom kit with a team name or something on them, but I felt bad about the view I had, and again, she wasn’t really going at a speed I wanted to match, so I passed her.  Guilt absolved... until I hit a hill and my chain popped off.  While I was replacing it she passed me and I went through the whole scenario again.  Twice this happened.
See how the front comes into a point?


Sometime in the last 15 km or so, I looked down at my aero-bottle and noticed that the front had a flat surface facing into the wind.  That’s not aero-dynamic!  I do believe that I mounted it backwards, although I thought I’d prefer having the main chamber closer to me (there are two different chambers which can be used for different liquids, or the inner chamber can be used to store ice to cool the outer chamber... that’s what I did on race day).


My overall goal, one I’ve been chasing my entire triathlon career, is to average speed over 30 km/h.  In spite of some tough hills and stopping to place the chain back on the ring twice, I achieved that goal... as long as you count the course as 42 km which it was (thanks to a last minute course alteration that was made for racer safety).  In the books (i.e. Sportstats Website) doing a 40 km course in 1:23:09 makes for 28.9 km/h.  Drat.


Transition 2



I noticed heavy legs as soon as I dismounted.  With my cleats in a new position on the sole of my feet, I was a little unsteady heading back to my space on the racks.


This is where I got two pleasant surprises: my running shoe laces were untied so I could do them up right and quickly, and I had packed the second carb gel into the same pocket as the first (instead of on the opposite side, as I intended), but I still had it on me and wouldn’t waste time going to my tri-bag (which was off to the side, as Triathlon Ontario rules dictate, which I found out at Lakeside last year).  I forgot to wear my visor, but ate the carb gel on the way out of transition.  Time elapsed: 2:13.  I should have gotten that under 2 minutes.


Run



My legs were still heavy as I headed out of transition, but I knew that would pass, more or less.  I was 3 for 3 on being a little aggressive with pace at the start; I could see my heart rate was too high, and I wanted to finish strong.  The run course was quite enjoyable as it followed the river and trees provided plenty of shade.  There were plenty of aid stations with water or HEED available every 1.5 km or so.  By the time I was 3 km in, I felt quite settled; my pace seemed to be hovering close to 5:30/km, which was better than I expected.  My legs were hurting, but I noticed that they were still responsive - when I told them to move, they moved and I kept good form.


As I closed in the last few kilometres, I saw the promise of a 55 minute finish, but again, the course was a little long, and I completed 10.43 km in nearly 56 minutes.  I had thought about doing a cartwheel or something goofy across the finish line, but when you’re chasing a time goal, there’s no room for fooling around.
Courtesy of MultiSport Canada



I had two goals for this race overall going in, and beforehand I thought they might be at odds with each other:


  1. Use it as a ‘B’ race to work on transitions and other race-day logistics
  2. Beat my previous time at this race, and maybe, thanks to a heavy training load this season, achieve a Personal Best for the Olympic Distance.

I’m really happy to have achieved both of those things.  While the new PB makes me happy, I needed the confidence that I know what I’m doing in terms of technique and strategy to carry me forward to the Barrelman Triathlon.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

What Kind Of Changes My Bike Underwent From An Aero-Fit

I've been wanting to write up about my experience getting an aero-fit at BikeZone Mississauga with Coach (Kris) Kurzawinski for some time now.  When I finally had some blog post writing time available, it was shortly before the Bracebridge Olympic Tri weekend, and I wanted to get my announcement about RODS Racing out there first.

The next thing I'm going to spend time on writing will be my Bracebridge Race Recap, but fear not! As usual, I have a cunning plan to provide you with the relevant info, without spending time churning out text and photos.

I've been playing around with Periscope, and though I've made some fairly bad (e.g. a live broadcast of a bike ride where you couldn't hear a word I was saying thanks to wind and vibration), I think this one turned out OK.  I think only a few people saw it live, but I figured out how to edit the video so everything is right side up, and put it on YouTube (My Channel - Please Subscribe!).

Here it is.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Special Announcement

I'm racing in the Bracebridge Olympic Triathlon on Sunday... but that's not the announcement.  A charity I've been following (and supporting) for the past year or two, has opened up applications to their team, and on the spur of the moment, I've joined the RODS Racing Team.

