Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: April 2012

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Historic Roswell 2012

Hanging out in the pack
Today we raced in Roswell, Ga, just outside of Atlanta. We all awoke very focused today and planned to completely smash the race. The short transfer to our new hotel was stress-free thanks to the help of our team's great staff: thanks Fojo, Josh and Remi. The course was simple and fast, with three major changes of direction and a long 400 meter drag to the line. A shallow hill along the back straightaway provided a great opportunity for attacks and tactics.

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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Athens Twilight 2012

It's 1am and I'm sitting in a hotel room outside of Athens, Georgia. My legs are icy cold from a twelve minutes ice bath. My belly is full of water, electrolytes, rice and chicken. My mind is slowly winding down after an hour and a half of twilight racing with the help of some melatonin, I guess I better write fast!

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Friday, 27 April 2012

Recent News

Athens Newspaper
Recent News from the Cycling World!

1) SportsNet will be covering a whole swack of professional bike races this year. Click here for the details. This is a big deal for Canadian we just have to get the Gastown Grand Prix on TV too!

2) AthensOnline Newspaper features Team Exergy on the morning of the Terrapin Twilight Criterium. Everyone in this town knows that this race is coming to town. It's going to be like a rock concert!

3) Spidertech's Will Routley is still smashing it up at the Tour of Turkey. After riding beyond his own expectations on the mountain-top finish of Stage 3, Will has maintained his 10th place GC place. Only Sunday's final stage remains.


Hotel Cooking

Cooking in the hotel room! It is a great way to make sure you get the nutrition you need! This year I set up a small carry-on size luggage bag with a few key cooking ingredients.

#1: Standard hot plate. They are cheap and many different foods can be cooked in them. Steam vegetables, fry an egg, cook a soup or stew. Anything!

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Asthma Solutions

MFS: The Only Way to Survive
Over the past six months I have made some significant headway in narrowing down what affects my asthma. After years of spontaneously suffering from tightness in the chest, I could no longer afford the possibility of my asthma negatively affecting my job performance. I went after every information source I could from journals to websites to anecdotal accounts and everything in between.

The results in brief:

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Monday, 23 April 2012

Sunny King Criterium

Saturday's Sunny King NCC criterium event in downtown Anniston, Alabama proved a hard event with an near-perfect result as Carlos sprinted to 2nd place. The four corner event was well-attended and a nice crowd arrived by the finale of the Women's race and the beginning of the Men's race. Slightly uphill (2-3%) with a strong tailwind, the long run from corner 4 up to the finish line was bumpy and fast. After topping out our elevation at corner 1, it was slight downhill run into a strong headwind from corner two to three. Both of the bottom corners three and four were very fast, parking arcs just like back in the 'long-board' days. The team's race plan was pretty simple, make sure we have someone in the break, even if it means losing them for the finale; then work for Carlos in the end.  With only three full six man squads, Kenda 5 Hour Energy, Team Mountain Khakis and Team Exergy, one may think the field was soft without a full United Healthcare train; however some very strong time trialists from United Healthcare and Competitive Cyclist showed up, with teams of 3 riders respectively.  So don't be fooled, the pace was mighty hard. Team Exergy stabled the same crew as Charlotte: Alzate 1, Alzate 2, Ginger 1, Ginger 2, the Russian Concussion and yours truly.

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Friday, 20 April 2012

Toque Toast: Beet Detox

Welcome to Toque Toast Week 2! This week it's Beets! Not only a powerful blood cleanser, beets provide a great mix of flavor and texture to your next meal. In the cycling world, they have been made famous by Dr. Allen Lim's The Feedzone Cookbook, in which he recommends a small glass of beet juice every morning. Plus Garmin's Christian Vande Velde also launched his new blog by discussing his favorite beet salad recipe...the stars are must be the week of the beet.
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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

B.I.K.E.S #6: Practice

If I think about why I made my mistakes during practice, then I can grow!


Toque Blog on Tap: April 17th - 27th

Good Morning!

It's a Tuesday which means professional bike racers go back to work after our Monday rest days.  So to celebrate here is a preview of what's on tap here at the Toque Blog. We have B.I.K.E.S Update #6 with videos from this weekend's Presbyterian Hospital Invitational and a guest speaker in 2-time Olympian Bob Mionski. Who is that? Do you remember the Road ID spokesman on the 2011 Tour de France coverage? He is also bicycle law attorney in Portland, Oregon and one of the mentors that I got to spend time with in early April. Also coming up is a Toque Torque training tip for those who race with asthma followed by a Toque Toast update discussing the wonders of BEETS! And finally, early next week, an update from our weekend of racing in Sunny King, Alabama.

