Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: February 2012

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sunsets and Sunrises: 2012 Calendar

Music - It's time to MOVE!
The season is upon us! This afternoon we are cleaning up our host housing here in Ventura, Ca. The Ferro Family has been extremely AWESOME in letting us spend almost 3 weeks with them at their beautiful home and we are all very excited to catch up with them again during the San Dimas and Redland Stage Races later in March.

Speaking of races...what is my calendar this year? Well right now it is quite full! So hopefully I can keep the rubber side down and finish line in sight. Be sure to search for Team Exergy at the races to pick up your own custom Team Exergy stem cap! OH! And if you haven't seen our new SPEED MACHINES....well check it! BAM!!


Merco Cycling Classic: March 1 - 4
San Dimas Stage Race: March 16 - 18
Redlands Bicycle Classic: March 22 - 25

Tour of Elk Grove: August 3 - 5

With Possible Late-Season Races Including:

Canadian Track Nationals
August NCC (National Criterium Calendar) events
Canadian Sprint Challenge
Fast Freddie Gran Fondo

My favourite race website so far is definitely the Gastown Grand Prix! 
Stylish and authentic, the classic is back! 


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tapering the Pyramid

The past ten days, six of my teammates and I have stayed in Ventura, Ca to recover from camp, work on our leadout train and continue to gel as a unit. Each day was filled with an personal analysis of what we each needed to do in order to maximize our training. We could fret about lessons learned at team camp, worry about the upcoming season opener, or go about completing our daily training tasks as best as possible.

Yes, our lives have been simple thanks to the Team Exergy staff, who've sheltered us from the stresses of pre-season logistics but that doesn't mean we have been lying around wasting away. We realize that many people want our jobs and we have been working smartly each day in respect of the high level expected of us come the 2012 racing season. Thus each task performed over the past six months nevermind the last ten days, be it finalizing our TT bike setups, perfecting our race food recipes, creating a team rider manifesto, discussing our latest leadout trial or learning Spanish from our newest Columbian teammate Andres Alzate, has required equal attention and maximal focus.

When we do get some time to relax and explore, often times it is on the internet and I enjoy shuffling around TedTalks. Here are 3 of my favourite discussions as of late. With the beginning of the 2012 racing season, the beginning of a new spring, and the beginning of a new intercalary cycle approaching, it is easy to look far ahead into the future. But then again, it is small steps we make today that dictate our tomorrow.

Centenarians Among US: Those who live the longest on Earth: what do they do and what do they not?

What do you think was the most important invention of the 20th century? And how will that invention need to change in the 21st? I really enjoyed this one!










      Gary Hamel: Reinventing the Technology of Human Accomplishment


Why do you buy? Do you buy a product or an idea? Do you know you are buying an idea? Although sometimes coming across a little bit pompous, this speaker shares some great insight about inspirational actions of the 20th century's greatest leaders.


Friday, 24 February 2012


If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” (Ken Robinson)

As both a coached cyclist and a coach myself, I have the unique opportunity of experiencing both sides of the objective/subjective dichotomy. As a rider, I ask questions of my coach that are based mostly upon subjective feelings and comments; his answer is based around keeping my mind focused on what is important...extracting the best performance out of my ability. As a coach, I answer my clients' questions with information that will help that manage their situation and simplify their total stress level, again in an attempt to help them extract their best possible performance. Thus coaches don't always tell the client everything! They tell them what they need to know!

When I worked as my own coach during my neo-pro season of 2011, I had to have objective AND subjective discussions with myself. I found the best way to plan and complete my race season preparations was to sit down for 1-2 days at the beginning of each month to objectively analyze my previous training and establish goals and protocols for the coming weeks. If I wrote it down, I would do it! Those were 1-2 days of stress! Then come a training day, I would revert to the subjective rider, how do I feel? Am I motivated? Recovered? If not, I will modify the plan slightly, but not totally toss it aside. This way I could take solace during my rest days and satisfaction after completing my hardest.