Donation link below.
I've seen first hand how a child with Down syndrome can flourish and thrive with a loving family's support.  I've seen it in my own child and in the children belonging to the community I've joined.  Sadly, in other countries, whether because of cultural bias, bureaucracy, or simply lack of resources, children not unlike the Lightning Kid end up in orphanages, where they won't know the kind of love that every child deserves, and you can imagine how their development wilts, as they are left in society's furthest margins.

There are sad problems in this world that don't have easy solutions.  This is not one of them; you see, there are parents out there just desperate to adopt these children - but the path to international adoption is not a cheap one.  The good news is that this is a problem that money can solve.

That's where RODS Racing comes in.  Donations go to helping achieve an adoption for a child with Down syndrome from an orphanage, one child at a time.  When an adoption is successful, the next child's adoption campaign starts.

As a member of the racing team, I'm looking to raise at least $2500 for Laura's adoption.  I'll be racing Bracebridge for Laura, and Barrelman too (probably while sporting RODS Racing Team apparel).

Please consider visiting my team page and making a donation.  RODS Racing is a registered charity and donations are tax deductible.  In addition to this campaign, I'll also have other news for really cool events from RODS Racing in the near future, so stay tuned here, follow their social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and spread the word for this wonderful cause.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Long Bike Ride: Tour De Lake Of Bays

You might say I crossed an item off my bucket list this weekend - the odd part is that I forgot that it was on my bucket list (insofar as I have one).  You see, when I was little, my father and a friend rode their bicycles around Lake of Bays over the course of a day.  He’d repeated the feat with my mother a few years later, though I had forgotten that little factoid.  At any rate, he told me that it was a challenge worth taking on, and I always thought I would do it one day “when I was grown up”.


A photo posted by Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) on

I was trying to come up with a good long, training ride to do at the cottage when I remembered all this, so it fell to me and Sable to get the job done.  I called it “Tour De Lake of Bays” #TourDeLakeOfBays.


The first 24-25 km of the route were very familiar to me, as I had rode them last week.  It was a lot hotter and sunnier this time, though.  There is bridge construction in Dorset, which made for a good time to text a status update and take a CLIF Shot (chocolate flavour) gel.


After Dorset came the Highway 117 leg, which probably caused me more suffering than any other part.  It was very long and unfamiliar, and though I hoped that it would be flatter thanks to how it hewed close to the lakeshore, I was confronted with the same kind of hills I’d been climbing the whole time in my own backyard parts of Muskoka.  It must have gotten monotonous and seemed worse than it was, because the Garmin analysis shows I kept up a speed average of over 25 km/h for over an hour.


A photo posted by Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) on

When I rolled into Baysville, I was seeing familiar sites.  I’ve heard stories of people on long bike rides stopping for Starbucks, or Tim Horton’s or whatnot, but stopping at a brewery would take the cake.  I didn’t though, since I knew I wasn’t going to be keeping to my projected 3 hour schedule, and I didn’t want to shirk child-minding duties entirely.  I doubt the alcohol would have done much for my safety or performance, but it would have tasted SOOOO good.
A photo posted by Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) on


While being familar ground, the final stretch of Brunel Road followed by South Portage were the toughest. For starters, there was construction on Brunel Road for the first 3-4 km. I had been forewarned about it, but I figured it would be a closed lane or some narrowing; the road was as good as gone!

I didn't like taking my brand new bike over that gravelly road, but I didn't have much choice, and taking it easy for safety was a good excuse to take it easy, and give my legs a rest. When I reached the end of the construction zone, I saw a sign that put me a little on the defensive...


The last part of the ride along Brunel takes you by some very pretty lakes; there's Shewfelt - which is nearly a pond, and Axel Lake (!) which isn't too visible from the road. I stopped to take a pic of North Tooke Lake (I think) and it's one of the nicer landscape pictures I've ever taken (at least with the help of an Instagram filter).
A photo posted by Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) on


I finished the ride back at my starting point with a time of 3:17 and texted for a pick-up. I was pretty spent, and even laid down in the dirt for a bit. Being attacked by bugs made me realize that at least I'm in good enough shape to recovery quickly from when I think I'm all tapped out.
A photo posted by Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) on



I've still got some time before Barrelman, so I may use this route again (with some add-ons, probably).


It would be great to be able to get it under 3 hours.

Do you have a training ride that is like a dragon that you have yet to slay?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Going Long On the Bike & Starting My Race Nutrition Journey

Disclaimer: I am an Everlast Nutrition Ambassador and earn commission on sales made with my discount code.

