Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Friday, 27 August 2010

8 Glasses a Day??

We all know dehydration in any percentage is BAD mkay for athletes. The body doesn't function properly when not fully hydrated. That's common knowledge. The blood thickens, metabolic function is impaired, the body slows down. Nasty things happen when the body seriously dehydrates, culminating in cognitive dysfunction, physical collapse, muscular damage, and ultimately death. But what is actually going on?

Here is something to think about: I came across it in another blog post on reasonings behind why drinking water helps weight loss. Dr Briffa notes: "It has been found that cells that are dehydrated do not take up glucose very efficiently [1] – something that could cause the metabolism to stall. Also, studies show that when the blood is made more dilute, fatty breakdown in the body (lipolysis) is enhanced [2,3]." He is making this case in reference to weight loss, but think about the energy sources the body uses during sub-max endurance efforts: fats.Glucose is also required as a metabolic process. Quite simply, the body's metabolism cannot work, because glucose is not taken up, when the body is dehydrated.

Here are the citations Dr Briffa uses:

1. Thornton SN, et al. Hydration increases cell metabolism. International Journal of Obesity [epub ahead of print publication 20 January 2009] Int J Obes (Lond) 2009;33(3):385
2. Mathai ML, et al. Selective reduction in body fat mass and plasma leptin induced by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition in rats. Int J Obes (Lond) 2008;32:1576″1584.
3. Schliess F, et al. Cell hydration and mTOR-dependent signalling. Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2006;187: 223-229.


I lasted 6 days. Not even a week. It's not worth it. It's taken 3 months to get back to being able to train hard, recover, get up at 5am to do some more, feel good, feel fit, vibrant and energised, as a fit and healthy person should.

Six days of a small amount of daily wheat and I feel wrung out, flat, tired, flu-like, hungover, can barely drag my sorry arse out of bed in time to get to work. Fark that. It's just not worth blowing a season of racing for an hour of the doc looking at my insides, to be honest. I know what makes me well, and what doesn't. I just ain't going there.

from here

Monday, 23 August 2010

Mud under the fingernails

Another weekend of GOOD training, feeling GOOD whilst training, and being able to knock out some GOOD kilometres of the roundy roundy kind.

That's two weekends in a row where I've been able to train at last season's level, in terms of effort and volume. And to be feeling GOOD this morning at my desk is a sure sign that's something GOOD is happening. Unfortunately I don't think it's gunna last, as I'm adding gluten, and wheat, back into the diet for the next 4 weeks leading up to Dr Gastro putting his camera where cameras really shouldn't go. To be honest, it's been a real mental struggle to actually return, albeit partially, to a former way of eating. It took a lot of energy and effort to train myself to eat the way I do now, and it seems to be (finally) paying off. Why on earth would I really want to risk losing that? All in the name of health....

Anyway, I am feeling stronger, and fitter, and am faster than I was a month ago, two months ago. I can back up two days in a row with mileage and a hard workout. I can do a hard 3hours of track training in the morning (and not puke any more) and follow it up with a steady 1 hour plus ride on the trainer in the evening. I'm not going to make the Masters  Nationals crit, I may or may not make the Sam Miranda Snow Road crit mid October, I may or may not have the endurance for Tour of Bright in December, but I am feeling a little more confident of some solid racing this coming track season. For the first time since early May I actually feel like getting my hands dirty racing!

In the meantime I've been dealing with one of the nastiest hoof abscesses in my mare I've had to nurse. It's punched a hole through the sole of her hoof, which means regular cleaning and bandaging to prevent contamination and further infection. Simple. Well it should be. Because 1) the paddocks are so wet/muddy with recent rains and 2) she is toe walking to take the pressure off her foot, bandages that should last 2 days easily are barely making it through one day. So this morning, we were out cleaning, disinfecting, bandaging yet again, just after dawn. When I got to work, despite having washed my hands thoroughly several times, I looked down at my hands and realised: I have horse owners hands once more. Horse grime embedded around the nails! And yes, it's GOOD.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The other ride

Stuff related to that, for my own reference more than anything:

One of my favourite riders: Nicole Uphoff. The very great Reiner Klimke. Compare this to the early stages of rolkur with Isabelle Werth.

Not talking track cycling punters. Sorry about that!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Looking forward to Spring

At training on Saturday morning 9am, it was colder inside than out. I wore: bib nix, long sleeved merino thermal under, regular short sleeved jersey, 2 x long sleeved, roubaix lined winter jerseys, leg warmers (should have had my leggings on) 2 prs of socks, long fingered heavy weight gloves, ear warmers. Between efforts, I put over the top my track pants and fleecy top.

Yesterday I went to a meeting in another building at work. It was cold at 10am, but by the time I walked out of the meeting into the open air 90minutes later, the temperature had dropped 5 degrees, I swear. It was bitterly cold. My outbreath was solidifying as icicles mid air.

