A day late.. that happens when you have a small home based business to worry about sometimes.. and yesterday was exactly that- a worrisome day that needed a lot of hands- on work which meant.. skip the training.
But today.. now that’s a different story… a different kind of training apparently.
I’m one of those folks that suffer from various allergies. Before leaving Vancouver in 2012 I had some tests done and we found out that I’m allergic to pretty muh every animal except horses. I can have a horse.. but nothing else. Great. Horses are cheap, aren’t they?
Fast forward.. one of my allergies is seasonally oriented and the season has started already.
Calgary doesn’t slowly warm up.. it doesn’t slowly get colder.. it goes from -20 a few days ago to +10 right now which is a wonderful environment for the breeding of.. snow mold.
Don’t get me wrong.. I’m not complaining.. I love this city- my neighbours are absolutely awesome and I love love love Calgary in general.. one time I was out on The Felt.. spinning down a hill (I think it was Nose Hill Road) and just burning along.. and as I was gonna turn at the next light what did I do? Shoulder check, signal.. change lanes.. somewhere in there a BIG black truck sped past me and came to a stop at the lights..
I came to a stop behind the truck.. and then the driver flipped it in to park and got out and I was like “Oh no.. here we go..” but…
“MAN!!! DO you know how fast you were going? You almost hit 70kmph!!!!” and he came up and shook my hand.. I think my jaw was on the ground.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover they say and well.. this proves it. Calgarians, in general, are super nice.. sure, there’s a few nut jobs but there’s nut jobs everywhere.
Anyhow- the training today was difficult as allergies make it harder to breath smoothly, make my mouth “pastie” and a few other issues I won’t go in to BUT…. the gear I chose for the 120m spin was one harder than the last ride and.. my legs are telling me about it now. I thought I was in the same gear as last time but.. apparently not. One harder. Which is awesome.
Although I’ve been living in Calgary for over 5 years, I have yet to restock my winter cycling gear.. and while living in Vancouver my winter cycling gear slowly evaporated. So, while the weather outside is getting closer to roadwork.. the roads are still populated with rutted ice and the wind is still a tad bit too chilly for my gear. I’ll be fixing that this year.
Being something other than a “fair weather rider” is me, afterall.
I remember couriering here in this (un)fair city.. it would be -420000 degrees or some such rediculous number and not a Bike Cop to be seen. Once the weather turned a balmy 10 above.. they’d be out there scouring the roadways looking for US… to make up their lost quotas, obvie! I swore I’d never be a Fair Weather cyclist. I guess.. time makes liars of us all.
Today’s training, therefore, was yet another indoor trainer sess. As I may have mentioned previously.. I tend to mount the bike with enhanced tension so, even in light gears it’s a harder workout. But, that got a bit tiresome (?) or, well- my body got used to it. I’ve burnt through many tires on both the Kestrel and the Felt this way.. added friction being added wear on the tire.. but I’ve never~ yet~ purchased/ used trainer specific tires.. probably wont, either.
At any rate- I’m used to pushing hard gears. The last training session was a bit lighter as my muskles were still kinda soar from the previous PUNCH’d spin sess… but this time- my muskles were SINGING as I flipped it up to the Big Ring and down a few.. working hard, my legs felt enlivened and… alive! Kinda felt like my old self pushing hard gears, sweating profusely.. and loving it!
I’m in the process of saying goodbye to someone.. that person who thinks he is Less Than,.. who distrespects his own self.. that person that is a victim of abuses untol’d for decade upon decade..
You’d think that someone who just “dropped out” and went on a personal exploration meanderment for the better part of almost ten years would be above or beside the effects of abuses but.. in all honesty, the very reason I had to drop out.. the very reason I needed nearly ten years all to myself. Ultimately, it was time prepping and working to get closer to ME such that I could invite ANOTHER in to my life.
But.. that’s my headspace today. And difficult is as difficult does.. so, today- I turned it up a notch or.. two.
Normally, I’m happy to spin it out for 120 minutes with what ever movie I can find but today.. as I was doing my warm up.. I noticed I was pretty far down the cluster. A lot further than normal (well, one or two gears to be specific). I knew, also, that if I pushed it down another gear I’d be wanting to flip up to the big ring so…
I slipped up to the Big Ring!
So, up till now I’ve been content working on consistency.. spinning for 120 to 180 minutes at a stretch (it’s hard sequestering 180 mins.. so many different things to do and take care of…). I’d keep the gear lower, the resistance higher.. and just sit back and watch.. Shazam! or Deadpool.. or Star Trek or what ever.
But.. at heart I’m a Chunder King.. that means I push hard gears.
I’m not really a “spinner” but.. I am trying to learn how.
