Monday, January 31, 2011

Pandora's Cookie Box Contest

Over the weekend I fell into a wee bit of a nutritional hole on the side of the 'eating healthy' road. I was craving something sweet to eat Friday night and said so to wifey.
"I can make cookies!?!" was her reply.
Who was I to argue.
Off she went.
What can I say, I have a wife who loves to bake. She has a husband who loves to eat. It's a balanced relationship.

There was a catch . . . the cookies were to be healthy.
Pffffft, whatever.  Less talk and more bake.  

Healthy Cookbook that I received for Christmas. Did you know that Quinoa is a whole grain that has it's own complete protein?!
Healthy recipe.  Cookies came out to be roughly 3/4" thick and 3" wide. (*Note: despite what the recipe says, it did not yield five dozen).
Pandora's box is an artifact in Greek mythology, taken from the myth of Pandora's creation. When Pandora opened the box, the entire contents of the jar were released, but for one – hope. Today, opening Pandora's box means to create evil that cannot be undone.
3 1/4" deep
9 1/4 " wide
7 1/4" wide.
Estimate how many "Healthy Cookies" I ate between Friday 7:30 PM and Saturday 11 AM correctly and I'll give you a prize.  (*Note:  I didn't eat all of them, but they were all gone.)  Become a 'Follower' and I'll give you two prizes!
"That's it?" you exclaim?!?  "Jebus stickers, one XXCMAG.com sticker and some Canadian Tire Money for all my hard work of guess-timating how many cookies a fat fugger ate!"

Having the coolest custom sticker of your most favourite-sub-par-average-middle-of-the-pack-sometimes racing-fat guy doesn't appeal to you, nor a cool sticker from the most awesome mountain bike web magazine out there, and not even enough Canadian Tire money to buy a year supply of duct tape just doesn't turn your crank . . . . how about one of these:
More on how I came across a few of these babies to give away in the next couple of days.
Three Backcountry Research Awesome Straps (which truly are awesome) to be given away to three lucky winners.  I'll even throw in a Jebus sticker and some Canadian Tire Money.   You got one week.

*E-mail address is over there under the 'profile' dealie -------------->

Thursday, January 27, 2011

TSE

I realize that it's 2010 . . . I was too lazy to do one for this upcoming year.
Would someone be willing to please pay my entrance into The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic? I can offer exclusive blog coverage, finishing close to the back of the pack daily, semi nude photos, Jebus sticker give-aways,  product placement and tomfoolery.  

Would-be-supporters please e-mail me (over there ------> ).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Days, Two Skis, Lots of Phlegm

Tuesday
Trails from P7 - absolutely shitty.  Crooked, crumbly, lacking shape and depth - and they had just groomed it as I pulled into the parking lot. I don't know what Demis and the NCC are thinking.  Please bring back Lafleur!
 Was supposed to ski Monday night with Curvy Butt, but it was way to cold for my slowly recovering throat and lungs to handle.  Tuesday warmed up quite a bit, so I managed to get out for an classic xc ski.  I've been skiing mostly skate this year and have been loving it.  With classic skiing I find that I can keep my heart rate lower and not work as hard - it seemed to be the best choice for a ski considering I'm still trying to get over The Most Horrible Flu Ever.

It turns out that I am gradually disliking classic xc skiing more and more.  The more skate skiing I do the more I like it and the less I enjoy classic skiing.

Look-off from the Top of Penguin.
 Track skiing is becoming so boring to me.  I decided that once to the top of Penguin that I was going to duck into the woods from some backcountry trials despite having only my classic race skis.

Some backcountry ski trail just off Ridge which leads out to the #34.
 It was way more fun in the woods than in the track set.  A little unstable because of my narrower skis, but lots of fun and a better workout I found.  I need to pick up a set of wider, shorter skis for the backcountry stuff.

Wednesday
P10 was nearing capacity at about 1pm, mid week.  Crazy.
I decided to skate ski today after wanting to burn my classic skis after yesterday's outing.  Don't know what I was thinking starting at the base of Fortune.  I haven't skied for almost two weeks since getting sick and to be faced with a steady 4 or so km climb.  Blehk. I had to stop frequently to blow my nose and hork lugies up.  Tasty stuff.  Skiing alone I tend to go too hard up the climbs and end up blowing up.  I really need to learn how to pace up a long climb such as Fortune. 

