After a long weekend and an even longer night on Sunday thanks to a whiney, grumpy 10-year-old with a bellyache that may or may not have been a real issue, I was feeling the need to burn off a little anxiety yesterday.  I decided then that I’d test the waters a little and try out the Circuit training class that runs for 45 minutes before my own Masters Spin class that I teach on Monday nights.  After all, I’m starting to gear up for the “big burn” which I know has to happen shortly so I’m exploring new options to add to the routine as per my 2016 goals (click HERE).

My only familiarity with this class for the past year or so, has been sitting on the bench waiting for the ladies to finish up so I can begin rolling out the spin bikes for class.  By the looks of things they were working pretty hard but it didn’t look too  challenging.  After all, I’m a triathlete and past Ironman right?  What real benefit could I gain from a 45 minute workout when my own “easy” workouts typically last nothing less than an hour?  Besides, it’s all girls. It can’t be that  hard.

What an idiot I can be.

I remembered way back when I tried “Crossfit” (click HERE) a few years ago but I realize now that what I was doing then wasn’t really crossfit (which was still relatively new and not as hugely popular as it is now), it was Circuit training.  This became all too aware to me about 5 minutes into yesterday’s workout, but I’ll get there.

The workout, lead by Andi, was designed to be 12 different plyometric exercises (click HERE) to be run for 1 minute at a time with a 15 second break in order to rest and move onto the next “station”.  I opted to start with the jumping jacks.  Yes, they were the easiest as Andi was quick to point out jokingly, but I figured I’d start easy and then build myself into the harder and more intense exercises I figured were to follow and end with the sprinting exercise at the end.  That’s my story anyway.

Remember, I’m an idiot.

Anyhow, 1 minute of jumping jacks was no big deal, but I did begin to sweat a bit.

Good start.

Next, I moved to the V-sit station, otherwise known as “Boat Pose” for all you yogi’s out there.  I have included boat pose into my usual off season core routine for years so I felt I was in a good position (no pun intended) to rock this shit out just as I had done with the jumping jacks.  However, 20 seconds into my V-sit and I was like, “hey, this is pretty fucking hard” as my core muscles began to bitch and complain.  Then it hit me: I haven’t really done any core or upper body strength conditioning since April/May when I switched my training to a more outdoor orientated endurance focused program.

Shit, this might really suck after all and the sweat just definitely beginning to flow.

The next circuit was side-planks which I can do fairly well, not that this prevented any of the sweat from flowing, that’s for sure.

Next up was Burpees.  Oh sweat Jesus, no.  Not the burpees!

FML.

If you remember anything about my ranting about burpees before (see link above), I hate fucking burpees.  I even hate Royal H. Burpee for conjuring up this god forsaken exercise.  Couple that with the fact that Andi added this new little kick out with the legs at the end and, yeah, it totally sucked balls.  After the 30 seconds or so, I was sweating like the pig who knows he’s dinner and my bandana was producing a slow and steady stream of sweat down my face.  By the 1 minute mark I felt 100% spent and was wondering how I was ever going to complete the rest of this circuit.  Making matters worse, the other 3 ladies in the class looked like this was just another day at the office and making it all look so simple.

My motivation was definitely beginning to wane some.

After those stupid burpees, it was skipping.  Now I can’t skip to save my life but, actually, it wasn’t so bad and I was able to more or less keep a decent skip going without too much interruption.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Take THAT you Grade 3 playground bitches!  FINALLY!  Something that was better suited to my preference for cardio-related exercise; a singular repetitive action held for a specific duration of time.

By this time the sweat was now volleying off my brow with every hop, skip and jump as my bandana had reached its maximum saturation point.

Next on the Devil’s circuit was push-ups.  Thank Christ!  Something I can do to show off my imminent manliness.

I assumed the position and on the final count of 15 seconds, started to put on what I figured was going to be a total display of upper body uber-awesomeness. “Hey ladies, check this shit out”, I thought.  After all, I like to rock out the medicine ball push-ups in my workout warm-ups, so normal push-ups would be easy right?

Wrong.

I got to about 18 and my arms and shoulders started to give out.  Ho-lee shit.  By this point, a pool of bodily fluid had formed under my forehead where the sweat was now cascading off in a complete Angel Falls-esque deluge.  After 22 push-ups (about 45 seconds into the circuit), I had to take a break.

Not. Good.

Next up was the “Up and Down Plank”; rising and lowering yourself up and down on your forearms which, after all those push-ups ranked up there with dipping my forearms in battery acid.  I think I managed for the whole minute but, truthfully, I also think I was hallucinating by this point so I may not have.  I don’t rightly remember.  What I do remember is that the mat underneath me was a total lake of sweat and tears meaning, of course, that all the other ladies coming into the station after me would now have to do their own routine in a pool of my rankness.

Sorry girls.

The side-to-side bench jump was next; hopping back and forth over a bench.  As much as this sucked, I know from my limited experience with plyometrics that this is an idea exercise for runners so I tried my best to cinch up the ‘ol apple sack and get ‘em done.  I think I managed about a dozen or so before having to take a quick break lest I suffer a total cardiac arrest and end up doing a face plant into the bench.  By now, I was dripping fluids from just about everywhere and my shirt, shorts and bandanas was now carrying about 10 extra lbs of moisture.  I swear, I think even my eyeballs were sweating.

The other ladies though were still smiling, joking, and chatting amongst themselves.  Me?  I had forgotten what my name was and my motivation was somewhere between “fuck this shit”  and non-existent, particularly since I realized that only 10 minutes had passed.  So much for being an Ironman, ha!

The next 15 second transition couldn’t come soon enough.

Mountain Climbers” were next.   Now, it has to be said, I like my mountain climbers like I like my burpees like I like hot lead being poured down my pants. “Andi, you suck”, I thought to myself.  Luckily (or ‘unluckily’, depending on what side of the tipping point you prefer to look at it), my Morton’s Neuroma didn’t bother me so bad and I was able to do about a dozen without much pain or discomfort.  I confess though, I did cheat a bit when Andi’s back was turned and I assumed the child’s pose for a few seconds.

I was dying.

After what seemed like an hour, she blew the whistle signaling us to move on.

The wide grip “lat pull down” with bungee strap was next on her hit list.  Any thoughts I had of this being easy were immediately shot down when my chest muscles were aching after about 20 seconds.

Jesus.

Stop the madness.