So.. today I pushed it down to a much harder gear.. same high resistance on the roller but a pretty tough or tougher gear. Legs were shaking when I got off the bike. Reminded me of that first time I strapped my bike on to a Vetta frame based wind trainer and span for what seemed hours (but the taxi company downstairs said it was 23 minutes due to the noise). Time.. fleeting..
Anyhow- training was good today. I feel like progress has been made.
Bootstrapping is a common enough concept in the business world.. Snapple is a famous company that started off by “boostrapping” their way along. It, essentially, means that they started off with nearly zero and poured all profits back in to the company for it’s growth at the outset.
I’ve been bootstrapping “The General Bean” since we started. I’m hoping that this year takes us out of that phase finally and for good.
I am, also, bootrapping this project.
I believe in the importance of sustainability.. additionally, I believe in the importance of ART in our day to day lives.. as an artist and a life long cyclist, these are two concepts that are close to my heart.
I’m prepping to launch the quarterly magazine Savage Progress that will do just that- promote Art, Artists and Sustainability. I’ve put in a lot of work lately on that.. so, head on over and fill out the application to submit.
It’s super cold right now here in Calgary and The Boatshed is.. uninsulated so.. unless I get a couple additional heaters for The ‘Shed.. any boat building will have to just wait till next month. I was super scared of that.. honestly. I have a ton of wood and rough materials so that I can build out the hull forms (plywood for the superstructure/ structural reinforcement as well as foam board for insulation).
At any rate- I’m launching *OFFICIAL- LIKE* the “Name That Boat” contest-ish thing.. and I’m launching a Call For Submissions for Savage Progress… and I have a few other ways to generate some of the needed funds to pull together the last few pieces/ parts for the Boat Build.
As the tacky saying goes- Sharing is Caring.. if you could share this project and, specifically, my crowdfunding page that’d be super awesome.
I’ve long been a lover of carbon. I admit it.. during my TriGeek days I hadd a huge heart- on for the veneble Zipp 2001.. what a sleek and seksay ride that was and I would do almost anything (still) to get it.
But, I also had a massive heart- on for Kestrel. Loved their bikes and their ethos- single piece frames not glued together or lugged. It was what set them apart, in my humble opinion, and endeared them to me. So, a few years ago I found a cool Kestrel Talon Tri on sale. It was late 2010 and my daughter wasn’t even a twinkle in our eyes.. well, *almost* a twinkle as she started her growth charting that December.
At any rate- the bike was a great deal. I can’t remember the price but we had it and I dropped it on the eBay purchase.. being a former bike mechanic and well acquainted with bike stuff.. I was confident I could set it up myself so having it shipped in the Manufacturers shipping box (and condition) wasn’t a big deal to me at all. And the
When it arrived.. I was beside myself. I had it shipped to my wife’s work as they were available 7D/wk and me.. I was a commercial painter working to try and launch my own company. So I was ALL OVER the lower mainland (Vancouver BC area.. I worked from the British Properties (owned by the Guiness corporation.. yeah, the beer company) all the way to White Rock and I would ride pretty much to any and all site. Unless the boss said not to. Which he hardly ever said.
Unboxing (sorry, no “unboxing” video.. since it’s been a few years) was wonderful.. and putting her together enough to ride her home was fun. And then tuning her and dialling her all in.. it was great.
The most notable ride I had with her was this one day.. I was working on my own contract over on the North Shore and we had had a “scare” .. you know- pregnancy has started and growth is taking place and then.. a scare. Many reasons could have been.. so we decided an early ultrasound to test the waters and see what the scare was… and the office was waaay out in East Van on Victoria Dr. past Kingsway.. so I decided to ride the Kestrel for speed. It being way faster than my wife’s Kona Cindercone.. commuter friendly speed, not.
It was raining as I left the apartment tower in North Van.. and as I spun across the Lion’s Gate Bridge.. the rain started to get a bit thicker. By the time I was passing Science World it had turned to sleet with a bit of stick to it.
By the time I reached Nanaimo Station (approx.) I was front- covered in white and the roads, although they were wet, were tinted with whiteness along the edges.. and my glasses were spotted with crusties (dirt/ debris).
By the time I reached the office I was a posickle.. and my wife went in to the appointment solo letting me “warm up” and drip- dry out in the antechamber.
Result of the ultrasound: 75% certain we were having a Sabina and 100% certain nothing bad had happened. We were, still, gonna wait a bit to announce.. so we decided to wait till ultrasound #2 and the certainty of the Sabina/ Orion debate (if we were having a girl, her name would be Sabina.. a boy= Orion).
My conclusion? The bike handled super nice.. a lot faster than the Kona I was riding most of the time (dhuh!). But it wasn’t until we were living in Black Mountain (Okanagan) that I really got to push the Kestrel..