The origin of the term ‘Brick’ for a bike-run workout has somewhat disputed origins, but I’ve always believed that it comes from the heavy feeling in your legs after you get off the bike and try to run - the legs feel like they’re made out of brick.  You know what’s been giving me the brick feeling in my legs lately?

Waking up in the morning.  The last week I’ve woken up with legs that just don’t want to move, and it’s been disconcerting.  I’ve known soreness in my time, but this seemed worse.  I didn’t panic about it, since my legs seemed to work fine once I got moving, and by the time I was dressed each morning, I felt fine except for a bit of a tired feeling in the legs.

Still, it was a wake-up call that maybe I need to be more formal and regimented in my efforts to recover post-workout; the volume of training has taken a sharp uptick, especially since the training program’s phase that would have had me ramping up more slowly coincided with our trip to Germany, where I’ve already documented I got less than the prescribed amount of training in.

So on Friday, I took a 3-pronged approach to my 1 hour, 15 minute ride (accomplished by tacking on a little extra saddle time before and after a spin class).

  1. I used a foam roller on my glutes, quads, hamstrings and even calves after the ride
  2. I wore 2XU compression sleeves on my calves (I mixed up the calf and hamstring compression sleeves when I packed my gym bag - the latter might have been better).




Even though I got to bed late after a long drive up to the cottage, I felt great the next morning and totally rocked a brick workout on Muskoka’s hills, first thing in the morning!  In addition to feeling validated about my recovery strategy, it was my first time taking Sable out on the road.


I rode 30 km with an average speed of 25.9 km/h, which I never thought I’d manage on those Muskoka hills, and I still had enough gas in my tank to run 6 km with a 6:05 min/km pace after that.


Now in addition to being recovered well, I had another weapon.  Since I wanted to get a 3 hour ride in on Sunday, I knew I had to start playing around with taking in calories while on the bike.  Sable isn’t kitted out with many accessories yet, so I don’t have any bottle cages or fuel boxes (aero or otherwise) attached to it.  Instead I wore my hydration pack, and loaded it with Everlast FUEL.  I’m a big fan of all-in-one solutions, and though you can take care of hydration, calorie intake and electrolyte balance with combination of drinks and/or gels, this product has BCAAs for the protein to start rebuilding muscle right away as well as vitamins to pre-charge the workout.  So if I start sipping it before the ride, or as I’m putting the bike away, I’m doing myself good just as much as when I’m drinking during the workout.

I used the brick to test it out before the long ride.  I mixed two packets in about 24 ounces of cold water (measured with the free shaker I got when I ordered two boxes worth of Everlast FUEL).  The taste reminded me of a milkshake I had the weekend before from Kawartha Dairy, obviously less creamy and not quite as tasty given that FUEL is not a milkshake made with real ice cream, but reminiscent of a Creamsicle - does anyone else remember those from when you were a kid?  Anyway, it was tasty and no problem to digest.

While my long ride (and Half-Iron race) nutrition strategy is a work in progress, I’m planning on drinking FUEL and some water, packing along some gels, and maybe a nutrition bar or two (lead contenders are CLIF and Go Macro).

Getting that 3 hour ride on Sunday proved more challenging.  There were threats of thunderstorms that seemed to be zeroing in on the time and place that I was planning to ride.  We were going to go visit another cottage on the way home, and I opted to ride ahead on my bike.  Altogether it was a good plan that let me get more riding in than one might expect, since with my wife and kids coming along the same route while having left an hour later, I was in perfect position for a rescue when the weather did turn nasty.  In fact, I heard the first lightning strike just as the car pulled to a stop in front of me; it was a little shy of 2 hours on the road, and again I averaged close to 25 km/h.  My neck was starting to wear down from aero position a little, and I’m looking forward to getting a proper fit in the near future, but again, I felt pretty strong and solid for the duration of the ride.  I wish it was longer, but you can’t control the weather.


If you’d like to help fuel your efforts or try the best tasting vegan protein on the market, be sure to enter IRONROGUE at checkout when you visit Everlast Nutrition.  They’ve got a great sale with free shipping to the US on orders over $20 and a free Drink Shaker if you order 2 boxes of FUEL (the shaker worked great for mixing the fuel before I put it in my hydration pack).


Use the code IRONROGUE at checkout for a discount!




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