Monday, July 11, 2011

Chainsuck at the Buck

Buckwallow is just "one of those places" There always seems to be some issue, or extenuating circumstance which screws me over whenever I have the serious prospect of doing well. This was no exception. Here's how it all went down.

After spending a lovely week at my cottage, I headed home, and then up to Buckwallow. Myself and team Kunstadt decided to camp at the KOA. The pre-ride went well. Chico did an awesome job (as usual) and everything was all set to go.

In the morning, Imad decided to do a number on Neil's front derailleur. This seriously upset the morning, and offset the tim hortons trip significantly. After fixing his shifting, we all went in to town, where Imad proceeded to purchase a McDonald's Breakfast AND a Tim Hortons breakfast, plus coffee from both places. WOW. epic meal time. We then went for a swim in the lake.

The race started out well. Neil pulled a pretty epic start, then Imad came around, then I took over. Things quickly settled down, and it was me, Preston, and Danny, all riding together. On the second lap, I attacked, and put about 20 seconds into them. soon after this, my chain came off, and got jammed. Preston and Danny passed me. I chased, and then it happened again. And again. Bummer. I settled in, and ended up third. I probably could have won, but each time the chain jammed, it cost me a lot of time.

Overall, I finished third, Neil took 5th, and Imad 6th. A pretty solid day for the team. Be sure to check out the Kunstadt Blog too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gettin' paid at the Raid

I just got back from the "Raid Velo-Mag". All I can say is: What a race!
Everyday was a new adventure, wicked trails, lots of climbing and super cool people to do it with.
I went up with a big group of radical dudes from ottawa. This always makes the driving more fun, and cheaper. We had a trailer, whose resonant frequency seemed to be reached at 101 km/h. This made the drive a little slower than usual, but it was still awesome.

I was in the lead on friday (17km stage) and saturday (77km), and got flats. I ended up 2nd on friday and 5th on saturday. Lost tons of time on saturday, which cost me overall GC. I won on sunday though (57km).

If you are on the fence about doing a race like this, I say you should go for it! All the rain experienced made the racing even more fun. I have a much more detailed post on the kunstadt ride blog
Check it out.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Delicious pancakes, kick-ass blender and better races

Baie-St. Paul went pretty well for me. It seemed to be more of a running race, than a bike race, but thats okay. By my reckoning there was about 30% running and 70% biking (by distance), or 45%, and 55% respectively, by time. Quite a muddy slog. Some people were saying that they should have re-routed the trails, in order to make a more rideable course, but I think it was fun. Having said that, the race wreaked havoc on the trail system, and they will probably have to re-build most of the trails there. Oh yeah, I came 11th, and netted some elusive UCI points.

Hardwood was a tough race. I had a great start, but I think I raced within my limits too much. I felt fairly fresh at the end. Gotta get more agressive! finished off 14th, after a nasty fall going into the last corner, and getting ready for the sprint finish.

After Hardwood, I headed up to Camp Wabanaki for 2 days of trailbuilding. It was probably some of the most fun trailbuilding i've ever done. We were just building a skills park for the kids up there, and it was good times. A nice cool swim after a day spent in the woods is just pure heaven. Anyone who likes swimming in the ocean has clearly never been at a canadian cottage in the summer. Pure Bliss.

Anyways, I recently became the co-owner of a Vitamix, and I have been putting her through her paces pretty well, averaging about 3 extensive uses per day. I came up with some super solid pancakes today. here's the recipe:

Gluten free extra healthy pancakes
-1/3 cup almond flour (I just ground the almonds in the Vitamix)
-2/3 Cup rice flour (also made in the vitamix)
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 banana
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 eggs
-1 cup almond, or soy, or regular milk
-10 dates

Mix everything in the blender. If you don't have a blender, then just mix it up, and use sugar instead of dates. The Almonds work instead of using oil in the recipe. If you have a over-ripe apple, throw it in there too!
Blend everything up until it is quite liquid. If its too thick, add a few tbsp of water.

put on the griddle one pancake at a time. This should be enough for 2 moderately hungry people, or 1 athlete.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

O-Cup woes, and excessive Selenium

The first couple of O-Cup races didn’t go quite as well as I would have hoped. Mansfield involved dropping my chain into my spokes, and then a bunch of fruitless chasing, only to end up around 15th. Well, Woodnewton was considerably worse. I had no mechanicals to blame, only a serious lack of speed. Start was good, then I just slid back, all race long, to end up being passed by my teammate, Imad, on the last lap. Finished 16th. After Woodnewton, I had some serious searching to do. WTF was going on? Why was I so slow. I was rippin’ it up in Cali, but now I was slloooow.