“Bent over row” with 15 lbs weights were immediately afterwards and, while not torturous thanks to my swim conditioning, they certainly weren’t “easy” after two minutes of lighting my chest muscles on fire with that damned bungee strap.  A lake of pain and disappointment was now forming on the floor underneath my brow while I struggled through this second to last exercise.

The whistle blew again and I moved to the last exercise to complete the circuit: sprints.

Well, they weren’t sprints so much as they were a slow, painful shuffle between gym walls.  However, I gritted through it as, like the skipping, this was within my endurance-based wheelhouse.  I will admit though, I’ve never been happy to hear that final whistle blow completing…the first  circuit.

Fuck. Wait.

You mean I have to do this all over UH-again?

For the past 15 minutes, a not-so-small snail trail of sweat and tears was being left behind me in a grosser, moister breadcrumb trail from station to station.  How in the Sam hell was I ever going to do this one more time?  Maybe I would be lucky and Andi would offer us a 13th exercise, a Colt 45 to the temple in order to put me out of my misery (I’d say “We” here, but the other ladies looked perfectly fine).  So much for my thinking that this wouldn’t be “too  challenging” and I made a mental note to never believe myself again.

My realization here is that endurance training is fine and dandy, and I have taught myself to endure long sustained painful efforts, but this short and fast circuit shit really fucking sucks.  Meaning, it’s perfect for what I believe I need right now in order to begin rebuilding my fitness base, lose weight and start preparing for more the focused strength training to come.  I wasn’t terribly happy with this realization at this particular point in time, mind you, but there it was.

Somehow, through the grace of God, I managed to persevere through another round of torture, being mindful to flip the mats after me for the ladies since I was by now leaking profusely from every pour.  So much so, it was hard to not slip and slide all over the place during some of my exercises (again, that’s my story).  As a warm down we had to do 5 minutes of abdominal exercises including reverse and bicycle crunches.  Basically, this was just adding insult to injury by this point as I could barely hold my legs in the air and lied there like a bloated beached whale.

Finally, the 45 minutes passed.

The bad news: I need work…LOTS of work.  The good news: I now have my inspiration to get back at it if any of this Ironman business is ever going to happen in July.  My goal now (as much as I am loathe to say it), is to join this class each week for the next few months to begin burning off all the craft beer and tapas plates I’ve indulging in lately and build back my core strength that, somewhere down the road, I’ve managed to lose altogether.

Yup.  One thing is for certain, it’s going to be a long, upward (not to mention wet) struggle this winter.

God help me.

Tour de Ridgeway

Posted: August 27, 2015 in Lifestyle
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Tragedy befell our office recently when a colleague of mine had her husband up and pass away very suddenly leaving her and three girls behind. He was 46 years old.  And being through more funerals than I care to mention in the past year this, well, struck home with me quite significantly.  More than I had initially thought it would.  I know all too well the challenges that my colleague is facing and this got me to thinking recently: “what if?”

Fabia van Hall unt Hauser

Fabia van Hall unt Hauser

What if it was me?

What if during a hot long run, or bike ride or whatever, I just up and keeled over?  What would I regret the most?  What could I have done better?  Did I spend enough time with those that matter?

You get the gist anyway.

It’s become pretty important lately then to spend some quality time with HRH  in what remains of our summer.  Up to this point in the summer season we’ve pretty much booked our calendar 100% with all my events and commitments.  Oh, and we even got married in there somewhere too.  Anyway, needless to say we haven’t spend much time riding our bikes together now that every available minute of home life revolves around my getting to slip in a workout amongst everything else.  Really, our daddy-daughter bonding time has been spent in the car to and from day camp, so I’ve decided to rectify that.

Effective one month ago.

To that regard, HRH (Fabia van Hall unt Hauser) and I (Pino Grigio ) decided to plan out our own “Grand Tour” of the neighborhood, a seven stage race around the Ridgeway and Crystal Beach area.  We were still coming off our ‘Tour de France’ high (she watched approximately three stages with me this year) so while we joy ride around the neighborhood we mocked up the events of each “stage” as it transpired between us – the riders – and this commentary was then included on my Strava feed once I uploaded all the “race data” onto my computer afterwards.  There, the friends and training peers I’m connected with could follow along, provide some ‘Like’s and maybe even add some commentary of their own.  Whatever it was they did contribute, HRH  loved seeing it all.

Pino Grigio

Pino Grigio

“We’re celebrities”, she once informed me.

Other times, I included a short solo ride as the ‘time trial’ stage, as well as a fun ride that I did with Kelly (Mona de la Crème Brule) one weekend.

In it’s totality, it was a simple fun family project of mine aimed at passing some active quality time together in the saddle, being active and generating some fun dialogue; the perfect excuse to simply get on our bikes and ride.

The following then is the stage-by-stage account of our ‘Tour de Ridgeway’ as it unfolded for those of you who couldn’t follow along on Strava which, probably, is most of you.

Stage 1 (click HERE)

Long, arduous climbs were the order of the day for today’s grueling 10k mountain stage; climbs along Mt. Schooley and the Col De Derby.  Attacks were fast and furious and it was only through the gutsy determination on part of this years’ new comer, Fabia van Hall unt Hauser of the iPad-iPoop  team, who, having successfully defended against all attacks, completely ruled the day and emerged as the new White Jersey holder in the Peloton; the undisputed Queen of the Mountain for Stage 1 of the Tour de Ridgeway.

Likewise, her ‘No retreat; No surrender’  attitude has also earned her second place overall in the General Classification just 47 seconds down from the current tour favorite Pino Grigio of the ProWaffles  squad.

Stage 2 (click HERE)

Where all the climbers came out to play during yesterday’s steep mountain stages, today’s stage of the Tour de Ridgeway has been labeled as a “Sprinters Stage” given the relatively flat terrain and long gradual descents perfect for high speeds, big gears, big quads and ultimate glory.  Much to everyone’s surprise, and owing largely to her own versatility as a serious rider, Fabia van Hall unt Hauser managed to mix it up with other top sprinters and extended her rankings in the battle for the Green Jersey into second place, only 20 points behind current leader Georgio d’Thundercalves.

Fabia van Hall unt Hauser of the iPad-iPoop  team was also able to successfully defended her White Jersey early on with the one and only day’s climb up Mt. Pleasant.  Even the fast urban straightaways afterwards through the township of Ridgeway d’Lesser proved to be no match for her quick accelerations and cunning reflexes at the finishing line.  Pino Grigio should be a little nervous now about the maillot jaune  and his dwindling lead over the White Jersey holder, now only 23 seconds behind him.

