Racing is about learning. So, today, I am passing another tip along that I imagine only 50% of athletes know about. Physiotherapists do more than injury rehab.

After the race at the track last Saturday, I drove back from London, ON to Toronto as usual. As I got out of the car, I braced myself for the usual stiffness of the almost two hour long drive. What I did not anticipate is the back pain the shortly ensued. I usually have some kind of soreness after the hard efforts at the track, but the lower back pain was completely unexpected. I thought nothing of it, because I thought it would just go away like the rest of the stiffness that follows the drive back from the track. However, that never happened.

While the lower back pain was tolerable for Sunday and Monday - I did my usual workouts on the bike, but Tuesday it became unbearable. I imagine the bad posture at the office didn't help the issue, but it got bad enough that it hurt to even move let alone get out of the chair. Thinking I knew everything, I did two things: Cancelled my appointment for strength training at FITS and arranged for a massage thinking it was a muscle issue and nothing more. Well, the massage softened me up. The comment from the massage therapist was "your body is hard as a brick" - and I do not believe that was a compliment. However, a half a hour later, the pain was back. Oddly, the move I moved around, the better it felt.

Ride Data: [CLICK HERE]

On Saturday, December 3, I race at the Forest City Velodrome for the FCV Grand Prix. It was a evening packed with lots of longer endurance style races making for a hard night of racing on the track. The following is an edited version of the info I added to Training Peaks on the race. I thought it would be of interest to the few the read the blog.

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The first race was a B Endurance race of 60 laps...which was 20 laps more than usual. I had dropped the gearing from 88 to 86 gear inches (GI) during the warmup because Rob Good annouced during the warmup that race gears were limited. I am glad I did drop the gearing, because I found the 88 gear inches I was riding in the race warm up to be too big to get over. 86GI was about right considering I've managed to spin a high cadence lately and managed to get to 133RPM on the track during race training on the Wednesday night. The race started fast and the pace remained high. The same kid hit the front each time, took off, and ramped up the pace to the extreme. The pack got split and I got held up behind a riders that didn't "seem" to want to work. However, the pack managed to slow up enough to latch on - although, it was still an all out effort to catch them. The last 5 laps were the hardest because I was running out of gas. However, of the 10 people that started the race, 4 dropped out at that point. I manage to hang on long enogh to get fourth place of the six finishers. I wish I got out of the saddle on the last lap and fought for third....considering I did jump intervals the night before I should have been able to do it. Fastest lap for this race was 10.313secs.

Nice video from Xtranormal describing cycling to non-cyclists. Slight language warning....not exactly G rated, but funny.
[cyclist][/cyclist]
Heart disease can affect anyone. This is my story of how someone with heart disease affected me and how it got me to get in shape.

It was late in the day in October 2007, when I heard the phone ring. My wife answered it. I had a strange feeling it was not good news when the phone rang. You know the feeling you get when something is about to happen? A thought had crossed my mind: our friend Rick passed away. When my wife got off the phone, she confirmed my thought. I do not know why I knew, but I did. It turned out that my friend, Rick Sargent, died of a heart attack. The building superintendent found him at the elevator of his apartment building. His wife and daughter were upstairs in their apartment.

Rick was a jovial guy. He loved fishing (read: lived for fishing) and photography. You could always count on him for a good laugh. I do not know how many used camera's I bought from him. I used to joke with him every time he bought a new camera, that it would be mine soon enough. Rick's only vice was his love for food. Rick was 48 when he died. He left behind his wife of 17 years and his teenage daughter. I can still remember his funeral and having to look down into the casket at a man that went well before his time. It was the first time that heart disease felt like something that could affect me too. It left a powerful impression with me.

On Thursday, November 17, I attended the Morning Glory Club party. On the table was located a Canadian Cycling magazine. The club was featured in the magazine and my photo of the club appeared highlighting the MG Club. What I did not expect was what appeared on pages 12/13: a full two page photo of me leading out the pack on the Centurion C25 (25 miler) race in Blue Mountain back in September. Thanks for local photographer Marc Landry of Fast Time Productions for capturing that shot. 