After spending a few days with my thinking cap on, I thought that perhaps it might be some vitamin that I was taking. I searched around, and came to the conclusion that I had been taking too much selenium. Max tolerable limit is 400 mg per day. I had been eating 600-800 mg each day, via brazil nuts, for the last 2 months. Stupid me. Immediately I stopped taking them, on the Thursday before the Tremblant Canada Cup. I rested a bunch that week, pre-rode on Friday, then raced Saturday. Things went much better. Even though I never felt like I was really suffering, and I was riding the descents half-decent, I managed a 14th place. Woohoo. This was a confirmation that, yes, I probably did poison myself with too many brazil nuts.

After Tremblant, I went to my cottage for a few days, slept lots, raked some leaves up, repeatedly gave blood to the vast mosquito population, and rode my bike a lot. It was stellar. On wedneday, I came up to Ottawa, to do the Camp Fortune race. It was a lot of fun to see all the old faces, and old baby-heads of my youth. I grew up riding the trails of fortune, and LOVE riding there. Also, I helped build a lot of the re-routes, and trail fixes a few years ago, so its nice to see how my trailbuilding handy-work is holding up. Turns out I’m a rockin’ Trailbuilder. You might even say bitchin’. All the wet sections that I fixed 3 years ago are looking great, and it seems like no other work has been done on the trails.

Me and my teammates battled it out, with Imad launching the most intense first climb attack I’ve ever seen. I came around him, set the pace, and then just put some hurt on in the climbs. Neil had an unfortunate fall, that left him bloody. My best bud James and the “badger” were at the race, and we went to Chelsea pub afterwards. What a wonderful day.

Baie St. Paul is next up, then hardwood. BSP is an interesting course, because it’s quebec based, but not on a ski hill. So, there’s just a different vibe. A good vibe, just different.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Caffeine protein chocolate mocha bars

I woke up on tuesday morning, and just felt like making bars. I'm not sure why. Maybe I was tired of all the store bought crap that I had been eating for the last week or so. I'm not really sure. Anyways, at 7:30 am I was rocking the food processor, and making a lot of noise. Neighbours were probably upset.
I was meeting up with someone to ride at 11:00, so I brought along a few extra, and then this person requested the recipe. Hence the blog post.

Anyways, these bars turned out really well. Disclaimer: These are wicked bars for the last 2 hours of a long ride. They are the "anti bonk" bar, if ever there was one. These are not a "grab one on the way to yoga because your kinda hungry" bar. Be warned.

-2 cups loose dates (buy the cheap ones)
-1 cup almonds
-1/2 Cup shredded Coconut (I used unsweetened)
-1/2 Cup Chocolate covered espresso beans
-2 Cups raw oats
-4 big scoops of chocolate protein powder
-1/2 Cup milk powder
-2 to 4 espresso shots (if you use 4 or more, you might need to increase the milk powder, and oats)
-2 tbsp cocoa powder
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-2 tbsp maple syrup, or honey

1. Grind the almonds, or just sliver them on a cutting board

2. Put the dates into a food processor. If you don't have one, just cut them up, and then smash them with a super solid fork. This is a good strength workout.

3. Start adding all the ingredients. Order doesn't really matter. Stir until everything is worked in. You want them to be sticky, but not too much liquid. If this is the case, add more of the powdered milk, oats, and even some more protein powder. I don't think you'll have the problem of it being too dry, but if you do, add some honey, or some more dates.