Stage 3 (click HERE)

There would be need to fend off attacks, no mountain summits to traverse, nor any checkered lines to sprint for in today’s Stage 3 of the Tour de Ridgeway; the individual time trial. Today’s challenge was only one thing: the clock.

Not to be outdone by his narrowing lead over the fierce rivals in the general classification, current tour leader and owner of the maillot jaune, Pino Grigio, opted not to play it safe today and instead chose to bury himself in record time around the 27 kilometer route of rolling heads, long straightaway’s and a lot of headwind.  While some might now question his ability to handle himself over the next few stages of the tour after a performance like, Grigio did successfully extend his lead by another minute and 32 seconds over Fabia van Hall unt Hauser, increasing his overall lead to 2 minute and 19 seconds. And with only a few stages left, it will be hard to catch Pino now.

Stage 4 (click HERE)

If the goal yesterday was to make the point to the other riders that he’s nowhere near fighting then today was the day that Pino Grigio put an absolute stranglehold on his maillot jaune  in this year’s Tour of RidgewayIn a suicide attack immediately off the front upon exiting the neutral zone, Grigio broke away from the pack with ex-teammate from the Bitch-n-Moan  team, Mona de la Crème Brule, and proceeded to drive a blistering pace through the 35k stretch of roadway winding through the rural townships of Ridgeway, Crystal Beach, Sherkston, and Port Colborne; often in excess of speeds of up to 21 km/hr.

Fabia van Hall unt Hauser was nowhere to be seen during today’s stage and her 2nd place time evaporates to 3 minutes and 4 seconds behind current tour leader Pino Grigio.  De la Crème Brule climbs the rankings of the general classification, however, into 3rd position overall, only 1 minute behind van Hall unt Hauser.

Stage 5 (click HERE)

After two rest days the peloton was prepared for an inevitable tough day in the saddle and while the overall lead in the general classification has been all but sown up, the battle for both the Queen of the Mountain and Sprinter’s jerseys are still very much in play.

Today’s route had the cyclists returning to cottage country deep in the heard of the Crystal Beach valley.  That means there would definitely be lots of opportunities for both the sprinters and climbers to chip away at the overall leader’s board. Right out the gates the two big dogs in contention for the sprinters Green jersey went at one another down the first “Brunswick Bomber” with newcomer Fabia van Hall unt Hauser and Georgio d’Thundercalves, finishing 1 and 2 and catapulting van Hall unt Hasuer into the Green jersey by 10 points.

While Grigio continued to relax in the Peloton, van Hall unt Hasuer continued her all-out assault on today’s stage by then out-climbing the climbers up the Col de Shannon in record time as well as up the dreaded “Elmwood Wall” and thereby solidifying herself as the wearer of the tour’s White jersey as well.  Gaining only 30 seconds over Grigio by the stages finish, van Hall unt Hauser is making quite a mark for herself as the  person to beat in this tour for all contentions.

Stage 6 (click HERE)

Fabia van Hall unt Hauser continued her all-out assault on both the Sprinters and Queen of the Mountain jerseys in today’s Stage 6 of the Tour de Ridgeway.  However, Pino Grigio was unwilling to allow her to make up any more time on his 3 minute lead over van Hall unt Hauser.  Rolling eastward down the Friendship Trail at a staggering 14 kph, both Grigio and van Hall unt Hauser broke away from the rest of the Peloton in an early breakaway, only seconds after leaving the neutral area.

The two leader breakaway would then continue to stretch their lead over the rest of the peloton in all but a single kilometer of today’s entire 10k route; longest of the tour so far.  van Hall unt Hauser valiantly fought off Grigio to win vital sprinter points along both the ‘Burleigh to St. Bernard’ causeway and the ‘Jewell Avenue Bomber’, but it was Grigio who would not relent with the sadistic pace over the rest of the stage.   Neither warrior was willing to concede to the other.  Not even angry bees could slow down their full on attack on the rest of the peloton.

Ultimately it was the tour leader, Grigio who would pull out all the stops to beat van Hall unt Hauser in a wheel-to-wheel sprint for the finish by a mere split second and all but sealing his claim to the maillot jaune  and as this years’ Champion of the Tour de Ridgeway.

Stage 7 (click HERE)

After more than a few days off for recovery, the Tour de Ridgeway is set to complete the final seventh stage of this years’ tour.  While, Fabia van Hall unt Hauser has used the opportunity to rest up and, save, one impressive outing at the SunRype TRi-KiDS triathlon in Niagara one week ago and is now more than ready to defend her Sprinters and Climbers jerseys, Tour leader, Pino Grigio, has remained active by participating in the La Bici Classica, the Pedal 100 and the Tour de Rochester in past weeks so it will interesting to see how he will perform on tired legs in today’s final stage in defense of his maillot jaune.

All questions were soon answer, however, as both van Hall unt Hauser and Grigio decided to cross swords once again and form another two man breakaway from the rest of the Peloton early in the stage over the challenging 10k course, with neither racer willing to relent their stranglehold on the rest of the 2015 participants.  While van Hall unt Hauser laid claim to her white jersey by set ting another blistering pace up the grueling double Level 1 category climb up the Col de Point Prospect, not to mention collecting even more points along the ‘Beachwood Bomber’ towards securing her green jersey as well, Grigio was content to sit on her wheel and protect his 3+ minute overall lead over van Hall unt Hauser.

At the last sprint, however, it was Grigio once again proving to van Hall unt Hauser and the rest of the Peloton who has been the dominant force in this years Tour de Ridgeway by inching ahead of van Hall unt Hauser at the finishing line and thereby proclaiming himself as the overall winner of what will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most memorable tours in recent history.

I just participated in the Rochester Triathlon this past weekend (story to come) but my heart wasn’t really 100% into it.  I anticipated a decent swim and bike (and I did) but the run, well, let’s just say that if I could manage the whole 10k without stopping I’ll be doing well.

I didn’t.

You see, I’ve gotten fat.  Well, fatter  anyway.

Yes, it’s true.  Despite all my daily tri-workouts – sometimes two a day – I haven’t really been following any structured training plan and so, my week has been subject to being peppered with lots of additional distractions which, unfortunately, tend to include extra opportunities to eat, drink and be merry.  It’s the summer, after all, and I enjoy spending time with my family doing “fun” stuff just about as much as I like swimming, biking and running.  My fitness hasn’t suffered too badly but I know I could be doing much better…and I have  performed much better.  As I said before, my heart just hasn’t been into racing this year.  I’ve trained because I wanted  to, not because I had  to.  There’s a difference.