I had this training route I’d do.. leave the house, spin (well, coast) down Hwy 33 to some church or other and then dart off in to the orchards and just do a big circuit. It was about 2 oe 3K around the course and I tried to do as many circuits as possible. But, I was also able to ride other bikes and compare.
The kestrel was a kinda flat ride. It didn’t really have Pick Up.. no “get up and go” that the birthname pedigree was known for. I rode with a friend once who was on a 200SL and he was telling me it was a whippy and snappy ride. The 2011 Talon was.. kinda flat. Kinda like a homebrew beer that’s been on the table a bit too long. She didn’t have the pick up I thought she’d have and tracking was really nothing to write home about. I loved the carbon ride characteristics and her cornering was heart stopping but the rest of the ride was kinda flat.
Later on, I took out my wife’s Felt S22- Alu tri geometry framed 650c’d bike.. and that was whippy and snappy and had pick up to light ur arse on fire so, I know that the pick- up issue wasn’t due to tired legs it was due to chain stay length… I mean, I remember riding an old Gary Fisher CR-7.. a bike that could WHEELIE on a dime and had uber short chainstays (in comparison, obvie). Same with my “Team Chance” (not a real Chris Chance.. but a Taiwanese made “nock off” or mass produced version similar there to and with similar branding).. loved (and miss to this day) my Team Chance… those where whippy and snappy bikes.
But, I gotta say- the Kestrel looks svelte when it’s parked
And I prefer riding it on my trackstand training for Circumnavigation.
Would I take her along with me around the world? Probably not. If I don’t get sponsored for that aspect I’ll be taking my wife’s Felt S22.. I love that ride and would as a 650c wheeled bike it’ll be a bit easier to pack in to a small watertight bike box (that I gotta build).
Is the bike worth the $1000 US I paid for it? Probably…. not. The angles and measurements of the frame are far too generic. It’s not a “triathlon” bike- it’s a road bike that has aero bars/ clip on’s added. The saddle is, also, nothing to bring to a race. I toured on a Flite Carbon Evo Ti (carbon shell on Ti rails) and raced on it too.. this saddle makes my arse numb. And it’s VINYL.. maybe I’m old school but I figure a bike saddle needs to be leather. It doesn’t have to be a Brooks leather saddle but the Flite Ti with leather upper is ideal. And on a carbon frame, IMHO- Ti Railes are a must. Oh- wait… it’s Alu that Ti Rails are a must. Sorry (it’s been awhile since I did any purging of personal info and impressons on cycling).
Would I recommend this bike? Probably. It’s a good entry level street bike. If you don’t really know what you want then go for this. I’d defo suggest this over a ROSS or soemthing like that.
**This is the first experiment in to writing a sort of article and including a photo gallery. I’ll be seeing if I can “massage” the layout a bit once it’s published. Thanks for bearing with me**
Finally took the time to fix The Kestrel yesterday. It wasn’t a big fix.. but since I have the Felt.. I wasn’t in a rush at all. But- for use on the trackstand the Kestrel is rarin’ to go. So, strapped in and spun away for 120 minutes.. 60 mins in 6th.. 60 mins in 7th. Perceived intensity was upper edge(s) of moderate, nearly difficult. But that’s my perception compared to riding on the Felt.. the nice- ish thing about the Kestrel is that she’s got 700c wheels which fit my trackstand better. The Felt, with her 650c’s, has the resistance roller dialled almost all the way up which means there’s little room for modulation- it’s either just making contact or.. not making contact at all. With the 700c’s I can dial it in and make the workout a nice difficult one.
Training.. it can be a hard thing to do especially when you’ve got a small company that demands a lot of your time. Trying to “eke” out an hour here, an hour there.. and trying to increase stamina can be worrisome and difficult.
Today while I was on my 120min spin I remembered something that was mentioned in an article generally about the boat Vakita and her captain. Specifically, he mentioned that pedalling the boat was akin to spinning on flat ground in third gear. Third is pretty easy.. I’ve logged 14 hour days in harder gears.. and uphill.. both ways (j/k),.
So, today I checked out what gear I was in.. 6th. And I train indoors on my trackstand/ friction trainer. And the friction is a bit harder than “regular” or flat road work. So, my guestimate is that I’m in about 8th gear spinning for 2 to 3 hours..
I also have a guestimate that if I can spin for 3 hours here in training I’ll be good to go for spinning full days around the world. I feel this because I have so much *other* stuff I have to do I can’t sacrifice much more than three hours.. and I’m also pretty well aware that you don’t have to train at full volumes for competition.. I never did as a triathlete. So, training for fractions at higher intensities.. BANG ON!
Long and short of it- I’m pretty solid on the cycling part of things.
And I’m pretty psyched about the mod’s I’ve gone and done to all my websites. The future is looking positive.