On Sunday, the team raced in a small criterium outside of Charlotte, joined by a considerable portion of the professionals from Saturday's race. We planned to ride a very aggressive race, make it hard, get a good workout and ultimately work for Carlos in the finale. We raced through the small one street town of Noda, NC about 5 miles north of downtown Charlotte along a six corner 1km lap with very tight turns. As a result, it was easy to let a break go yet the race didn't want that to happen. So with 5 laps to go, we all just magically surged to the front (we didn't plan a leadout at all) at the same moment and thus started to count down the laps. In the finale, Carlos took the win over Bissell's Andrew Dalhiem and Team Type 1 Development's Daniel Holt. For more details.

Have a great week!

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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Presbyterian Hospital Invitational

Saturday night's Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium marked the first event of Team Exergy's criterium squad. It was a big money race, with $12,500 dollars on the line for the top step and a total of $50,000 over the top twenty five placings. Working with Team Exergy's new assistant DS (although he is extremely experienced) Ken Mills, we planned to stay represented throughout the race in any real breaks and then work off of the United Healthcare team in the finale with the hopes of a victory or podium for Carlos. 

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Friday, 13 April 2012

Rainy Sunglasses

Out from under the soaked brim, my ill-chosen sunglasses darken the dim daylight further. Shielding my eyes from the unwelcome spray of a closely passing semi-truck, my dense gloves grip my rain-washed handlebars, stiffly steering my black tire and front wheel on a path forwards and to the right in anticipation of the "suction" wind gust. 
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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Taking it to the Wolf

Discovering the factors and methods behind successfully building one's fitness is a fulfilling adventure that takes years, but helping other athletes make those same discoveries is much more satisfying on a daily basis. You can see it in their eyes, you can here it in their voice; they are accomplishing their goals faster than they thought possible, they are feeling better than they thought they would, they are making the 2012 season their own.
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Monday, 9 April 2012

Chocolate Covered Eggs's that time again. One more year racked up. 365 more days of good times, lessons learned and pieces of toast burnt. Mind you at 27 I am getting mighty good at the whole dishtowel fan-the-smoke-detector move. Here are a collection of photos from my recent days of training here in Portland, Oregon. Be sure to click into the flicker slideshow so you can read the captions.

Tomorrow is one last hard session of moto pacing with Portland's legendary coach Brian Abers out on Sauvie's Island followed by a nice little travel to Charlotte, NC on Thursday. Portland's public train system is really handy and on Thursday I'll be able to get to the airport with only a five minute walk and $2. I wish other cities on the west coast of North America used more light rail. It gives you time to do all sorts of things, like make funny hair doos.

Enjoy your day!

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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Toque Toast: Yam Sushi

"How do you get so big
eating food of this kind?"
Toque Toast! I'm excited to start sharing some easy and quick training food tips with you all. Although each week won't necessarily feature a brand new recipe, each post will add a new twist either through packaging techniques or new tasty spices.  Originally I wanted to do a video this week but it didn't work out so we'll have to make do with a regular post so without further ado, I bring you Yam Sushi from my 2011 training grounds of Dagoba in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

With the end of the base building phase coming to a close in January, my on-the-bike intake of saturated fats like avocado, coconut oil and olive oil decreased for the quick energy of carbohydrates like sweet potato.  Potatoes are good too but I prefer Sweet Potato and Yam. Each sweet potato is in the range of 500-600 grams, which is about 400 kcal and 100 grams of carbohydrate according to CalorieKing.

Step 1: While cooking breakfast, wash & clean 1 yam. Chop into even pieces and boil.

Step 2: Once cooked (10-15 minutes), immediately drain with strainer to avoid mushiness. Move to a baking pan or something with a wide surface area to assist in cooling. Mash with a fork and add a large amount of sea salt (2-3 tbsp). Let it cool during breakfast or place in refridgerator.

Step 3: Once cool, you are ready to package! Cut a piece of tinfoil (or alternative) about 5 inches in length. Distribute approximately 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potato onto Sushi Nori seaweed. Add a thin amount of honey. Roll upwards and close the sushi with the help of a bit of water rubbed along the top edge. Turn sushi to fit within the confines of the tinfoil, fold the bottom first, the from right to left, finally twisting the top portion to close, leaving you with a thin Buritto-style sushi about 7 inches long making it easily accessible as the top portion protrudes from one's jersey pocket.

If I am doing a 4 hour ride with 2-4 sets of tempo, I'll divide my sweet potatoes into 4-5 pieces of sushi. I'll start eating at about 45 minutes in and aim to finish all of the calories with one hour remaining in the ride. Ideally I aim for 50 grams of carbohydrates per hour in training, so that is 1x550 gram sweet potato every 2 hours.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Stocked up for 2 weeks of training!



Ready for tempo intervals!

Plus...I'm super stoked this week that Cyclocosm is BACK! 