But that’s all starting to change.

Lately I have been feeling the need for a new goal; something to really  sink my teeth into again, especially over the coming off season.  I’ve had my fun (and I will still continue to have fun) but I once again feel a need for a new “goal” to work towards on par with the whole Ironman Wales adventure of 2012.  This whole year has been aimed at enjoying my workouts again and getting into the habit of working out once again and, despite the distractions, I believe I have done that…I guess.   Racing just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.  Maybe I needed a break from competition or maybe I was a bit bored with “structure and discipline”.  Whatever it was, I only ended up competing in two – TWO – events this whole year.  And, trust be told, I liked it that way and I do feel somewhat…refreshed.

However, I have other friends and training peers who have aspired to and are completing some amazing feats of strength and endurance this year including two local triathletes who will be competing in Kona this coming October and a buddy who is running a 100k trail race in support of Team Active Kids. That’s all fucking awesome, and I long to be one of them once again.  So while I’ve been having fun and taking a bit of break, that need to compete is and has been increasing.

To this regard I am strongly considering an early season Ironman distance event next July 3rd, 2016. The Subaru EPIC Dartmouth Triathlon to be exact. The idea here being that I will have my focus over the winter months to be race ready once again come early summer and then have the rest of the summer off to do the other  things that I also love doing: spending time with the family, my charity events, working with the SunRype Tri-Kids gang, spin instructing and, well, eating, drinking and being merry, of course.  Hey, I’ll have earned it by that time!  And the best part is that none of it will be ever be hampered by the need to complete long weekend workouts in the God awful heat and humidity as I will already have had my A-race over with.

Beautiful!

Well, that’s the plan anyway.

So the way I figure it, beginning the 1st of October, I have exactly 9 months to accomplish some very specific goals.

  1. Get my weight back under control.

Forget the “Dad Bod“, ideally, I’d like to get back to my optimal ideal AJB race weight.  I raced Wales at exactly 180 lbs and I felt strong and confident.  I’m weighing in at about 202 lbs currently, so I know I could lose more than 22 lbs between now and July 2nd, however, if I’ve learned anything from my tours of duty in the Brock Kinesiology lab it’s that weight plays an important part in my overall VO2-Max.  So while I scored high in my most recent absolute VO2 testing this past April (details to come) while weighing at 195 lbs, I would have rated as “Superior” (46 ml/kg/min ) had I maintained my race weight from the 3 years previous.  So the goal now is to find an ideal race weight where I can race optimally without sacrificing strength, and not simply “lose weight” for the sake of losing weight.

  1. Get strong.

This plays very closely into my first goal.  I’ve kind of slacked off in the weights department this year.  I usually do in the summer anyway, but while I still went to the gym throughout the winter to heave around the heavy iron, I didn’t really follow any structured strength building plan. Knowing I only have 10 months before “Go time”, I am going to align myself with Andie, the personal trainer at my local gym, and have her start to put me through my paces to better strengthen my overall core and major swimming, biking and running muscles to become a lean, mean, triathlon machine by July.  And, hey, if I lose a bit of this beer gut in the process… so much the better.

I also plan to carry on with my “We Can Rebuild Him” injury prevention routine as laid out for me by Dr. Burr at Legacy Health & Performance two years ago.  Can’t be too careful can I?

  1. Get fast.

One thing that has really dropped off the radar this year was my speed and interval workouts; no wonder given the extra flab I’ve been lugging around this year.  Sure, I’ve done some (click HERE for some samples)…but they haven’t been regular and they need to be once again.  I have read about recommended and “go to” workouts by the pros, but I prefer to subscribe to the notion that there is no such single workout to boost your performance. Instead, performance comes as the result of doing a certain workout consistently over time and ‘Speed’ would certainly fall into that category.  In 2012, I did one intense speed interval workout every week for nearly the entire year and was pretty much clocking my fastest and best swim, bike and run times in my short triathlon/running carer.  So do them I must.

  1. Run off the bike.

It’s been no surprise to be that my run off the bike has suffered in the past two years with both time and motivation being prime factors in this.  I used to think nothing of running off the bike in competitions and once bragged a 1 hour and 47 minute half marathon run time.  In Wales I ran a 4 hour marathon off the bike.  This year I ran/walk/ran my way into a 2 hour and 10 minute half marathon finish and this just past weekend in Rochester (post to come) I just squeaked inside of one hour for 10k.  Not exactly my personal best.  This winter I’m going to supplement my long runs to coincide with my long rides more regularly to retrain my legs to run better fatigued which, hopefully, will be a little easier after having lost about 20 lbs. of flab around my mid-section.  Forget solely relying on the 15-20 minute treadmill sessions after my Thursday night spin class, it’s time to get mentally hard again and there is nothing as mentally hard in triathlon as running strong and long off the bike.

Going forward, this is the plan.  I have other “endurance goals” in the coming years so I’m going to think of this year as the first step to getting back in “Iron shape” and, hopefully, set myself up to be able to accomplish them.  None of it is going to be without significant challenges; long trainer sessions, early mornings, managing training and family, etc.  After all, I’m not the same single dude I was when I first committed to Ironman Wales back in 2011 so it’s not a solo effort any longer (it wasn’t then either really, but I did enjoy more flexibility to complete my daily workouts), it’s more a team effort.  And then there’s the whole fact that only 14 people raced this year which means it will inevitably be a lonely race but, hey, at least it guaratees to be very scenic.  And, shit, looking at the times from this year, with some work…I could even podium this thing!  Hows that  for motivation?

So it’s now “on like Donkey Kong” for 2016.

God help me.

You might remember that one year ago that I was participating as a guinea pig (I prefer the term “suffer Bunny”) in an Effects of Cranial Cooling on Temperature, Ventilatory, and Perceptual Responses to Exercise in Fire Protective Ensemble’ series of testing at the Brock University kinesiology lab (click HERE).

Basically, I allowed myself to be heated up like a baked potato in their “oven” while clad in full on fire-fighters gear and then ran the gauntlet to see the effects of heat on my overall performance.  The theory being that if I were allowed to temporarily cool off between exercise protocols using a “cooling hood“ that my performance might improve, or in some way become easier.

It didn’t.

It sucked…each and every  time.

And that’s no exaggeration, believe me.

So as a result, nobody really paid this study any notice.

Maybe they should have published the study along with a sexy type calendar.  I mean, after all, who wouldn’t want to gaze on this at their cubicle wall?