4. Request the help of a friend to cut pieces of plastic-wrap, and make them into bars, about 50-60 grams each. Proceed to roll them into bar shape, then toss whatever you don't want to take with you today, into the freezer.

I made about 15 bars with this recipe. Cost per bar works out to about $1 each. About 300 Cal each, 12 gram protein, and some caffeine, to keep you going :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cali adventure is over, Race season is just starting...

Well, as a recap of my trip to California... it was awesome. Just heading home now, and there is nothing that I would have changed about it. The area where I was staying and riding (Santa Cruz mountains) has unbelievable riding. the climate is great, people are super cool and interesting, and the roads are wicked.
There are probably over 20 rides that I would consider is bests, and way too many to list. I think my favourite descent remains alpine road, and my favourite climb is probably Old LaHonda. These can easily be linked into one ride, which is always guaranteed to be great.

I think the total elevation climbed while down here is upwards of 100 000 meters, in 3 months, and distance is roughly 6000km.

Here is a pic of me on top of mt. Diablo. One of the "must do" rides of the region.

I think that keeping balance is very important in life, and in training. I was able to get out and play disc golf on several occasions while down here. California has many awesome courses, and beautiful settings.

This is a shot of how the disc landed after Nathan threw a 50+ ft putt. Awesome!

Also, there was a tree which looked like it had a face. This is how i've felt for the majority of the last 3 months. I think my grin was a bit bigger though.

Keeping balance, to me, also means exploring new experiences (acro Yoga is super cool!) getting back to your roots (I managed to squeeze in a few unicycle rides) and knowing when to relax, and chill with some good buddies. Overall, I was able to do lots of these things, and this kept me from missing my family and friends back home too much. Life is an adventure, enjoy it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

St Patrick's Day Chocolate Cake

Yesterday was St-Patrick's Day, and since I didn't seem to have any green clothing to wear, I ended up making a pretty bad-ass cake.
It was a Chocolate Avocado cake and here is how to make it.

-3 Cups Whole Wheat flour
-6-8 tbsp cocoa powder
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 Cup Chocolate chips
-2 cups of sugar (whatever type you like)
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 avocados
-2 Cups water
-2 tbsp white vinegar

Combine all the dry ingredients (minus the sugar) and mix them up.
Then combine all the wet ingredients (plus the sugar!) and after mixing, combine them together.
Grease your baking pans, then pour the batter into two 9" round baking pyrex. Or, whatever you have. I did two, so that I could have a layer of green in between.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins. If you decide to make little green cupcakes, it would be about 15 mins.
I used this 30 minutes to do yoga in the yard. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I just brought the egg timer out with me.

The green icing is pretty awesome, super green, and very fun to make.
-2 Avocados
-2-4 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 cup icing sugar (more if you want it sweeter)

Put it all in a food processor, and let 'er rip. After the cakes come out, and cool on a rack, put the icing between them, and then on top as well. Serves about 8 people.

Also, In case you didn't notice this is a vegan cake! OMG! VEGAN GOODNESS! also, it is full of mostly healthy (for a cake) ingredients, plus, it is very very tasty. I quote some people as saying "wow! this is the best green cake i've ever had " ... okay, not a huge barrier, but I also heard "This cake has the best texture i've ever tasted in any cake" ... That one was a bit more impressive.

Try it, and tell me what you think!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some people are didgeri-talkers, others are didgeri-doers

For those who have known me for a long time, know that i've been toying with the idea of making a wooden didgeridoo for a while. Well, I finally had access to a wicked shop, the wood, and someone with the knowledge to guide me through it. I obviously documented the process...

First, I had to select the tree. I searched high and low. And finally settled on a Redwood that had fallen a while ago. This way, it was fully dried out, and ready to rock. These trees look a little on the big side!

After the tree selection, I took the appropriate length branch back to the shop, sanded all the bark off it, and ran it through the band saw.

After it was cut in two, I took the router to it, and hollowed out the inside. This is the hard part, and I definitely got a lot of help from a friend.