So how does a coach keep it all in order? Coaches should build checklists! And for that matter, so should teachers! There was a great piece by Dan Coyle (one of my favorite authors) recently discussing this. Plus, with checklists that bred a means to an end, what can instill an atmosphere between the client/student and the coach/teacher that fosters communication, trust and eventually creativity! Building a lifetime appreciation for learning either through athletic pursuits or artistic journeys.

Find Your Own Style


Monday, 20 February 2012

To Infinity & Beyond

Have you noticed a growing social-media emphasis on the Aurora Borealis?? Well if not, let's get you back up to speed! Aurora & Spacestation. Where is this growing interest coming from? Any ideas??

Is it that camera technology has finally caught up with our modern day's expectations of video resolution? Perhaps these images were just never made available before.  Do the aurora represent one of the 'missed' landscapes of natural photographers and artists of the 20th there a niche left to be captured?

What is so compelling about the collision between charged solar particles and Earth's atmospheric gases? Why do we keep staring and studying this musical dance? Maybe because it's one of nature's most intricate and complicated art forms, synthesizing patterns so diverse that scientists have only learned little compared to other scientific areas of study.

It's da bomb!
Fortunately the CSA, NASA, and the ISS have recently teamed up with the University of Calgary's AuroraMax initiative to provide live HD streaming for skywatchers around the world. Most recently, "ISS astronauts Don Pettit and Dan Burbank will be on standby for the next six weeks to photograph the Northern Lights for AuroraMAX, a public engagement initiative dedicated to promoting the science and the splendour of the aurora borealis".  U of Calgary NEWS LINK.

Also, my brother Darren is one of the top researchers so check out his work here!

Live Nightly Feed                or                Top Favourites

Feb.21st CBC Piece


Friday, 17 February 2012

The Business #2: A Day at Camp

Rise: Fresh, cool sea air brushes up against my face; my body warmly tucked underneath a mammoth of blankets. Holding my breath, studying my cellphone clock, I take my morning heart rate while lying prone. Thirty eight today, not too tired, not too rested; good, great for day 7 of camp. After quietly leaving the motorhome, careful not to wake my teammates, I cook my quinoa and egg breakfast in the kitchen. Over the next 30 minutes, my teammates slowly file in, some more quiet than others...who will be strong today? Each goes about making their lunch, fixing their breakfast and bantering with one another about yesterday's ride. 

Pre-Ride: Forty five minutes till departure, I rest in my bed to help digestion and practice a little meditation. I plug in my favourite music and relax. Beyond this auditory barrier, our seigneurs busily rush around the house and driveway, preparing 5-10 bottles per rider, packing bags of bananas, coolers of coke cola, boxes of tin-foil clad lunches into the Mini Cooper and the Volvo. They align our bikes in perfect formation against the wall lining the back of the driveway, our seats in a circle around a table filled with gels, bars and apples. Our mechanic touches up on any of the tasks that slipped his long list the night before, making sure the tires are pumped to 115-120PSI, the handlebar tape is clean and our top-tubes are clear of snot and drink mix from the day before. Every day it feels like we ride a brand new bike.

Brief: In a circle the riders relax in blue pop-up 'sofas', a white pop-up tent shades the sun; our Director calls attention to the route, safety concerns, planned stops and any structured efforts. "Today is our final big day of camp. 180km. 12,000-15,000 ft of climbing (no one has done the ride before). We have Heybuckshot don't smile when they take your picture. Stay as a group up all the climbs, except the final one. Make it hard, it's a race ya?" We are up and we are off. Check your brakes, check your skewers, check your headset. Then the plastic cleat covers come off, we shove them into our 'car' bags (our KASK helmet bags with a makeshift name tag which include our special food, special bottles and extra arm warmers and gloves) and hand them off to the seigneurs as we ride past the cars at the end of the driveway. 