Am I making you hot, baby?

Am I making you hot, baby?

Here's some more sexy shit.

Here’s some more sexy shit.

I mean, we didn’t really prove anything did we?   No.  This particularly sucks because I (we) suffered apparently to only prove what everybody already knows, that getting roasted alive is not fun. It’s torturous actually.  This is completely the opposite of the Separate and Combined Effects of Hydration Status and Thirst on Voluntary Exercise Capacity’  study (click HERE) I did the year before which ended up turning the athletic and endurance world on its ear in regard to its rethinking of popular hydration strategies.  Plus, I officially got referred to as an “athlete”.

THAT  was some cool shit.

This?

Not so much.

But, hey, ‘c’est la vie’.

Anyway, here we are a year later and the official paper has finally been published.  So did we actually learn anything from this experiment?  I mean, if I suffered like a champ for this, surely, something  had to come from it right?

Thankfully, something did.

It isn’t much, true, but it’s something  at least.

However, a little background first. Studies were conducted in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that suggested that head cooling strategies were effective in improving performance in hot and humid conditions.  New evidence from 2008+ shows that if we wear a neck cooling collar we can exercise longer, harder, and to a higher core temperature.  Plus we ‘feel’ much cooler while using it. Such strategies include forearm immersion, facial misting (no, it’s nothing kinky I assure you) and neck cooling collars were all suggested and proven to be beneficial.  The problem is, for fire fighters anyway, is that for forearm immersion to take place one would have to remove their jacket which isn’t practical when fighting fires and facial misting is less effective in highly humid environments because of the decreased water vapor pressure gradient (meaning we lose the ability to evaporate the sweat and thus fail to cool ourselves).   So, would a “cooling hood”, which is easier to apply during a fire-fighters recovery period since it does not require one to remove their jacket, actually help? It makes sense given that there is lots of blood flow in the head. In fact, 25% of our metabolism is centered in the brain, even though it only weighs 2 lbs.. Furthermore, the blood flow is closer to the surface so its effect would be quicker to cool the blood and feel cooler, than say cooling the foot or arms…theoretically, of course.

And that’s where I come in.

Through this testing we (I mean the researchers, of course) were aiming to see if fire fighters could benefit from the cooling effect provided by the hood in “uncompensable” heat stress and, ultimately, perform better.  Specifically, would it:

  1. Drop the body’s core temperature?
  2. Allow them to last longer?
  3. Enable them to use less air, allowing them to perform longer?
  4. Allow them to feel better?

I know, I know, you’re on pins and needles here right?

Well, let me fill you in on the findings.

First, the cooling hood had absolutely no effect on the core temperature at all…like, none.

Core Temp

See? Nada.

And I can definitely vouch for this: it was fucking hot no matter what.  Even after resting for 20 minutes (the standard recovery period for active fire fighters) with the cooling head, my core temperature continued to climb into the second exercise protocol.  Okay, there was a marginal difference in temperature as the graph above shows but it was nothing to get excited about.

However, perception wise, the cooling hood did make me feel a bit cooler even though, physiologically, there was no difference in my core temperature whatsoever.  This was reflected in the ‘Perceived Thermal Stress’ (PTS) ranking where I was asked to give my perception on the heat stress I was enduring at time.

It is interesting to note afterwards, however, that while the perception of heat stress improved overall, the actual perception of the exercises difficulty did not as recorded in my ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion’ (RPE).

No sir.

It blew.

There’s a problem with this though in that both the PTS and RPE are highly subjective.  I mean, when all you have to look at and dwell on during the torture session are those two charts in front of you, you begin to consider your next answer long before the question is even asked.  So do I choose to appear as a tough guy and say it’s easier or less hot that it really is, or do I answer honestly in that it’s hotter than Hades and this is complete torture?

I dunno.

What I can tell you from my recollection is that during the first 4-8 minutes of the second protocol, everything felt…tolerable. But that quickly changed.  And after that initial period, once again, it was like leaping into an active volcano.

And this was for both the Passive recovery (the first session without the cooling hood) and the Active recovery (the second session with the cooling hood).

Seriously, can you tell which one looks like it might have felt better?

Phil runs the gauntlet.

Phil runs the gauntlet.

Fuck no.

So whether or not this total and complete feeling of HOT and SHITTY (think of that doomed marshmallow that falls into the bonfire kinda hot) both times is reflected accurately in my responses, I can’t say for sure.

Likewise, there was no major difference in my heart rate either.  During the second protocol, my heart rate only decreased by a mere 10 beats per minute which, in the grand scheme of things, is insignificant.

Lastly, there was no difference in the air intake whatsoever so, no, working for longer periods was not likely going to be an option either.

So what does this all mean then?

Well, the overall conclusion is that the cooling hood provided no physiological differences whatsoever.  However, perceptually, there was an improvement in our thermal perception even though there was no actual change in the perception of the exercise itself.  So while we might have felt  better, it did absolutely buckus to improve our overall performance.

What it all boils down to is that the test or, rather, the ability to endure the second protocol was unequivocally mental.   What else is there?  Hey, if there was no change in the core temperature, air consumption or heart rate, any differences to our protocol times really came down to our mental fortitude, or our ability to ultimately endure.  What else is there?  In essence, given the extreme difficulty of the task, how long were we willing  to allow ourselves to suffer?

And believe me again, we suffered.

Hence my preference for the term “Suffer Bunny”.

So if this is a mental thing, how do we improve that?  And that  very question is the premise for the next series of experimentation’s that I was involved in at the Brock lab later and which, as they say, is another story.

More to come on that in the very near future.

(If you wish read the full paper in all it’s scientific glory, you can click on the attachment below)

Wallace-et-al.-2015-Cranial-Head-Cooling-Firefighters

Lord knows that I have my road rage moments as cyclist, specifically now that the mindless hordes of tourists have invaded my otherwise quiet rural paradise (click HERE), and would LOVE to get off my bike and make with the roundhouse kicks.  Of course, that doesn’t typically happen. In the past have dealt with dogs, idiot drivers, scooters and e-bikes, crazy ass chipmunks, rutting animals and other hazards unique to living in the country (click HERE) but yesterday I faced another different challenge: the idiot pedestrian.

There I was, joyfully zipping through town during one of my weekly bike rides.  Despite the new bi-laws that have been passed recently (click HERE) in regards to motor vehicles giving cyclists a wide birth, I still choose to sometimes ride in the middle of the road (as long as I’m not holding up traffic), particularly when passing through town where there are lots of parked cars, etc.  I mean, why tempt fate right?