After she was all hollowed out, I glued it back together. Lots and lots of clamps were used! I did some final shaping, and then sanded it some more. Also, We took the blow torch to the inside of the didge, to seal it up a bit, and scorch any little wood "hairs"

I put several coats of oil, then made the mouthpiece out of beeswax.

I might put a darker stain on it, but for now it just plays so nicely, that I don't want to wait another 3-4 days of drying time.

My didgeridoo is beautiful, and plays great. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I like to think of the didgeridoo as a sort of "hippy Spirotiger" Great breath training, and very spiritual. It is said that the if the earth had a voice, it would sound like a didgeridoo. Cool!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

When pancakes go wrong

I like to think that i'm a pretty good cook. Give me a request, and I can usually "free-style" quite a delicious and healthy recipe. I also take pride in being able to substitute ingredients so that my dishes are either gluten free, or paleo, or just healthier than the original.

"So, Ryan," you ask, "Whats with all this self-esteem boosting talk that you seem to be doing, with no apparent reason?" Well, I have failed twice, in making pancakes. Let me set the stage:

The first time was in third year university. I was experimenting with Paleo eating, and wanted to make paleo pancakes. The only problem was a severe lack on ingredients. No problem, right? well, I used almond meal, the last egg, and some baking soda. "So, how were they?" ummm, lets just say, I dubbed them "Vomit-Cakes" they were so disgusting. In my over-zealous attempt at making them rise, I clearly put in too much baking soda, and they were beyond gross.

The second time was thing morning. There were a bunch of great white northern beans (great name, eh?) in the fridge, and for breakfast, I had the "AHA!" moment of turning these into a super healthy pancake. I think the idea was good, but after mixing in a few black beans and corn (for colour) some plain yoghurt (think buttermilk pancakes) a bit of ground sesame, 2 eggs, and a few other things, crunch time came. Although they seemed like the right consistency, they didn't have the structural integrity to flip over. So, they became more of a mashed up mess, than a pancake. I still ate them, and they were quite good, but I was somewhat upset that they wouldn't flip properly without falling apart into a flailing mess of white goo. For my third "Mush-Cake", I added a few chocolate chips, to try to make myself feel better. Surprise, surprise, It did! Chocolate seems to be a very viable solution to self-loathing. Sweet!

Anyways, I will study, tinker, and come up with a way to materialize these bean based pancakes, because I still think that its a good idea. I will post up the recipe when it finally works out.

Oh, and please, please, please, don't try to make vomit cakes. Take my word for it, they are in-edible.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

11 all-star bars, propel me far

This is probably at least my 12th time making bars. I enjoy making the "no cook, Lara style" of bars the most. They are easy, delicious, raw, and its simple to make different flavours. These bars turned out to be Peanut Butter - Chocolate Chip - Banana flavoured. Very yummy.

Since I already went on a 4 hour bike ride, 30 minute run, and 1:30 yoga today, I decided that activities would be omitted from this recipe.

- 2 Cups dates
- 3/4 Cup crushed up banana chips
- 1/2 Cup chocolate chips
- 1 banana
- 1 Cup almond meal (ground almond)
- 3 tbsp peanut butter

Cut up the dates into small pieces. Do the same with the chocolate chips, and the bananas. I put the bananas in a plastic bag and punched them, which was kinda fun.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl. With a very hefty spoon, start mixing it all up. This can get a bit tiring after a while, but its good for you hands, and arms.
Keep mixing. haha. It takes a while. A food processor would be easier, but the blender-type don't seem to hold up to the dates very well.

Once everything is nicely mixed together, you need to start checking the humidity. They shouldn't be very sticky. Try to make one bar with your hands. If you can do it without getting a really sticky mess all over your hands, you are set. If not, add more almond meal.

After the humidity is good, start making bars. I ended up with 11 bars, approximately 60 grams each. These would equate to approximately 300 Calories each.

You can see in the picture, the process of folding the plastic wrap, and rolling them into bars. the bar on the top left is pre-flattening. the one on the right is after flattening. I use a cutting board, and just push down with my body weight.