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Toque Blog On Tap: April 5-15th

The B.I.K.E.S program is really starting to take off thanks to Team Exergy's Press Officer, Jill Klein. Thanks Jill! I am also going to start a few new things here at the blog including weekly "Toque Toast" series. Each Friday there will be a new recipe for you to try during your weekend training rides or race events. This first week we'll discuss training food.

Also, here is a preview to the next ten days here at the Toque Blog.

Sun 4.8:  Toque Toast: Training Food
Tues 4.10: Toque Torque Coaching: Spring Update w/ new clients and race wins
Thurs 4.12: Lifestyle Vignette
Sunday 4.15: Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Report (Wiki + Website)



Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Throw of the Dice

For months we spend our time carefully crafting training plans, preparing post-ride meals and maintaining our space-age machines after battle with winter's wet. Every day our season approaches faster and faster, our first 'Monument' faster. It seemed like October only yesterday; April, a distant future. 

Now, after our director orchestrates the day's tactics and the commissaire drops the neutral flag, the day is here, the day is now. We trade that all-encompassing focus for every element of our training and recovery, tunneling all of our energy on only that which will get us to the finish line fastest and in front of those who we now ride with.  Like when shocked into an emergency state where only one thing can and should be thought of, the present moment, nothing outside the barrier-lined parcour penetrates our over-stimulated minds. 

A deep breath, relax into this moment's stress. Attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance. Enjoy one's own acknowledgement that the dice are airborne. That disaster may strike at any moment, that doors may open and close in front without a moment's notice . However it is in this place, this present moment where anything can happen that opportunity presents itself.  Do we go full throttle now? Is this our moment? Or do we holster it and wait for a more opportune moment down the road? However betting on a future opportunity conflicts with one's newly adopted state in the present. It is now that we must go. We must risk everything now. We must roll the dice now and worry about the next lap, day, month, year when that time comes. For it is only what we do in this present moment that matters. 

Besides if we are really prepared to go full throttle but the opportune moment has arrived sooner than expected, shouldn't we be able to adapt and deploy immediately? Now? 

React. Race. Relish this moment now and relive it for years to come.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

B.I.K.E.S #5: Spring Time Helmet Safety

B.I.K.E.S Update #5 comes to you from Portland, Oregon. This week the grade 2 students will be receiving their own customized helmet/bike frame name tags brought to you by Team Exergy Pro Cycling and the Trademark Sign Company. We talked about helmet safety this week as the end of spring break marks the beginning of the 'bike-to-school' time for many in Walla Walla, Wa and also included a brief recap of the team's results from the first two big races of the year, the San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Look Save A Life
B.I.K.E.S Update #6 will come to you from Charlotte, North Carolina in two weeks with guest speaker Bob Mionski (1992 Olympian) as we discuss how to dream a goal, and then take hold and make it your own. 

I'm really excited how this program has started to grow with the help of Team Exergy and if you would like to sign up your students or school for B.I.K.E.S please contact me at  

Thanks again for reading.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Ebb'n Flow

Well here it is, the long await update-apology for letting the blog slip these past few weeks. The beginning of the season went well enough for me with strong sensations on some days while suffering from the pollen-rich and smog-saturated winds of the Los Angeles area on others. In fact my asthmatic troubles this year where much worse than these races in 2011; like an unwelcome gremlin, they would creep into the fold just at the 'right' moment, when the fan was getting absolutely covered in agricultural-byproduct, making the whole lead out and maximal effort thing pretty tough. Then the entire team picked up a cold/flu bug which completely knocked me off my feet and I had to pull out of the Redlands Bicycle Classic, but I did get to ride in the broom-wagon for the first time!! Right?

It's been really nice to come "home" to my 2011 apartment in Portland, Oregon this past week. Although it has been a bit stormy, I love this town. The training roads are well diversified and the cycling culture is rich with enthusiasm for riding every day no matter the 'outside' factors. Everyone rides here. Plus, if I time my ride right, I get to ride along the Super Mario bike lanes with all the other commuters returning home from a day of work. It almost a traffic jam!

In addition to catching up with old friends, mentors and directors, or finding all the stuff that I left at my old apartment like shampoo that is still at the same level, old gel flasks, a tower of blank cds, a food scale,  or Hawaiian bikini calendars still hung on January 2011, I'm here to catch my teammate's wedding. Quinn is tying the knot with one hell of a catch and I'm really stoked to be here in Portland to join in on the festivities. Afterwards, Quinn and Allie are off to Costa Rice for a crazy backpacking trip, but of course you can read all about it here.

So with the ebb'n flow of this years' first bike races and the reminiscent times I've enjoyed in Portland, I thought I'd share this really cool new WIND MAP program. Article & WIND MAP PROGRAM.  It illustrates the current wind throughout North America (updated every 30 minutes) and I found it really interesting how different the winds are from day to day.

Ride the Wind!