Fortune climb.
Ridge was firm and good skiing.  Too bad I was fading half way through it and decided to turn around.
So stuffed up and lacking energy to the point I decide I needed to go home.  Was not a good ski, but was good to be back outside and away from the trainer.
Grooming on the Parkways was not impressive.  There was a ridge on both sides of the skate lane, not nearly as flat or as wide as it could have been.  Am I the only one dissatisfied with the grooming in the park??

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's not my fault . . .

Every year the trainer seems to be a little more mentally challenging to ride.
 It was a brutally cold weekend.  I attempted to get out, but each time I'd go outside and the -25 Celcius degree cold air would hit my throat and lungs I'd begin into an uncontrollable coughing fit.  Despite feeling so much better, it looks like I am still not 100% over The Most Horrible Flu Ever

So, I ended up riding the trainer for two out of three days, the third day I hit the weights and StairMaster (not to be confused with the He-Man, Master of the Universe).  I sent back my PowerTap in December.  I suspected the calibration was off on it as it seemed to be reading my power output higher than my actual perceived effort.  Cyclops techs re-calibrated it, gave it a good going over and sent it back.  Just got it back and my suspicions were correct - it's feels much more difficult to ride in my zones than before.  I should have left 'well enough' alone. 

It makes me wonder how long it's been a bit off?  Maybe all last winter I assumed (which makes an ass out of me) that I was in my zones and actually wasn't, thus not getting the benefits I should have gotten from all that riding.  Might explain some of my early season lack of fitness.  I'm going to go ahead and blame the PowerTap for my entire season lack of fitness - ha, a scapegoat.  It really wasn't my fault.  I'm blaming my over-weightness, lack of racing, lack of motivation, poor fathering and husbandry skills, my lack of fashion, falling arches, hair growing on my ear lobes, troubles in the Middle East and the housing market on the un-calibrated PowerTap.  Makes sense to me. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shoot me now

video

First bit of exercise in a week. Blow your brains out kind of fun.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Infected

Day seven of The Most Horrible Flu Ever and I am still alive. Again, I'll say it: this is the worst flu I've ever had. Yesterday I had to make only my third trip out of the house since last Thursday.

I awoke Tuesday morning with the right side of my face throbbing. Throb, throb, throb. Above my eye along my brow and below my eye in the sinus cavity it felt as something was trying to get out.


The terrible, terrible pain led me to visit a doctor and my suspicions were correct - The Most Horrible Flu Ever spawned itself in my sinus cavities on the right side of my face, resulting in a sinus infection. Good news: antibiotics will treat it in ten days and I'll start seeing results in two. Bad news: it's going to feel like it's getting worse before it get's better. Fugg me.  Two days of a pounding, throbbing headache. 

I've seen a steady loss of weight until this past week.  My goal of 186 lbs by Spring is still very much attainable.
And what's worse, I gained a pound this past week.  I don't understand how that is possible because I've had very little appetite and haven't been eating much at all.  And what I've been eating it's been healthy and in small portions.  I really thought I was going to come away from The Worst Flu Ever lighter.  If anything I figured my muscles would have begun to atrophy due to the sedentary condition I've been slain to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

When death knocks . . .

I don't mean to alarm you, but I am dying. I've self-diagnosed and have given myself a life expectancy to the end of the week if I am lucky. 

I took Thursday off work to stay home with The Peanut as she's been ravaged by a wicked flue.  Flue turned into an ear ache and now is on antibiotics.   Mommy had already missed work once this week and stayed home with her, it was now my turn.  Called in sick late Wednesday night.  No sooner had I hung up the phone and my throat was feeling a bit scratchy.  Meh.  It's probably nothing.

Thursday - I felt like crippity crap.  A bad cold at worst. Maybe calling in wasn't a bad idea.  I'll rest up and will be able to go ski or ride the trainer tomorrow.

Friday - I felt worse.  Much worse.  A slight fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat. Cold must be peaking.  Get it over with and tomorrow will be better.   

Saturday - in the morning I was sure that I was beginning to round the hump of this little cold/flue.  Got on with my day.  Shovelled my laneway and went to a B4H meeting.

