Monday, November 30, 2009

Day Forty-six: unshaved legs, call me fluffy if you wish...

It might have been five or even six years ago when a friend of ours returned to Cairns for a visit. She had her boyfriend with her and a few stories about cycling in countryside Victoria.

So, there we were in this nice outdoor bar, not far from the harbour, and this guy talking non-stop about Colgnagos, Zipp hoops, Campagnolo this and that... Sandra and I couldn't put a word in, nor could our friend.

New to cycling, we both had very little idea of what he was talking about. We just nodded now and then and sipped on our cool alcoholic drinks. But it got a bit more embarrassing when the guy decided to look under the table, only to confirm that I knew nothing about cycling and wasn't in fact a cyclist at all:

- D..., look at his legs! Shall we call him "fluffy"?

I don't know when I shaved my legs for the first time. I remember it took a while to get used to the idea. But I did and for the last five years or so, the idea of having unshaved legs never crossed my mind. If it did, I would've said something like:

- Why? It would slow me down, my skin would be ripped off if I had a crash, my masseur would hate touching my legs and all those obscure reasons. Plus, my legs would look so horrible!

In the last few weeks, Sandra called me "fluffy" a few times. I know she didn't mean anything like our friend’s cycling boyfriend did and I don't feel hurt or anything but it does make me think.

At the moment, I don't know if I will ever shave my legs again. It is not that I think my calling for cycling has ended; I often think that my training and racing times might have ended with the accident. I do miss just riding a bicycle and I will get into riding as soon as I get the clearance from the neurosurgeon but I am uncertain if I will go back to training and racing.

The idea of training on the road, five to six times a week for months and months is a bit of a concern at the moment. I know this worry will go away but I also imagine the same thing happening again.

So far, I have lost six weeks of my life. I had to cancel a holiday with my son, I had to stop working, I am missing out on my A event for the year (the Mt Hotham ascent) plus all the racing that is going on in Summer and it is possible that I will miss next years road season...

Similar fracture

Last week I was told to have a MRI done. That's because of a possible soft tissue damage somewhere near the C6. I have also been told that I should stay off the bike until that's all sorted. The surgeon not willing to give me a time frame.

Dramatic as it all may sound, that's how I am starting to see my time with unshaved legs. Or maybe, I should just shave them anyway... given that it is traditional.

Safe riding!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day Forty-two: Cadel's Shirt

"A phrase that has become synonynous with Cadel, since Stage 15 in the 2008 Tour de France..."  explains who ever is looking after Cadel's affairs, and I would think it must be Chiara, who even has her own sweet "corner" in the official site.

Is this how the first Australian to win a men's world road race championship would like to be remembered? Somehow, it reminds of Bart Simpson's famous "I didn't do it!" phrase, a few years back.

First, we should remember that Cadel is not the first Australian to win a cycling world championship. We have Sam Hill, Warwick Stevenson, Caroline Buchanan and many others. We also have our track world champions. Meares, Mactier, Bates, too many to list here but this link can take us to a few more - Link

Now, on the shirt, I learned about this don't-stand-on-my-dog thing on BSNYC's last post but as the truth must be said, I only really payed attention to it when I read a reply to Cadel's new entrepreneurial exploit, or joke, by one of the regulars on Snob's comments section. It read:

"...& cadel w/ your "Don't stand on my dog:" business ???...

...then get that little fucker off my lawn..."

I found it funny, but I found the comment reproducing my thoughts during that Tour, when Cadel would be seen walking around, hugging this little dog as if he was a sad little boy lost in the crowd and looking for his mum (possibly Chiara).

"I hope he doesn't get on the podium with the dog!" I thought then...

Now, I kind of understand why Cadel had so many issues gaining respect from his peers, including team mates. How could anyone? We never saw the Cannibal walking around with a poodle in his arms and looking all teary after a stage of the Tour.

Shit, I am going to be hated for this and I don't even dislike Cadel Evans but I do think he could really make a worthwhile statement by repeating his efforts of Beijing, when he broke the rules and wore an under shirt with Free Tibet painted on it. Even, if he likes, every now and then, not to take life too seriously.

I do!     

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day Forty: this is what's going on...

Pain is only a transient state

Last week went really quick. Another one.

Unfortunately, it was marked with another accident in the family. Another driver turned right in front of an incoming traffic and Sandra's effort to avoid him only minimised the impact. She run straight into the side of his 4WD. This time, the driver was decent enough to apologise soon after they got out of their cars.

CarS!! That is right, Sandra wasn't on her bike. I was so relieved.

She is now nursing sore neck and back, nothing broken. Typical whiplash symptoms. She is back on the bike after a couple of days off and looking good for the Tour of Bright.

My hopes of a miracle recovery, which would allow me to race in December are now gone. That leaves me sitting at home (I can't work or drive) waiting for the next doctor's appointment and news that will hopefully take me back to a normal life.  

I have been going for walks with a neighbour. He walks his dog and I tag along for a bit of a chat and to get a bit of exercise. It is not the same as training 2, 3 or 4 hours on the bike but it makes me feel better.

On training, I have a few riders doing the 4 Weeks Program. It has been great getting to know these riders (via e-mail, at this stage) and learning about their dedication to cycling. I can't wait to hear of their results...