Commute: Rushing down onto the 16-28% descent, adrenaline starts its morning drip. Flying down towards the Ventura valley floor, the sun warmly bakes our arms and chest, protected by black rainjackets. The jackets will come off in 20 minutes, so will the thick gloves and knee warmers. This is our commute. We try to stay comfortable during our commute, because we know that before long the day will start, the horn will honk, the bell will whistle, the pace will go up, the tailwind will die out, the road will tip up, and we will follow the double yellow line until told otherwise.

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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

B.I.K.E.S #3 - Cramming in California

Update #3 - From the heart of Team Exergy's Pre-Season Camp, we take a tour of the compound before another hard day of training. Over the past few weeks, the Edison Elementary students have been learning about the Human Heart. As we train more and more, our bodies become more efficient at eating, using energy and as a result.. PEDALING!  We will spend many hours resting at heart rates of 35-45 beats per minute! How fast is your heart rate beating right now! Excited about the end of the school day??

On our longer 4-5 hour rides, we ride between 130-150 beats per minute. At this intensity we burn equal parts sugar and equal parts fat, almost 4,000 kcal total! When we tear up the tarmac and crush our pedals, our heart rates skyrocket to 185-200 bpm!! That is almost as fast as a hummingbird's...actually not. Hummingbirds have a max heart rate of 1260!!

Why are heart rates so different? Well it depends upon the size of the animal's rib cage. A Hummingbird has a very small ribcage and thus a very small heart that has to beat many times to pump blood to its wings. There are even differences between the cyclists on Team Exergy. Some riders have larger chests, and larger hearts and thus lower maximum heart rates. But this rib cage size doesn't always match one's height. For example, I am only 5'6", one of the shortest riders on the team, but I have a large rib cage and thus a low maximum heart rate of 184 bpm.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Business #1: The Arrival

Well we are at camp! AND IT IS AWESOME!! We have just met our new seigneur, Bob, and he rocks! Our new Director Sportifs Gary and Ken have also arrived; both bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and worry-free laid back but business attitude that bolsters the confidence of every one involved in the Team Exergy "totally crush" 2012 project.

But let's get visual...I am riding into the sunset in the third row of 16 spinning cyclists. Andres Diaz and Freddie Rodriguez guide us home, the two leaders of the team. One dressed in black kit, one in white. The white fog line extends out between the tight gap of their shoulders. A row of 60 foot coconut trees vaguely shield the northern view of sun-splashed avocado-stained hills, the many layers of the bark and top-most green leaves stand over and judge our 2x8 formation underneath; as if they stand as all the teams that have ridden these roads in their opening training camps, all those professionals who've come before us.

Although this is just another year in the small and sometimes unknown world of professional cycling, this year, this spring, this week, this first day are all massive steps for Team Exergy. And I'm very happy to be on piste!

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Friday, 10 February 2012

MFS goes fullspeedahead w/ new Blog!

The new Manual For Speed Blog is up! We idea is to continue to bring uniquely awesome images with short commentary from the riders...BUT ON A DAILY BASIS!!


Plus, since our internet at the host house is a little unplugged right now, I'll be updating periodically when I can. For now, we've set up the driveway with all the bikes, chairs and trailers. The bunkbeds, motorhomes (temporary) and food is ready for the riders. Airplanes start landing at 1pm, with riders arriving at the house around 3pm.

It's hard to imagine that it is training camp. I spend a lot of days in October, November and early December doing long base rides. I've had a sheet of paper taped onto the top of my laptop since October 1st and I'm very happy that I've been able to tick off 2 of those goals in the past 3.5 months, now it's time to start working with my teammates and the team staff to tick off the remaining three.

Ride on!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Oat Bag

My diet has changed dramatically this year. Working with my coach David Youngblood of Generic Nutrition, we have introduced a variety of changes that have reduced my asthma symptoms and improved general health. How's getting a cold and then getting over it in all in 24 hours for a test! January 10th was that day!