Later Saturday evening . . . watching the Leafs play.  The misery I was suffering as I watched them lose to Calgary was tiny compared to the sudden and overwhelming black wave of death that crashed over me at the start of the overtime period.  This MUST be the end of the world.  My body felt like a nuclear power plant melting down from it's core.  Fever spiked, cold chills began.  Muscles becoming rigid and sore, joints feel like someone has taken extreme vengeance out on them with a very large crowbar.  My throat feels as if an English chimney sweep jammed one of his coarse bristly wire brushes down my larynx a few million times not sweeping away the soot, but rather flesh.  Raw sore throat.

 Sunday - I can barely move.  Praying for an airplane to fall out of the sky and crush me into smithereens with absolutely no mercy.  I drank so much cranberry and orange juice that I wet the bed . .  twice.  It's official - this is the worse flue I've ever had. 

By Sunday I was mainlining Buckley's and Tylenol extra strength looking for some sort of relief.
I . . . FEEL . . . LIKE . . . CRAP !

Friday, January 14, 2011

Road stuff

Chasing Legends, a highly-anticipated bike movie focusing on the 2009 Tour de France through the eyes of Team Columbia-HTC, will be shown across Canada during a special one-night screening. The high-definition film will be shown in 43 theatres Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.

Finally, Chasing Legends makes it way to the big screen here in the True North Strong and Free.  Been looking forward to seeing this for a while now and the good news is I am free the night of Feb. 2nd.  Whoot!
Clicky clicky photo for Ryder's blog.
And since I'm on the topic of road riding/racing and Canada . . . Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Cervelo (formerly Gamin-Slipstream) was named CyclingNews' Most Improved Rider this past season.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) has been crowed the most improved rider of 2010 by Cyclingnews readers. The Canadian won just under a third of the votes (5001), beating Vincenzo Nibali (2611) and Richie Porte (2458) into second and third respectively.

Michael Barry
Another favourite Canadian roadie I enjoy following is Michael Barry.  Not only is he a professional cyclist with Sky, but he is an accomplished writer and blogger.  Check out his blog, Le Metier for blogs posts, photos, videos and links to his published writing.  Barry comes from a strong cycling background with his father being the mastermind/frame builder of gorgeous Mariposa Cycles in Toronto.

Mariposa Cycles
Finally, Svein Tuft, who formerly was a teammate of Hesedal and on Garmin-Sliptream [I say 'formerly' because I don't see him on the team roister for this upcoming season].  Tuft was never really in the international limelight, however, his story of how he became a professional cyclist is very interesting and worth the read.  Perhaps what he has lacked in international fame and glory as a pro cyclist he makes up ten fold in his character. 

Tuft

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Farting and screwing and candy

On Farting . . .
Every Wednesday morning I'm in a classroom for four hours learning how to better speak, read and write French. Bonjour. I took French right up to and including the first half of grade ten where I was abruptly booted from Mr. Chaison's class for answering every question in the Christmas exam with "Bonjour" . . . in red crayon . . . upside down on every blank line on the exam. True story. 
Fight the power! Adoloscent rebellion? Artistic difference? Stupidity? Who knows.

Fast forward twenty or so years and I am back in the classroom trying to learn French again. This time I want to be there. What have I learned? Bonjour. Somethings never change.

Today, one of my classmates brought in a few books that she brought at a flee market - mostly kids books - they're the best for learning basic French. I spotted this:

Ski De Fond = Cross Country Skiing
She was most generous and gave it to me.  I can now read  *pffffffffttt*  in French what interests me.  The real reason I was interested . . .

Fart = wax
"Farts et fartage" = Wax and waxing.  The translation makes sense, but it still cracks me up.   

The book even includes how to dress fashionably. How vogue!
Remember last week when I received some Mail Love from Chamois-Wow and the exciting contest that I was going to have?  Here it is:

1) Tell me the year that my new farty ski de fond book was published and I'll send you an XXCMAG.COM sticker.  As a bonus, I'll throw in one of my own stickers too.

OR
2) Tell me the name of the article on page 39 of issue #4 of XXCMAG (it's free to read on-line) and I'll send you an XXCMAG.COM sticker.  As a bonus, I'll throw in one of my own stickers too.

TS-8 with missing Ball Plunger Screw
On Screwing . . .
For Christmas I received some money to buy myself a truing stand.  I am ashamed to say that I've gone all these years without one.  I would have liked to get myself the shwanky danky Park T2 2.2 Professional Truing Stand, but Santa wasn't that generous and really, am I that professional?  The Park TS-8 Home Mechanic Truing Stand looked to fit the bill nicely.  