Monday, November 16, 2009

What day is it? Thirty-third!

I used to have a different Polar HR monitor. That particular one would display short messages on the hour if it hadn't detected any form of activity in a few days. The messages were the get off your butt type. They were quite funny.

Being almost five weeks since my last ride, I have been wondering what the message would be like. Well, if the Finish guys knew how I feel right now, it would be like:

- Get on the bike, you are going nuts!

It's not that I haven't been in this situation before, I have. This time, I have a new reason to feel like that, and it's sitting right there, two meters from my chair. And apart from a 50 m ride from the shop to the car, a few touches and making very minor changes to it, it has been just like that for over twenty four hours...


PS: And a Thank you! to the guys at Fusion Cycles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day Twenty-eight & Will, a cool climber

Day 28

I will be heading to hospital sometime today. Getting there will be an event in itself as I opted to catch public transport as an alternative to getting there by car. It is a small contribution by a continual whinger on the ever increasing number of cars on our roads.

The news should be good. I feel well, sleep well and don't have a problem sneezing anymore. Have you ever sneezed with a fractured rib? Don't!

It will be a matter of finding how well the C5 can take some road vibrations. But enough of this episode...

Will, the cool climber

Now and then, I check to see what Will is doing. Will is someone who I first classed as a real climber (that was on my Blogs and Other Links list). He was someone who got on his bike and climbed as many Cols as possible, as this was his challenge. A real climber, I first thought.

Now, after watching his last video, I realise that Will is something else. He is a cool climber. And, he is a cool climber because he is having a lot of fun doing what he does, climb as many Cols as possible.

And what a nice thing to do!

I am sure he has his challenges and he has to prepare himself for them. I am sure he works on technique to get up those climbs and chooses his gear to suit them. But Will has fun when he climbs and that classes him as a cool climber.

I know where I would like to be!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day Twenty-six & Trek Project One

The start of another week of virtually sitting around and waiting. Still, I am hoping to get to the next weekend on a different note.

I will have x-rays and another cat-scan, which might give me an idea on where I am at the moment in terms of my healing progress. I think, and wish, they will look at the results and will tell me that it has been a very fast recovery and I can go back to my normal life... including getting back on the bike!

And talking bike, my Trek Project One started this weekend. No, I didn't go to the fancy
Trek Bikes website and put together and ordered a Madone 6.9 with the latest components in my favourite colours.

Actually, I did go on the site for a bit of fun but got bored and totally repelled by the idea that I could have my own little message painted on the top tube. Like those little stickers that amateur riders put on their bikes with their names and flag of the country where they were born in, as the pro riders have on their bikes, I find those features very tasteless.

What I did though, was to pull apart my old Trek 370 race/ commuter bike, which has been dumped since
traffic accident #1 last year, and started my own Project One, which involves turning it into a single speed commuter.


The Trek 370 in 2004

Knowing myself, this a very ambitious project. Not for its degree of difficulty, or need for a large budget, but for my history of unfinished attempts to construct anything. I was pretty good in pulling things apart, which I did from an early age, but to put them back together was usually a case of taking everything to someone who knew what they were doing to finish "my" project.

So, here it is, the start of Trek 370 SS - Project One!

Skinny, round down tube

Nice welds on the 370

Frame, bars and bent fork

Lots of left overs...

I will be posting my progress as I go.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Four Weeks Training Program

I have received a few e-mails with questions on training. I have also noticed that a lot of the keywords used to get to my blog are, in one way or another, related to training or training programs. With that in mind, I decided to offer here, a program I believe will benefit a novice racer and anyone else who hasn't followed a training program.

Even if just commuting to work or doing bunch rides on the weekend, this four weeks program will bring noticeable benefits to those wanting to get a little stronger and quicker on the bike.

How did I get to write this program?

First, I have had a few years to experiment with my own training and have worked with a couple of coaches. For my benefit, they had a different approache to training, giving me varied and applicable ideas on what may work when building a program.

I have also completed a Level 1 Cycling Coach Course, which gave me valuable ideas on nutrition, sport psychology and how to put everything together for a basic training program. Unfortunately, at the time, a few things got in my way, including my own racing, and I didn't have the time to do my practical assessment and I was only given the CycleSkill Coach accreditation by the Australian Cycling Federation.

Well, I missed out on a piece of paper but it was good enough for me, I have been able to apply what I learned to design programs for different phases of my training (some good crash training programs) and for different events. The results haven’t been too bad…

If you are interested in getting hold of this program or have any questions, send me an e-mail, I will be happy to answer them and send more information on the program.

Safe riding!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Bike handling with Danny and Ryan

OK, this is a quick one, or two on bike handling...

First, I found this video, which can be said to be a bit old now. Still, Danny MacAskill's (it is all in the name) skills just blew me away. For a moment I thought of selling all my road stuff and bike and buying something that would allow me to learn to ride like that. That's just my dreamer's personality talking.

Anyway, here is the video:

Then I came across another video. A bit newer I think and equally amazing. This is Ryan Leech's video:

Yes, I have a lot of time in my hands at the moment. I figured I might as well look around for some interesting stuff rather than just ramble on Cadel's new team or who was "kicking a..e" in the local weekend crit...

Have a great week!

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