Another good note, is to re-use the plastic wrap. I'm going on my 4th re-use of the current batch. This helps do my part in reducing the 10 million square mile Great Pacific Garbage patch. Anyways, enjoy the bars, and go on some good long ride. Also, play around with flavours! Once you can get the consistency right, the only thing limiting you is your imagination.

Monday, February 28, 2011

New shoes, good training

Anyone who has hung out with me lately, knows that I've recently taken the plunge into trying out "Vibram Five-Fingers" shoes. These shoes are very thin, and have individual toe cut outs. The idea behind these shoes is that they strengthen all the little muscles in your foot, and improve your posture. After purchasing them about 2 weeks ago, I put all my other shoes away, and have since been wearing them full-time.
I was worried that I wouldn't be able to unicycle with them on, since they are so thin. Yesterday, I went out on a 20 mile group ride with a bunch of people in Santa Cruz (Rob's Ride) I took all the pins out of a pair of pedals, and I was able to ride the whole ride with these shoes. Success! The only problem was falling at speed kinda hurt my feet, and when the pedals got wet, they were really slippery. Overall, it was good, and I will try some different pedal / grip tape combinations to see what works best. Trials, and intense MUni could be a different story though!
On another note, some fellow canadians just left me, from a wicked visit down here in California. We did lots of great riding, even though the temperatures were well below seasonal.
Freshly made "ride muffins". Probably one of the most delicious creations i've ever concocted. Wow they were good. More like a cookie-muffin hybrid.

Great pilon photo-op. How cool can you look with a pilon on your head?
Come back soon, I'm going to post recipes for making home-made bars, that are "oh, so good"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pasta-less Vegetarian gluten-free lasagna

Yes, Big name, but also big taste!
This was my "nth" time making this type of lasagna, but today I
used butternut squash, instead of Eggplant. Let me tell you, it was great. Try making it
yourself sometime!

The finished product turned out really well. I mixed up some exercises while waiting for things to cook, just to keep things interesting.

-2-3 onions
-Meat substitute (or meat, if you want it, I used Tempeh)
-1 large butternut squash
-1 Jar (16 Oz) tomato sauce
-1.5 Cups Ricotta cheese
-Fresh Basil, or pesto sauce (about 200 grams, not much)
-Spinach, about 0.5 cup, I used frozen
-8-10 mushrooms
-Approx 1 lb. of cheese (lozza mozza, cheddar... whatever!)
-Approx 100-200grams parmesan cheese

1.Get that oven on! turn it up to 350 F.
2.Peel the butternut, then cut it into lengthwise strips, approx 5-6mm (1/4") put into the lasagna pan, with some salt and paprika, then put it in the oven, for about 20 mins.
3.Cut up onions, and saute, with a bit of oil, and whatever other veggies. Put your meat substitute in with the onion,and saute until soft and delicious.

4. While waiting for the saute/squash to finish, I'll have you do 40 pushups, and 2 minutes of side planks, each side.
5.Now the fun part: layering! here's how I did it:
-Thin layer of sauce
-Layer of Squash
-Layer of Onion Saute
-Layer of tomato sauce
-sprinkle all the spinach (difficult to get a layer)
-All the ricotta. This should be about 1 cm thick. I added pepper to the top
-Pesto (or fresh basil). One thin layer
-Finish off the squash, with another layer
-Finish off the onions, then the tomato sauce
-All the mushrooms
-All the shredded cheese
-All the parmesan
6. Now stick the lasagna(s) into the oven, still at 350. I cooked them for 40 minutes, and then cranked it up to 425 for the last 5 minutes, to get that golden brown top.

While waiting for the lasagna to cook, I did boat pose, with toe-taps (x200) then 2 minutes of front plank. Following this, I just did some basic yoga, (crow, pigeon, warrior 1 & 2, and some sun salutations, then I broke out the foam roller, and worked out some knots in my legs. This took good care of the 40 minutes. Once the lasagnas are out, let them cool for at least 5 minutes (this takes lots of restraint!) then enjoy! These should feed 6-8 hungry people, or 5 cyclists, after a 140km day, with 9000 ft. of climbing. Enjoy!