At a local bike shop I found one during the boxing week sales, but it was missing the Ball Plunger Screw for some reason.  The shop had it on display and the screw seemed to have gone missing, as well as the manual and box.  I asked for a discount on it and was surprised at the killer deal they gave me - it was a steal I tells ya!

So I call up Park Tool Co. and tell them what I'm missing and the details around the purchase and within a week they sent me the replacement part sans charge (see, "sans" . . . I am learning French).  Not only did they help me out quickly, they were uber friendly.  Pretty awesome on Park! I have a lot of Park tools and go to their website on a regular basis for repair help (cause I'm stupid).  Pretty solid company in my opinion.
*Truing stand review to follow sometime soon.*

On Candy . . . 
And finally this . . .

Sch-weet deal on pedals.
I must be on their e-mailing list cause I received this last night.  If you're in the market for new pedals, here's a deal from Speedgoat

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Skewered and Ski

Today I did a second skate ski as in many days.  Last night Curvy Butt and I ventured up to the base of Fortune and climbed our way to Champlain Look-off.  Despite the reports, I didn't find the skiing bad at all.  In fact, it was one of my all time (for this early in the season) climb - only one short stop for a breather on the way to the top.  The snow was fast, packed down, but somewhat abrasive.  You could tell that the big machines hadn't been out and only ski-doos were doing the grooming (glad to see my $$ and everyone else who bought a season's xc pass is getting their money's worth) as there were many grooves in the base - brutal.

The night almost ended before we reached the top with Curvy Butt being skewered by my ski up his jacksie.  There we were, on one of the last little ups before the look-off, had a good pace, staying on his tail when he went all spread eagle and face-planted into the trail for no apparent reason.  I did my best to avoid him, but couldn't help the 192 cm long ski from nearly helping achieve his life long dream of singing soprano for the Vienna Boys Choir.  Luckily I didn't have to clean the tip of my ski when I got home.

Lac Renaud on #55.
It was my day off work today, so with nothing else to do I headed up to Lac Phillipe at the Northern end of Gatineau Park. I don't get up that way much this time of year but I wanted to check out the conditions compared to trailheads closer to home. I was a bit disappointed in the grooming. It had also been done by ski-doos, however it had not firmed up (doesn't get the amount of traffic that closer-to-the-city trails get). It was a wee bit soft, and the snow was very dry and cold making skiing on the slow side. Regardless, it was so nice to be out. I only saw a handful of people during my entire ski.

video

#55 near Lac Taylor
Renaud Cabin

Yurt at Lac Taylor

*Late edit - something went pearshaped on the upload of the video - phooey.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nowhere to go, just in circles

Three out of two days this weekend on the trainer for a grand total of 2.5 hours of spinning.  The basement torture begins.  
I need to find some motivation while in the saddle.  Watching old races that I've seen a million times isn't going to cut it.  Was looking at The Soiled Chamois' review and Cycling News' review of Sufferfest Training Videos.  They look good, look different and might be what I need to mix things up on the trainer this winter.  Anyone want to go splitz on the videos? Maybe a few people making it dirty cheap? 
My arse, after two days back on the saddle, was sore, red and swollen like a baboon's backside.
  
Spinning, spinning, spinning going nowhere fast.
My goal, for now anyway, is to get on the trainer three days a week for about an hour or so each session.  Mixed with strength, flexibility training at the gym two to three times a week (on trainer days)  and about three skis a week should help with the weight loss and help keep my fitness base intact until I can get out on the road.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mail love

 Another something in the mail for me.  "Big Love" indeed. 
Next week I'll have a contest where you can win one of these XXCMAG.COM decals and one of mine (if you don't already have one).
 I sent The Soiled Chamois a decal and he sent me a couple in return (thanks Chamois!).  Didn't know that we belonged to a sticker club did you? Next week I'll give you a chance to win one of your own in an exciting contest, once I figure out what 'excitement' the contest will consist of. 
Found my new favourite decal an appropriate home right beside the hammer on the toolboard in the workshop.    

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back in the saddle

The Goat is back in the saddle, blogging and posting beauty photos of epic rides Colorado style.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011