The way it's looking for the rest of the week, I'll be need two thermal unders plus all that kit next Saturday. And I think we'll need some fish (or rum) to feed these guys when they come visiting:

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Track is....

tracks are the people who love it enough to raise the flag up at every event....
or organize the dingy storage container....
or show up a race they aren't doing just to cheer...
or teach beginner classes, promote races, and run training sessions....
or spend a saturday making a concrete podium....
or spend four hours sweeping the apron...
or make sure all the rental bikes are in working order...
or make a run during a blistering hot sunday to get ice for everyone...
or check all the waivers to make sure they are signed....
or tell people about races on facebook...
or give someone a ride to a race...
or make a new person feel welcome....
or lend someone a wheel or chainring...
or give someone help at a race...

Not my words. I stole them from here. But these words sum up a part of what track is about, what racing bikes is about, what any sporting community is about: engagement, passion, and a splash of selflessness.

bethbikes! words need sharing...

Monday, 9 August 2010

Burton Brained by Inception

Yesterday, on my way to the Tim Burton exhibition,after seeing Inception the night before, I wondered what a Burton version of Inception would be like. The movie was brain rattling enough, so add in Burton's eye, and take on the world, and you'd have something truly brilliant.

So I had a pretty good weekend, although I missed out on training yesterday, giving my body a rest I think it needed (and somehow managed to sidestep any associated guilt trips: bonus!). Gratuitously Perkoed on Saturday (with some help from a massive withdrawal of probiotics two days earlier), I was seeing speeds I've not seen for nearly two months. How that happened I have no idea, considering I was running on empty (literally) but it was pretty good for the ego to see some slightly faster speeds happening again. I got a ways to go before I'm cracking March figures again, but I'll be right by track season. So long as I make it through September.

I have two weeks solid of hydrogen breath tests next month, followed by a double scoping to complete the fortnight. Then we should absolutely know what is going on with my guts. Perhaps. To be honest, the GI specialist was so allopathic, I think you could encapsulate him and take him as an antibiotic. Next time I speak with him, I'll be going under, so our conversation will be about the same as it was with the initial 10 minute consult: incredibly limited, one way and expensive!

from here

Friday, 6 August 2010

Wear your kit and drink it too.

I was talking to my sponsor's rep this morning, having a discussion about sponsorship, amongst other things. Apart from negotiating a deal for the Women's Omnium in January, we talked about why riders are sponsored, or should be sponsored, what's in it for them, and importantly, what's in it for the sponsor.

My deal with Sam Miranda is pretty simple. I wear their kit, and get rewarded for making the podium (in their kit - this is important) in product. Fortunately I am a fan of their product. I don't think I could wear a sponsor's kit if I wasn't into what the sponsor was on about, or their ethos, their product, their way of being in the world. Fortunately I have a good fit with mine, and their kit looks pretty good too!

As a sponsored rider, I take my role as a promoter for that sponsor pretty seriously. I wear my kit when racing at big events, major events, such as State Opens, and championship events. By agreement, I don't usually wear it at club track racing on a Thursday night, which we both consider training events. Thursday nights I wear my fun stuff, which is usually generic, or sometimes my own club kit. When I wear my sponsored kit, I try to behave responsibly, behave decently, and always ride to the best of my ability (sounds corny, but if you are seen making the effort, even if you come last, it gives a good impression of commitment, dedication and honesty/integrity. Besides, the punters like to see drama in a race, and puking after adds to the drama!).If I want to slap someone, I wait til after the event and when I am out of kit (or at least not recognisably in kit). But most people who know me, know I rarely slap people, and when I do, I blog about it as well ;-p

So as a rider, I have agreed to the terms of the sponsorship, and stuck to that agreement. If I didn't agree to the terms, it wouldn't be an agreement and I wouldn't be wearing the kit. Pretty simple really. Some people don't seem to get this point however, and you'll see riders who ride for Sponsor A, rock up in another business's clothing for events. It looks bad for Sponsor A, makes people question the arrangement, reflects badly on the rider in terms of future potential sponsorship arrangements (lack of commitment and loyalty to a sponsor don't go down too well). All round, just not a good look. If you can't wear your sponsor's kit on the day (it's in the wash or the dog ate it) get more kit, or wear club/plain gear, not someone else's branded kit.

I am lucky in that my sponsor, whilst liking runs on the board, or medals on the podium, also appreciates good sporting values, fairness, enthusiasm, commitment to people and the sport, likes people who put in and give back.  It's not just about winning, or being a winner, but a bunch of other attributes that adds value to the sponsored arrangement. I've heard riders say that they are not "good enough" to gain sponsorship, but simply it's that they haven't asked, haven't asked the right potential sponsor in the right way. And at the end of the day, it's still about racing, how you race and who you are on and off the track, not whose kit is on your back.

image stolen from Sam Miranda Winery