So such was the case yesterday.

While doing so, I noticed an older lady up ahead waiting by the side of the road with her dog looking to cross the road.  She wasn’t at an intersection or any of the numerous pedestrian crosswalks that are in town, no, she was just there on the sidewalk waiting to cross to the other side.  She looked right me (several times as a matter of fact) so I know she saw me coming.  She never moved and continued to keep her gaze on me so I figured I was safe to keep going and she’d continue crossing safely after I had passed.  After all, I had the right of way right?

Wrong.

Then it happened.

Just as I approached within a couple of feet she decides to step out directly…in…front…of…me.

The fuck?!

I immediately swerved out of her way, narrowly missing both her and the oncoming car in the opposite lane.

What the hell?

Concerned, I circled back to make sure everything was okay.  I don’t know why exactly, but I felt obligated to do so seeing as she was older.  When I reached her she immediately took on an immediate heir of exasperated indignance like it was *I*  that had done something wrong.

“You really need to watch where you’re going!”, she loudly proclaimed so that the whole street could hear.

I was flabbergasted.

“You walked right out in front of me!  Didn’t you see me coming?”

I was trying to be nice.

Then she added:

“Yes, but you were going too fast!”

I’m pretty sure at this point that steam started spewing from my ears and I briefly considered hopping off the bike to dropkick her right in the cooter, but other pedestrians had started to gather after her first loud proclamation and, hey, when people who haven’t really seen what happened what happened, witness a cyclist losing his shit on old lady and her little rat fuck of a dog, well, who are you going to assume is the bad guy?  There was simply not going to be any winning of this situation so I retreated on down the road fuming.

Of course, social media being the wonderful platform it is now enables me to give her (you) the response I would have loved to have given her in the moment had others not been around.

First off, in regard to her first comment: “You really need to watch where you’re going”,  the pure fact that you’re now on the opposite side of the road uninjured lends proof that I WAS paying attention you old biddy.  What’s your excuse exactly?  You watched me coming.  I know this because you took a tentative step out into the road when I was still a ways off and when you turned that empty melon you call a head to look in my direction, you hesitated and remained on the sidewalk because you saw me coming.  You then proceeded to track my progress as I got closer and closer until I was about 10-15 ft away. It was then you decided that it was safe to start your crossing.  How stupid are you anyway?

Did you think that you were impervious to being hit, or that life was giving you the immediate right of way?  What?   Help me understand.  By the way, there was a pedestrian crosswalk not far up the road where you could have crossed safely having the right of way and I would have stopped happily to let you do so.

Just sayin’…

Secondly, as far as “you were going too fast” goes, I was holding a 34km/h pace in a 50km/h zone in the MIDDLE of the road so, no, I was not in fact going too fast. Maybe you ride at a snails’ pace when you ride your bike to market or, say, during tornadoes, but I “cycle” meaning that I keep a fairly steady pace.  So stepping out in front of me while I’m hauling ass means I’m going to hit you if you’re not lucky. I can’t stop on a dime any more than any other vehicle on the road at the time can.

In fact,  had I been driving a car you and your pooch would be dead right now.

Chew on that.

And on that point, while I definitely believe that my (or anyone else for that matter) running you over would have significantly contributed to the enrichment of the gene pool and advancement of the human species – I am a big believer in Darwinism in its most basic of forms – I do feel sorry for your dog that you inevitably walked directly into harm’s way. I mean, what was your thought process exactly?

I can’t help but wonder what else you coax this poor mutt into doing?

“C’mon poochy, lets jump into this erupting volcano, it’ll be okay.”

“C’mon poochy, let’s drink this battery acid, nothing bad will happen.”

“C’mon poochy, don’t worry about that oncoming transport truck, I’m sure it’ll stop.”

Run dog, run.

Sometimes there’s just no helping stupid.

(Disclaimer: More often than not, I think cycling purists are great people and I’m proud to consider them as my friends and peers. So this post then is more a response to those few “cyclists” who might feel the way the author of this particular article feels. And for the record, I believe they are in the extreme minority.)

I have become aware that there is a rift that exists between triathletes and cyclists.  I’m not really sure why or how this rift ever developed exactly but it’s definitely there.  More correctly, the rift seems to be mostly directed at the triathlete specifically by cyclist “purists” who don’t seem to like us much.  I’m not sure why really. We both ride bikes (probably a lot), are dedicated to the sport we love which, in both cases, involves bikes.  Why all the negativity then?  I don’t get it.

Most recently I came across an article posted by Tri Swim Coach on Facebook entitled “10 Things Triathletes Do that Piss Cyclists Off” that was originally posted to the “About Boulder” website which proudly advertises “Your One-stop Shop for Everything Boulder”  which, I guess, includes hating on triathletes, but I digress. I find it weird you would find a ‘cyclist vs. triathlete’ post on a tourism website but, hey, not much else about the post made any sense either so, yeah, you just knew it was going to be juicy.

The author (Ryan Petry) starts off by stating:

“Triathletes try to be the master of three sports, and I get it, that is annoying. We are like that girl you went to high school with who was the president of the student government, captain of the basketball team, and voted homecoming queen.”

Annoying?

Really?

Maybe we do tend to be a bit ambitious given we’re trying to master three sports at once as he puts it but, clearly, Ryan was too busy playing with himself under the bleachers at lunchtime in high school to ever accomplish much and he’s a bit bitter about it.  That’s not our fault.  His lack of ambition or drive is not our problem is it?  Anyway, he then goes on to list his 10 grievances to validate his ridiculous claim which, I would like to go on the record here and now in addressing.

  1. Riding with a sleeveless jersey.

Really?

That’s your first and major complaint: what we’re wearing?  Are you really that shallow?

I guess you are.

He states that:

“sleeveless jerseys are acceptable under two circumstances: You are in a race and just got done swimming, or if… actually there are no other acceptable times”

Does he have a problem with bare shoulders or something?  Hey bud, this is North America not Afghanistan, so when it comes to what we choose to wear we have full freedom to decide for ourselves.  So what I decide to wear is my choice and should be of little consequence to you.

Maybe we should wear a burkha?  Would that make you happy?

  1. Talking about the other workouts they that day

First of all, if you have a genuine gripe you should at least put the effort into articulating yourself correctly so that the rest of us can understand you.  Oh, that’s right.  You were under the bleachers in high school.  I forgot.  Maybe I should just assume then that all cyclists are born morons who can’t string an intelligent sentence together to save their lives?  I don’t, of course.

