Monday, 31 May 2010

Another Roobaix in the Musette

With fairies like these, who needs stcoffee supping funky fixsterhipdudes?

Another Melburn Roobaix, done and dusted, and dusty it very nearly was. The rain held off (how I don't know, the clouds taunted us all the way), the company was excellent ( a mix of Bandidos, Audax, and trackies, and a couple of cross dressers, I mean crossovers who like to ride both ways).

I think this about sums it up:

HAVING FUN???                   


video stolen from Jack on Melbourne Cyclist


photo below stolen from here

Leon, it's the other way!!!

Crumpler custom chocolate!!

stolen from fyxomatosis

Friday, 28 May 2010

Roobaix 2010


Thursday, 27 May 2010

What I had for breakfast this morning

Yes, there is a CSV AGM coming up. Yes I am standing again. Was the post below a "Vote for me" call? No. Frankly, although I have unfinished business on the CSV Board, I am not precious about whether or not I make it back on to the Board. It'd be kinda nice to have some of my life back, to be honest.

Yesterday morning I was fortunate enough to attend an International Women in Sport breakfast forum, which was a side event to an International Women in  Sport Conference held in Sydney last week. I had fruit salad, yoghurt, a cherry danish and heaps of coffee ( nasty 5 am start!) for breakfast by the way.

More than the breakfast, there were some interesting speakers with points to be made that connected and congealed with loose thoughts I've had over the last couple of months. Now I am processing, which will take some time, as there was much to process, new connections to be made with new possibilities to be realised.

Prof Kari Fasting (pres Women's Sport International) discussed growing women's numbers in sport; high level mandated support, the feminisation of masculine sports and sports culture. She didn't even venture into her research area of abuse and sexual harassment in sport.

Marjorie Snyder (Women's Sport Foundation USA) spoke of accessing non-governmental funds via philanthropy, meeting girls' needs ie going to where the girls are for effective program development and results, development of the Women's Sport Foundation over the last 20 years, from an idea that Billy Jean King had, to being recognised as the eminent women's not for profit sports organisation in the States. Lots of food for thought for women's competitive cycling.

Yolanda Jackson (Women's Sport Foundation USA). Yolanda and I had a bit of a chat over coffee beforehand. She is a dynamo! The Senior Director of Athlete Marketing and Promotion, her discussion was about media coverage, networking with female athletes to promote, speak, advertise, be role models, for themselves, for the Foundation, for sport, for women.  She also discussed the roles of Pro Leagues in the States. There are women's pro leagues in basketball (WNBA) rodeo, motorsports, boxing, soccer etc. Imagine if there were a national pro league for female cyclists in Australia. That's mindblowing.....

Karin Lofstrom (Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport). Karin talked about government funded models, women in leadership and governance, coaching and technical roles (high performance management), providing quality sporting experiences for women (does lingerie grid iron crack it?), having leaders that participants can relate to (and elite athletes are often not it), and the personal touch in approaching women to take on roles in sport.

It was interesting to think of women's equity issues in access to sport as human rights issues.A lot of what I heard, particularly in terms of engaging with inactive women, getting them into a sporting activity (and cheerleading is not a sport!) I've heard before. There is plenty of research out there in googleland that talks to this. What was more interesting to me was discussion around women in leadership roles, and what that can do for sport, and people involved with that sport. It is more powerful than we realise.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Not Norwegian Would, Norwegian Did!

What's the biggest women's sport in Norway?


Not gymnastics (it used to be), not netball, basketball, handball, but soccer.. er.. football...

And how did that happen? Because the Norwegian Football Federation wanted it to. Once upon a time, there was a women's football association, and a men's one which was the governing, institutionalised assocation. The main governing body eventually subsumed  took on board the female governing body, which would normally be a death knell for the "amalgamated" organisation. In this case, women's football grew, rather than faded away.

The Norwegian model was strategic and systemic, supported by government regulation on governing board compositions ie it was mandated that at least 40% of board membership must male, and at least another 40% must be female. It begs the question, what does increasing female membership of a governing board do for the culture of that board, and ultimately the organisation governed by that board?

Norwegian Football was committed to growing the sport for women, to increasing women's competitive participation in football.  108000 women play competitive football in Norway.

Imagine if that were Australian racing cycling? The Queen of Hearts used to imagine at least six impossible things before breakfast. Impossible? Maybe the number is very optimistic, but not impossible. It just requires committed systemic and strategic planning, processes and application. And maybe a starting point is more women in governance roles, at national (yes, that's YOU  Cycling Australia), state and club level. Not so hard to achieve. All it takes is for a woman to stand up and be counted, and for the men currently on boards/committees to count them, as contributors, actively engaged in the governance of the sport. Vote a woman on your club committee today.

Will your club aim for at least 40% of each sex on its committee? It will make a difference you know.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Mission complete

Not #30 days of cycling, but 31, with 3 missed days. Resume normal programming now please!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Going Random

Grapes don't taste like chocolate. I think it's a waste, but there you go. They just don't. They taste like apples and fresh rye grass.

I have 3 days left of my 30 days of cycling challenge, and am looking good for a 90% completion rate. Wednesday was my third missed session, thanks to a Board meeting. Meetings wiped out two of my days, with illness taking out the other. I am pretty happy with that, as it was a kind of suck it and see thing. Although, I must admit my plans to ride freely, and on any bike were a bit ambitious in the end. I alternated between track bike, fixed wheel on trainer and the ergo bike.