Although I cannot share all of David's knowledge with you, here is a list of my three new favourite foods and why, along with those that I miss the most.  For those of you interested in learning more about Generic Nutrition, information will become available in time at this source.

New Staples:

1) Quinoa: It's gluten free, goes well with almost anything and comes in a variety of colors
2) Beets: They help clean the blood of toxins, which helps my asthma. Plus they make the bathroom way more fun!
3) Nuts: For years I've been allergic to nuts. By cutting out other common allergens, like gluten, dairy, soy, & corn, I have had no reactions to this powerful plant-based protein source.

The Knots*:

1) Ketchup: Used to love it. Now avoid it like the plague...too much sugar
2) Restaurant Bread: No gluten for me, thankfully with knowledge comes power.
3) Ice Cream: I love ice cream. I can't wait for October. By then I'll be able to wallow my lactose-intolerant ass slowly around the house all day.

Plus..I visited Josh at the team house in Ventura where he was building bikes! BAM! 3 Days, 2 Sleeps and 1 Training Day left till BLAST OFF 2012! Stay tuned.

* I'm still living on the boat! Thanks to Team Exergy manager Scott Cross and his wonderful wife Deb for hosting me this week. I've had a blast! Maybe I should think about buying a boat?


Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Last week I went to Boise to meet my teammates and greet our new sponsors. But it was also a chance to say high to our returning sponsors and discuss just how AWESOME! their support was in 2011. The footbeds I used in 2011...the base of every successful pedal stroke, were absolutely rock solid. I have always had issues with one arch, one hip and a muscular imbalance in my quadriceps that leave the physiotherapists wondering "how are we ever going to fix this guy?" Knee issues out of the saddle were always a gremlin waiting to pop up in June and July during the heat of racing season. But last year I had no problems right from the first day with FootDynamics.

Jeff is a board-certified Pedorthist that runs his business out of downtown Business. Growing up as a ski racer like myself, he then moved to bootfitting and finally personalized orthotics.  He uses a direct casting system (see the whole process!), NOT THE FOAM BOX, so your mold is precise and highly representative of the stress that you'll place on the "system". He also customizes the arch support based upon your sport of choice; so for cycling he provides a little bit less arch support that one may expect. Although I was surprised initially in 2011, I quickly realized the benefits.

But after a year they were starting to smell! So I asked what I could do to fix that. All he said was "bring them in tomorrow around 10, when do you what to ride?". "Noon" I replied, "I have 4 hours planned." "Great, they'll be ready at noon!". The next day I showed up at noon to a brand new pair of covers and bottoms! They look and smell brand new!  Damn Foot Dynamics rocks! Thanks Jeff! You should probably all fly to Boise and get a pair even kidding!

Grooving on the Soul Train!

Jeff "Foot Doc" Jacobs!



Monday, 6 February 2012

B.I.K.E.S: Bicycle Inspired Kinetics In Elementary Schools

I met Kay Barga in 2008 after Walla Walla Bike Safety Coordinator Mary Ann Duffy recommended I discuss a budding idea of organizing bicycle safety rodeos for the local elementary schools. Now five years on with many bike rodeos and lots of inspired 'little rippers' in tow, Kay and I have expanded the program with the hopes of impacting more than just the local Walla Walla Valley community.

After meeting her new class in early December this past year, signing jerseys, discussing my 2011 year, answering 45 minutes of questions! and discussing the importance of bicycle safety, I've kept in touch via short videos on a biweekly basis. Since Kay's classroom is tripped out with a projector and all the latest in technology (which is pretty cool for a small public elementary school in Washington), she can easily share my travels and stories with the students.  

In exchange, her class will be sending assortments of photos and small class projects that reflect their growing understanding of the benefits of a healthy and athletic lifestyle. It is a real treat to help Kay keep her students motivated to reach their potential and remain focused in the classroom.  