Anyway, assuming you’re bitching about our discussing our other workouts that (we) might have had  that day, is this any different than listening to you wax on about your endless hill repeats, wattage output or the last century ride you did last week?

Oh, and by the way, you could try  to “smack us” as you suggest but be aware that any triathlete is just likely to smack you back into the Stone Age given that your wimpy arm strength is probably akin to that of an uncooked spaghetti noodle. Maybe you should quit resting on the laurels of your sole workout that day and take up swimming or running yourself.

Just sayin’…

  1. Riding their triathlon bike on a group ride

Okay, so I’m giving Ryan a pass here as I actually agree with him but not because “triathletes are notorious poor bike handlers”  as he suggests.  Actually, one has to wonder if he has ever ridden a time trial bike at all.  You see, you actually need to be a decent bike handler in order to ride a time trial bike efficiently and since we’ve likely spent a stupid amount of time them we’re probably pretty good at it. It doesn’t sound to me like he has so I won’t beat this one to death.

I do agree with his statement though that “triathlon bikes are built so that you can ride alone more efficiently” , so that doesn’t make them 100% safe to ride with other cyclists in close proximity since we cannot respond to changes in the group as quickly and efficiently as if we were upright on a road bike.  And seeing as I have ridden with a lot of shitty road cyclists, I do not feel safe riding my tri-bike on a group ride and would never do so.

  1. Not wearing socks

Again, our choice of “fashion” is your major complaint here?  Are you that obsessive compulsive about what other people prefer to wear?  For the record, not wearing socks doesn’t automatically give you blisters or athlete’s foot, not washing properly does.

But, seriously, why does this even matter to you at all?

  1. Brick workouts

“Running after biking is an important part of training, but knowing that after your 4 hour bike ride you are going for a 10 mile run makes even the hardest working cyclist feel lazy.”

That’s our problem, how?

  1. Riding dirty, poorly maintained bikes

Umm, anyone who has ever wandered through the transition zone at a triathlon will already know that those bikes are typically spotless.  And since triathletes probably spent more money on their bikes then they did on their own vehicles, they’re usually pretty meticulous in keeping them maintained.  Conversely, how many “cyclists” have you met that will shown up to a group ride on a bike their grandmother probably used to ride back and forth to market?  Even this isn’t really an issue, mind you, providing it’s been maintained properly, but I think there are more self-proclaimed “cyclists” on farm bikes than there are triathletes on poorly maintained bikes.

Likewise, given Ryan seems to have a very particular idea of what cyclists are supposed to wear, so isn’t this gripe a bit hypocritical anyway?

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, I have another semi-related comment to make here to.  I absolutely LOVE when other cyclists judge me for what I ride – a Trek 1000 that is about 20 years old meaning it’s not the lightest, sleekest, fanciest or mechanically advanced bike on the road.  In fact, it’s about 10-12 lbs heavier than anything else most other cyclist purists are riding.  But you can’t buy speed, can you?  So don’t roll your eyes at me when you see my bike.  Its design or worth have nothing to do with how fast it goes…I DO.  And I love nothing more than dropping “cyclists” on their fancy $10,000 carbon fiber rocket ships to make that very point.  Every time I beat one of these judgmental cyclists up a hill or in a sprint on my heavier, less “pretty” dinosaur of a road bike I steal a bit of their soul.

Judge not you egotistical bastards.

  1. Posting swims on Strava

“Strava may offer options to upload your swim workouts, but it is pretty silly when you think about it. All you are saying to your cyclist followers is “look how much I work out”. Don’t go taking their KOM’s either or they will really freak.”

So using the provided options is “silly”?

Okay.

Whatever you say, chief!

But, again, if our workout schedule upsets you bud, maybe you should consider getting out from in front of the boob tube and – you know – pick it up a bit, especially if we’re stealing all your KOM’s.

  1. Using weird bike accessories

“Mini aero bars on your road bike, special compartments to hold your gels, water bottle holders behind your seat, and other race specific items. So not pro.”

Umm, it kinda is.  Especially since we’re probably riding 5-6 hours and we typically don’t like to stop at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks every 15 minutes for a “pit stop”.

  1. Compression socks

“These socks are great for recovery, but going to dinner or riding your bike in them is frowned upon by pretty much everyone.”

Again with the fashion?

That’s almost 1/3 of your bitches about triathletes being about what they’re wearing.  Who named you the Ralph Lauren of cycling anyway?  Or are you just like the little boy in grade school who torments the girls with whom you have a crush on?  I think Ryan is beginning to display some deeper issues here.

  1. Ironman tattoos.

I earned my M-Dot and I’m proud of it (click HERE).  Maybe you should consider getting a Starbucks tattoo on your calf to commemorate your many stops for coffee during your own cycling workouts?  I find it interesting though that you apparently spend a lot of time staring at other dudes calves.  Maybe you should spend less time bitching and take your turn at the front of the group.

Again, just sayin’…

What this all boils down to for me is that I don’t really consider myself a “triathlete”, but instead a swimmer, a runner and a “cyclist” exclusively of one another.  I also recognize that haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate so I’m just going to shake, shake, shake, shake it off.  Why can’t we all just get along?

Happy riding, Ryan.

You may recall that my dad passed away a little over a year ago.  Although I did my best to deal with it and carry on, it crushed me.  I’m still dealing with these after effects today and it’s not uncommon for me to talk to him during long rides, runs, etc..  Not that he ever did any of this himself, mind you, but, hey, what else you going to do for hours at a time when you’re exhausted, alone and miles from home.

Years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth probably, my dad was given a road bike by his boss Luis.  It was a, then, state of the art Bianchi ‘Triathlon’ racing bike, circa 1984, in a gorgeous turquoise color.  Luis is a good guy obviously.

I don’t even think my dad (or I for that matter) knew what a ‘triathlon’ was.

At the time he also knew absolutely nothing about cycling and he used it as something to basically joy ride around the neighborhood on, usually with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth and long before helmets were ever in vogue.  He might have ridden it to and from work once or twice, but I’m sure it never really got a decent workout after Luis.

My brother used it once or twice while he was training for his own triathlon as part of the big ‘brother vs. brother’ triathlon quest six years ago and I think I may have even ridden it once when I needed something to get to work on.  In fact, I do remember – vividly.  Knowing fuck all about bikes and cycling I made the whole 20k or so trip in jeans and work boots and had to undo the rat traps that were once affixed to her pedals just so I could pedal the damn thing.  It sucked and I never got on it again.

