Friday, September 5, 2008

Cycling & Dieting and riding with Sandra

Cycling and Dieting

As far as I know, this is a constant issue in the life of a cyclist, and athletes in general. We are all trying to get stronger, faster and lighter, specially if climbing fast is what we are trying to do. There are lots of factors to be considered when training for competition but power to weight ratio is what we are always trying to improve. After all, we are trying to fight gravity...

I remember my training regime as a competition surfer, late 70's and early 80's, when all I did was surf, eat, surf and eat. The time in the surf was often to the point of exhaustion with sessions going as long as 4-5 hours without a break. Dehydration? I was half submerged in water, for half the time anyway... No, I didn't think of that.

The second part of the training was at the table where I ate as much as possible in one go. Then, a little sleep to recover from the early session and out the door for a second and third session depending on the surf conditions in the afternoon. I can still recall some late sessions when all I could see from the surf were the lights of the houses and cars going pass.

Those were the days when my competition weight was around 72-73 kg (height: 1.73 m). Today, if I step on the scales and see 69 kg I start to panic... If I ever get to 72 kg again I will probably sign up for the TV show The Biggest Loser.

Nowadays, my competition weight is 66-67 kg. Bellow that, I start to get a few flus and loose a bit of strength. With 80% of the races around here being criteriums and/or road races ending on bunch sprints, strength, or physical power, is crucial for those last decisive 100 m.

On dieting, I am not one for counting calorie input and output but I do watch what I eat in the way of choosing foods that are good for me and won't make me gain weight. Eat to train and race could be said of the way I think when preparing a meal. With that in mind, and having a very inquisitive partner, I have found great foods and recipes. More so, because we have been semi-vegetarians for many years.

Well, it might sound a bit simplistic and easy but it is not. There are lot of "delicious" foods out there and not falling for some of those well advertised chocolates and doughnut deals is a hard task. Although not heavily advertised, cheeses and breads are my most evil allies. They are good for their protein, calcium, carbohydrate, etc but pretty effective on my waistline too...

But it is all part of an interesting lifestyle and I feel great in the process. Just need to win some races now!

Dish of the week: Cauliflower Lasagna

Riding with Sandra

It has been a week like in the days we started cycling in Cairns, Sandra told me. She was right, that's what we did before we came to Brisbane and started our new jobs, 3 1/2 years ago. It has also to do with colder winters when getting out of bed just after 4 am isn't as easy...

We did an easy coffee ride on Sunday which was great for my shoulder recovery. We met some friends in town as well, which is always delightful. Tuesday was a session with friends at Nundah but I am not going to write their names as I might forget a couple. There were twelve riders on the paceline.

Then, Nebo yesterday morning. Unfortunately, the drizzle (and that is all it was for the first 3/4 of the ride) kept most in bed. Aaron showed up, as he always does, and the three of us had a real pleasant time going up Mt Nebo road.

Sandra reflects at the lookout

They were all relatively easy rides that help to determine how good (or how bad) my shoulder is. The doctors are happy that I keep cycling, it is just a matter of knowing where the limits are. And, it is so tremendously good for the mind when an injury restricts me on what I can and can not do.

Aaron in B&W

I did wake up this morning at 4:30 but the text message that came through announced heavy rain. It didn't encourage me to get on the bike (apparently Sev is good at that!!)... and I had cleaned the bike thoroughly yesterday and didn't have time to put any lube on. I thought it was a good excuse not to get out.

Tomorrow, we will head to Lakeside for a club race. It is going to be a hill top finish, good for power climbers, riders that can sprint up a short steep climb, guys like Valverde or Flessa.

The course: click here.

Weather looking good!

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