For more information on B.I.K.E.S or to get in touch to coordinate a visit to your elementary school classrooms (I travel all over the United States), please continue to my B.I.K.E.S page. I'd be happy to share stories, some Team Exergy swag and jazz the students up about cycling! 

Bicycle Inspired Kinetics in Elementary Schools
One cannot motivate another, motivation comes from within. 
However the power to inspire resides in us all.


Edison Update #3: Boise, Idaho (January 30th, 2012)

Edison Update #2: Tucson, Arizona (January 13th, 2012)


Friday, 3 February 2012

Building Houses with 3 Little Pigs

Team camp represented the final turn of the page from the 2011 season to that of 2012.  So naturally Heybuckshot wanted a "get real" interview to sum up my first year pro for the Manual For Speed. They asked what I learned the most, what I would tell an aspiring pro, what to warn about... maybe cutting away some of the delusions of the common amateur racer. Although I'll leave it up to them to share my top answer, here are the next 3 little pigs that I'm using to build my house for 2012.

#1: Stay updated on the Manual For Speed for the answer!

#2: This is a hard profession. If you don't (1) absolutely love riding your bike - like I mean get chills down your spine every time you think about attacking on a hill or sprinting out of a leadout train or riding down new foreign roads on a sunset-sprayed descent with your best riding buddies - (2) love meeting and becoming friends with everyone you meet and making their day better and (3) doing only the things that directly benefit your team, remain an amateur racer and enjoy a balanced life.

#3: Sometimes things go wrong. Like really wrong. Like missing your flight when you are alone in a foreign country and you lose your luggage. Don't stress, pretend you are in the forest and have broken your ankle. Just take a moment and think before you act. It worked for me and I made it to my destination. Plus...DELTA ACTUALLY WILL PAY YOU BACK FOR LOSING YOUR BAGS..WHO KNEW!

#4: Because I travel so often, there are few things that I can safely say are consistent in my life. You must find consistency...the body and mind thrive on routine. It can be small, but it must be something. Some professionals travel with their own coffee press; others take their laptop for consistent blogging (writing is a powerful stress-reliever); for me I enjoy writing down my morning sensations each day. I think of it as my work, because no matter what happens for the rest of the day I know that I have self-evaluated my situation at least once - checked in with my body and mind; This quick checkup opens the door for internal discussion as to how best to maximize my situation for peak performance in the coming days and weeks. An example:...if today's weather is untrainable, enjoy your day and rest guilt-free; stretch, massage and do those things that you don't have time for during a double-session training day like cook or go to a movie, cause you never know when you'll get another 'vacation' day.

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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New Day.New City.New Year

Well that was a big travel day! 15 hours and now I'm living on a bOAT! yayah! I'll be here in Ventura, CA training for the next 3 weeks, with the team arriving on the 11th for team camp. It's great to be back here.

Here is a collection of media and images from my teammates this past weekend. Enjoy...because there is a lot more where this stuff came from as the team shoots for improved media and internet presence in 2012.

Join us on Facebook & Twitter for more updates! And soon a sneak-peak at the new team jersey! Here is a video from our website and jersey designer "Fitz". He is set on making us Carlos would say.."Badass man".

Team Exergy Wind Tunnel Testing from Team Exergy on Vimeo.

LIKE MANUAL FOR SPEED TODAY...we only have 500 likes!

Ben @ Gokarts - 
 Photo Credit: Manual for Speed

Serge & Matt do a concussion baseline test...but since we are in hospital cookie wants to wear a mask..weird.
Photo Credit: Serghei Tvetcov 

Ready for MarioKart Battle!
Photo Credit: Serghei Tvetcov

Quinn, Serge and Freddie get taped at Spidertech
Photo Credit: Serghei Tvetcov

The new bike

 Photo Credit: Manual for Speed

Game time!
 Photo Credit: Manual for Speed

Ya, what he said!..right?

Road...or Cyclocross?

Evolution happened!

Happy Days!

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