Then it sat in the garage…for a long time.  In fact, it sat around collecting about 15 years of dust and grime.  And, believe me, there was a lot of dust and grime.

After my dad’s passing we had to deal with the gi-normous task of either bequeathing or getting rid of all that crap in the garage…including this bike.  Now, six years ago I would have taken one look at it and dismissed it as garbage and tossed her to the curb.  Now, well, being a little wiser about bikes and cycling, I see a bit more.  Now I saw an opportunity to salvage something of my father’s back to its former glory, the likes of which he probably never got a chance to see either.  At least for a long time anyway.

Here is what she looked like coming out of the garage last summer:

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Like I said:  there was lots of dust, grime and wear n’ tear.

Enter Kent.

Kent is a self proclaimed “Bike Philanthropist”, in that he loves bikes, people who ride bikes and, well, giving bikes to people.  I know a whole slew of people who are indebted to his generous nature when it comes to all things cycle-worthy.  Kent is also a nut, but the good kind of nut.  But, then again, aren’t all cyclists and triathletes?  In short, there was no one else to consider for this particular project and I gave Kent my proposal to restore my dad’s bike.

Thankfully, he accepted.

The rest of the story, really, is his.  The best part is that Kent – being the awesome guy he is – also provided a lot of detailed back story of the entire restoration process that I would never had gotten otherwise.

So from here I’m turning the story over to Kent for a bit.

“In the beginning she came to me; old, tired, sad…a faded image of her past glory.

But, like the Bionic Woman…we can rebuild her. Better, faster, prettier…but not without help.

Jason at ‘Dura Paints’ in Stoney Creek custom blended the paint. I took the fork in and left it with him for a few days. Absolute magic! A few aficionados have been unable to tell her new paint from factory 1984 original. While she was waiting on her new dress, she spent a little time at the strippers. Bill at ‘Total Coatings’ (also in the Creek) did his damndest to strip her right down.”

Just a quick pause here to ask: is anyone else here getting hot yet?

“Rather than use sand he decided to use glass though. Less harmful to the base metal and has a much finer spray pattern. The end result, well, you’ll see. She didn’t feel right being so naked so my go to guy, Rob, at ‘FTW Paintwork’ said he’d return her to glory. I didn’t want such a great paint job done and then slap stickers back on her (although I could have done it…eBay had an identical set up for sale). Rob was able to match both the color and font to the original decal and transferred it into the process. When you see her…she will be the only one of her kind. No decals…only paint.

Normally I make them put the FTW logo somewhere on the bike as sort of a hallmark to let others know it was through their excellence that it was all brought back to life. What they opted to do, instead, was greatly humbling. You’ll see. All the while I was looking for and working with every cleaner and polishing agent you can shake a stick at; 31 years of crud did not want to leave those parts willingly. The tape residue on the bars, well, a few specks of it will remain with them pretty much forever.

I promised to keep as much of her as you gave her to me as I possibly could. She will be sporting new bar tape, new cables, and new rubber. That’s it. Every other part on her was stripped down to its most original form and, where possible, polished to factory (or better) new. A few mechanical things required some outside assistance. I am capable of doing them but I think, sometimes, it’s better to leave SOME things in the hands of professionals. When I stripped her down I took her to ‘New Hope Bicycles’ on Main Street in Hamilton. I was met with ire to say the least. You’re going to do WHAT to this bicycle? I don’t think I want to remove the headset for you if you’re going to strip and repaint her. This color is classic. No worry guys…she will be this color again…promise. Skepticism was the order of the day.

I also promised to bring her back for her headset again when things were done. When I took her back there recently, every single wrench in the shop had to come and look. Diehards were in disbelief. I think I even saw one tear up. Due to timing I had to leave her there to finish her make over. They will be installing new cables, truing the wheels, and putting her tape on. I’m putting a lot of faith in their work but I think the donation of the pair of 9sp wheels I gave them was added motivation to do their best magic. The girl running the show said she figured they’d be arm wrestling to see who got to do the work on it.

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JQ7U8112

Back from the strippers…

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What you should note in the picture below is the gold color along the joints. That’s brass. She’s not welded together…she’s brazed. And she’s fucking gorgeous. I almost wanted to leave her naked for that reason alone. That is art right there. The skill it takes to do that kind of work well is something I dream of. The backwards diagonal tube (seat stay), if you look closely, is joined to the lug arm about an inch below the B. I saluted her at his point.

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This is also a lost art.

Normally a company will drill a hole in the frame and then rivet a nut in for the water bottle cages. Not so with this little gem. Again, brass brazed onto the frame…with sickening precision.

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The rear wheels drop outs. To a ‘Bike-o-phile’ this is nothing short of sexy. Again, all of the power you could ever lay down into the rear wheels held elegantly into place with brass.

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Witchcraft I say. 

 And as accurate as Bill was at stripping her down he made VERY sure to avoid the head tube badge at all costs. Finding one of these to replace it is akin to finding the Holy Grail. You’ll note the smallest hint of original paint on the edges of it. So no matter what all else happened to her, there will always be a teeny part of her original soul still with her.”

When it came time to actually meet Kent and see what he had been working on all this time I admit, I was nervous.  Not the kind of nervousness that one might feel while waiting for the proctologist to enter the room – and I’ve been there before, believe me (click HERE) – but more the excited kind of nervousness that I figure expecting fathers feel before they begin to pass out the cigars.

I knew it was going to be awesome…it was just a question of how much.

As it turns out, it was a whole load of awesome.  In fact, it brought a tear to my eye that I had hoped wouldn’t be noticed under my sunglasses, but Kelly don’t miss shit.  It looked like a completely new bike as if somebody had shoved a flux capacitor up my ass and I had been instantly transported back to 1984 when it first rolled off the line.

Don’t just take my word for it, check this out:

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And here’s the real piece de resistance (in case you missed it above):

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How freakin’ awesome is that?

I might just be tearing up again.

So now when I do ride her I really will  be riding with my dad.

Lord knows I’m not going to be doing an insane amount of mileage on her any time soon.  So far, my immediate plans are to ride 100k in the ‘La Bic Classica‘ charity ride next weekend for Strong Kids (a charity near and dear to my heart) in my dad’s memory and after that, it’ll be pretty much reserved for those special rides around the neighborhood with HRH, just like my dad would have done with me when I was that age.  I can’t think of a better way to honor his memory.

Thank you Kent for giving me back this opportunity.

Words will never express…