Landis is now finger pointing, and has finally admitted he is a total cockbrain (if only) by lying, and sucking a bunch of people into his lies for money. Well, he's a pretty good entrepreneur. Maybe he could start an urban hipster street cred shop, called St Floyd? It has that kinda ring about it. And like all passing truths, it will last long enough to suck in some people, assisting them to part with their moneys, and feel like fools goats when they wake up in the morning and see what they have bought.

 stolen from I'm not lying. Serious

When is an apple a day not good for you? When you experience fructose malabsorption. One local coach likes to bang on about the horrors of fructose, ranting about coke, pepsi and fruit juice. I say he is way off track, and it's the humble apple that is the real culprit. In fact, a Wonka MudSludge bar is "better" for you than 2 apples if you are fructose intolerant. Go figure. Maybe that's why I want my grapes to taste like chocolate?

Friday, 14 May 2010

Eat My Dragster

So, when is a virus not  virus? When it's something else.

Those of you who have been following my blog, or just know me, will know of the ongoing viruses I encounter at least twice a year that knock me around, plus my ongoing issues with recovery from training etc. I've learnt to label all these "health" (for want of a better name) issues as viral ie outcomes of dealing with a "virus". I have also learnt that "virus" is a catch all phrase that doctors use to label generalised health maladies in otherwise fit, athletic and "healthy" (blood pressure, pulse, weight, regular GP blood testing etc) individuals that means "I got no idea, but I am not admitting it".

Most of you won't know I have IBS, and have done for many years. Now, that's not something one talks about in general conversation. It's rather personal, and private, with the personal and private being heavily supported by social conventions and behaviours. For me, it's not something to make a big deal of.  After lots of reading, lots of thinking, and a visit to an exercise physiologist/nutritionist yesterday, I am making connections between IBS, and my viruses. And those connections are making more sense than the some of the crap (yes, that was deliberate) that has come of GPs mouths at me over the last couple of years. So an investigation is in process, but in the meantime I am inspired.

Food is a crucial part of an athlete's training. We need to be very conscious about ingesting adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients. If we don't, our ability to train, recover from training and to race at our peak is severely impacted. And we all like to eat well. Well. most of us do. One bike rider I know could eat shit on toast and be happy, so long as his belly is full. But that's another story. But what happens when what is considered a regular, healthy athletic diet, actually does the opposite for you? What happens when you eat what is considered an extremely healthy diet, full of fruit, vegetables, protein, a range of healthy carbohydrate sources, and suddenly a significant number of foods that you would regularly include in your weekly diet have to be removed? I am not just talking about wheat and gluten, but high fructose fruit and vegetables, or worse, combinations of fruit and vegetables.

At that point, it can be a bit of a mindf^ck. Luckily the exercise phys yesterday put me onto the ShepherdWorks website, which is Melbourne-based facility, providing qualified advice and support for a range of gastroenterologically challenged people. It's an excellent starting point. Next step was to google food intolerances in athletes, and variations on that theme. The two most edifying bits of information I could find, out of 4 articles in total relating to the topic were: acai berries are a must for athletes with food intolerances (no, I don't want to go to your store, thanks) and "athletes with food intolerances typically know what foods cause them problems". Er, no, they don't. Gross generalisation is not helpful, but thanks for trying.

So it got me thinking. Is there a need out there for support, a list of resources, experience by others, for gastroinstestinally challenged athletes? Most of the stuff I have come across is for average joes, who may also have other issues related to their gut problems (diabetes, auto-immune disease, obesity etc). There are no answers to my questions of how do you put together a gluten, wheat free, low fructose diet using the paleo diet principles, plus  Cordain's/Berardi's principles of nutrient timing (eg starchy carbs directly and ONLY after or immediately before exercise).

It all gets a bit complicated. And, to be honest, tiresome. I like cooking, I enjoy eating well, and eating fresh, flavoursome food. I enjoy problem-solving, but sometimes it just gets to the point where it's FEED ME!!! time, and I can't be bothered worry about whether homemade hummus is paleo (it's not) or if the sourdough rye bread I am about to spread it on is paleo, Berardi and good for my challenged guts (none of the above, depending on timing!). I am hungry and I just wanna eat, and that's what I feel like eating.

So I am toying with starting a new blog: EatMyDragster, with good links, good information, my experiences training, travelling, eating, Or maybe not. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

30 Days of Cycling?????

Well, I did start it a month late. And with the vestiges of some kind of virus or such. And the weather has been difficult. And I am a busy person.... and.. and...

So I counted: today I am 19 days in (gee that went quickly!!) and I've missed only  2 days, due to the aforementioned viral vestiges. So far, a 90% success rate.

I have a good feeling about the next 10 days.

Monday, 3 May 2010

If you can't win, then don't finish..

"It would be in the best interest of all if those competitirs who have very little chance of an overall or group prize retire at Strath Creek Hotel and do not congest the road up the mountain. Give your mates with a chance a fair go. "

This little piece is attached to the bottom of the blurb about this year's Preston Mountain Classic.

I am stunned to say the least. Why bother entering if you are discouraged from finishing because you may not win or place? If safety is the major reasoning, then the finish needs to be looked at, rather than suggesting that competitors GIVE UP before the final climb of the race. Don't punish the competitors, who have paid to race (and finish) for a course that can't cope with a more than a few people crossing the finish line together. The ridiculous aspect to this is that the finish is at the top of a decent climb. A climb that in itself, strings out any bunches and negates a mass sprint finish at the top of the climb.