MLandry Centurion C25 Sept 2011

For whatever reason that day, I decided the Centurion C25 race was going to be a 40km time trial and I came prepared with my D'Ornellas TT kit and my Scott TT bike. I even wore my fancy TT helmet. After the race was 1/2 way over, I regretted my bike choice - I did not think any strong riders would bother with such a short race - but I was wrong. It was a road race. I still rode off the front of the pack for most of it. By the time we got 3/4 of the way done, there were only some 10 riders left on my tail. Then, as I rounded a corner; I flatted. The photo is right before I blew the tire. I lost 15 mins to that and it would have been more, if it were not for a fellow MG club rider, Dave McKay, that happened to be going to a ride that morning in the area. Oddly, right before I flatted, the photo that appears in the Canadian Cycling Magazine was snapped. I would like to think I would have been on the podium had I not flatted.

When I saw the photo, I contacted Canadian Cycling and asked how to get a copy. They put me in touch with Marc Landry and I collected my 11x14 print today. It hangs on my wall at home. Check Marc out of you are looking for any sports photography.
Wednesday night, I trained at the track in what ended up being somewhat educational experience. I discovered a few things:
1) Until I can learn to hold the bars of the bike with one hard and go around the entire track, there is no way I will ever be able to do a Madison race.
2) My limits of legs speed cause me to until to do a flying lap faster than 48km/h and usually causes me to fall off the pack when the speed pickup up over 50km/h.

Of course, it never really crossed my mind that old injuries could be getting in the way until last night. I suffered a dislocated shoulder and a broken leg over the last many years that have no really bothered me in normal every day life. But for cycling, it appears to be a completely different matter.

Approximately 15 years ago, I think I dislocated my left shoulder. I don't know if it was dislocated for sure, because I did not seek medical attention at the time (dumb!). But it felt like my shoulder popped back out and back in when I slipped and fell down a icey hill outside my apartment. I remember that day and the shoulder hurt like hell for about a hour. About two years ago, my physiotherapist noticed that there was a discrepancy in the size of the muscles in my shoulders. Arguably, because my left shoulder is weaker, it possess less dexterity, and thus, I just can't seem to hold the bars of the bike with my left had with any degree of stability. No Madison racing for me.

In track cycling, one rides a fixed gear bike which means there is only one gear. To do well on the track requires one to be able to spin the legs at a very fast (read: ridiculously fast) pace. Good track cyclists are able to spin and keep it under control at 150, 160, or 170RPM for a pedal cadence. On the road, good roadies have to be able to spin at 120-130RPM to be able to sprint to the finish. So, getting fast legs is a must to be competitive.

Nothing more obvious at the Wednesday night training session at the track: I can't spin fast enough. After being told to put on a lighter gear (49/17 or 75 Gear Inches) because some of the "youth" less than half my age were creaming me on the sprints, I could not hold the pace at the high speeds. During the 100 lap roll up, when the pack took off with 20 laps to go, I got dropped. I just could not get the legs to move faster enough to hold the pace of 50km/h+. I usually ride with a big gear so I have a chance of keeping up. My limit seems to be around 120-125RPM under load. However, to achieve 60km/h on that gearing, one needs to do 150RPM.

The following article was sent to me via email by Peter Hien of SportsZone Photography. If you know the original author, please email me so I can appropriate attribute the work. The topic has relevance for me because I've been in the training to train phase for too long, and I am working up to training to win phase.
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Most athletes (regardless of their age) jump into intense workouts far too early in their competitive season, often leading to injuries and reduced performance outcomes. Top international coaching experts have agreed that there should be three distinct phases of training in any athlete's season (regardless of age). Our observation at Personal Best, is that far too many athletes, coaches and teams skip one or more of these three phases and cause short and long-term athletic performance impairments. The three phases of training are:

Married guys know that a love of cycling sometimes (read: almost always) doesn't mix with marriage unless the wife has a similar passion for cycling, running, or the like or is willing to support the addiction. In my case, being not-married worked out because I no longer have to concern myself with the concerns of the other half. But, I've been there, thus, this image rings bells with me:

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