Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ryder Hesjedal, if the man bears the weight of his nation I think you can bear the weight of the winter.

A year or two ago, Ryder Hesjedal made the comment that as one of the only Canadian riders in the Tour de France he bears "the weight of a nation" on his shoulders when it comes to professional cycling. If you know anything about his recent results, he's doing a pretty good job and looking to improve this year. I think he can do it.

This video was done several years ago, but it's pretty cool, eh?

Ryder Hesjedal :: Haleakala Record from Media One Multimedia on Vimeo.

So pretend you're in Hawaii, and get on that bike!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wintertime inspiration the magic of pictures

I had initially intended to write one post with lots of indoor inspiration, but I thought maybe it would be worth it to space those out. I'm a little dry on material lately with the demands of school, so putting it all into one post seems like a waste. This way I can elaborate a little more on each subject.

When we all you see out the window is this...

and you can only dream of beautiful riding weather, sometimes what you need is a reminder of the reasons you ride.

I love the pictures on They have great racing pictures and other beautiful vistas like this one here.

Another hot site for pictures is Cycling Tips. If you want some real eye candy, check out the post about mountain biking in Switzerland. Unbelievable!

Hopefully that's a good way to start your week. Hang in there. Every ride has it's tough spots, we can make it through this rough season. I'm not about to give in to old man winter just yet.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Doldrums of training indoors

It's that time. When outside is tempting you, but it's still not really riding time for me outside. It's killer. I'm slogging out some indoor workouts and spending time in the pool to try and mix up the monotony of base building, but it's killing me.

I have had some serious indoor inspiration lately, but it's on the edge of burn-out. What to do?


Yep, believe or not, sometimes a well placed rest day can make all the difference. Joe Friel has been writing lately about pacing in races on his blog. I think pacing is true for your training year too. I've been hitting it pretty much full gas since January after a good month and a half hiatus. That's a good way to toast myself. Between that and the increasing mental strain of school it's about all I can do to squeak out another iota of discipline to be used anywhere else.

That's why I say stop. Not permanently, or even for a long day, but when it comes down to it, my first priority is not necessarily my fitness or race readiness. There are lots of other things that come first. God, my wife, my school, sleeping, eating, breathing etc. etc. That said, today became an unscheduled rest day. Hopefully that means the rest of my week will be more productive and less difficult to overcome the exercise inertia.

More to come on that in the future. Also, for those of you suffering through the frosty cold, snow-laden winter months with me I'll be writing about some of my indoor inspiration soon. Hang in there it's coming.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Foam Roller

Rollin', rollin', rollin' keep that foam roll rollin'.

What, you may ask, is a foam roller? It is a beautiful little piece of gear that probably costs 100 times as much to buy it as it did to make, but is still worth every dime I paid. See below.

The foam roller is the masseuse that you wish you could be for yourself. No money for a soigneur despite the hundreds of miles you spend on the bike. Use this little puppy to give yourself a good rub down and you'll be happy and maybe a little stretchier later.
The idea of the foam roller is to balance a part of your body (i.e. calf, thigh, lower back, gluts etc) on top of the roll and then slowly move back and forth. While you do this, the pressure stretches out your muscles and grinds through your tired limbs not unlike a deep tissue massage. The best part is that it's a pretty passive stretch so other than the pain of mashing your muscles it's fairly difficult to hurt yourself with this.
It works great. Especially after a hard weekend of riding and strength training, like I've been doing here in the early preseason, this thing can roll out my legs like nothing else. It's especially helpful on big muscles like your quads where it can be hard to manage a good rub down with your own hands.
Albeit, when you are really sore this feels more like torture than treatment, but I think we can all agree sometimes it takes a little good hurt to get rid of the bad hurt. (I'm sure that my neighbors probably think I'm being beaten by my wife because of my pathetic howling and wimpering when I use the foam roller after a really hard span of workouts.)
Where can you pick one up? Try REI or almost any other sports store. They usually cost about $25 (a lot cheaper than a professional massage and nearly as effective). Target and Wal-Mart frequently carry them too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

SuperBowl Sunday

As a newcomer to Wisconsin from Minnesota, I can't say that I'm particularly enthused about the Packers being in the Super Bowl this upcoming Sunday. And as someone who doesn't really care about football to start with it's just kind of obnoxious to be surrounded by the population of a state who basically worships their team.

Turns, out though, it's good for me. Yeah check it out. According to, I might just be avoiding a heart attack. Apparently the emotional stresses of watching your favorite team lose a game as big as the Super Bowl can give you a heart attack. Okay, that's maybe a glossed over version and the game-day fare doesn't usually help either. But with no significant emotional ties to any professional sports team here in the US, I think I just eliminated another common American cardiac risk factor.

Although...what does that mean happened to my CV health last summer when I watched Andy Schleck lose the yellow jersey to Alberto Contador?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The February Challenge 2011

Wow, January just flew by. And despite a little illness towards the end of the month, the January Challenge is complete. 31 days and 3100 push ups later I'm ready for round two. Bring it on February.

This month you have full warning, so I hope that you have the gumption* to join me. Since February is a few days shorter, we're going to make sure that we're not lacking in challenge and the feat for the month will be a little more intense. Guaranteed to get your heart pumping in a month with a lot of hearts...yeah, I know, that was bad even for daily challenge for the month will be: 150 x 2-armed kettlebell swings with a 20lb kettlebell.

That's my challenge. If 150 is too many for you, knock it down a notch. If 150 a day is too few, then crank up your limit. The two arm swing is also an exercise you could attempt with dumbbells or another weight of some sort if you don't have a kettlebell.

For those of you unfamiliar with kettlebells allow me to explain. A kettlebell is a lot like a cannonball with a handle. They come in a variety of sizes and weights and are intended to be a method of weight lifting/resistance training that uses multi-joint motions to avoid isolating and provide a more functional fitness. They are also a good way to hurt yourself if you are not careful. (there isn't much that hurts more than popping yourself in a sensitive spot with a flying 20lb handled-cannonball).

Watch the video and then give it a try. Be careful to keep your back straight and make sure that
you are using your hips and lower body to make the kettlebell move instead of your upper body and back. If you are having back pain, STOP, reexamine your swing and try again with proper form.

If you like kettlebells and are looking for more exercises you can see what else Phil has to offer with DV8 fitness. Or if you want someone who isn't boring and monotone you could try kbellqueen's youtube channel. There are also good resources out there like kettleworx, iron core fitness or if you want to get really intense try mike mahler... etc. etc. ad nauseum

Give it a try and enjoy the ride!

–noun Informal .
initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: With his gumptionhe'll make a success of himself.
courage; spunk; guts: It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.
common sense; shrewdness.
1710–20; orig. Scots